The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adjusting rising times to fit my schedule

QuadConPana's picture

Adjusting rising times to fit my schedule

I am VERY new to Sourdough baking, and one challenge I have is that the multiple rising steps make it difficult to organize baking with my other commitments. If I am home or awake to start a recipe, it will often need to rise long enough that I will be at work or asleep when one of the subsequent steps would happen.

Any tips on adjusting rising times or delaying steps, maybe by refrigerating the dough at some intermediate step?  Any help would be appreciated.

Ford's picture

Yes, you can retard the dough by putting it in the refrigerator and baking it later.  Enter "retarding dough" into the "Seach" box in the upper left portion of this screen.  You will find many discussions on this subject.  Good luck.


clazar123's picture

I had a LOT of bread to bake this past holiday season so I invented a new method that seems to work.My simple French bread worked great for this. Just subtract the preferment from the liquid and flour in the recipe. I am starting to do this with other recipes,also.

Night before a bake/Preferment:(needs to sit 6-12 hours for best taste)

1 c flour

1 cup water (least amount is 1/2 cup-makes a thick paste but still works)

2 tbsp starter-I keep my starter at 100% hydration-like a thick pancake batter. (a few times, mine came right out of the refrigerated starter that I bake with every week so I know it is not activated but it is awakens quite readily.However, if you activate it with a few feedings the days before,the dough rises faster.)

Mix in a container and keep in warm place (top of refrigerator) overnight. It will prob rise so use the correct size container.Use the preferment within 24 hours or your loaf can suffer.

Morning/Mix the dough:

Add flour,water,salt and pre-ferment(above) together and mix.Rise in warm place-this could take anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on how active your preferment was.Obviously, the more active, the faster. Alternatively,you could add some instant yeast to make the rise faster. Your choice.

Afternoon or dinner/shape,proof,bake:

FYI-Proofing takes anywhere from 30-90 minutes for a batard,depending on the coolness of the house temp.No simple recommendation for this-depends on dough and conditions. Use the finger poke test.

So,mix,rise to double,shape,proof,bake.

If you want,you can move this time around.

AM to mixing the pre-ferment

PM making the dough , retard in the refrig overnight or on the counter (my house is quite cool) and

Next AM shape,proof,bake in the morning-done before lunch.

I have found the flavor of the bread is wonderful and noticeabley better. Enjoy!

spriolo's picture

What is your current build schedule?  Not sure how to recommend something without some basic knowledge of your current process.


jeffesonm's picture

I've found most recipes are actually pretty flexible and you don't need to follow things exactly. If you want the dough to rise faster, put it someplace warm.  If you want to slow it down, put it somewhere cool.  If you want to pretty much stop it, put it in the fridge.  This holds true while the dough is rising and after it's shaped.  For example I often shape the loaves and stick them in the fridge for a day or two, then take them out a few hours before I want to bake them. I'd encourage you to play around with things... I think you'll find you can make the bread fit your schedule quite well.

Davo's picture

I make batches of 4 loaves.

Day 1, morning, take cold starter our of fridge, feed and leave on bench. Evening feed again, leave on bench. My starter is wetter than dough but drier than batter; my feeding is pretty much "by eye".

Day 2. ~120 g active starter into 540 g flour and ~380 g water (it's a fairly stiff).Usually 100-200 g wholemeal rye in this.

Let it ferment while at work. If the house will get hot, sometimes I take it to work!

In evening (say 7 pm), take levain and mix in about 1000 g water, mix till combined.

Add 1400 g flour (unbleached bakers), salt @2%, some diastatic malt if it's a low  rye mix.

Rest for 20 mins (I don't bother adding salt separately later - I have done it and it makes so little difference as not to be able to tell). ANd I don't hydrate the flour before adding to levain.

Knead (french folds), stretch and fold etc over usually 2.5 hours, dep on temp, how feremented the lavain was, and so on - you must feel the dough. Recipes don't allow for your house temp, or how humid it is (what the flour % moisture is etc) - so they are always flexible!.

Shape and into banettons and into fridge. It's now about 10 pm.

Day 3. Evening - home from work. Check dough. If well risen, heat oven and bake with minimal warming. If they will take a bit, heat oven for an hour and warm the doughs for that time. I fthey will take a lot more rising, take out for one hour, heat oven and keep warming for a further hour, and bake.

FIts a schedule with work, kids etc - all you need is two evenings where you can be at home for 3 hours.