The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

If you retard, at what stage do you retard?

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Syd's picture
Syd

If you retard, at what stage do you retard?

I almost always retard after final shaping.  If it is a yeasted dough, then I put it in the refridgerator immediately after shaping lest it overprove.  However, if it is a sourdough, I usually let it three quarter prove then retard.  The following morning, I will often bake straight from the refridgerator.  I like this method because if it is a wet dough, it firms up nicely in the fridge and doesn't slump on the peel.  Scoring is easier, too.  However, if the dough has not sufficiently proved, I will let it warm up to room temp and complete its proving.  Sometimes this can take up to three hours. 


 


I was wondering what other folk out there do and what their reasoning behind retarding at different stages.


Syd

cranbo's picture
cranbo

You can retard your bulk (first) fermentation too. That's what I usually do, very common for pizza. 


Reasons? Timelines & flavor. Slower bulk ferment can let you adjust your baking timelines to suit your schedule. Fairly common knowledge that long cool fermentation helps with flavor development. 


I believe shaped fermentation has some effect on the crust, but I haven't done enough tests to confirm this and to explain the effects. Sources/tests anyone?

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

I don't use yeast much anymore, except for enriched loaves like cinnamon raisin and such, which I don't retard. My sourdough loaves all get retarded. I have tried retarding the bulk fermentation, but prefer your choice to retard after shaping. I usually let the loaves retard for 30-60 minutes while I clean up the kitchen, then into the referigerator overnight. I take them out in the morning when I turn on the oven, so they usually get about an hour at room temp before baking.


Michael

caraway's picture
caraway

Prefer shaping before retarding because I find it easier to 'feel' the gluten cloak while shaping a soft and pliable dough.  Last time I tried bulk retarding I ripped the cloak trying to make a boule because the dough was stiff.


At least that works the best for me presently, but I find I'm constantly changing...


Sue