The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Retarding Loaves In Refrigerator

Janetcook's picture

Retarding Loaves In Refrigerator

I am fairly new to both sourdough and retarding doughs overnight in the refrigerator.

In the past couple of weeks I have made both of the loaves that I have included links to and am  now wondering why one has the loaves shaped before refrigeration and why one does a bulk fermentation in the refrigerator and shapes the following day and then allows the loaves to rise at room temp. before baking.

The first loaf I did was the Oatmeal-sandwich loaf.  It turned out perfectly.  In it the dough is bulk fermented in the refrigerator and shaped the next day with a 5-6 hour proof at room temp. before baking.

I baked the banana-painp-au-levain next.  Because of lack of room in my refrigerator I decided it could be bulk fermented just like the oatmeal loaf as both loaves do follow much of the same procedures...with the exception that the banana recipe states to shape loaves and ferment them overnight as separate loaves and then simply pop them into the oven the next more rising time.

It rose nicely overnight and then today I divided it into 2 loaves and let it proof at room temp.  It did not rise nearly as much as the oatmeal loaf and had virtually no oven spring when baked....did not 'fall' just didn't rise a lot...

Now I am trying to figure out why that would be and I am too new at this to be able to figure it out so I am hoping someone can explain it to me.  The only idea I came up with was that the yeasties in the banana loaves somehow got 'used' up in the overnight ferment and there just weren't enough left to rise the loaves after being shaped....something to do with all the extra sugar in the loaf due to the banana content....or that the sugar content destroyed the gluten...

Just don't know so any ideas would be appreciated.  (Although the banana loaf didn't rise as expected it still has great flavor and the family does love it....tis the 'baker' who is dissatisfied...)


flournwater's picture

My guess would be the bananas.  Bananas are an extremely heavy ingredient.  The oil they contain would, IMO, contribute to a more dense result in bread.

Janetcook's picture

Makes sense BUT  why does it rise in the refrigerator and not afterwards when proofing???

Seems like if weight were the issue rising would be a problem throughout the process.

Chuck's picture

why does it rise in the refrigerator and not afterwards when proofing???

My guess: the rise went so long the yeasties ate up all the available food before proofing began. (Sometimes a solution is fairly dramatic dough rearrangement -lighty kneading or reshaping or ...- which brings the yeasties into contact with "fresh food"; sometimes a little diastatic malt will help break down the flour into more yeastie food; sometimes a little sweetener will help feed the yeasties; sometimes the best course of action is to just shorten the bulk rise so there's more oomph left for proofing.)

IMHO, the fact that the bulk rise was "in the refrigerator" is just coincidence - it was really the combination of the refrigerator temperature and the time in the refrigerator that may have been a little too much.

(See if you can arrange some way to measure the "high water mark" of your bulk rise. Retarded rises that go for many hours can very easily rise and rise and rise and rise when nobody's watching, then partially collapse again so by the time you check it looks "just right" and you never realize it was really dramatically over-risen.)