The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Timing my rise

mizrachi's picture

Timing my rise

My new culture is doubling in three hours and is looking healthy and vibrant.  How should I time my bakes to maximize rise?  Weird question, I guesss, but anything that remotely resembles math makes me panic!

cranbo's picture

Tough to narrow it down, you have a lot of options. Consider these questions:

  • How much starter will you use in your recipe (as a % of total flour in your recipe)?
  • At what temperature will you let it rise?
  • Will you be incorporating a refrigerated fermentation period?

The key is to find what works for your style and your schedule.

If you do use a refrigerated fermentation period, this will give you additional flexibility for timing your bakes.


G-man's picture

I would pick a day where you have nothing scheduled and start early. Watch it pretty closely throughout the day and see what happens when. That's just the best way to start learning about how your starter works when you're making bread.

I'm not suggesting sitting with the bowl in your lap staring at it or anything. :) Just making sure you're not gone for several hours.

Myndflyte's picture

Having never actually made a sourdough loaf yet, but with a starter that sounds like it's at the same point as your's, from what I've read, doesn't it genearlly take 16 hours or so for the first rise? I figure I'll start mine at like 10PM the day before and by the time I get home from work at 5 or 6 PM the next day it should be ready to go.

placebo's picture

With the usual recipe I use, it takes about four to five hours for the first rise. Most of the second rise takes place overnight in the refrigerator. If I didn't retard it in the fridge, the second rise would probably be done in about two to three hours.

With sourdough, the timing can be really variable. You have to learn how to read the dough rather than relying on times. So it's a good idea, at least the first time you try a recipe, to make sure your schedule is flexible enough to accommodate things taking shorter or longer than expected.

Myndflyte's picture

In reply to my original thought that it took 16+ hours to rise. After finally making my first loaf, I can say I was wrong. It took mind only about 7 or 8 hours to more than double. So yeah, make sure you have a flexible day the first time.

JizoGarden's picture

My starter is ready to go and I'm not :(  I have been feeding it once a day for the last 5 days waiting for a day that I can actually make my first sourdough loaf (should I be feeding 2 times a day?).  In the recipe I am going to do it says I can keep in the frig overnight.  I won't have a free day to pay attention until Sunday.  Is it ok to keep feeding my starter day after day?  Clearly I'm a beginner and finding timing a challenge :P  

Here's what i'm thinking...feed tomorrow morning and then feed late afternoon...getting ready for overnight rise...ready to go on Sunday :) Good?

I'm going to try this recipe

Any ideas appreciated....feeding and timing seem to be my bug-a-boo....sigh.....

Thanks, Laura

cranbo's picture

Your schedule sounds fine. 

Yes your sourdough can live in the fridge overnight (or longer; see dabrownman's "no muss no fuss" starter method, which uses a stiff rye starter which lives for weeks in the fridge); that said your starter may be happiest living at room temp, being fed at least 1x per day. 

The recipe will be fine; two tips:

1. definitely follow the instructions for the stretch & folds, it makes a big difference with crumb of final product

2. Watch the dough & not the clock: use a see-through plastic container (like a large plastic bucket or pitcher) where you can easily tell when the dough has actually doubled during bulk fermentation. This may take a really long time if you have a young starter. 

good luck!

JizoGarden's picture

Thanks so much...fingers crossed :)