The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vermont SD Bulk Retard

dvuong's picture

Vermont SD Bulk Retard

I am planning on mixing up a batch of Vermont SD this evening.  I've never made this bread before so I thought I'd give it a try.  Due to timing issues, I would like to mix the dough tonight, bulk retard in the fridge over night, shape and bake the next day.  The original formula tells you to retard during the final proofing stage but I was wondering if anyone has tried retarding during the bulk fermentation stage.  How does it affect taste and appearance/oven spring? 


Ford's picture

You can retard at any time.  It will take an extra hour or so to get back up to temperature and to rise.  The flavor should improve due to the extra time of permentation.  There should be no problem with oven spring, or anything else.  Go for it!


adm's picture

I've been using "Susan's Norwich Sourdough" recipe and method from this forum with good results - and it's similar (but easier) to what it seems you are asking for.

Basically, you mix the dough without slat, autolyse for 30 mins then add the salt and mix a bit more. Then do a first ferment for 2.5 hours, with a couple of folds along the way, then shape your loaves (either by hand or in a banetton) and leave to ferment for another hour and a half or so. Finally, stick the shaped loaves in the fridge overnight, go to bed and when you get up in the morning, heat up the oven and then bang the loaves straight in.

This seems to work really well for me. I do have a very heavy granite baking stone in the oven and I get great oven spring and a nicely sour loaf ( from the overnight retarding)

Davo's picture

I personally retard shaped loaves. You could do either, but retarding before shaping leaves you less margin for "error" on how the dough will perform in the fridge. If it's a big batch it will have a fair bit of thermal inertia, and will keep on fermenting in the fridge until it finally cools down. If it gets to a pretty ripe stage, and you haven't shaped yet, when you scale (divide/weigh) into loaves and shape on taking out of the fridge, it may not have much oomph left to rise before baking. So if you are going to do that, I would suggest you get it in the fridge before too much rising occurs in that bulk ferment stage. you can always extend the proof, but you can't make fermentation go backwards! Like I say, you could make either way work, just be aware of the limitations of dough which won't go on rising - and maintaining gluten structure - forever.