The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

help with a Pre-ferment

aytab's picture

help with a Pre-ferment

Just a question. I have been using quick yeast to make my Italian Bread, over the weekend I pre-fermented some in the fridge for about 18 hours and got a much better flavor. My question is, I want to make more this Thursday morning, can I start my ferment now and just keep feeding it until Thursday morning or will the flavor get to yeasty?

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Why not go for it? I folowed the Clayton formula for Gallette Persane bread from his "Breads of France" book and it called for a two build preferment. He called the first build a starter, something that I recognized as a kind of poolish. That took 24 hours at room temperature and used a full packet of active dry yeast. The second build was called a "sponge". Flour and water amounts equal to those of the first build were mixed into the "starter" and left to ferment for 12-24 hours. At that point, the"sponge" was added to the remainder of the ingredients and mixed for before completing the process. I posted about my experience with the Gallette Persane  here:

If you're going for a long build of a pre-ferment, your ideas are workable. From my own experience, I'd just suggest that you use less yeast to keep the fermentation on the slow side. That worked out well for me.

aytab's picture

Thanks for the advice, I weny ahead and started it last night with 1 cup flour, 1 cup water and about an 1/8 teaspoon of yeast. Today I'm gonna ditch half of it and feed with equal amunts of water and flour. I'll let you know how it turns out.

dabrownman's picture

at least half - I would dump much more if you are going out 3 days.  When starting with active yeast, I build it like SD - slowly.  1/32 tsp active yeast, 1 T each of flour and water.  3 -4  feedings later at 12 to 16 hours, I have a nice ripe sponge ready for 2 loaves of bread.  Three days out I think I would sleep on it for a couple of days :-)

clazar123's picture

I mix 1 c flour and 1 cup water and 1/8 tsp yeast or 2 tbsp sourdough. Mix and let sit on the counter overnight and even in this short a time you can really improve the flavor of a loaf.