The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Small spots when using the fridge for final fermentation

  • Pin It
breadnbatter's picture
breadnbatter

Small spots when using the fridge for final fermentation

For production schedules, I have been varying whether I let the bread rise on final fermentation at room temp or use the fridge to do the final fermentation overnight.  For taste, I prefer fermenting overnight in the fridge.  While baking though, the crust gets small spots.   When I let the bread rise the counter at room temp instead, there are no spots.  It is not recipe specific because it happens on all of the breads I bake.  It also happens regardless of egg wash or steaming.  I assume it has something to do with the fridge.  The bread is in the fridge for 12- 16 before baking.  Is this too long? Any other suggestions to try?  Thanks!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I'd bet that the spots to which you are referring are due to droplets of water that condense on the surface of the cooling loaves.

What kind of refrigerator do you use? Are the loaves covered in the fridge? If so, with what?

David

breadnbatter's picture
breadnbatter

Do you mean the spots appear between the time I remove them from the oven and they cool?  I actually can't recall whether the spots are there when I pull them from the oven.  They are definitely there when I package them up.

I cover the loaves with plastic wrap.  The fridge is a walk-in cooler.  Tomorrow morning, I will look for the spots when I pull them from the oven and take a pic......

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If your spots are from water droplets, the droplets condense on the plastic as water evaporates from the loaves. The water then drips back onto the loaves. You may not notice this until you bake.

If your walk-in has controlled humidity, you probably don't need to cover the loaves tightly. You could also use baker's linen rather than plastic - something that would absorb the water vapor as it cools and condenses.

David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

before the crust browns evenly?  

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

If you are baking with any amount of steam, you may be seeing small blisters form under the skin of the dough.  It seems to be more prevalent in low hydration doughs and with retarded doughs.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Retarded dough will form small blisters on the crust. It's emblematic of retarded dough. It is said that leuconostoc bacteria may be responsible for blister formation through low temperature fermentation.

Wild-Yeast

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Blisters are seen on sourdough loaves and there is no leuconostoc in any sourdough because leuconostoc cannot survive the low pH of the starter growing conditions, so probably not leuconostoc.

Another theory on the source of blisters is that when retarded, the temperature of the dough drops and the soluability of CO2 rises so that the dough absorbs much of the gas that would otherwise contribute to volume increase.  When the dough is eventually transferred to the oven, the surface quickly cooks making a gas tight barrier before the CO2 is forced out of solution by rising bulk dough temperature.  When the CO2 is finally released (because the CO2 saturation pressure is greater than atmospheric pressure at the local dough temperature) it cannot get out and is trapped as small blisters beneith the now cooked surface of the crust.  High hydration doughs tend to exhibit blisters that are flat (I think because the interior of the loaf is so full of large cells that there is less resistance to expansion if the blister expands into the loaf than if it bubbles outward) while in low hydration doughs the blisters tend to be more outward-expanding because the backing of firm dough is stiff enough to prevent the blister from backing up into the bulk of the crumb.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

After a little research I found that the following indicates that it might well be Leuconostoc Bacteria that's responsible for the blisters.

Leuconostoc is classified as a LAB bacteria which include the genera Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Leuconostoc, and Pediococcus. All produce lactic acid. Leuconostoc bacteria become dominant in the slightly elevated acid environment and are able to produce CO2 at the low temperature of retard. The retarded dough contains starter but [at least in my case] is derived from a firm starter. The dough is still far above being acidic which aids this agent of taste and fermentation.

In any event there's something that produces CO2 in the gluten rich zone of a sufficiently developed crust. It's the mark of the retard. Zorro himself would be proud of such a mark...,

Wild-Yeast   

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

On one hand nasty and on the other hand may be blister causing.  

(by the way... Syd's photo posted on the front page is full of these blisters that we're talking about.)