The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Best Point to Retard?

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Best Point to Retard?

Hi all,

When is the best point to retard a dough prep / ferment process in order to stretch the process over 3 days?

If we accept that the regular stages are (Day 1: Night before) PREP LEVAIN/STARTER 12-16HRS>(Day 2:) MIX>BULK FERMENT (with STRETCH & FOLDS)>DIVIDE>REST>SHAPE>FINAL PROOF>BAKE, where is the best point to intervene and place dough in fridge in order to continue the following day, i.e. bake on Day 3? I am inclined, IMHO, to break the process in the final proof stage but when? At the start of the final proof? In the middle and continue the next day? And would the retarding work equally well for both levain bread and sour dough bread? Please help :(

Paul

 

G-man's picture
G-man

I really love this question because I don't think the answer is concrete at all. I think the answer is based a lot on our own personal preferences and expectations. What do you want out of your bread? What IS the ideal bread?

I am inclined to say that any stage is really appropriate. Once water meets flour, you're getting SOME enzymatic action. The simple fact is that water facilitates chemical reactions.

I think the more appropriate statement is a very unfortunate one. That is to say, it really depends on what you're going for.

Look through these forums. What influences the flavor of your final product? Reduce your ingredients to five things: Flour, water, salt, yeast, and time. Which one influences every other ingredient differently at any given stage? Time.

Time decides the type of bread you're making. When I make pizza dough, I retard during the final rise before shaping. When I make French bread, I retard after shaping and before baking. When I make sourdough I retard during the bulk ferment. The point in time at which I put the dough in the fridge depends entirely on the type of bread I am making. When you retard, 3 days is a fine amount of time no matter what stage you're at. I'd retard for up to 5 days no matter what stage, personally, and be perfectly happy.

I guess this doesn't answer the original question. I'd love to see a definitive answer, but I'm not sure there is one. 

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Thanks g-man!

I am planning baguette production (Hamelman recipe - with a poolish) for market day production) and various sizes of sourdough bread -500g/1.5kg/2kg loaves (also Hamelman - Vermont sourdough recipe). Obviously it's too long a process for 1 day but I also want great flavour development and therefore the taste profile is very important. For both of these breads - retarding at the final proof stage would be the best? A question, not a suggestion?

Thanks

 

Paul

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

After bulk ferment - before final proof.  The dough needs to have an established sourdough colony in order to derive the benefit from retarding the dough.  

Wild-Yeast

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Thanks Wild-Yeast.

And I presume that is (the retardation) after the bulk ferment but before the weigh and divide and the subsequent final proof. i.e. Take dough out of fridge after the retardation, divide, rest, shape and then the final proof. Applies to all types of dough and products (e.g. baguttes with a poolish as well as sour dough bread?)

Paul

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Paul,

There's no real hard and fast rules that I know of.  Retarding under high humidity refrigeration [~38-45 dF] for at least 12 hours is the only rule of retarding.  I retard in plastic bag covered bannetons for 12+ hours at 38 dF - the time varies depending on schedule.

While on the subject - I have been experimenting with ways to further improve the taste attributes of the finished bread. I've found that allowing the dough to settle to room temperature for 6-8 hours after the retard has a definite effect. A pronounced butter flasvor - sort of a cross between sourdough and pastry [taste test subjects find it difficult to stop eating the resulting product]. I'm also using a higher hydration level than usual in an effort to obtain a more open crumb structure though it results in flatter loaves.  I intend to see if it's possible obtain the same flavor profile with lower hydration levels to improve the "eye feast - oven spring" on the next build. Hopefully the improved taste profile / "eye feast" are not mutually exclusive..., 

"Pain au levain est un enfant terrible...,"

Wild-Yeast 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/26124/sweet-doughs-falling-after-overnight-refrigeration#comment-194589

That's how I decide when to put a dough in the retarder.

Works well for me.

-

For this:

And would the retarding work equally well for both levain bread and sour dough bread?

Levain is sourdough, so not sure what you mean.

If you mean leavened (with commercial yeast) vs. leavened (with sourdough/levain/wild yeast/+20 other names for the same thing), yes, retardation works equally well if and only if you understand the dynamics, that sourdough works more slowly (or commercial yeast works more quickly).

Follow my formula above and you should be OK for most breads.

For example, say we make BREAD X with commercial yeast and BREAD Y with sourdough. All things else being equal, the formula would say something like "Proof BREAD X for 60 minutes before baking" and "Proof BREAD Y for 120 minutes before baking". You won't be baking today, but retarding, so use those proofing times to guide you.

You know/anticipate that a loaf of this size takes 60 minutes to reach 41 F in your retarder/refrigerator, so BREAD X goes in the retarder immediately after shaping (60 - 60 = 0 minutes proofing) and BREAD Y goes in the retarder 60 minutes after shaping (120 - 60 = 60 minutes proofing).

Eyes crossed yet?

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

There's no easy formula due to the "everything counts" rule for sourdough - one of the major reasons for the use of commercial yeast. Using small "innoculations" of commercial yeast with or without sourdough starter "accelerates" dough development [still slow though]. Longer proofing periods including retards create a definite taste enhanced finished product.  

Usual routine for pan au levain:

  • 45 minute hydration rest
  • Salt addition
  • 3 - 45 minute stretch and fold periods
  • 2-3 hour elevated temperature ferment
  • 12-24 hour retard
  • 4-6 hour post retard temperature normalization/proof
  • Bake

Wild-Yeast

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

I Like to retard my dough after i shape it.  It is simply what i think works best in a production setting.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Good point. I left out that important step. Entry above should have read:

Usual routine for pan au levain:

  • 45 minute hydration rest
  • Salt addition
  • 3 - 45 minute stretch and fold periods
  • 2-3 hour elevated temperature ferment
  • Shape loaves
  • 12-24 hour retard
  • 4-6 hour post retard temperature normalization/proof
  • Bake

Wild-Yeast

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Hi thanks for all the detail provided. Much appreciated.

Just to clarify- After the salt addition, it's a 2hr 15min period wherein 3 actions of S & F are performed. (is this the correct interpretation of "3 - 45 minute stretch and fold periods". i.e. 3x45 min = 2hr 15min.?

Suggested temp for " 2-3 hour elevated temperature ferment" ?

Paul

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

WY

Do you do this with doughs made out of whole grains or only doughs made with 'store bought' flours?

I ask because I use freshly milled whole grains in my loaves and I know if I tried to shape a loaf prior to retarding I would get a loaf with a huge pocket of air beneath the crust by the end of the retarding time and then, while warming up it would rise more and then collapse while baking....I would also imagine that the long warming up phase after the retarding time would result in a more sour flavor in the dough if sd was the leavening agent used and that I would run the risk of over fermenting due to all the extra enzymes in whole grain doughs.  Therefore, I am curious if you have done this with whole grains.

Janet

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Paul,

Yes, that's correct, 3 periods of 45 minutes with stretch and folds between = 2 hrs. 15 mins.

Elevated temperature ferment has been 95 dF. I'm going to increase this to 105 dF in the next batch in an attempt to match the Larraburu process - have no idea what the post retard normalization period will be.  Have to play it by observation.

Hi Janet,

It's Central Milling's Organic High Protein Flour - contains diastatic malt. It's a high extraction flour and yields a slightly off withe crumb. I haven't tried using freshly milled whole wheat - moderating the amount of starter will stretch-out the process so that levaining of the bread meshes with the approximate schedule. As always "everything counts" in sourdough so formulaic tweaks can be worked out to improve the resulting bread adapted to the bakers schedule...,

Wild-Yeast 

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Thanks WY.

I'll try the elevated temp of 95 F. This converts to 34 C, which is much higher than my normal 25 C. (approx 80 F). Will post the results and include pics of the experiment.

 

Paul

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

WY,

Thanks for responding to my question about flour.  As you say, everything counts with sourdough!  It presents it's challenges which, I  think, is why I choose to use it as opposed to IY as a leavening agent in my breads :-)

Janet

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi, in my experience the only doughs that benefits from retarding are sweet doughs rich of sugar and fat: when baked after an initial doubling, 12 hours of retarding and the final proof they come out incredibly soft, much softer than when baked after two simple rises without fridge.

Whenever I retard white breads or pizza doughs (generally done with average strength flours, but even when prepared with bread flour) they come out gummy and not mature, impossible to spread, as if the cold didn't permit the dough to ripen, as if there was no enzymatic activity whatsoever. The temperature of the fridge in that sector is 8°C, measured with two different thermometers.

I'm beginning to  wonder if there's any meaningful enzymatic activity that 8°.