The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Bread - Can I proof and then retard

mitchjayg's picture

Sourdough Bread - Can I proof and then retard

Although I have been lurking here for a year, this is my first post. Let me start out by saying how terrific this site is and how much I have learned.  Thanks so much (and I bought Floyd's book - terrific!).

I have been baking sourdough breads, with my own starter, for about a year.  My usual process, from Emmanuel Hadjiandreou "How to Bake Bread" (wonderful, btw) is to stretch and fold every 10 minutes for about an hour, ferment for an hour, shape, proof for 4 hours, then bake.

I want to be able to bake first thing in the morning with minimal delay.  Can I proof for 4 hours, retard overnight and then bake?  the other day,  I proofed for an hour and then put it in the fridge.  In the morning, there looked like there was no rise.  So, I let it proof for 4 hours and then baked.  Came out great but it took longer than I wanted.

So, I think I can:

 - proof for 4 hours, retard overnight, then bake or

- not proof at room temperature, but retard for 24 hours and then bake? or

- ?

Thanks very much in advance.

- Mitch

dylemma's picture

For me, I use 20-25% levain with a dough temperature of 80 degreee F.  Stretch and fold every half hour for the first 2 hours, then leave alone for one hour.   Shape and bench proof for 1.5 -2 hours.   Then into the refridgerator for 16-18 hours retard.  It doesn't increase as much from the retard because of the cold compresses the gas, but it catches up during the oven spring.      


simon3030's picture

thats exactly what i do, i keep my starter in the fridge, and build it twice over a couple of days. i make the dough on thursday evening, with stretch and folds over 4 hours, and then shape, put into banettons, and pop in the fridge, in a plastic bag overnight. i take the shaped loaves out of the fridge,  preheat oven with bake stone for an hour from around 07.00, and then bake at around 08.15. temp 240c, for 10 minutes, around 35 minutes at 200c, they come out really well


dabrownman's picture

is different.  Some rise beautifully in the fridge and others do nothing,  If yours do nothing in teh fridge and they proof in 4 hours on the counter, you can always retard them after proofing 3 hours on the counter and they should be fine in the morning to bake off.  They will warm up for a little while your oven heats up to baking temperature.  A little trial and error experimenting on your part will quickly tell you how long to bench proof before retarding to cut down the time in the morning before baking.

jackie9999's picture

I rarely proof on the counter any more. I get the loaf ready, put in a large zip lock bag and put in the fridge. The next day (24+ hours) I preheat oven and bake. Some loaves 'bloom' more than others, I suppose the variations in the proof time, but none are ever wasted :)