The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Long retard after bulk

jackdoor's picture

Long retard after bulk



I help run a small community bakery in the UK and although neither of us are professionally trained we have been producing good quality, consistant bread for a little over 12 months now. My main issue is that as we aren't a big profit making bakery we need to try and maximise our time and oven space to allow us to grow and supply our ever increasing customer base.


I currently bulk retard our sourdoughs and baguettes for 24-48 hours before shaping and find this works really well, however i am having trouble translating this to our standard white/wholemeal/malted mixes and find they do very little after retarding. I'm unsure if this is because my mix ratios are off (60% hydration, 1% instant yeast, 2.5% salt - bulk prove for 2 hours with folds every 30mins) or the dough is over proving in the retarder or something else i'm not factoring in. It's quite difficult getting around these issues without formal training/education so any light you could shed on this would be really helpful.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

(as a title, might get you more help.)  I'm hoping this subject title will draw attention to your problems.  

Off hand I would say that adding whole meal flour will speed up fermentation as well as malt and that you are most likely proving too long.  


yozzause's picture


not quite sure of the process

Is the dough going into the retarder straight after the mixing if so for how long?

 then you say bulk ferment for 2 hours with folds every 30 minutes.

the salt is probably a little high, 2% being the norm.

kind regards Yozza

henryruczynski's picture


If your main issue is maximizing time and oven space, perhaps you should use other methods of fermentation for the remainder of your product.

Cold bulk fermented dough is harder to shape (gluten has tightened up)

and they’ve lost alcohol and CO2 that has dissipated in the cool environment.

(smaller volume)

You’re happy with the way your SD and baguette bulk loaves are turning out,

so that’s good but if you have the fridge space, it might make sense to mix, ferment-

then shape and retard some of the other loaves. (That’s how I make my multi grain loaves – next day, pretty much straight into the oven)

Now, you can be baking the next day while shaping the bulk SD and baguette.

You might also want to consider making some of your product as straight dough but adding preferment’s such as:

- overnight poolish

and / or

- pate ferment.

You can then have all kinds of things going on; baking loaves while shaping others and mixing the rest.

This would maximize production and make your baking life a little easier.




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