The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rising challenges

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108 breads

Rising challenges

Ever since I started using my starters and making sponges or levain builds, basically multi-stage dough development, my breads have taken a turn for the worse. I think some of what is happening is that I leave them out overnight and they over rise.

Three questions:

1. At what level of puffiness of the risen dough after the first rise do I know that it is time for the next stage? Photos are welcome. Specifically, if the dough has become risen and then become flat on top, should I cut my losses and start over?

2. If I make a sponge or levain build or some other preliminary dough, does that mean a shorter time for the first rise once the dough is all mixed together?

3. At what stages can I use the refrigerator to do a slow rise or prolong a dough's life? Are there rules of thumb to know?

Feel free to say whether this should be three separate freshloaf inquiries. Thank you.