The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rose Levy Beranbaum's bread bible process

CountryBoy's picture

Rose Levy Beranbaum's bread bible process

Is anyone out there familiar with Rose Levy Beranbaum's bread bible process sufficient to make suggested improvements? Specifically, I have four loaves of her Basic Soft White Sandwich Loaf(p.244) in the oven as I write.  They have turned out truly wonderfully, but I have a major problem with the process.  According to the recipe, I need to:

  1. Make the starter and then put it in the fridge
  2. Next day mix the starter with the flour mix and allow to sit '1-4 hours.'
  3. Autolyze
  4. Knead dough and proof 1-2 hours
  5. Fold dough and proof 1-2 hours
  6. Shape the dough and put in the fridge overnight.
  7. Next morning it is necessary to take out and fold once again since it has risen in the fridge.

Now I want as good a tasting loaf of artisan bread as the next person, but this process seems to me to be a rather long one.  Is there anyway to abbreviate the process with out sacrificing taste?  All suggestions appreciated.

JIP's picture

The whole point of the long process is to develop the flavor of your bread.  I am sure there are a ton of "basic white bread" recipes out there that are faster and easier to make but I am also sure they will not have as nice a flavor as this one (keeping in mind I have never made this one but I have made the baguette).

L_M's picture

Hi CountryBoy,

I have made many recipes from her book and found most of them to be excellent. The  instructions are usually very accurate so if you follow them closely it's hard to go wrong, but usually there are options. I haven't made that specific recipe but usually the first 2 steps you have listed are combined so you can leave it out for and hour or so and then put it in the fridge overnight, and the next day you just mix and continue with your step 3. After going over the recipe, I didn't find any mention of the overnight rise in the fridge - it goes : shape, proof, oven.

In any case, since there are extra ingredients I think you could even get away without the first night in the fridge as far as flavour goes, but for keeping the bread fresh longer I find the stretched out fermentation helps.

She includes so many details, that there is no doubt this book helps me the most to get the "feel" of the dough. 


CountryBoy's picture

 The fridge in steps 1 and 6, as she clearly suggested in the book.

You are right I did not put in but just presumed people would know....

After taking out of the fridge - it goes : shape, proof, oven

I just can not help thinking that there is a wiser and better way to do it.

 And so it goes.....