The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How long does it take for complete fermentation?

hamletcat's picture

How long does it take for complete fermentation?

How long does it take for the yeast to break down all the starch in the flour?  I am just curious because I am trying to let my bread ferment as long as possible before the gluten starts breaking down.  I want to reduce the carbohydrate impact as much as possible.  

WoodenSpoon's picture

It all depends on your yeast to flour ratio, that and the temperature you are fermenting at. Also if you are using a levain it depends upon the strength of your starter. I don't think you will find one answer because changing one variable will change everything else.

dabrownman's picture

are you looking to mediate - for GI, diabetes, losing weight, reducing sugars?

hamletcat's picture

I just need to have a rough idea of how long it would take.  I don't necessarily need to reduce the carbohydrate to 0g.  In my case I just need to increase the protein to carb ratio so that I can eat white bread more often.  

suave's picture

Yeast does not break all the starch in the flour - you need to use up only ~1% of sugars to raise the dough. 

Xenophon's picture

It depends on ingredients, hydration, temperature, yeast concentration etc.  And if you want something edible you don't want full fermentation (which is impossible anyway). 

Bread = carbs and whatever you do, you won't be able to magically make them go away, certainly not if you want to eat white bread. Even significantly (beyond a couple of %, all other things being equal) reducing them will not be possible.  

There are a couple of so-called low carb breads but to be honest, either they're not VERY different from the regular stuff, considered by mass, or they're something I wouldn't feed to a starving chicken.

As my bakery teacher once said (about calories, not carbs specifically): 'In pastry, don't start tinkering with recipes in order to make stuff leaner because usually the resulting quality loss will surpass the caloric loss, just eat a smaller slice'.

I don't eat many carbs myself, mainly bake for my wife and friends/colleagues.  That simply involves eating less bread and starches and more protein (seitan, tempeh, lean meats...).

isand66's picture

Rather than worrying about your carbs you would be better off working on a nice multi-grain bread using a combination of white flour along with whole wheat, rye, spelt etc.  It's been proven that eating more whole grains is healthy for you and as long as you don't eat the whole loaf in one sitting you won't die :).  Trust me that in a short amount of time you will become hooked on adding some whole grain flour in your breads and have trouble eating just a plain white bread and I don't mean that artifical crap they sell in the supermarket that passes for whole grain bread.

Heath's picture

The smaller the amount of yeast you use, the longer fermentation will take.  Also, you can retard the dough in the fridge so that it takes longer to ferment.  Both these methods are often used to make a tastier loaf.  As others have said, it's not possible to give a simple answer as so many factors are involved, but you can make fermentation last a long time by changing several variables.

The healthiest loaf you can make is sourdough - you'll find plenty of information about that on this site.  Here's a scientific study that found white sourdough "had the most positive health effects when it comes to carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar and insulin levels" compared to several different breads made from commercial yeast.  I think that fits the definition of what you're seeking.  Here's a good post on a method to create a sourdough starter that has been used successfully by many TFL members, including myself.