Does anyone have experience or knowledge of retarding dough at temperatures other than just putting it in the refrigerator?
I have used a dedicated refrigerator that was set to about 45-48F as well as our regular refrigerator set lower. The only real difference was the final proofing time was maybe a bit longer on the cooler loaves. I've also just final proofed on the counter at room temperatures. The main difference there was the amount and size of the blisters on the crust. Colder temps tend to promote more blisters as well as a slightly stronger sour flavor.
I retarded two loaves from the same batch of dough this week, one in the fridge at 4c, one in the garage at around 10c, the one in the garage was a much nicer loaf, with more spring and bigger holes in the crumb. I need to repeat the experiment to see if it was just fluke or not.
I have retarded loaves on my porch in winter, and In my pantry in winter where temperatures were just colder and cold.
I thought the bread came out great.
for retarding all the time. I bought it at Costco on sale for under $200, just for bread. It does have a bottle of wine in it now and then as well though. I usually set it for about 52F for most things, and I like the results. For that "warm" a retarding temperature I don't give the loaves much bench time before they go into the cooler. I find that if the yeast gets very active it tends to "run away" from me at that "warm" a temperature. I use 52F because it suits my timing, but cooler for longer or warmer for shorter times work too when I need them. I like the separate unit for the set-able thermostat, so when I need to change it I can without impacting stored food in the "real" fridgie.
that is truely genius. Thanks
I've been experimenting with retarding loaves on my rooftop in San Francisco. Temperatures have ranged from 45F to 58F. I've had really great results. Like everything in bread baking you need to learn to adjust. If the temperature is higher than you probably need to start your retarding with a less active dough or simply retard for less time.
I've found the rooftop to be quite different from retarding in my fridge where temperatures seem to be around 38-40F. I find at these temperatures the bread doesn't really proof much at all even when in for 12+ hours. I adapt to this by not starting fridge retarding until my loaves are almost fully proofed.
Let me know if you have any further questions and I'll be glad to help where I can!
Thanks to all of you. Learning to retard at different temperatures looks like a lot of experimenting and data collection is what is necessary until some bread guru publishes a study.
It's interesting the different ways we have gone about getting the temperatures. I had bought a used fridge and an external thermostat that home brewers use. I got to use for making sourkraut where different temps are best at various stages. I also figured I could set it for my beer and wine at times. I did use my basement for slower fermentation when the dough was doubling way before the 12 to 16 hours often called for in the preferment. One trouble I have is trying to fit these stages in and still get decent sleep.
Thanks again Herb