The Fresh Loaf

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How long for bulk ferment

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

How long for bulk ferment

I'm following this recipe here as a way to encourage more tang http://brodandtaylor.com/make-sourdough-more-or-less-sour-part-2/

I've converted my mother culture and I'm going to build the Levain soon. 

Would like to know if I can do an all night bulk ferment for this recipe. The dough is meant to triple. I don't wish to retard at any point. Schedule is tight and retarding will actually make me run out of time. I'm only left with bulk ferment through the night. 

Any ideas? 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

TFL went haywire in me and now a double post

Maverick's picture
Maverick

That sounds like a long bulk ferment. I don't know if you will have any structure left. Of course, I don't know what temperature you are looking for. For time constraints, I would say that retarding the shaped dough (after letting it proof for an hour) and then baking straight from the oven is the best bet. I always get more tang after retarding.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

No way could I have bulk fermented thus overnight. Don't know what I was thinking. Normally I'd see this in a recipe but because it was laid out differently I didn't see it straight away. When making the Levain, seeing the proportion and how quickly the Levain matured I knew an overnight bulk ferment was out of the question. Results below. Taste report later or tomorrow. 

Thank you Maverick.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

With those temps you should be able to make the dough  in about 8 hrs from making the levain.  Don't forget to use warm water.  Take notes on how long it takes to peak because the final rise (sorry, edit:)  BULK rise will take less time.. note: 36% pre-fermented flour

I added up the levain...  255g    And the Main dough is 550g   ( 255 : 243 : 307)  (s:w:f)   (1.05 : 1: 1.26)  

Don't forget to add salt.

That would be a ratio of almost ones across the board so you won't be bulking all night.  My guess would be tripled under 4 hrs.  (Including the final rise)  using their temps.  You might get in bed on time if you were in the "states."   Got a timer on the oven?  I agree that retarding will bring out more sour.  But you will have to retard it almost immediately after mixing.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

My day has slightly rearranged itself. I was concerned about waking up to soup. However I can finish the bulk ferment before bedtime now according to Mini's calculations. It'll now be shaped and retarded overnight to bake in the morning. 

This is my experiment bread for more tang. Now i can fit in a retard without taking a chance on the bulk ferment. Looking forward to see what this brings.  

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Mini, would you be so kind as to detail your process for the calculations above? I am not questioning the data but I would like to learn how you determined the numbers and the resulting times.

Jim

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm off to bed to get my beauty sleep.  And at my tender young age, I need all the help I can get!  

I read the Link and printed out the tables.  That gave me a work sheet to add up and notice things like  1:5 ratio of seed to flour ...and make some quick calculations.  

If you've ever fed a starter 1:5 and let it peak, you will know about how long it takes at a certain temp.  I don't think it will take 8 hours at 28°C but it's a safe guesstimate including the one hour after peaking.  The levain is the same.   The ratios calculation for the Main Dough is easy,  list the amount in grams (s:w:f)  then reduce each amount using the smallest number... in this case 243g ... I divided 255 by 243      243 /243 = 1    and  255 by 243.   

Other things come into play... like playing with the mother starter .... will it baulk?  hydration... will it speed up or slow down the fermentation? ...  50%  interesting...  Is rye involved?  Whole flours?  Warmth?  How much warmth?  a lot. so ....And then ask, "What is slowing down fermentation?"   -nothing-  ...except perhaps hydration but it picks up with the main dough... is it enough to slow down the levain?  or the salt... where is the salt?  not on my printed out page...  Then I went back after all these thoughts and read the notes above and below the tables. 

Now I'm off to bed.  nighty night  :)

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Well, in my case "beauty sleep" isn't going to help this old dog very much...

As to the ratios, I get that part but it is the time/temperature calculations that peek my interest. In you writings you point to growth rates, hydration, condition of the flour; all stuff that will affect the outcome. I guess I was hoping for a magic guide that would show me a list of charts and graphs but alas, i don't think one exists. It basically comes down to experience and you are eminently more experienced that I.

As with most subjects that I have tackled over my life, the more I learn the more I learn how much I do not know.

Thanks.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

somewhere in the archives of what speeds up fermentation and what slows it down.  Predicting when the dough is through a particular stage has a lot to do with how many of these variables are present.    Just ask the search box... What slows down fermentation?  or What speeds up fermentation?  --- might find some studies listed there too  :)

Time is influenced by temperature, hydration, amount of critters, acid content, salt content, available food and type of food for the critters and inclusion of anti bacterial/fungal ingredients to make a few.  Time can also be influenced by manipulating the dough; moving the food toward the critters and the by-products away from them.  

Weather and moon phases are still up for discussion as to how much they influence the bread rise of a rough and shaggy baker.  :)

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Well my second Levain build grew before my eyes. Now this is interesting. My mother culture and this Levain was the same ratio build albeit the Levain was larger. I took some ripe mother culture off to build the Levain with and put it to one side. I then re-fed the mother culture and left it to grow by 1/4 before refrigerating. I decided to push ahead with the Levain build about an hour later taking minis advice that I'd make it in time. Same seed to fresh flour ratio as the mother culture just a larger amount. Now this one quickly caught up to the mother culture. Could it be the bigger the dough the higher the temperature all else being equal. Anyway, the Levain smelled really good and ripe. Hopefully a good sign.

The final dough was ready in about 2.5 hours. And in the fridge quite a bit before I'd anticipated. It proved perfectly in the fridge and I baked it straight away without bringing it to room temperature. Oven spring was great and smelled lovely baking. Now I'll have to leave it to wait to see if the tang experiment has worked.

Lovely crust and blisters. My photography, for want of a better word, does not do it justice at all.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've copied out the tables for future reference.  Might come in handy.  I didn't know that Brod & Taylor has so much info on their site.  Seems like only yesterday a few loafers were testing their handy proofer.  

I'm sure your crumb shots will be worthy of your loaf.  Take some more of the outside too.  Every so often I mess up my camera settings and have to check them.  Here comes the rain!  Have had two glorious days of sunshine!  

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

I have found a great way of getting steam into my oven. This is the best crust I've ever gotten on a bread.

The crumb is very nice indeed. Non of the usual gumminess whatsoever which crops up quite a lot. Perhaps because ive solved one problem it has helped with the other. It's not crusting over too quickly preventing oven spring. 

There is a slight but discernable improvement in the flavour of the crumb. Perhaps it'll become more apparent as it matures and maybe since I've only just converted my starter it needs time. But definitely a step in the right direction. 

The taste in the crust is amazing. The crust is the saviour of the whole bread. Very flavoursome. 

So all in all a good improvement. 

P.s. the flavour is developing. Nice tang coming through.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

compare to what you were doing previously?  Do you know what is different, in general terms?  

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

1. Lower hydration mother culture and levain.

2. Fermenting them till they're really ripe. That's the one hour over after peaking. Also the tripling of the dough.

3. Including wholegrains in all builds.

4. More levain at lower hydration for more tang.

5. Salt plays a part in this but i'm not entirely sure why. I believe salt is important but can limit the tang. So even though they didn't specify how much salt in the recipe I did the lowest acceptable amount.

6. Warm and wet for bacterial fermentation. But here's where I have a question. If warm and wet is good for bacteria (the tang) then why a lower hydration mother and levain, and why does retarding in the fridge gain more flavour?

 

Am I on the right lines?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

From what I understand...  higher temps encourage Lactic acid bacteria to make the milder sour... as the temperature drops as in retardation, Lactic acid productions decreases as acetic acid increases.  That taste is more prominent.  So the dough and resulting bread has more tang.

Lowering hydration slows yeast while the bacteria are not slowed with lower hydration.  More bacteria, more sour.

Bacteria do not always stay the same in the culture, when enough food is added to the culture, bacteria rapidly increase at first, then yeast speed up and then if given the chance, bacteria increase again after the peaking of yeast activity.  This increase is the self preservation action of the bacteria, protecting itself and the yeast and is essential for the health of the starter culture.  letting the mother starter culture mature now and again instead of feeding at peak and chilling will encourage more self protecting lactic acid bacteria.

Salt affects bacteria more than the yeast so that if acid production is encouraged or discouraged before adding salt, the resulting dough will be more or less sour. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

and with that wealth of information you have actually answered another question linked to my future maintenance of the mother culture.

When I feed the mother culture I build up enough to take some and use in the levain. Then I feed the mother culture again to replace what i've taken , allow it to bubble by /14 then return it to the fridge till the next time.

My other issue was that when it comes to bake again I would need to take the mother out of the fridge, discard some, feed it again, allow it to mature, take some off to build the levain then feed the mother before refrigerating.

I don't like this method because of some discard which I don't wish to do. But bringing the mother culture to maturity i'm scared it won't last too long between feeds. So I feed it again before refrigerating.

(hope this isn't too complicated)

From what you tell me...

letting the mother starter culture mature now and again instead of feeding at peak and chilling will encourage more self protecting lactic acid bacteria.

Once the mother culture has matured enough to build the levain with I can take some off then just return the rest to the fridge without re-feeding and it'll still last a week before I bake again where I can take it out, feed it again and allow it to mature etc. And again return it to the fridge for another week.

I won't be killing off my mother culture and it will benefit from this encouraging more tang.

Have I understood this correctly? My mother culture is 50% hydration, 80% bread flour and 20% whole rye.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Once the mother culture has matured enough to build the levain,take some off then feed it enough for several dips for the next few weeks.  Let it rise about one forth or one third and pop it into the refrigerator.  

Remove just enough the following week to inoculate a levain and immediately return the rest to the fridge without re-feeding and it'll still last a week or more before baking again.  

When the mother starter is too small or you feel the power of the starter is declining,  take it out, give it a small feeding (or make a levain) and allow it to mature and wait a little bit,  Then give it (or the remaining) a larger feed, enough for several inoculations.   Let it rise a third and return it to the fridge for another week or month.

If you decide after a feeding to use before the first week, take out the amount needed and let it rise and mature before  building or using as an inoculation   The mother culture remains in the refrigerator.

There is very little discard using this method.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

I like this method. It's simple and easy to manage.

Thank you Mini.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

glad you like it.  

I usually put a sticker on my sour dough jar lid when I last fed it and what flour is inside.