The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Getting Bulk Fermentation Wrong

Got-to-Baguette-Up's picture

Getting Bulk Fermentation Wrong


Recently, it was suggested to me that the problem I am having proofing and scoring my baguettes and other loaves has more to do with the bulk fermentation going wrong, specifically, that I am over-fermenting the dough.  I work with dough that is about 73-80% hydration, and I was told that 'doubling' is not a good indicator of readiness, and I have observed that in my fermenting.  Its hard to tell when wet dough has doubled, as it is not structurally sound like lesser hydration dough.  

That being said, I have switched from bowls to tupperware that is more straight up and down so I can better see when the dough doubles.  Also, with commercial yeast breads, I wait until I can see a few big bubbles on the surface of the dough.  

Anyone have any tricks to tell when 75+% hydrated dough is perfectly fermented?

Thanks in advance!

Danni3ll3's picture

for fermentation and my breads are usually in the 75% hydration range. But what comes to mind for me is the flour. I use Canadian flour and I can get away with much higher hydration than with, let's say, European flour. My flour absorbs much more water and I still get a fairly firm dough.

Knowing what kind of flour you use might help us help you.