The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cold Fermenting and Flavor

DanAyo's picture

Cold Fermenting and Flavor

I am a big advocate of Bulk Retarding and Cold Proofing. But recently I have been working to improve my baking of the San Juan Sourdough Baguette. The timing in the baking instructions have me working at odd hours of the night. So, I want to extend the Retarded Cold Bulk Ferment time. In practice I found that if I Bulk Ferment (step5) for 4 hours, the dough will rise rapidly and quickly in the refrigerator. So I did 2 1/2 hours of S&F and then placed in the refrigerator. It didn't rise much during the time in the refrigerator.  I retarded for 2 days instead of the prescribed 18-24 hours. The dough rose and baked well.

Since I didn't Bulk Ferment the required 3-4 hours (sat out for only 2 1/2 hr and was S&F every 1/2 hour), does this affect the flavor of the bread? I'm thinking that the gasses that build during the original Bulk Ferment at room temperature will flavor the bread. And since I shortened the time and the dough didn't rise much, I may be losing flavor.

I did my best communicate this clearly. I hope I succeeded.



phaz's picture

How did it taste?

DanAyo's picture

It tasted OK, but I didn't have anything to compare it to. I am hoping that someone has experience with this. If not, I would have to make 2 batches. 1 with more time at room temperature fermentation and the other with less. 

The question I have, is the flavor enhanced more if the starter is more active when the dough is refrigerated to bulk ferment? Does flavor develop during refrigerated bulk fermentation when the starter is relatively inactive?

What is actually happening during cold retarded bulk fermentation to develop the flavor?

If the flavor is not diminished, then I can bulk retard the dough in order to extend the fermentation time. This will make the scheduling more flexible.