The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bulk Fermentation and Proofing times

SeattleStarter's picture
SeattleStarter

Bulk Fermentation and Proofing times

Hi. I'm making FWSY's pain de campagne, but I expect my question is general enough to apply to most recipes.

I was on a schedule yesterday and had to cut the bulk fermentation a little short. [Question 1] In general, if you have less bulk fermentation time, does that mean you can add some time on to proofing?

After dividing and shaping, the loaves went into the fridge for 14 hours. I just did a proof test and they seem pretty resilient, i.e. the dough feels pretty springy. Link to video of proof test

[Question 2] In this situation, do you think it would be a good idea to do some room temperature proofing before they go in the oven?

Thanks for anything you care to offer.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I can't answer as to FWSY,  I checked out the book from the library, but didn't like it enough to buy it.   I am not the expert, but pretty sure that bulk ferment is independent of final proofing.  Meaning if it takes a loaf 4 hour to bulk ferment, and 1 hour to final proof, you can't switch it to 3 hours bulk, and 2 hours final proof .  Note that when you shape it, you are redistributing the yeast so that can find more food, so if 1 hour at a particular temp would be enough for final proof, you need to stay close to that, and not add too much extra time due to a shorter bulk ferment.

As to question 2, you can basically ignore my answer to question 1.  In general, you final proof until is about 80 to 90% risen, then you put it in the oven, and you will get good oven spring.  If you wait till it is 100% risen, it will start to collapse when you put it in the oven.  If you put it in when it is 50% risen, then you may get some blowouts, and won't get ideal height of the bread.  Note that the percentages are not based on increase in volume, instead they are % that the bread will rise in total.  So if based on your recipe, the dough is supposed to triple in size, final proof would be done when it is just short of tripling. 

The reason you can ignore my answer to question 1, is that bulk ferment and final proof are not time based, the time is a general guideline, but the mantra here is to watch the dough not the clock.  The temperature of the room, the temperature of the dough, the strength of the yeast , the hydration of the recipe, and other factors will impact how quickly a bread will finish bulk ferment or final proofing.   For bulk ferment, I like using a straight sided container, and then if the recipe says double in size , I can see that pretty easily.  Many here are fans of the poke test for final proof, though i use 100% whole wheat, and haven't been able to master that test.  Others say that if you make a particular recipe enough times, you will be able to see from the texture, shape and size of the dough when it is ready to go into the oven.

 

SeattleStarter's picture
SeattleStarter

Thank you. Great answers to my questions. Very appreciated.

Partly based on my feeling that they needed more proof time, and partly wanting to experiment, I let those two baskets go to room temperature and poof up a bit. When I transferred them to the dutch ovens for baking, they felt droopier than I had been expecting. (Of course, most of my limited experience is with cold from the fridge dough, so not sure how much that means.)

They still rose about as much as my loaves usually rise though. The larger one went in the round dutch oven, spread out a bit when placed, and never really rounded out. The smaller one had been one of my better shapes going into the proofing basket and did ok. [Both seem like they need more aggressive scoring to get the crunch ridges I like.]

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I would call that a success any day of the week. BTW,  cold dough does feel totally different than room temp.