The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Some help with Bulk fermentation

oo7wazzy's picture

Some help with Bulk fermentation

Hi Everyone

I need some advice on fermentation. I have been making ciabatta for a while now and feel like its coming out quite well but I want to ask a few questions on how to manipulate this process.

My recipe is as follows :


20 loaves ciabatta

flour - 5000g

water - 4500g 90% hydration

salt - 100g - 2 %

instant yeast - 20g - 1%

mix all the ingredients expect the salt. 

autolyse for 45mins then add salt.

turn and fold every 30mins x 4

pop in the fridge overnight for 8 hours.

take out the fridge and divide. Leave to rise whilst the oven gets hot ( 30mins )

bake at 260C for 10mins, 220C for 15mins

The result is a golden brown crisp crust and a moist airy crumb. 

Recently I baked during the day and mixed the same recipe but for only 6 loaves. I let it ferment for 4 hours at room temp, then divided and baked. The result was a slightly less golden crust but a very light and drier crumb. Also, when I divided the dough, it felt beautiful and light, like a cloud or pillow. Alot of trapped air in the dough. Compared to the dough that is left overnight which is also airy, but does not feel as light and sticks alot more when I divide it.

What I want to know, is how I can achieve the feel of the room temp fermented dough but with an overnight proof in the fridge ? 

If the crumb is cooked but still moist inside, does it mean that it hasn't proofed enough, or does it mean the opposite ? that it has over proofed ?

Thanks for the help.




tgrayson's picture

Not really an answer, but that seems like a lot of dough to put in the refrigerator and expect it to cool down rapidly. Could it be overproofing? When I put a bunch of dough in the refrigerator, I often have to punch it down once or twice before it cools down.

oo7wazzy's picture


I'm not wanting the dough to cool down, but actually the opposite. I want to know if i can achieve the light airy feel that the room temp dough has, but with the dough that has been fermenting in the fridge. The fridge dough is obviously going to be cold, but can it also be super light  ? Mine is full of air, like it should be , but it feels tacky. Thats why i was wondering if it had over proofed. Does the tacky feel indicate that there is no more protein for the yeast to feed on ? should i try putting in less yeast for such a long fermentation period ? It is roughly 10hours.


tgrayson's picture

I don't understand what you're saying. When you put the dough into the fridge, you clearly do want the dough to cool down because you just put it into a cold place. If it doesn't cool down fast enough, it will overproof.

oo7wazzy's picture



Sorry , yes , I do want to the dough to cool down so it can ferment over a longer period of time. Im just wanting to know if it is possible for the texture of the the cold dough, thats been fermenting in the fridge for the longer time,  to ever feel the same as the room temp fermented dough. i was wondering why the finished loaves were different, the one had a dryer crumb and the other a more moist crumb, same cooking time and temp.

LevaiNation's picture

Yep. I do that too. With 4kilo batches. I retard it a little earlier that normal and give it one or two folds during the cooling period to help lower the inside temp.