The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Long Ferment of a yeast bread.

Empire's Chef Chris's picture
Empire's Chef Chris

Long Ferment of a yeast bread.

Ive been playing around with my yeast breads trying to get a long fermentation out of them like I would my sourdough. I've tried keeping the whole process cold from start to finish, using 45F water to mix, letting the bread do its bulk ferment in the fridge then final fermentation after the loaves are formed in the fridge for up to 18 hours. I have had moderate success so far, got a nice flavor, pretty crumb and a thin but still very crusty crust (would like it to be a little thicker of a crust) but the bread just isnt pretty looking at all. Wanted to see if anyone else has tried this and if so with what results? If you've had success tips would be greatly appreciated. Am I just asking to much from my yeast breads?

netfan's picture
netfan

What yeast are you using?  Fresh yeast has allowed me to experiment successfully in the way you are describing, but not dried...

Empire's Chef Chris's picture
Empire's Chef Chris

i am using active dry yeast. I will give fresh yeast a try too thank you. Whats the longest successful ferment you have gotten this way?

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I make a bread regularly (at least 10 loaves every week) that is made with a poolish. For each loaf there is about 1/8 tsp of ADY in the poolish, then another 1/8 tsp in the final dough. I bulk ferment the dough for a couple of hours at room temperature, then divide the mass into two batches, one six loaves, the other four. The smaller batch of dough goes into the fridge overnight for a bulk ferment. The larger batch gets scaled, shaped, and then put into the fridge for a retarded final proof. In the morning I bake the six loves straight out of the fridge (they will be beautifully risen by then), and the four loaves get shaped and proof at room temperature for a couple of hours. Generally the loaves that were proofed (shaped) in the fridge are a little more risen than the loaves that were shaped and proofed at room temperature, but both turn out beautifully. Maybe it's the poolish that makes the difference?

tomP528's picture
tomP528

Much delayed response here, but I find that 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of instant yeast acts about the same as 3 - 4oz of my regular starter.  I usually go for a 12 - 14 hour fermentation at kitchen temperature, and that amount of yeast is just right.  The only thing is the yeasted dough ends up with less flavor.   The crust might also be a little different and have a different color.

I found I could partially compensate for the loss of flavor by collecting liquid from yogurt (draining it through cheesecloth).  One tablespoon of the liquid brought back part of the flavor that was missing.  Makes sense - it would contain lactic acid bacteria and breakdown products.  The only thing missing would be the acetic acid component.

Here is a way to understand the performance of the different amounts.  Comparing 1/4 tsp of yeast to 2 tsp (a whole package), the package has 8 times as much yeast.  If you use 1/4 teaspoon, then, it has to grow through 8 generations before it has the same amount.  How long does one growth generation take?  I don't know for sure, but I've seen numbers like 1 1/2 hours. Eight generations at 1 1/2 hours would be 12 hours.  That matches up pretty well with my experience.  So in a very rough way, it's not hard to get a handle on what might be going on.

Jay Keith's picture
Jay Keith

Temperature will be a major variable here, of course.

tomP528's picture
tomP528

Oops, I said that 8 times would be eight generations.  It would really be three (that is, 2^3 = 8) generations.  I don't exactly know what a typical generation time would be.  I did a quick search on the web and found that number of 1 1/2 hours, but we know that it will depend on temperature, yeast organism, flour characteristics, salt amount, and who knows what else.  So without more technical knowledge, we can only get a rough idea.

I do know that the 1/4 - 1/2 tsp amount does behave very closely like 3 - 4 oz of my normal starter (which is 100% hydration) - that's in terms of how long I ferment it and how much it expands before moving on the forming the loaves.  And your starter will probably be different, but it should be in the ball park.  By the end of a 12 - 14 hour fermentation, I haven't noticed much difference in the handling characteristics of the dough, between the sourdough and the yeasted versions.  Of course, near the end the dough will be rising much faster than earlier in the bulk ferment cycle.

BTW,  for these experiments, I did minimal mixing and kneading.  Just time and about 4 stretch-and-fold sessions did all the work for me.