The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

retarded bulk ferment /proof temperature

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

retarded bulk ferment /proof temperature

I am reading Suas Advanced bread and pastry. The section on retardation.  Obviously this is aimed at the professional baker as he talks about type of mixing as intensive, or improved mix etc. he is mostly discussing yeasted breads and is suggesting 20 minute bulk ferment followed by long shaped final proof or long cold BF followed by ambient shape and proof. He has different scenarios. He talks about fermentation virtually stopping at 4°C and his long proofs are at 7-10°C.  I am generalising here and hope I am not missing he point.

A while back I discovered my fridge temperature was 8-9°C from memory so I turned down and now it runs about 4°c plus or minus a little. I used to notice that my dough fermented a bit for the first couple of hours then slowed down and sometimes the dough did over ferment.  Now with the fridge reading about 4°c I notice that I am getting very little rise during retardation.

Recent posts had suggested some bench proof before retardation and I have so far only let dough sit about 45 - 60 minutes before chickening out and popping it in the fridge.  My question is what degree of proof would be best before retarding for 10-12 hours? would longer bench proof contribute more to a more open crumb?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I am not authority on open crumb, but I thnk it is very important to ferment at ambient (warm) temps before chilling. At 3-4C the dough is not expected to rise, but things are happening. I think Debra said that heterofermative bacteria produce acetic acids and also CO2 gas. I wonder if that is affecting the cold retard. Maybe that’s all wrng, just throwing it out.

But if we don’t get the levain activated before the dough gets very cold, when will it activate? Especially since we bake straight out of the frig.

That was me thinking out loud. Hopefully others with knowledge will enlighten us.

Danny

Abe's picture
Abe

You'll have to find how long to leave it out at room temperature before refrigerating for your dough to be just perfect for popping straight into the oven.

I think you'll also have to take into account how adventurous you've been with the bulk ferment, flour used and levain percentage.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Consider running a test for yourself and also the rest of us. It could be similar to the Under/Over-Proof test that I am presently doing. We need this information, and we all took a vote and you won <LOL>

It’s a lot of work, but I know you are into experimentation. Doc.Dough has been very helpful in my latest endeavor. You might ask the “mad scientist” for some guidance.

What do you think?

Are you mad at me? ...hehehe

Danny

If you don’t choose to do it and no one else does, I may undertake the project.  ...BUT, I may lose my wife in the process :-))

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

and yes I will undertake this “assignment” - in next couple of weeks once I have caught up with stuff. It is early spring here, the daffodils  are going full noise in the garden! It was such a welcome home - lovely burst of sunshine everywhere. 

Still baking needs to happen too so I will think hard on how to do this and see what happens.

Leslie

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I set out to respond last night, but the gremlins got me so I went to bed! lol

I think it is all tied together so the BF and levain will be part of my experiment.

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Before you start the test, it might be nice to let us know your thoughts and consideration for how the procedures would be conducted. Maybe others might have suggest that would add value. I know on my test, I can use all the help I can get.

Kat, and a few of us others have dedicated retarders, but I think your 3-4C refrigerator would give the best results for the majority of bakers. So how do you propose to proceed? What are you considering as variables?

When you say the BF and the levain are tied together, I take that to mean that the percentage of levain will have a large affect on the fermentation.

I'm interested in your project...

Danny

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

what to do. will be open to suggestions on improving the plan. lol

The levain % and maturity will be a constant I think but I need to decide details.

watch this space.

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

thoughts about this book. The amazing Jorgen Carlsen in SF has a web site https://www.abreaducation.com/content/opencrumb  and raised my curiosity mentioning this book along side the famous BREAD by J. Hamelman.

With my wine proofer I can simulate the 7C to 10C long cold proof but I am also very worried about over-proofing and often find that considering the time it takes for a loaf to cool down (approx. 5 hours...) I am not sure how much longer it can be proofing exactly at 5C....I know there is a baker on IG with a wine cooler who lets his dough cool for as long at 12 hours at 5C. My doughs tend to be overproofed but maybe I've got that wrong!!!!

I know that temps in  my wine cooler are not 100% accurate but I might give it another go and just try to put my next Tartine Style Country in there at 7C and see what dough temp. I will have at the end of the cold proof....Last time I did it the dough temp was actually 4C and like Leslie said the dough had not risen very much apart from whatever happened during the 'cool down' period during first 5 hours or so...

I normally give 30 min bench for dough to relax before final shaping and this always seems to make a difference...also with the baguettes...

So the question is, like Leslie...how long bulk and rise there, how long to proof prior to going into 'cold' fridge where not much more 'yeast' growth is happening at 4C and then bake or...

how long to bulk and let rise there, and no proof apart from bench rest and directly to go into a 'warmer' cold retard let's say at 5C for 10 hours...

I think the amount of rise during bulk plays a big role here too....just my 2 pennies.... Kat..

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I will try and structure something - watch this space - it had been concerning me and when I look way back at early photos I did get some great results. I used to BF always till double, dough was almost alway difficult to shape so I can now look back and see progress. SLAFs have given me better dough strength (Suas explains this well) Trevor has shown us we can get great bread with a lesser amount of BF provided dough is doin the right thing so now I can look at the BF temperature and retardation.  wish me luck!

Suas book is interesting, and I have had it a while but only now reading it. I bought the electronic version on special otherwise it would have been too expensive. It’s target audience is the professional and some text becomes irrelevant because it discusses industrial process, but there is still heaps of great info.  I also wanted the pastry side, but I ain’t got there yet!

Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.

 

If you carefully read Michel Suas' discussion on retardation, he mentions that the reason for retarding dough is to cut down on the night work. Additionally, it is desirable to have fresh baked bread available for early customers, as well as having the smell of bread baking in the shop when customers arrive. Finally, Suas claims that it is possible to produce a retarded loaf that is equal in quality to one that is not retarded, although retardation adds an addition layer of complexity to production, and requires more attention to detail.

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

My question relates more to retardation temperature and its effect. Personally I find retardation means I can make the bake fit my schedule. I have done a few ambient temperature bakes recently but prefer to retard.

The book is interesting and I agree with you.  A professional will be doing hands on stuff I imagine as they work through the book, I am more limited but will try out a few things even if I can’t replicate what happens in a commercial kitchen.

thanks Bob 😊

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

In your ORIGINAL POST you wrote, “My question is what degree of proof would be best before retarding for 10-12 hours? would longer bench proof contribute more to a more open crumb?

And then in ANOTHER POST farther down you wrote, “My question relates more to retardation temperature and its effect.”

Hanging around with Doc.Dough has influenced me to think more methodical about testing and experimentation. Carefully choosing the variable(s) and keeping a keen focus on the predetermined goal makes for the most successful result. Since testing can be very time consuming and laborious, efficiency and methods used are are no small consideration.

The answers to both of the questions posed above will be of interest to many of us. Leslie, which question will you test to answer first? Your answer will help to focus my thoughts.

- - - I do have a thought for testing. In order to eliminate unnecessary variables, the test (and yourself) would benefit if a single dough was used for the number of bakes used for an individual test. When I test, the results are my only concern. The resulting bread may or may not be eaten, but that is of no concern to the test. Nothing matters except determining the specific result(s). If the size of the test loaf doesn’t affect the outcome, then smaller loaves make the best choice. 2 kilos of dough will produce 8 test loaves @ 250g.

I am not intending to tell you what to do or how to do it. You are impressively innovative! Just sharing some thoughts that came to mind as I read through this topic. Testing often serves to frustrate me. Many (most) times I discover, either during the test or right after that I could (should) have done something(s) differently :-( In my experience, all test are flawed. With that in mind I invest time and thought before the test begins.

Wishing you great success! I eagerly await your findings... Let me know if I can help.

Danny

 

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

might have to do several bakes  on different days to answer both

#1 bake

degree of proof (post shaping) followed by retardation at 4°c

- several loaves proofed varying length of time then say 10 hours retardation at 4°c 

#2 bake

degree of proof (post shaping) followed by retardation at say 8°c 

- several loaves proofed varying length of time then say 10 hours retardation at 8°c

should I also add in a short? post retardation bench proof (on 4°c run). I haven’t ever done this as usually bake from fridge. if yes, please suggest how I would structure this.

Easiest way would be all white I suppose but tempted to add 10-15% wholewheat in a 1:2:3 formula.

I would do 30 minute autolyse, say 200 SLAFs, BF max 50% increase, preshape, rest 30 minutes, shape into batard...

thoughts please - I want to do this properly so all suggestions welcome. 

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I don’t think you have a retarder, how will you be able to proof at 8C? Can you do 9 or 10C if you chose to? I find it is better for me if the variance is increased more rather than less. If I push a test too far and it results in failure, that can be an outstanding outcome. Because then you know the limit of possibilities. I have no idea how far I can go until I fail. I consider 3-4C the absolute lower limit (I may be wrong), but I have no idea what too warm is for a retarded ferment.

I know you really like a small percentage of whole wheat, but if the test is to serve the most people, a moderate protein % in all white flour might be considered. I try to test with a type of flour that most people can easily obtain. I think the results could be easily extrapolated for use with a mixture of whole grain (in small percentages) and flour. 100% WW (or oarge portion) is another matter.

RE: the short bench proof on 4C  test. I would only consider that with a third test. Try to keep the variables as constant as possible. You must be energetic :-)

Leslie, this is just me throwing thoughts out. Please don’t feel obligated to use all or any of them. They are far your consideration, only.

Let’s talk.

Danny

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

 

What would be the best thing that you want to test to give you better results in your kitchen?

I understood it was whether the 'proofing' before going in the fridge makes a difference or not? 

Now, interestingly enough on the recent post with Trevor's and Maurizio's input I put a link with a two loaf experiment from Trevor and he states that he left the loaves to proof 20 min or so top of my head before they go into a cold fridge...soooo....I might try this....

BAKE 1:  What is the difference if there is a 'proof' time of 20 min of loaves in bannetons before they go in the fridge?

1. Agree to use a 80/20 type of bread/WW Tartine formula, I am going to use Vanessa Kimbells mainly white formula with 225g leaven for 800g bread flour and 200g WW

2. I would probably AL as long as it takes the leaven to ripe....e.g 4 hours ish

3. Usual Rubaud or SLFS and dough target temp of 25C or 78C?? 

4. Now 50% increase in bulk  is interesting in light of what Trevor's post says...

5. Pre-shape, 30 min bench rest

6. Shape 2 batards

7a. One batard stays on the counter for 20 min - before going into 4C fridge (which means that dough temp is likely to be 5C after 10 hours based on taking dough temp on previous loaves, my cooler is a bit warmer than it states on display)

7b. Other batard goes straight into the fridge at 4C

8. BOTH batards  have 10 hours retardation and baked in similar way and temp.

Result:  Any difference ? (I will bake both loaves at the same time in my Rofco B20)

Now...bake 2 might change a bit depending on findings in bake 1....

But probably a bit like this...

Bake 2: What does dough look like with same conditions as above but 8C retard (again with the 20 min room proof before fridge)?

Bake 3:  Now, I would hope that the above bakes shed some light on the timings of retardation....and the bake 3 might be the one where I bake them after X time in the fridge and compare (with or without proof before going into the fridge)....

I hope this makes sense....Kat...

 

 

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I will start bake #1 tomorrow.  I have dropped the % wholewheat to 15%.  I plan to make a 2 kg batch and divide into 5 * 400 g loaves. Not sure if 8 will do boules (tea towel lined bowls) or batards using my couche as I don’t have enough bannetons.  I can pop bowls into plastic bags  for proofing but the couche will be more of a challenge (could try big rubbish sack in fridge though)  will see. 

My bigger concern is finding a way to do about 8°C proof as my old fridge is running really cold even at the warmest setting.  I am trying some other ideas but if push comes to shove, will up the temperature in my main fridge overnight and move critical stuff to the cold fridge.  Of course I might get lucky with a cold night but atm it is 11-13°c overnight, so not cold enough.

such fun - who would have thought!

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Similar to you having a regular retarding environment is not easy....I started my first bake where I proofed 1 loaf longer at room temp before going in the fridge but when I took the temps today it turns out that the wine cooler is cold at the top shelf (dough temp for those loaves was 3.9C) but the bottom shelf was 5.5.C..

So...not a very accurate experiment and must re-think...which is not bad as two loaves now will go to friends anyway without me being able to see the crumb....

Oh, be careful about the going to 50%...I had 20% WW and did folds at 30, 60, 120 and then last fold at 180 minutes (4 hour bulk) when turning out the dough and it went sooooo puffy....at 25F dough temp and in proofer..

All fun and the bread does get eaten with joy.... Kat

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Another great inquiry, and like many, while the questions are important and well founded, I think a bit of practice and experimentation will yield the most fruit, esp. considering that what Suas or any other expert says has to be applied to particular conditions (e.g. the temps for retarding may not have the same effect, depending on the amount of air circulation (or lack therof) in the retarding space...the mass of dough to be cooled...the difference between the temp of the dough before retarding...etc.).  So much of baking is about adjustments, and typically those adjustments take a number of iterations to even start to figure out.

Uh...where were we??? 

OK...retarding...I think a comprehensive strategy for helping to understand the general parameters (that again need to be applied to particular/variable contexts), is to take each of the major pieces and find out how temp. affects each one...in isolation and as part of a complex whole (e.g. the relative effects on LAB vs. yeast; proteases and amylases; white vs. whole grains (and their components) all relative to acidity (in its various forms), salinity, and hydration).

Ouch...your homework just got bumped up a ton...

Now to try to more directly address part of the original question about the degree of proofing for 10-12hr retard at 4C...my comments above suggest that that is really one for you to figure out through trial and error (and/or trial and success).  For reference, my sourdoughs get very roughly 2hrs final proof at room temp (a big variable, in my case ~68F, and an original dough temp of ~76F with a ~3hr bulk), and still have a fair amount of spring when poked (whatever that means!), when I put them into the fridge which is at 42F.  They get a bit more proofed (?!), but not a lot after that.  What does that tell?  I think mostly that you are in the ballpark and further refinement is up to you...and your results should tell you more than those of others like me.

Keep at it and keep learning

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

and to compare notes..

What bikeproof says aligns roughly with my timeline for the Champlain...alongside similar temps...

However, wetter dough...more activity and for the Tartine Style Country the timeline changes...no surprise there...so a dialling in of the 'whole' process depending on formula and FLOUR to be not forgotten..

After my bake with low gluten and protein flour using more leaven and higher temp to speed up bulk (note Solano is looking at this too with his weak flour in Brazil at the moment) I am sure that as part of this the flour also needs to be considered....e.g. Trevor suggests the pre-mix and then with just 50g leaven for the Champlain a long bulk...

Other formulas suggest a higher % of leaven and shorter bulk (2 and 1/2 hour) and that made me think.....e.g. does Vanessa Kimbell suggest this for her mainly white SD as she does not know what exact flour people are using and this is actually a safe guess for what happens in many people's kitchen flour-wise?

She actually states in her book that 8-9C is the best temp for retarding but assumes that most fridges are 5C. 

So, Leslie, I will also experiment with this and be BRAVE and put a mainly white 80% white and 20% WW into overnight retard at 8C.....I probably will bulk at 75F with target dough temp of 75F....I might keep the bulk to 30-40% rise...and then maybe do the same bake with a 50% rise but then we all know that they dough will be much proofier potentially and de-gassing at pre-shape etc. is higher risk...Trevor did some good posts on IG on this and comparing loaves with a 30% rise in bulk compared to 50% or more rise in bulk....

Oh the joy....  Kat

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

your baking is awesome!  will watch and see how you go.

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

that someone turned the wine cooler off by mistake and not a clue when that happened...too late now and just hope that they already had cooled down enough and had risen but not too bad...shall bake in the morning---really early now!!!! So that is that experiment!!!😂😂

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I will refresh my levain before I start. I keep a stiff starter in the fridge. normally I refresh once as stiff (small amount) and then do 2 or 3 stage build of 100% starter, the last one incorporating bran.

Ambient temperatures are about 18°c atm but my kitchen gets the sun all morning so is warmer than that.  

what dough temperature should I aim for - 24°c (75°F) or 25°c (78°F)? how does autolyse affect this?  my last bake I measured ingredient temps and calculated water temp but my final dough temp was lower than desired so should water temp be a bit higher to offset this?

thanks for your comments, it has helped me to figure what to do. Your BF time - is this from when levain is added or after Stretch and folds have been completed? 

Leslie

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Another comment with regards to Suas...a couple of my own (very general) take aways, after reading the bread sections a few times, is that a big part of what he is saying is that what you should be doing depends on what you want to achieve, and the particular context/conditions of your baking. Another is that he seems to want to have you think about the baking process in a holistic way, in the sense that what you do at one stage will have an effect (and a possible need for compensation/adjustment) at another.  Thus, mixing time needs to be considered with respect to the length of the bulk (among other things)...retardation in bulk or final proof needs to account for your end goals, logistical constraints, and the nature of the dough being retarded.  Fortunately, time and temp are pretty consistent variables that are to some extent under our control...but that still leaves quite a bit of details for us to figure out, including if or how long to proof before retarding (which again depends on temps, dough mass, cooling power, length of retard, dough characteristics...).

ETA: He IS also very concerned about tools to make life as a baker more sane (retarding being an important one)...when I talked to him about opening a bakery, he started with a passionate lecture about how important it is to be set up for a reasonable and satisfying life as a baker, before answering any of the questions I posed...

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

and we must not lose sight of that - quality of life! most important.

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

Happy baking!!! :D Kat