The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How important is retarding the dough?

piggyprincess's picture

How important is retarding the dough?

Greetings from a newbie sourdough baker from the Philippines! (RT: 32degC/80-92% humidity) Basing on my previous sd bread baking attempts, I only get good rise if I do a same day bake (3hrs bulk proof, 2-3hrs final proof) and my kids prefer non-sour bread anyway so I was wondering, how important is retarding the dough (fridge 8-10 & more hours) to get the healthy benefits of an SD bread? Thanks! 

pmccool's picture

Happy to have you as part of this motley crew.

You can certainly make sourdough bread without retarding the bulk or final ferments.  Given your ambient conditions, you might want to chill the water and the flour prior to making the dough to slow the fermentation down somewhat.  Sourness is affected by temperature and the warmer your kitchen, the more sour the bread.  Oddly enough, sourness is also accentuated by cold fermentation, as well.  For the mildest sourness, the dough should ferment in temperatures between 70F and 80F.

Have fun experimenting.


Filomatic's picture

Congrats and welcome.  I suspect your dough is overproofing in the fridge.  This has happened to me a few times, including this weekend's bake.

If you want to cold retard the final proof, consider shortening the bulk ferment or finding a way to bulk and final proof at cooler temps.  32 C (~90 F) is very warm for SD.  My loaves overproofed at 80 F (~27 C), and I bulk fermented for about the same period of time as you.  The warmer the bulk, the faster it develops, and the longer it takes to cool down in the fridge.

If you want to eliminate most of the sourness, maintain your starter in the fridge.