The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Retarding and oven spring

jmoore's picture
jmoore

Retarding and oven spring

I usually retard my loafs overnight at around 42F, and I get decent results. Recently I've been playing around with room temperature final proofs, and seem to get bigger oven spring with a room temp proof. I wonder if my yeast strain takes a while to "wake up" if it is cold. Perhaps some strains are much worse at recovering from lower temperatures than others. I get more blistering at low temps, but not as much rise. Have any of you experienced the same trend? 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

while in the fridge. I keep my fridge at 38F and with about 11% prefermented flour, I get my best oven spring at 9-10 hours of retardation. As soon as I go longer than that, I notice a clear difference. 

So you are probably catching your loaves at a better stage of proofing when you do it at room temperature. In the fridge, I find that my loaves barely rise so if I didn’t know any better, I would be tempted to let them go longer. Loaves proofed at room temp look and behave (poke test really doesn’t work with cold dough) totally different than loaves proofed in the fridge... at least for me.  You are going to have to experiment to see what works best for you. 

By the way, if you use that fridge for other foods, it really isn’t cold enough to be safe. Recommendations are for 40F and below. 

jmoore's picture
jmoore

I've run the gauntlet on the amount of proofing for retarded loafs, and I don't think they are getting over-proofed. My question is more about yeast viability. On the other hand, it's possible that since I've only been making 100% whole grain loafs recently, I simply forgot what good oven spring from a lower extraction bread looks like. :) 

 

Don't worry about the temperature, this is a dedicated proofing/beer fridge. :)

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

faster at a room temp that is warmer than 42°F.  More yeast means more gas production and more rise when it gets trapped in the dough.   You can play with temperature to increase or slow down the yeast population as the dough ferments before retarding, during and after.  A longer fermenting time at warmer temps before retarding will increase the yeast population and give more byproducts and rise than retarding soon after mixing up the dough.

jmoore's picture
jmoore

My question is more about yeast viability than growth. I assume that I have built up enough yeast during the bulk. It seems to me that yeast are happiest with a consistent feeding schedule and temperature. Retarding the loafs would seem to go against this philosophy, and could "shock" the yeast, at least to some extent. I think this could be related to the reason that frozen doughs (if we put the loaf in to the freezer instead of just a cold fridge) do not perform very well. 

I would hypothesize that yeast viability can be hurt by the cold temperatures, even though the count before retarding is high.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A Cold dough just might not want to expand as much as a warm dough, all things equal.  

David R's picture
David R

If you have a dough-only fridge or other dedicated equipment, do what you like; but 42 is NOT safe for your other food. Your food fridge should be kept BELOW 40 at all times. 35-36 would be good. Obviously taken too low things will start to freeze, but if your fridge can't consistently keep between 33 and 39 without going over or under, then something's wrong with it.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

This is a dedicated beer/proofing fridge. I am jealous! Wish I had one!