The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Final shaping earlier in the bulk ferment?

nchen25's picture

Final shaping earlier in the bulk ferment?

Hi all,

After finally measuring the temperature in my fridge, I realized that it's running colder than I thought and likely is stopping my bread from continuing to proof much further in the fridge, leading to a more tighter crumb since it hadn't be proofed to a further degree, so I'm playing around with extending my bulk times currently; at the moment I'm doing about a 4 hour bulk at 76F, and about a 12-18 hour fridge proof at 38F, with 15% starter inoculation, 2% salt, 80% total hydration, 80% organic King Arthur bread flour and 20% Einkorn for the dough mix.

My only issue is in the past with pushing bulk further is that I've had some doughs that just totally were way too delicate for my handling skills currently and just end up being a very loosely shaped loaf that loses a lot of volume in the oven- so I'm wondering if anyone's ever experimented with something like final shaping a younger dough, finish off the bulk, then putting it into the fridge for retarding. My current plans for my next loaf are something like: 4 hour bulk ferment at 76F, shape, 2 more hours at 76F, into fridge for 12 hours at 38F, then bake directly from fridge.

Thanks all!

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

shape and leave at room temperature, for however long, before refrigeration so the dough comes out ready?

BreadLee's picture

I don't know that this helps,  but jack illustrates shaping more than one to build that structure and strength.

David R's picture
David R

I get the feeling that maybe you're making your own life too complicated. Yeast is not nearly as smart as you are - you can cut out a lot of the thought process and it will never notice. 🙂