The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Long cold retard during bulk ferment

Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee

Long cold retard during bulk ferment

I have been experimenting lately with 'bulk retardation' of up to 40 hours at 37 ~ 38°F before final shaping folds and proofing before baking. I even threw in a few stretch-and-turns during the retardation period. The handling of the cold dough was easier and the results seem satisfactory for my tastes. However in re-reading some archival posts I believe I will reduce total retardation time to no more than 36 hours.

Question: Do any you other bakers use the long, cold bulk retard method routinely or ever?

Sorry, forgot to brush off the excess flour before scoring and misting. Still lots to learn.

Thanks for everything. Dave

hanseata's picture

Usually, I bulk ferment all my doughs overnight in the fridge (12-16 hours).

Last week I had to leave for a few days and left doughs (mixed with S&F à la “Artisan Bread Every Day”) and some pre-doughs for 3 days in the refrigerator. 

Everything baked up fine, though my Pain a l’Ancienne dough, a highly hydrated, normally very soft dough, had so much firmed up that I could hardly believe it would rise in the oven. But it did,and all was fine. 

The only issue I had: the dough for the Pumpkin Seed Sourdough Rolls popped the lids of their containers. For such a long rise I would have to reduce the small amount of yeast it contains even more.


Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee

Karin thank you for your comments. Coincidentally I just 're-watched' Teresa's video series on baking the mother dough in which she mentions a long cold retard before shaping/baking. I had been wanting to experiment with this procedure because it allows for adjustment of the baking schedule and fosters a noticeably stronger sour flavor. The added ease of cold dough handling was an unforeseen bonus for me. :)


Thanks and best wishes. Dave