The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proofing question

berryblondeboys's picture

Proofing question

I'm wondering about how best to treat a levain. I accidentally forgot to put yeast in my levain for about 6 hours last week. I added it and let it sit for about 3-4 hours before using it. It ended up being the best bread I've ever made in texture, taste - everything. It could be a fluke of just getting everything else just right, but I wonder if having the bread and flour sit INACTIVE for all those hours did anything?

And if it did, would putting a preferment in a proofer at a slightly warm room do something similar? Or am I am exhausting the yeast? (It's commercial yeast) 

Here's a link to the bread I made last week.

barryvabeach's picture

If you mixed flour and water, and did not add yeast or salt, and let it stand for some time, that would be called an autolyse, and it is a pretty well acknowledge technique in baking - do a search and you will find tons of references.  That you added the salt as well, that is pretty uncommon, though in Whole Grains,  Peter Reinhart discusses an epoxy method -  basically you divide the total flour in half,  in one half, you add the water and salt and let that sit overnight, in the other half , you add the flour , water and some of the yeast, and let that sit as well, though IIRC, in the fridge overnight.   Note this is a very gross simplification, but in general, it is similar to what you did on the flour water and salt.  Again, assuming you added the salt.