The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pushing bulk fermentation

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Pushing bulk fermentation

So, I have decided to start experimenting with lengthening the bulk fermentation of my sourdough. I think today's seemed right. I came across this video from the normally reliable Northwest Sourdough and thought that she pushed the BF too far:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nrASfyphpU

This is only 70% hydration. What are your thoughts on her recommendation for knowing when BF is done?

albacore's picture
albacore

I have found that working to a set increase in dough volume is the best indicator of a suitably complete bulk fermentation.

For most doughs I aim for about 60-65% increase. I have no experience of doughs with high wholegrain content, so can't comment on those.

Of course you will need a bulk container where you are able to measure bulk increase and Teresa's doesn't look suitable in that respect. I use a dipstick method.

Lance

jey13's picture
jey13

I’ve see that video a few times, and my thoughts are always “I WISH!” ;-D

I’ve never gotten dough that soft, that bubbly, that marshmallow-y and full of gluten strands. The time when I pushed it too far it was a sticky mess, no windowpane possible. So, I have to say, Northwest’s dough sure looks good to me, but I’ve only been making bread for six months. I don’t think I know enough to know for sure. 

Still. I *wish* my dough would turn out like that just once so I could find out what it’s like....

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Jey, I know Teresa and I’m pretty sure that dough is her San Francisco Sourdough. The reason it is so loose and super airy is because the dough was fermented for an extremely long time (+16 hr) under warm (~76F) temperature. If I am correct, this is a very fragile dough that borders on degradation.

She has an on-line course on her SFSD, but it is a challenging bread to bake.

Danny

jey13's picture
jey13

If you want the BEST video (IMHO) about pushing bulk fermentation, try our own Dan Ayo’s” diligent “overproofing” experiment:

https://youtu.be/VX6e3Wc0Nfs

It really gives you an idea of what you get as you start to push bulk fermentation time. What amazes me is how hard you have to push. It takes a while before the bread starts to really break down and fail. 

Benito's picture
Benito

I agree Danny’s video experiment was well done and informative.

Benny

albacore's picture
albacore

Isn't the linked video about different final proof times as opposed to bulk fermentation duration?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Right,  Danny's video is great, but is focused on final proof not bulk fermentation.    Results from Lance and Danny on BF are here, http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/59459/proposed-experiment-bf-rise   mine are here http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/59543/results-rise-during-bulk-ferment-experiment   neither of us found much difference in the final loaf despite varying volume increases during BF,   

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

and probably you can see my question in the context that I am reading again  Trevor's 2nd edition of 'Open crumb' at the moment.

And the question he often asks is 'What are you trying to achieve? by pushing bulk and what type of bread to you want to achieve crumb wise and taste wise?

I've found a good piece of advice from an Korean baker @mothersoven and recently Max Kugel in Bonn posted something similar on IG. If it is to judge the end of bulk you can simply put a piece of dough from bulk into a room temp water container. If it floats, then bulk is ready according to them. I judge this alongside increase of rise, bubbliness and the rounded edges and less sticky dough signs...but if I am worried I finish bulk too early then that test is always useful and seems to do the trick....  Kat

Benito's picture
Benito

That is very interesting advice Kat and it would seem to make sense too.

Benny