The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Short ferment, long proof?

Gadjowheaty's picture

Short ferment, long proof?

First, happy 2020 to all of you.


I'm really enjoying bread builders, early musings on building my own brick or mud oven.  I've more or less pursued baking using Hamelman, though I've recently picked up Reinhardt as well.  I baked a lot over the years, but it was never any kind of "school of thought" approach, just an agglomeration of techniques and recipes that worked, and more or less stayed static.  After dependably good bread, over tinkering.


I'm intrigued by the Calvel approach in the Builders book, and would like to get his book if the price comes down.  I've always done a rather lengthy primary ferment and shorter proof - a lot of times, retarding after shaping and baking immediately on pulling from refrigerator, for nice spring.

I'm playing with the "trois levains" approach and the idea of a relatively short ferment of 50-60 minutes, shaping, and long proof of 3-5 hours.  I'd love to understand the reasoning for this approach.  I have McGee and should probably go there, as well, but I know you all have this kind of depth in your knowledge and experience, so, thanks for any info.


ps:  while here, on pg. 61 of the Builders book, they show a process chart after Calvel.  Different hydrations at each levain stage, but a time of ferment of 2 hrs-8 hrs- 2 hrs for each levain.  Can anyone talk about this reasoning, the really different length in the second levain?

(tomorrow doing a two-stage levain from a member here, Mariana.  Looking forward to it.)