The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Proofing experiment

jacob55's picture

Proofing experiment

I wanted to test what different proofing times does to a bread. So I created a standard hand mixed dough.

68% hydration, 2% salt, 1% Fleishman's active dry yeast.

I Bulk fermented them 2 hours 30 minutes.Then I shaped them and covered them with parchement paper on the counter. Every 25 minutes I would transfer one to a sheet pan and bake it, 11 in total. The results are shown, left is the least proofed and the right is the most proofed.

For the first hour and a half the dough improved and resulted in larger holes in the crumb. The longer it went, the more of a skin appeared on it, which made it much harder to score, and the more it deflated when you score it. the last ones completely flattened when I tried to transfer them to my sheet pan.

dough0nut's picture

Wow. This is an impressive and extensive experiment, with good evidence. What is missing is your conclusion. Also would be interesting to know how the different loaves felt as you transferred them to the oven.

jacob55's picture

The conclusion is that it's good to proof for about 45 minutes -1 hour 30 minutes, but youre not going to get better results past that amount of time.

wheatbeat's picture

While I appreciate your diligence, I would not recommend concluding on a set amount of proofing time. The range you provide is only relevant for your kitchen at a specific temperature, a specific humidity and a very specific formula. There are several ways to ascertain proper proofing, but assigning a set time to all recipes is definitely not the right one.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

I think there is a flaw in your experiment in that you say you got a skin the longer it went. This means they were drying out and that would effect the bake even if everything else was equal. Therefore, you had more than one variable in play. Sitting out and drying for 4 hours would keep any loaf from expanding.