The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

retarding fermentation mid-way through bulk

Land Park Rose's picture
Land Park Rose

retarding fermentation mid-way through bulk

I'm doing a variation of Tartine 3 Rye Porridge Loaf. I need to leave the house two hours into the bulk fermentation for 4-5 hours. It's very hot here where I am in California, so I'm going to put the dough in the fridge after the final folds. When I get back, how long will it take for the dough to get back up to room temp and finish fermentation? It will be in my refrigerator at approximately 38-40F (3-4C). My kitchen will probably be 78-80F (25-26C) when I get home and take it out. The dough is 50% bread flour and 50% whole wheat with a porridge made of steelcut rye and whole rye flour.

Would be very grateful for any advice to avoid over or under fermenting this bread.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You’ll read this time and again, ”watch the dough, not the clock”.

It’s really my best advice.

Let the dough come back to room temp, then monitor the growth to determine the best time to terminate the BF.

 

Land Park Rose's picture
Land Park Rose

Thank you! That's excellent advice. I have heard that before but always forget.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I am not familiar with Tartine breads so unable to give an approximation of what to look for once the BF is complete. Maybe someone with that experience will shed some light.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

People often think that fermentation and dough breakdown (proteolysis) stop in the fridge.

Not true, especially with whole grains.

  • It takes hours for the dough to cool down, from the outside in. The core of the dough mass can keep chugging along for hours.
  • yeast and lactic acid bacteria slow down with cooler temps, but do not entirely stop. And the LAB doesn't slow down as much. Cooler temps can favor bacteria -- usually the acetic-producing kind.
  • It's not just the living yeast and LAB, there are enzymes (from the bran of the whole grains) and the acids created before the yeast and LAB slowed down, that can still be active.

 Net: the "ferment-clock" still ticks at normal speed for a few hours in the fridge, then slows down some.

I've had a lot of batches of WW dough in the fridge, and it is easy to let it get too far along. 

Land Park Rose's picture
Land Park Rose

Thank you! I just came home after leaving it in the fridge and it has gotten quite a bit larger and looks almost like it would if it were out at room temp! I'm tempted to just shape and put in the basket for final proof. 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

But that’s what I used to do. I used to divide, rest for about an hour, shape and pop back in the fridge for overnight proof. Worked just fine.