I'm beginning to think my yeast is on steroids...
Given my hectic schedule, what with work and home and hubby and 3 kids going at least 4 different places, I have often stowed dough in the fridge to buy some time...as well as develop the flavors. However, I've noticed a pattern that I haven't seen discussed on the forums yet:
If I put the dough in the fridge before first fermentation (knead it and fridge it), I get very little rise in the fridge. But if any rise has happened at room temp and then I fridge it, either during first fermentation or proofing, I get overdevelopment...by the time the dough has come to room temp again, it's huge and I might as well degas ( the action, not the artist!) and shape from scratch, otherwise it's impossible to slash and I get almost no oven rise.
Doesn't matter if it's yeast, or yeast-starter combo. I do the combo because my starter, altho bubbly and tasty, has never really risen...and I seldom have the extended stretches of time to let a straight starter do it's thing...but this will be another posting.
So...is it my fridge? (Which has been having it's quirks now, as well!) I store the dough on the bottom shelf--it's a bottom-freezer version--which is coolest.
Am I using too much yeast/starter? If straight dough, yeast is typically 2 tsp for a 1 1/2 to 2 lb loaf; if yeast-starter, I use 1 tsp yeast and about 25-30% starter for the same size loaf (about 4-5 c flour). I am basing the starter percents on The Metropolitan Bakery Book (Metro. is a Philly-based artisan bakery) which suggested using 30-40% starter for max flavor and keeping quality. And since I had a bathtub full of the stuff...
Are there other issues I should be aware of?
Should I work on my organizational skills, developing a schedule for proofing, retarding, etc? In my earlier life, I was scheduled rigidly, but having been knocked around by life and being married to Mr. Spontaneity, I've lost that ability ;-). The thought of reverting to a schedule makes me cringe, but if I have to for the sake of good bread...!