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Long, Slow, Bulk Fermentation--Please Critique This Recipe

baltochef's picture

Long, Slow, Bulk Fermentation--Please Critique This Recipe

Below is a recipe I created for a intensely cinnamon, Cinnimon Raisin Bread that is made using a long, slow, bulk fermentation..This is my first attempt at a 24 hour refrigerated ferment of a very sweet dough..I am asking those members familiar with long, slow, bulk fermentations to troubleshoot and critique this recipe..Any and all feed back will be greatly welcomed..My goal is a full 24-hour ferment instead of the 2.5-3 hour ferment that I generally use when I make similar breads using a sponge method..The ingredients are listed below in the order in which I added them to the DLX's mixing bowl..

Rich Cinnamon Raisin Bread w/  20.5 Hour Refrigerated Bulk Ferment

480g (17 oz.) 2% milk, 45F

285g (10 oz.) dark brown sugar

2.66g (0.09375 oz.) SAF Gold instant yeast-- (3/8 teaspoon)

170g (6 oz.) enriched eggs, 45F-- {7 large egg yolks = 115g (4.053 oz.), plus 55g (1.947 oz.) egg whites}

170g (6 oz.) salted butter, room temperature

1250g (44 oz.) bread flour

14g (0.50 oz.) table salt-- (2 teaspoons)

10g (0.3525 oz.) coarsely ground cassia cinnamon-- (4 1/2 teaspoons)--(sticks ground in spice grinder)

285g (10 oz.) dried raisins, soaked for 60 minutes in 50F water, drained, then refrigerated for 60 minutes to 45F--thus absorbing....

60g (2.11 oz.) water

EDIT: The refrigerated items in the recipe were actually at 45F, not 35F--My Bad!!

Dough Making Notes:

Bowl of my DLX mixer was placed in freezer for 10 minutes before mixing and kneading the dough..The sugar was dissolved into the cold milk in the DLX's bowl..Yeast was added and whisked in..Eggs were whisked in next, followed by the warm butter, which naturally formed small globules as it chilled..The salt and cinnamon were whisked into the flour as evenly as possible..The dough was mixed and kneaded for 6 minutes on medium speed on the DLX using the roller and scraper..The cold, drained raisins were added during the last 2 minutes of the kneadind process..Dough was hand kneaded for 15-20 seconds on an oiled bench after removal from the DLX's bowl..Bowl was washed in cold water, dried, and sprayed with pan spray..Dough was returned to DLX's bowl, flattened, covered tightly with 4 layers of plastic wrap, and placed in the coldest part of the refrigerator..Final dough entered the refrigerator at 1:50 PM EST on Wednesday, 02-25-09..

Final Dough Temperature: 68F

Yield: 2,698g (5 lb. 15.1 oz.) final dough

Baker's Percentage Formula

Milk---------38.64 %








Raisins----- 22.73



Total-------218.33 %

My main questions to those more familiar with overnight, cold, bulk fermentation are, "How do my salt and yeast percentages appear to you??"..I originally figured out the percentage of salt for a recipe containing 1,135g (40 oz.) of bread flour..Which was a percentage of 1.25%..The 170g (6 oz.) of butter also contains salt, although I do not know at what percentage..It is my intention to bake this bread in my 8.5" Pullman pans, and to perhaps even ice several loaves with a vanilla frosting..

Thanks in advance to anyone able to critique this recipe, and to possibly offer suggestions for improving it..




Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Cassia cinnamon contains a blood thinner and does not contain the bennificial aspects of Ceylon Cinnamon.


baltochef's picture


I already knew that fact about caasia cinnamon, but thanks for pointing out that aspect of cassia cinnamon..A lot of folks probably do not know that..I have both types of cinnamon in my panty, but I do not have any true, Ceylon, cinnamon in stick form..I wanted to have a coarser texture for the cinnamon in the recipe than the super fine powder available in commercial grinds..That coarser texture can only come from grinding it yourself in a spice grinder..That is why I used cassia cinnamon as opposed to Ceylon cinnamon


nbicomputers's picture

yeast and time

there is a math formula bakers use to adjust the amount of yeast in order to get get the dough to rise a given time at a constant temp

the formula is

original amount of yeast X corrent frementation time          amount of yeast
---------------------------------------------------       =
New Fermantation Tims                                               for new fermantation time


2 Oz of yeast    X     4 Hours
-----------------------------------------------   = X yeast
8 Hours


2 Oz of yeast    X     4
-----------------------------------------------   = X yeast


8 ounces of yeast
----------------------------------------    = X

X=1 ounce of yeast

I hope thisn helps

baltochef's picture


I do not recall the member that suggested this, but it was on a thread from several weeks ago regarding long, bulk fermentations..This member stated that they halved the amount of yeast in the recipe for every doubling of the amount of time that the dough fermented..I do not recall seeing a formula presented on that thread, but your formula accords with that other members suggestions..

I took the amount of instant yeast for a similar sweet dough recipe that I knew worked, where the ratio of sugars, liquids, and flour were very close to the above recipe..

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast = 2.5-3 hour total yeast growth at 80F

2.25 tsp = 18- 1/8 tsp

18- 1/8 tsp = 3 hours

9- 1/8 tsp = 6 hours

4.5- 1/8 tsp = 12 hours

2.25- 1/8 tsp = 24 hours

Since I had never attempted a long refrigerated bulk fermentation of a very sweet bread dough before I elected to err on the side of adding a little extra yeast to the recipe..I therefore chose to bump the 2.25- 1/8 teaspoon measures up to 3/8 teaspoon of instant yeast total..

Thanks for the formula!!..


Zigs's picture

I don't know if this would help a lot in bread making, but I use this technique with my waffle recipe every time with great results.  If you don't want the butter to solidify when mixed in, whisk the melted butter with your eggs, then mix the egg/butter mixture with the rest of the ingredients.

I've never tried this with the whole egg, just the yolks... I wonder if it'd work.

baltochef's picture


Thanks for that tip on adding soft butter to cold eggs to help in preventing the butter from solidifying in the cold liquids..I will have to try that to see if it works for me..


foolishpoolish's picture

Not related to the long ferment, but cinnamon (as well as the enrichments of egg, butter and sugar) slows down yeast activity.

Also, perhaps stating the obvious, but your refrigeration temperature is going to hugely affect yeast activity. Anything much below 40F and it will be essentially dormant.

Depending on your schedule (and refrigerator space!) it might work out a better strategy to keep the refrigeration for the final proof (and perhaps use a preferment in the dough). That way you'll have bread ready to bake straight from the refrigerator. 




baltochef's picture

I pulled the dough from the refrigerator about 10 AM EST this morning after a 20.5 hour proof in the fridge..I elected not to go the full 24 hours that I originally intended for the refrigerated bulk ferment..Cannot explain why I chose to do so, just my gut instinct..The dough had only increased in volume by perhaps 40%-50%..Its internal temperature measured 45F with my Thermapen digital thermometer, so my refrigerator is not as cold as I thought it was..

I will have to see how fast it proofs after it warms up to room temperature..I have it sitting on the opened door of my gas oven with the thermostat set to the WARM setting..I am hoping to bake the loaves sometime late this afternoon, or early this evening..

I was aware of the effects of milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon on yeast production..That is why I elected to bump up the amount of yeast slightly over my calculations..

baltochef's picture

The first two loaves of this long, slow, bulk fermented Rich Cinnamon Raisin Bread are out of the oven, and they taste great!!..For my very first effort at a sweet, long, slow, bulk fermentation dough I am quite pleased with the results..

At every stage the dough was covered with plastic wrap, except for the final pan proof, which was with the lid of the Pullman pans on..The time breakdown of the process went like this:

30 minutes-------------- Mise en place

7 minutes---------------- Building / kneading the final dough

20 hours, 30 minutes--- Long, slow, cold, refrigerated (45F), bulk fermentation in DLX's bowl

2 hours------------------ Chop into 4 oz. (approximate) pieces, warm-up to room temperature (80F) on bench

10 hours----------------- Re-knead pieces into a ball, place back into DLX's oiled bowl, warm (80F), slow, bulk ferment

12 hours, 30 minutes--- Form into loaves, warm (80F), 8.5" Pullman pan ferment w/o lid

2 hours, 30 minutes---- Warm (80F), 8.5" Pullman pan ferment with lid on

30 minutes-------------- Bake at 350F with lid on

10 minutes-------------- Finish baking at 350F with lid off

_______________________ +

48 hours, 47 minutes-- Mise en place to finished loaves

The two finished 8.5" loaves averaged 721g (1 lb., 9.41 oz.)--A loss of 104g (3.67 oz.) from the 825g (1 lb. 13 oz.) of raw dough that I placed in each pan..The loaves had an internal temperature of 201F when finished baking..

The bread turned out quite well, if initial impressions are to be believed..Hot bread always tastes great, I will have to wait until it cools completely to get a better idea of its taste profile..The crust has a medium dark brown color with great caramelization; quite typical of a well-made sweet dough cinnamon raisin bread..The carmelized crust has a crackly, crunchy texture to it when bitten into, reminiscient of a properly-steamed hearth loaf..This was an unexpected, but pleasant surprise..The crumb is tight, and well defined..

This recipe could stand to have the amount of raisins increased to 16 oz for this volume of dough..This would necessitate increasing the flour by several ounces to compensate for the extra water that an additional 6 ounces of raisins would absorbe during the soaking process..As I post this the 13" Pullman pan is several hours away from going into the oven..


Just a few final notes on this bread..Even without the amount of raisins that I would like for there to be in each loaf; this dough is so rich that the bread stands alone on its own, flavor wise, without the raisins..I feel sure that it is going to make fantastic toast..The slower development of the yeast is an easy price to pay for the extra flavor that the 10g of coarsely ground cinnamon brings to the recipe..Of course the amount of milk, eggs, butter, and sugar in this recipe makes it a very rich dough..It is almost as rich as my danish dough, which I consider to be one of my finest desserts..It is a far easier dough to make than is danish, other than the protracted proofing times required during the cold and warm fermentations..

All-in-all I can say that I am very pleased with my first attempt at a long, slow, bulk, fermentation..Since this is a very rich, very sweet dough, it is hard to quantify just how large a part that the long fermentation (47 hours, 30 minutes) plays in the final flavor profile..My mother, who is very picky when it comes to cinnamon raisin bread, gives this recipe a big thumbs up!!..

I hope that other members here at TFL will try this recipe..I think that it will please raisin bread lovers everywhere!!!..


This is a very rich dough to consider baking in a perfectly square, vertically-sided bread pan, such as Pullmans are..I have not really slept since I woke up early Thursday morning, so I am going to use that as an excuse for tearing the second loaf that I baked in the 8.5" Pullman pans..In my experience most breads, even enriched white breads such as pain de mie, will easily release out of a Pullman pan that has just been removed from a hot oven..I generally take the temperature of any loaf baked in my Pullman pans by carefully removing the loaf from the pan by turning it upside down, and shaking the pan with a gentle wiggling motion of the wrist..I then insert the probe of my Thermapen digital thermometer into the end of the loaf to get to the exact center of the loaf without marring the top surface of the loaf..I did this with the first cinnamon raisin loaf, which shook out of its pan with no real difficulty..The second loaf was another matter..When it did not immediately come out of the pan, I kept wrigglig it and shaking it harder and harder..Which resulted in an L-shaped section of the bottom sticking to the pan as the balance of the loaf released itself out of the pan..

To anyone baking this bread (or any other really rich bread, especially one laden with dried fruit) in a Pullman pan be sure to allow the bread to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan..This way the sides of the loaf can shrink away from the sides of the pan as both cool..Second, take a smooth icing spatula and carefully insert it between the loaf of bread and the sides of the Pullman pan..Run the spatula completely around the perimeter of the pan to loosen any part of the loaf, especially any raisins, that might be trying to stick to the pan..The loaf should then easily fall out of the Pullman pan with minimal shaking..This is what I did with the 13" loaf, with a resulting loaf that did not break..


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

When I ran across your posting from FEB 2009 on fermenting a raisin bread dough, I was struck by the similarities in the recipe with a recipe that my Polish grandmother passed down to family members. I posted for help here and inquired KAF for some help. Since my kitchen scale just arrived in the mail, I have no excuses to procrastinate in trying out the recipe.

The family recipe doesn't have a lot of information so I'd like to ask if you've made your recipe without a refrigerated fermentation and if you have, what were your observations. I'm reluctant to do any room temp ferments for a long period due to the use of eggs in the recipe.