When mixing up a batch of dough, when do I take out a piece of the dough to use as 'Old Dough' in a later batch - after mixing or after kneading?
Scale and divide the dough pieces you require for your production after bulk ferment. The leftover dough after scaling is your pate fermentee for the next day's production, and you should retard it at that point.
Many thanks for this, Andy. Most helpful.
I have only been baking bread for a month so I am very new to all this and am learning myself but I am following the techniques of Richard Bertinet using his book 'Dough' which said keep a 200g piece of dough back when you make your first batch of bread.
Richard says feed the preferment after 48 hours with double the amount of flour and an equal amount of water so 400g and 200g respectfully, make a dough and put it back in fridge. That should be repeated that every two days but as I bake every 3-4 days I never get to do it a second time.
I am only making sandwich bread but both my hubby and I have noticed the taste, texture and rising capability of my loaves has improved considerably since I have been doing that - this shows a recent loaf
and they are all coming out like this white or part white part wholemeal!
However that means my mother dough or Pate-ferment has been mixed, kneaded and rested before I set it aside which seems later in the stage than Andys answer so if Andy is still watching these posts I would love more information - does what I am doing only apply to sandwich loaves or have I misunderstood something?.
Hi Gene New,
I'm not familiar with Richard Bertinet's technique, but what you outline seems to be a more complex fermentation where you use old dough, or, pate fermentee to make a sponge as a secondary fermentation before mixing your final dough for further fermentation.
Pate fermentee as I understand it is more simple than this. It uses a portion of dough from the previous day's mix which has been subject to development and a period of primary, or, bulk fermentation prior to refrigeration. It is then incorporated into the final dough for the next day's mixing. Part of that dough will then be held back in a similar way to use for the subsequent production.
Thanks for the explanation much appreciated,
This bread making is far more involved than I ever imagined it would be but its really worth all of the extra effort.
When I expressed my desire to try bread making hubby bought me my first book for Christmas River Cottage 'Bread' but my first attempts were all like bricks; even the birds didn’t want them!
Practice and this website helped me to get beyond that stage but my bread making was still very dense and my one attempt at wholemeal was totally inedible.
At first I found some of the information conflicting and confusing but gradually I learned what I was doing wrong and my loaves became edible but they were still far too dense.
I learned Bertinets French fold technique from a video on the internet and together with a recipe by Micheal Roux Jnr things improved and I produced my first semi successful white sandwich loaf but the texture still wasn't quite right and it was still on the dense side.
Then I read about mother dough and remembered my dad doing it when I was a child so I started holding a little of the dough back and adding it to the next loaf. That was much better my bread rose higher and the loaves were lighter but there was still room for improvement.
Hubby ordered Richard Bertinets book 'Dough' and when it arrived I found he gave precise instructions on holding back a little of the dough as a ferment and I realised I wasn’t keeping enough nearly back, nor was I feeding it as I just cut off a tiny bit threw it in a bag and refrigerated it.
Once I switched to Richards way of doing things my bread making improved in leaps and bounds - I have just made my first light, tasty and highly successful part wholemeal loaf which tastes fabulous.
Richard suggests keeping 200g of the dough back and feeding it every two days with an equal weight of strong flour and 50% water which I did a few times but I have learned it works just as well holding back 100g of dough and feeding that with 200g flour and 140gm skimmed milk which maintains the hydration of my sandwich loaf recipe and if I forget to hold any back I just make a tiny dough and that seems to work too.
I have also learned the flour you use makes a real difference because I can produce better bread using Hovis flour than I can using Allinsons (I am in the UK so we don’t get King Arthur here and I live on a pension so I can’t afford to import or buy better flour direct from the UK mills) but I still have an incredibly long way to go.
I am most grateful for all the help and advise I get on this website its a real boon to someone just starting out.
One day I will try proper artisan breads and sour dough but for now I am just happy to fill our every day needs - good or bad I haven’t bought a loaf from the shops in nearly three weeks and I have no intention of every doing so again! It is brilliant and I am sure a much healthier way to go on.
All the best Jean
Hi Gene New
I was interested in your posts as I recently bought Richard Bertinet's book. I am originally from England but have lived in Canada for many, many years, although still visiting England frequently. I don't remember Allisons flour but I do know that the U.K. imports a lot of Canadian wheat and most flour in U.K. will be all or part from Canadian wheat. Canadian wheat is much stronger than that grown in U.K. due to climate and soil, etc. Don't worry about not getting King Arthur flour, it's basically a marketing hype and their flour is no better or worse than most other flours. Your photo shows you can make excellent bread without using KAF. We don't get it in Canada either but we don't need it. Canadian wheat is the best in the world!
As I have recently posted on this site, I am basically a new bread baker. I hadn't baked bread for over two years and before that had only intermittently baked bread, not too succesfully. For the past couple of months I have read through many bread books and perused this site. I became very confused as there is so much conflicting information. Most of the books and also this site seem to be aimed mostly at the sourdough and artisan baker. That is not meant to be a criticism but I did get frustrated at times with an overload of information that I was not yet ready for. However, I did learn enough to feel confident to start baking again. I've had a few bombs (the squirrels and birds are looking fat!) but, baking bread almost every day now, my bread has got increasingly better. The real breakthough came when I started using 'old dough' and also making my dough a little wetter. Richard Bertinet's book is a godsend as he focuses on producing good basic dough and the variety of breads to be made from it. I can't wait to try them all. I have started adding seeds to my bread sometime and also was quite pleased to produce a lovely cinnamen raisin loaf.
Gene New, I hope you continue to enjoy producing good breads. All the best with your baking.
Best wishes, Dot.
I wanted to clarify about the use of Canadian wheat in the UK.
Historically, yes, Canadian wheat was used in large proportions in UK bread. However, that is not the case now, nor has it been for much of the last 4 decades. Entry to the Common Market meant the tariffs on North American wheats made it prohibitively expensive to import. Additionally, the invention of the Chorleywood Bread Process in the early 1960s allowed for use of lesser quality wheat in UK bread manufacture. The UK "bread basket" in East Anglia now accounts for upwards of 85% of wheat used for British bread manufacture, except during disastrous times such as now, subsequent to last year's appalling wheat harvest [2nd wettest summer(?) on record].
Allinson's flour is excellent quality, milled by ADM, which I guess you know is originally a Canadian company, though now a global Giant! But it is very largely made up of English wheat, admittedly grown from Canadian strains, such as AC Barrie. Production is intensive, with numerous sprayings involved, and expected yield is 4 times greater than that found in Canada, in order to meet demand for our very crowded little island, of course. For all that, UK wheat for bread is ordinarily around 11.5 to 13% protein and is extremely reliable in producing good quality bread.
All good wishes
Thank you for keeping me up-to-date on UK wheat. I am pleased to know that a strain of Canadian wheat is now grown in U.K . I am obviously a little behind the times. I had never heard of, or could not remember, Allison's flour but did not mean to insinuate it was in any way an inferior flour. It's a long time since I lived in U.K. When I lived in England I used to get my flour from a local mill and never remember having any problem with it although it was always assumed that North American wheat was 'stronger' than that grown in U.K. - that, of course, does not mean it's better. Yes, times have changed considerably in many ways over the decades. It is nice to know that something in U.K. has changed for the better.
I have lived in Canada for decades and I love this country but England will always be 'home' to me. Every day I miss my beloved Lake District where we lived for many years. One of the things I miss, which is not available in North America (although there are claims by some to have reproduced it) is Granary Bread (not Hovis, which I was never fond of). Maybe it has to be made with U.K. flour!! If you have a recipe, I would love to have it. If a special kind of flour is needed, maybe I can get my sister to send me some.
Thanks again for putting me straight.
Dr Thomas Allinson was a leading health campaigner in the UK and a champion of the use of wholewheat flour in bread....think Messrs Kellogg and Graham. Not many years back, the Allinson mill in Castleford, West Yorkshire modelled itself as the largest stonegrinding flour mill in the world. Associated British Foods now produce the Allinson flours using roller mills. They are part of the Weston empire.
Granary bread has to be produced from Granary (R) flour, which is a proprietory blend trademarked by Rank Hovis Macdougall. It contains malted wheat flour and toasted malted wheat flakes, and is much copied by many different milling companies. Much copied, and generically called Granary by the consumer, but the bread has to be made from the specific Hovis brand if it is to be sold as "Granary Bread".
Thanks for this Andy. My memory is not what it was. I think I remember Hovis as being a 'brown' bread which I found rather heavy and dry - store bought that is. My sister used to make bread from Granary flour (I never knew it was Hovis flour) but it was always a very pale brown bread. When I first came to Canada many years ago and could not get Granary bread, on one of my visits to U.K. I checked my sister's flour bag for the ingredients and saw it contained malted wheat flour. I thought I could duplicate it by using malt extract and cracked wheat, which I did quite successfully. I haven't tried to make granary bread for years as I cannot find malt extract any more. Although malt is available, it is very dark and not the same taste. I can still remember, as a child, I used to be given a spoonful of malt extract every day. I used to love it. I believe a company over here now imports wheat flakes from U.K. so maybe I'll try those.
Many thanks. Dot.
The Hovis bread which you remember is a wheatgerm bread; that is the one with the word "Hovis" imprinted on the side of the loaf. The Granary loaf is very different; as you note, it contains malted flour and toasted malted wheat flakes.
If you want to find these ingredients, I suggest you check online home brew supplies, as they stock all these specialist ingredients.
Thanks to a TFL member - name unfortunately a victim of my faulty information retrieval circuit - I got a bag of this from Paul at Pane e Formagio - pane-e-formagio.com - in Vancouver BC. My first attempt breads with this were just as I remembered from the UK. The cost was very reasonable - ~$6 per pound including postage.
I have just contacted them and they say that they don't sell it. Did you get it from the retail store or the wholesale?
I got it by emailing Paul at;
email@example.com and then sent the money to the Pender St address.
Many thanks Plevee. Much appreciated.
Thanks for this Andy. Unfortunately, for the next month or so I am out of the bread baking business due to my left arm (I am left handed!) being encased in a plaster cast from fingers to elbow.
Hi again Dot.
like you I love Granary too. The stuff you want is this
it makes lovely, really tasty bread thats soft, light and nutty - really delicious
Alas while it is only about £1.50 for a kilo bag posting it from the UK to Canada really isnt an option because the post office are quoting over £23 using the cheapest small packet rate; I know because I have had a friend in the states who wants a bag and we were going to do a trade King arthur for Granary.
Instead I thought I would take a bag with me when we go to Montana later this year but even using the USPS inland service they are quoting $12.35 which would make it a very expensive bag of flour so if you can get it via Paul in Vancouver thats the way you should go.
If you are interested this is the recipe I used
Prep: 3 hours 10 mins | Cook: 45 mins
Prep according to yeast used so add active yeast to warm liquids, rub fresh yeast into flour or add instant yeast to flour. Mix together flour, sugar, salt and if applicable yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm liquids and melted butter. Stir to form a soft dough.
Turn out dough and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic - I used the french fold method so no added flour. Let it rise in a covered, greased bowl in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface, depress slightly and shape into one large or two smaller loaves. Place in one or two greased loaf tins or a greased baking tray and cover with cling film. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes).
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (Gas Mark 5). Brush the top of the loaf with egg white and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the bread is golden brown. It should make a hollow sound when tapped underneath. Cool the loaf for a few minutes before removing from tin or tray.
Note my oven is fan assisted which can't be turned off without turning the oven off completely so after expeimentation I found I can get the best oven spring when I preheat the oven as hot as it will go - (around 230c / 450F add boiling water to an old pan at bottom of oven then once oven comes back up to temperature slash the loaf, place loaf onto baking stone, spray wth water, turn oven off, close door and watch temperature. When it drops to almost 190c/ 350F turn the ovenback on and cook at 190c/350f for the remaining time, removing steam after 10 minutes.
You can also make rolls with this by dividing the dough in step 3 into 12-15 rolls (depending on how large you like your rolls). Place on greased baking trays and allow to rise until doubled. Bake at 190 degrees C (GM 5) for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Hope that helps
Best regards Gene
Thank you for your good wishes; your post was very interesting as I didn't know the UK imports so much Canadian flour
You are also perfectly right about Richards’s book, I think for a beginner it is excellent.
Like you I think, I didn't come into bread making necessarily to make Artisan bread but to provide my husband with a healthy and affordable alternative to the sandwich bread bought from the shops as he eats sandwiches every day.
I made my first loaf the Boxing Day just gone producing a part brick. We ate some of it, gave the rest to the squirrels who left it for the birds and I promised the next one would be better. This was that first loaf - pretty disgusting.
My bread got a little better after that but I couldn’t have called it good and my kneading technique was lousy then I watched Richards ‘French Fold’ video online and we tried the method ourselves. We were so impressed that hubby went out and bought me Richards book ‘Dough’ and that was the turning point as thanks to that my bread has gone from strength to strength.
This was how today’s loaf together with a roll I made for my own lunch turned out
Haven't tried the loaf yet but the roll was absolutely delicious; I wish I had made more.
You mentioned holding a little of the dough back ala Richards recommendations; as you have gathered I do that too but I also tried making my own sour dough starter and rather than throw any of it away this morning I included both my left over dough and about 180g of this mornings 100% hydration sour dough starter. As a result the dough was quite a bit wetter than usual so I needed to add a little extra flour - 30- 40g in total which left the dough quite sticky all the same it came out fabulously light.
I just wish I could afford to attend one of Richards Classes in Bath then I might learn more including whether I am kneading it too much as I spend much longer than the recommended 10-20 minutes .
The oven spring on both todays loaf and the roll was my best yet perhaps because I have learned to turn my fan oven off for the first couple of minutes of baking so the bread can rise in peace, and I guess must be doing something right because the crumb is white finally whereas my earlier loaves using the same flour and recipe were very yellow as this before and after picture shows.
I also find the wetter doughs produce better bread.
I have tried a couple of the recipes in the book, the cheese straws were great and tomorrow it's the turn of the pizza dough and as my bread making continues to improve I hope to try more; I am also planing some sourdough starter crumpets though they are not from Richards book. Your Cinnamon raison loaf sounds delicious if you fancy sharing or even swapping recipes.
Enjoy your bread making too, I am finding that while its quite time consuming so eats into my day I enjoy doing it and it gives me a bit of a workout though while the bread tastes delicious it does mean I am eating more of it myself and as I am already overweight that might no be such a good thing.
Happy bread making and thanks for posting, all the best Gene
Your bread looks fabulous. It must be Richard Bertinet's method. I haven't been able to knead by hand as I have arthritis in my wrists, which was the reason I haven't made bread for a few years. My husband bought me a stand mixer but I am not too happy with the results. I am going to try to see if I can use Richard's method - some days my wrists are not too bad.
Another bread book which I borrowed from the library was a British book, Andrew Whitley's "Bread Matters". I found it a very easy read. It goes into more technical details than Richard and has some good recipes. I would like to buy it but I already have four bread books so have to hold off for a while as I have no more room on my kitchen bookshelf.
I would love to send you the recipe for the cinnamen raisin loaf but it is from one of my bread books and I'm not sure if I am allowed to copy it on this site. I would also like to exchange recipes. Would you like to correspond via e-mail? Let me know and "keep on making good bread".
I believe it is O.K. for me to post the list of ingredients but not the method but I'm sure you can figure it out - it's basically the same as making any other kind of bread.
Makes 2½ pound loaves
16 oz. unbleached bread flour
4 tsps. granulated sugar
1 ¼ tsps. salt
2 tsps. instant yeast
1 ¼ tsps. ground cinnamon
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 oz. butter or shortening (or 2 tbs. oil) at room temp.
4 oz. ( 118 ml. or 8 tbs.) whole milk at room temp.
6 oz. (177 ml. or 12 tbs.) water at room temp.
9 oz. raisins, rinsed and drained. (Add the raisins gradually near the end of kneading so they won't go squishy)
Adding a cinnamon swirl. (optional) (I always do this)
After pressing or rolling out the dough before shaping it, brush the dough with a little beaten egg (this stops the bread separating at the swirl). then mix together some sugar and ground cinnamon and sprinkle it all over the dough then roll it up and put in your bread tin. After baking, you can brush the tops with butter and and roll them in cinnamon sugar.
I bake it at 160c in my convection oven (180c or 350F) for about 40 mins.
I am now going to try making Scottish baps. I haven't had them for decades but they make a nice change from sandwich bread. I'll let you know how they turn out.
I am still not getting a rise anything like yours. Can you let me have the recipe you use? I did use Richard Bertinet's technique (my wrists held out!) and it was a good improvement.
Hi again Dot
Sorry meant to add I have tried adding the old dough at the kneading stage and at the mixing stage, and I think I have to agree with others on here as my best leaf was when I added it at the mixing stage
Happy Baking Gene
I now know when to take a piece of dough to use as 'old dough' in my next baking but I cannot find any reference to when to add the old dough to the new dough. My assumption would be near the end of kneading as this appears to be the easiest time to incorporate it evenly. Sorry if this is a dumb question but this is my first step on the way to using 'starters'.
I believe there are 2 schools of thought on this. One believes, as you are inclining, in adding the dough near the end of the mix. Apparently, this is because the gluten in the old dough has already been developed. I'm not in this camp.
I believe in adding the dough right at the start of the mixing process. Unless using autolyse, I would break it up in the dough water, and dissolve any yeast [if using] using in the same water. I would then add my flour and salt to that, and mix from there. If using autolyse, then I would combine the autolyse and dough first, then add the salt, and develop the dough from there.
As far as I'm concerned, the primary purpose of the "old dough" is that it is your "improver", or dough conditioner. It is there to speed up all the complex reactions which take place in the dough. So, you want it to get to work straightaway. Delaying adding it is anathema to that concept.
I've never used "old dough" thinking it more appropriate to bakers that bake everyday. I also, mistakenly, thought its use was analgous to brewers scooping "Krauzen" (foam, barm) from the head of fermenting beer, and inoculating fresh wort to begin its fermentation. Your post is the clearest and most unabiguous explanation of the purpose and process for using "old dough" I've ever read. So much so I'm encouraged to try it. Which brings up a few questions to add it to my usual process. I seldom make more than 2 Kg of dough, and I generally retard lean doughs overnight in the wine closet ( 11° - 12°C)
1. Is it appropriate to use with natural levain?
2. What is a typical ratio of "old dough" to new dough?
3. Can I store it in the refrigerator for a few days, or freeze it for longer, and still reap its benefits effectively?
Yes, indeed, pate fermentee is an ideal production method to use in a bakery, where bread is made every day. Answer to Q3. is that the dough is ok for around 48 hours in a suitably cold refrigerator. If the dough is badly degrading, then it is no good. You may want to look at Jean's comment above regarding how Richard Bertinet treats old dough.
For Q2, I believe we worked on between 10 and 25% of total flour in the pate fermentee. I'm thinking to an extent, it depends on the condition of your pate fermentee. If it is still in relatively fresh state, then you could increase the proportion.
Q1. Am I not wrong in thinking that Poilane used this method for production of his "Miches"? Rather than maintaining a separate levain, he held back some of the dough from a previous batch in order to make the next batch of dough? I may be totally off the mark here, so please don't shoot me down on this too harshly if I'm wrong.
Very best wishes
Andy, how much old dough do you consider safe to use if the old dough itself contains a good percentage of rye flour (40% in most cases). Yesterday I used 100 gr old dough on 500 gr of flour (300+200, same proportion) but my dough became overripe too soon. it ended up tearing badly in 7 hours. Both doughs were at 84% hydratation because stiffer dough always tear for me (decent gluten development in the mixer and next several S&F 1 hour apart).
The old dough was from the morning itself, kept at 4° in the fridge.
Based on the idea that old dough is akin to a dough conditioner I.m going to do two days baking next week, back to back. On the first dough I'll make extra, and on day two will use it to replace half of my natural levain. I'll post my results.
I did an experiment with day old dough. I posted the results here.
I only have experience using rye as either "altus", or, in various sourdough processes, sorry. I've never used rye-based pate fermentee in any proportion at all. That probably says quite a lot in itself!
Good to hear from you Nico,
Curiosity just got the better of me, and I made an experiment with a "yuck" factor. I had saved some old (mixed rye/wheat) dough for a certain recipe I wanted to try, and then completely forgot it.
Last week I unearthed this dough from my basement fridge: it was at least 2 months old, looked very dark and unappetizing and smelled cheesy. I almost threw it into the trash, but then scraped the surface with a spoon, and underneath was still a spongy structure. So I added it, as is, to the other ingredients. The formula for Bauernbrötchen (=rustic rolls) had also a small poolish and and an overnight bulk fermentation.
To my surprise this ancient, smelly dough did all that it should, and the rolls tasted very good!
I made the rolls again, this time with a 3-day old dough, that I fed before using, and without the extra poolish, and the result was the same.