The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Trevor WIlson's advice

hreik's picture

Trevor WIlson's advice

I'm curious what the gurus here think about Wilson's schedule to get a more 'holey' crumb from 65% hydration dough.  His video and explanations are here: and here:

Basically he does an overnight autolyse with everything (including salt) except the levain.  Next day he adds the levain and shapes and does a series of stretch and folds over 6 hours.  Then shapes and in about 3 hours bakes.

I know I'll have to experiment, but his schedule won't fit mine and i like an overnight final rise in the fridge after which I bake right out of the fridge.

So I was thinking to make a long autolyse (without the salt), and maybe only 4 hours in the fridge and then do everything else (mixing, bulk fermentation with stretch and folds and then shaping) for overnight refrigeration and next day bake.

Unless you gurus think I could do 2 overnight refrigerations: (1) the autolyse and (2) final proofing. 

Thanks in advance.  Sorry for long post.


Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

From a recentdiscussion

I asked Trevor what 80% proper fermentation meant and he answered me thus:

"Hey Lechem, I'm happy to elaborate. By "proper" fermentation I mean a degree of fermentation that is ideal given all the variables. It does not mean 100% fermented nor 80% fermented. It means fermented to the correct degree -- through all the stages, and relative to circumstance -- to achieve the desired results. This means an adequately fermented leaven, adequately fermented bulk, and adequately fermented final proof. The difficulty is that "adequately fermented" is a highly subjective matter and is relative to conditions and desired results.

What is adequate fermentation for one style of bread under certain circumstances may not be so adequate for another style or under different circumstances.

For example: if I wish to create a bread with an irregular Tartine-style crumb then I need a fast-moving starter (i.e. a very active starter with a high rate of fermentation), a younger bulk (maybe a 20% to 30% rise in volume), and a final rise to maybe 80% to 90% of maximum proof (80% if the dough is room temp, 90% if refrigerated -- with refrigeration creating even more openness).

However, if I wish to obtain a more even and lacy crumb structure (still very open) then a slower rising starter is ok (so long as it's still healthy and active), a longer bulk (maybe a 50% rise in volume) and a near maximum 95% rise in the fridge (to the point where it's unlikely that you will get an ear from the score).

Keep in mind, these are just hypothetical examples -- everything must be adjusted to the dough in hand and the conditions of the day.

Essentially, my statement is a reflection of the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 Rule): 80% of the effects can be traced back to 20% of the causes. Therefore, 80% of the effect (open crumb) can be traced back to 20% of the causes (proper fermentation and dough handling). It's not a rule of law, just a concept that helps one to better see what is most relevant -- and in the case of achieving an open crumb, what's most relevant is fermentation and handling.

I hope that helps.



I hope Trevor doesn't mind me reposting this answer on a forum topic.

hreik's picture

Will be reading and re-reading a few (many) times.  Much obliged.


MichaelH's picture

I have watched most of Trevor's videos and tried several of his recipes, and although I enjoy watching him, his methods do not work well for me. Perhaps it is because I live at over 6000' or I am too set in my ways. I assume his methods work for others, but I keep going back to Hammelman. I really should sell or donate my 50 odd bread baking books, because I only use  a couple of dozen tried and true favorites anymore.

hreik's picture

one bread book to keep it'd be Hamelmans BREAD. 



MonkeyDaddy's picture

you can send 'em to me.  I'll even pay the freight.  I'm a cookbook junkie!  LOL


dabrownman's picture

a professional baker and a great teacher too.  If I had to have a book on bread I would go TFL and Trevor Vidioes instead.  I Am with him when it comes to SFSD style SD with varied Irregular crumb.  My NMNF starter that is vvry old in the fridge makes a very active  20% preferneted flour where all of the 20% whole grains are in the levain makes the best SFSD ever with wonderful irregular varied sized holes and sour like it was 1969!  Just wonderful.

hreik's picture

I couldn't agree more about TFL and also Trevor.  I was referring to books.


IceDemeter's picture

be the most realistic and practical of all of the professional bakers' writings and videos that I've seen so far.  All of his posts and videos seem to be very well explained as to the reasoning behind suggestions, beautifully demonstrated, and refreshingly realistic about the fact that strict adherence to "rules" isn't a consistently successful (or even reasonable) approach when dealing with living things (our starters) and the massive variations in our home environments and ingredients and schedules.  How I interpret his approach is to understand the WHY behind each step, and then try different things, and build up your skills to the point where you know what suggestions and approaches work the best for you to create what is your personal definition of "good bread".

As for the specifics of the noted formula and video - my first really "successful" bake was the result of following the reasoning behind it, with the few necessary tweaks to suit my schedule and environment.  My room temperature was too high to follow the directions for the initial overnight soak of flour / water / salt to be mostly at room temperature (which is why the salt is added - to prevent too much enzymatic action at room temperature, but it was too hot for even the salt to keep things in check), so I did it overnight in the fridge, with only a couple of hours in the warm in the morning to bring it up to room temperature.  It still got me the desired result of gluten that was already well developed by time / water and not needing a lot of manual manipulation, the dough was wonderfully soft and extensible, and I didn't have too much enzyme action.

The high temperatures at the time also wouldn't have allowed enough bulk fermentation time to further develop the gluten according to the rationale behind the approach, so I again put the dough in the fridge for most of the bulk ferment (it actually was in there for about 18 hours).  I preshaped straight from the fridge, allowed an  hour bench rest, then final shaped and did the final proof (which was super-quick due to the heat).

What I got was a lovely loaf with a great oven-spring and a crumb that wasn't quite as open as his, but definitely the most open that I had / have achieved.  While it wasn't "to the letter", I believe that I did a pretty good job of following the intent and the reasoning behind each step, and so was rewarded with the great result. 

I don't see any reason why you couldn't / wouldn't try his overnight soak according to his formula of refrigerating for a while first and then slowly warming to room temp overnight (unless you've got temperature issues, too), and then follow through with the procedure the next day at room temperature, ending with your preferred overnight retarded proof.  It definitely follows the intent of each step, while suiting your preferences and schedule.

I'm looking forward to seeing the shots of your result!

hreik's picture

explanation.  B/c of what you wrote, you've given me the confidence to do the following. Btw, I live in the northeast (CT to be exact) and right now our temps are unusually warm.
Here's my plan:

Make the dough:  water, salt and flour: Refrigerate overnight.  Make levain and keep out at room temp. overnight.
 Then next day add levain to slightly warmed up dough... then
 Bulk ferment. Shape and then back in fridge overnight for next day bake.

I was going to first try increasing the hydration to 70%, but the T65 I use which is incredibly flavorful really cannot handle much more than 65 - 67/8 % hydration.  So increasing hydration will be my option #2 if my plan (as above) is a bust.

Thanks so much. 


IceDemeter's picture

with a really long wet time before?  I have no experience with lower protein flours such as the T65 (I'm at the edge of the Canadian prairies, and all of my local flours are crazy high protein), but have heard that the gluten structure might have issues with longer soaks with lower / weaker gluten flours.  I know Trevor uses American bread flour (high protein) in this recipe / video to give the strength for the long soak, so I have to wonder... 

However, kendalm just posted about doing a 30 hour ferment with the French flour that he prefers for baguettes (, so you might be alright, but definitely keep an eye on it!

Your plan looks great to me, and I'm now super curious to see how that flour will stand up to the long soak!  I'm thinking that you're going to need a light hand with the shaping but should end up with a lovely, open crumb and an absolutely incredible flavour.  Experiments are so much fun :-)

Keep baking happy!



hreik's picture

I think b/c of the unknowns I will start with one loaf only.  Was going to do 2, I usually do 6 500gram loaves at a time ... but b/c the flour is an expensive hassle to get I might just try with one loaf so I don't waste any precious flour.  Ty so much.

Gadjowheaty's picture

Old, sorry, but really engaged with both Hamelman (again), and Trevor, though they're so different in approach.  His "peasant style" as shown in his breadwerx video is very close to what I do for my pain au levain, with the exception that I use no spelt and it's Hi-Pro medium at 25%, medium rye at 12% for a sort of goosed parsing of T85, with the rye (my best parsing is actually about 63% BF at 11.7% and rest in Hi-Pro at 37%)..  I've learned so much from his book and vids, really appreciate them.

One tweak I've done is to set the overnight autolyse at about 12 hours out with chilled water, resting overnight at room temp of about 68F.  In other words, I don't refrigerate then pull out to temper overnight.  I'd expect about the same result.

I've not actually tried just doing his "1 - 2 hour autolyse, the longer the better," as I'm a terminal overshooter - if some is good, more is awesome.   From Hamelman I've never done long autolyses until Chad and Trevor.  I need to commit to Trevor's formula to the letter and see what I come up with.