The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

To Proof or Not To Proof

BreadBae's picture

To Proof or Not To Proof

Ive recently been trying to solve my oven spring woes, and I've stumbled across a video blog:

In it, Rick suggests a 5 hour bulk rise after autolyse. You stretch and fold during the first hour. Then its a 12 hour final rise in the fridge. I'm trying this method out for the first time and the bread has a nice bubble and air to it, but I'm afraid of overproofing.


Usually I do a 2 hour stretch and fold, bench rest 20-40 mins, tension fold and pull, baskets, and into the fridge for 8-12 hours. But I wasn't getting any oven spring, and my breads wouldn't score, came out flat and with a poor crust. 

Thoughts anyone?

albacore's picture

I don't think 5 hours is unreasonable. I normally do about 4 hours bulk proof. I tend to work on the appearance of the dough, looking for it to be well risen with a few big gas bubbles starting to appear.

Obvious factors affecting bulk proof time are dough temperature, levain quantity and starter vitality.

I find that the final proof in the fridge method gives good oven spring. Factors to consider here regarding overproving are fridge temperature (I set the fridge colder on dough prep day morning), position of the bannetons (use lower shelves) and ambient temperature.

Also watch out for "others" filling the fridge up with shopping while your loaves are proving!