The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Quick Proofing Questions...

Stig's picture

Quick Proofing Questions...

I must say I am loving this group already. One post and I have learnt more this past few days than I've learnt in the past 10 years of trial and error lol. 

Just a little question then about proofing.

As you may or may not know it's quite hot here (I live in Southern China) for 3/4 of the year around 30C, so I'm thinking to proof in a bedroom with the air-con on. What temps would you recommend I set at for both sourdough and also for instant yeast.

a. A quick proof

b. A slow proof

Also with sourdough I do a real slow proof (overnight 12 hours etc) in the fridge. Can you do the same with instant yeast doughs?


BaniJP's picture

I would always recommend a slow proof because you are more in control, the windows of opportunity are bigger and you're not rushing anything. Plus, a slow proof adds more complex flavors as well as better digestibility to baked goods. Especially with sourdough it's better to not rush anything. Instant yeast is a little more forgiving, but it also shouldn't be sped up.

I would keep the temperature something between 20-25°C, that's a good sweet spot for sourdough and yeasts.

If you proof sourdough in the fridge, instant yeast works too, if not better.

mutantspace's picture

a poolish might work well for can do it with instant yeast or sourdough. Do it overnight and mix it up in the morning and off you go. Best of both worlds...half your dough slow and sweet and the final mix relatively fast...

Stig's picture

Whats a poolish? lol

mutantspace's picture

 take up to half your flour weight mix it with same amount of water and a pinch of instant yeast (or to be specific 1/16 tsp per 250g) and leave it overnight.

Itll be ready when very bubbly and if you taste it'll be sweet. Mix in the remaining flour, water, salt, etc and off you go. I sometimes do a poolish with sourdough and finish with instant yeast due to time constraints. Its an old polish baking method. a really good one

 heres a simple example:


250g bread flour

250g water

1/16 (a pinch) IY

leave for 9+ hours



all poolish

250g flour

100g water

10g salt

3/4 tsp IY


mix and ferment for 75 - 90 minutes

preshape and shape

proof for 30 - 45 minutes



Obviously times are dependent on your climate....but that simple recipe can be adapted for everything.


Stig's picture


Cheers mate : )

Maverick's picture

Here are a few things to keep in mind with timing. If you are making a lean dough, then a slow fermentation and/or a pre-ferment (poolish, biga, pate fermentee/old dough, sourdough, or whatever) will add flavor. Enhanced doughs iwht sugar, etc will still benefit from this but  it is less critical. There are a couple things you can do to slow fermenation. You can keep it in an area that is cooler (25C is about average, but 22-27C are often used depending on the baker). Or you can use less yeast which is something many people don't think to do. Another approach is to use cold water, but this will usually only help for the beginning of the bulk ferment.

I would not air condition an entire room just for dough, but if you can sit in there and enjoy the A/C too, that might be a good thing to do. Personally I would use less yeast and a pre-ferment at 30C (and I might do colder water too).

Like you said, you can retard the dough in the fridge at either the initial bulk fermentation stage, or the final stage after shaping. Yes, this works with instant yeast doughs too.

Stig's picture

All good info Mavrick.

Yeah if the AC is on ill be in there too lol : )