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Advice for overnight bulk ferment

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Advice for overnight bulk ferment

Hi,

I have typically been making up my own recipes using (generally) 2% salt, 20% starter (or 10% of flour inoculated), 35% whole grain, and about 78-85% hydration depending on my flour mix. 

Since I work fairly long hours and it's winter, it has become increasingly inconvenient and time consuming to do a bulk ferment when my kitchen is only about 65 degrees. I was looking at the Elaine Foodbod recipes that call for reducing the starter to 10% (50g starter and 500g flour) for an overnight 10-12 hour bulk ferment at room temp followed by shaping and then a retarded fridge final proof. I probably should just go for it, but I am pretty scared to leave my dough out for 10-12 hours. 

She also skips an autolyse and instead lets the flour + salt + starter + water sit mixed untouched for an hour. I have had pretty good success with my 1-4 hour traditional autolyse so am somewhat reluctant to mix things up too much. 

I'm starting to ramble, but I would appreciate advice on how to work around a work schedule and deal with 65 degree room temps at the same time. Many thanks! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Ilene, I think (50g starter and 500g flour) for an overnight 10-12 hour bulk ferment at 65F sound reasonable. Your percentage of prefermented flour is 5%. Sounds good to me, even with 35% whole grain.

Danny

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Worth giving it a shot! I might try my regular method in terms of autolyse and coil folds, but just reduce starter percentage and see how it goes.

arthurprs's picture
arthurprs

In my experience it'll work but you'll end up a significantly more sour loaf. I had a similar need at some point but the flavor profile was not ideal for me.

What ended up working better, in my case, was to build a larger preferment with 25~30% prefermented flour to get the bulk fermentation time (and loaf flavor) acceptable.

ifs201's picture
ifs201

It will be interesting to see if the loaf is noticibly more sour. I'll report back.

Southbay's picture
Southbay

It puts you in charge of the timing instead of letting your microscopic starter friends rule in a state of anarchy. I often let my dough chill for days, first overnight in the bowl it was mixed in and then shaped in a banneton for any additional nights. If you cut back on starter and reduce hydration a bit, the dough will handle it better. Just don’t get your starter too extremely fast and revved up for it or you’ll get too much expansion in the fridge. Get the dough put together and chilled pretty quickly so it doesn’t get to rising too much before chilling. Then you’re in control. The differences between breads fermented various numbers of days can be interesting and enjoyable. I sometimes leave a shaped dough in a banneton as long as 5 nights, then a proof and bake whenever you’re ready. If a dough goes too long, it will go slack and is then good for deep dish pizza since it can just get plopped and spread into the bottom of a deep pan. Just try stuff. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Southbay, that is an interesting idea. What is the temp of your refrigerator? I would imagine that the bread have a very acetic (sharp) flavor.

Do you have any crumb shots of dough that was retarded for 3 or more days.

Danny

SheGar's picture
SheGar

Elaine's recipe works really well.

Rhody_Rye's picture
Rhody_Rye

What you describe is the process I usually use to make sourdough. Typically I mix everything up all at once, including starter that is around 13-14% of the total flour weight. Total bulk from time of mixing until pre-shape is usually 12-14 hours, depending on room temp. In the winter it's often about 67 F in our house.

This method - mixing in the evening followed by a rest of about an hour, several rounds of stretch and fold, then continuing to buik until the morning - is great for fitting bread baking into my busy schedule.

If I'm at home in the morning I'll proof and then bake; otherwise I preshape, shape, then place in bannetons that go into the fridge until that evening. 

Here are two cranberry-pecan loaves I baked this morning (to give away, sadly). They smelled delicious.

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Happy to know many have success with this method. I've been building my levain and milled the flour this morning. I plan on mixing the dough tonight and baking tomorrow night! 

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Well, the loaves are in the fridge resting in their bannetons.  I tried one 50/50 KABF and T85 with pumpkin seeds and the other is 60% KABF, 20% fresh spelt, and 20% fresh hard red winter. The total bulk ferment went about 11 hours with 5% levain at 65 degrees. Turning the dough onto the counter I definitely saw more aggressive signs of fermentation than in my usual bakes as I don't typically see the web of gluten strands on the dough. The dough shaped up nicely, but I hope it didn't over ferment. 

 

ifs201's picture
ifs201

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

If you think this bake over-fermented, then reduce your percentage of pre-fermented flour (levain) next time. Once you have it dialed in your results should be fairly consistent.

Dan

ifs201's picture
ifs201

I think I've been under fermenting generally so this will be a good experiment to see how the loaves turn out and if I think it's better/worse than usual!