The Fresh Loaf

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Scaling up Process from 2 - 20 loaves Sourdough

Gadga's picture

Scaling up Process from 2 - 20 loaves Sourdough

Hi All

I'm a home baker who is making on average 2 free form loaves per day. My wife and I are opening a micro-bakery/cottage bakery in our little village and will need to scale up from 2 to 20/40 sourdough loaves of bread a day. 

At the moment once bulk fermentation is done I pre-shape and bench rest for 20-30 minutes and then shape and put the dough in bannetons and retard in the fridge overnight and bake early in the morning OR mix in the morning, bulk fermentation till around lunchtime, pre-shape and bench rest for 20-30 minutes and then shape and put the dough in bannetons for 3-4 hours and then bake in the late afternoon.

With 20-40 bannetons I won't have fridge space to fit them in a fridge. 

I have seen bakers once the dough has been mixed (in a mixer) then put the dough in the fridge in a container for 10 hours or so and then bring it out, portion it, pre-shape & bench rest, and then shape and put in bannetons for around 2-3 hours before baking.

I haven't done it this way and so not sure if there are other ways or if this is the only way to do larger batches of sourdough?

Any help is very welcome:)



alfanso's picture

be aware that the larger the mass the longer the cool-down time, and all the while the bulk will continue to ferment until the entire mass has cooled.  

You can't expect to put a quail and a turkey in the refrigerator and have them chill in the same time, so it is the same for dough.  That means you have to decide on how much to cut down on your countertop BF.

JeremyCherfas's picture

Not the same scale as you, but on my micro-bakery days I make 8-10 loaves. That's between 5 and 6 kg of dough. I give it about 3 hours bulk, then divide in two and put in plastic boxes in the fridge. In the morning I scale and preshape one oven-load at a time, staggering them by about an hour, which is how long they bake for. So it becomes a bit of an assembly line but each loaf gets about the same time outside the fridge. That way, I find all the loaves are about right, rather than some underproofed and some overproofed.