The Fresh Loaf

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Cold retard

Sddd's picture

Cold retard

Question…would an 18 hr cold retard be too long for a 100% whole wheat? 

(Rouge De Bordeaux flour) 

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Short answer: no.

The longer answer depends on answers to a couple of questions:

  1. How cold is the cold retard? (The usual is a fridge at least as cold as 4C, which slows fermentation to a crawl).
  2. How long will the dough have fermented prior to retardation? Remember that the dough mass retains heat and so will take some time to get down to the retard temp, with fermentation continuing through that time. Thus, you (generally) should retard the dough before it's at the stage you want it (whether in bulk or proof).
  3. Are you talking about a fermenting dough or an autolyse?

I am presuming you are talking about a fermenting dough, as, otherwise, that's just a cold autolyse, which is fine, too, but, as per Benny and Ilya's input in a previous topic, if you are referring to a cold autolyse, it's safer to make it a saltolyse, which is simply where you add salt to the flour/water mixture. 18 hours at fridge temp is much more than enough of time to achieve all the possible benefits of an autolyse so the added salt slowing it down will be a good 'safety net' without there being any risk that it won't be autolysesd or softenened 'enough'.

When undertaken with fermenting dough, I tend to think of the retard not really as a separate step but as modifying a portion of an existing step - e.g. it's not: bulk ferment then retard; it's more: retard as the final part of a bulk stage.

Unless you really can get your dough down to 1C or so very quickly, of course, (e.g. in a blast chiller,) in which case it really can be a separate step and can start when your dough has finished the previous stage in your process.


idaveindy's picture

Welcome to TFL !

I would also suppose it has to do with how much levain or yeast is in it.

My typical miche is 90% WW, with 3.5% pre-fermented flour. (roughly 7% levain of 100% hydration.)

A 4 hour room temp bulk ferment, then shaped and overnight fridge proof at 41 F, is just about right for my formula.  5% PFF  over-proofs it at those timings.