Think we should document our adventures with wild yeast. I’ve been trying much more than bread lately and it’s really worth your whole to try.
Side topic, there are some very serious people claiming that these longer fermented breads are significantly easier to digest and even allow people with perceived gluten sensitivities to eat breads without issues.
I’ll start with my only 3rd round pizza bake from last night.
Blend of 00 and AP and Red Fife flour. 3 day cold ferment. Super hot baking steel
I believe this to be 100% true. When I explain to people what is going on in the dough when you are allowing it to sit and rise, I break the processes into two categories: fermentation and maturation. On a very basic level, the fermentation process is the work that the yeast does, while maturation is the work done by enzymes that are naturally present in flour breaking down the gluten proteins formed when you make a dough.
The warmer the dough, the faster the fermentation occurs. The maturation process, on the other hand, occurs at the same rate no matter the temperature. So when you cold ferment, you slow down the work of the yeast to give the maturation process more time to occur. A more mature dough means more breaking down of the gluten proteins, which means a less dense crumb, and less work for our digestive systems when we eat it. It also affects how the dough cooks, ensuring that your dough gets cooked throughout during the baking process, and you don’t have a gum line . Again, this is a fairly high level explanation, but I think it helps one understand much better the reason for cold fermenting
It’s really fascinating how those little microbes work. My starter was incredible and now it’s lagging and there isn’t a good reason I can think of. Organic flour, regular feedings etc.
This last bake last weekend was done with 1 dough, later divided. All the steps were done the same way, the only difference was cold fermenting in a differnt part of the fridge and 1 proofed much more than the other, it collapsed when i scored it. The one on the right didn’t rise as much and had a good oven spring ,though I did a much shorter score when i saw the first one collapse. 1 decent spring and shape, 1 pancake… though still delicious.
so i’ve come to realize that my friend is right that the controlled temp is the whole game with proofing so i’m going to have to get one of those Bolt & Taylor joints unless someone else has a more cost friendly option.
pizza’ed last night for parents.
happy to post my failures as well as my successes
When I do sourdough loaves, my ‘proofer’ is the bottom oven (NOT the one I preheat), turned off, with the light on. That gets up to appox 85-90 degrees, keeps things nice an active without getting too hot and limits exposure to dust, curious felines, etc. If things get too warm (if it’s a REALLY long proof), just turn the light off.
(note: oven lights, so far as I know, are still ALWAYS old school incandescent bulbs, which is why this works. If you have some super modern oven with LED lighting, you’re out of luck)
Cold proofing is ALWAYS in the same spot in the fridge, which (thankfully) maintains a very steady 38-40F for consistency.
caveat: I am by no means a master baker, or even a particularly good baker.
My oven, after an hour or so, sits around 85deg F. That seems to be ideal for my bread recipe, which takes about 4 hours of bulk fermentation, followed by preshaping, rest, shaping, and 15 or so hours cold proof. 90deg may mean things will ferment a bit faster, and that’s probably close to the upper limit on how warm you want things to be. Yeast starts to die off around 105F, so staying under that is the most important.
generally: lower temps = longer fermentation times, which can lead to a deeper flavor as the non-yeast bacteria have more time build up. What you want out of your final product can mean you should have longer or shorter ferment and proof times, depending on your desired results.
I learned a LOT from this particular youtube channel:
just watched his review of the Brod & Taylor unit and it’s pretty convincing. if lightbulb can’t keep the stove at 90 i’m going to likely buy this or a seedling mat and controller since i’ll need a matt for seedlings soon anyway
so i think i just figured it all out. after a couple of really lackluster bakes with inconsistent breads… and really never ever achieving what i would accept as proper oven spring i’ve been playing with temp control of our stove and considering the B&T proofer
what i did this time is just do the starter refreshment and entire bulk fermentation with all the steps in the oven with light turned on. this kept it at a consistent 80 degrees (i can easily bump it up to 85 or 90 if i go to the kitchen and turn the stove on and off for a minute or insert a warm dutch oven)
what it lead to is a very nicely bulked/proofed dough which sprung the hell up in the oven this morning.
also really pleased with how the 9 grain mix i got at King’s roost felt while working with the dough and how it looks. can’t wait to try!