This was an experiment in time management.
Snap judgement: This blog entry will be boring. Skip this entry in its entirety.Yawn. Read a bit more just to be sure my judgement was correct.
I was working days all weekend, and leaving early Monday morning, and I wanted to take some fresh bread with me. I worked out a schedule involving multiple refrigerated steps. I had never made bread before while working an entire weekend.
Yep, I was right. I can stop reading this any time and I won't miss anything here.
On a pad, I sketched out the plan. Anything marked "night" meant I was to accomplish this after working a 12 hour shift and spending 30-45 minutes driving home, after showering. Anything marked "am" meant I was to accomplish this after a 5-6 hour sleep, waking up at 0500 (and also accomplishing all the other things that had to be done -- the three S's, as well as eat breakfast and make lunch and dinner to take with me):
FRI night: refresh sourdough
SAT am: mix dough
SAT night: bulk ferment
SUN am: proof
SUN night: bake
It sounded simple. The plan, however, had to be modified a little bit in practice. The dough had to be refrigerated after mixing, fermenting and proofing, and it turned out that this added some time to be able to work with it, as it was slow to thaw to room temperature. I did ask my wife to take the dough out of the fridge before I left from work on Saturday night. When I arrived home it was already out of the fridge an hour and a half, and was thus almost at room temperature. Had I not done so, I would have had to stay up at least an hour more on Saturday night.
I decided that I would stay up late that night anyway. I would cut the bulk fermentation short slightly (by a couple of hours!), but do all the dividing of dough, the forming of loaves, and setting them in proofing baskets, all on Saturday night. "This foreshortened bulk fermentation might be further offset by my longer refrigerated proofing stage," I reasoned.
Using Wheat Germ
It occurred to me when I ripped into the second of the last loaves I made that although I had included wheat germ in the dough of those pan integrale's, I hadn't included the 5% wheat germ in the sourdough portion of them. I sought to remedy this for this baking. On Friday night, I added 5% wheat germ to my sourdough refresher. So to 1 TBSP of old starter, I added 200g of water, 200g of ww flour, and 10g of wheat germ.
I also prepared ahead the entire mixture of ingredients, leaving everything mis en place for my 0500 mixing of the dough. I used 80% whole wheat, 20% rye, 20% sourdough starter, 5% wheat germ, 2% salt, all at 80% hydration.
Saturday AM came, and I just had to dump all the ingredients together. The sourdough floated a little, before it sank like a stone, waterlogged. In the back of my mind I thought, "oh-oh, not good."
I did the short autolyse before adding the salt, and even turned the dough once in the bowl before covering and refrigerating the dough and heading to work.
It was Saturday night that I stayed up almost until midnight, working my way through further tugging at the cold dough, trying to develop the gluten. It really didn't have a proper chance to develop before I divided the dough, did a short bench rest, shaped the loaves, and plopped them in baskets. These went into plastic bags and were refrigerated.
Sunday AM I awoke tired and cranky, not getting enough sleep, but happy that I didn't have to try to get cold dough into baskets because that step was already done.
Sunday night I arrived home and showered and got the dough from the fridge. It looked like it hadn't fermented at all. But into the Dutch Oven it went anyway. And it looked like a flat pancake when it hit the hot pan. Nonplussed, I persevered. I was rewarded with a small oven-spring, and some fairly decent gringe on the scoring of the loaf. But the loaves looked tiny. Puny. I knew that the sourdough hadn't performed very well in the cold fridge environment. I figured these would be pretty dense loaves.
We took them with us anyway.
It was a couple of days before I sliced into one of these loaves. I was happy with the fact that it wasn't too stale, but unhappy with the way the crumb tasted somewhat mealy. I believe that this is because the gluten wasn't well developed during the folding and stretching phases. The crust never got too stale to cut, but the crumb tended to fur up a bit when sliced, rather than give a nice edge.
The taste was fine, however -- if not choice.
Notes to Myself
- Unless you have the time to fully develop the gluten with Q30min stretch and fold episodes, think about kneading. You cannot, as I supposed, make up the missed bulk fermentation time by increasing the proofing time -- since using this stretch and fold technique the gluten is given its strength during the bulk fermentation.
- Retarding the dough can be done at any time during the mixing/bulk fermentation/proofing -- if you put it in the fridge. However, it will not stop the fermentation entirely, nor will it stop the proteolysis. The gluten breaking down is probably the first effect noticed of some dough that is left too long in the cold.