The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Baking from bulk retard

johnmeec's picture

Baking from bulk retard

Hi folks. Looking for some tips on baking bread that's been bulk retarded. At the bakery I work at we normally retard the loaves in bannetons, and they bake great the next morning - always slash and spring up well. But we're trying to increase capacity, so been bulk retarding some dough too, shaping and proving it next morning. Only problem is it never comes out the oven looking as good. The knife/lame always snags because it feels wetter, and the eventual appearance is never as appealing. Of course it's not all about appearance, and it tastes just as good, but I'm just wondering if anyone has some useful advice on this. Thanks.

newchapter's picture

After a retard of the bulk fermentation stage, I divide & weigh out my dough, cold, and give each a rough pre-shape. I let them rest for 30-60 minutes depending on how warm or cold it is, in my kitchen.  Then final shape, and pan.  You can dock & bake from here, but I usually give it another 30-60 minutes, based on my kitchen temp, as my kitchen can stay pretty cool. How long is your final proof, before you dock & bake?  I know the longer I wait, the more drag I have with the blade.  I’ve never been happy with my bread appearance, if that stage goes longer than two hours, with an un-spiked (no added commercial yeast) dough, in a fairly cool home kitchen.