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Sourdough does not hold shape after overnight cold ferment

kirstendebeer's picture

Sourdough does not hold shape after overnight cold ferment

Hello all!

I have been baking sourdough for a few months now so I would say I am fairly new to it. I use The Perfect Loaf's Fifty Fifty whole wheat recipe, here is the link:

My starter is very well established, it always triples in size within 4 hours of 1:1:1 feeding.

My problem is, whenever I let my dough cold ferment over night it never holds its shape. 

BUT when I rest it in a warm place for 1hour and then the freezer for 1hour, it comes out almost perfectly. It gets great oven spring, the final bread has great ear and great flavor. The crumb is a bit denser than an overnight ferment but its still very pleasant.

Why does my dough go flat when it ferments overnight??? I always do 12hour cold ferment and it rises beautifully in the fridge but it goes flat when i turn it out. 

What should I do??

WatertownNewbie's picture

What is the temperature of your refrigerator?  If it is not 38F or below, then your dough will continue to develop (i.e., will not retard) overnight..

AlanG's picture

Our fridge is set at 38 and I've not had any issues and I bake sourdough all the time during the cooler months.  I make 500 gram batards and pretty much follow David Snyder's San Joaquin recipe on this site in terms of the timing.

tpassin's picture

Your dough sounds very active - meaning it's still rising rapidly after the one-hour point. If the refrigerator temperature is low enough - people are saying 38 deg F but I would say lower - then put the shaped loaf into the refrigerator after 1/2 hour instead of 1 hour.  Otherwise, lower the temperature, but maybe you will still want to put the loaf in sooner, perhaps after 45 minutes instead of an hour.  You will just have to try it.

The freezer probably is working by slowing down the proofing more quickly than the refrigerator, so the dough doesn't get a change to overproof.

I'm surprised at the activity of your shaped loaves, and you might do well by trying to reduce it so the proofing process will take longer - and therefore become more tolerant of schedule variations.

Or your flour may not be holding up to bulk ferment, either because too many of the dough's yeast foods get used up or because of attack on the gluten.  If so, changing some of the flour, or reducing the length of the bulk ferment may be helpful. 

Stretching or working the dough more during shaping could also be helpful.  This will develop the gluten more, and also bring more yeast foods and oxygen near the yeast colonies, both of which might postpone the point of over-proofing.


WatertownNewbie's picture

Let's see.  Three of us take the time and effort to respond.  Not even a grunt of a reply.  Looks like the original poster fell flat too.

Moe C's picture
Moe C

Whoa, it's only been 1 day!

You are probably frustrated with the OPs who ask a question and disappear. I'm particularly annoyed at the ones who go on to start other threads without ever acknowledging the responses to their first.

WatertownNewbie's picture

OP seems still to be flat.

Moe C's picture
Moe C

Can't argue with you now.