Sourdough – Trying Different Bulk Prove Method

Tried a new experimental with my bulk prove. Instead of my normal cold bulk for 24 hours I decided to bulk prove at 79°F in my proving box, shape then pick up my normal process again (e.g. cold retard in fridge overnight and bake the next morning)

It was an experiment…

Here is how the dough looked after the final mixing of the salt into the dough. This was 30 minutes after I had mixed in the levain (start of my bulk ferment).

Dough about to go into proving box

I let the dough go about 3 hours. It was later in the evening and it had already doubled in size.

Dough after 3 hours bulk ferment in proving box

I divided the dough after pouring it onto my counter.

Here is where I may have fallen down in the process. Instead of preshaping into rounds, resting for 20-30 minutes and then finally shaping into the bannetons I shaped and went straight to the bannetons.

Covered and going into cold retard overnight

Hindsight: Thinking I didn’t build the requisite strength along the outside.

Baked per my normal routine the next day. The loaves had noticeable filling in the bannetons.

After overnight cold retard

I slashed the loaves in two different patterns: an “S” and a regular lengthwise.

Awful “S” slash

I baked them excited for the reveal… I was a bit underwhelmed (kind of like the blooming).

Out and cooling

The bloom, as mentioned, was “not so much”. Internal temperature was 206°F so fully baked (I am for over 200°F). No “ears” to speak of, some dimples and good color. I did notice the telltale “molding” of the perimeter caused by the baking parchment in the Dutch Ovens.

Molding along lower perimeter

My overall hypothesis at this point is that I had an issue (impatience) in my shaping. Next time I’ll try to remember to do that better. I’ll update this post with a crumb cross-section pick once the loaves cool.

Always seeking to learn and get better / more consistent by pushing boundaries and variables.


Crumb is a bit tighter than normal (as expected). A larger bloom would have had a more loose crumb.

Published by Jim Hayden

Enterprise Transformation Consultant by day; Baker by night! Learning all the time! Iterative and incremental improvement always!

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