Retarded sourdough bread

Knowing how to retard your bread, it offers you a lot of flexibility to spread these steps to fit your personal schedule. Baking bread at home should not be the main activity of your day but rather should fit between other main activities you have. 

Retarding the bread in the refrigerator is an interesting process. On one side, it gives more flavour to your bread. The flour releases its flavour at its maximum potential. On the other side, it helps the baker to easily score it and offers flexibility to bake it when you want. 

The risk of extending the regard is to get an over proved bread and a more sour taste. But this happens if you keep the dough too much in the fridge (over 3 days) or when your fridge is keeping a higher temperature than 4ºC. At this low temperature, the sourdough is dormant and won't be active to rise your bread.

But imagine that you knead and shape 3 loaves of bread, you put them in the fridge and the next 3 days you take out and bake one bread per day. This means that you'll have fresh bread every day. How does this sound?

Knowing all these details allows you to control the bread-making process.

Let's now see the recipe...



  1. [Day 1, Friday, 9:30] Scaling. Start by measuring the ingredients. 
  2. Immediately after,  Mix water + flours. Mix only the flours with water just until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I used water at room temperature. I use a bread proofer set at 24ºC. Without one, find a warm spot in your house. Can be your oven with only the light on. 
    Then, you'll just need to cover the bowl with a lid to avoid the dough to dry at its surface. Leave the dough for the autolyse phase for 3 hours.
  3. [Day 1, Friday, 12:30] Sourdough starter. Add the starter over the dough and knead for 10 minutes with a standing mixer. If you do not have one, knead by hand. Then, leave the dough to relax for 30 minutes.
  4. [Day 1, Friday, 13:00] Salt. Incorporate the salt and knead for 5 minutes more in the standing mixer. Then cover the bowl and let the dough relax for 45 minutes.
  5. [Day 1, Friday, 13:45] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it in 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Let them sit covered for 45minutes.
  6. [Day 1, Friday, 14:30] Lamination. Take each piece out of the bowl and do the lamination. Let the dough rest covered for 30 minutes. 
  7. [Day 1, Friday, 15:00] Coil fold 1. Start now a set of 4 coil folds performed straight in the bowls. Do the first coil fold set in each glass bowl and let them sit for 30 minutes covered.
  8. [Day 1, Friday, 15:30] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 30 minutes covered
  9. [Day 1, Friday, 16:00] Coil fold 3. Do a third set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 30 minutes covered.
  10. [Day 1, Friday, 16:30] Coil fold 4. Do a fourth set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 45 minutes covered.
  11. [Day 1, Friday, 17:15] Shape the loaves on the lightly floured board. Place the dough face down into well-floured bannetons. Repeat the process for the second piece of dough. Let the covered bannetons still rest at room temperature for 1 hour and a half before placing them in the fridge for 40 hours. This timing doesn't have to be exact. They can stay in the fridge between 8 hours up until 2-3 days without any disadvantage. Just be sure of the temperature inside your fridge to be around 4ºC.
  12. [Day 3, Sunday, 10:45] Score. Before scoring, you need to preheat the Dutch oven in which you'll slide the bread. For a conventional oven, I preheat at 270ºC. This particular bread I baked it in a wood-fired oven where the temperature was more difficult to control. 
    Take the dough out from the fridge and reverse the banneton on a baking paper. Score and decorate the bread as you like.  Immediately after, slide the loaves into the Dutch oven(s) that you'll put back in the big oven. Do not forget to put the lid on.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven at 270ºC for 15 minutes. After these 15 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake at a reduced temperature of 220ºC for 30 minutes. In my wood-fired oven, I do not have the option to reduce the temperature as I like. The temperature falls naturally during the baking, depending on many other factors like the type of wood used, the quantity of wood, the outside temperature and humidity, the ventilation system and so on. Therefore, I adjust the timing based on the temperature and on how the loaves are looking after the first 15 minutes.
  14. [Day 3, Sunday, 11:30] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches the room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course...
  15. [Day 3, Sunday, 13:30] Cut. Now is the big moment to enjoy a slice of bread... or more...


suez said...

Love the idea of baking fresh bread every day. This definitely goes in this baker's bread. Thanks for another wonderful take on bread

Hungry Shots said...

Thank you very much, suez!

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