Bread Dough - Five Day Fermentation ....Pics

ann_tMay 7, 2013

Last Wednesday I made a double batch of baguette dough, baked three loaves and and left the other half in the fridge until yesterday.

A longer fermentation develops the flavour and produces large airy bubbles.

I also made three pita breads using the same dough. Rolled into a thin round and baked on a hot stone the dough puffs up almost immediately and only takes a few minutes to bake.

You can cut the pita in half and fill the pockets or just fold and fill with chicken souvlaki.

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Gorgeous bread! Does the longer fermentation give a slightly sour flavor, or added complexity? I like Peter Reinhart's recipe for baguettes anciens which uses pate fermentee, but I think the fermentation period is 1-2 days. I don't think I've let it go much longer.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:02AM
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I should do this also, as I have room in the fridge in the garage for storing the dough.

Do you use yeast or do you use sourdough starter? In Venice I kept some sourdough starter going for several weeks, but I got the original starter from Maartje, and I was never able to start any on my own the same way.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:35AM
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Looks amazing Ann! I am going to have to give this a try on Thurs or Fri for baking early next week..... you are truly inspiring.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Cheryl, both, it really develops the flavour adding just a slight sour taste. I like it better than sour dough bread.

Plus you get this wonderful texture with light airy holes/bubbles.

Lars, I went through a stage there for a while where I made bread using my sour dough starter. I kept the starter going for a few years. It was active enough that I did not have to add additional yeast.

But I decided that I really like the milder sour taste that comes from using this method. So I let my starter "die".

Thanks Alexa. I hope you give it a try. This dough makes a great pizza crust.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Thanks Ann! Great pizza crust is what I need. I loved the idea of using up my cheese bits with other toppings on pizza.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:37AM
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Ann, I am confused. Not unusual for me in the kitchen, of course!
Can you post your recipe?
And a really, REALLY bit request? Can I adapt it to a Zoji bread machine for kneading?

Thank you for so generously sharing inspiration and information.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Sandra, I started out using Julia Child's recipe for French Baguettes, and over the years I've made adjustments.
Adding a biga, using less yeast but more water. etc.. I've noted my changes in the recipe below..

Bread is one of those things that doesn't need to be over thought. Just flour, yeast, salt and water will net a great loaf of bread.

Years ago, (20) I used a bread machine to knead wet doughs. I would put six cups of bread in a bread machine that could bake a 2 1/2 cup loaf, and put it through two and three kneading cycles, before finishing the kneading by hand. You have to be careful though, some bread machines have a heating cycle during kneading. Mine didn't . So it was just a matter of resetting to kneading. Obviously, I couldn't have baked a six cup loaf of bread in that machine, but it easily handled the kneading of six cups of flour.

You can also adapt this loaf, making it a , or adding olives, or adding nuts, walnuts or . (great with cheese).

French Baguette

Julia Child

1 package dry active yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour (bread flour)
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups cold water plus 1/3 or so additional water

Using Food Processor

Place the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of the food process. Pulse to mix. Add 1 1/3 cups of water and process until the dough comes together. If the dough doesn't form a ball, add a little of the extra water. Process for about 60 seconds, turn off machine and let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Turn on the machine again and rotate the dough about 30 times under the cover, and then remove it to a lightly floured work surface. it should be fairly smooth and quite firm.

Let the dough rest for 2 minutes and then knead roughly and vigorously. The final dough should not stick to your hands as you knead (although it will stick if you pinch and hold a piece); it should be smooth and elastic and, when you hold it up between your hands and stretch it down, it should hold together smoothly.

Preliminary rise - 40 to 60 minutes at around 75°F. Place the dough into a clean dry bowl, (do not grease the bowl), cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place free from drafts. (note the French do not grease the bowl because they believe the dough needs a seat to push up from). This first rise is sufficient when the dough has definitely started to rise and is about 1 1/2 times its original volume.


Turn the dough onto your lightly floured work surface roughly and firmly pat and push it out into a 14 inch rectangle. Fold one of the long sides over toward the middle, and the other long side over to cover it, making a 3 layer cushion. Repeat the operation. This important step redistributes the yeast throughout the dough, for a strong second rise. Return the dough smooth side up the bowl; cover with plastic wrap and again set to rise.

Final rise in the bowl - about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or longer. The bread should be 2 1/2 to 3 times its original bulk. It is the amount of rise that is important here, not the timing.

To Shape,

Cut the dough in half. Set one piece aside and cover with a towel.

On a lightly floured work surface pat the dough into a 14 inch rectangle, squaring it u p as evenly as you can.

Fold the rectangle of dough in half lengthwise and using the heel of your hand, firmly press the edges together whether they meet. Seat well. Pound the dough flat. Now repeat - patting the dough out again and folding it over and sealing the edges. Pinch the edges well and Rotate the dough so that the sealed edge in on the bottom.

Repeat with second piece of dough.

Cover with plastic wrap or loosely with a towel and let rise to more than double again at about 75°f.

Place stone in oven and Preheat oven to 450°F. Slash three long cuts into the loaves and place on the hot stone. Spray loaves with water and immediately toss a number of ice cubes on to the bottom on the oven to create steam. Spray again two or three times, 3 minutes a part. Bake until bread is golden and has an interior temp of 200°F. Takes about 30 minutes.

Making Dough in a Mixer or by Hand

When you are making dough in an electric mixer with a dough hook, proceed in the same general way with the rests indicated, and finish by hand. or mix the dough by hand in a bowl, turn out on a work surface, and start the kneading by lifting it up with a scraper and slapping it down roughly for several minutes until it has body. Let it rest several minutes and then proceed to knead.

I use a Magic Mill to do most of the kneading. The Magic Mill can handle over 20 cups of flour at one time.

I use 4 cups for a single batch and 8 cups for a double batch Plus the addition of a Biga. I prefer a wet dough so I add more water.

I usually start this bread with a Biga (Italian)/Poolish (French) a pre-fermentation. Made the night before. Contributes to a more complex flavour and a better texture.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 cup of water.

Mix well. Cover and set aside.

Other changes: I mix the Biga, Flour, Yeast and water together,without the salt, and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb some of the water. I add the salt after this rest, and then finish by kneading.

This dough makes for a wonderful pizza crust. Place dough in fridge and leave it for two to four, even five days. Take it out early (three hours) to give it time to come to room temperature. Allowing the dough to have a long cold fermentation really develops the flavour and the texture of the bread.

EDITED NOVEMBER 2012: I now reduce the amount of yeast called for in the original recipe. When doubling the amount of flour to eight cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups of biga, I use just three teaspoons of yeast.

OPTIONAL: Add Cranberries and Pistachios

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:10AM
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Thank you so much. I will print this and think about it.

(Right now my head is full of a new to me Asian grocery (Patel's), a chain, but fairly new in my area, where I visited today for the first time. How FUN!)

I am also new to bread making, but I LOVE even the basic bread from the Zoji. which I have now had for 6 months or so.

I have never in my whole life (all 75 years!) made bread from salt, water, flour, and yeast. Until a few months ago I had never made bread, period. And I ate bread as rarely as possible because it was yucky.

Interesting how seductive the process becomes as the product tastes better and better.

Thank you again for helping seduce me.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 5:16PM
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Looks wonderful, Ann! I have a novice baker's question: do you have to punch the dough down at all during the five days in the fridge? I know rising would be very slow, but it seems like it would rise some.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:55PM
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It does depend on the size of the container. But yes, I do have to knock it down. Usually twice. Once a few hours after I put it in the fridge. Initially it continues to rise quite quickly. And again a couple of days later. It is amazing how much it will still rise even in a cold fridge.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:08PM
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A picture is worth a thousand words.

Very beautiful bread.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:32PM
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Thanks Dcarch.

You are welcome Sandra. Happy to help. If you have a problem let me know. If you are interested, I have a couple of bread pictorials on the blog.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:59PM
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Ann T, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only person who thinks sourdough is too "sour". I tried and tried to get a viable living starter and after I did, I didn't even like it very much!

I haven't baked bread in a long time, Elery's been on a diet and since he loves homemade bread he has asked me not to make it . Since neither of us care for store-bought bread, it sure cuts down the bread consumption!

Sandra, Grandma only baked basic bread during the winter, when the chickens weren't laying eggs and we didn't have an overflow of butter. All other times she made the rich farmhouse white bread with butter, eggs and milk, some sugar.

I really have to make some bread soon. It won't look like Ann T's but I don't care, LOL, I'll eat the end piece off the loaf before I ever think to take a picture.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 1:04AM
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Add me to the list of people not crazy about sourdough. I got a good starter going and used to make sourdough rye for some Russian friends who loved it. I don't like rye either, so I made it just for them.

There's a fine line between the added flavor that fermentation adds and the sour flavors when fermentation is advanced. I've never kept a biga more than 2 days, but I might try increasing that time to see how far I can push it.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:11AM
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Cheryl, I kept my starter going as long as I did, because my son loves sour dough. I would make loaves for him. I gave some of my starter to one of Matt's friends a few years ago and the last I heard it was still going strong.

I actually liked the rye I made from the sourdough starter.

I find a fermentation of 4 to 5 days perfect. After that it does start to go down hill fast. If I haven't used it by the fifth day, I just use it as a "starter" for another batch of dough.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:49AM
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Ann - I'll try 4 days as a start. We had a biga in the fridge a couple of weeks ago which DH was going to use for bread, but completely forgot. I think it was around 5-6 days by that time. We used it for pizza instead. The flavor was very pleasant, the dough had nice structure and there were no off flavors. In some book or other I read, they say sourdough takes at least 7 days, so your timing is about right.

I'm just not a rye lover, in any form I've tried so far. I think I would eat supermarket white bread if I had to choose, which is about the worst insult I can think of.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Thanks for the answer, Ann T. I should have waited to ask until I was through grading.

I'm going to give this technique a try. Seems it would offer amazing flexibility, and my life demands flexibility. I could pull it out and bake it when I have time or inclination. Something else to try this summer!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 8:05PM
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You are welcome Slowlane.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:25AM
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