blisters on sourdough bread

What Causes Spotting On Sourdough Bread After Retarding

What Causes Spotting On Sourdough Bread After Retarding?

During the retardation ( slow fermentation / delayed proofing)  of the dough in the cooler, retarder or refrigerator the bacteria in the dough releases acidic and lactic acids which in return influence the crust color, flavor and texture. The amount of sourdough starter added to a dough formulation ( lower ph)  in correlation with retardation time  will influence the amount of spotting on the surface of the finished product.

What is Retarding Bread Dough and Why do We Retard Dough’s?

Retarding is typically done during the second stage of proofing or also referred to final proof. This process slows down the rate of fermentation in yeast based dough’s and sourdough starter dough’s. Retarding of the dough is done by placing the dough into a retarder, cooler  or refrigerator for a duration of time before the baking process. Some types of bread call for 18-24 hours of retarding before baking. Rule of thumb by professional bakers is to set your retarder to 4 degrees Celsius ( 39.2 Fahrenheit ).  Although retarding the dough is typically performed during the final proof, it can also be used to bulk ferment dough’s before the shaping process.

Some of the key attributes and benefits of retarding dough is Flavor, richer crust color and improved crust and cell structure, all thanks to time ( fermentation).

Another important reason bakers retard dough is for convenience and flexibility. By controlling and regulating the rate of fermentation in a retarder/cooler, this allows them to bake product as needed thus providing their costumers with freshly baked bread through out the day.

The picture below illustrates a San Francisco Sourdough made with 30% Sourdough Starter. The dough was   retarded for 16 hours before baking. Surface blistering or what bakers call fish eyes is clearly present through out the surface of the bread.


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