Proofing Times


Hi All,

I am relatively new to baking with wild yeast.  My bread is turning out pretty well, with a nice open crumb, but I need a bit of fine tuning.  First question: Coming out of the banneton it is a bit jiggly so I think I may be over proofing.  Should I cut back on the bulk-fermenting, or on the final proof, or should I shorten them both? 

Second question is regarding the crust.  It is nice and hard when it comes out of the oven but then softens over the next day or so.  Do I just need to cook it a bit longer to get out more moisture?  I am usually cooking it to around 205 degrees; should I go for 210 instead?

Third, I would like to know what adjustments to make if I decide to autolyse for longer.  Would I then cut down the bulk ferment time, or would I shorten the final proof?  Or, would I be able to increase the autolyse without shortening some other rest period?

Thanks in advance for any advice I receive!  I am so glad to have this site as a resource.



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farinam's picture
farinam 2016 August 18

Hello floridatamar,

Don't be bound by the clock, be bound by the dough.  In other words, the time required depends on the recipe, the activity and proportion of starter and the temperature you are working at.

Don't be afraid to experiment by taking shorter times (or longer times for autolyse) but be sure that you take note of how the dough looks and feels so that you know what to look for when it is ready without having to look at the clock (other than in general terms).

As for the crust, it isn't going to stay crisp and crackly forever so if you don't use it within a day then you are almost bound to get some deterioration in crispness.  How you store it will have some effect as will how soon after baking you put it into storage.  Higher temperature and longer baking times will give you a thicker crust but you will eventually end up with a thicker softer crust with time.  I start off my bake at 270 and reduce it through the bake time so you certainly have some room to move.

Once again, don't be afraid to experiment.  It will all add to your learning and the bread will still be perfectly edible and when you achieve what you want there will be a much greater satisfaction of having done it yourself.

Good luck with your projects.


floridatamar 2016 August 18

Hi Farinam,

Thanks for your reply.  I am still trying to "read" the dough but sometimes I am not sure about it.  I am sure I will eventually come to know what the dough is telling me.


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