29 Hour Whole Wheat Bread

 This is a method I use for making bread when I want to control the bread process and not let it dictate my life for the day...using a refrigerator to retard the dough can stretch the bread making process up to 3 days. This is a method of baking professional bakers use...controlling the temperature of the dough. If you control the temperature you control how quickly or slowly the dough ferments. Generally speaking, longer fermented dough has a much superior flavor and texture, but that's just a bi-product for the home cook. Because when making bread at home and you control the dough (or more accurately, control the temperature of the dough), you allow yourself to go about whatever it is you have to do that day (or 2 or 3 days), all the while the dough is either rising or staying dormant. I'm making it sound more difficult than it is; it's not difficult at all...you'll see in the pictures. Anyhow, this is how I did it. (For bread recipes in previous posts, click here, here, and here.)

About two 1pm yesterday I made a simple preferment and let it rise for a few hours. Here it is about 7pm, after fermenting for about 6 hours (click for larger images).

About 8pm I made a basic bread dough (see previous posts for recipes), using 33% whole wheat flour. I then placed the dough in an oiled container and immediately placed it in the refrigerator. Under normal (room temp) conditions this would rice in an hour or so, and over-proof within a couple hours. The first image, on the left is the dough around 8pm, just when it went in the refrigerator. The next picture is the dough, 14 hours later, at about 10am.

I took it out of the refrigerator, deflated it, and let it rise again. Around 1pm I shaped it into loaves and put them in pans. I left the dough to rise at room temp (my kitchen is pretty cold this time of year when to oven is off). If the dough was warm it would have only taken the dough about 45-60 minutes to rise. The first image is at 1pm and the next is the dough at about 5pm, four hours later.

After preheating the oven I baked the dough for about 1/2 hour. It was ready to eat at a little after 6pm. Delicious. I had a few slices with dinner, and gave the other uncut loaf away.