72 hour prove

Because making your own bread seems to make other people feel guilty, one of the questions I get asked a lot, rather accusingly, is “how do you find the time to make your own bread?”

The ironic thing is that since I’ve been making my own sourdough I have:

Lost weight
Saved money
Spent less time shopping

This is because sourdough is low GI, it’s so delicious it’s almost (I said ALMOST) like eating cake but without the sugar lurch. So I snack in more satisfying fashion. Because a loaf of bread and some scraps make a meal, I spend less time shopping, ergo I save money. (Because although I do go shopping with a list, I always go off-list, too, so I go in for a tin of tomatoes and come out having spent £23.)

But also, sourdough, as my friend Lucy told me, is forgiving and easy to fit into a busy schedule. Aside from the beginning bit, the rest you squeeze in in amongst the laundry folding etc. The only thing it doesn’t work with is when I am actually away from the house, because sourdough requires lots of little bits of time spread out throughout the day. It suits me perfectly.

What I’ve also discovered is that you can make a double batch, prove it in the fridge, bake one lot and then keep the rest in the fridge. So far I’ve done this for 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours…you get the picture. This means that you can  have fresh bread without having to have actually made it the day before.

This was a genius discovery for the likes of me.

A pure white sourdough doesn’t seem to like proving over about 24 hours (although more experimentation is needed). Any longer than this and it overproves. It’s still delicious, but you’ll get big air bubbles at the top of the bread and the crust starts to come away. But with darker flours it works better. I made a three flour loaf (white, rye, wholemeal) the other day, proved one over 12 hours at 4 degrees then cooked it. But kept the second loaf for 72 hours at 4 degrees.

The 72 hour loaf looked like it would be my first failure. As I slashed it, it collapsed alarmingly. I checked it after 15 mins at 250 degreees and it still looked collapsed and I prepared myself for failure. But after it’s second 15 mins at 220 degrees it looked completely normal. It had risen, it looked great.

But.

It tasted absolutely delicious. The longer the prove the longer the taste has to develop, see.

My three flour loaf, baked 72 hours after it was made. It was delicious.
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7 thoughts on “72 hour prove

  1. Emily

    Reading your description of sourdough baking kind of reminds me of breastfeeding an older baby/child. Can be lots of work early on but then it is really is so flexible and can easily fit in around the rest of life, even if you have to go out and eventually even if you are not together overnight, child depending obviously!

    Reply
  2. Craft Matters

    It's like a lot of things that you put a bit of effort into learning how to do isn't it?! Annalisa I have never thought of making 2 batches at once and leaving one in the fridge for later – what a div I am.. thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  3. Joanna

    Can I be breadheady and ask did you put it in the fridge immediately after mixing or did you let it prove first? And how did you store it? Did you shape it and then tuck it away in the fridge? I was thinking about this the other day, I have only kept doughs in the fridge that are destined to be flat breads for that long a time, so really interested to hear more 🙂

    Reply
  4. Annalisa Barbieri

    Joanna, I will try to help but not sure if I will answer all your questions correctly.So I was making Dan's Mill loaf. I made two, in exactly the way described in the book, so mixed the dough, left for ten mins, kneaded and left for two more 10mins, then 30 mins then I think two 1hr proves. Then I shaped them and put them in two 600g whicker bannetons and covered them and put them in the fridge at 4degrees. The next morning I took one out (after 12 hours or so) and cooked it and the other I left for a further sixty hours. Make sense?

    Reply
  5. Joanna

    Perfect sense! I would never have believed you could leave a shaped loaf that long, and it looks perfectly delicious too! Clever you 🙂

    Reply

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