overnight flavour development

summary: Overnight rising; Overnight soaking; developing flavour in bread; reading, reading, reading; a photoless not-Friday post;

I have learnt the value in making sure there is enough water in the dough, even it it is hard to manage.

Since that fateful day in March 2020, when our world turned over, I have been reading lots of books. Many of them were books about baking bread. Each one offered at least one new (to me) idea, but the following was the most thrilling one. This is mostly because we have had less than good results when leaving shaped bread in the fridge overnight. (Even in the fridge, it would over-rise….)

[W]e find extending the autolyse particularly beneficial for breads with larger proportions of whole grain flour. […] [I]t can be left out if it suits your schedule however, it can also be extended — as there is no starter in the mix it won’t over ferment. It can last for several hours or even overnight
– Michele Eshkeri, ‘The dough process: The autolyse stage . Just flour and water’, Modern Sourdough

The other night, in one bowl, I mixed the leavener ingredients for Greek Village Bread (last month’s BBBabes’ project), and in another bowl all of the rest of the ingredients except the salt. The next morning, when the leavener was floating, I mixed the two things together. About 20 minutes later, I squooshed in the salt along with a tiny amount of water.

The resulting bread? The final dough is silky almost immediately when the leavener and flour/liquid mixture are combined. And the bread looks pretty much the same when it comes out of the oven.

But the aroma is a little nuttier, and the flavour – oh the flavour. It’s really delicious.


The key to making a great muffin is letting the batter rest, to allow the flour to hydrate (absorb liquid). We rest our batters overnight, or for as long as 36 hours, which results in a very moist muffin. Resting the batter also enhances the flavor and gives a better crumb. As an added benefit, when you make the batter a day ahead, it’s ready to pour into the muffin pan in the morning so you can have fresh-baked muffins for breakfast.
Making a poolish is not difficult or time-consuming-it takes about 3 minutes-but it makes a huge contribution to the flavor of the bread. […] During the fermentation period, typically more than 3 hours, the dough develops flavor
– Thomas Keller ‘Lemon—Poppy Seed Muffins’, and ‘Bread Fundamentals, Bouchon Bakery
[P]roteins that are well hydrated form stronger gluten chains, and the protease enzyme works to break down some of the gluten, for better extensibility. The beauty of the process is that it happens without mixing, so the dough will have undergone less oxidation, and that helps with color and flavor.
– Kathleen Weber, Della Fattoria Bread
Both pre-ferments and refrigeration work by building up the acid levels in a dough, sharpening and enhancing the flavor.
– Maggie Glezer, A Blessing of Bread, p.41


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