Bulk Ferment (first prove)
The bulk ferment, or first prove, is a crucial step in the bread baking process. It is called bulk fermentation because you are letting the dough – the entire batch – ferment as one mass, before dividing or shaping it into loaves.
The role of bulk fermentation is gas production and flavor development.
The yeast feeds on and ferments the sugars which were created by amylase enzymes breaking down the starch in hydrated flour, this creates CO2 gas that “inflates” the dough as it gets trapped within the walls of gluten – this all helps to produce an aerated crumb. The creation of a host of metabolites during the phase also contribute to deeper flavor.
Leave the dough to ferment and build flavour.
- Cover the bowl with clear shower cap, cling film, or bees wax wrap to keep moisture in and leave it at room temperature to bulk ferment until dough has bubbled and doubled in size, OR ‘retard’ the dough by putting in fridge overnight and taking out again in the morning to continue fermenting. The lower temperature will slow down the whole process.
|-20ºC (-4ºF)||Loss of Fermentation Capacity|
|Less than 20ºC (68ºF) to over 40ºC (104ºF)||Growth Rate Significantly Reduced|
|Between 20ºC (68ºF) and 27ºC (81ºF)||Favorable Range for Yeast to Multiply|
|26ºC (79ºF)||Optimum Range of Yeast Multiplication|
|Between 27ºC (81ºF) and 38ºC (100ºF)||Optimum Range for Fermentation|
|35ºC (95ºF)||Optimum temperature for Fermentation|
|Over 60ºC (140ºF||Yeast Cells Die!|
Either overnight or 7hrs room temp
Bowl, Shower cap, or other cover