I decided to try the country bread recipe from the Chez Panisse Café Cookbook and it didn’t really work so well. To be fair to the book, it called for whole wheat flour, bread flour, and rye flour and I just used whole wheat. In my defense, I have made bread before with just all purpose flour so I didn’t think it would be a big deal.
The recipe gives an option to have an extra rising overnight in the fridge. This is supposed to result in more fermentation and a more complex flavor. I decided to try both ways and compare them.
I started off on day 1 making the starter. I’ve never done that before because the idea of having living yeast in my fridge that I am feeding with flour and water is kind of gross.
But I put that out of my mind and mixed together water, yeast, and flour.
I let the starter rise and then put it in the fridge overnight.
I started loaf A by bringer the starter to room temp and mixing it with water and yeast.
The four went in next and everything was needed. The dough rose for 3 hrs, was punched down and put in the fridge overnight.
The next morning I brought the dough for loaf A out of the fridge and let it sit out while I made the dough for loaf B. Both doughs rose for 3 hrs. They were punched down and shaped into loaves, and left to rise for about another hr.
Both loaves went into the oven and were taken out after they sounded hollow when knocked on.
I tasted both loaves and was disappointed in how bland they were although I thought the one that had an extra night in the fridge was more complex.
My sister tasted both without knowing which one had extra fermentation time and she also preferred the one with more risings. She said thought overall ‘they tasted like something trying to be rye bread.’
Pat tried both and he said he equally disliked them. I asked if he thought they tasted the same and he said no but he didn’t ‘really care about the differences in their blandness.’
In conclusion, overnight fermentation makes a difference but it can’t save bland bread.