This week, I decided to make a batch of artisan bread. However, I made a very simple and easy mistake. Granted the bread still looked good, but it was not the best i have made. It tasted flat and lifeless.
I made the dough the exact same way as i always have; some flour, the luke warm water,one and a half tablespoon of salt and yeast. Mix it and let it rise. That is where my mistake was. I let it rise for 18 hours. This is normal for artisan breads, BUT the key difference for a longer rise... less yeast is supposed to be used. When you let a batch of dough rise for 2 hours or until double, and then let it rest in the fridge, the yeast will go dormant. This will stop any and most of the sugar consumption these little beasties like to do.
When dough needs to rise for longer periods of time, the amount of yeast is very very important. Why? because if you use to much yeast, lets say one and a half tablespoon of yeast, then let it rise for 18 hours, the yeast will consume most of the natural sugars in the dough, causing it to taste flat and yeasty. When using the amount I use, I only need it to double in size then refrigerate. This will prevent the yeast from eating all the yummy goodness of my bread. If I need the dough to rise a long period of time, I will now on remember to cut the yeast way back. Probably to at least one teaspoon. That will allow the yeast to consume some sugars and also provide a very flavorful sourdough texture and feel. Remember, one and a half tablespoons of yeast is like 3 times the amount as one teaspoon of yeast. That means 3 times the amount of sugar will be consumed 3 times faster than normal.
In general, always let the dough double in size, then put it in the fridge. If rising times need to be extended for long periods of time, usually for higher altitudes, then make sure to cut back the yeast.
Thanks for reading and happy baking!