Sourdough Bulk Fermentation 101
Learn the various indicators to know when bulk fermentation is complete.
More detailed information on each section in the linked guide.
What is Bulk Fermentaton?
Bulk fermentation is the first proofing stage in sourdough baking between mixing and shaping.
Why is Bulk Fermentation Important?
Bulk fermentation is important because it is the stage when dough is accumulating gases which will determine the flavor and structure of your sourdough bread.
What Do You Do During Bulk Fermentation?
Bulk fermentation is largely waiting for the sourdough to proof.
Bakers often perform a series of stretch & folds or coil folds during the stage as well.
How Do You Control Bulk Fermentation?
Temperature is one of the most important tools to control bulk fermentation.
I use this Brød and Taylor Proofer to keep my dough at a perfect 78ºF!
How Long Does Bulk Fermentation Last?
The length of bulk fermentation can vary due to many factors including the starter, temperature, humidity, etc.
Typically, it can last between 3.5-7 hours.
Signs to Know When Bulk Fermentation is Finished
Bulk fermentation is complete when the dough:
• Rises about 50%
• Is jiggly
• Feels full of air
• Smells yeasty
• Is full of bubbles
Dough at the Start of Bulk Fermentation
Dough at the start of bulk fermentation is slack, wet, and ragged.
Dough at the End of Bulk Fermentation
At the end of bulk fermentation, the dough is full of life, smooth, and domed.
Learn more Sourdough Tips & Recipes
Learn more sourdough baking tips and recipes at SourdoughBrandon.com including visual guides of recipes.