Recently tried my hand at some loaves which I let prove at low temperature overnight, and initial impressions are that this may yield some very good results.
I tried this last week, cultivating a wholemeal natural pre-ferment of about 30% of eventual overall dough overnight, before next morning mixing it up with strong white (using the slow mix technique) over the span of the day and then putting it into the proving basket around 10pm in our lean-to, since it serves as a cooler environment than indoors, whilst not being as brutally cold as it can get outdoors.
Next morning, whack the oven on full with the baking stone in position, wait half an hour (cos our oven ain’t especially amazing), then carefully slide the loaf onto the stone and bake at max for 30 mins, turning as and when needed to compensate for uneven heat distribution.
I’d wanted some good aeration in the crumb (big holes, if you need to ask) and I got some, along with the predictable side-effect that the thing struggled to hold a fully upright shape when it came out of the proving basket. I know next time that I’ll reduce the final hydration a bit, so there’ll be less sideways movement when the loaf hits the stone. Sure the holes might be a bit smaller, but probably not much if I aim for about 65% overall hydration. The best thing about a loaf prepared using this technique is the taste AND the texture: and that should still be up there even with a bit less water.
It keeps well too, we managed not to eat it all at once and it’s still nice after 5 days (in fact I’d venture to suggest it wouldn’t go off for another couple of days either). I think 5 days is very restrained, don’t you? 🙂