How Long Should you Proof Sourdough for?When you first learn to bake sourdough, it is handy to use certain time guidelines to help understand how long to proof sourdough for, but you may find that your bread results are different every time.
Signs of Change During Bulk Fermentation of SourdoughThe dough will change considerably during the bulk fermentation period (by bulk fermentation, we mean the first rise or proofing time), and knowing what to look for will help you determine if it is ready for shaping or not.
Sign #1: The Dough’s Density will ChangeWhen the dough is at the initial stages, it will be dense. During the bulk fermentation, the gluten structure will begin to develop, which helps to trap air into the dough.
Sign #2: The Dough will ‘Feel’ DifferentWhen you handle the dough after its bulk fermentation, it will feel quite different to when you first handled it. The dough will now be very light and have a ‘bouncy’ kind of a feel to it.
Sign #3: The Dough will Behave DifferentlyA dough that has been proofed properly will still have ‘strength’ to it when handled. It will feel alive by being a little stubborn in the shape it wants to be. You will find that it has developed stretchiness and elasticity.