Letting your sourdough rest can be one of the steps that are crucial to determining how great your bread comes out. See why below.
Why Do You Let Sourdough Rest After Baking?
Letting the sourdough rest after baking allows your sourdough to be at its Peak Performance. Taking the sourdough out of the oven and not letting it cool leaves the risk of the bread being doughy because of the steam.
Just storing your bread while it hasn’t cooled down will cause the bread to be very moist and in some cases develop mold because there’s nowhere for the moisture to escape. Most people love the crispy exterior and soft interior. To achieve this the bread needs to be cooled down for a bit and then cut bread once it has cooled down it has a nice crumb but it’s not gummy.
The longer you let your sourdough cool the better but some prefer to just let it cool for a bit and then slice it. This is based on preference as some people prefer to cool it all the way or to cool it for just a few hours to at least keeps the crispiness of the bread while enjoying the warm effect.
There are great reasons why you should let the bread rest but knowing what happens if you don’t let the bread rest is important to know too, just in case you ever want to cut the bread as soon as it’s out of the oven. Believe me, warm bread is the best but knowing why you have to follow the process correctly will make all the difference in making the best sourdough possible.
What Happens If You Don’t Let Bread Rest?
Not letting the bread rest can affect the overall quality of the bread. The bread is best when it is cold. The cooler it is the better. Cutting the bread right away and not letting it cool won’t allow it to continue to bake while out of the oven causing it to be doughy. Once cut you are stuck with the texture and characteristics. It is final.
Cutting the bread too soon can cause the bread to dry out more. Because it has a thicker crust it’s better to leave the bread to naturally cool down and allow the steam to escape naturally. It does take longer than regular bread which doesn’t have as much crust and has a softer exterior.
Some would say that the bread even tastes better when you allow it to rest and go through the process of baking than cooling down. The bread even gets to its peak when you taste the bread the next day and leave it.
Can I Bake Sourdough Without Resting Overnight?
Baking sourdough without allowing it to rest overnight compromises the bread in many ways. The flavor wouldn’t be the way it’s supposed to be so baking the bread right away risks the bread not having the signature sourdough flavor that we all like and love. The sourdough won’t rise at its maximum performance either.
Letting the dough rest overnight allows the dough to strengthen. Let’s just say you would end up with bread that is somewhat flat, not well-shaped, and plump.
If you don’t have a lot of time because of work or other obligations and you don’t have the 10 hours to wait to do it the next day you could always do a countertop fermentation where you leave it to rise for 2 to 3 hours instead. It would be shorter but at least you give the dough the time to develop the sourdough flavor.
Can You Over Knead Sourdough?
It is possible to over-knead your sourdough but doing it by hand is very hard to get to that point. Unless you’re using a mixer and you leave the dough to just mix for an obscene amount of time, it would overwork your dough leading to a very dense and breakable dough leading to weak gluten.
If you want a nice crumb in your sourdough, the main goal is not to over-knead it. The most important thing you can do is watch and knead only as much as necessary—and let your dough rest between using the stretch and fold method depending on what your schedule looks like.