The very presence of “pate fermentee” in a formula immediately improves most bread, quantum leaping it in maturity and flavor. The picture shows the pate fermentee removed from the refrigerator, cut into pieces to chill.

1 1/8 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 to 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, at room temperature

  • Stir together the flours, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup of the water. Adjust the flour or water according to need. The dough should be neither too sticky nor too stiff. Knead until the dough is soft and flexible, tacky but not sticky.
  • Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour, or until it swells to about 1 1/2 times its original size.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to degas, and return it to the bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. It will be good for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, and at least 3 months in the freezer if you store it in an airtight freezer bag.

Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

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