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I have a bread recipe that I would like to try, but it requires a ferment using Guiness. The recipe says to leave it for 4 - 6 hours to get it going.

All of this is fine, but what I would like to know is how long can I leave the ferment fermenting before it becomes no good? Can I start it the night before and use it the next day?

Thanks

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    I sometimes start a Sunday pancake batter on Thursday or so. Granted some folks may not like something that sour... – thrig Mar 1 '17 at 17:18
  • Guinness will add to the final flavor, but I don't thing it contains active yeast for the bread fermentation. – Optionparty Mar 2 '17 at 1:04
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It's hard to say exactly how long it will take to overprove because there are many variables involved - the amount of yeast, salt and enrichment in your dough, and the room temperature for example. However, it should be fine to ferment overnight, if you cover it well and put it in the fridge.

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Slow fermenting in the fridge will greatly improve the flavor of your bread. You do not say what other ingredients (leavening agents in particular ) are in the preferment (PF) and also in the final dough.

If it is the only leavening agents than letting it go to long could exhaust it and it will not have the power to leaven, if there are other leavening agents then you have a little leeway but is best to use it at its peak activity. Also, as well as time, the hydration level of the PF will determine how quickly it reaches peak activity.

Doing some test will help you to have better understanding of this PF and the bread. (this is true of all bread formulas.)

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