The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How frigid is your fridge?

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donenright's picture
donenright

How frigid is your fridge?

Hello-


I've been trying a few baguette methods that call for a retardation in the refrigerator, and what confuses me is that many people say they get a bit of a rise out of their dough while it's in there. I get nada. The dough comes out pretty much exactly as it went in. Which leads me to ask, what's the point of the cold retardation? If yeast activity slows to the point of pretty much total inaction, the process isn't doing me much good, is it? 


My fridge seems to be at 3.5 degrees Celsius. (That's 38.3F for you old-school types.) I like it that way as my milk never goes off. Is your fridge warmer? Is a professional baker's fridge warmer?


Thanks, I really do appreciate everyone's expertise on this site. 

lionofdharma's picture
lionofdharma

I have the same issue.  I bake a lot from ABED and think my fridge is way colder than the book expects.


 


Todd

Optionparty's picture
Optionparty
wally's picture
wally

I have the same problem.  With yeasted doughs, refrigeration at around 40 degrees F works fine.  However, if you're using a levain or even a preferment, you'll get very little rise. Typically, if I retard doughs at that temp it's for a bulk fermentation, with shaping the next day after the dough has warmed, and then proofing.  But I've had very poor results with, say, poolish baguettes that were shaped and then retarded overnight.  Same with levain-based doughs I've shaped and tried to retard.


Bottom line: most home refrigerators are too cold to act as good retarders.


Larry

copyu's picture
copyu

I have a different problem, though. Very unusually (for Japan) I have the space for two fridges in my Living/Dining/Kitchen area. The main fridge is a "Sharp" and it's perfect for food, milk, beer, champagne, veges...what have you, but (very typically for Japan) it's not big enough for us


The second fridge is an "Electrolux" (made here by "Toshiba" Corporation) which is half-fridge/half-freezer. I respect both of these manufacturers very much. The freezer section is a true champ, but the fridge section has a really lousy thermostat! I can't turn the thermostat down any more, because everything freezes when I do so, but at the present setting, a beer or champagne is not quite cold enough to enjoy


I just recorded the temp after 15min on the top shelf, with a regular mercury lab thermometer...11°C, which is near enough to 52°F! Normally, I'd say that was a bit of a problem. However, it's not bad for storing cheeses, mayo, chocolate, creamy salads, etc...In addition, it seems perfect for starters and levains


I'm still surprised by how much rise I get from a starter or levain over 8-12 hours...it's generally not warm enough to OVER-proof a dough, even at 18 hours, but it doesn't retard the dough quite as much as I'd like, sometimes...you know, when the bake schedule is suddenly interrupted...


Cheers,


copyu

donenright's picture
donenright

Carl, thanks for the link. I tried to search for the topic before posting but I didn't come across that thread.


Alas, no room for a wine cooler in this wee apartment- but I am going to take my dough out of the fridge and put it on the balcony for tonight. The temps will be a little better out there.


Thanks


don

Occabeka's picture
Occabeka

Hi don,


If you want your dough to rise while in the fridge, it is best to extend the bulk fermentation time at room temperature a while longer till the dough has risen, say 30%, before placing it in the fridge.


That way, the yeast get to be active that much longer before the cold slows them down.


Occa

donenright's picture
donenright

Thanks, Occa- I'm still new at this cold retardation business so I can use all the tips I can get. I noticed with this last batch that it had a fair sponginess before it went into the fridge/balcony treatment. Next time I'll try 30%. 


 


don