The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to retard using my fridge?

  • Pin It
aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

How to retard using my fridge?

Hello everyone... I haven't done this before but I'm actually planning to mix some dough in the evening, shaping it into small buns, and retarding it in my fridge. My question is, how long should the dough be retarded for... and could I actually put these buns straight from my fridge to my proofer....  or should it stay first at room temperature before proofing... OR .... does it go straight to my oven? And how about the temperature of my fridge? Sorry for all these questions... thank you!!!

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Generally if you have already shaped the dough the overnight stay in the refrigerator is considered the proof, and the buns should have risen during the night. I think most home bakers take the proofed loaves out of the refrigerator when they turn on the oven to pre-heat. so they start to warm up a bit. But as Jeffrey Hammelman says, the difference between the refrigerator at 38 deg.F and the room at (say) 74 deg.F is not much compared to the oven at 475 deg.F (or more), and if it concerns you turn the oven up by the difference (in this case 74 - 38 = 36 deg.F so set oven for 511 deg.F) for the first 15 minutes.

I believe some sourdoughs will not fully proof in the refrigerator and would have to be warmed up for a whiile, so the exact procedure will depend on dough type.

sPh

staff of life's picture
staff of life

I've got a few things to say about overnight proofing--

When doing the final fermentation, rolls get a bit crustier I believe overnight in the fridge, and if you're doing an enriched roll, sweet or savory, this may take away a bit from the texture.  I don't know if there's a difference in crust if you bulk proof it in the fridge, but for the final fermentation, I have noticed a difference.

 Secondly, don't expect very much proofing at all overnight with rolls.  It doesn't take long at all for the cold of the fridge to stop the rising.  Their smaller size also means they'll respond more quickly to room temp when you're ready to bake them. 

Personally, with the larger loaves, I've had a handful of blow-outs caused by baking a fully proofed cool loaf, so my preference is to have the loaf nearly room temp when it goes into the oven.  I'm not sure if it makes a difference with rolls or not; this info is just for what it's worth.

This post sounds very negative--it's not meant to be!  Just a few of my observations!

SOL

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

Thanks for all your suggestions... I've read a lot of things regarding that 'crust' that builds up on top of the dough. Would there be anything else I could do to eliminate that or even lessen it to a certain degree..... maybe put a little bit of oil ... or some cling wrap to cover?

staff of life's picture
staff of life

When I retard something in the fridge overnight, I never use a cloth--always sprayed with cooking spray and then plastic.  I believe the fridge acts a bit as a dehumidifier; using a tea towel doesn't give a lot of protection against the pulling of moisture from bread.  You'll still get a thicker crust, just not as much as when you just use a tea towel.

SOL

Ramona's picture
Ramona

In this book, it says to never retard the final proof, in case it over proofs.  But it is okay to retard during the bulk fermentation.  What I did was allow the dought to rise once and folded it and then I put it into a bowl that I rinsed with water and then covered it with saranwrap and put it into the refrigerator.  I then pulled it out and allowed it to warm and rise and then poured it out and rounded it, rested it, and then shaped it for the last rise.  It worked out well.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

What is the purpose of rinsing the bowl with water?  I like the idea of pulling the dough out in the morning to finish and bake.

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

I'm definitely gonna do my own experiment very soon. One very last question though.... how would the temperature in my fridge affect the bulk fermentation of my dough? i know that if it's a lot cooler, than it rises slower obviously and vice-versa... but my fridge is around 40'F (about 4'C)... so would an overnight fermentation be enough ... say, 8 hours? ... or is the temperature too cold? (why am i asking all these questions, i know i'll be figuring all these out once i try it... LOL!) But anyway, thanks for all your help. =)

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== but my fridge is around 40'F (about 4'C)... so would an overnight fermentation be enough ... say, 8 hours? ... or is the temperature too cold? ===

That depends on the activity level of the dough for that particular recipe, so you do have to experiment a bit. Our very rich cinnamon roll dough usually pops way over the edge of the pan overnight, but I have done sourdough loaves that only rise a little way and need to be warmed up a bit before baking. So ... it depends ;-)

Many of Rose Levy Bearanbaum's recipes call for overnight proofing in the fridge, or give it as an option. Per RLB the yeast activity will gradually slow down and finally come close to a complete stop, but that takes a while since the fridge must overcome both the mechanical heat of the dough from being mixed at room temperature and the internal heat generated by the yeast as it grows.

sPh

 

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I just follow the directions that the Laurel's book states.  I use to use oil in a bowl for the dough as it proofed, but now I use the water method and it works well. 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

OK. Thanks Ramona. I need to read more in Laurel's book.

aladenzo's picture
aladenzo

Wow, thanks for all the infos. You were all very helpful. =) Will definitely give it a try and see if it all works out well. Thanks again. =)