The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Retarding in the fridge

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ndechenne's picture
ndechenne

Retarding in the fridge

Ok, a question.

 

I've tried but hesitated refrigerator retarding, as I hear that it may be too cold? I keep a cold fridge (boy likes his milk nearly freezing). That said, it would be my belief that you could still "fridge retard" but that it may take a long time to develop the flavors (like a couple/few days, up to a week even?)

Second question (ok, I lied). Second, what's this business about going from fridge to oven directly? I tried it ... spring was ok but nothing too dramatic. What's the philosophy in fp in the fridge? Again... too cold to rise much? 

End of the day I seem to be looking for rise in a cold retard, yet maybe what I should be thinking about is flavor and let the fp do the rising for me? Problem I'm having though is that I'm overproofing as (in my mind) the loaves should be bigger than perhaps they want to be when coming out of the cold.

Can't get out of my own way on this one... thoughts?

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

I asked the same question here http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/34543/bulk-ferment-8-hrs-fridge because I just don't have time to wait around all day and would like to be able to make dough, stick in fridge, and then come home from work and bake!

Most of the recipe books that I have (Reinhart's (BBA, ABED), Fundamentals of Classic Bread Baking) require an overnight pre-ferment, but the bulk ferment has to be babysat, stretch & fold, babysat again, S&F yada yada. By the time I am able to pull a loaf out of the oven it's already bedtime!

dschal's picture
dschal

What I try to do is retard overnight, then get up and heat the oven and bake.  I bake it right out of the frig, with good results.  So, for example, this weekend I got my sourdough refreshed Saturday, and mixed up the preferment Saturday night, late, then started my mixing and bulk ferment after lunch on Sunday while I was around the house.  I shaped and put in bannetons late Sunday afternoon, and put in the frig.  Today I got up and baked before I went to work.  You could start your sourdough Friday morning, mix and everything else on Saturday, bake Sunday morning, etc.  I find the taste is always better with sourdough, and anything that extends the time, such as retarding shaped loaves, improves the flavor.  You will notice people here are retarding the bulk ferment too.  I haven't done that yet, but I do like to retard the shaped loaves.  It's also nice to bake early in the morning, in the summer, when the house is cool.

Dave

thihal123's picture
thihal123

a while back, I tried something similar. What happened was that my loaves all stuck to the pan after it was baked. I couldn't get them out of the pans without the bread ripping. I attributed this to the pans and loaves being cold. Don't you get the same problem with stuck loaves? I'm curious....

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

do this: butter the tins pretty heavily with either butter, shortening, lard or any other hard fat. Put them in the fridge about 1-2 hours before you shape the loaves. Shape the loaves, take the tins out of the fridge, put the shaped loaves in the tins, put the tins back in the fridge.

The idea to it is that the fat on the sides of the tin will be cold enough so that it won't all leech into the room temperature dough, because the surface of the dough will cool pretty quickly. That way you'll have a layer of lubrication between the dough and the tin and it won't stick at all after you bake it.

It's probably possible to get away with just buttering the tins and ploping the tinned dough in the fridge - I know I have more than once - but the cold tin method really makes it not stick.

ndechenne's picture
ndechenne

Not in the pans, but IU have a hell of a time getting them out of the bannetons. Trying rice flour I hear helps this.

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

and if your banneton is lined you can treat the lining with enough rice flour that you'll barely have to reapply it each time.

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

If you just want to make baking fit into your otherwise busy schedule you will be challenged by just blithely sticking your dough in the fridge and then pulling it out when you want to bake. As Dave points out above, you have to think about when you have time and then see if the specific bread and recipe you want to use will accommodate your schedule. Naturally leavened breads handle cold temps better than yeast doughs and yeast doughs are not easy to do when they are VERY cold. Yeast does not like going from a very cold environment directly into a hot oven but naturally leavened doughs do OK. 

My schedule when i am busy is a lot like Dave's. Make the bulk dough in the 5-10PM period, shape it and put it in the fridge, preferably after an hour of rising out of the fridge, and bake early the next morning before heading out to work.  If I were doing a yeast dough, I would not do the hour final rise outside of the fridge but I would get up a tad early to take the bread out of the fridge to warm a bit.

BUT ... these do differ recipe to recipe and bread type to bread type. There is no one size fits all answer.

ndechenne's picture
ndechenne

So my question then is, do your get sufficient rise overnight in a cold fridge? Mine seem to be lacking a bit there. I've got a hearty starter (almost a year old) but my fridge overnight proofing seems to give me smaller loaves that are more dense. Is the fridge setting too cold ya think? 

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

I did the bulk ferment overnight in the fridge. This morning I shaped the loaves and put them into banneton-sized bowls and back into the fridge.

When I get home this afternoon I will take out the loaves and let them come to room temperature before baking (it will take at least an hour for the over to heat with the stone in it).

If it's a success I'll put pictures here.

ndechenne's picture
ndechenne

So, if you bf overnight, do you let the dough warm a bit before shaping? Then back in for a long retard? I get the warming before baking but the time between bf and shaping I'm curious about.

isand66's picture
isand66

I do an overnight bulk ferment and the next day/evening take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for 1.5 to hours.  I use a proofer now set at 83 degrees so it takes about 1 hour usually.  I then shape and let it sit at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the recipe and when the dough is ready to bake.  This method works perfectly for me and I feel develops great flavor and I usually get excellent oven spring this way.

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

it's usually not recommended to proof retard as well. The main reason for this is overfermentation, and frankly twice retarding is a hassle that doesn't pay off that much - if you think the bread will benefit from the amount of cold time that proof retarding gives it, increase the time of bulk retard.

You may try it, if it works for you and you're satisfied with the loaves that's fine, there's no set rules after all, just wanted to point out convention.

Another thing is that you don't really need to warm the shaped and retarded loaves before baking. If they are proofed to your satisfaction in the fridge, bake them right away, if you think there's some more proofing to do, let them sit on the counter for a bit. In my experience there's no benefit in letting a loaf that was properly proofed in the fridge warm up and bake it then. Some people say that large loaves develop cold centres and things like that, but I have baked a loaf with a mass of 1.7 kg straight from the fridge no problems. I mean, if you're putting it in the oven of about 250 C, it doesn't matter if your dough is 3 C or 23 C - that's only a 3% temperature difference (no, that's no mistake, ratios in temps must be in kelvins).

All that is just my two cents, use whatever system works best for you and happy baking!

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

Here are the results of the experiment.

1. Pre-ferment Sunday night, 12 hours room temp, 8 hours in fridge.

2. Main dough mixed on Monday night, bulk ferment in fridge.

3. Dough shaped Tuesday AM, left to proof in fridge.

4. Dough taken out of fridge, left to proof at room temp. 1 hr while the oven stone heated up.

The crumb:

ndechenne's picture
ndechenne

Really nice crumb! is this primarily WW?

Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

20% wholegrain rye, 80% unbleached white KA bread flour, no ww in it at all

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi VB,

So glad you tried switching things in your baking routine and that it worked out for you and that you posted the results here. (I read your original post where you asked the same question.) This loaf looks lovely and I am sure it must have tasted great too!  I know it made a huge difference in my baking when I learned how to use the refrig. to time breads to MY schedule :)

Take Care,

Janet