I am attempting to retard two loaves left in the fridge overnight. Question: do I take them out of the fridge and shape them while still cold or let them warm some?
I'm not sure if I understood your question properly, mr. cleancarpetman. Did you stick the dough in the fridge to do an overnight bulk fermentation, or do you mean doing the final proof of the formed loaves in the fridge?
Assuming that you're doing the bulk fermentation in the fridge, I'd take it out in the morning, divide the dough in two, and then preshape the pieces into rounds. Leave them for about 30 mins. (depending on how tightly you preshaped them), and then proceed as usual. The final proof will take slightly longer than usual.
Hansjoakim, I put them in the fridge in two separate containers but they are not shaped. So, if I understand correctly-- shape them into dough balls and bring them to room temp for thirty minutes and then into their final shape and proof.
I think it depdends on the specifics of the dough, and how you are shaping them. I've had some trouble making boule's of some doughs right out of the fridge (they are just too stiff) and they benefit from some warming.