The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bringing un-proofed loaves up from fridge temp

Bread_Slavery's picture

Bringing un-proofed loaves up from fridge temp

After doing some serious experimentations with long room-temperature rises and enjoying them, I have concluded that I do like the flavor imparted from 8-12 fridge retardations. It just gets a twang-y zippy edge I don't necessarily get from non-fridged loaves. I do fear it creates a far-too-similar flavor profile in loaves, even ones with long pre-ferments, pate fermentees, or epoxys (or the combination of those).

Back to the point: I hear it suggested to proof loaves in the fridge in airtight containers. This is not practical for me, so I generally just throw the post bulk-fermented dough into the fridge (generally overnight). It comes out the next morning, and continues to grow throughout the day.

Getting the right proof level is tough. I worry that the loaves won't spring after this rigorous procedure, but they generally blow up. So I'm starting to think I might need:

8-12 hour fridge retardation

8-12 back to room temp (house is cold in winter, likely much shorter in other months)

1 hour proof? I need new linens so I've been slacking on proofs lately with noticable results but am not sure how I should do this with the loaves coming up from cold. How many hours do you guys generally proof on regular, unretarded loaves? I find my loaves are generally under-proofed as they are likely to blow up on oven-spring.

Your input requested.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

As ice cold dough tends to attract condense moisture, I tend to leave the dough covered (not air tight) until it reaches room temp, anywhere from one hour to 3 before using linens.  If the dough is handled, it will warm up faster. 

If the dough has not had a bulk rise and is flat ice cold, let it warm up and rise, degas and let it rise again folding the dough several times before finally settling on a final shape to nestle in the linens.

I do let it rise a second time before shaping, many times simply folding the dough as it expands in 30-45 min intervals.  If you are using straight doughs, and have problems with underproofing, let the dough (loaf size) rise a second time before final shaping.