The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dumb newbie question

lainey68's picture

Dumb newbie question

I have a really dumb newbie question, so please bear with me.

I am planning on making rolls for Easter this year. Because I have to attend two church services on Sunday, I was thinking of making the dough in advance. Here's my dumb question:

Can I refrigerate the dough ahead of time? Do I let it rise once and then refrigerate? Or do I just put it in the fridge and then let it do both risings when I'm ready? Here is a link to the recipe (from Bread Beckers):




Yerffej's picture


This is what I would do, make the dough and immediately put it in the refrigerator in a covered bowl that is large enough to accomodate the rising dough as the dough will rise in the fridge.  Take the dough out of the fridge about 5 or 6 hours before you intend to bake.  Let it warm up at room temperature for 2-3 hours and then form your loaves/rolls and let them continue their final rise at room temperature.  Bake when they have risen in accordance with your recipe.

By the way this is not a stupid question at all.  In fact,  what you are doing will make a far superior product than if you made it straight through without the refrigeration.


sphealey's picture

What you are proposing to do is called "retarding" by professinal bakers; "letting it rise in the fridge" by most of us here! 

As Yerffej notes above you can do the first rise in the refrigerator overnight.  In my experience this tends to produce a very flavorful dough and bread, but the cold dough will be difficult to shape in the morning and will take quite a while to proof.

The other option is to do the first rise at room temperature, then shape the dough and let it proof overnight in the refrigerator.  When you get home from church turn on the oven to heat but set it about 25 deg.F higher than usual for that recipe, and take the now-proofed loaves out of the refrigerator.  When the oven is hot go ahead and bake using your usual method.  You don't have to wait for the dough to warm up; it will be fine with the additional 25 deg.F (12 deg.C) boost.

With either method you probably want to time your dough to go in the fridge around 10 or 11 PM the night before.

Hope that helps.


By the way, in three years posting here I don't think I have seen a single dumb question, and yours certainly wasn't.  So ask away; we love answering questions around here.

nbicomputers's picture

brush the dough with oil and cover with plascit to prevent a skin from forming. in the bakeries we would make a douigh on monday and retard it till wed then take it out and shape it into the final form and put it pack in the fridg. we would take out the amount we wanted to bake on thur. fri. sat. and sun let it rise and bake.

you could do the same make it a day or two in advance than take it out and shape it and let it rise and bake or put it back in the fridg untill the day you wanted to bake it .

lainey68's picture

Thanks everyone for your comments--you were all a big help! And thanks for not making me feel stupid. I've been on other groups that are not as kind to newbies.

Happy baking!