The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

If I made up several uncooked sourdough boules, put them into the fridge, then every other day baked one up... would this work?

Jean-Paul's picture

If I made up several uncooked sourdough boules, put them into the fridge, then every other day baked one up... would this work?

So I have a question for you. I love having a small, fresh loaf of sourdough on the counter to cut into anytime I want. But the process to make just one at a time is sooo time consuming. What if I were to make several small uncooked boules ready to go into the oven, but instead, put them into the fridge ad every other day baked up one of them, do you think this would work? Have you tried this before? Thanks! Jean-Paul

althetrainer's picture

I haven't done that in the fridge but the freezer.  Of course, it will take time to thaw it out before baking...

My fridige is not very big so I can't have a fridge full of unbaked boules.  I don't even know if they will over proof in the course of a few days.

davidg618's picture

I fear keeping shaped boules in the refrigerator for up to seven days, or more, runs the risk of the protease enzyme corrupting the gluten web, resulting in deflated loaves. I've not tried this, so its simply an unproved idea, but have you considered par-baking all the loaves, then freezing them and finishing them as you need to?

Here's the way I'd do an experiment to try this.

I'd final proof all the loaves, retarding some as necessary to accomodate muitiple bakes depending on the oven's capacity. I'd bake all the loaves, with steam, until I've witnessed all the ovenspring I'd expected. Then I'd take the internal temperature. If it's 140°F, or higher--all yeast is dead at this temperature; further ovenspring is improbable--I'd remove the loaves, cool them, and then freeze them. These loaves are par-baked.

When I wanted to bake a loaf, I'd remove it from the freezer, and, without thawing put it into a 350°F or 375°F oven, and bake it until the internal temperature reached 205°F.

Perhaps, one of the professional bakers that visit this website might suggest refinements to this idea, but I think this is a reasonable alternative to refrigerating a week's worth, or more, of unbaked loaves.

Par-baked loaves, and rolls once were a big frozen food item--perhaps they still are; I've not looked in those freezer displays in decades.

David G

Glass-Weaver's picture

Look at, and enter: How to Par-Bake.  Nice step by step instructions that have the ring of truth...(the writer gets my attention by describing a stretch and fold, among other things.)  I'm going to give this a try myself.

longhorn's picture

I bake batches of sourdougto about 206 degrees interior temp. That way the interior will be fully baked, the crust will be fully finished and the loaf will be totally "normal" except a hair underdone. I then wrap spare loaves in saran and freeze. I NEVER keep bread in the freezer more than a few weeks (usually less than two) so I don't use foil - I would if I were storing bread for a month. When I need a loaf I take a loaf out, let it thaw, and heat it for about fifteen minutes at 300 to 350. The crust will be better than the original loaf and the flavor is outstanding - very similar if not identical to the original.

Par baking to lower temps is also practical but requires a longer "reheat" which is more of a bake. I have tried it and I found no advantage over the method above. Perhaps others have different experience. 

Storing unbaked loaves in the fridge is really asking for trouble IMO for the dough will deteriorate and the loaves overproof over time. Freezing unbaked loaves is possible but also invites lots of problems IMO as freezing kills yeast and you will be likely to get unpredictable rising after the freeze.

 Good Luck!

jj1109's picture

I'm doing exactly that right now. i'll post up in the next couple of days in my TFL blog with photos of the results of 0-3 refrigeration immediately after finishing kneading, then removing the dough for the primary fermentation period, shaping and proofing. so far, so good - 48 hours result looks the same as the no refrigeration result, however i'm expecting the flavour to be much greater.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

improves everyday and sourdough tends to hold longer than loaves made with commercial yeast.  Why not bake up a bigger loaf when you have time and enjoy it week long.  Toasters can also crispen up crusts when needed.