The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New here... question about cold rising

kate_s's picture

New here... question about cold rising

I have a question about cold rising...

I use a basic baguette recipe frequently with consistent results...  good crust, great crumb and flavor...  My question is, what is the best way to do a cold rise?  With my schedule, I either have to keep my baking for the weekends or eat late to have fresh bread after work.  I'd like to know if anyone has experience with doing the first rise as normal (room temperature, about 75 deg, 2 hours), shaping the loaves (two baguettes in baguette trays) and allowing the loaves to rise in the fridge for 12-18 hours so that I can bring them back to ambient temperature and bake when I get home from work...

Any insight is greatly appreciated!

Thanks - Kate

Elagins's picture

generally with the ferment, rather than the proof. Several reasons for that:

First, with a smaller amount of yeast (typically 0.3% to 0.5% for dry and fresh, respectively) i find that the longer ferment gives me much greater flavor, since the cold inhibits the yeast and promotes the activity of the amylases that convert starches to sugars. You can also shorten the room temp phase when you're retarding the ferment, so that you can mix your dough late at night, let it retard until you get home from work the next day, and have fresh bread for dinner without losing too much sleep waiting for the initial rise.

Secondly, retarding the ferment typically leaves less surface area exposed, which means less chance of the dough drying out, especially if I cover the bowl with cling wrap. Preventing drying becomes a bit more cumbersome with loaves.

Finally, I find that the handling involved in degassing, benching and shaping the retarded dough warms it up somewhat and gives the dough a bit of a boost in terms of the amount of time needed for it to reach proof.

In all, the amount of time you actually spend on the bread is the same or less and the results should come out equal to or better than what you're currently getting.

Hope this helps.

Stan Ginsberg

Davo's picture

Assuming you are talking sourdough. I do that all the time - retard the shaped loaves in their proving stage. To stop them drying out, I put the cane banettons in plastic bags. I make sure they are well floured - I flour the bannetons with rye flour and also flour the loaves before I put them in the banettons. Otherwise they might sweat a bit and stick. They don't stick for me.

The long time in the fridge does allow some activity, especially as the bags retain some heat, so don't let the ferment go too long and err on the side of leaving more time in the fridge and re-warm stages rather than in the ferment before the shaping...