The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

cold fermenting

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

cold fermenting

Can any bread be made using cold ferment overnight in the fridge? I've go to bake several loaves tomorrow and thought I could get a jump on it by getting the dough mixed tonight. I'm making an Italian style bread from a recipe over on How How long do you let it rise before you put it in the fridge and how long do you let it sit out before you work with it in the morning?


Thanks for any help, hints, and tips!



Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Back on Thanksgiving morning this year, I baked two loaves that had been proofed overnight in the fridge. One was a sourdough sandwich loaf and the other an egg bread.

They went in the fridge after shaping for baking in a 9x5 pan. The egg bread was an ADY leavened bread that  took about 1 1/2 hrs before it looked ready to bake. I probabably could have waited 15 to 20 minutes more. The sourdough, which had come out at the same time, sat on the counter through the baking of the first loaf and the oven recovery time to get from 375F to 425F. That one turned out well. I'm not sure how to post a link to the pictures but they were in my blog titled, "Thanksgiving Bake".

Some folks say that the difference between going from about 42F to the 400F oven isn't all that much of a big deal and go ahead, bake away. I haven't tried that myself and can't tell you to experiment with the loaf you're baking.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

It's fine in principle - as you'll have discovered now. The dough doesn't suffer at all, in fact I think that the bread has a better flavour and I wish I had enough refrigerator space to do it always.

The first time I proved dough in the fridge I opened the door to find that it had filled all the space on the shelves above and below - I had just put it in a basin, loosely covered and it seemed to be making a bid for freedom. It had expanded like foam plastic - what a mess! Ever since I've put the dough in a large polythene bag to keep it contained.

That's the only caveat.

maurdel's picture

I agree that it is the preferred method of rising. If you have the time it should be done. My breads always are better if they've spent a night in the fridge.

I am now trying what someone suggested on another thread, keeping the dough in there for several days.  Just baked some multigrain that has been refrigerated for more than 3 days and it came out great. 

I don't really leave it out much before shaping. Usually I make a "wetter" dough, and it is easier to handle when cold. So I shape it and let it rise for a good amount of time. The time usually varies w/ type of dough.