The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Minimal time for retarding dough

ramat123's picture

Minimal time for retarding dough


Hamelman suggests that retarding should take sometime between 12-16 hours depends on the temperture.

My question is the other way around: what is the minimal time for retarding dough.

Let's say that I've finished the bulk fermentation of a Vermont dough. It is midnight and I want to bake on 6AM in the morning.

The recipe calls for a 2-2.5 hours final fermentation but I have 6.

How can I use retarding? Can I use retarding at all?

Thanks a lot,


LindyD's picture

David, the formula states you can retard for up to eight hours at 50F(10C), or up to 18 hours at about 42F(6C).

Your six hour window will work, but keep in mind that you still have to check the dough when you remove it from the cooler to make sure it's ready to be baked.

Happy baking!

Brot Backer's picture
Brot Backer

I'd say proof 1/2 - 2/3 of the way before retarding, that way they'll be ready to go right in when 6 rolls around.

ramat123's picture

These are very good advises.

Davo's picture

I reckon that'll work, but if you do that, you need to be waking up to pull the dough from the fridge in the middle of a short night's sleep. Yech. Personally, I would either

- reduce the amount (%) of starter/levain in your bread dough, and leave it on the bench over that short night till baking in the morning, or

- Use some kind of way to keep the temp somewhere between your retarding temp of say 4 deg C in the fridge and 20 deg C of normal room. That might mean putting it in a cardboard box with a frozen water bottle and a towel draped over the box, or use an insulated cooler bag with one frozen water bottle, or whatever. Say try and keep it around 14-15 deg C.

Either of these ways should be OK to bake in the morning without interrupting sleep...

Me, I retard from shaping around 10 pm one night, and bake 21or 22 hours later. It's fine.