The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How long can a shaped loaf wait in the fridge?

littlelisa's picture

How long can a shaped loaf wait in the fridge?

Hi there

I have a question about my baking escapades from the last couple of days.

Sat night: made pate fermentee / pre-ferment (Peter Reinhart's pre-ferment recipe from Crust and Crumb)

Sun night: made baguette dough (French bread II, with pate fermentee, from Crust and Crumb). Initial rising times (30 mins then 90 mins - though the dough rose crazy fast, so I did a little shorter).

Then - a bit of a mistake I realised later - instead of shaping loaves before refrigerating, I just left the dough in a bucket in the fridge overnight.

Monday: Dough had bulked up wonderfully. Shaped batards. Was a bit unhappy that they tightened up considerably from that bulked-up, expanded rise. (Next time will shape before overnight rise.) Baked one on Monday, one this morning (Tuesday), and wanting to bake the third tonight (also Tuesday).The crust and flavour was great, but crumb a little tight compared to what I think it would've been if I'd shaped the night before.

Anyway, my question is: Third loaf has been sitting in fridge since yesterday morning. Is it too long to leave a risen, shaped loaf in the fridge - from Mon morning til Tuesday night? What's the longest you would keep unbaked loaves in the fridge?

Thank you!


richkaimd's picture

I've refrigerated shaped loaves for almost a week by accident.  They've perked up for a second rise and baked without a problem.  I've also deliberately frozen shaped loaves for up to two months, thawed them, then allowed them to rise which they did beautifully.  To my taste, the refrigerated doughs got more sour over time; the frozen ones less so.  Try it.  Make mistakes.  Learn from them.

littlelisa's picture

Wow, thanks for that advice!!

Update: baked the third, longest-refrigerated loaf and it came out very happily. Next time I'll be brave enough to leave it longer, even!

Chuck's picture

The possible problem with leaving a shaped loaf in the refrigerator too long is "over-proofing". How long it takes for that to happen depends a whole lot on the exact temperature of your refrigerator, so any attempt to lay out a hard and fast rule is an over-simplification.

The big plus of over-proofing being your main concern is you can use the same tests and the same fixes you use for loaves that may have over-proofed on your counter; you can pretty much ignore the fact they were really in your refrigerator. (In fact, refrigerated loaves are a little less sensitive to over-proofing-- if you move them into your oven immediately with no "warm-up" time, you can sometimes avoid the collapse that would happen to the same loaf on your counter.)

littlelisa's picture

Thanks Chuck! Going to go do some research about over-proofing now...

moma's picture

Hi Lisa

i actually though about experimenting with fridgebreads. Theese will be ideal for presents - who - on fx. maternaty leave - would not like a fresh baked loaf?


I have a recipie for fridge rolls which contain a very small amount of yeast. The dough (very sticky) sits in a sealed container for up to 5 days and bake nicely.(you can easily bake a couple and leave the rest of dough for another day - ideal for working parents ;) )

1 liter cold wather
13g yeast
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons hunny
500 gram shredded oats (i like mine with more than 500g)
600 gram AP flour

Mix wather, yeast, salt and hunny. Mix in oats, then the flour. It will assemble a firm oatporrigde.

Apply the "rolls" to a cookie sheet w. parchment paper with a wet tablespoon and bake at 200C for 25-30min.