The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Raising dough in the fridge: times?

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ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Raising dough in the fridge: times?

I am looking to make a dough tonight to leave in the fridge overnight, as I wont have much time tomorrow to make any.

What I am wondering is, how long should I be aiming to leave it in? I am using yeast sachets, 7g each- But I do have some dried and fresh yeast if it makes any difference. I would like it to be able to leave it for 8+ hours. Is this realistic, or is it just too long?

Thanks for any help.
Charlie

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

For years now, I've been taking my challah dough up to the loaf-braiding stage at which time I place the loaves in the refrigerator.  I bake one the following morning and then bake the other two later that day or even the following day.  Never had any problem.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Thank your for replying, I am terrified I am going to wake up to either a dead dough or some sort of mess.

I am put at ease by your response :)

jcking's picture
jcking

Charlie,

You'll need to do a few tests to find what works for you. 8+ hours is surely doable if you can find the correct balance. The balance to look for is how long  the dough sits before the fridge, how long in the fridge, and how long out of the fridge. How long in the fridge ( I wouldn't go over 36 hours) isn't as important as before and after. You may find less bread volume with the chilling.

Jim

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

I am looking to make the dough and put it pretty much straight into the fridge, is this not a good idea? As for out of the fridge again, pretty much the same.

Thank you for taking the time to response, I have no experiance with this sort of thing.
Charlie

jcking's picture
jcking

Charlie,

It's hard to give you more info when I don't know what type of bread you're baking and what experience you do have. In general some fermentation is good before going into the fridge. And a warm up when it comes out. You could find a few dozen people here who fridge their bread and reach a desired result. Yet the processes will vary. If you tell us, in detail, your current process (non-fridge) we can help. Have you read; Highest Rated Stories Your First Loaf - A Primer for the New Baker ?

Please don't let me hog this post, others please chime in. ~ Jim

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Really appreciate your time and effort in trying to help me.  Your answers - along with everyone elses lead me to believe it is going to be a case of trying it and seeing.

Its a very basic bread recipe (500g flour, 10g butter, 10g salt, 7g yeast sachet and 300ml water) and my experience. . Limited would be the best way to describe it I think :)

Going to try a 30 minute normal rise before I fridge it, and cover it and leave overnight to see. Then hopefully I will see some life in it in the morning! Wish me luck,

Thanks again,
Charlie

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Yeasts go to sleep at ~41 F.

When you put a loaf at ~72-80 F into the refrigerator, the core temperature starts to decrease immediately.

If the loaf is fully risen by about the same time the loaf's core temperature reaches 41 F, you'll have a fully-proofed loaf, which you can take out of the refrigerator 8+ hours later and bake immediately.

If the loaf is not fully risen by the time the loaf's core temperature reachs 41 F, you'll have an under-proofed loaf, in which case you'll have to complete the rise after you take it out of the refrigerator 8+ hours later.

If the loaf is fully risen before the loaf's core temperature reaches 41 F, it'll continue proofing until a core temperature of 41 F is acheived. This could, and often does, result in an over-proofed loaf.

There are all sorts of variables that you can modulate to reach whatever point you wish, everything from proofing on the bench before you put in the refigerator, more or less vigorous kneading, different water temperatures, different refrigeration temperatures, etc. That's why, when most people ask about retardation, there's no one answer.

 

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Ok, thank you for that information, appreciated.

Seems like it is going to be a trial and error attempt doesnt it!
Nothing is easy with breadmaking! And that is half the fun I guess. :)

 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I just put two loaves into the refrigerator that are proofing faster than I hoped.

I'll watch them for about an hour and see how they fare, but I'm almost certain I'll be pressing that TURBO COOL button on my refrigerator.

On the whole, I'd say the most problematic loaves are ones that don't achieve a full rise in the refrigerator. You'd think it'd be as easy as bringing the loaf to room temperature and letting it resume its rise; but, in my experience, the yeasts often just don't want to wake up or aren't strong enough to overcome the cold, tight gluten development. 1 hour turns to 3 hours, then you just give up and bake it anyway, with the result (more often than not) being a dense, chewy monstrosity. In short, be concerned if you don't get much rise in the refrigerator. That is a problem that seldom self-corrects.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

Yikes: Now I am more scared than before.lol

Will try a batch tonight and see how things go. Wont be a complete disaster if it goes wrong, just means I will have to buy bread! the horror.

Thank you for your tips and experience.
Will update the thread with results in the morning, hope you check back :)

Charlie

Chuck's picture
Chuck

What you're talking about is certainly quite reasonable. Fridge "retarding" (for improved flavor as well as for schedule convenience) is often done "overnight"; and is sometimes done during the bulk ferment, sometimes during the first part of proofing, and even sometimes during the final proofing just before baking. (Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks:-)

On the other hand trying to "calculate" or "predict" just how long the dough should stay in your fridge is probably not going to work. You'll need to try it and adjust based on your own experience. 

One big wild card factor is that all fridges are not the same temperature. In some households they're adjusted clear down around 35F, while other households may have them adjusted as high as 50F. That alone is close to doubling/halving the refrigerated rise time (in fact it's worse than that, as yeast seem to go into hibernation and become completely inactive around 40F). So a specific amount of time that works for somebody else may or may not work the same for you.

When you take dough out of the fridge it's likely to be "stiff", maybe so much so that it's impossible to work until it "warms up" a little (may take somewhere around a half hour).

Be sure you cover the dough when putting it in the fridge (shower cap? cling wrap? container lid?), otherwise it may "dry out" way too much.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

It all seems like I might have to just try it and see, with as much educated guessing as possible. . and then hope! haha all very exciting isn't it.

I shall cling film it! Thank goodness you mentioned that, I was going to leave it in exposed :|

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

overnight, but yeast will "go to sleep" as someone else already called it at those temps anyway.

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

update: so left it overnight. Bit longer than 8hours in honesty, but it has risen! not sure it has fully doubled. But I have taken it out and left it for now to warm up and see how that goes.

 

Big thanks to everyone who commented in the thread, will post again with results later this afternoon :)

Charlie

ActiveSparkles's picture
ActiveSparkles

I think this loaf can be considered a dud. Pretty sure my fridge was just too cold for it, never seemed to recover.

Cooked it anyway, so shall check it out later on when  its cooled down to see whats going on inside it.
Guess I will have to find time later to make more :|

Thanks again for your help ladies and gents,

Charlie

drmillsjr's picture
drmillsjr

There's nothing better you can do to insure Great bread than a long, slow fermentation. I learned this from the Swiss with a bread they call Pan Pirolle, called Wurzelbrot in Germany & Austria. I wrote a short story about it on my blog. http://www.blackforestbreads.com/blog.html 

The best and fastest way to prepare the dough for the refrigerator is to use luke warm water. Use 1 packet of yeast (about 8 - 9 grams per 500 grams of flour) After kneading, cover the dough with plastic wrap or put it in a lightly oiled container with a lid and put it directly in the frige. Frig. should be around 4C to 5C or 39F to 41F. 

How long can you leave it in the frig? I made a Bauernbrot (Farmer's Bread) last week that was mixed on Saturday whch sat in my frig. until Wednesday evening because I did not have time before that to bake it. That's 4 days! It was the best loaf of bread I have ever tasted! The crust was very crunchy and the crumb was perfect and full of flavor.

The day you are ready to bake, take the dough out of the frig., uncover it, punch it down aand recover it. Either put it in a warm spot and let it come to room temp. or double in size, or warm your oven to 100F and turn it off, put the dough in the oven for about 1  to 2 hrs, depending on the type dough/flour you are using. Once the dough doubles scrape it out of the bowl, form the loaf, let it rise to what ever the normal size for the dough is and bake it in an oven that has been preheated for 1 hour, in order that the heat is evenly distributed.

The only reason your dough won't rise during this process is that the yeast is no longer good. Also, I does not matter whether you use Instant Yeast or Fresh Yeast. I never use/recommend Active Dry Yeast.

In return for this advise, I would appreciate it if you would take a look at a project I just launched on Kickstarter. If you like it, please pass it on to as many people as you can. 

Here is the link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1339281452/imported-european-bread-mixes-all-natural-and-deli

Thanks and God bless you,

Don Mills