The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sweet doughs falling after overnight refrigeration

GAPOMA's picture
GAPOMA

Sweet doughs falling after overnight refrigeration

I've made cinnamon rolls and other sweet doughs successfully for years now, but I've always had trouble refrigerating them.  If I make the rolls and bake them the same day, they are tall and soft; just perfect!  If I make the dough today, roll out the rolls, put them in the pan and let them rise (~1hr) then refrigerate them overnight to bake the next morning, I have problems.  I usually let them warm on the counter ~30 minutes before baking, and they usually fall and come out of the oven "short and dense".  They also often taste a bit off; almost alcoholic, like they've fermented.  (We tend to keep our refrigerator very cold.)

What can I do to keep them tall, soft and tasting good?  Should I not let them come to room temp before baking?  Should I be MORE patient after taking them out of the refrigerator and let them warm/rise an hour (or even more)?

This happened this past weekend with a monkey bread I made, and I'm getting frustrated.  It's so much more convenient to pre-make the rolls or monkey bread and then bake for breakfasts the next morning!  I really don't want to get up at 3am just so my in-laws can have fresh cinnamon rolls to start the day!

- Greg

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Yeasts go to sleep around 41 F, so with 1 hr on the counter at room temperature and another hour (likely more) in the refrigerator until yeast fermentation stops at 41 F, you've likely overproofed them. 

The alcoholic taste is another clue that they're overproofed.

Try putting them in the refrigerator right away or very shortly after shaping (or, in your case, rolling and slicing). If they're fully risen when you take them out in the morning, you can bake them right out of the refrigerator. If not, give them some time to rise at room temperature, but not too much.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Those are the signs of overproofing. You shouldn't have any problems if you refrigerate them right away, and let them come to room temperature before you bake them. If it still doesn't work, and the breads overproof, try reducing the yeast a bit.

Karin

GAPOMA's picture
GAPOMA

Thanks Thomas and Karin!!!  I knew I could count on my TFL friends for sage advice.  

I too suspected they were overproofed, but wasn't sure whether I should refrigerate right away or not.  I'm sure your advice will solve my problems, and I'll have to try it this weekend!!

- Greg

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

A very generic formula I use to decide how long to proof dough at room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator/retarder is:

  • x = how long does the recipe (which you want to retard, but doesn't call for retarding) say to proof (in minutes)
  • y = how long will it take dough to get to 41 F in the refrigerator (in minutes)
  • x - y = z (or how long to proof at room temperature before refrigerating/retarding (in minutes)).
Ex 1. For your cinnamon rolls, say the recipe (which you want to retard, but doesn't call for retardation) says to proof for 45 minutes before you bake them:
  • x = 45 (recipe says proof 45 minutes before you bake them)
  • y = 30 minutes (time you estimate it will take your dough to get to 41 F in the refrigerator) 
  • x - y = (45 - 30) = 15
  • 15 = let them proof at room temperature for 15 minutes before retarding.
Ex 2. For your cinnamon rolls, say the recipe (which you want to retard, but doesn't call for retardation) says to proof for 45 minutes before you bake them:
  • x = 45 (recipe says proof 45 minutes before you bake them)
  • y = 60 minutes (time it will take your rolls to get to 41 F in the refrigerator) 
  • x - y = (45 - 60) = -15
  • -15 = negative minutes means no minutes, so refrigerate rolls immediately. Also consider reducing yeast quantity and/or dough temperature. 
Ex 3. For a large loaf of bread, say the recipe (which you want to retard, but doesn't call for retardation) says to proof for 60 minutes before you bake it:
  • x = 60 (recipe says proof 60 minutes before you bake it)
  • y = 90 minutes (time it will take the large loaf to get to 41 F in the refrigerator) 
  • x - y = (60 - 90) = -30
  • -30 = negative minutes means no minutes, so refrigerate loaf immediately. Also consider reducing yeast quantity and/or dough temperature.
There are lots of variables to that y value, obviously, so it takes some practice (and attention to dough temperature before refrigerating/retarding).It's better to underproof before it goes into the refrigerator, as you can always proof more when it comes out. You can't undo overproofing.
thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

In short, if the recipe says proof 60 minutes then bake, try to figure out how to stop yeast fermentation (how to get your dough to 41 F) at the 60 minute mark.

parkita's picture
parkita

i dig the thought process and formula. use the tools at hand and better to ere on the side of caution. (but only when it pertains to bread) like water in dough. now in the wintering its as much a pain to keep the bread moving as it is slowing it down.

any thoughts on what breads are best suited for overnight retardation and why? pain au levain or tangy sd sure. ive had sucsess with others but am looking for a hard and fast answer. is rye and rye sponge bread not suited for overnight bc of the unique properties of rye?