The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need some help with crusty rolls

bubs911's picture

Need some help with crusty rolls

Hi all

Firstly i would like to thankyou for reading this post.

I am a chef from the UK and we are currently making fantastic crusty ciabatta style rolls for our burgers.

I have hit a problem in that we have to bake and freeze our bread as our bread takes 4 - 5 hours to make and is interupting our service and prep time.

Basically i am trying to find a recipe / idea for making the bread / dough / starter the night before and reducing rising time in the morning so bread can be made in less than 1 1/2 hours, i generally find that when we make dough the night before and put it in the fridge it still takes 4 hours to warm up enough to create the lovely light texture.

If anyone has any ideas i would be very greatfull for suggestions.

Thanks for your time


ml's picture

Hi Phil,

My formula for ciabatta is quite successful.

After final fold, I divide the dough & refridgerate overnight.

Next day, I allow 30 min @ room temp, then shape & proof for 30 min. Then bake.

Doc.Dough's picture


I had a similar problem of baking ciabatta that had a 3 hr bulk fermentation time at room temperature and I wanted to be able to have it ready at an arbitrary time during daylight hours without getting up at midnight to do the prep (if - for example - it needed to be ready at 0600).  My solution was to vary the mix start time and the retardation temperature so that I could accurately predict when the dough would be ready to divide and bake.  I can now mix at 2100 and retard according to my handy table/chart to have it ready whenever I want (up to 15 hrs so far, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't add to the table and make the upper time limit be longer and the retard temperature lower).  I am baking with 100% sourdough so even if you are doing the same you will need to run a few trials to get some data.

Three data points:

1.  Mix at 2100 (dough temp 82°F), retard at 2130@60°F; ready for a stretch and fold at 0600, then leave it on the bench until 0800, divide, bench proof for 1:00 then bake at 0930.  This could probably be mixed a little further and go without the stretch and fold then bulk fermented all the way to nearly full proof at which point you could divide and bake directly.  A few degrees one way or the other will give you a range of a few hours to work with.

2.  Mix at 2100, retard at 2130@59°F, stretch and fold at 0630 and return to the cooler; ready to bake at 1330.

3.  Mix at 2100, retard at 2130@63°F; ready to divide and bake at 0700

If you want to mix at 1530 and still wait overnight, the temperature will be lower.

If you have the luxury of multiple retarders, you could have batches that are ready at multiple times during the day.

If you are stuck with a single cooler that has to stay at 38°F for other reasons, then you need to think about how to insulate the dough from the cooler air so that it doesn't get too cold, though 38°F might be just fine for some TBD mix time. You could mix multiple batches and pull them at different times starting whenever you get into the shop and they would be ready to bake a few hours later.

It is up to you to figure out what works in your particular situation.


Alvaremj's picture

I am far from a professional chef but I have worked in plenty of kitchens. (sadly none that baked bread) If you are using commercial yeast you can use a Biga fermented overnight in the refrigerator. Then add it to a straight dough in the morning. Use hot water to counteract cold biga. (I learned about Biga method from Local Breads by Daniel Leader) You should be able to get it to rise in 45min and proof in 30-45 depending on the amount of yeast and kitchen temp. 

You could also do the bulk fermentation during service. Divide and shape after service and proof the shaped loaves overnight in a refridgerator. You would probably have to put the sheet pans in large bags to keep unwanted taste out.

I would read Bread by jeffery Hammelman and Tartine bread by Chad Robertson. The first has some time tables for fermentation. The later talks about being able to manipulate time and temperature to work with your schedule. Also watch this video;

I don't know if this will help at all but experimenting with small batches should give you some options.




henryruczynski's picture


I’m making a fair amount of ciabatta every day

I mostly cut the ciabatta to fit a certain size as you can see in this picture

but when the occasion calls, I also make round buns.

I have a proofer for all this, but in the past, I have baked the way it has been suggested by others in this post.

After the folds, let the dough relax, then scale and round the buns and let them relax again for maybe ½ an hour.

 Dust lightly with flour, flatten and cover the tops of the buns with plastic sheet.

You can now let it sit out to proof maybe half way then retard overnight in the fridge.  

It might take you a few tries, but once you have your timing down, with regards to your dough temperature, room temp, amount of yeast in dough etc - you should be ready to bake from the fridge straight into the oven...and you’ll be a happier chef – that’s if you have fridge space for the sheet pans.



pjkobulnicky's picture

Let me second Henry's comment. With rolls, you should have no problem retarding the final shape after they proof half way and then go straight from the fridge to the oven ... so bake pretty much any time you want within reason.