The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Getting dough to rise in the cold

ggammel's picture

Getting dough to rise in the cold

I make cinnamon rolls that are a great hit at work and with the family, especially over the holidays. However, due to the amount of time it takes to prep them I usually make them the day before. The problem comes in the over night hours. I have two major issues I am hoping I can get help with:

1) After I roll them out and cut them I am supposed to let them rise again but my house is cold and this is difficult to get them to do, often taking twice as long as recommended by the recipe.

2) Cinnamon rolls are best when fresh baked so I like to make them at night and pop them in the oven in the morning however if I refrigerate after getting them to rise they fall and don't have the awesome fluffy look to them that I love. Everyone still says they taste great but I am always disappointed in the presentation.

I have heard about using the fridge for a cold rise but am not sure how that works or the time needed. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Hoping for better holiday breakfasts!! Thanks.

Yerffej's picture

Refrigerate them before they rise (immediately after you roll & cut them) and let them rise in the refrigerator.  Take them out and assess whether or not they are fully risen.  If yes, put them in the oven.  If no,  leave them at room temperature until fully risen and then bake.


ggammel's picture

Could I put them in the fridge say overnight or is that too long/not long enough? I've gotten success in the past with refrigerator rising but it has been intermittant at best so I am not sure how to get the best results that way.

suave's picture

It's hard to give a precise answer since much would depend on your exact recipe and the temperature in your fridge.  I would suggest that you cut your second rise in half, then pop the cookie sheet into the fridge and let them sit overnight.  In the morning bake them right out of the fridge.   If they still fall by morning, then cut warm rise time even further.  In the ultimate case the entire second rise needs to be done in the fridge, as was suggested earlier.  Even if that doesn't help you will need to crank up your fridge or cut back on yeast.

davidg618's picture

I retard baguettes, lean sourdoughs, challah and foccacia overnite in a wine closet @ 54°F. I adjust the yeast or levain quantity to approximately double in bulk in fifteen hours at that temperature. (I also adjust DDT to be 54°F in the early hours). I don't shape the loaves until the next morning, but I see no reason you couldn't reduce the yeast, cut the rolls, and let them proof at room temperature overnight. (unless it's near freezing temperature). It may take a couple trials-and-error to get the initial yeast quantity fine tuned.

David G

Mirko's picture

Hi, I'm using this recipe for cinammon buns, russian braid, german plunder and .......

Basic sweet dough:

Whole milk ------------------- 365g

Eggs, whole------------------- 50g(app.1egg)

Vanilla bean------------------ 1/2 bean (I used 8g Vanilla extract)

Bread flour/All-purpose----- 660g

Instant yeast----------------- 13g (or 32g fresh yeast)

Sugar------------------------ 70g

Salt-------------------------- 13g

Lemon zest----------------- 1/2 Lemon

Unsalted butter------------ 70g

Bring the whole milk and eggs to room temperature (68°F/20°C). Split the Vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds to the milk.

Pour the liquids into the bowl (5-quart mixer works well) of a stand mixer. Add the flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Mix at low speed until dough comes together (cleanup stage).

Soften the butter by hammering it with rolling pin. Increase the mixing speed to medium and slowly add the softened butter in stages. Make sure you give each additon of butter enough time to fully incorporated into the dough befor adding the next.

  When the dough is fully developed (Gluten window test), place the dough in a plastic container sprayed with oil (Cooking spray), cover and allow to bulk ferment for 2 hours at room temperature.

After bulk fermentation, place on a sheet pan lined with parchment and press the dough down to about 3/4 inch(2cm) thick.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight( I used the dough after 12 hours refrigeration).

Next day (Baking day):

Remove the dough from refrigerator, unwrap the plastics, and place the dough onto lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough

and spread your cinammon filling over the surface of the dough, roll up the dough, cut the rolls.

Cover and let proof at room temperature for about 45min to 1 hour (Dough should approx. double in size). I dont know how cold/warm is in your kitchen. If colder as 68°F/20°C, let proof for longer(10 to 20 min).

Preheat a convection oven to 350°F(180°C) about 30 min. befor baking. After proofing bake for 15-18min(I baked in my oven for 17min.)

Here my Cinammon buns, Plunder and Russian braid (with this recipe)

 Happy baking and nice greetings from Canada,Mb




ggammel's picture

So what I think I am hearing is that I can do a cold rise in my fridge (as long as it isn't tooo cold...approximately 54 F) and perhaps cut the yeast? I am a good cook and baker but am just now entering the world of bread and using yeast and so I am not really conversant in the terminology and how to get the best results from yeast and getting things to rise properly.

I saw one recommendation for it being ok to leave the dough out all night at room temp as but I am concerned about the egg in the dough and the risk of bacterial growth if it is left out. That is another reason why I try not to leave my dough out to rise for too long before I either bake or refrigerate even if it hasn't gotten as large as I would like. Is this something I need to be worried about?

Thanks for all your help. It has been great. And while I don't understand all the instructions those cinnamon rolls above look amazing so while I usually use a bread maker I may just have to try the by hand version presented by Mirko.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you added more yeast.  Those of us that experiment a lot will tell you anything is possible.  The longer the dough is fermenting before you chill it, the higher the yeast population.  So if you chill it too cold too soon, you have to make up for it later and it usually takes longer but you get more wet time on your dough.  (wet time reduces phytic acids in the flour, especially worth having with whole flours and lots of seeds)  

What I hear and suggest is that you make the recipe before the holidays so you have a run at it while not under pressure. (you can also freeze the finished rolls as emergency back up)  What I find is that my fridge can get so packed with other stuff during the holiday that there is no room for rolls rising. I might try spliting the dough for two ideas.  One method might be placing the ready for final rise rolls in one or two baking trays and freezing.  Then the night before baking, on the way to bed, place them in the garage or porch to thaw and slowly rise.  If they aren't ready the next morning to bake, just warm up the oven a little bit and let them get a little more rise before pre-heating the oven.  Try it now if it works out before next weekend. Freeze them a day or two. Bake only half of them to see how it works.  Refreeze baked rolls for backup.  

butterflyblue's picture

Here is what I do: I make and shape my cinnamon rolls the night before I want to bake them.  Immediately after they are shaped (they've had the first rise, but not the second), I put them in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap.  The next morning, I put them in a warm oven for 20 minutes to finish rising.  Then I pull them out to preheat the oven, and bake as usual.  I have not had any problem with overproofing, but your oven/fridge/recipe are different, and it might take a little tinkering to work out what is best for you.  You might start by leaving them only 10 or 15 minutes to rise, going longer only if they look like they need it.  I'm always surprised at the amount of rise I get overnight in the fridge.