The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough- freeze or refrigerate for baking later?

Leslie B's picture
Leslie B

Dough- freeze or refrigerate for baking later?

I've only made bread straight through.  I have 2 questions about prepping dough and baking it later:

1) What are the stages for baking bread during a work week?  Is there a way to break it down to do what ever needs to be done in the morning and at night?  I just got a KA pro 600 and am thinking of trying to make bread during the work week as I want to get my practice in. 

2) We will be staying at a friends place in the mountains for 4-5 days.  Sometimes just 2.  I would love to make bread this weekend for the new years dinner, but since there is no stand mixer or time to hand knead anything- it will be an active weekend- is there a way to mix dough and then refrigerate or freeze to bake later?  If so, what stage and how long can you do this?  I've read that you never freeze dough, but if I just want something better than I can find at a regular grocery store, will it work?  For this specific instance, can I make dough or some parts of it friday, and bake it on monday?

Will the frig/freezer storage be different for different types of bread?  I.e., artisan bread using a preferment or poolish (I'm trying to get my starter back to life), or parker house rolls, or sweet breads, etc. 

Alternatively, can I mix dough on a friday, and bring it up to the mountains and bake it saturday night for dinner (versus my previous example)?

Thanks.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Absolutely, especially given that you'll be using the dough the very next day. You could mix it up on Friday, let it do the first rise, shape it, put it in the fridge, transfer it to a cooler packed with ice the next morning, and it should be ready to bake on Saturday.

You could also try one of the slow rise breads that use very little yeast. I've had good luck with the no-knead bread popularized by Mark Bittman (here's a link to a video he did on how to make it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU). Personally, I use less water for a less gloopy dough, fwiw.

Patf's picture
Patf

with JMonkey's suggested programme.

I used to freeze dough, then thaw out, shape and bake, but found it never regained its natural "bounce".

So now prefer a slow rise.

 

 

Leslie B's picture
Leslie B

Thanks- I couldn't think of the terms to look them up.  I have made, several times, the Mark Bitman recipe and was hoping to branch out to different types of bread.  I'm curious how I can retard the process over 2-3 evenings and/or make dough and bake 2-3 days later, depending on my schedule. 

Meaning, make a batch big enough for 2-3 loaves and only bake 1 loaf the same day, and the others on consecutive days so we can have fresh bread without another process.  Is this wishful thinking?  I'm assuming this won't work if I combine my two issues: dealing with a work week, and refrigerating dough to bake on another evening. 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

That plan should work pretty well, though over time, the bread may lose some spring and could acquire an off cheesy flavor. But over 2-3 days, that shouldn't be much of a problem. I'd recommend retarding, however, during the bulk phase. When you're ready to bake, cut off what you need for your loaf, shape it and let it rise quickly. When I want something to rise fast, I put the shaped loaf on an upturned cereal bowl in a cooler, and then put a cup or two of very hot watter in the bottom.

Peter Reinhardt's Artisan Bread Every Day and Hertzberg and Francois' Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day both use variations on this technique.