The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fridge proof vs. room temp

HappyHighwayman's picture

Fridge proof vs. room temp

For the first while when I did the Tartine method bake, I would also do a fridge proof overnight in the baskets, and I got excellent results. I didn't always want to bake post-bulk fermentation, so it would also allow me to time my bakes. Recently I needed to bake sooner, so I did a room temp proof. As a result I got a lot more rise out of the bread, and it formed a nicer final loaf than the times I did a fridget proof. I didn't notice too much of a taste difference. It also rose more in the room temp state.

The book recommends baking directly from the fridge, but is it possible to get the "best of both worlds" by refrigerating the dough and THEN leaving it out for a couple of hours for a final room temp proof before baking or would that screw something up?



jcking's picture

You can get 10 dufferent answers from 10 different bakers. Every baker bakes under the ability and conditions they have. The only good answer is to try it with your ability and conditions and judge for yourself.


linder's picture

I don't see why it shouldn't work.  Essentially, the SF sourdough I've been making does almost that - proof overnight in fridge then out for 3 hours to proof some more at 85F(need a proof box or use other methods to get this temp).


HappyHighwayman's picture


Once I tried both a fridge rise and a fridge proof and I think I killed the yeasts because I got very little rise upon baking.



ken mitchell's picture
ken mitchell

Hi HappyHighwayman

If you do your retarding in a fridge set at 53 degrees you can bake your bread right out of the fridge. Hold the retarded bread at 53 degrees up to 17 hours. Bake between hour 14 and 17. At this temperature, you will not be able to hold the bread for longer hours as some do at 40 degrees or less.This information was given years ago when I took classes at SFBI. Most fridges are set at 40 degrees or lower, so it would necessitate raising the temp or using another fridge. I have a small dorm type fridge which I have used for this purpose.

Yerffej's picture

It is a matter of knowing when your bread is properly proofed.  Your description of getting "a lot more rise" out of a room temperature proof makes me suspect that your cold overnight proofing is resulting in overproofed dough that fails to achieve full oven spring and that your room temperature proof results in a properly proofed dough.  There are many variables such as ambient temperature at mixing time.  The temperature of your ingredients, the amount of mixing and the method of mixing.  How long after mixing before the loaves go into refrigeration and the cold proof temperature.  Your conditions will be unique to your kitchen and equipment making it difficult to tell you exactly what to do.  The most important thing is to learn when dough is properly proofed without guessing.  This is largely a matter of experience.

The long cold proof should result in a noticeably better tasting bread and full oven spring.   Happy baking, keep notes on what you do as it will help you perfect the bread.


HappyHighwayman's picture

My fridge is likely colder than 53 degrees. I agree it's likely getting over-proofed then.

I usually mix the dough and do a 4-5 bulk fermentation depending on the temp of the kitchen, then let it rest on a table in basic loaf shape for 30 min before folding the dough and leaving them in the baskets which I usually put right in the fridge. 




isand66's picture

Another way you can go it to do a bulk ferment of the dough before you shape it.  When you are ready to bake the next day you let the dough come back to room temperature for about 1.5 to 2 hours then form it into loaves and let it rest for another 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your conditions.  This is the method i use to bake most of the time.

Good luck.

HappyHighwayman's picture

My fridge is 39 degrees, I checked.

I did about a 15 hour fridge proof because I didn't want to wake up in the middle of the night to bake, and left them out a couple of hours and they're baking now so I'll see how it goes. In the future I will just time it so they spend less time in my fridge.



HappyHighwayman's picture

But more time would result in the aforementioned "over proofing" no?