The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Refrigerated dough for bread

SonyaBakes's picture

Refrigerated dough for bread

I would like to make dough and keep it in the fridge. The 3rd loaf I ever made was one I kept in the fridge for two days and it was excellent. I only used a half tsp of yeast, since I read that it was best to reduce yeast for dough kept in the fridge.It was by accident that I didn't bake it until two days later. The bread was kind of tangy and very flavorful. It was a basic white bread with flour, oil, water and salt. I would like a recipe that would stay in the fridge for  a couple of days before baking. i would love a whole wheat one that is pretty light. I tried the Peter Reinhart 199% whole wheat and somehow made a brick. I know it had to be my error as most people had great results. I followed that one exactly and did not refrigerate, but maybe the yeast was not intended for that. I used pizza dough yeast that I bought by accident. It worked for the basic loaf, but not for the whole wheat. Also, I know that soaking the whole wheat is suppose to produce a lighter loaf, but if I keep it in refrigerator for a few days, would I still need to soak it, since it would be in a moist environment? I would like a good white and a good wheat that's not to hard to make.  I used a bread maker to knead my dough and baked it

in the oven. Also, does the no-knead breads produce light textured breads? Sorry if I'm rambling, but since baking that loaf, I can't wait to start baking!

Alpana's picture

PR's recipe does not give any water in final dough mix and tells us to adjust water or flour in final kneading as needed. I have always had to add water to get a sticky dough to my liking. I also knead in my bread machine. I add water till the dough sticks slightly to the BM walls and drags a bit. I like my dough to be quite wet, but even otherwise adding more water while kneading will be useful for the 100% WW bread. If I don't get window pane after first kneading is done, I usually run the BM for bit of an extra knead till window pane is achieved.

I wouldn't skip the soaker even if I retard in fridge as cold is actually dehydrating. Keeping in fridge will not make your dough more moist. On the contrary, it will be drier, if you don't cover it properly.

It is a very tasty recipe and a very easy dough to handle, so please hang on to it and you will get there. Adjust water to desired dough consistency, check that the dough is at least one and half times in bulk ferment, not over proofed during second proof and you should sail through. 

If your biga had risen slightly and final dough risen sufficiently, the yeast would have been ok, but you can switch back to the yeast you used originally to keep few variables.

The basic no knead bread has high hydration & no enrichment. So it will be different in texture from  sandwich breads. It is crusty, airy and gets chewier as days pass (you might want to heat it in oven before eating). I love it, but you will have to try  and see if it is to your taste. 

Hope this helps. Keep baking.




hanseata's picture

Sonya, from which of Reinhart's books was that formula you used? I bake Reinhart's breads all the time, and always retard the dough overnight in the fridge.

If you make a whole grain bread with pre-doughs (soaker, starter or biga), you can keep the pre-doughs in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, before mixing the final dough.

If you place the already mixed dough in the fridge (as I do), it will be good for 12 hours, and reducing the instant yeast a bit is a good idea, because it works fine with less. 

If you want to keep a mixed dough longer refrigerated than one day, you can do that with the Stretch & Fold method instead of pre-doughs or long kneading, (as described in Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Bread Every Day"). Those doughs keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

You are right, you don't necessarily need an extra soaker for the whole grains if you place the dough for a longer time in the refrigerator, since they have enough time to absorb the water. But they also need enough water to absorb, otherwise the dough will be too dry when you take it out later. That means your dough has to be still somewhat sticky when you put it in the fridge, and not tacky, as probably described in the recipe.

This is one possibility that could have happened to your whole wheat bread, it might have felt right after you mixed it, but since whole wheat absorbs more water than white flour, it might have sucked the dough dry, resulting in a brick. (This doesn't happen when you soak the grains before.)

But since you used Fleischmann's special pizza yeast, this is probably the real culprit. Sortachef posted about his experience with this type of yeast: "What's different about this yeast? Besides dry yeast granules, the package contains a cocktail of emulsifiers, antioxidants and enzymes that speed the growth of the yeast. You also add water that is 10 or 20 degrees warmer than normal - in the 125º range - that gets the process off to a very fast start. Turbo charged, indeed!

If you're familiar with yeast doughs, you will notice a difference as soon as the hot water is mixed with the dry ingredients. Because of the boosted heat and the emulsifiers involved, the gluten in the dough forms quickly, adding a spring to the dough that you wouldn't feel for 20 minutes or more if using conventional yeast."

Your dough might have fermented so quickly, that it was already exhausted when you made the bread with it.

Happy baking,