The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stockpiling Dough for Holiday Get togethers

Grey's picture

Stockpiling Dough for Holiday Get togethers

Delicious Bread Hi all, I was wondering about doing some prep work for the holidays Christmas Eve and Day my family hosts the extended family for a dinner, I've been experimenting withbreadmaking for the last few months and have an italian bread recipe that I quite like, as well I'm getting pretty good at making french bread, but I've made a point of learning without time constraints, I bake when I have time and enjoy it as a hobby, While I don't want to break out too far from that, I thought it might be nice to have some homemade bread for the holidays to share with the family, but the kitchen is going to be a madhouse after this weekend, so I thought maybe I could mix up a few batches of dough ahead of time and refridgerate/freeze it until the day of or day before everyone turns up, then bake several loaves at once. I've never done this before though so I was wondering if I could get a few tips,


- Should I refridgerate or freeze the dough if it's got to sit idle for 2-3 days?

- How long should I let the dough warm up/rise for once out of the cold?

- usually I have 2-3 rises, can I do any of these before the cold?


That's pretty much it I guess, I've been very happy with how my bread has been turning out, thanks in very large part to this site.


colinwhipple's picture

I have refrigerated french bread dough for as long as five days, and the bread made from it tasted good.

I put it straight into the refrigerator after mixing, and it puffed up some in the refrigerator.  I don't know what the result of letting it rise first would be.

I found it took a little more than two hours after  taking it from the refrigerator before it could be baked, one hour to warm up, some time to shape it, and then an hour rise time.


Cooky's picture

I have not had a problem sttoring lean dough in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Never tried it with as richer dough (with eggs, sugar, etc.). Basically, once it is chilled, the yeast action slows to a crawl, so the dough does not get over-proofed, yet has time to develop more complex flavor. You can do this at either the bulk ferment stage or after you have shaped the loaves.

 You probably don't want to freeze raw dough. You can bake it to the point that is is cooked through but not yet browned, then freeze it, and get good results chucking it back into the oven long enough to finish. But uncooked or half-cooked dough goes yucky when frozen.



"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

subfuscpersona's picture

Like Cooky, 24-48 hrs is the max time I've stored dough in the frig. If you want to keep it 3 days, simply refrigerating it might be ok too.

On the other hand, I've frozen bread dough with success. The ones I freeze are doughs without a lot of butter (like a brioche) and made with water (not milk) so I can't tell you if a highly enriched dough freezes well. Nor can I tell you if a high hydration dough (like for ciabatta) would freeze well. But if its an ordinary dough up to about 67% hydration, its worked for me. Oh - and I can't tell you if this works with sourdough bread since the doughs I've frozen have been made with commercial yeast.

I freeze raw dough after the bulk fermentation. Scale or divide it in portions (if the dough makes more than one loaf), double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Make the shape like a flattish oval (rather than a nice round ball) so the cold will penetrate to the middle quickly. Depending on how cold your freezer is plus how large the dough pieces are, there might be some slight rising in the freezer.

Defrost (still wrapped) in the 'frig. If you defrost at room temperature, the outside of the dough will start to ferment while the inside is still frozen. I just take out what I'll need for a baking and put it in the 'frig in the evening and let it defrost overnight.

The next morning, shape it and let it have the final rise and bake as usual. The final rise will be longer since the dough is cold.