The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fridge too cold for overnight proof?

flouryhands's picture

Fridge too cold for overnight proof?


I like to keep my fridge cold, it runs at 4 degrees which I gather is a bit on the low side for proving bread in. 

Will sourdough just go dormant at this temperature (ie, not rise at all) or will it just rise super slowly so I'd have to allow more time? 

Advice appreciated, thanks



jimbtv's picture

I do cold retardation at the same temperature. Most US refrigerators are set at 40 F (around 4 C). It certainly does slow down the fermentation but things still move along quite nicely. My retardations typically run from 9 - 13 hours.

Retarding dough, whether in the fermentation or proof stage, does require some practice and patience. Things like the strength of your levain, relative hydration and the particular ingredients you select will affect the outcome. It is very hard for one person to tell another how long to retard your dough, unless we have used the EXACT same ingredients, methods, temperatures and times.



AndyPanda's picture

I'm no expert - but I've seen several recipes specify to put the dough in a 4c fridge. But I've seen some recipes that just say to leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill and then set it out overnight to gradually warm up by morning.

I think it all depends on the temp of your space and your particular starter or yeast. Commercial yeast doughs certainly rise fine in my fridge.

The sourdough starter I've been using (my starter is still young though) doesn't seem to rise at all in my 4c fridge ... And I've been having better luck leaving the dough on the counter (my kitchen is cold at night this time of year and runs about 15C). I usually set a small ice pack on top of or next to it and that seems just perfect to get a rise out the dough by morning.

Danni3ll3's picture

and proof my sourdough loaves that contain 13% prefermented flour. Any higher and my loaves were overproofed. The sweet spot seems to be 10-12 hours. 

tgrayson's picture

My refrigerator is set at 0C; sometimes my eggs freeze. I don't count on any rise at all in the refrigerator, unless 1) I have large mass of dough, 2) it's warm, and 3) has a lot of yeast. If I intend to put it in the refrigerator at all, I need to get most of the rising done at room temp either before or after.

flouryhands's picture

Thank you all, some great advice there.

I'm going to give it a go using the fridge for overnight retarding to see what happens, now that I know there's a possibility it may work.  I'm hoping use of fridge to retard dough will help me fit making sourdough loaves in with busy schedules etc.  Will post back to say how I get on with it all.

Many thanks