The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough not Rising in the Fridge

kreyszig's picture
kreyszig

Dough not Rising in the Fridge

I have been having this issue where my dough does not rise in the fridge, but rises nicely in the room or in my oven with the light turned on. I tried multiple times to do a final rise in the fridge between 9 hours up to 24 hours without success. On what does a successful final rise in the fridge depends exactly? My fridge temperature is around 39F. Is your fridge significantly warmer, or is it the culture in my starter/dough that does not like cold?

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

One I find makes my dough rise in the fridge the other comes to a standstill. Yes their will be other factors at play here like how cold is your fridge, starter % and how well the bulk ferment is done but I do believe the starter culture itself will play a factor. 

I'm more adventurous with the bulk ferment when using said starter and give it some bench time before refrigerating. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Some flours become very stiff in the cold... rye for instance.  The more rye in the dough the stiffer it will become as it cools.  

A refrigerator with a cooling fan inside will also chill faster and drastically slow down a final proof.  It can also dry out the "skin" of the loaf if not properly covered.

39°F is very cool indeed for dough and it can stop yeast fermentation.

kreyszig's picture
kreyszig

I notice that even my 100% hydration starter barely produces bubbles in the fridge, while it doubles easily at room temperature. One solution I guess would be to start my final rise at room temperature and finish it in the fridge once the rise is well on its way. What do you think would be a more appropriate fridge temperature for proofing? I am using the main fridge of the house and 39F seems to be the recommended temperature to preserve food in general, so this is why it is currently set at this temperature. Having a fridge just for proofing would be ideal

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I asked the same question recently. I had used a couple of starters that would rise in my fridge but neither had the flavor I was looking for. Then I got some San Francisco starter with the perfect sour tang I wanted and to my surprise it will not rise one bit in my fridge.

So I have been learning to work with it because the flavor is so good. This starter seems to work best if I retard it around 45-50F. I've been doing that using one of those gel packs you keep in the freezer to put on aching muscles - I put the dough in an insulated box with one ice pack and that has been working great for an overnight slow rise.

kreyszig's picture
kreyszig

Thanks for the info! I will try warmer temperature then. I will check the temperature of my cold storage room, it might be around that at this time of the year.

wally's picture
wally

At 39 degrees, sourdough becomes inactive. Even bakers yeast will show very little fermentative activity at that temp.  If you want to achieve overnight retardaction with your shaped loaves - say 12 hrs or more under refrigeration - my advice is to allow the loaves to proof at room temp until they are 3/4’s fully proofed. Then cover & place them under refrigeration. The final 25% of your proofing will occur while the loaves are cooling. Next day, bake them straight out of the refrigerator without allowing them to come to room temp.

kreyszig's picture
kreyszig

Thank you, it makes a lot of sense! I will follow your advice.