The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Inconsistent overnight proofing

Frescard's picture

Inconsistent overnight proofing

I'm making pretzels. Every evening I prepare the dough, put it in the fridge, and the next day (~16 hrs later) I take it out, let it rest, and then bake it.

The problem is, what I'm taking out of the fridge in the morning is *very* inconsistent (rise differences of nearly 100%). The amounts and ingredients I'm using are always the same (measured by weight, ~70% hydration), the mixing procedure is always the same (water into mixing bowl, add yeast, let it sit for a minute, add sugar, mix for a few seconds, and then add the flour/salt mix), and so is the fridge (consumer-grade).

I tried different brands of yeast, tried increasing the amount of it, but it's still a gamble of what I will find in the morning.

Could it be the fridge (i.e. whether it goes through the thaw cycle at just the right moment), the mixing procedure, or where should I start troubleshooting?

albacore's picture

Check the usual fridge variables - position of dough in fridge (lower shelves are cooler), ambient temperature (if the fridge is somewhere cold, like a garage, it might not chill properly), has other produce recently been added to the fridge, eg food, drink?

I presume your mixing water is always the same temp?


tgrayson's picture

Do you always use the same container? Keeping the dough in a tight ball will increase the amount of rise because it stays warm longer.

Frescard's picture

It's always in the same position in the fridge (which is mostly empty), and the other stuff in there is pretty consistent, too.

Water is always as cold as it comes out of the faucet (which may vary a bit seasonally here in Canada, but shouldn't change too much from day to day).

I do have a thermometer that can record min/max values, so perhaps I'll log the fridge temps for a while, and compare those values with how my dough comes out.