The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Overproving in fridge

Beatlebill77's picture

Overproving in fridge

I’ve been trying some ideas from the Ken Forkish book ‘Flour, water, salt, yeast’. I love some of the results but am finding it frustrating too. I can’t get the tension in the dough despite numerous folds in the time suggested, and when I put it in the fridge for the suggested 12 hours, it is massively over-proved when it comes out. Am I missing something here?! Any suggestions welcome!


Danni3ll3's picture

First of all, your ambient temperature must be in the low 70F or your dough will move a lot faster than he suggests. Your fridge must also be on the cold side which means under 40F. 

As to the tension, your flour may not absorb as much water as his so feel free to cut back on the water. Try using 50 to 100 g less and see if that helps. 

leslieruf's picture

Just like to add that perhaps shortening the bulk ferment (don't go quite as far as Ken does) and to watch the dough not the clock!!.  Can you shorten the 12 hours in the fridge or alternatively time it so that the last few hours can be watch so that you have a chance to catch it and bake it cold straight from the fridge before it has overfemented.

Good luck.


Portus's picture

I have become a convert to proofing overnight in the fridge at 4C, unless the recipe suggests otherwise, e.g. Hamelman Pain au Levain.  It presents a reasonably firm dough mass to sculpt and, for want of a better description, the "shock" of chilled dough landing on a hot baking stone appears to give life to the oven spring. Touch wood, I have yet to see under- or over-proofing, but this is probably owing to more ass than class! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

are warmer than his, cut back on the amount of prefermented dough (yeast) in the recipe.  Use a smaller amount of sourdough culture or lower the temp of the liquids.  Getting the salt in early helps too if a recipe asksfor a delayed salt addition.

 Tiny steps in the beginning of fermentation make for exaggerated outcomes toward the end of fermentation so tweak conservatively and one at a time per loaf to find a solution.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Lots of good suggestions here. I think there is one other, and that is determining your desired dough temperature before it goes in the fridge. As Danni noted, if your  workspace is warmer, you could be getting a lot more activity. One way to deal with that is use cooler water and reduce the dough temperature. This can make a big difference.

aaronryorkshire's picture

Maybe drop the yeast amount first and then check your fridge temps second. We use 18g per 16kg of dough in summer at the bakery i work in for an overnight dough which DOESN't go in a fridge.

Also regarding the tension issue, what dough are you making? what is the hydration? Most home bakers don't get enough tension into there dough, I teach bread courses and it's one of the two mistakes people always make with yeasted doughs.