The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Straight from refrigerator to oven?

jeffesonm's picture
jeffesonm

Straight from refrigerator to oven?

Hi all,

After a long summer hiatus (no AC) I am back to bread baking.  Unfortunately I failed to maintain my starter and ended up throwing it out.  Fortunately a nearby bakery was kind enough to give a chunk of theirs, which turned out to be a firm levain.  I baked my first loaves of the season this past weekend and again the house was filled with the delicious smell of bread baking.

Next week at work there's a United Way bake sale, so I figured I'd contribute some delicious loaves.  I'm planning to make the following:

Now I'd really like to bake these all the morning of, but also don't want to wake up at 2 AM.  So my plan is to do everything up to and including the shaping the night before, then stick them in the fridge.  Next morning I will take out one batch every 1/2 hour, give it a few minutes to warm up, then pop it into the oven. When one is done baking the next should be ready to go.

So does this sound like a good approach?  How long must loaves warm up before baking?  Does this change for the potato/cheddar/chive bread since it's leavened with instant yeast too?  Does the cheese spiral inside effect anything?

Thanks!

Jeff

mhjoseph's picture
mhjoseph

I bake straight out of the fridge all the time with great results. The only thing to be careful of is panned loafs which should be left out to warm up for a while.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Jeff,

Like mhjoseph I also bake straight out of the fridge, or close to that. I bake free-form and banneton or brotform shaped loaves and they hold their shape well after inverting onto my peel. But the bake time increases significantly I have found.

Good luck with your Bake Sale bake!

Soundman (David)

holds99's picture
holds99

With the exception of bagels, which go directly from retarding in the fridge into a simmering hot water bath, most of the recipes I've seen and worked with call for a 1 to 2 hour rest at room temp. after removing the dough from the fridge.  One theory holds that If you bake immediately from the fridge there's a risk of developing a "cold center", as the bread bakes from the outside in and the heat may not sufficiently penetrate the cold loaf (to the center/core) before the crust becomes too brown, which could result in a doughy center.  My experience is, ideally you want the dough in the entire loaf the same temperature (75-78 deg. F) to promote good, even oven spring.   

Howard

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Jeffrey Hamelman discusses this issue at page 152 of Bread, noting that if the bread is fully risen when it leaves the cooler, allowing it to get to room temperature before baking is an invitation to flat bread.  His advice is:  "When it's ready, bake it."

My own experience with his sourdough recipe confirms this.  I start the oven when I remove the loaves from the fridge.  When the oven reaches 460F, in they go.  They have not more than 30 minutes between cooler and oven.

 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

LindyD,

I read the same page of Hamelman and have followed that advice to good effect as well. It does take a few minutes longer, and I do manage the oven temperature to avoid what Howard was suggesting is a possible down-side of the technique. But it has always worked well for me too.

BTW, I should add that Hamelman makes a point of saying that this fridge-to-oven technique goes against the conventional wisdom.

Soundman (David)

holds99's picture
holds99

I've done it both ways and greatly appreciate your comments and clarification.  Maybe I've just been lucky but I've never had a loaf fall as a result of bringing it to room temperature (after retardation in the fridge) before putting it into the oven.  Your comment on managing oven temperature is right-on and the key.  In the end, it's whatever works for a particular situation.

Howard

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Howard,

As you say, baking bread is all about what works in a given situation. Every time I bake bread it's different, and a miracle to boot.

I had one sourdough bake go flat like an inner tube with a nail in it, after letting the retarded loaves come up to room temperature. I was deflated like those loaves. 

After that experience I re-read the Hamelman passage that LindyD quoted, and decided that I would try it, though it was counter to what I had read and done up to that point.

Since I tried this technique I have not had to deal with the disappointment of watching beautiful loaves spread and flop on my baking stone. And, as I have written about elsewhere on TFL, scoring somewhat chilled dough seems less likely to cause a problem with the risen bread.

Now I must add that I always take the loaves from the fridge before I start the oven. And I let my oven pre-heat for at least 45 minutes or an hour, so that tends to take some of the chill off.

Using this technique one needs to be careful about the oven temperature. I don't walk away and leave the bread for a long time. Initially, what with opening and closing the oven door to spritz the oven walls, I keep the temperature pretty high (480 dF). And since I score and load one loaf and then score and load the other, I'm also careful about placement of the loaves in the oven, so that the first loaf in doesn't outpace the other. After the initial 10-15 minutes on high temp I turn the temperature down, to 440 or even 425, then turn the loaves around and swap their positions. Finally, by watching the color develop I get a sense of what I need to do with the temperature to prevent burnt crust and doughy centers.

I will post some pictures of my most recent sourdough adventure in a new thread. It will be something of a followup to this discussion.

Always great to talk with you, Howard!

David (Soundman) ;-)

holds99's picture
holds99

Appreciate you explaining. We're in sync on the 10-15 minute initial blast of heat, then turning the oven down. I have a question re: "Now I must add that I always take the loaves from the fridge before I start the oven. And I let my oven pre-heat for at least 45 minutes or an hour, so that tends to take some of the chill off." Do you keep the loaves out of the oven while the oven is heating up or do you put them in the cold oven while it's coming up to baking temperature? Really look forward to seeing your pictures. Howard

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I know what Hamelman says about this and I have gotten good results both ways. But, you can't deny the physics. Ideally you ferment, shape and bake unless retarding is part of the process like the Anis Baguette method. If the center is 20 degrees colder there is no way that the loaf is evenly baked all the way through. It's a compromise. Anis's baguette is such low mass that it doesn't take long to equalize.

The same is true of roasting a big Turkey. If you don't let the entire bird come up to room temp before putting it into the oven, the protected lower areas like the thigh and drum joints will be under cooked. By the time the thigh joint is done and not blood red, the white meat is over done and dry. Same with steak. The only way to arrive at a warm center and moderately charred exterior is to let it sit out on the counter to come to a warmer temp. Most big steak houses bring the evening's batch of steaks up to 145F before the rush and finish them on the broiler on the outside.

I can't think of any reason bread dough would perform differently.

OK, I have my helmet on now.

Eric 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

I've got the horses tied up out back, toss me a helmet and let's head for the door before the crowd gets any bigger, and they take the ropes from the saddlebags  :>) 

Howard

ehanner's picture
ehanner

No wories Howard. Stick to your guns.

Eric 

holds99's picture
holds99

I just telegraphed the Marshall over in Laramie and he's sending a posse.  How far away is Laramie???  :>)

Howard

Soundman's picture
Soundman

My 6 shooters say you're gonna hafta git outa town.

Thanks, Eric. I do appreciate your comments. The thing is, it just doesn't happen that way, at least in my oven. I manage the oven temperature and the center of the bread comes out (as it did yesterday) around 207 dF. The crust is lovely, not overdone. Maybe there are other factors, like whether you use a baking stone? I am using a good solid baking stone, and maybe it transmits the heat up into the bread?

All I know is, it works. Your horse is in the livery station, and the posse's over yonder. ;-)

Tomorrow I'll show pix.

Soundman (David)

ehanner's picture
ehanner

But, think about what would happen if you put an ice cream sandwich on the baking stone. Eventually all the frozen ice cream would melt. But what would be the LAST of it to melt?? Hmmm do you suppose the outer layers would be the first to feel the heat??

When you cool dough and bake it when the dough is at say 40F, and later cut the bread and see that it isn't under cooked in the center, you are not seeing it is MORE cooked around the crust. The undeniable fact is that bread will tolerate a wide range of done-ness. The crumb IS dryer near the edge and more moist in the center. Think about what would happen if you left it in the oven for twice the required time. The effect would be more obvious.

The warmer the dough is when it goes into the oven, the more even the doneness will be on the other end.

We're not shootin blanks here David.

Eric 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Eric,

You drive a hard bargain, hombre. Here's a couple of points to ponder, podner.

This discussion ultimately falls on issues of taste. Some people like their bread baked to 210 dF inside. Some people like their bread chewier, less done inside. But we can't make much headway arguing taste.

And then there are the physics issues. A turkey and bread dough are only barely comparable with respect to density. And don't forget that many cooks disagree about the best way to transfer heat to turkey meat, to achieve the best flavor.

Next, what you say about an ice cream sandwich, transposed to dough, would be true whether the dough is cool or not. The outside heats up faster than the inside, no matter what temperature the oven is at. How fast the crust gets to the caramelization point depends on how much heat you apply to it, for how long. A constant lower heat will equalize the outside and inside temperatures, if that's your issue. If you want a crisp crust and equalization of the crumb, get the crust going in the right direction and then turn the temperature down. I still think that control of time and temperature will get a completely delicious result.

At least to my taste buds.

Time to reload that shootin' iron.

Soundman (David)

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Howard,

I keep the loaves in their bannetons while the oven heats up. Yesterday that was 45 minutes. Slash and load and bake.

Tomorrow I'll post pix and a description.

Thanks,

Soundman (David)

holds99's picture
holds99

Looking forward to seeing your pix tomorrow. 

Howard

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I have no worries with the Hammelman way as described above by LindyD.  I bake two loaves of the Vermont Sourdough every weekend.  I take the loaves from the cooler when I start the oven heating up; this only takes about half an hour.  Most of my rise comes from the oven spring with this recipe.  It's fantastic.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Like Gavinc, I bake two loves of the Hamelman SD each week and our methods are identical as to cooler to oven in about half an hour. I've never had underbaked bread.  While it may be coincidental, or perhaps because Venus was aligned with Mars, the two  times I kept the loaves on the counter for a couple of hours before baking, my loaves  developed cracks. 

Tonight I mixed the Hamelman SD but cut the dough into three smaller loaves. They're in the cooler right now.  These are going to be my prototype loaves because when we had the group Hamelman Vermont SD bake on July 27, my well pump failed.  Continuing problems resulted in my having to have a new well drilled, which broke my heart because my original well water was fantastic  (I have a couple gallons of that water in the cooler for my sourdough).  Today was the first time I've used the new well water in my bread.

 
redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

Title said it all...

Just shape... retard.... preheat your oven, then bake. DO NOT take out your breads, until your oven is ready to go.. otherwise, you will risk to over ferment your breads in your 'getting hot' kitchen counter.. of which.. not good..

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Interesting to note you are shaping then retarding - I have been working to dsnyder's and janedo's method of bulk retarding, then shaping and proofing after an overnight rest. Would I get a different result by taking it right up to shaping and chilling in a banneton?

also, can I just mix and then chill, and bulk proof and fold the next day?

I ask as I baked yesterday, but because I had lost Saturday to some real life stuff (good grief - stuff not baking related? How bad is that ....) I didn't have time to mix and proof the dough during the day before resting Saturday night, so I baked all in one day yesterday. I did wonder if I could have just thrown the dough together and then carried on in the morning, but didn't want to risk it.

Lynne

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

ok.. what you want is the bread "proof" into the shap that you want.  Retardization only slows down the yeast activities, but it will slowly proofing the dough as well.  So you will want to shape, wrap, then retard.

However, if you want to do a bulk retardization then shape, that's fine, just make sure you give the shaped dough another 20 minutes of bench time (resting) or extra proofing time (such as Stollen, Callah) so the dough will rise in the oven.

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Thanks RCD - would it be feasible to stick the whole lot in the fridge at autolyse stage and pull it out and carry on in the morning if necessary?

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

Autolyse time is the time you are allowing the flour to fully hydrated & also rest and develope gluten.  If you want to retard your doughs, wait until after autolyse stage.  Rule of sum, 20 minutes then retard.

jeffesonm's picture
jeffesonm

Thanks to all for the advice

After a long day of measuring, mixing, kneading, folding, waiting and shaping, I now have eight sourdough baguettes, eight bacon baguettes, and five mini cheese loafs retarding in the fridge(s).  Going to bed now so I can get an early start tomorrow morning.  I will be sure to let everyone know how it turns out.