The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Retarding Large Loafs

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Retarding Large Loafs

Hello All

Long time browswer first time poster to the forum.  The question I have is can large loaves of bread be retarded overnight without overproofing?  My experience has been that anything over 2.5 lbs continues to rise in the fridge to the point that it is overproofed.  I have not had this problem with baguettes.  Maybe large loaves should be retarded as dough and shaped later?  I love the taste of bread that has been retarded and it allows me to bake during the week two big pluses.  Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks

Da Crumb Bum

JMonkey's picture

My guess is that because the loaves are bigger, it takes the dough much longer to cool all the way through. I'd suggest putting them in the fridge an hour or so earlier than you normally would, and see how that works.

pmccool's picture


If your surmise that larger loaves take longer to cool is correct (and I think that it is), then putting the loaves into the fridge an hour earlier probably won't change anything.  The cooling has to be accomplished in a shorter time, somehow.  What if the dough for each loaf were flattened somewhat prior to refrigeration?  That would allow faster cooling because of the larger surface area and thinner cross-section.  Final shaping and a final fermentation would be required prior to baking.  I wonder if the dough would be cooled enough after a couple of hours in the refrigerator to permit final shaping, and then continue the retarded fermentation overnight?


JMonkey's picture

Well, my thinking was that, since fermentation is continuing in the fridge past the point that you want it to go because internally, the loaf is taking a long time to cool, I figured putting it in the fridge a bit early would allow the dough to ferment (and rise) to the proper point in the fridge itself.

Dunno, though. I usually max out at about 2 pounds per loaf, myself.