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4-loaf, over night rise recipie...advice?

samkc's picture

4-loaf, over night rise recipie...advice?

I would appreciate any advice on the following bread recipe. With a moderate amount of baking experience over the past few years, I have begun a quest to develop an efficient method for baking four loaves of bread per week. I have three kids and a full-time job so my time is limited, but my family all enjoys home baked bread and when possible helping with the process. The recipe I have been using for the past few months was pieced together from a couple of recipies that I found in books. It has worked OK, but overall I have not had a particularly impressive final rise, though once I had definite over rise and fall after adding an extra tsp of yeast. Again, any advice would be most appreciated. i.e. too much yeast, too little yeast, too much salt, too much honey, make sure not to wait too long on the first rise, make sure the first rise is a good one and the kitchen is warm enough, make sure to let the bread come to room temperature before baking, make sure not to over kneed when adding the fruits and nuts, not enough flour for 4 loaf pans, ... thanks!

1) combine the following ingrediants

4 cups white flour

4 cups whole wheat flour

2 tbs oil

4 tsp salt

4 tbs butter

2 tbs molases

4 tbs honey

2) combine the following ingrediants

4 tsp active dry yeast

4 cups warm water

3) mix the yeast/water combination with the flour combination

4) slowly add at least 2 more cups of white flour and kneed for about 20 minutes

5) let rise for just under 2 hours

6) punch down and divide into 4 loaves

6.5) sometimes I add nuts and fruit

7) place loaves into four greased baking pans

8) let rise overnight in the refrigerator

9) bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 for 15 minutes

10) continue to bake at 375 for another 30 minutes

umbreadman's picture

i've read somewhere that if you plan to refrigerate dough for pan-loaves, you shouldn't chill the dough in the pan. This has to do (i believe) with the metal getting very cold very quickly and slowing down yeast activity abruptly, giving a sub-par rise in the fridge. Normally, the dough cools slowly, so there's still activity for some time, but the extra cold metal cuts that time down. I would suggest chilling it overnight in a non-metal bowl for its slow/cold ferment, taking it out the next day and then panning it.

Also, do you let the dough warm up a little bit before you toss it in the oven, or do you bake it straight from the fridge? The way you're doing it, it seems like the stunted cold-rise would put the dough at a disadvantage for max. oven spring. I think giving the dough some time at room temperature to warm up and rise a touch before baking would be a good idea, and it's easy to control how long you leave it out. Once its risen a little you can throw it in, expecting another kick in the oven.


samkc's picture


Thanks for the reply. Does the cooling issue only apply to metal pans or to all pans? Two of my pans are metal. The other two are ceramic and glass. I think I have noticed that the loafs in the metal pans do not rise as much, but I am not sure. Also, if I let them rise outside of the pan in the refrigerator, how can I get them into the pans without punching them down? Do I need a third rise?

I take the loaves out of the fridge and then let the oven preheat, but they are definitly cold when they go into the oven. I could wait a little longer, though once they had clearly fallen by morning in the refrigerator.

Again thanks. Any thoughts about the ingredients?


sphealey's picture

=== i've read somewhere that if you plan to refrigerate dough for pan-loaves, you shouldn't chill the dough in the pan. This has to do (i believe) with the metal getting very cold very quickly and slowing down yeast activity abruptly, giving a sub-par rise in the fridge. ===

I am a heat-transfer geek (over the weekend I was looking at laboratory-grade humidity chambers wondering if they would work as proofing boxes {a little pricey at $12,000 US}) but even I wouldn't worry about this. The effect if any would be limited to the first few mm of the dough in contact with the pan, and when you take the pans out of the fridge in the morning you can pretty clearly see that the majority of the rising occurs from the center outward. Which makes sense because the center is where it is warmest and the most activity occurs.

Also, artisan bakeries proof hundreds of panned loaves at a time in coolers so the process does work.


sphealey's picture

You might want to try breadnerd's semi-whole-wheat overnight recipe; it works quite well for me. Read through the entire thread and use the formula in the Revised Formula comment (links to a Google spreadsheet).

I have modified this recipe by mixing the whole grain flours, the water, and 50 or so grams of my sourdough starter and letting it soak for 1-3 hours before mixing the final dough. This seems to soften the whole wheat taste a bit.


samkc's picture


Thanks. This looks like a good recipe. I will compare it to mine as soon as I learn how to convert weight to volume. I like the idea of adding an egg to the recipe. 

I did not see a mention of letting it rise overnight, which might be my one of my problems, since I have less control over the final rise. I just have to hope that it is ready  in the morning.



sphealey's picture

In 12 years of making our overnight refrigerator cinnamon rolls - a rich dough that contains egg, oil, and sugar - we have never once had them fail to rise. In fact they sometimes rise too much and explode out of the pan (although that recipe has a _lot_ of sugar).

I have only been making breadnerd's recipe for a few months but my experience is similar to that with the cinnamon rolls: a dough with egg and sugar in it seldom if ever fails to rise. And we keep our refrigerator pretty cold.


samkc's picture

Can anyone help me determine if my loaves rose and fell or did not rise in the refrigerator over night? I made my loaves this weekend, which were a success in the end, but the process did not work out quite as I had hoped. I mixed the following ingredients in the afternoon and set the mixture to rise. After an hour or so the dough had not risen that much. I decided to put it in the refrigerator to rise over night. I checked a few times before going to bed and it looked like it was starting to rise. By morning the loaves where pretty flat, so I don't know whether they rose and fell or did not rise. I did realize my problem from the previous day. My thermostat is set at 60F, in addition, I added cold milk to the mixture. My kitchen was warm with the stove on, but the yeast had not chance to get warm in only an hour. In the morning, I took out the loaves and placed them near the oven with it on. About three plus hours later the loaves looked great and I baked them. I had been baking this summer with no problems (and no air conditioning), but did not appreciate the need for warm yeast. Still I don't know what happened in the fridge overnight and I would appreciate any guesses.

I am tried to add an image, but I am not sure how. 

1 1/2 cup warm water

1 cup milk

1 egg

5 tbs brown sugar

1 tbs honey

4 tbs butter

t tbs salt

2 tbs yeast

3 cup bread flour

5 cup whole wheat flour

noyeast's picture

I have found the temperature overnight to be the most difficult factor in overnight proofing, it varies so much that my proofing can take from 8 to 12 hrs.

I have gotten round the problem to some degree by doing the shaping phase last thing at night from cold dough that has been retarded in the fridge, then by morning it is not completely risen which is my plan.

Therefore the proofing must continue on into the morning giving me the opportunity to bake it when at the correct size.

Another factor I have begun "playing" with is whether or not to have a ferment phase before the cold retard, and if so, then for how long.

Its all in aid of two things: one- flavour and two- to have the loaves proofed at a convenient time the following morning for baking.