The Fresh Loaf

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Cold Proofing

junocarrano's picture

Cold Proofing


I'm having some troubles with cold proofing! I've made a dough with 80% white flour and 20% whole wheat, about 70% hydration, stiff starter and 2% salt. The bulk fermentation was beautiful, my shaping was fine and I've waited 60 minutes so I could put it in the refrigerator/fridge ( I don't know the difference in english). I've realized, however, that the dough was rising too fast, after 5 or 6 hours it was enormous, so I didn't know what to do, I've waited until this morning to bake (19 hours of cold proofing) and it was totally overproofed. 

What should I do when realize that it's rising too fast? And what happened, is the temperature of my refrigerator/fridge probably too high? Cause many bakers cold proof in longer periods of time. I have absolutely no problems with cold bulk fermentation (it's maybe easier?), but cold proofing . . . it could be better for me to bake the same day I make the dough, right? 

I live in Salvador, Brasil, important to say, the temperatures in here are very high and fermentations go crazy <3  



Thank you (and sorry about anything, this is my first post)!

Juno Carrano. 

not.a.crumb.left's picture

Hi Juno,

I am by all means not an expert but I had at the start of making sourdough a similar experience:

1. How much did your dough rise during bulk fermentation? I learnt to ignore the clock but watch the dough until it has risen 30-50% and has good strength and sign of healthy fermentation such as  bubbles BUT don't let it go too proofy.

2. Why are you leaving it for an hour after final shaping? I am in the UK and put my dough during bulk fermentation in a proofer around 78F and it has a bench rest after pre-shape for 1 hour at room temperature. After that the dough goes straight into the fridge and I have to put it onto the hightest temp as it otherwise is not cold enough. 

So, I suggest to check what the temp of your fridge is? It might not be cold enough...

3. I often finish final shaping let's say around 5 or 6 in the afternoon and dough goes straight into the fridge and bake in the morning around 7 or 6 ish...straight out of fridge.

I hope this helps.   Kat

bread1965's picture

What percentage starter (compared to total flour weight) did you use?

Isand66's picture

Your temp in the refrigerator is most likely too high.  I do bulk fermentation in the refrigerator all the time and very rarely do I have the issue you had.  I also use a fairly large % of starter in my formulas with out having this issue around 20-25%.

hanseata's picture

Like Ian, I bulk ferment almost all my doughs in the fridge overnight. But cold fermentation for already shaped breads is iffy because home refrigerators are not as precise in their temperature setting as commercial ones. I use it only for Pane Siciliano and Tartine breads.


Btw., "fridge" is just an abbreviated version of "refrigerator".


junocarrano's picture


So, @not.a.crumb.left , during the bulk fermentation it was perfect (I've learned to ignore the clock as well), I let it bench rest for 30 minutes (the medium room temperature in here is 83F/84F) and followed some tips from Daniel Larsson guide (available in this link, where he says " [...] Stiffer dough that evolves more slowly are always left in room temp before hitting the cold (otherwise it could be in there forever). Wetter dough I tend to cool down earlier and so on.".

Probably as you, @hanseata and @isand66 said the temperature of my fridge is too high, so I think it's better to do the whole process in room temperature . . . 

About the dough, it had around 35% of starter . . . I didn't know it was possible to do it with 20%!!! Sure, anything is possible, hahahahah, but I've thought 30% was the minimum. When I started doing sourdough I used 40%! You guys think that's one of the problems? What do you suggest? 


Thank you a lot for the answers! I'm not very active but will do the best I can to answer and discuss <3

Juno Carrano.