The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Retarded Proofing Schedule

louiscohen's picture

Retarded Proofing Schedule

I tried a cold proofing for the first time; it was in the fridge about 14 hours after an overnight cold bulk fermentation.   I did a poke test just before baking (cold) and it seemed way overproofed. I got almost no oven spring.

How do you handle this?  Do you just have to cut back the yeast % even more so that the proofing slows down to match your schedule?  I used .0.22%  instant dry yeast in a 100% whole wheat loaf at 85% hydration.  Bulk fermentation was overnight + half a day, and it looked pretty, good,about 1 1/2 the volume.  .  


The formula is here Bread Formulas under The Bread Code 100% whole wheat.  I tried to adapt the formula and technique from this very good video Bread Code Perfect Whole Wheat.  Video is sourdough; I went for a poolish and yeast.


HeiHei29er's picture

I don’t have much experience with doing a cold retard, but I don’t think you need to lower your amount of yeast.  It can take 4-5 hours for your dough to come down to your refrigerator temp.  During that time, the yeast activity slows down while the temperature drops, but there’s still some.

If you wait to retard until your fully proofed, your dough will be over proofed after 14 hours.  Others will have better schedules/examples, but I think you need to shape and start the retard while you still have some proofing to go so you don’t ovenproof in the refrigerator.  Depends on the flour and how fast bulk fermentation is going, but I think most start their cold retard when the dough is in the 60-75% expansion range.

louiscohen's picture

That's an interesting idea.  I'll look around and see if anyone else suggests it, especially the guy in the video.

bakeyourownAU's picture

Hey there Louiscohen :) 

Sounds like you've had the same issue I had with my sourdough bread.

I've been able to combat this issue by doing two things. Firstly checking my fridges temp to make sure its at 3 degrees celsius and secondly, only proofing at room temp for about half an hour, then putting my dough straight in the fridge. I usually do a cold retard for about 18 hours and works like a charm each single time.

Ohh and finally, I'd say heat your cooking vessel hotter than normal, say about 270 degrees celcius so your dough gets that extra heat to suddenly jump up when in the oven. This helps to avoid spreading. 


Hope these help :) 

louiscohen's picture

Our fridge is around that temp or a little colder.  After shaping, the dough went right into the firdge, no room temp proofing at all.  The dough had had an extra long bulk fermentation in the fridge which may have been the problem.

I used to bake in a dutch oven at 475 F with convection.  I tried lowering the temp to 450 F and got better oven spring.  Apparently the high temp forms the crust fast before the oven spring can kick in.

Although I like the idea of cold proofing because of the benefits, I am not sure it's feasible for me , as I always bulk ferment in the fridge overnight.  

gerhard's picture

shaped dough. In the winter I use water about 25°C, if I do that in the summer the dough will overproof even in the fridge. In the summer my flour along with the kitchen air will be at least  5° warmer so I use the water as cold as possible.

Benito's picture

Have you checked the temperature of your fridge accurately?  By that I mean, place a glass of water on the shelf in the position that you will cold retard on.  Several hours later check the water temperature.  Remember that the poke test isn’t accurate for cold retarded dough. So if your dough was close to fully proofed when it was put in the fridge for cold retard it could very well overproof during those first few hours in the fridge.