The Fresh Loaf

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Baguette dough - how long can stay it in the fridge?

Brotaniker's picture

Baguette dough - how long can stay it in the fridge?

When I do baguettes and/or buns/hard-rolls I do the "overnight" method - prepare the dough in the evening. Shape and bake next morning.

When I add an extra day (8h > 32h) it works the same - but taste is noticeable better! 

I wonder, what is the maximum time you can keep a dough in the fridge? And what will happen if it stays too long? Mold aside obviously, but will the taste get too sour/strong for thinks like baguettes? 

For bun I bake the full load, but for baguettes it would be nice to bake just one - but my kneader doesn't work with only 150g flour, I need 500g or so as minimum. Plus, it would be cool to have stand-by dough in the fridge.





Dan_In_Sydney's picture

How timely.

I am just sitting down after starting a bulk ferment of a batch of baguettes and my situation is near identical - I use 500g of flour as that does seem the minimum my Kenwood will deign to mix but this time I mixed and kneaded (slap+fold) by hand so that particular restriction didn't apply. Still, this flour is in 1kg bags so it's just simpler to use exactly half and know I don't have to weight it for the next batch.

I have moved the details to a new topic to avoid derailing this one!

I'll post the summary of my results, however.

Bake 1 - 32hr cold retard

Taste was good and crust and crumb were both very good (at least for me). I would be happy with this as a go-to.





alfanso's picture

Rather addressing the Slap & Folds/French Folds.  For years I would do 300 FFs, which took me no more than 6-9 minutes, depending on how stiff the dough was.  Your 20 minutes seems extreme to me.  Since last year's CB for baguettes I've taken the advice of Don (MTloaf), who is a superb baguetteer.  Since then I've throttled my FFs down to no more, and sometimes less, than 100 total with a 5 minute rest half way through.  And agree with him that my 300 FFs was on the overly extreme side of the ledger.

You may wish to do a trial and error and cut back on your FF timing.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Indeed - it did seem a long time.

However . . .

  1. I went purely on the way the dough responded.
  2. 75% hydration is possibly a little high for the 11.5% flour (first time for this one) I am using so it was relatively wet.
  3. I did not go overy hard on the slaps, nor overly large on the folds, nor overly quickly overall.

In other words, I was going easy on the dough and took my time, rather than banging it down loudly, stretching out mercilessly and repeating at break-neck speed.

The dough did feel very wet and could be quite difficult to gather back up in the middle phases. I would occasionally stop and rely on my scraper to bring it together and clean the bench a bit and stopped a few times to clean the bench to avoid re-incorporating the little bits of dough that were drying out at the edges of the workspace (and on my hands).

Additionally, I went much more slowly at the end as it was looking closer to done as my action tended to be tearing the dough slightly where I was gripping it at the edges (going as lightly as I could!).

With the frequent small pauses, I would say that active time would have been closer to 15 mins and, going over the motion now, watching a clock, I would estimate an average of ~5-6s per slap/fold so I was probably somewhere around 160-180 iterations, all up.

I agree that a 5 minute rest in the middle would have been beneficial and that is something I will definitely incorporate next time.

Given a more accomplished slapper (I tend to the stretch+fold and/or coil folds) would be firmer and quicker, would you say that the important part of the 100 slaps guide is to get it done quickly or to only agitate the dough so many times?

I was contemplating a rest in the middle as I often do that when developing in the mixer to keep things friendly but decided to perserve as I had not actually attempted such complete development through that technique before so this was something of a 'control' test - to see what was possible and how it responded.

My usual technique on a wet dough (e.g. 85% pizza in teglia) is:

  1. Develop mostly in the mixer (hook).
  2. Rest 15 mins in the bowl.
  3. Turn out and perform 4-5 gentle slap and folds to bring it together and tighten it up.
  4. Start the bulk and perform a few folds in the container as it goes.

I think I enjoy the much more manual process of 100% hand mixing and development so I'll stick with this for a bit and refine as per your advice and what I have learned in this process.

Thanks for the helpful guides!


Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Seems not to have been detrimental - or at least not overly so.

That might have been due to the slaps-and-folds being relatively gentle and, while taking a long time, not actually amounting to a ridiculous number.

Or it could be that the long, chill and retard or the next day return to temp, and generally gentle shaping helped undo any excess in the handling of so many hours ago,

Next time, however, I will try to be firmer and, as per your suggestion, have a rest in the middle.

Again - thanks for the suggestion.



Benito's picture

I guess it will depend on a number of factors including how cold your fridge is, sourdough or commercial yeast and how fermented your dough was prior to cold retard.  For sourdough baguettes after fermentation to a 20% rise by aliquot jar, I have cold retarded for more than 24 hours I believe up to 36 hours and there was no issue whatsoever.  My fridge is set at 3ºC and I have confirmed that temperature.  For 900g to 1000 g of dough there will only be a pH drop of 0.1 overnight for a fully sourdough baguette bulk dough.  Do I would imagine it will hold easily for 48 hour but I can’t say that I’ve tried that.


Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Just about to put it (and myself) to bed after a 4 hour RT bulk (~15c here now). Doesn't look particularly active and, while my fridge is around 4c, 850gm of dough will take quite a few hours to reach that so I expect bulk fermentation to be close to finished after about another 12 hours or so.

I'll see what it's like when I get up in ~6.5 hours and take it from there. Given the cool temps and the low innoculation, I don't feel there's any rush and I can always bring it back up to temp to give it a boost.

Dough temp at the start of bulk was 23.5c and measured now it is just over 19.5c. Some signs of fermentation underneath the dough but nothing overt.


phaz's picture

I can say 4 days won't hurt a dough. You will see what truly full gluten development is (usually 3 days, not much more after that). Flavor is relative and you'll have to experiment to find what you consider acceptable or unacceptable. Enjoy! 

Brotaniker's picture

With the lack of data I will just try it out. I am curious myself at what point raise & taste goes down again. I might do some over the limit testing too. 

BTW, the flour I use is a T65 Campaillette, which I believe is special baguette flour.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Well, we have just sliced up and mostly eaten the 56hr cold-fermented/retarted portion and the taste was as good - and possibly better (my partner thought it was) than the 32hr version.

The crumb was, to me a little chewier and, to my partner, a little 'lighter'.

Handling was noticeable different - a little more difficult, I would say and it certainly seemed as though it was further along. Not necessarily degraded but not quite as easy to work with, either.

Benny's input and interest in this process has been informative as his own experience has been that the longer retards/ferment increases the lightness of the crumb but at the expense of definition of the crust and, in particular, the ears/gringe. Now, my own experience in the handling, shaping and slashing department is limited and so little of use can be inferred, but, such as my ability is, my outcomes have thus far aligned with Benny's conclusions.

I look forward to seeing how your testing goes!


Brotaniker's picture

I did dough for 4 on Thursday night. Baked 2 Friday evening (~20h) and one yesterday for breakfast (after ~58h). 

Taste was good and all was fine. One more in the fridge now at 84h - but no time to bake today. Will do it tomorrow at >100h


>I look forward to seeing how your testing goes!

At this point I should add that I still learn 'Baguette'. Mine look far away from yours, but hope I will get there. I like the idea of some stand-by dough in the fridge. But from your research it seems it might be better after 50h to just maybe bake them 75% ready and freeze them.

I will study your method in more detail. Excellent result!


Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Sorry - forgot to update this topic with my own findings. In short, 80h was too far for me.

A better baker with more experience would have been able to shape it better and thus achieve a more agreeable result, but it's not something I would do by choice - i.e. I wouldn't decide to retard the dough for 80hrs in order to improve the bread, because it doesn't.

In other words, the flavour isn't any better at 80h than 56h but the dough structure has started to degrade to the point where it is noticeably more difficult to work with.

Brotaniker's picture

I baked the last one today - after ~116h in the fridge. The alcoholic sour smell was extremely strong. The dough was also VERY soft (63% when I started, Poolish method). So soft, shaping was impossible. More like letting it flow.

Scoring was impossible, but I did score 2 Minutes into the bake.

Taste was very good. Can't say better than earlier ones. Handling was way more difficult, actually impossible. I am still learning baguettes...



Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Considering what mine looked like at 80h, getting so uniform a shape at 116h is quite a feat - and some nice ears to boot!

Personally, I think ~80hr is not too far from a taste perspective, just that by that time it is beyond my current ability to shape and handle in general and it impacted the crumb noticeably such that the texture just wasn't as enjoyable.

For an earlier batch I did find that scoring after a few minutes in the oven produced a nice, defined cut but I ended up burning myself and cutting at far too much of an angle to look right. Not that it did the taste any harm, of course!

Nicely done indeed!

Brotaniker's picture

I had another baguette try!


I used only 30% T65 (I didn't like the grayish crumb color at 100%) and 70% APF (in the 550 range). Hydration was around 62%

But the game changer was 1.8% diastatic malt. 

Method I got from, where else..., internet. 

Since I was playing a bit with JavaScript and stuff I put the recipe online in a scalable form. 

There are probably better methods, but this works for me and is rather simple.  (I didn't complete the method, still very much work on (slooow) progress)


Baguette, another try