The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Sourdough stored in fridge overnight before baking's picture

Sourdough stored in fridge overnight before baking

If the action of yeast slows or stops with the coldness of the refrigerator, why do books and You Tube videos always say to put the proofed dough in the refrigerator overnight before baking? Why not just bake after the second rise if I want to?

Abhi_Mahant's picture

For bacterial activity.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

You can totally just have the final proof at room temperature. Overnight proof in the fridge works very well too, can help with scheduling, scoring cold dough is easier, I think you tend to get a little more oven spring with cold dough, and indeed long cold proof can develop more flavour through microbial activity.

naturaleigh's picture

What Ilya said ^^!  And, to expound on that, for me there is a huge difference in flavor between breads baked immediately after final proof and those that get a cold retard overnight.  That being said, we don't like our bread tangy, so I usually don't go longer than 10-12 hours (10 hours seems to be the sweet spot for most of my bakes).  More than that and the tang starts getting noticeable, which some folks like, so they might go even longer, like 18 hours.  As mentioned, scoring is much easier on a cold loaf and I do notice more oven spring since the dough doesn't spread once out of the banneton like it does with room temp dough.  But, the main benefit for the cold proof is taste!