Rising bread dough in the refrigerator

annie1971August 31, 2008

I have a honey-lemon whole wheat bread recipe that I plan to make for the first time. After shaping the loaves, it says to let the dough rise in the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours. Does that sound right? Will the dough rise in a cold refrigerator? I've never done that before and wonder if anyone here has had success with this method.

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It should work just fine. There are lots of recipes that utilize the refrigerator (overnight cinnamon rolls and Betty Crocker's famous Potato Refrigerator Dough, etc.).

Dough rises slower in cold temperatures, but it DOES rise. The long, slow rise will help develop more flavor. I'd suggest using plastic wrap to cover the loaf. A refrigerator is a dry environment (due to the frost-free feature), if you use a cloth to cover the dough, moisture can be lost, or a "skin" develop on the dough surface from dehydration, and you won't get as much oven-spring when that happens.

You can place any yeast dough in the refrigerator - after it's kneaded, or after it's formed. If it's formed, then you will want to bake it as soon as it has "doubled". Unformed dough can be punched down while in the refrigerator. Refrigeration is called retarding the dough. You'll find it necessary when you have more dough than you have space in the oven to bake something. Retarding a portion of the dough/loaf/rolls is a way to prevent the extra amount from over-proofing until there is oven space for baking them.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Annie this is not a highjack but I think this may have answered a question I was about to ask.

Once a year I make my world , OK ....lake, famous sticky buns for some neighbours here at the cottage. usually I make them frsh very early in the Am so they are ready for about 10:30 AM. However this year the numbers are such that I will need two batches.

I was thinking of doing one batch tonight and one in the morning.

The dough has a first rise and then is formed and placed on top of the "sticky" left to a second rise and then baked.

Should I refrigerate after the first rise and then form in the AM or can I form and let the second rise happen overnight? These buns need to turn out just as they always have because it is a Labour Day tradition here at the lake.

Grainlady, Given your comment about baking as soon as doubled, I'm thinking I should form in the AM not leave the second rise to happen over night.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 1:44PM
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If you refrigerate the dough, it will take several hours to get warm enough to begin to rise again after shaping them....and as you said, timing is of the essence.
I would mix and shape and lay ontop of the sticky stuff and cover and refrigerate. i9n the morning get them out of the refrig and let sit on the counter for an hour and then bake.
Or....and I know, this sounds like heresy....but....
Bake them the evening before, cover with foil while still warm ( not hot, just slightly warm) and re heat in the morning for 30 minutes, still covered, at 300 degrees....I frequently do that....and don't really you can tell the difference!
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 2:06PM
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I rise pizza dough in the fridge but I let it go for 12-18 hours. The coolness slows down the metabolism of the yeasty beasties, takes forever to rise but I enjoy the flavor difference.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 4:46PM
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Thanks for your comments. I'm going to get started and will let you know what happens. I'm concerned about the 1 to 2 hours in the refrig, however; and will probably be baking this bread in the wee hours of the morning when it's finally risen!
Chase -- good luck with your stickies!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 5:23PM
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I have a book, "The Best Bread Ever" and he swears by slow rising. He said the bread definitely tastes better. I have made the baguette recipe and it is delicious. This recipe doesn't use the frig, but it does recommend a slow rise, even using a thermometer to get the right temperature.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 5:50PM
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I don't think 1-2 hours in the fridge is long enough. If I put dough in the fridge, I let it rise overnight. I've left it in one day without harm, however, and I may have left some in for two days. It was made into pizza, and so it turned out fine. I'm more careful when I make loaves, however.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 6:23PM
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No doubt whatso ever that refrigerated dough tastes better than just made stuff.
The recipe I have used for years and my mother before me and she got the recipe from an elderly neighbor, is called "refrigerator rolls" and you are to mix the dough, refrigerate it in a "refrigerator pan"...which was a white enamel ware rectangular keeper with a sliding top that fit into a shelf on the refrigerator....came with the refrigerator! And about 2 hours before dinner, cut off pieces of dough, shape the rolls, let rise and abke....and they just get better and better as the week goes on!!
It was my job as a little kid....maybe 6 or 7 to shape the little balls of dough for cloverleaf rolls, and I took great delight in now and then making a surprise "4 leaf clover"! LOL!
But the warmth of your hands as you shape the rolls helps to warm it.
But you are making dozens and dozens! Not 6 little cloverleaf rolls!
If you want to "age" your dough make it on friday to rest on Saturday and pull out of the frig Saturday afternoon shape and bake saturday evening and re heat in the AM...
And remember to make a bitty pan for your own bedtime treat!
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 6:58PM
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I was thinking the same as Lars--1 to 2 hours is a standard rising time for loaves set out at room temperature, or even warmer, like in a rising box or in the oven with the light turned on for warmth. Dough that's risen in the fridge normally takes at least overnight. Are you sure that the recipe is reliable? Maybe it was supposed to say 10 to 12 hours--I've seen worse typos. If it came from an online source, maybe there are some comments from people who've tried it.

I'm ashamed to say how long I've left some batches of pizza dough in the fridge before getting around to baking them! But I've lived to tell about it, so I guess that's something.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 8:03PM
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I am trying to make a bread from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread book. I am not following an specific recipe. Instead I am trying to do the San Francisco Sourdough (I already made my own sourdough starter) but including about 30% of whole grain flour. That 30% of whole grain flour is half Wheat and half Rye. The problem I have now is that my dough already have 3 days in the fridge and it doesn't look it is raising. As the book suggested when using only wild yeast, I left the dough some hours at room temperature after kneading, around 4-5 hours, before put it in the fridge; at that moment the dough had already raised a little. After 2 days of seeing no rise I decreased the fridge cold to the minimum (it was in medium cold level) to see if less cold could work better. Today, one day after that, it seems there are no changes.

Any suggestions? advice?


    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 5:00AM
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Here is my .02 cents worth:

~ 1-2 hours rise in the fridge is not enough for any shaped in the pan dough or free form on a sheet dough to rise sufficiently to not have a door stop - overnight (8 hours or so) would be better

~ bread dough made only with a sourdough starter (also called wild yeast) takes a lot more time to rise, both in the bowl and again shaped into loaves - plan on one to two days start to finish for sourdough bread or when using a poolish or biga

~ If your bread or pizza recipe has a small amount of yeast in it (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) then it will need hours of rising time up to all day and will develop more flavor because of that long rising time. I, too, have kept pizza dough in the fridge for up to 3 days with good results. And I've also frozen raw pizza dough in a zip bag for a month or more that still made a tasty crust.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:23AM
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