Retarding Bread Dough. Yes it works!

Retarding bread dough  is when you slow down the fermentation process by lowering the temperature of the dough, in this case by putting it in the refrigerator. The lowering of temperature slows down the microbial activity and is said by many artisan bread ‘experts’ to improve and deepen the complexity of flavours in the loaf.

I have done this many times before but only for an overnight stint so I could bake the first thing in the morning. Knowing that I most likely would not get to baking over the weekend, I mixed this dough Friday night, did a 45 minute autolyse then stretch and folded every 30 minutes for 2.5 hours. I then bundled the dough into the fridge and there it stayed until this morning (Monday). I took the container out, divided the dough (2 X 748g pieces) and did a preshape then a 20 minute bench rest before final shaping. Proofed until ready and then into the ‘toy oven’ 17 minutes lid on 230c, 15 mins lid off 210c. I really have to watch this last cooking stage as the loaf is so close to the top element it can easily burn. Loaves have turned out really well so I’m not so nervous about retarding them to suit my schedule for future bakes.Sourdough

This entry was posted in Baking, Bread, sourdough, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Retarding Bread Dough. Yes it works!

  1. Anne Wheaton says:

    This is good to know. I often put my dough into the fridge overnight but never tried it for longer. Did you second prove take the same time as normal?

    Liked by 1 person

    • fergie51 says:

      Hi again Anne, the dough hadn’t risen much during the long time in the fridge so it really only had one proving after shaping. It was quite cool inside today and it took about 4 hours to get to baking point after final shaping. Just had some with pumpkin soup for tea and it is delicious. A nice soft crumb and chewy crunchy crust. Very happy with it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Anne, I’ve put dough in the fridge overnight to retard it but never longer, so it’s interesting to read that it works. Do you think the longer prove in the fridge improved the flavour?

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    • fergie51 says:

      Hi Sarah, not sure to be honest. The crumb was certainly softer and the crust was chewy and crunchy but it was a different % of rye than I normally use. It was VERY nice though and certainly not worse. Cheers, Maree.

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  3. Glenda says:

    Perfect as always.

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  4. Francesca says:

    Now that have seen the toy oven in he flesh, am even more amazed how you turn out these beauties. Do you preheat the enamel pots? And do you line them with cooking paper?

    Liked by 1 person

    • fergie51 says:

      Hi Francesca. Was fantastic to meet you on Sat, thanks for making the effort! I preheat the little oven with the DO in it at top temp which is about 240c, I put baking paper over the banneton before I invert the loaf into the hot pot, (paper then becomes liner), slash and spray with water, put lid on then bake 20 mins (approx) lid on, lower heat to about 220c-210c, and bake lid off for approx 20 mins. Do one loaf at a time, you can see why! I might do a step by step post as I have had a lot of interest in these loaves. They have been the tastiest I think so far! 🙂 Are you happy to share any pics of our meeting? Thanks again, Cheers. Maree.

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  5. My Kitchen Stories says:

    The loaves look amazing. Its a great way to work the kitchen around your needs. This is how the Italians make pizza dough.

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  6. I have never autolysed so imagine how excited I am to give this a try. Then after reading Tania’s comment, I want to make pizza dough this way too. 🙂

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  7. The woman that taught me to make sourdough has retarded her dough for up to five days in the fridge. I find the quality of the dough deteriorates over that time (yes I’ve done it 🙂 ), and your lift isn’t as good, but you can still get an edible loaf with a longer retardation.

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  8. Awesome results Maree – I’m just loving my sourdough now I trust my own insticts!! Jan x

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