Thursday, 1 October 2015

Retarding bread

That. it seems, is one of the 'official' terms for holding back the rising of dough.   Sometimes one doesn't want to be doing home stuff while the dough takes its own time to rise, prove, etc, so what can one do?

As some of my readers know, I have started making a bit of bread for other people.  I get it to them on Monday.  This last weekend I made the bread on Sunday and wrapped it.  I am sure it was perfectly OK but I was a little uncomfortable with the fact that neither of them would be able to get one of the loaves into the freezer or, indeed, cut the first loaf until it was a day old.  I know my day old bread is still perfectly soft and delicious but even so . . .

Ideally I will make the bread on the day I get it to them.  It all works in very nicely with my schedule nowadays.  However, occasionally (and this week coming is an 'occasionally') it is not possible to bake on Monday.

So I thought I would try making half the loaf on Sunday evening, retarding it in the fridge overnight and then knocking back, shaping, proving and baking on Monday morning.  It would still take time but less time and I need to know how much time.

So today I have made a small amount of dough and, after kneading, I have placed it in an oiled bowl, covered with cling film, in the fridge.  I shall leave it for eight hours and then see what happens.  It won't be wasted, it will bake into a loaf, but I need to know how long it takes to warm up and prove.  I know baking and cooling times, of course.

Tomorrow I will do the same but retard it at the proving stage when it is in the loaf tin..

I don't know whether either will work with my schedule or not - I just don't know but I am interested in finding out.

Any comments or advice?


  1. I often put dough in the fridge overnight. In my experience, it takes several hours to get back to room temp and prove properly.....of course, if you have a warm house/kitchen, it might not take so long. If you want to bake it Monday morning, you might have to get up very early! This is just my experience, my kitchen isn't particularly warm as it's north facing.

  2. That's helpful, thanks. I have a north facing kitchen so it's not that warm but doesn't usually get too cold. I am always an early riser.
    Many thanks for your advice.
    J x