If I've made some dough and want to bake it later, how long can I store it in the refrigerator? Do I need to do anything special to make that work out? Are there any types of bread it won't work well for?
You can refrigerate all kinds of yeast-bread dough. Right after kneading, before the dough has had a chance to rise, oil the dough lightly, cover with plastic wrap or use a ziplock, and place in the refrigerator. As the dough cools in the refrigerator the action of the yeast will slow down until the dough has reached refrigeration temperature. At that point the yeast is still working, but at a snail's pace. So, during the first few hours in the fridge it may require a punch down or two, as there may still be enough warmth in the dough for the yeast to show active signs of life. After the dough is completely cool, it may not need anything from you, but still check it at least every 12 hours or so - it may need another punch down. If at any point it grows to close to double it's original size, go ahead and punch it down. Most doughs will be fine if babysat like this for up to 3 or 4 days. When you're ready to bake, punch down the dough again (if necessary), shape, and allow to rise as if it had never taken its little nap in the refrigerator. Of course this rise is going to take longer than non-refrigerated dough as it reaches room temperature, but it should be ready to bake when it looks like a non-refrigerated dough of the same type would look when it's ready to bake. Bake as usual.
I'm sure there are exceptions to the basic rules I've set out, but I've never had a problem doing this with any yeast-bread dough.
I have always used high quality 1 quart zip lock bags (ones with zipper).
Fill with dough and let sit in fridge for 24 hours. Then freeze any you will not use in the next week.
They will blow up like little festive dough Balloons, once in a great while a zipper will break and need to be repacked. Otherwise I find the pressure keeps the yeast in check and stores quite nicely.
Typically I make a big batch of dough on Sundays for the week using this method.