I would like to bake bread as soon as I get up.
- Would it be possible to store bread dough overnight, perhaps in the fridge?
- For how long could I store it?
- Would it need to rise again next morning?
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Yes, it is possible, and in fact usually results in better bread, because the yeast has more time to work and develop flavour. It depends on the recipe, but you should usually reduce the amount of yeast being used to prevent overproofing. You can keep most doughs for a couple of days in the fridge, depending again on the amount of yeast and how often the fridge is opened.
Simply mix and knead your dough as normal, cover it tightly with plastic wrap over the bowl, then put it straight in the fridge. You will usually need to allow a couple of hours the next morning for the dough to 'wake up' and finish a full proof, but if your dough has fully risen in the fridge (ie it has grown 1.5-2 times) you can go straight to shaping.
I had a recipe for bread dough that was even supposed to be stored in the fridge for up to a month for developing flavor. My dad and I have also made pizza a lot and that dough can also be safely stored in the fridge, just let it warm up before using it.
Though word of caution, the dough will continue to rise in the fridge so make sure that the dough has adequate space otherwise it will overflow it's container.
You can even form bread rolls from the dough, and put on an oven tray, in the fridge. Then, when you get up in the morning, take the bread out of the fridge, switch on th oven, and ten minutes later shove the bread in there.
It's not ideal, and you may need to play around a bit with the parameters as the yeast will work at very different speed depending on the temperature. Another problem is that the bread surface tends to dry out in the fridge. I have a tin that I put upside down on the tray, with a small bowl of hot water, to keep the vapour pressure up for a while. The water typically condenses on the bread, and other things, fairly quickly.
You can also play with using a slightly lower temperature and longer time in the oven, if the dough is very cold.
One thing that I sometimes do is that I leave the bread in the fridge at night, and then if I wake up in the middle of the night (around 4AM) I transfer the tray to the oven. With the over door closed, it turns into a pretty good proofing cupboard. (Especially if you also add a bowl of hot water.)