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I made a brioche/sweet dough and did a cold rise overnight. The risen dough had cracks at the top of it. See:

enter image description here

Is this normal? Or symptomatic of a problem?

I used a glass bowl and covered it with plastic wrap. The bowl was oiled, and I also oiled the outside of the dough. When the dough was done kneading, it was very elastic (passed window pane); it also was a bit on the wetter side, I think -- it was hard to ball it up as it didn't want to hold its shape.

  • I think it will be fine. It could just be a result of the cold storage. Warming it back up during the kneading process should "wake up" the yeast. – elbrant Dec 16 '18 at 5:39
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    Did you use a recipe designed for a cold rise, or did you use one that was for a warm rise? Would you please edit your post with the recipe or at least a list of ingredients? – Stephie Dec 16 '18 at 22:09
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You can certainly try baking it, but that dough looks quite overleavened to me. You might end up with no body, bad crumb, and/or terribly sour taste. Still, at that point, baking it is a better thing than throwing it out outright - there is a good chance the result will be okayish/edible, if not great. Also, I might be wrong in my diagnosis, since I am basing it on a single picture and cannot touch and smell the dough.

To make it clear, I am not saying "overleavened" because of the mere description of "cracks", it is that the picture looks like the dough rose a lot and then slumped. You can get cracks from other processes too, but they don't usually look like in your picture.

To prevent overleavening, take care to not proof for very long times, unless the recipe was specifically designed for it. Also, never use more yeast than the recipe suggests.

  • I wouldn’t expect acidity after an overnight raise? OP writes “sweet dough”? Yeasty, yes, of course. – Stephie Dec 16 '18 at 22:12
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    @Stephie When a dough is meant to raise quickly, and is chock full of yeast, it can get a really bad acetic reek after a single night, to the point I can't stand working it (not that it is especially workable at that point). We are not talking properly risen dough, but overproofed, and they do get all kinds of funk. – rumtscho Dec 17 '18 at 11:42
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It happens to me occasionally.I'm not sure why it does that, but I suspect, it's the over proofing!When that happens, I work on the surface tension, after which, I turn the dough upside down and start folding as if shapping a baguette.I let it rest for about 45 minutes, slash and bake in the oven with a tray of hot water in the bottom shelf to create steam.

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