Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bread Baking - Cold Rise

Yesterday I wrote about freezing or refrigerating bread doughs for convenience. I thought I should write more about the use of refrigeration in bread baking.

In recent years there has been lots written on the use of cold rise or cold fermentation. Books like Artisan Breads Every Day and Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day have been huge proponents of the cold rise technique.

Not that it is a new idea. From what I understand, bakeries have been using a cold rise for a long time.

When we talked about yeast and rising, warmth was one of the keys to a quick rise. In a cold environment, yeast will not die but it will slow down greatly.

One of the goals of an artisan baker is to extract the most flavor out of the flour to produce a flavorful loaf of bread. One of the ways this is done is by slowing down the process to allow the yeasts and bacterias to time to grow and develop depth of flavor.

Three ways to slow down the bread baking process is to use less yeast, to use wild yeast (sourdough) or to use a cold rise. A cold rise is one of the easiest because you can take your favorite recipe, and adapt it to a long process bread just by allowing it to rise in your refrigerator instead of a warm place or room temperature.

Did I lose you yet?

Here is how I've used the cold rise technique. After mixing up the dough, allowing to rest, and kneading, I place the dough in a greased bowl, mist the top with spray oil, cover with plastic wrap or loose lid and place in the refrigerator.

The dough should rise slowly and be double in size by the next day. Sometime within the next three days, remove the dough from the fridge and shape into loaves, rolls or whatever desired. You can use the entire dough ball or just cut off a portion and refrigerate the remainder for another day. The flavor will continue to develop each day but after three days, you want to be using the dough up.

After shaping, allow the dough to rise at room temperature until nearly doubled. Since the dough is cold it will take longer, usually two hours. It might not rise as much as usual but should finish rising in the oven.

I have found many advantages to this method. First is the time. I can get out my bread baking ingredients, and mix up several batches of dough in less than an hour. The only challenge is making sure my fridge can handle all the large bowls of dough. Remember the dough will expand, so allow large enough bowl. Also, doughs all look alike so I find it necessary to mark each bowl otherwise I won't know if it was for ciabatta or bagels. The time savings of only getting the ingredients and mixer out once for several batches of bread is worth it.
 

I can't believe I took a picture of  the inside of my fridge, but this was one big bread making day and if you look close you can see four bowls of bread dough.

Hospitality is also much easier with this method. Once upon a time, I could make a meal and clean a house in one day. No longer. Unless the meal is super simple, like pizza, and I have a dessert made ahead, I can't pull a meal together, take care of my children, and have a clean house - at least if I also want to be a loving gentle mother.

Now my hospitality menus are planned entirely around what I can make the day before, since it is foolish to try to clean the day before with young children. But with the cold rise technique, I can still have freshly baked bread or rolls.

If you want to learn more about this technique, look for Artisan Breads Every Day at your library. Nearly all the recipes in this book utilize the cold rise. I found many favorite recipes in this book. Later this week I'll be sharing one with you.

Have any of you attempted a cold rise? What was your experience?

20 comments :

  1. I have never done a cold rise before but I love knowing that you can do this! That will be handy in the future!

    I linked to yesterday's post, in my blog post today. I am enjoying learning more about bread making from your posts!

    Thanks!
    Deanna

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  2. Great info! I, too, use that book and have really had the best tasting bread with the cold rise doughs!

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  3. Thanks for this information! I have used cold rise, but didn't realize that it is actually supposed to make the bread taste better. I will definitely be paying attention to that now.

    And thanks for the inspiration to add more whole wheat flour to my recipes. I am really enjoying it.

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  4. Well, I just did a cooler rise. Had some batter soaking overnight. Added flour from the freezer this morning and let it rise slowly. Smells good. I'll know after it cools enough to slice. ~Liz

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  5. What a great post! I've never done a cold rise either, but look forward to trying it. I found your blog a week or so ago from Like Merchant Ships and really enjoy it. Thanks for the info.

    Kathie

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  6. Thank you for another great post. You are really inspiring me. I posted a photo today of my first loaf of bread! It was the first recipe (p. 45) of the book Artisan Breads Every Day. I think that is the one you mentioned. I received it for Christmas. Your tips are wonderful and your explanations so easy to understand.

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  7. So since I noticed you were using Tupperware lidded bowls in your fridge, do you actual close the lid totally, or just place it on the top ....

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  8. I do not seal the lids. I want to allow room for the dough to rise. I have accidentally sealed the Tupperware lids before and the activity of the yeast will actually pop the lid off!
    Gina

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  9. I always do this with cinnamon roll bread. I will have to try this with the three day method on another loaf. This would save me so much time in a week.

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  10. I am just starting in bread making so this has been so much fun. I made your bread again adding the right amount of yeast this time and allowing the second rise and man was the bread ever good. I even gifted a loaf to a friend of mine. Wow I can really do this. For me getting into bread making was because of health reasons. Getting away from processed foods and ingredents that I could not pronouce seemed like a good place to start. Beside the fact that price of bread is crazy right now. So I am happy to say I can do this it just feels so good. thanks so much for your blog it is a real blessing to me and my family. Hugs.Anita Ross, Lakeview Nova Scotia Canada

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  11. My cool rise recipes tend to have more sugar in them - I presume so the yeast doesn't have to work so hard. I am motivated by the time factor more than anything - I teach foods and nutrition in high school so we have very limited time to let the doughs rise on day 2 before baking. Thanks for the info, it's nicely written and straight forward.

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  12. Hi,

    I am Jen. It was really cool to find your are discussing the cold raise here because I have a little problem: I got the Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread and I am trying to make a bread like the San Francisco Sourdough he describes but with about 30% of whole grain flour. That 30% is a mix of half wheat and half Rye. I know Rye has to be compensated with some wheat because it makes raising a little more difficult. Since I really put only 15% of it I think it is not the problem (am I wrong?). So my problem is that the dough already has 3 days in the fridge and has not raise. As the book says, I allow some hours for a little raise (and it worked) before putting the dough in the fridge. Since yesterday (that is 2 days in the fridge) I decreased the fridge temperature (so I putted it in the less cold) to see if maybe it was too cold (it wasn't, the fridge was in the middle level).

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!!!

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    1. Jen-
      I would take your dough out and bake it. Often you don't see a significant rise in the fridge, especially if it already rose some on the counter.

      I don't think the rye flour should be a problem at that percentage.

      Hope it works out for you!
      Gina

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  13. Thanks! I just made up some pizza dough, then decided to make pizza tomorrow instead of today. I wondered whether to let it rise now and then put it in the fridge. or put it in the fridge now and take it out to rise tomorrow. You have answered my question with this post-- I'll put in in the fridge and let it rise overnight.

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  14. A year ago I saw a book about cold rise breads that you leave on the countertop to rise in a book store. The entire book was dedicated to cold rise breads, but I cannot remember the name of the book and am really wishing now that I had bought it. Do you happen to know which title it might be? I have been changing over to eating as many organic foods as possible and baking my own breads is the only economical way to actually doing this. The more I learn about processed and genetically modified foods the more motivated I am to get away from them.
    -Mary

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  15. Hi Gina, I'm Janet. Good article. One question though. Is it okay to use the cold rise method for the second rise after doing the first rise the normal way? I want to make cinnamon rolls for a church breakfast tomorrow, but do not really want to try and do it at 5:00 AM. For one thing my kitchen is located between my children's bedrooms... I don't want them up at 5! :-) I may just make them today while DH is at work and kids are at school, but it would be nice to take warm cinnamon rolls tomorrow. Thanks

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  16. Okay, I asked the question about cold rising on only the second rise, then saw your other article about just that. It answered my question thanks. :-)

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  17. have done cold cough method with white bread recipe. \mine says after you knead, rest 20 min, then pan, oil tops, plastic wrap loosey cover with tea towel and refridgerate from 2 to 24 hrs. bread turns out very good and the pans take less room in the fridge than big bowls...But now was looking for a whole wheat recipe or can I use straight dough with extra yeast..thanks

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  18. Hi, I am wondering if the results will be good if the second rose is actually in the fridge. I had to leave in the middle of the process and put it in the fridge. We'll see as I am now waiting for it to warm up.

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    Replies
    1. I've done it, and it worked fine for me. Hope it does the same for you.
      Gina

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