Can Dough Over Proof In The Fridge?

As we all look for new ways to fill our time, baking may become one of your favorite hobbies.

Pizza dough, bread dough, and other dough for baking can be easy to create but they can  come out over proofed, whether you have only started today or have been baking for over a year.

If you are new to baking then you may not be aware of how to proof your dough. You may think that placing your dough in the refrigerator is the best course of action but what effect will that have on your final rise? 

In this article, we explain what proofing refers towhether your dough will over proof in the fridge. Get that perfect final loaf of dough on the first rise every time with some help!

What Is Proofing And Retarding? 

We all want perfectly risen dough. Retarding dough is the process of reducing the rate of the final rise during the bread-making process.

Bread dough can be easily proofed by spending the night in the refrigerator because the cold stops the rise. This is also known as cold proofing. It has advantages like adding more flavor and supporting the baking of the bread.

Usually, leavened bread—those that use yeast or sourdough starter to rise—are given two chances to proof. Before the second proof, the dough is given a final shape into loaves, rolls, or other shapes, and then it is baked.

During the final proof or rise, retarding is done. In order to divide the work and provide you with fresh bread at a predetermined time, it is frequently done overnight when the dough is refrigerated.

This slows the proofing time so it may be freshly baked in the morning. Additionally, it enhances the bread’s flavor and gives the cooked crust a richer hue.

It is also better to proof your dough in the fridge on the first rise. Especially to proof sourdough.

The colder temperature will prevent you from having over proofed dough when done on the first rise rather than the second rise. The final rise should be done at room temperature. This is not crucial but gives your dough a better chance.

Can Dough Over Proof In The Fridge?

What Is Overproofing? 

You may have heard of overproofing in most bread recipes. When the yeast has fed on all the sugar and starches, over-proofing occurs.

This causes the dough to rise very little and bake without properly browning. When too much yeast is added, they will soon deplete their supplies, hastening the rise.

While adding more yeast speeds up the rising process, it also raises the possibility that the dough will overproof in a condensed period of time.

The likelihood of your bread dough over-proofing more quickly than usual increases if you add a lot of yeast to it and keep it in the refrigerator.

Make sure you’re using the right quantity of yeast for how long you intend to preserve it. For longer rising periods, less is better.

In simple terms, a chilling dough that has been left for too long results in over proofed dough.

How Long Should Dough Be Kept In The Fridge?

Depending on the amount of yeast used, the duration of your dough’s shelf life before over-proofing can range from a day to nearly a week. The dough will remain longer if there is less yeast and the refrigerator is cooler.

The dough with the simplest ingredients—flour, water, salt, and yeast—will keep the longest in the refrigerator and can continue to function with some yeast activity for up to a week.

If you leave it any longer than this, the yeast will consume all the available food, but the dough will still be good to bake and consume if you wanted to. Remember that if you decided to bake this, it wouldn’t become fully rise.

Since it contains elements that degrade easily, enriched dough that includes extra ingredients like milk and eggs will have a shorter shelf life.

It’s not suggested to bake and eat enriched dough after it has been in the fridge for more than five days, even if there may still be yeast activity after around a week because ingredients like milk can spoil quickly.

If you make the decision to bake and consume dough that contains ingredients such as milk and eggs, you are doing so with the risk of becoming ill.

This enriched dough should be baked on the same day they are formed and proofed. 

Professional bakers will only proof dough on the first rise in the fridge for 24 hours and no longer to avoid practically overproofed dough.

Can Dough Over Proof In The Fridge?

Tips For Keeping Your Dough In The Fridge 

We store things in the refrigerator all the time. Simply place your dough in a sealed bag, or container, or cover it with plastic wrap and it is good to go.

Storing dough should be just as simple, right? Well, there are a few mistakes that could ruin your beautiful dough. So, to avoid those mistakes we have compiled some tips and tricks to store your dough correctly. 

Use The Right Container 

You may think that finding any container that fits the dough is good enough. But this could ruin your dough before you have even shut the fridge door. The material and the size of the container is extremely important. 

Now, you can use a plastic container to store your dough but a metal or glass container is going to allow your dough to proof much nicer. Make sure to place shaped dough into the container.

When it comes to size, you want to ensure that the container gives the shaped dough enough room to rise and fits comfortably in your fridge. 

Make Sure It Is Airtight 

Ensuring the container of choice is airtight is essential. This keeps the top of your dough moist and gives it the ability to rise. 

Using plastic wrap, a plastic bag, or the matching lid, ensure no air is able to enter or escape your container. 

Less Yeast = Slower Rise 

Many bakers store their dough in the fridge for a slower rise. The cold temperature will slow  down the proofing process but using less yeast will help. 

The pace of gas generation will slow down as a result of adding less yeast to the dough, causing the dough to rise slowly and rise overnight in a cool place.

In most circumstances, if you want to store the dough in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours, you want this slower rise. If you want your dough to have a faster rise, use more yeast.

Final Thoughts 

So, can your dough over proof in the refrigerator? Yes. Refrigerating dough for too long can leave you with overproofed dough that needs to be discarded. 

Whether you are making white or wheat bread this can be due to too much yeast in the dough, or simply leaving it for longer than recommended. 

Simply use less yeast, place in a roomy airtight container, and only allow to rise overnight or for two days in the fridge for an easy baking process and a gorgeous shaped dough. 

Remember to give it a final shape before baking in the oven.

Baking your favorite treats has never been easier! Even a sourdough loaf.

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Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

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