How Long To Proof Sourdough In The Fridge
You should proof sourdough for about 18 hours. If you proof it for more than 18 hours, it will become hard and dry. You can store sourdough at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you want to make it within 2 days you should keep it in the fridge to ferment quickly.
To Proof the Sourdough, you need to let it sit in the refrigerator for 12-15 hours after covering with the lid. Ideally, you can proof a sourdough starter for up to 36 hours in the refrigerator, and longer, as long as the dough can stand. For example, if you typically Proof a Sourdough for 3 hours, then you would have to Proof for 4 hours at room temperature. In most of my sourdough recipes, I provide an option of proving at room temperature for 1 – 3 hours, or placing it in the refrigerator to cold-ferment.
Allowing your sourdough to prove in the refrigerator is a way of slowing down the rising time, so that you can bake when ready. Proofing sourdough overnight in the refrigerator is a good option if you like to bake in the morning. In the morning, remove sourdough from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature until ready to bake.
To proof the breads, allow to sit, covered, at room temperature for up to 3-4 hours, or allow to ferment a bit at room temperature, and then put into the fridge for 12-15 hours. The reason for letting your dough proof in the fridge is that it can prove too fast if left to sit at room temperature. When the bread is proving at room temperature, the dough is developing quicker than the flavors, by slowing that down and having it rise in the refrigerator, we are allowing the flavors to develop along with the dough.
Proofing in the refrigerator works because it allows yeast to go dormant, stopping the dough from rising too high and over-proofing. Proofing in the refrigerator also increases the complexity of flavors, so the proofing also enhances the loaf that you eventually bake. Proofing your sourdough starter in the fridge is effective because it allows your dough to sit in its shape-forming container, developing a better sourdough flavor.
This will vary depending on your particular starter and sourdough dough, and what temperature you are proofing it at. After you have formed the loaf, you shape it, cover, and allow to Proof for anywhere from 4-24 hours, depending on your particular sourdough starter and the temperature of the room. On Thursday night, after my dough has completed its main fermentation, I shape my loaf and place it into my refrigerator for proofing. After bulk fermentation, you will shape the dough, then you keep it in the refrigerator, ideally, for 24 hours, but you can leave it in there 48 hours, and even longer.
|Assembling Time||3 hours|
|Refrigerating Time||12-48 hours|
|Total Time||15-51 hours|
The dough takes about 3 hours to assemble (but only about 10 minutes actual hands-on), and then we will bulk ferment in the refrigerator for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours (again, zero hands-on time for this). I like to let my bread ferment the bulk ferment at least overnight in the refrigerator, so this means that I prep the dough a day before, then pull it out really whenever I feel like it fits into my schedule. When I started baking sourdough bread, at first, I got away with using a certain time frame for my bulk fermentation/proofing of dough.
If your oven has a bread-proofing setting, resist the urge to use it; it is probably too warm for the longer, slower fermentation that sourdough requires. The amount of time required for proofing your sourdough primarily depends on your proofing temperature, and on your yeast strain. The best way to monitor exactly how long to Proof the Sourdough is by placing it in a setting that has a controlled temperature and humidity. A super-long cold-proofing of 84 hours is likely to be too long, and it will lead to over-proofed bread with no energy to give a decent oven spring.
So, you will go as far as possible to get the room temperature or the proofing box up above 80degF. For even faster times, you can get up above 90degF. Once you get over that, however, you are probably going to encounter some bad results due to a lack of gluten development, resulting in pretty flat sourdough. If proofing at room temperature, you might be able to keep your dough just a couple hours — particularly if it is hot.
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Once you have completed 4 sets of stretching and folding, you are free to place your dough into the refrigerator whenever you want. After you finish your last set of stretches and folds, wrap your dough again with plastic wrap, put it back in the refrigerator, and allow to rest for a minimum of 12 hours. When you are ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer the dough onto a hard, non-floured surface. Remove from the fridge, unwrap it partially, and allow the dough to rise until it passes the “ripe” test.
Whether you are going for flavor or speed, your dough needs to rise until it has increased by one-third mass. If you are coming from a yeast-leavened bread world, you are used to your dough doubled in bulk on its first rise. Your dough might increase slightly while it is refrigerated, but that is going to happen the very first time your dough goes into the refrigerator, and while it is still cooling.
Because dough is fermented throughout the two risings, if this process continues for too long, your finished bread can taste acidic, which is not pleasant. Baking a heavily over-proofed dough in this stage is likely to produce a dense, flattened bread that tastes too soggy. If we were to take cold, over-proofed sourdough from the fridge immediately, wait until it is warmed up to room temperature, then dump it in the oven, a sourdough bread would most likely fall apart and flatten as it has passed its height of fermentation.
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Proofing is also useful for those using the traditional method of baking with sourdough, as sometimes your loaf is ready for baking, but you are not. So, when you are ready to bake, your loaf needs a final proofing in the tin basket (or a bowl lined with towels) for about 2 hours. It is still fine to keep your new starter in the refrigerator, but you are best off feeding it weekly until it has had a chance to mature.
How do you know if sourdough is Overproofed?
Use the fingertip test to determine whether your dough has been overproofed. To perform the test, gently press your finger into the dough’s surface for two seconds, and then observe how quickly it springs back. If the dough has been overproofed, the ding you make will last forever.
Should I proof my sourdough in the fridge?
When you let your sourdough proof in the fridge, you can slow down the dough’s rise, so you can bake it when you are ready. It can be challenging to fit everything in just one day when making sourdough bread, and it can take a lot of time.
Can I rise my sourdough in the fridge?
After shaping the dough and placing it in its rising bowl or banneton, cover it up and put it in the refrigerator. As the dough stands at room temperature for a more extended period, the yeast has a longer opportunity to consume the flour, and the more likely it is that the dough will overproof.