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"Proofing" yeast doughs in the fridge overnight.

I like to serve cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast, but don't really care to get up that early in the morning to make them. I am wondering if anyone has an experience with leaving yeast doughs in the fridge overnight for baking the next morning. Ideally, I'd like to do this for the last rise, and then put them straight into the oven. What are your thoughts/experiences?

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  1. It works great. I wouldn't put it in directly from the refrigerator but let it sit and come to room temperature and then bake. I do it all the time and that long slow rise helps with flavor of the rolls, too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      Yeah - I agree. I would caution against letting them rise FIRST then putting them into the fridge. I think that might be too much rising time. I would form them, then put them directly into the fridge (they will still rise a tiny bit) and then allow the final rise to happen more fully once you take them from the fridge to warm for a few minutes. Of course the oven spring will puff them nicely.

      1. re: HaagenDazs

        The dough needs to be let set on the countertop for 3-4 hours to work but you can easily ferment them in the fridge after they have been assembled. They must be removed from the refrigerator 2 hours before you want to bake them so they can come to room temperature.

    2. Virtually all rustic breads and focaccia are left in the fridge over night to retard the fermentation and develop more complex flavors. Proofing is the final rise before baking when you take it out of the fridge the next day.

        1. So, what I'm hearing is that I can proof the dough first time as normal. Then form the rolls and put them in the fridge overnight. When I get up, take the pan out of the fridge and bring them to room temp (the assumption here is that they will finish their rise as they come to room temp) while I'm making coffee and heating the oven, pop in the oven, and yay - even tastier rolls than previous years.

          Well, you can't shake a stick at that...thanks for the reinforcement, all!

          4 Replies
            1. re: jazzy77

              One caution: it can take quite a while for the chilled dough to come up to room temp, esp if your house is on the cool side. For the winter temp of my kitchen, it would take at least 2.5 hours, but probably closer to 3 hrs, for a sweet dough to warm up & produce a good second rise. So either get up early or don't expect to eat those cinnamon rolls first thing in the AM, as they won't be ready until brunch.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                Must be first thing (or within an hour of "first thing"). I'll get up early long enough to take the pan out of the frigde and place on the counter. Then back to bed....

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  I just came back to this post to share the same advice...we're up around 5am on Christmas morning (darned kids); we take them out immediately and they're generally ready to go in the oven around 8 or so.