Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 18, 2014 01:00 PM

Bread Baking

Hi everyone!

I want to start baking bread more often but it's just so hard to find a time when I'm going to be home and able to mix it, kneed it, let it rise, punch it down, shape it, let it rise again, and then bake it (a 2-4 hour process).

Is it possible to make bread dough ahead of time and then either freeze it or put it in the fridge to bake at a later time? If so, at what point in the process should I do that?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't know if it was here or elsewhere but I saw something about some kind of bread dough that just sits in the fridge and you pull off whatever amount you want to bake that day. I'd be interesting in finding out about that.

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      The Artisan Bread in Five link below has you making a big batch of dough that sits in the fridge to be used all week long - in fact, Possibly longer. I haven't done it myself, 'cause, hey! It's just me here.

      1. re: mcsheridan

        That sounds like just the deal Thanks, mc.

    2. It's very possible. One method that's very popular right now on Chow and elsewhere is:

      Edited to update link.

      1. Yes, after you shape it (after second rise), you can refrigerate and then let it come to room temperature before baking. You could also do it before shaping but then you'd have to shape and let it rest 22-4 hours and then bake it.

        Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes is an easier way around all that, plus you can bake how much you want, over the course of a few days.

        15 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          I really like that idea. Bob LOVES bread but I never want it for dinner. It would be nice to make some small loaves just for him.

          1. re: c oliver

            For a while I used to always have some dough in the refrigerator but it got dangerous for me because I was only half an hour or so out from fresh bread. I can't resist so now I just make bread on occasion.

            1. re: c oliver

              You can also use the dough to make a few dinner rolls at a time. I do that sometimes and that lets me customize the toppings - no seeds for the family seed-hater, lots of seeds for the rest of us, etc.
              The non-enriched doughs can sit for up to 2 weeks, the enriched doughs only 1 week. You can also halve or double the recipe very easily depending on your needs.

              1. re: rockycat

                Glad to hear about halving it. I might try that - just not yet.

                1. re: rockycat

                  What kind of cooking time for rolls please?

                  @chowser, I made bread for the first time in my life recently. Banh mi rolls. It WAS dangerous :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I think it was MMRuth (miss her) who talked about having pizza every night using the dough. It sounded so good that I followed in her footsteps but had to stop. I'm not a low carber but that's a LOT of carbs!

                    Banh Mi rolls sound great. I've made french bread but never ventured to banh mi.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Miss mmruth also.

                      Andrea Nguyen just came out with a banh mi cookbook. Wonderful rolls and everything else!


                      1. re: c oliver

                        Maybe I should post this on that thread but was it worth making? I can buy one for $3.50, buy 5 get one free and they're excellent. There are so many piece parts to a good sandwich. I'd love to peruse the book, though!

                        1. re: chowser

                          I can't buy them at all around here - Lake Tahoe/Reno. So for me, totally worth it. I learned to make Asian dumplings for the same reason. If we still live in SF, my perspective would be quite different :)

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I make a no knead refrigerated pizza dough that keeps about six days. After that it gets too strong a sourdough taste. I try and use it by day three or freeze it.

                            1. re: divadmas

                              Can I make it thin crust? If so, could you share the recipe please?

                              1. re: c oliver

                                i like a thicker crust but i guess you could make it thinner. though you would have to make it very thin.

                                5c flour (i use 2c whole wheat + 3c ap)
                                1t dried yeast
                                1t salt
                                1T sugar
                                2T olive oil
                                2c water.
                                mix to a wet dough with wooden spoon or danish whisk. if you use whole wheat you will need extra water, maybe 1/2 a cup with 2c of whole wheat. this is very forgiving when adding ingredients. just adjust water at the end to get a wet shaggy dough. put dough in a plastic bag and keep in fridge at least overnite. take out 3 hours before needed. later on floured surface form into a smooth dough ball, adding flour as needed. cut ball for pizzas, i make 2 very large pizzas, for thin you might make 4 smaller balls. let rest about 1/2 an hour after forming balls then roll. mine bake at 500 for a little over 15 minutes. I put down a little cornmeal because it will stick when baking.

                                1. re: divadmas

                                  Thanks a mil! Now don't hit me...but can I do this in my KA mixer? I did this with the recent banh mi roll dough and it turned out perfectly.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    No need, the pizza dough is a no knead recipe. Just incorporate water and oil into dry ingredients then leave alone at least overnite.

                    2. re: c oliver

                      I truly don't remember how long I baked them. I want to say about 15 - 20 minutes, but that would depend on how large you make the rolls, too. I believe I made 6 rolls from 1 lb. of dough. Most likely, I just Googled baking times and kept an eye on rolls while baking.

              2. Yes.

                By the way, I don't do the whole knead for five or ten minutes thing. After I mix the dough (I use a fairly high hydration dough, so it's a shaggy mix. I then let it sit for 20 or 30 minutes so that the flour absorbs the water (it's called autolyse). Then I knead ten strokes, let it sit 20-30 minutes, and repeat three times. At the end of the knead, sit, knead sit bit, it's done its first rise and the gluten is developed. Then I do the shaping and second rise or shaping and freezing.

                I make a batch of bread once every six days. When it's done it's first rise, I divide it into six portions, shape it, and freeze it. I then take out one piece every night, let it thaw and rise overnight and bake it the next morning for the husband's breakfast bun. I've been doing this for a few years - works great.

                I know others who retard the dough overnight in the fridge. I've done that a few times and that worked great, too.

                3 Replies
                1. re: LMAshton

                  Thanks everyone! I've done the artisan bread in five but love the whole wheat challah recipe I found so much better.

                  Would I freeze immediately after shaping or after it has doubled (aafter shaping)?

                  What does it mean to retard the dough? Thanks!

                  1. re: rchlst

                    You can freeze it at either stage and just continue. I like to shape it so all I have to do is let it defrost. To retard the dough means to slow the rise which gives more flavor and a better texture. The hotter the ambient temperature, the faster the dough will rise (or the more yeast). Refrigerating the dough will slow it down.

                2. Make a large batch of no-knead dough and keep it covered in the fridge. Remove 16 - 20 oz 2 days later for baking in a non-stick or silicon bread pan. The rest will keep for up to 1 week.
                  The dough develops flavor in the fridge over several days.

                  An alternative is a bread machine: Put the ingredients for a loaf into the machine and let it do the mixing and kneading. That will take 1/2 hour; turn it off, remove dough and shape into a loaf, then bake 35 minutes in your oven. Your time is minimal and can be spaced to accommodate you.

                  12 Replies
                    1. re: c oliver

                      The no-knead dough is quite wet. If you free-form, I think you'd end up with a bread puddle.

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Well, I'm planning on making rolls or small loaves so I guess that's out.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          If you had a couple of those cute Le Creuset single-serve Dutch ovens, you could do no-knead rolls.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I do it w/ artisan bread in five. I use a small cake pan, 8". Make rolls and place in pan. Lahey's no knead, as pikawika said, is too slack.

                            1. re: chowser

                              my no knead free form loaves did turn out with not much rise and spread out. nice texture though. confined to a pan they did much better.

                              1. re: divadmas

                                My Lahey no knead got its best rise in my small pyrex casserole dish. I stopped using it because Pyrex recommended not heating it to that temperature, plus being empty. Spread out free form seems like it would be so flat.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  I have single serving (6" diameter?) Lodge CI skillets. Maybe I'll use that.

                        2. re: c oliver

                          I think this is the one I was referring to. No knead AND free form :)


                          1. re: c oliver

                            I would think the long period in the fridge would end up destroying the gluten, and also end up in the yeast dying off from lack of food after a few days.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              This is the same artisan bread in five minutes a day we started talking about at the top of the thread.

                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                You're right! I got side-tracked with the idea that I couldn't free form a loaf. Thanks. If I have enough flour, I'm going to start a batch in a bit.