Overnight final prove in fridge


I am just trying to work out the best way to prove my loaves overnight in the fridge for baking at 0700 the next morning? 

The dough is just the standard pane francese recipe. 

Ambient overnight room temps at my place are about 15c so I am thinking if I put the dough in the banneton at say 10pm it will be overproved by 7AM the next morning? 

I am thinking retarding in the fridge is the way to go but wonder if the dough will "sweat" if I put the banneton in a plastic bag and then in the fridge. Would this make the dough stick to the banneton and make it hard to get out the next morning? 

I wonder how others get their dough ready to bake early in the morning?


Thanks a lot

337 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 May 31

Hi Robear,

I have done fridge proving but not using a banneton - just a cloth lined basket.  I use one of those large clip-lock plastic bags for vacuum sealing clothes and blankets.  Not exactly labelled as food grade but seems to be perfectly satisfactory.  You do get a bit of condensation inside the bag so quite possibly it won't affect the banneton.

I'd try one leaving it on the bench, or even outside, to see how it goes.  Same for fridging it.  Not a heck of a lot to lose in the scheme of things.

Let us know how you go.


Robear 2012 May 31

Thanks for that Farinam.


I'll try that method and a few others and see how it all turns out. I'll hunt around and see where I can get those large plastic bags.


Will post the results and piccies when the results are in.

Old Possum's picture
Old Possum 2012 June 1

When I proof bread overnight in the fridge it is in a cane banneton (dusted with rye flour) which I cover loosely with a folded tea towel and then pop into a plastic bag and seal so the loaf doesn't dry out. I've never had a loaf stick (yet, I'm tempting fate with famous last words)

Old Possum's picture
Old Possum 2012 June 1

I just fold a clean tea towel in half and drape it lightly over the top of the banneton. It's there to absorb any condensation inside the plastic bag but loose so the loaf can rise unimpeded. You need a plastic bag which is big enough too.

Robear 2012 June 2

Till I get some plastic bags I tried a prove in the fridge and covered the  banneton with a large metal bowl. The dough didnt rise too much but it seemed to bake OK.

There was some oven spring and the loaf tasted OK. I wasnt too keen to (potentially) waste any of my good Kialla flour so made this one with Aldi plain flour and Woolworths Wholemeal flour.


My next one will just be left on the bench overnight and I'll see how that goes. Hopefully the photos will appear below.

Dough before fridge overnight proveDough after fridge proveTurned out dough after overnight fridge proveBaked loaf after overnight fridge prove Aldi FlourCrumb from overnight fridge prove loaf

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2012 June 2

 I generally just sprinkle some flour across the top of the dough and then put it inside a plastic grocery bag! Never had a problem with sweating or sticking. Works a charm and as cheap as chips! . . . . . Hang on, grocery bags are free in most places :)

Robear 2012 June 2

Thanks Karniecoops.

I'll give that a go. I did think of it but thought the bag wouldn't be big enough and it would end up sticking to the dough. The flour on top should solve that problem as you say. Got heaps of grocery bags!

Robear 2012 June 4

Tried an overnight prove on the bench last night. Temps were around 14c but the dough overproved unfortunately.

I guess 14c is just too hot. Despite that it sprung a little bit in the oven.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 June 4

Good morning Robear,

It certainly proved well and it looks like you had a bit of sticking to whatever you covered it with but I wouldn't be too ashamed of the result.  The crumb looks open and light and I am sure the taste was excellent.

I don't think 14C is 'too hot', I think it was just that the time was a bit longer than optimum.  And you might find that there is a bit of a trade off between proof rise and oven spring so that you end up with a similar result unless the proof has gone way too far.

Keep on bakin'


Robear 2012 June 4

You are right Farinam. The taste was very good and the crumb was nice an soft but still chewy. Better than the loaf the night before so I'm not complaining.

It did stick slightly to the bag I had it in so I'll be a bit more careful to give it some more space next time.


I'll might try the next one outside where the temps get down to 9c-13c overnight and see what happens  but if I can get bread to taste this good consistently I'll be happy. From what I have read of your comments on others posts its better to keep at one recipe till you "get it" rather than try and make all sorts of different breads so thats what I'll be doing.


I'm sure everyone on this board appreciates your help! As Barack Obama says.."You punch above your weight"!

Cam the Baker Man 2012 June 8

 Hi Robear


I usually do my final prove overnight in the fridge in the banneton.  I flour it with whole meal or maze and the cover with cling wrap with a little oil on it do it doesn't stick.  Once I take it out of the fridge I let it come back to room temp which takes about 2 hours depending on the weather and then bake.  I tried it on the bench and although the temp should have got close to 10c it was well overproved in the morning I'm in Melbourne so I thought overnight on the bench would be fine at this time of year but 10pm to 7am does seem to be too long.

By the way your bread looks fantastic and I would be more than happy to turn out that crumb every time .



Robear 2012 June 8

Thanks for that Cam.

I havent had to bake since the last loaf but I'm keen to try everyones ideas. I hadnt considered covering the banneton with oiled cling wrap but that would sure be easy to do! I'll give it a go.

Graham's picture
Graham 2012 June 10

Just to mention quickly that when using a commercial cooloom, with a big blower, we get the best results by proving formed dough to around 2/3 of full proof before putting into coolroom.

Commercial coolrooms are more efficient than home fridges, and our dough would cool down too quickly to rise overnight, and take forever (perhaps 8 hours) to fully proof after being removed the next day if refrigerated to soon.

Interestingly even in our coolroom, with average air temperature around 4C, proving dough will be closer to 7C after 8 hour's cooling. I imagine that this is due, at least in part, to fermentation activity.

I would be interested to know what temp rising dough is after 8 hour's in a range of domestic fridge situations. IMO the inefficient nature of home fridges is an advantage, as dough gradually decends dough through more moderate ranges (similar ranges to a retarder / prover).

12C - 14C is probably optimum overnight (8 - 12 hours) temp for the type of fermentation we commonly practice here (10% - 15% acidified flour, short bulk proof (30 min - 1 hour), medium intermediate proof (resting as balls for 30min to 1 hour).

Our final rising times are actually around 16 - 20 hours. I am happy to raise dough entirely in the ambient air for this time if our cool closet or baking space gets below 12C, and preferably not lower than 7C  (in Oatlands we get about 7 months of the year where temps are perfect for this...as the data here shows).



Robear 2012 June 15

Just checked the temp of my proving dough after 9 hours in the fridge. 

Taken with a probe to the middle of the loaf Its 6.4c.

StoneTurtle's picture
StoneTurtle 2012 June 11

We are having the same discussion here in the USA with micro-bakeries and home bakers who are  doing farmer's markets.  Most can not afford a proper cool room and are stuck with reach in refrigeration units.  Unfortunately, these are set to operate at or below 40 F (4 C).  A bit chilly for most breads.  Too much bench time after shaping and before retarding and over proofed by morning.  Straight to the refrigerator after shaping and the breads need an hour or more on the bench in the morning.  It's a dance that we play, usually with some success but it's always like opening a mystery basket.


Regarding the sticking, both in the baskets and on the covering, I've found that a blend of 20% white rice flour and 80% white or whole wheat or any other grain flour really cuts down on sticking.  Too much rice flour leaves a dry mouth feel on the final breads but 20 - 25% seems to work out.


The breads on this string of posts look beautiful.  Be proud of them and yourself.


Warmest regards,


Stone Tutle Baking and Cooking School

Lyman, Maine, USA

Robear 2012 June 11

Thanks Graham, that is interesting stuff. It hit me the other day whilst watching your excellent video stream that your final prove must be quite some time. Next time I do an overnight prove in the fridge I'll check the dough temp in the morning and report back.


Thanks so much for your comments Michael. Much appreciated. I never thought of mixing rice flour with another type to get a better result. Very keen to try that. Thank goodness the internet was invented in our lifetime!

Merrid 2012 June 12

I use fine semolina to dust the banneton and shove it in a freezer bag before putting in the fridge. I don't bother with oiling the bag or anything - it doesn't seem to stick (although maybe that's just due to a small amount of condensation on the inside of the bag). Certainly doesn't stick to the banneton. Overnight at cool winter temperatures (well, in Sydney at least, which is around 10-15°C indoors) is too long for the final prove - overnight in the fridge (put in somewhere between 9 and 10pm and taken out of the fridge somewhere between 7 and 8am in the morning) seems about right. If it doesn't quite pass the poke test I'll let it warm until it does, before baking.

davo 2012 July 20

Couple of things - while I suppose it's possible that the temp above cool room temp is a result of heat generated by fermentation - maybe it's simply a matter of having a biggish puffy holey thing that starts at 20 deg C and effectively has a lot of thermal inertia and in-built insulation, and so takes an awful asful long time to cool, esp when placed in a placcy bag?


I have done the overnight prove out of the fridge and if it doesn't look like it's going to get down to below around 10C or whatever in the laundry, one thing that can work is to use an esky - put your banetton(s) in that along with one or two frozen plastic water bottles. Stays above 4 C, but goes below the ambient in that coolish but not-quite-cold-enough room. It's a bit slap-dash, but has worked for me. I do the same when I want to slow down the rise on a stinking hot summer day, but don't want fridge-cold.


If an esky big enough is hard to find, but whack it in a cardboard box, perhaps with more frozen bottles, and drape a towell over.


PS Robear I think that loaf is pretty spot-on!

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