I bake regularly, so it’s convenient for me to keep a big batch of ready-to-use dough in the fridge. I follow a procedure I learned from the book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Hertzberg and François.
To make bread using this method, you make a large batch of dough, let it rise on the kitchen table, then put it in the fridge in a covered bowl. And whenever you feel like making bread over the next week or two, you just get a bit of the dough, shape it, let it rise, and then you put it in the oven. Because the dough has time to ripen in the coolness of the fridge, the bread becomes very tasty and texturally nice. And because you make a large batch of dough and use bits of it over some time, there’s very little effort involved in getting from no bread to bread when you need it.
Making this dough only takes about 5 minutes, because it doesn’t require kneading.
Here’s the basic recipe:
- 680 grams of warm-ish water
- 10 grams of granulated yeast
- 17-25 grams of salt
- 910 grams of flour
- Either get a kitchen scale, or measure out all the ingredients in advance
- Get a large bowl (one that has a lid and will fit in your fridge), and put the water in it
- Reset the scale and measure the yeast directly into the bowl with the water.
- Add the salt and then the flour
- Mix everything together – no kneading!
- Put the lid loosely on the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2-3 hours (the book suggests 2 hours, but I’ve found that my dough usually needs closer to 3 hours).
- Start baking right away, or close the lid tightly and put the bowl in the fridge. It will stay good for two weeks in the fridge. You can see how to shape and bake the bread here.
Here’s what the finished, refrigerated dough looks like: