One of the beauties of certain types of bread baking is that you can make your dough and stash it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. You can mix the dough, pop it in the fridge and walk away for 8 hours to a day, then come back and punch the dough down and shape it when you’re ready. Allow for a second rising or not, depending on what you’re making, then bake. This is such a major help to a busy cook! You can make the dough, using sourdough instead of yeast, when you have time and let it slowly rise and ferment in the fridge until you need to use it. This makes the finished product entirely fermented, which is a major advantage over other recipes that need a lot of unsoaked flour added to the dough in order to make the end product have the right texture.
This method has become a boon to me. Instead of having to make sure I begin early enough in the morning and have enough time to complete it by dinner, I can complete it at my convenience and let it hang out in the fridge until I have another few minutes to handle it again. No more having to stop and check several times a day, making sure that the dough is rising at the right pace so that dinner won’t be late or the dough won’t over-rise.
The only draw-back is that it does require advanced planning. I cycle my baking on loaf bread and pizza crusts so that I do a large amount of one item at one time, on a day when I have time, and then freeze the extra. I make multiple pizza crusts at once, par-bake them and then freeze the extras so I always have them on hand. The most tedious portion of doing it this way is the baking, since I only have one pizza stone, but it really isn’t difficult at all if you’re already planning on spending some time in the kitchen anyway.
This is all based on the rising method presented in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Instead of using yeast, sourdough culture is used so that it will be traditional. I first encountered this method in gluten-free sourdough form on the Everything Free Eating blog’s sourdough bread recipe. If you are looking for a good bread recipe, I highly recommend hers, as it’s the one I use myself.
The only recipe I don’t do this with is my pancakes. Due to the leavening, the rising effect would wear off if you allowed it to sit long-term in the fridge.
So, if you’re a busy cook and you’re using sourdough, I recommend you give this method a try to see if it will allow you more freedom on how you can handle your bread. Personally, the whole concept has been liberating in that it has freed me to be able to use sourdough in more of my cooking. It no longer feels like a major time commitment to be able to enjoy breads as part of our diet.
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KerryAnn Foster runs Cooking Traditional Foods, the longest running Traditional Foods Menu Mailer on the internet. KerryAnn has over nine years of traditional foods experience and is a former Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader. Founded in 2005, CTF helps you feed your family nourishing foods they will love. Each mailer contains one soup, five dinners, one breakfast, on dessert and extras. You can learn more about our Menu Mailers at the CTF website. For a free sample Menu Mailer, join our mailing list. You can also join our forum to chat with other traditional foodists and learn more.