Cool-Rise BreadWhat happens when bread dough is placed in a chilled environment is that it simply rises in the ordinary way until cold penetrates it thoroughly. Since the spongy dough is a good insulator, this takes quite a little time. So, when it is chilled completely, the yeast becomes dormant and the dough ceases to rise until it is removed to room temperature -- the yeast becomes active again once the dough warms up.
Most "ordinary" bread doughs can be treated in the "cool-rise" manner. It's important to cover the bowl well and to leave plenty of area for the dough to expand. If the dough contains no milk, then it can be refrigerated longer than two days. However, it it is left too long the dough will begin to ferment, resulting in a sort of sourdough!
Be sure to turn the dough out of its container immediately after taking it out of the refrigerator. Knead it for two or three minutes, then let it rest, covered with a large bowl, for ten minutes. It can then be shaped, place in pans (if using) and allowed to nearly double in size before baking. Keep in mind that, since the dough is cool, it will require a longer time for this second rising because the dough has been chilled.
When my father was in his 20s (50 years ago), he worked in a bakery in which he produced 99 loaves each day. (His co-worker turned out the cookies & pies.) All of the breads were baked in brick-lined wall ovens. Some years later he developed numerous bread recipes as a hobby, including at least two which he specified as “cool-rise.” These versions were among the first he taught me to make, before I enrolled at cooking school in the mid 1980s.
My dad’s basic Cool-Rise White: Sponge 2½ teaspoons active-dry yeast in ¾ cup warm water into which has been stirred 1 tbsp. raw sugar.
Blend together 3½ cups quite warm milk, ½ cup sugar, ½ tbsp. fine salt, and 3 ounces butter. Add the proofed yeast; then add 4 cups unbleached bread flour. Then work in about 2 more cups flour. Add 3-4 additional cups flour, kneading to achieve a smooth, but still slightly tacky, dough.
Place the dough in a large, straight-sided plastic container (remember the chemistry of bread is to rise upward!) and cover with greased paper. Let rest 20 minutes. Knock down, shape loaves, and fit into 2-lb. oil-sprayed bread pans. Refrigerate the loaves at least 2 hours, and as long as 24 hours.
Allow them to rest at room temperature 10 minutes, before placing in a 400° F. oven to bake 30-40 minutes until they test done. Expect to eat an especially fresh, clean-tasting bread! Particularly delectable with homemade preserves.
This dough may also be shaped into dinner rolls. I also have a copy of "the old gaffer's" recipe for cool-rise oat bread.
"A house is beautiful, not because of its walls, but because of its cakes." ~ Old Russian proverb