What is better than freshly baked bread, or cookies warm from the oven?
The only thing is that it’s not always convenient to make the dough just when you want freshly baked goods.
You can make dough beforehand and keep it in the fridge, but not all dough is the same, and not all dough can be kept for the same time in the fridge.
How long does dough last in the fridge?
The length of time you can keep the dough in the fridge will depend on the type of dough and the rising agent you have used. Yeast-based doughs should only be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Cookie doughs can be kept for up to five days.
What is used in your dough to make it rise is an important factor to think about when keeping the dough in the fridge.
Yeast is a particularly sensitive and unstable rising agent, and you need to be very careful with the way you handle a dough that uses it, such as a standard bread dough.
Once a yeast-based dough has risen, it does need to be used either immediately, or within 24 hours.
If you really cannot use it immediately, then you can keep it in the fridge. Cold retards the rising process, so this will help to keep it for a while.
To get the best results, don’t keep the yeast-based dough in the fridge longer than overnight, though.
To keep the dough in the fridge, put it carefully into a plastic bag and tie the top loosely.
Make sure that you keep enough air in the bag for the dough to grow if it needs to.
Put the plastic bag carefully into the fridge
I have inadvertently kept yeast-based bread dough in the fridge for longer than 24 hours and it loses its rise in the time.
When I cooked it, the bread only rose slightly, so I highly recommend only keeping the dough in the fridge for no longer than 24 hours.
Baking Powder or baking soda
Baking powder and baking soda are quite active rising agents, which are usually used for cakes and some kinds of cookies.
They react with the moisture in the dough and cause it to rise during baking.
Cookie dough that is made with baking powder or baking soda can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge.
However, remember that the rising agent is basically waiting to do its thing, so you should not keep the dough for too long. I suggest that three or four days would be a good time.
If you are going to keep the cookie dough in the fridge, then roll it into a fairly thick sausage and cover it in cling wrap.
When you want to cook some cookies, you just need to cut off slices of the dough and pop them into the oven.
Some cookie doughs, like ginger cookies, need to be chilled before baking. Rather try to keep this dough in the fridge for no more than a day.
Keeping sweet bread dough in the fridge
Most bread recipes use yeast as the rising agent, so you should only keep the dough in the fridge briefly.
However, if you are using a sweet yeast dough to make something like Kitka, or bagels, you can use the process of preparation as a step along the baking way.
When you have prepared the dough and it has risen well, you will then shape the dough into the plaited bread, or into the shapes of the bagels. When you have done this, you must leave the dough shapes to rise again.
It is at this stage that you can put the dough into the fridge to keep until you are ready to cook the bread or bagels.
The cold will keep them from rising too quickly. However, as with any yeast-based dough, I recommend you only keep them in the fridge for no longer than 24 hours.
If you want to prepare bagels beforehand and then bake them fresh, I suggest leaving the shaped dough to rise outside the fridge.
Pop the bagels in boiling water, as per the recipe you are following.
It is then possible to keep the bagels in the fridge, even for up to two days, before cooking them.
Keeping cookie dough in the fridge
The two parts of a cookie dough that will affect how long it can stay in the fridge are the baking powder or baking soda and the eggs, which are raw.
You can only keep raw eggs for a few days, even in the fridge, before they really do need to be used.
There are, of course, cookie recipes that don’t use eggs, but they do use a rising agent.
What is quite effective is to make the dough, but leaving out the baking powder or baking soda.
This dough will last longer in the fridge. When you want to bake the cookies, knead in the correct amount of baking soda or baking powder and go ahead and pop the cookies in the oven.
Shortbread cookies use neither eggs nor a rising agent, so this is a dough you can keep in the fridge quite easily for about five days.
When you take any dough out of the fridge to cook, remember to let it return to room temperature before doing anything with it. This is especially important before you shape or cut cookies.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Does Dough Last in the Fridge
Can I keep bread dough in the fridge for a few days?
Yeast is sensitive to temperature and only really rises efficiently once, so keep bread dough in the fridge for no longer than 24 hours, or it will not rise properly.
What is the best dough to keep in the fridge?
Cookie dough keeps better in the fridge than bread dough does. A cookie dough that doesn’t use eggs or baking soda will keep best in the fridge.
It’s useful to be able to make dough for bread or cookies ahead of time and then cook it fresh.
This can work well but don’t leave the yeast-based dough in the fridge for too long, or it will no longer rise.
Cookies use baking powder or baking soda, so the dough can be kept in the fridge for a few days.