Refrigerator Bread Dough

Learn how to make bread dough that keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. This easy four-ingredient dough is great to have on hand so you can bake a fresh loaf of bread whenever you want. If you’ve never made homemade bread this is a great recipe to try.

refrigerator dough in a blue bowlRefrigerator Bread Dough

Often my friends and family ask me if making homemade bread is hard. Of course, the answer is “it depends” because every recipe is different and it depends on the type you want to make.

So, I always share this easy refrigerator dough when a new baker wants to try making their own. You only need four ingredients and one bowl to make it. Then you just stick it in the refrigerator. Once it proofs, you can use it for up to two weeks.

I first found this recipe from Zoe Bakes who is the author of the cookbook Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I couldn’t believe how easy it is. Instead of mixing dough, kneading it, waiting for it to rise and then baking it you just mix all the ingredients and leave it in the refrigerator to proof.

Doing it this way takes longer, but it’s all hands-off time. After 24 hours the dough is ready and you can use it to make loaves or rolls for up to two weeks.

If you are new to baking with yeast this is the perfect recipe to start with – it really is so easy to make.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Active dry yeast
  • Lukewarm water (100F to 105F)

For the yeast, double-check the expiration date before you use it. Old yeast doesn’t work as well (or at all). Also, be sure your water is not too hot otherwise it might kill the yeast.

Two Easy Steps to Make It

The first time I made this bread I had doubts it would work – it’s almost too easy – but, rest assured, it works.

First, whisk the flour, salt and yeast together in a bowl. Add the water and mix until completely combined.

the dry ingredients whisked and adding the water in the mixing bowl

Be sure to check there is no dry flour on the bottom of the bowl.

the dough mixed in the mixing bowl

Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and let it sit out at room temperature for two hours. Then, refrigerate it for five to 24 hours before using it.

dough before refrigerated

The best part about this dough is that you can bake it whenever you want for up to two weeks. So, you can make a large loaf or bake smaller loaves or rolls – it’s up to you.

dough in a blue bowl after refrigerated

The bread bakes up just like those artisan loaves you see at the grocery store, but yours will taste so much better. There’s nothing better than a loaf of fresh-baked bread especially when it’s this easy to make. Enjoy!

What to make with this refrigerator dough

Once you have made the refrigerator dough you might want to try these delicious recipes.

Stay tuned for a ways to use this dough! Take care everyone.

refrigerator dough in a blue bowl

Refrigerator Bread Dough

Rosemary Molloy
This easy dough takes just minutes to mix and keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It's the perfect easy dough when you want homemade bread.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Resting Time 1 d
Total Time 1 d 10 mins
Course Yeast Breads
Cuisine American
Servings 1 bowl
Calories 2977 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 3 cups lukewarm water (100-105F / 40C)

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of the mixer whisk together the flour, salt and yeast, then add the water and with the flat beaters* beat until completely combined, make sure there is not flour at the bottom of the bowl. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate for 5-24 hours before using. The dough will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

*You can also mix the dough together with your hands or even a spatula. Just make sure you get all the flour incorporated.

    Video

    Nutrition

    Calories: 2977kcalCarbohydrates: 622gProtein: 86gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 6996mgPotassium: 927mgFiber: 24gSugar: 2gCalcium: 122mgIron: 38mg
    Keyword 24 hour bread dough, refrigerator bread dough for 24 hours
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    54 Comments

    1. I am very eager to try this recipe but do not have a free standing mixer. All I have is a hand held. I can all the steps be done by hand?

      1. Hi Jean, yes, no problem you can mix the flour and water together with your hands or even a spatula, just make sure you get all the flour incorporated. It will be a wettish dough. I hope you enjoy it. Take care.

    2. 5 stars
      Love this recipe! Makes the perfect size loaf for 3 or 4 days. I’ve shared it with many friends who now also enjoy the ease of having fresh, tasty bread readily available. I’m hoping you’ll have more options of how to use it in the future.
      I do have a few questions: when first mixed, the dough is to sit out for 2 hours before placing in the fridge. I find that it rises quickly and could overflow the bowl if I’m not careful (yes, I realise I could put it in a larger bowl but this one is quite large and my refrigerator isn’t). Is it supposed to rise this much before moving to the refrigerator? What is the benefit of leaving at room temperature for this length of time and would it be detrimental to the recipe if I moved it to the refrigerator in less than the 2 hours, to help slow the proofing? Thank you for the recipes on both of your sites, one of the first ones I check when I’m looking for great and easy recipe ideas.

      1. Hi Emelle, thanks so much, the dough should really rise at room temperature, it needs to rise then start to fall and then refrigerate. So yes it might effect the outcome if you skip or alter this time. What if you used 2 small bowls and made half the recipe in each? I spent the last little while working on sourdough bread but now you have been interested in this bread again, so I think I will look into making more recipes with it. So stay tuned. Take care. Have a great week.

        1. 5 stars
          Rosemary, thank you for the quick response and explaining the purpose of the initial rise. I will include this added time moving forward and yes, I’ll start by making it in a larger bowl and transfer to one that won’t overtake the interior of my fridge once the 2 hours is up! Sometimes the simplest resolution is the hardest to see. It’s such a great recipe for beginners and I look forward to sharing other ways to use the dough.

    3. Hi Rosemary. I saw where someone was wanting to make hamburger buns and you told her yes, just make smaller rolls. Well I have a weight scale. What weight do you think would be good for a hamburger roll? I was also wondering if I could make breadsticks with this dough. I am almost thru with my skillet bread and ready to start on my new batch of dough. Oh and you were right again. My skillet bread tasted very yeasty.

      1. Hi Linda, I would say the weight for the hamburger buns be between 75-80 grams for normal size buns. And yes I think breadsticks is a great idea. Let me know how it goes. Was the skillet bread edible though? Take care.

        1. Lol. Actually the bread was edible. I haven’t had a beer in years so I am not sure about it but the bread reminds me of beer. Probably because of all the yeast I put in it . I will definitely let you know how the breadsticks turn out. Thank you so much for your expertise. I got a new stand mixer recently and I have been baking like crazy since
          Christmas. After the hamburger buns and breadsticks, I am going to make Pumpernickel.

        2. Hi Linda, I love beer 🙂 so I probably would have liked it. Nothing like a stand up mixer! Pumpernickel is one of my favourite breads. Let me know how it goes.

        3. This is such a learning experience. I used the recipe to make hamburger buns with the weight you suggested. And yes the dough is very sticky but I did manage 8 buns. Well 1 recipe I read said let rise until about 3” high. Not understanding why and after 2 hours waiting, I baked them. They were a little puffy but not 3”. I cooked 2 hamburger patties and it was not until the second one did I realize you were supposed to cut the buns in half! My dough did not brown up but the bread is delicious. Still learning Rosemary.

        4. Hi Linda, of course it just takes time and patience and it all comes together. 3 inches sounds like a lot to me. Brush them with some milk or an egg wash (1 tablespoon water or milk and 1 egg, beaten together) that should help them brown on top.

      1. Hi Linda, so sorry to hear that, but I really don’t think it will work you should really start over. This much yeast will give the bread a very yeasty taste and it won’t brown properly.

        1. Hi Rosemary. Thank you for responding. I will start over but since I already have the dough in the fridge, I am going to try a skillet bread. Horrible waste of yeast and flour but I just got in too much of a hurry.

        2. Rosemary you were right. It did not brown properly, even putting it under the broiler for a few minutes. Don’t know what it tastes like yet because I just took it out and it’s cooling now. But it smells heavenly!!!

        3. Hey girl the bread with too much yeast is very good! But I have your recipe on the counter now waiting to go in the fridge . Thank you very much,

    4. Hi Rosemary, how long do you leave the dough out before cooking, what temperature do you cook the bread at & for how long?

    5. i live in Mexico and this totally curbs our bread craving! Mexican breads and rolls are quite different. Made this batch two times. So simple. Makes amazing Cinnamon rolls. i have to bake in a small toaster oven, so make two sandwich size rolls everyday. Love it!

      Question: The outside is quite firm and chewy. Any tips for a softer crust?

      1. Hi Celeste, thanks so much, so glad I could help. Cinnamon rolls, what a delicious idea. I don’t know if you add ice cubes or a hot water pan to the oven, but that can create a firmer crust, so if you do, eliminate that and it should help. You can also try putting a damp (not soaking wet) towel on the loaf when you pull it out of the oven. Hope that helps. Have a great week.

        1. Putting bread in a plastic bag after it cools completely will soften the crust. Also you can brush crust with butter when it comes out of the oven.

    6. 5 stars
      Amazing bread recipe.Reminded me of the lovely bread I had during my Europe trip.
      Thank you so much for this easy recipe.?

    7. I need recipe for making hamburger buns. My friend had a recipe that she made and then put it in fridge just like the bread recipe but it was for buns. Then whenever she wanted to make a couple of buns she just pulled off some dough and that was it.

    8. 5 stars
      This is exactly what I was looking for. I add raw bran and seeds and its bursting with flavor. Makes fabulous rolls also. I enjoy your website. Thank you for it!
      Marilyn

    9. Hello, I just found your website and am excited to try your recipes!
      I mixed this one up night before last, let it sit out two hours and then put it in the fridge. I took out a pound today to make a loaf and it was smelling rather pungent and almost fruity. I think it may have overproofed? Any thoughts about this? Should I be watching it and put it in the fridge as soon as it doubles? Or should I cut down the yeast? What does yours look like right before you put it in the fridge? Mine was big and bubbly/spongy already, didn’t look like a large dough ball anymore.

        1. 5 stars
          Thanks for the reply. It turned out delicious! Wonderfully soft, springy and chewy inside, and tastes really great. I also love the convenience of being and to prepare the dough whenever I have time and then pull some of it out during the week when I need it.

      1. Hi Sanaya, if you want to use whole wheat you should actually use half whole wheat and half all purpose or bread flour, only whole wheat will make it very heavy. For gluten free I really don’t know because I don’t bake with gluten free flour. 🙂

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