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.

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 24 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 10 minutes
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!

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    93 Comments

    1. I have a sourdough starter I finally got going! Can you use a sourdough starter for this recipe? Do you know what the proportions should be?

    2. I am wondering if I could use a small amount of this bread dough to make things like waffles (as you would do with sourdough discard).
      Also, will this rise more in the refrigerator? Mine rose so much higher than the bowl, in the first rising, that it stuck to the tea towel.

      1. Hi!I have never tried using it as sourdough discard, but why not? Let me know if it works for you! It does rise a bit in the fridge, but not as much, maybe your house is warmer than mine. Try adding a bit of flour on top of the dough so it doesn’t stick to the towel. Hope that helps! 🙂

      1. Hi Karen, it makes an average of three loaves and it depends on what kind of bread or recipe you’re making. I have more recipes to make with this refrigerator bread dough linked under the recipe card in the notes section. This white bread recipe is a good general one to follow. https://breadsandsweets.com/white-bread/ Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes 🙂

      1. Hi Jennifer, I would say about 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of dough should be good. It makes about 6-10 rolls. Happy Baking! 🙂

    3. Hi there. Thanks for the tips. Question – my first rise was on the counter for 2 hours and then I put the dough in the refrigerator overnight. When I take the dough out the next day, do I have to let it come to room temp before shaping it or do I immediately shape it and then let it come to room temp? Thank you.

      1. Hi Sally, No you can shape it immediately, you don’t need to wait for it to come to room temperature. When you take it out of the fridge, sprinkle some flour on top of it, take the amount of dough you need and place the remaining dough you’re not using back in the fridge. Hope that helps! Let us know how it goes! 🙂

    4. I just add this dough, however my dough is really sticky. Should I add more flour?
      I have already put in a bowl a covered. I need this information for the next time I make this dough.
      Thank you

      1. Hi Ella, I have never tried it with that type of flour but if you want to give it a try let me know how it goes 🙂

      2. Hi Ella, I made bread before with 100% whole-wheat flour in the past (not this exact recipe). What I found to have the best results is by adding a few drops of vinegar when making the dough, AND let it sit overnight in the fridge. Some recipes call for ascorbic acid (VitaminC), but anything acidic should work. The overnight rising can git rid of a lot of the bitterness from the whole-wheat, and if you use white whole wheat, you may not even be able to tell it wasn’t flour. One thing to note is that your bread will have smaller crumb than using all-purpose flour.

        Because my original intent was to imitate the taste of regular bread, so I also came up with method 2 explained below. If you don’t mind the taste of whole-wheat, the vinegar should be sufficient.
        Method 2: make a batch of dough with very high hydration level (I made it at 100% – 120%), with vinegar or lemon juice mixed in. And I make another batch with much lower hydration level. And my final dough to be baked will be a combination between the two to achieve the target hydration level, which my go-to is 75-80%. This method requires some math, but I was able to *almost* perfectly resemble the all-purpose flour/bread flour crumb, but this requires much more work and a bit of math.

        —-ignore the rest of this if you don’t care for the explanation, it can be a good bathroom read—
        Quick note for the idea behind method 2:
        The crumb of the bread is a result of stretched gluten (probably starches as well) forms H-bond with water, and when you bake an artisan dough at very high temperature, the rapid change in temperature allows the water to evaporate quickly. In combination with the yeast releasing CO2, this is what’s seen as the “oven spring”. So in order to achieve this, I made an ultra-high hydration dough do allow extensive H-bond forming, but that loses the shape. To tackle this, I made a dough with normal hydration level (around 60%), since the chewiness of bread is a result of gluten stretches and forms bridges with itself which is resulted by the rising and stretching or kneading process. And when I mix the two doughs together, I get both of the H-bond with water (which is to be evaporated) and a chewy texture.
        When I am really lazy, I sometimes just add flour to the over-hydrated dough to the target hydration level. But that still has some bitterness if I use whole-wheat, although much less work.

        Hope this helps, it was a lot of words. ;}

    5. 5 stars
      Have you ever made this with any wheat flour? I grind my own hard white wheat and wonder if it would work. I make a lot of cinnamon rolls and this would be a great recipe for over the holidays.
      Thank you.

        1. 5 stars
          I looked it up and the hard white wheat berries have a 16 gram protein count in 1 cup flour.
          Thank you for your quick answer.
          I am going to try it over the weekend and will let you know how it comes out.

    6. I’m curious how many lbs of dough this recipe will make. I noticed there are various recipes on your site that call for one pound of refrigerator dough. I’d like to use this recipe to begin ( I am a absolute BEGINNER using yeast recipes ) and follow up with making your cinnamon braided bread as well as a couple others. I wonder if it’s going to be hard to pull apart and weigh the dough on a scale….or if it makes just 2 lbs. then I would only divide it in half.

      1. Hi Brenda, It’s about 3 pounds so you should be able to make about 3 recipes with that dough. It’s a very easy dough, don’t worry as a beginner it can seem scary, but bread making, you’ll see, is a lot of fun! Have fun with it and happy baking! 😀

    7. I tried your bread dough recipe. it did rise in the icebox. but is it supposed to rise when it’s sitting for the 2 hour time? my dough did not rise during this time. I baked it anyway and it tasted good. but I just wondered about the rising. I had a new jar of yeast. A new bag of flour.

    8. I struggle making bread. Sometimes it comes out perfect but usually it’s heavy and dense. I’m wondering why most recipes say that salt kills yeast? Is this bread dense?

      1. Hi Jan, This bread isn’t dense because it is well hydrated. Some recipes say that because if you put it straight on the yeast when it’s mixed with the water it can kill it. Hope that helps 🙂

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