I once heard Claus Meyer say - talking about bread - that you should let it rise for twenty four hours if you had to. I'm glad he said it and even gladder that it stuck with me.
Saturday I mixed up some dough for oat bread from Kneadlessly Simple. It was already afternoon, and without thinking, I used cold water which is what I usually do, but the night before. The dough, which contained just one teaspoon of yeast for two medium sized loaves, wasn't going anywhere. I knew I didn't want to end up having to bake it in the middle of the night, so into the fridge it went. I removed it before bed - between nine and ten o'clock, but in the morning it was still just like a lump. The thought came to me to toss it, but I said No! I had the three days off in a row - it had to rise sometime! I would just wait. Consequently, that first rise took all Sat. night and most of Sunday to happen. I then deflated it and put it in two loaf pans for the overnight.
This picture was taken maybe midday today. And I still waited a couple of hours more before baking. The total rising time for this bread not counting refrigerator time, was a day and a half!
In the midst of all this waiting and checking I realized the house was two degrees cooler than I thought, so I turned up the heat. So there were several factors involved there.
Meanwhile, I was so busy cleaning, etc., that I actually forgot I was baking bread and when the oven timer went off the loaves looked almost burnt. But I will tell you: they aren't burnt, and what with all that slow rising, so much flavor developed that it. is. truly. delicious. And these are the things I find so fascinating about baking bread.