How long is bread dough with activated yeast good for in the refrigerator before baking?

We made home made organic yeast rolls from Bobs Red Mill Unbleached Organic Flour and left them to rise overnight but then had invites to to dinners on following nights. It's been 4 days since making them. Are they ok to bake?

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boulangere August 18, 2013
Brushing the rolls with melted butter achieves some Maillard browning, which results from proteins (milk solids in butter) which brown in the presence of (the few remaining) carbohydrates. Good solution.
CHeeb August 18, 2013
I have had some luck when I found myself in the same bind.I re-rolled the whole mess back into a more moist lump,rolling the drier edges back into the center. i then parcelled them out in the same roll sized shapes your picture reflects, and baked them.They were smalled than originally hoped for,due to lack of rising,however I avoided the dry edged the days in the frig would have caused.The caution above,of not expecting the same browning is somewhat mitigated if you brush melted butter on the tops...good luck...don't despair...we all do these kinds of things and survive.
boulangere August 18, 2013
What a good question. Yes, exactly the same limitations.
Gryphen August 18, 2013
Then my question to that answer is what of frozen pre-made dough then thawed to be baked? Would it be subject to the same consummation of carbohydrates by yeast?

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boulangere August 18, 2013
I'm going to suggest that you go ahead and bake them, because who doesn't hate to throw away food, but don't be surprised if the rise is on the tepid side, and especially if they don't brown well. Even in a quiet state in the refrigerator, yeast cells continue to consume their food supply. Given too long to do so under any conditions, they will do what is know as "over-consume its food supply." That means that most of the available carbohydrates have been broken down and consumed, and that the yeasts have then turned to the last source of food which is the protein in the flour. Thus, your rolls won't brown well because they can't; the carbohydrates necessary for browning have been consumed. And the rise will be anemic because the protein structure required to literally hold it up has been compromised. For future reference, 24 hours is a good rule to follow for refrigerating a yeasted dough of any kind; 48 hours is pretty much the outside limit.
Dave O. August 18, 2013
They should be fine if the dough has been in the fridge. 5 days is about the longest you can go.
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