Author Topic: Controlled Room Temperature Proofing  (Read 1140 times)

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Controlled Room Temperature Proofing
« on: June 16, 2010, 09:19:49 PM »
I went ahead and repeated an experiment I posted about here.  Replies #39-41.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11141.20.html

It started out as an experiment to see if warm proofing made a difference in the texture of the finished crust and crumb.  I did this experiment base on the curiosity that 2 of my best made pies were rush proofed at high temps of 100F+ for a short period of time.    The result of that particular test proved to me that proofing at higher temps doesn't yield a dramatically better crust/crumb but does make it harder to handle. 

At any rate, I have just started changing up my dough kneading and handling technique and one of the things I'm doing that is new to me is to proof dough covered with a moist towel.  The strange thing I've notice about this method of proofing is that you can proof for an extended amount of time at room temps (75-77F) and the dough will maintain a temp of about 65F so long as you remoisten the towel every 4-5 hours or when it dries a bit.

So what's the big deal about this?  Well for starters if you want to proof dough at 65F, you don't have to get a cooler and put an ice cube in it.  it's as easy as proofing with a moistened towel.

2ndly, if you want to have pizza for dinner but don't know the exact time of dinner, the dough will stay fresh and maintain it's integrity for a prolonged amount of time with this method.  Say, you know you have company coming over but there's been a delay of about 2-3 hours.  No big deal.  The dough will last at that temp for the extra 3+ hours.  Unlike the traditional way of proofing on the counter and depending on yeast amount used, you have a smaller window of dough usability. 

I made some dough this morning, balled it and proof on the counter expecting to bake around 4-5pm.  Well my wife decided she would like to go to dinner.  I said no problem.  I check the dough temp when i got home from work and it was 65F.  We went to dinner and came back at 7pm and the dough temp was 65F.  Since I just ate dinner, I decided i won't bake until maybe 8 or 9pm since I still have to use the dough tonight.  No big deal, the dough will last until 8-9pm.  So the dough has been proofing at room temp for 11hours now and will likely go for another 6-7hours at 65F on the counter in my kitchen that is at 75F. 

Another advantage of proofing with a moist towel is that it prevents the dough balls from skinning.  But that's only if the towels stay moist.  if they dry out, then the dough will skin.   With my new dough prepping and proofing techniques, I have been getting the smoothest doughs I've yet made with my 2 hands. 


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Controlled Room Temperature Proofing
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 09:32:47 PM »
Tran,

That was a good experiment. Thank you for doing it and posting your results. I wonder how your method will work in a kitchen at around 80-82 degrees F. Maybe then you can freeze the wet towel for a brief period before draping it over the bowl.

Peter

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Controlled Room Temperature Proofing
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 09:41:07 PM »
Tran,

That was a good experiment. Thank you for doing it and posting your results. I wonder how your method will work in a kitchen at around 80-82 degrees F. Maybe then you can freeze the wet towel for a brief period before draping it over the bowl.

Peter

Thanks Peter.  Next time I proof dough (which shouldn't be too long) I will proof it outside in the shade on my half glass table where the temps will be in the 90's+ and do hourly measurements of the dough.  With it outside i may just have to re-wet the towels hourly.   An easy way to do that would just to put a few drops of water in the center of the towels and the water will dissipate into the towels keeping them moist.  It's a rather simple concept really.  We know that water acts as a heat absorbing barrier and will retain heat keeping the dough cool. 

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Controlled Room Temperature Proofing
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2010, 08:11:56 AM »
So I baked the pies up at around 9-ish last night.   The dough was very pliable and almost too hard to handle or work with.  It practically melted in my hands especially the ball made from pastry flour.  Not so much with the BF  ball but still quite extensible. 

I'm not quite sure if it's the new minimal kneading technique in combination with the longer proof times or if it was just longer proof times. 

To be honest, the dough felt like it was room temperature even though the top surface reading yielded 65F.  It didn't feel "cool" in my hands. It could be that the very top surface layer of the dough is cooled by the towel while the bottom half of the dough is at room temperature.  I don't really know. 

This method could possibly buy a couple of extra hours but it won't buy you the extended times I thought it would.  This dough would have been perfect to use around 5-6pm. 

Both doughballs had about 10% starter (to flour weight).  That amount is loosely equivalent to using 0.4% ADY.  I had beforehand estimated it would last approx. 8 hours at room temp.  B/c of the lower proof temp reads, I decided to let it ride another 4 hours.  Both balls had seemingly doubled in size and exhibited an appropriate amount of rise and didn't seem overproofed but yet they were very extensible. ???

Was it the extended proof time? I'm thinking so. 

Offline Pizza!!

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Re: Controlled Room Temperature Proofing
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2010, 05:46:57 PM »
Thanks for the info, I will give the moist towel a try next time I do a room temp ferment, I had some trouble with skinning last time.  Maybe you should try a probe thermometer to get the temp of the dough internally?  I like pictures :-D :pizza:

foolishpoolish

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Re: Controlled Room Temperature Proofing
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2010, 06:20:52 PM »
Oh I like this idea. I'd never thought to use a moist towel on individual dough balls. With ambient temperatures climbing this time of year, I may try this on my next long ferment.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Controlled Room Temperature Proofing
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2010, 06:30:05 PM »
Oh I like this idea. I'd never thought to use a moist towel on individual dough balls. With ambient temperatures climbing this time of year, I may try this on my next long ferment.


I thought everyone in the know was doing it.  Lol. I've been using it with good results. I imagine it let's the dough breathe a bit better? ???

foolishpoolish

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Re: Controlled Room Temperature Proofing
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2010, 06:39:56 PM »
I thought everyone in the know was doing it.  Lol. I've been using it with good results. I imagine it let's the dough breathe a bit better? ???
I've heard of (and tried) a moist towel during bulk ferment but never when proofing the dough balls. Most of the time my dough balls are either in separate containers or, more recently, in a large plastic proofing box with lid. I'll have to give it a try although I'm a bit concerned about high hydration doughs sticking to the towel (even if it is moist).

« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 06:42:19 PM by foolishpoolish »