Author Topic: When Is My Dough Ready?  (Read 3370 times)

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Offline ddolinoy

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When Is My Dough Ready?
« on: December 02, 2010, 06:23:22 PM »
I've been trying to find an explanation of what to look for during the refrigerated dough fermentation process.  What should I be looking for?  What should the dough look like?  What indicates it's overfermented?  I'm trying to perfect my NY style pizza.  I'm envious of the pictures of big puffy crust edges containing large air bubbles that I've seen in this forum.  I've come close to those kinds of results, but then seem to loose my way and get some tough and thick crusts.  I have a feeling I don't have a handle on the dough rise time.  I feel I could make progress if I knew what to look for.
Dave


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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 07:32:28 PM »
ddolinoy,

Can you tell us what dough recipe you are using? That should give us a pretty good idea as to the window of usability of your dough and what you might look for as signs that the dough is ready to be used to make pizzas.

Peter

Offline ddolinoy

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 07:58:36 PM »
11 oz. All Trumps Flour
6.7 oz. warm water (61%)
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt

I have tried up to 65% water.
I have tried as little as 1/8 tsp yeast. (that seemed to be more than enough in the summer)
I have tried 1 tsp of olive oil. (I'm not sure what that did for me)
I have tried 1 tsp of sugar in the water. (I decided that wasn't necessary)
I admit that I've been changing ingredients so often that I'm not learning much.

I pour a little of the water into a bowl and add the yeast.  In the remainder of the water I add the salt.  Once dissolved I mix both and add to the flour.  I use Kitchen Aid speed #2 with a dough hook for 10 minutes.  Knead ball a little with hands and put into oiled container and into refrigerator.
I used to have the dough pushing the lid off the container after a few days.  Now I don't see much happening after four days so I am trying to compensate by removing the dough eight hours before using it.  I did notice small black specks in my dough.
Maybe my yeast is old.
With all these variables, it's hard to make progress unless I know what I'm shooting for.  I figure I'd be better equipped to make educated decisions if I know what to look for.  That is why I started this post.  What should dough look like?  Thanks.
Dave

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2010, 08:08:38 PM »
Dave,

Do you use all of the water warm? And do you measure the temperature of the dough once it is done? You indicated that the yeast may be old. Can you tell us how you came to that conclusion?

Peter

Offline ddolinoy

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2010, 08:20:11 PM »
I just started using warm water again since I have been using cooler water in the summer time.  I do not measure the temperature of the dough when I am done.  I guess I should.  What should it be and where can I get a thermometer for that?  I'm guessing the yeast is old since I don't see the dough ball expanding like it did a few months ago, although I don't think it could be that old since I use up a yeast packet in a month or so.  I've gotten a little sloppy since I was getting such good results up to a few months ago.  Maybe temperature is what I have to get under control.
Dave

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2010, 09:07:30 PM »
Dave,

The performance and longevity of dough is largely a function of the amount of yeast used in the dough and the finished dough temperature. Finished dough temperature is a function of the room temperature (which is fairly correlated with outdoor temperature), flour temperature, water temperature and the friction factor of your mixer. Based on what you have said, if I had to guess, I would say that you are perhaps in a part of the country where it is now cold. Ideally, in a home setting where you are using a standard refrigerator, you want to shoot for a finished dough temperature of around 75-80 degrees F. I use an infrared thermometer to measure finished dough temperature but before I purchased that unit I used a simple instant read digital thermometer. A simple Google search should turn up many inexpensive models that should work. You can also use an analog thermometer if you already have one.

When using ADY, you should use only use a small amount of the formula water to rehydrate the ADY. Technically, that water should be around 4-5 times the weight of the ADY. That comes to a few tablespoons. The water should be at a temperature of around 105 degrees F and the ADY should be allowed to rehydrate in that warm water for about 10 minutes. The rest of the water should be at a temperature to achieve the abovementioned finished dough temperature of around 75-80 degrees F. If you tell me your room temperature where you live, and the outdoor temperature as well, I might be able to come up with a water temperature for you to use. Once rehydrated, the ADY can be either added to the rest of the formula water or to the other ingredients in the mixer bowl. The salt should be dissolved up front in the part of the formula water that was not used to rehydrate the ADY. It can also be added to the flour.

Your use of 1/2 teaspoon of ADY comes to around 0.61% of the formula flour. If you achieve a finished dough temperature of about 75-80 degrees F, with that amount of ADY I think you should be able to get about two to three days of cold fermentation before using the dough to make a pizza. It might be a little bit longer in your case because you kneaded your dough for 10 minutes, which is fairly long for a dough ball that weighs a little over 18 ounces. What you want to look for as you monitor the dough's performance during cold fermentation is the formation of fermentation bubbles at the sides and bottom of your storage container. For this reason, I suggest that you use a glass or transparent dough storage container so that you can see the fermentation bubbles develop. Those bubbles may be sparse after about one day in the refrigerator but should form the next day thereafter and increase further with time. The presence of spotting in the dough does not necessarily mean that the dough has overfermented. I think it is unlikely that you will see such spots develop to any significant degree with the dough formulation you are using for a dough that is cold fermented for only a few days. I have made doughs that have cold fermented for over 20 days, and the spots take five or more days to start to appear. The dough even then is not overfermented and can be used to make pizzas.

If you would like to read about the symptoms of an overfermented/overproofed dough, you might read Reply 36 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11989.msg112445/topicseen.html#msg112445.

In your case, you might also want to increase the hydration by a percent or two since your All Trumps flour can handle the higher hydration. If your All Trumps flour is also bromated, that, together with the higher hydration, should produce a better oven spring. The oven spring will also benefit from a high oven temperature of around 550-575 degrees F if you can achieve that. I think I would also reduce the knead time to around 7-8 minutes if you can get a smooth, cohesive dough ball in that time.

I think if you adopt the above measures, you should see improvement and consistency of results. If not, note what you do in detail, and come back for further advice and diagnosis.

Peter


Offline ddolinoy

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2010, 09:19:27 PM »
Peter,
You've given me a lot to work on!  That is what attracts me to making pizza, it's difficulty.  I've been practicing most of the things you mentioned except monitoring the temperature.  I'm going to have to get a thermometer.  I think I might be surprised when I actually measure it.  I'll definitely read the topic you referred to.  I'll let you know how I do.  I only make one pizza a week so it'll take a while.  Thanks again.
Dave

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2010, 09:45:37 PM »
My dough is invariably ready when the oven is.  4 hours or 4 days, when the pizza monster jumps on my back the dough is READY, no matter what it looks like.

Offline Tampa

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2010, 01:13:28 PM »
Good stuff Peter.  Thanks.
Dave

Offline ddolinoy

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 04:49:05 PM »
Pete-zza,
Based on your recommendations, I made the following changes in preparing my dough:
I purchased an infrared thermometer.  Instead of using "cool" water, I microwaved my water in a glass until it reached 105F.  I used a small amount of this "warm" water to hydrate my yeast and waited 10 minutes.  I added the yeast water and the salt water separately to the flour instead of mixing the two different waters together before adding to the flour.
What a difference!  My dough had small bubbles after only one day in the refrigerator.  After three days, it is close to pushing the lid off the container.  I wasn't planning on using the dough until tomorrow night.  What can I do?  I've read posts in this forum that discuss squeezing out the bubbles and allowing the dough to rise again.  I can't remember where they were.  Some of the people on that thread even insisted that the dough should always be squeezed.  What is the correct term (I'm sure squeezing isn't correct), how, when, and should I even do it?  Thanks.
Dave 


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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2010, 05:09:52 PM »
Squeezing is called punching down. It's just that, push the dough down. I've done it with no ill effects.
Don

Pete-zza,
Based on your recommendations, I made the following changes in preparing my dough:
I purchased an infrared thermometer.  Instead of using "cool" water, I microwaved my water in a glass until it reached 105F.  I used a small amount of this "warm" water to hydrate my yeast and waited 10 minutes.  I added the yeast water and the salt water separately to the flour instead of mixing the two different waters together before adding to the flour.
What a difference!  My dough had small bubbles after only one day in the refrigerator.  After three days, it is close to pushing the lid off the container.  I wasn't planning on using the dough until tomorrow night.  What can I do?  I've read posts in this forum that discuss squeezing out the bubbles and allowing the dough to rise again.  I can't remember where they were.  Some of the people on that thread even insisted that the dough should always be squeezed.  What is the correct term (I'm sure squeezing isn't correct), how, when, and should I even do it?  Thanks.
Dave 

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2010, 06:23:23 PM »
Dave,

From your report, it sounds like you heated up all of the formula water in the microwave and used a small part of it to rehydrate the ADY. If that is what you did and you used all of the water at that temperature to make the dough, you increased the rate of fermentation of the dough. I don't know where you live or the indoor and outdoor temperatures there, but the portion of the formula water not used to rehydrate the ADY should have been at a much lower temperature, perhaps around 70 degrees F.

At this point, you can either use the dough to make pizza or you can punch the dough down and get it into a smooth, round dough ball shape. You should then be able to put it back in the refrigerator for another day. I can't say exactly what results you will get, but those are the options as I see them.

Peter

Offline ddolinoy

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2010, 06:48:28 PM »
Since my house is 65F, I expected my dough to end up much cooler.  After 5 minutes in the KitchenAid, I measured the temperature and it was 77F, which is perfect.
Is there any special technique to punching it down?  Should I take it out of the container and knead it (fold, press, fold, etc.) until all of the bubbles are out or should I just press down on the dough while still in the container?  If I squeeze all the bubbles out, should I wait until more bubbles form in the dough before using it?  What effect does punching down have on the results?  Thanks.
Dave

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2010, 07:07:44 PM »
Dave,

I would remove the dough ball from its container and just press it down gently to deflate it. Then, I would gently reshape it into a smooth, round ball and return it to its container, and return the container to the refrigerator. I would expect that the dough ball will in due course start to generate more bubbles of fermentation. When you are ready to use the dough, I would bring it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up at room temperature for about 1 1/2-2 hours. Ideally, the dough ball should expand and become on the soft side.

I will try to find something for you to read on the effects of punching down a dough ball. For now, you want to get your dough in a form to last another day.

Peter


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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2010, 07:22:43 PM »
Dave,

Here is a post that discusses the effects of punching down a dough ball: Reply 7 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7022.msg60428/topicseen.html#msg60428.

Peter

Offline ddolinoy

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2010, 11:31:52 AM »
How does this look for 4 days in the refrigerator?
Dave

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Re: When Is My Dough Ready?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2010, 03:27:11 PM »
How does this look for 4 days in the refrigerator?

Dave,

It's ready.

Peter