Here is a French perspective on "dough maturation", a perspective by professor Raymond Calvel (1914-2005). He was an expert baker and professor of baking, closely associated with the prominent institution École Nationale Supérieure de Meunerie et des Industries Céréalières
(National School of Milling and Cereal Industries) in Paris, France. To express his perspective on dough maturation, I have prepared the outline, below, which is based on certain passages from his celebrated work The Taste of Bread
, which was translated from French to English by Ronald L. Wirtz, PhD. and was published in 2001. In presenting his view in the outline below, there is the peril of taking the matter out of context
. In an attempt to minimize the risk of decontextualization, I was necessitated to make the outline lengthy and fleshy, portions of which may not immediately lend themselves to the matter under consideration. At last, although the outline concerns preparing and baking bread dough, I think it is not extraneous at all, at least in principle, to the realm of Neapolitan dough.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________1) Rheological attributes of wheat dough:
a. Apropos "elasticity" [capability to return to an initial form after deformation],
b. Apropos "cohesiveness" [agreeable attraction and unity of parts of the same kind that hold the whole mass in harmonious union],
c. Apropos "extensibility" [capability to be extended in space],
d. Apropos "receptivity to forming" [the capability to receive and sustain diverse range of geometric configurations], and
e. Adequate gluten-film "impermeability" [capability to disallow fluids/gases to pass through membrane] to elude loss of fermentation gases.2) Dough constituents whose characteristics most actively contribute to its [structural] formation:
a. Water (which is added per the flour properties and as a function of the desired rheological attributes enumerated above, in addition to accomplishing the desired degree of dough development and level of proof), and
b. Insoluble proteins, i.e, gluten (which requires sufficient input of mechanical energy to be formed).3) Formation of gluten network:
a. Mixing causes the proteins to engulf the starch granules and form a network of gluten fibrils.
b. Mixing effectuates continual development of the gluten network, eventually causing the formation of "gluten films" which become progressively thinner and more continuous.
c. The formation of the fine, thin gluten film is enhanced by the links that form between the proteins and the wheat germ oils.4) Correlations between water temperature, dough temperature, dough oxidation, dough maturation, and fermentation activity:
a. Water temperature regulates dough temperature.
b. Dough temperature substantially impacts the dough oxidation during mixing.
c. Dough oxidation, caused during mixing, has a decisive impact on the degree of dough maturation.
d. Dough maturation impacts the physical properties of dough.
e. Dough temperature has a decisive role in influencing the intensity of fermentation activity.5) Contributing Causes for and resulting effects of Oxidation:
a. Oxidation (hence, dough bleaching and degradation of flavors of bred) will become more prominent at dough mixing temperatures of between 78.8˚F and 80.6˚F. On the other hand, the oxidation, dough bleaching and loss of flavors will become diminished by employing lower dough mixing temperatures, in the spectrum of 71.6˚F - 73.4˚F.
b. Under the merged effects of "increasing mixing speed" and "increasing mixing time", this process [known as "intensive mixing", against which Professor Calvel decried] causes the phenomenon of "dough oxidation1
". Within certain limits, oxidation has the short-run results of:
1. Escalating the "dough strength",
2. Rushing the dough's "physical development", and
3. Shortening the time length that is necessary for "maturation" of the dough.
c. Oxidation has a decisive impact on the degree of maturation of dough during mixing.6) Dough "maturation":
a. Dough maturation is correlated, through the degree of development of the gluten network, with the amount of oxidation obtained during mixing.
b. As the "mechanical development" of the gluten matrix and the dough oxidation increase
side by side as a result of increasing the level of mixing
[such as in an "intensive mixing" session], the process of dough maturation will speed up
c. As the mechanical development of the gluten network and the dough oxidation decrease
together as a consequence of lessening the level of mixing
[such as in a "traditional mixing" session, of which professor Calvel seemed to had been a proponent], this operation necessitates lengthening the maturation period
in order to to procure adequate development of the gluten network. Just as in the old days of slow mixing [i.e., "traditional mixing"], this maturation is achieved via alcoholic fermentation and its resultant dough-rise effect.
d. The mechanical development of a dough is not necessarily followed by its oxidation. For instance, when the speed of the mixer is highly increased, the period of time that the dough is exposed to the surrounding air is reduced to less minutes. If the dough's exposure to air is further lessened by the rearrangement or modification of the mixer bowl or its dough hook, the gluten network will quickly reach a state of optimum development as the dough oxidation will be restricted. This operation considerably mitigates dough oxidation, and nearly sustains the initial dough pigmentation and color by the end of mixing. If there is a positive outcome for the bread aroma that results form the peculiar nature of this speedy manner of mixing, the negative impact of this fast manner of mixing is a noticeable lack of dough strength. [One may think about the Kitchen Aid mixer used under certain conditions!] The lack of dough strength can be remedied by a longer first fermentation or bringing about a higher dough temperature.
e. The "dough strength" [i.e., the gluten network] categorically must be rectified if the proper level of "maturation" is to be achieved, climaxing to production of a bread that possesses character and distinction. Mixing is much more complicated than it appears; it is much more than just adding the ingredients together and blending them.The role of mixing is critical and should be deliberately implemented.7) Slow mixing, fast mixing, and their respective effects on Maturation:
a. When employing intense mixing in a restricted manner, that is slow mixing with moderate mechanical working of the dough, the maturation practically does not occur. To complete the maturation, alcoholic fermentation will be required; hence, bakers should plan a relatively long initial fermentation, as was traditionally done before the 1955-1960 period, in order to materialize a natural dough maturation. Since the development of the gluten film is also quite limited with the slower mixing method [i.e., the "traditional mixing"], the volume of the loaves will be a bit below average. Nevertheless, the loaves will properly rise, and their flavor will be outstanding and shelf-life longer.
b. A high degree of oxidation is caused, and dough maturation is highly accelerated, when:
1. Intensive mixing methods are employed,
2. Oxidizing additives, such as bean flour, are present,
3. Addition of salt is delayed until a late stage of mixing, and
4. A massive portion of the dough is constantly in contact with the surrounding air.
Such procedure (along with the inappropriate use of ascorbic acid) produces an "artificial dough maturation", resulting in an early termination or partial elimination of the initial fermentation and, hence, depriving the dough of the organic acids it would otherwise generate. Absence of the organic acids decreases the flavor, taste, and shelf-life of the end products. Moreover, out-of-control dough oxidation caused by intensive mixing results in "dough bleaching", which in turn brings about bleached bread crumb and deterioration of the bread taste.
c. Generally speaking, maximum gluten film development and the accompanying hyper-oxidation of the dough brought about during intensive mixing cause formation of high-volume loaves at the price of—debasing the end product's desirable gustatory qualities.
d. The mixing requirements of a particular flour/dough should regulate or play a role in the amount of "mechanical work" and "oxidation" in the process of dough production. Proper dough mixing practices should be mindful of the dough's "technological needs"
. It is of utmost importance to forgo over-mixing, dough bleaching, and artificial dough maturation. Fermentation should simply play its natural and fundamental role in the process of "dough development"
. According to Professor Calvel, "From 1957 to 1962 . . . oxidation was more limited and the use of longer fermentation period meant that dough maturation proceeded more slowly2
. During that time, bakers were able to produce a quality of bread that captured the hearts and the pocketbooks of the majority of consumers."8 ) Summary of Mixing Methods (not all):
a. "Traditional: Mixing is done in slow speed only, and the low level of physical dough development requires a relatively long fermentation to compensate. It yields excellent flavors, but the resulting loaves are denser than what is seen in current practice. . . ."
b. "Intensive: This is truly the antithesis of the traditional method. Prolonged high-speed mixing permits the quasi-elimination of the first fermentation, irreparably penalizing the flavor, texture, and keeping qualities. The delicate flavors of the flour's carotenoid pigments are lost through oxidation."9) Correlations between dough "cohesiveness", dough "extensibility", and dough maturity:
a. The degree of dough cohesiveness increases
and dough extensibility decreases
as dough maturation continues. When geometric shaping of the dough loaves is performed after dough division and the rest interval, dough maturation should reach a certain balance or "equilibrium" between its opposing attributes of extensibility
. The equilibrium is a state of reconciliation between the dough extensibility and cohesiveness, making them compatible with one another to a point whereby the dough does not lose it cohesiveness [i.e., unifying agreement between parts] when manually extended or contracted in space.
b. The equilibrium includes:
1. A degree of cohesiveness
that permits the raw dough loaves or pâtons
a. To symmetrically rise,
b. To proof to a rounded shape unaccompanied by any tearing, and
c. To attain suitable volume during baking.
d. Additionally, the loaves must resist deformation when undergo scarification (cutting the crust with razor) & oven consignment without suffering damages.
2. A degree of extensibility
that permits the dough loaves:
a. To be extended or stretched without undue resistance and without tearing when manually shaped.
b. To possess (1) favorable proofing ability during final fermentation and (2) proper impermeability (gas retention) prior to and after oven consignment.
c. Further, the impermeability to fermentation gases permits the loaves to attain a positive development state that is productive of well-leavened, light, & fluffy loaves after baking.10) Deficient dough strength and Deficient Maturity v. Excessive Dough Strength and Excessive Maturity:
a. Sooner or later, a deficient maturation may become obvious as a deficiency in dough strength, and may cause a relaxation or weakening of the raw dough loaves in the course of the second fermentation
. Normally, they proof flat, with a tendency to become sticky and deformed. After baked, they produce flat loaves with poor volume and unfavorable appearance. The crumb construction is every now and then somewhat coarse, possessing little or no suppleness and elasticity, and very often has a marbled or irregularly colored semblance.
b. Excessive maturation—or to the baker, excessive dough strength—becomes obvious in the course of the second fermentation as the raw loaves proof into rounded forms, being likely to crust or dry out, and, hence, sometimes to crack or tear at the surface. The loaves, after placement in oven, are quite rounded, and oven spring generally develops slowly. The razor cuts on the loaves open up unsatisfactorily or not at all, and the color of the crust is visibly dull. The baked loaves are unpleasing in appearance, and in general the loaf volume ranges from slightly to significantly below average. The structure of the crumb is usually uniform and invariably tinted, yet these qualities do not make up for poor overall results.
c. Both lack of maturation and excessive maturation lead to degradation of gustatory qualities. Their tastes and "mouthfeel" (i.e, oral sensory characteristics), akin to tomatoes or grapes that are either unripe or too ripe, lose their physical and qualitative appeals. 11) Correlations between fermentation, residual sugars, pH levels, and maturation:
a. Increasing the dough maturation and continuing the dough fermentation cause progressive changes in the pH level of the dough and its level of "residual sugars", which are the leftover, simplified sugars that fuel dough fermentation.
b. As maturation incrementally progresses and as fermentation is protracted, the dough becomes richer in organic acids and, hence, invested with lower pH, becoming progressively acidic. The continual changes in the pH changes the physical properties of the dough and results in (up to a point):
1. An appreciable increase in the aroma of the dough,
2. An appreciable increase in the aroma of the final product, and
3. Longer shelf-life of the final product.
c. The progressive diminution in the pH level of a dough leavened with a sourdough culture or levain
is faster in relation to a dough leavened with baker's yeast. A dough leavened with a starter culture—possessing a flora in a state of equilibrium—has a pH that exhibits a continual fall on the scale. Bearing in mind that sourdough fermentation predominately generates organic acetic acids [and lactic acid] and the resulting aromas, such a dough generates more acidity after a shorter time period in contrast to a fresh-yeast fermented dough. It is essential to avoid excessive lowering of dough pH. Consequently, bakers must adequately refresh their bacteria-yeast cultures (in order to procure a proper micro-floral equilibrium) before achieving a suitable starter with which to leaven the first dough.
d. The pH is related to the level of residual sugars existing in the dough loaves just before baking. The residual sugars, not yet metabolized by the fermenting yeasts, fulfill essential functions during the baking process. The measure
at which the residual sugars still reside in dough is determinative of the magnitude of oven spring during the initial moments of baking. In addition, they importantly contribute to the Maillard reaction [a reducing sugar reacting with an amino acid under heat] and caramelization reaction [pyrolysis of sugar] in producing [non-enzymatic or oxidative] browning.
1. Generally, a below-average pH is concurrent with a deficit of residual sugars
, which translates into a deficiency in oven spring. This complication is generally evinced, all things being equal, by:
a. A slight diminution in loaf volume,
b. A lack of crust coloration (pale colored, because of limited Maillard and caramelization reactions during baking) along with inordinate thickness of crust,
c. Less crust taste and slightly less flavorful crumb,
d. A significant lack of bread aroma, and
e. Reduced keeping quality.
2. Generally, an above-average pH concurs with excess of residual sugars
. An excess may result from an unusually short first fermentation, or from a lack of dough maturation. This excess, which occurs more rarely than a case of residual-sugar deficit, is generally evinced, all things being equal, by:
a. Excessive Maillard and caramelization reactions, which appears as an atypical crust reddening,
b. A significant decline in taste, and the crust will have a undesirable flavor combined with an overly soft texture in the mouth,
c. A significant decline in aroma,
d. A crust that often become singed, is too thin, and becomes rapidly soft after baking,
e. A considerably poor eating characteristics of the crust.
e.The presence of an appropriate measure of residual sugars in the dough loaves at the time of baking is vitally important; it helps in dough development, assists the loaves to reach a good volume, secures a lively oven spring, and contributes to the development of the crust coloration, aroma, and flavor. (End)
Considering all the above, I ask myself, "Is this the same 'dough maturation' that was referenced in Reply #1262, 1308, and 1323 of this thread?"http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg171967.html#msg171967http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg174549.html#msg174549http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg174738.html#msg174738
The above outline seems to portray professor Calvel's "dough maturation" primarily as a structural
phenomenon (involving the "gluten network" and its physical manifestations) as distinct from biochemical
phenomenon (i.e., the enzymatic and/or fermentative breakdown of the starches into simpler sugars). It is possible that he may had primarily focused on the physical/structural attributes of maturation instead of the biochemical aspects of dough maturation. I wished I had a French copy of the book to examine the original French words which the translator translated as "maturation", "dough strength", "dough development", "physical development", and "mechanical development"—all of which are intertwined with professor Calvel's conception of "dough maturation".
What I value about the book is his insistence, as latently indicated in the outline above, that formation of a good dough should not be accidental, but historical (i.e., objective-oriented), as seems to be the case with the tradition of the Neapolitan pizza
1. For more discussion on the issue of "oxidation", please see the following link: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg175605.html#msg175605
2. The technological introduction of "intensive mixing", post-WW II, has been a reversal
of the "traditional mixing". This technology, adopted and promoted by various mixer manufactoring companies, is essentially predicated on quantitative
—aspects of dough and bread (not excluding pizza) productions. In other words, time
—hence "aging", in terms of cultivation of organic edibles and even in terms of human life—is fundamentally viewed as a burden! So, we try to find ways, or technologies, to save time, especially when we think "time is money"! Therefore, the taste of our breads, and even our gastronomical sensibilities, have been negatively affected by the social maladies of modernity. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger insisted that our sense of time (which may play a definitive role in our "being") is mutating, even eroding, as technology progresses—the technology that is principally predicated on "reduction in the loss of time". As he put it, "But reduction in the loss of time is the flight of time from itself." This reduction in loss of time, in the name of business principles of "efficiency" and "effectiveness", under the banner of "supply and demand", has been partly productive of demands for mediocrity and supply of excellence in mediocrity (e.g., McDonald's and many more)!