Author Topic: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?  (Read 3084 times)

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Offline mkevenson

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Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« on: February 11, 2013, 03:56:55 PM »
I am a bit confused as to the process and benefit of bulk fermentation. I generally mix and knead my dough in my Bosch compact mixer on speed #2 for 5 min. Following this I hand knead a few times but the basic kneading has already been done in the mixer. So if I were to bulk ferment I assume that I would start after the kneading but no balling of the dough. Is that correct? What is the advantage of bulk fermenting when the kneading is all done. Perhaps I am missing something ???.

Mark
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Offline GuzziJason

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 04:33:13 PM »
Mark, what do you normally do after your finish kneading? Do you divide the dough and proceed straight to making pizzas with it?

I think the question you may need to have answered first is simply, "What is the advantage of bulk fermenting when the kneading is all done?" Bulk fermentation just means fermenting before dividing the dough into individual balls. You can also (as I do) divide the dough after kneading, and then ferment it. The net results are similar, if not the same.

So, the big question is, why ferment after kneading? The short answer is, to develop better flavor in the dough. Whether you do this in bulk, or as individual balls doesn't matter so much, unless perhaps you are a higher-volume commercial shop.

Does that help, or am I misunderstanding your question?

__Jason

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 04:36:07 PM »
One advantage is the mass effect. A larger volume of dough will ferment faster and more efficiently than a smaller one.

John

Offline adletson

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 04:48:28 PM »
I look forward to hearing more answers to this question as I've wondered the same thing.

What about a larger dough makes it ferment more efficiently?  That's interesting.

Offline GuzziJason

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 05:00:56 PM »
Well, for one thing, if you are fermenting in a refrigerator, the mass of bulk dough will take longer to cool down, causing it to ferment faster. I too am curious if there are other effects of keeping it bulk.

I misspoke a bit in my earlier post - I actually do a bulk room-temp rise after kneading, and then divide and put int he fridge for the long ferment. I haven't yet decided if this has any real advantage over simply going straight from kneading to balling, other than perhaps speeding up the total fermentation time of the dough.

__Jason

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Bulk fermentation and kneading?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 05:12:59 PM »
From a practical standpoint, in a commercial setting with a multiple day fermentation schedule, it greatly reduces the amount of space and dough trays required if you have one days worth of dough in bulk.

With respect to the dough itself, yeast can't move much inside a dough. They pretty much have to stay in the same place and are limited to the food near them and limited by the accumulation of waste they can't get away from. If you do a meaningful amount of your fermentation in bulk and then ball for the final rise, you rearrange the mix. Yeast move away from their waste and to new food. They get re-energized.

Also, if you want a multiple day ferment but don't want really slack balls, you can do a longer bulk and less time in balls.

The shorter your total fermentation, the less benefit to bulk. I don't know where the cutoff is - something less than 24 hours total fermentation I would think?
Pizza is not bread.

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2013, 05:42:24 PM »
Mark, what do you normally do after your finish kneading? Do you divide the dough and proceed straight to making pizzas with it?

I think the question you may need to have answered first is simply, "What is the advantage of bulk fermenting when the kneading is all done?" Bulk fermentation just means fermenting before dividing the dough into individual balls. You can also (as I do) divide the dough after kneading, and then ferment it. The net results are similar, if not the same.

So, the big question is, why ferment after kneading? The short answer is, to develop better flavor in the dough. Whether you do this in bulk, or as individual balls doesn't matter so much, unless perhaps you are a higher-volume commercial shop.

Does that help, or am I misunderstanding your question?

__Jason

I normally make one dough ball at a time for one pizza. I put in a container and in the fridge for 64-72 hrs.Followed by 2 hrs at room temp then form the pie. If I am making 2 or 3 dough balls I divide and weigh and the put in the fridge, each ball in it's own container for 64-72 hrs .

Mark
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Offline bfguilford

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2013, 05:47:06 PM »
I have also wondered how much "bulk" you need before you get the benefits of the bulk ferment. My normal dough is around 950g, which I then separate into 2x425g balls for NY pies.

Barry
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Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Bulk fermentation and kneading?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2013, 05:51:13 PM »
I don't know where the cutoff is - something less than 24 hours total fermentation I would think?

In bread making, bulk is pretty much standard for any length of fermentation (I do loaves in 8 hours total). Now that may be due to what you stated earlier - commercial workflow/storage, and it just became standard practice.

John

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 05:56:33 PM »
Ah - I remember why bulk is used in bread making: it is so stretch and folds can be done easily. You would not want to work every single ball. Also, and of less importance, there is less surface area exposed to oxygen. Yeast want to do their thing in an anaerobic state.

So in theory, really, the bulk stage may only apply if you need to manipulate the dough in some way during fermentation and you have a large amount of dough, from a purely home-baker point of view.

John


scott123

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 06:04:50 PM »
As Craig pointed out, space is almost always a premium in pizzerias, especially walk-in/refrigeration space.  A pizzeria might have space for one day's worth of balled trayed dough, but not two.  With a bulk, they can have two days of fermentation.

Bulks (and mid-fermentation re-balls) have a positive effect on oven spring:

the effects of bulk fermentation on a basic dough

I used to subscribe to the yeast/food re-distribution concept that Craig described, but, now, I'm not sure if that's where the improved oven spring comes from.  It's proven, without a doubt, that when you punch dough down, the yeast will have access to new nutrients, and this new access will spur on greater activity.  But faster acting yeast that reach their target CO2 output in a given time, are, to me, no different than slower acting, nutrient deprived yeast that create the same volume in a longer time frame.

Rather than focus on how much CO2 is generated and how fast it's being generated, I think the real cause for improved oven spring via bulking/re-balling is gluten extensibility.  Long fermentation produces gluten by water absorption as well as the extremely slow movement of the dough rising, but, it's all slow enough for the dough to relax considerably.  A bulk or a re-ball takes relaxed gluten and extends it further. This extension gives it even greater gas trapping capabilities.

At least, that's my theory.  There may be other things going on and/or it might be a combination of things, but, between nutrient re-distribution and gluten extension, I strong feel that gluten extension is doing most of the heavy lifting in the oven spring department.

scott123

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2013, 06:53:35 PM »
I have also wondered how much "bulk" you need before you get the benefits of the bulk ferment. My normal dough is around 950g, which I then separate into 2x425g balls for NY pies.

Barry

Barry, it depends on how you define 'benefits.'  The 'mass effect' that John spoke about- for the home baker, with time on their hands, who's looking for the most flavorful crust, this effect (a faster ferment) isn't really much of a benefit.  If you were in a hurry and, for whatever reason, wanted the dough to ferment as quickly as possible (while knowingly sacrificing flavor) without exposing the dough to warmer temps, then a bulk would be beneficial towards that end. In that context, a two ball bulk wouldn't provide much mass and wouldn't trim much time off the clock. I don't think that too many people here think faster doughs are better doughs, though.

For the home baker, with plenty of space to work with, the mass effect is more something to be aware of, and possibly correct for, than a benefit.  "I'm bulk fermenting, it's going to ferment faster, so I need so I need to take steps (such as dialing back the yeast), if I want the same fermentation time/flavor by-products as the non bulked version of this dough."

If you define 'benefits' as the oven spring benefits from a bulk, though, then you'll still get them with a 2 ball bulk.  The 'mass effect' only impacts yeast activity rate, not the bulk/oven spring benefit.  From an oven spring benefit perspective, bulks are beneficial, regardless of the number of balls being bulked. Now, if you wanted to ball up the dough immediately and then re-ball it later, you'd get the same benefit.  It's not the mass effect that produces the improved oven spring, but the act of later/post gluten relaxation balling/re-balling that gives you better oven spring.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 06:57:15 PM by scott123 »

Offline adletson

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 09:13:43 AM »
Man there is so much good stuff to learn here.

So, if I'm understanding correctly, there is no arbitrary benefit to bulk fermentation, but rather a convenience factor in being able to work with the dough in one mass rather than many smaller ones?  Is that the consensus?  I have always done a bulk ferment for bread, but have never done one for pizza now that I think of it.  I guess that was what the instructions said and I didn't question it.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2013, 10:09:32 AM »
I used to subscribe to the yeast/food re-distribution concept that Craig described, but, now, I'm not sure if that's where the improved oven spring comes from.  It's proven, without a doubt, that when you punch dough down, the yeast will have access to new nutrients, and this new access will spur on greater activity.  But faster acting yeast that reach their target CO2 output in a given time, are, to me, no different than slower acting, nutrient deprived yeast that create the same volume in a longer time frame.

To be clear, I was not suggesting that redistribution improves oven spring - only that it is beneficial to the yeast.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 10:10:11 AM »
Man there is so much good stuff to learn here.

So, if I'm understanding correctly, there is no arbitrary benefit to bulk fermentation, but rather a convenience factor in being able to work with the dough in one mass rather than many smaller ones?  Is that the consensus?  I have always done a bulk ferment for bread, but have never done one for pizza now that I think of it.  I guess that was what the instructions said and I didn't question it.

adletson,

There is a big difference between using the bulk ferment approach for a cold fermentation application as opposed to an ambient temperature fermentation. If you are talking about a commercial cold fermentation application, the method used by almost all professionals is do to the division and scaling up front and then go directly to the cooler. On rare occasion, a professional pizza operator might be forced to use the bulk fermentation method and do the division and scaling later, but in almost all cases it is because of limited storage space. In a home setting, you are likely to find both approaches used, and if you do some searching you can find threads that are related to using the "bulk up front, divide later" approach. Member fazzari (John) has written extensively on this approach in the context of a cold fermentation application. Member essen1 (Mike) also uses that method quite regularly and has written about his results from using that method.

As background, you might also take a look at Reply 13 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19620.msg192396/topicseen.html#msg192396, where I tried to sort out some of the above issues.

In Mark's case, he is talking about a cold fermentation application and in a home setting. Therefore, he has the option of using either the "bulk up front, divide later" approach or simply using the standard up front division and scaling of his dough and going directly to his refrigerator. In either case, he can do some manipulation of the dough balls at a later point in time but he has to be careful as not to overdo the handling so that he doesn't end up with dough balls that are hard to open and form into skins. I tend to agree with scott123 as to his benefits analysis. Unless there is a benefit to doing the "bulk up front, divide later" approach (e.g., to get better gluten strength or better oven spring, etc.), or unless there is a storage space issue, in both cases in the context of a cold fermentation application, I don't see any real merit in using the "bulk up front, divide later" approach.

It's an entirely different story when you start talking about dough that is fermented in bulk at ambient temperature and then divided and scaled later. There are legitimate reasons for doing so, especially in the context of Neapolitan style doughs, that are in no way related to storage space issues or concerns. Even outside of the Neapolitan style, there are legitimate reasons and purposes in using a bulk up front and divide later approach in an ambient temperature environment.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 10:32:46 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2013, 11:17:02 AM »
adletson,

It's an entirely different story when you start talking about dough that is fermented in bulk at ambient temperature and then divided and scaled later.

Peter

Peter et al. Thank's so much for the info presented here and elsewhere. In regards to "ambient" temp fermentation. I remember reading a post here where the poster, can't remember if it was Craig or Scott, does not use a refrigerator but instead uses "ambient temps as long as the temp stays in the mid 60s F. Hence in summer or a home where the ambient room temp is closer to 70 F. an ice box was used with a small container of ice to keep the constant fermentation box temp at 62-67 F. Is this temp regulation also considered "ambient temp? or is ambient temp whatever the temp happens to be in your room?

Mark
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2013, 01:23:22 PM »
Mark,

By "ambient temperature", I mean the surrounding temperature. For most people that is room temperature or even the outdoor temperature (like what Norma experiences at market). But, I treat the term to cover the temperature to which, in our example, a dough is exposed. That might even be in a temperature controlled unit.

Several years ago, Marco told us that the optimum fermentation temperature for a Neapolitan dough is 18-20 degrees C, or 64.4-68 degrees F. So, if the room temperature is in that range, the results should be highly acceptable. However, as you can see from the weather data for Naples, Italy, at http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/ITXX0052, seasonal changes can result in temperature changes over the course of a year that are outside of the ideal range. In those cases, and assuming that the pizzaioli in Naples cannot find rooms or places inside their buildings that are close to the ideal fermentation temperatures, the pizzaioli make changes to the way they make their dough so that the results are essentially the same and the dough balls are ready to be used at their normal times. They do this by changing the hydration of their doughs (since the water quantity is fixed, they increase or decrease the amount of flour instead), or they increase or decrease the water temperature, or they use more or less yeast (including natural cultures), or they use more or less salt. Sometimes, combinations of these measures are used. It can take years to be able to master these kinds of changes.

Some of our members have equipment, either commercially available or home-made, that have temperatures that can be controlled to be within the ideal range. That is far easier than trying to use measures such as described above. Most members do not have such equipment, and that is the main reason why they often get inconsistent results and come back to the forum asking what went wrong and how to fix it. Often they will compound matters by freelancing in what they did with their doughs due to scheduling changes or other intervening factors that threw off everything that they did. They are some of the hardest cases to solve, even with the many skilled members we have in the Neapolitan style.

Peter

Offline derricktung

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2013, 09:16:38 AM »
Drudging up a somewhat old thread for some opinions...

Our first market is Saturday, and due to time/money constraints of renting kitchen space, I'm deviating significantly from my standard process of

1.  Mix dough
2.  Bulk cold ferment for 72+ hours
3.  Room temp for 1 hour
4.  Ball and ambient temp ferment for 2 hours

to

1.  Mix dough
2.  Bulk ferment for 30 minutes
3.  Ball and cold ferment for 48+ hours
4.1.  Transport dough boxes at ambient temperature to market
4.2.  Attempt to control ambient temp if the weather is too hot (Cooling bag with ice sheets) before serving.

Any thoughts on what I should expect in terms of difference in spring/workability of the dough? 

Btw, I almost missed my train this morning to work thanks to all the reading I was doing on the benefits of bulk fermentation on this forum... this forum is a great source of knowledge!  I just have to learn to manage my time and watch the clock better...  :-D
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 11:47:22 AM by derricktung »

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2013, 09:45:33 AM »
M;
In bulk fermentation the dough can ferment more efficiently due to heat of metabolism. As the yeast metabolizes nutrient it generated heat at about 1F per hour, this heating of the dough is conducive to faster, more efficient fermentation. When the dough is fermented in smaller size balls in the cooler/fridge, the smaller mass of the dough ball allows for faster, more efficient cooling of the dough. This is beneficial if the intent is to have the dough last for several days as opposed to just a single day as can be the case in bulk fermentation. There are also different flavors developed due to the differences in acids produced during warm (bulk) fermentation and cold (dough balls in the fridge) fermentation. In all cases, the fermentation period also sets the stage for enzymes and bacteria contained within the yeast to begin doing their work. Protease enzymes work on the flour proteins to give a softer, more extensible dough after fermentation; amylase enzymes convert a portion of the starch in the flour to sugars that can be metabolized by the yeast and the bacteria (Lactobacillus) is responsible for developing the unique flavors that we associate with fermented bread flavor. Additionally, the effects of the protease enzyme, and acids formed during fermentation work to reduce/weaken the flour proteins for improved dough extensibility and flavor. A major component of flavor as we know it is a result of protein denaturization during the baking process. The proteins that are exposed to the protease and acids are more readily denatured during baking, and hence impact the finished flavor of the baked crust. These same effects take place when a cold fermentation process is used, but they take place at a much slower rate allowing the dough to be used over a several day period of time. This is just a very brief sketch of the differences in fermentation, there have been whole books written on the topic that you can check out from a local library if you really want to learn the nitty-gritty of yeast fermentation.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline derricktung

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Re: Bulk fermentaion and kneading?
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2013, 10:10:34 AM »
Thanks Tom! 

I'll be curious how different my texture/taste will be with the new process... I'm guessing without a side by side comparison (for customers or myself), I won't be able to taste a huge difference... though I've been eating plenty of pizza, so I could easily be mistaken.



 

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