Author Topic: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.  (Read 3464 times)

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Offline barrelli

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Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« on: September 06, 2006, 11:52:10 AM »
What do you look for to make sure your dough is not overfermented whether you are letting it rise at room temperature or in the refrigerator ? If you believe it has reached the right fermentation how do you stop fermentation? I know you can refrigerate the dough but that will only slow fermentation. Is the goal to reach the right fermentation shortly before you take the dough out to make a pizza?

Lou


Offline scott r

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Re: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2006, 12:29:30 PM »
This can take some time, but you will reach the point where you have figured out how to make your dough so that it will be done right when you want to use it.  The fastest path to this is to start by controlling your room temp to figure out exactly how much yeast you need for a certain timeframe.  You will get to the point where you will think to yourself.................. if my room temp is 70 degrees use x amount of yeast and the dough will be ready at exactly 20 hours.   Then if for some reason you want a dough in 15 hours you can increase the yeast, or if the room temp goes up to 80 degrees you will use a little less.

Also remember that a higher hydration dough will ferment a little faster, so you can adjust for that.
Remember that more salt slows the fermentation.
Higher protein flours can tolerate longer fermentation times.

All of this is why it is so hard to give someone a "recipe" for pizza dough.  It is always changing depending on environmental factors.  I know it seems like a lot to deal with, but if you practice practice practice all of this will become second nature sooner than you think.

As a starting point, for a dough batch that uses 1 liter of water and a 60% hydration I use 1/4 teaspoon of IDY and 45g of salt.  If my room temp is 67 degrees this dough is ready to use in 20 hrs.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2006, 02:29:38 PM »
Lou,

I completely agree with scott. I know I am sounding like a broken record, but to me the two most important factors governing the useful life of a dough are the amount of yeast used and the finished dough temperature. These are followed, in no particular order, by hydration, the amount of salt used, and the type of flour used. By controlling these factors, you, in effect, are "programming" the dough to produce a desired result within a particular time period. For most pizza doughs, that time period can be a few hours or up to 3 or more days. Each type and style of dough can have its own unique "program".

The amount of yeast that you use is completely within your control. You can choose to use a lot or you can choose to use a little. On the other hand, finished dough temperature is much harder to control because it is determined by several different factors, including room temperature, flour temperature, the water temperature used in making the dough, and the heat of friction imparted by the machine (mixer, processor, bread machine) to the dough during its formation.

Of the above factors, the easiest one to control is water temperature. You can make it cooler of hotter and, by doing so, control the finished dough temperature so that it falls within a desired range that is considered optimal for pizza dough for fermentation purposes. Typically, for a cold fermented dough, that range is around 80-85 degrees F when a commercial cooler is used to cool down the dough, and about 75-80 degrees F when a typical home refrigerator is used. The difference is because a home refrigerator is not as efficient as a commercial cooler in cooling down dough.

Obviously, a dough that has a given finished dough temperature will ferment faster at room temperature than in the refrigerator. For every 15 degrees F rise in the finished dough temperature, the rate of fermentation will double. That is why it is important to use the right amount of yeast for a dough that is to be fermented at room temperature. Too much yeast, even with normal room temperatures, can turbocharge the dough and it will ferment too fast and foreshorten its useful life. In some cases, that result is desirable. That is how so-called "emergency" doughs are made for use within 2-4 hours total. Those doughs rely on large amounts of yeast and warm water, usually warm enough to produce a finished dough temperature of around 90-100 degrees F. Using a small amount of yeast and cool water for a room temperature fermented dough will have the reverse effect and stretch out the fermentation period and thereby prolong the useful life of the dough.

You can also control the dough temperature while the dough is stored in the refrigerator. For example, you can use a metal container, which cools faster than other materials, and you can flatten the dough into a disk shape and put it in a plastic storage bag that has low thermal mass and will allow the dough to cool faster and not ferment as fast. You can even put dough into the freezer compartment of the refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes to cool it down before removing it to the refrigerator compartment. A dough put in the back of the refrigerator compartment is likely to cool down better than if it is placed at the front of the refrigerator where it is exposed to a rush of room temperature heat every time the refrigerator door is opened. All of these factors are relatively minor when compared to the amount of yeast used and the finished dough temperature coming out of the bowl. However, they are easy to implement and they are effective in slowing down the rate of fermentation if that is what is desired.

All else being equal, the doughs that will have the shortest useful lives will usually be those that use a lot of yeast, have high finished dough temperatures, and are fermented at room temperature. The doughs that will have the longest useful lives will usually be those that use a small amount of yeast, have low finished dough temperatures, and are cold fermented in the refrigerator. With experience, the successful pizza maker will learn how to use these principles to prepare doughs that meet their particular needs.

Peter





« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 04:46:46 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline barrelli

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Re: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2006, 02:43:58 PM »
I appreciate the advice regarding fermentation. What do you look for physically to tell you the dough has had t0o much fermentation so you can make adjustmentd the next time?

Lou

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2006, 04:16:12 PM »
Lou,

I had a sneaking suspicion that this question was coming  :). scott once asked the same question.

Different doughs will exhibit different physical signs of overfermentation, and sometimes almost none. For example, a dough using a lot of yeast and allowed to ferment at room temperature can be expected to rise at least once and sometimes even two or three times, usually with punchdowns in between. It is usually a good idea with these high-yeast types of doughs to be sure they don't rise too much too fast and to periodically test them using the "finger" test. If you can push a finger into the dough after it has just about doubled in volume and the dough doesn't spring back, then that is a sign that the dough is ready, or at least not overfermented, and can be safely used. If the depression closes (disappears), that is a sign that the dough isn't quite ready. However, if the dough peaks and then collapses and falls back on itself, that is a definite sign of overfermentation, particularly if it happens without anything disturbing the dough like a sudden shock or draft. Depending on how much yeast remains in the dough at that point, and other factors, this may not be fatal. However, it is not optimal and your results are likely to be sub-par, or possibly even worse. The finger test should also be reliable for long room-temperature fermented doughs using smaller amounts of yeast.

Some doughs, especially cold fermented doughs using small amounts of yeast, often do not rise much while under refrigeration, so using the finger test may not be all that reliable. I have made Lehmann doughs that doubled in volume while in the refrigerator but I have also made Lehmann doughs that rose hardly at all. Yet both expanded during the bench warmup time and performed well. Since I know what to expect of the Lehmann doughs under just about all circumstances, this is rarely a problem for me personally. However, I still watch the doughs for signs of overfermentation. Most often, overfermented cold fermented doughs become wet and slack and hard to shape and form. This is because of the action of enzymes such as the protease enzymes that attack gluten and soften it. At the same time, water can be released, causing the dough to be wet. It is possible for cold fermented doughs to overferment in as little as one day, but that would be unusual. Usually it will take several days, depending on the dough formulation and dough management practices used. Once overfermentation occurs, the doughs usually cannot be salvaged.

Doughs made with natural preferments also tend not to exhibit clear signs of overfermentation. These doughs typically rise by about 50% in volume, and sometimes even more, but I have made room-temperature fermented doughs using natural preferments that I thought were dead because they rose so little or almost not at all. It came to me as a big surprise when they made good pizzas. In cases like these, it will usually take experience and experimentation with the particular dough formulation and the particular preferments used to know when the doughs are ready and have not overfermented. But, when they do overferment, they tend to exhibit the same signs as discussed above, that is, a wet and slack dough. But, even here, looks can sometimes be deceiving. I have had doughs that you could almost pour out of their containers yet they worked. I think you will find that the folks that are most successful with doughs leavened with natural preferments have a fairly strict regimen that they follow in making such doughs. This will usually preempt any need to look for signs of overfermentation.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 09, 2006, 09:12:05 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2006, 04:52:49 PM »
After posting my last reply, I did a search for the thread in which scott r asked about some of the same questions as Lou. It is at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1299.msg11727.html#msg11727. I had forgotten that member DINKS also responded to the question, but, as usual, his advice is instructional.

Peter

Offline scott r

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Re: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2006, 03:07:45 PM »
Peter,  you are bringing back memories of pies that tasted like vinegar and others that were like chewing leather.  Thank god those days are over.

I thought I would never be able to make a pie as good as my favorite pizzerias, and I am still amazed at how easy it was to get past that with all the information provided.  Long live PIZZAMAKING.COM!!!!

Offline Jack

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Re: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2006, 04:17:02 PM »
Been there, done that, with the pourable dough. 

Before I found PM.com I tried freezing one dough ball to see if it would work.  Next pizza making opportunity used it as my first skin.  When it defrosted, I could almost pour it into place.  It was hugely wet and sticky, with no life in it at all.   Once it came out of the oven, aside from being a little flat, it was fine. 

It had a 3 day retard, then frozen, plus 12 hours on the counter defrosting.  Weird consistency.

Jack

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Steps to take so your dough is not overfermented.
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2006, 05:14:31 PM »
Jack,

I remember member Canadave having a similar problem with a frozen dough, and his discussion of it at this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,484.msg4144.html#msg4144. I took a stab at explaining the problem at Reply 8, which was one of my earliest posts on the forum, before I officially joined.

Peter