Based on the information you have provided, you will end up with a dough with a finished dough temperature that is much lower than normal. Your yeast level is fine (around 0.54%) but if you are using water at around 40° F, flour that is refrigerated (especially if you use it directly out of the refrigerator without letting it warm up), and you are either hand kneading or using a standard home stand mixer, and you are still in your Toronto apartment with a room temperature in the range of around 70-80° F (as you have indicated in prior posts in another thread), the finished dough temperature by my estimation is likely to be below 60° F. If you are not refrigerating the flour, the finished dough temperature is likely to be in the mid-60° F range. There is nothing per se
wrong with a finished dough temperature that is as low as indicated above, as you will see from the discussion below, but what it does mean is that are not likely to get much volume expansion in your dough.
I know full well what you are experiencing with your dough in terms of volume expansion. I have made countless cold fermented doughs, where my objective was to make dough balls that would last well over a week while in the refrigerator. The way I have done this is to use cold water right out of the refrigerator (I have even used ice cubes to lower the water temperature even more), use small quantities of yeast (around 0.25% is fairly typical), line up all the ingredients in advance and work fast while making the dough such that there is minimal heat increase in the dough during its preparation, put the finished dough into a lidded metal container (I sometimes even pre-cool the container) and put that container as soon as possible into the refrigerator, and put the container in the back corner of my refrigerator compartment where it is the coldest and away from blasts of warm air whenever someone opens and closes the refrigerator door. In my refrigerator, that temperature is just under 40° F.
During its stay in the refrigerator, the cold fermented dough typically goes through several transformations, much like I suspect you have witnessed with your own dough. In my case, a typical dough starts as a roughly round ball, and after a few days it starts to slouch and slump. A few days more, the dough starts to look like a disk or pancake, becoming flatter with each passing day. To the eye, it may not appear that the dough has risen, but it has. It just isn’t always perceptible, especially if the dough is in a large or unbounded container, such as a storage bag.
Using the above methods, and depending on when yeast is introduced into the doughs, I have been able to cold ferment doughs for up to 23 days and make pizzas using the doughs, with crust flavors that have been quite pronounced and with good crust coloration and textures that are as good as any I have made using commercial yeast. I don’t suggest making pizzas using 23-day old doughs (the crust flavors are quite funky) but I have found that doughs aged 7-15 days can yield crust flavors that in my opinion are very good and, in some cases, exceptional. Like you, I don’t have the best tastebuds (or nose), so I always welcome crust flavors that jump out at me, yet are pleasing. The only way that I have been able to get something comparable without long fermentation times is to use natural preferments/starters and long, room temperature fermentations.
If you peruse the following thread, including the photos, starting at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg33251.html#msg33251,
I think you will get a real education on dough and yeast performance under conditions of long, cold fermentation. I don’t think I have done any work from which I have learned as much about yeast and long, cold fermentation as I have from the experiments I described in the above referenced thread. If I were to single out a couple of posts for you to consider, especially in light of your quest for better crust flavors, color and texture without using natural starters/preferments, it would be these: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg36081.html#msg36081
(Reply 29), and http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg40092.html#msg40092
(Reply 57). If you want to see what a 23-day old dough and resulting pizza look like, see http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg42556.html#msg42556
I can’t promise you that you will achieve results using the dough formulations and methods described in the abovereferenced thread that will match what you can get from your favorite pizza establishment, but I think it may be worth at least a try to see if you can improve upon the results you are now getting at home. I realize that being in Canada, you may have some difficulty in obtaining the King Arthur high-gluten flour that I normally use, but bread flour can be substituted for that flour. Also, if you have the Five Roses flour available to you, it should be possible for you to use that flour, as one of our other Canadian members, turbosundance, has done, apparently with good results, as noted in these threads: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4904.0.html,
In one case, turbosundance supplemented the Five Roses flour with vital wheat gluten to increase its protein content to levels associated with high-gluten flours. If this possibility is of interest to you, there is also a tool developed by another member, November, that can be used to determine the respective amounts of flour and vital wheat gluten to use. That tool is available at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/
(see the Mixed Mass Percentage Calculator on the right-hand side).
I usually don’t recommend pizza sauces to others because I have found them to be intensely personal, much more so than crusts and cheeses in my opinion. However, you might want to consider the November #2 sauce as described here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3735.msg32136.html#msg32136
(Reply 7, but see also related Replies 4-6 and the replies following Reply 7). November #2 sauce is a very flavorful sauce, which may appeal to you in light of what you have said about your sense of taste.
I think I have given you enough for now to chew on. Whatever you choose to do, good luck.