Author Topic: Please assist with cold ferment  (Read 2910 times)

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Offline jasonr

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Please assist with cold ferment
« on: June 16, 2007, 01:49:30 PM »
My dough is ok. But I don't know. I just feel like I'm missing something, like I just can't get it right. For the past 3-4 years I have been searching for the perfect pizza, and no matter what I do, I just can't get something truly spectacular. I have begun to suspect lately that the missing piece of the puzzle is not the topping, but the dough. So I have tried experimenting with new doughs recently.

My latest experiments have been with a cold ferment. In particular, I have been using Reinhart's pizza dough recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice.Let me ask this: if you leave it in the fridge for 1 day, 2 days, or 6 days or whatever, the question is (and this may seem a stupid one) is the dough supposed to actually increase substantially in volume?

I ask because I have followed Reinhart's instructions to a tee, precisely with no variation, and my dough just stays flat as a pancake in the fridge, not rising at all (it literally spreads out like a pancake). When I have made shorter term dough using active dry yeast, I usually see the dough blow up like a big balloon, expanding to fill whatever space it has been put in. But this slow-fermented fridge-retarded dough does absolutely nothing. The only rising I see is in the 2 hour final bench proof before rolling it out, at which point it puffs a little on the bench and I see a few gas bubbles.

So what's the deal? Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong? And no, it has nothing to do with my yeast, which is perfectly good (It's a very recently opened SAF instant yeast pack that I have been storing in the freezer)


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2007, 01:59:33 PM »
Might depend on the temp of the spot in your refrigerator where you have the dough. I don't use commercial yeast, but the starter cultures I use usually stop expanding below 55-60F (although other good things are still happening). Perhaps you simply need to find a warmer part of your refrigerator, or give the yeast a kick start by keeping the dough out at room temp for a while before refrigerating.

Bill/SFNM

Offline jasonr

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2007, 03:30:59 PM »
Well ok. My fridge was set to 7/9 in coldness. Maybe it was too cold? I just put it down to 3. What would be a 9/9 on your typical consumer fridge be? I assume that 40 degrees F is optimal, right?

Maybe I need a fridge thermometer...

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2007, 03:48:32 PM »
Yes, it would be good to have a fridge thermometer. At least you would be able to locate the warmest part of the refrigerator which is where you may want to place your dough if you are looking for a cold rise. It may still be too cold. Raising the temp of the whole refrigerator may not do good things to the longevity of the other foodstuffs.


Offline Garlic head

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2007, 04:35:26 PM »
the question is (and this may seem a stupid one) is the dough supposed to actually increase substantially in volume?
jasonr,
With a cold ferment, you shouldn't expect a substantial increase in volume. It should increase some, but not double in size.
Quote
So what's the deal? Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong? And no, it has nothing to do with my yeast, which is perfectly good (It's a very recently opened SAF instant yeast pack that I have been storing in the freezer)
Are you positive the yeast is perfectly good? Have you tested it with a little water and sugar to see if it's indeed good? I would try that if you haven't already, otherwise, if you have done everything else to a "T", then maybe your fridge is set too low or you may be doing something wrong. What happens when you bake your pie? A little more info might help here.
Kevin

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2007, 04:52:11 PM »
jasonr,

I tried to find the Reinhart dough recipe you are using through an internet search and couldn't find it. Can you tell me 1) how much yeast the recipe calls for in relation to the amount of flour, 2) the type of yeast, 3) the recommended water temperature, if given, and 4) the type of machine used to make the dough? My recollection is that you live in Canada. Can you tell me the temperature in your kitchen this time of year?

Most home refrigerators in the U.S. tend to run between about 40-45° F. This is about 5-10° F lower than commercial coolers that are used to store pizza dough. So, unless you are running a few degrees above freezing, your refrigerator may not be at fault.

As Garlic head noted, cold fermented doughs often do not exhibit volume expansion that is readily perceptible. But if you had an easy way to tell, you would find that there has been an actual volume expansion. Otherwise, the dough would have to be considered dead. This would happen if the yeast is dead, or if someone forgot to add yeast to begin with. Since your dough did rise when you brought it to room temperature, it wasn't dead.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 17, 2007, 01:08:37 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline charbo

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2007, 07:21:25 PM »
If my recollection is correct, Reinhart’s pizza book recommends leaving the finished dough a half hour on the counter before refrigeration.  I think Slomon recommended 2-4 hours somewhere in this forum.  I think their recipes use IDY.

Using ADY, I have found that a minimum of one hour counter time before chilling is necessary for good crust flavor.  A cool room or an autolyse would add more time.  Before chilling, I punch down (stretch and fold).  After 24 hours in the reefer, there is obvious rise, but not a lot.

I wouldn’t raise the thermostat in the refrigerator.

Offline jasonr

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2007, 02:19:28 AM »
There is no 30 minute bench proof before you refrigerate in Reinhart's recipe; you are to refrigerate immediately after making the dough. With that recipe, you are supposed to make everything as cold as possible, which means ice water (40 degrees or lower) and he even suggests refrigerating the flour. As for the recipe, it's 20.25 OZ flour to 0.11 ounces instant yeast. Reinhart does not specify flour type, but I have tried everything from a fairly weak Italian 00 type flour all the way up to high gluten.

In terms of how my crusts bake, all I can say is they're ok. There's always some good oven spring, and the crust bakes well overall. I use a baking stone on the lowest level, pre-heated to my oven's maximum setting, which is only about 550 I think, even at broil. If I could bake at 1200, I would, but I don't think my landlord would appreciate me having an oven like that in my apartment :)

Unfortunately, my sense of taste is poor, so it's hard for me to tell you anything about the flavour of the crust. I know really good pizza crust and I know really bad crust, but that vast mediocrity in between is beyond my capacity to measure with my limited sense of taste. They say that cold fermenting is supposed to develop "flavour", but I don't really notice a difference between my cold fermented dough that's been in the fridge for 6 days versus the dough that was simply fermented over an hour or two in a warm spot before rolling out.

What I want from my dough is for it to be crispy on the outside, without being burnt or cracker-like, but just a little soft on the inside. I want the cheese to be a little on the oily side, with lots of flavour, without any rubbery texture. Basically, I want pizza like what I have eaten at my favourite Italian pizzaria in Montreal that used a wood fired oven. I even tried to  model my spice mix on what my friend told me about their spice mix, since he was an employee there.

Sadly, I just can't find anything like it. No matter what I do, my crust is always just mediocre. It's not bad, but it's not great. My toppings never come out right either. I've tried vaccum packed mozzarella with high fat and low fat, I've tried fresh buffalo mozzarella and fresh boccaccini. I've tried expensive aged cheddar and gruyere, home made tomatoe sauce and simply peeled-seeded tomatoes. I've used heirloom tomatoes and canned Italian tomatoes. I've used the best ingredients money can buy, and still, I don't know, my pizza just doesn't meet my expectations, which I guess may be too high.

Maybe great pizza just can't be done without a wood burning brick oven.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2007, 06:21:59 AM »
jasonr,

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 (Reply 117).

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, and http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4981.msg42144.html#msg42144.  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.

Peter
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 09:20:03 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline jasonr

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2007, 09:40:28 AM »
Thanks Peter! That was extremely helpful. At least I have confirmed that my dough is doing more or less what it should. In fact, yesterday I moved the dough to the front of the refrigerator to see if that would be warmer, and what do you know, between that and raising the temperature on the fridge slightly (I've brought it from a 7 to a 5) I'm seeing a little more lift in my dough. For the record, this dough is actually a Frankenstein's monster. I made some cold ferment using King Arthur High Gluten last week, had a little dough left over, and then kneaded it into this week's dough, which I made monday night using King Arthur's Italian 00 flour. I'm actually planning to eat it tonight, so we'll see what happens.

By the way, in case it changes anything, I like to keep my apartment super-cold. In the summer, when I have air conditioning, it's always in the 60-70 range. (ironically, in the winter, when I have no air conditioning, it's always 75 and sometimes 80 or 90, without heat).


Offline charbo

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2007, 04:21:32 PM »
For the record:  Peter Reinhart, American Pie, 2003.    

The first dough listed is Napoletana.  On page 108, paragraph 2, it states: “Let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.”


Offline jasonr

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2007, 06:45:23 PM »
Ahh, but I am using his recipe from the Bread Baker's Apprentice, where there is no such instruction!  :-D

Offline The Prophet

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2007, 01:22:10 PM »
For the record:  Peter Reinhart, American Pie, 2003.    

The first dough listed is Napoletana.  On page 108, paragraph 2, it states: “Let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.”



I have been using the same recipe and found that it provides the best results for me when the dough is allowed to do its 1st rise at room temp then punch the dough, cover and place in the frig over night to slow the process down. Then 2 hours prior to using I remove it from the frig and allow it to come to room temp and punch one more time after the 1st hour.

Offline Pizza_Making_Dave

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Re: Please assist with cold ferment
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2007, 02:15:14 PM »
I think that the dough recipe in "American Pie" is an updated one. The two differences I noticed were that the water temp should be about 70 degrees instead of ice cold and the use of a 15-30 minute (depends on if you put entire dough in refrigerator or ball it out first) waiting period before putting in the refrigerator. 

With that said, I follow the "American Pie" recipe and I start to notice an increase on volume around day 2 and a doubling by day 3 or 4 (typically).  I do put the dough in the front of my refrigerator as I noticed the back gets much colder.

Hope this helps...


 

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