This is a semantic point but I believe you mean “ferment” rather than “proof” for the initial rise of the dough (in your case, the 3-4 hour period). In bread baker’s parlance, the one-hour rise after shaping and before cold fermenting the dough should qualify as “proofing”. Most pizza makers use the term “proof” for the final rise before dressing and baking a pizza, whether on a work surface (or screen or disk) or in a pan (e.g., deep-dish). I looked at the Reinhart sourdough recipe (at pages 127-127 of his book American Pie
), and I notice that he astutely avoids using the terms ferment and proof. Instead, he talks about letting the dough sit for specific periods of time.
As for the question as to why Peter Reinhart lets his dough ferment and proof so long, my advice is to ask him yourself, as by sending him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Several members have done this sort of thing before (me included) and he always seems to reply, especially if the questions have to do with his books and recipes.
I looked at the Reinhart sourdough recipe you mentioned, and using the information provided in the appendix to Ed Wood’s book Classic Sourdough
, specifically, that one cup of starter weighs about 9 ounces, I estimate that the Reinhart recipe uses about 50% starter (by weight of flour). That amount of starter, especially if it is a highly active starter, should allow the dough to ferment and rise fairly quickly at room temperature. This would be fairly typical of the method often used for making a naturally-leavened bread dough. The one-hour proof before cold fermenting would likewise be fairly typical. That may be the reason why Peter Reinhart, whose background is in bread baking, uses this particular two-step method before cold fermenting the dough. Nancy Silverton, in her book, Breads from the La Brea Bakery
, uses the identical steps for making a basic bread dough. She even uses the same ferment/proof periods.
I’d be somewhat surprised if the reason for using a different approach for IDY is the need to give a starter a head start. If the starter is highly active, and in the amounts used in the Reinhart recipe you mentioned, the dough should rise fairly quickly. In some cases, it might rise even faster than when IDY is used (of course, this depends on the amount of IDY used). I looked at all of the Reinhart dough recipes in American Pie
calling for IDY, and his treatment of that form of yeast is consistent with the methods used by professionals for the particular pizza styles that Reinhart covers in his book.
BTW, it should be possible to convert the Reinhart sourdough recipe so that it can be used with the preferment dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html
. To do this, you would have to decide on the total hydration for the formula dough (Reinhart specifies between 60-75%) and you would need to know the percent of water in the starter. For high-gluten flour or bread flour, around 63% would seem to be a good starting point for total formula hydration. The baker’s percents for the remaining ingredients (salt, honey/sugar and oil) are easily calculated.
I’d love to hear Peter’s response if you decide to pose your questions to him.