Author Topic: Stretching dough - Cold versus Room Temp?  (Read 7857 times)

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Offline madequity

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Stretching dough - Cold versus Room Temp?
« on: November 08, 2008, 11:52:30 AM »
As a matter of practice I have always retarded my dough in the fridge overnight and up to 3 days and then let it come to room temp prior to stretching. 

I have come across a number of recipes as of late that call for stretching the dough soon after removing from the fridge e.g. while cold.

What are the pros/cons of this or is it simply a matter of preference?  I would think a cold dough is more difficult to stretch thin?

   


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Stretching dough - Cold versus Room Temp?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2008, 12:28:25 PM »
madeequity,

I think you will find that it depends on the dough recipe, including the type of flour used and the hydration and viscosity of the dough made from the recipe. For example, I have seen workers at Papa John's use cold dough balls right out of the cooler to make skins. However, PJ doughs contain a lot of oil and have low viscosity (they are soft and malleable), making it easier to work with them. But, even then, they aggressively dock the dough balls (after flattening) before stretching out to full size. This is a quite common practice at pizza chains, especially when they are being slammed or the dough is one that is not often requested, such as a whole wheat dough. The more common practice, even at places like Papa John's, is to let the dough balls warm up at room temperature for about 60-90 minutes (or whatever period their manual prescribes) before shaping and stretching. That makes opening up the dough balls easier (cold dough balls are harder to open up) and also minimizes the likelihood of large bubbles forming in the finished crust during baking. In fact, according to Tom Lehmann, the most common cause for bubbles forming in the finished crust during baking is using cold dough. Some people will intentionally work with cold doughs just to get those huge bubbles in the finished crust. But, generally speaking, most pizza operators do not like excessive bubbling in the crust. Too much bubbling can lead to a shift of the cheese and toppings on the pizza, and may also necessitate using bubble poppers to deflate the bubbles as the pizza is baking. Technically, to minimize bubbling, the dough temperature at the time of shaping and stretching should be around 55 degrees F. However, I have found that that is too cool and, hence, I use around 60-70 degrees F.

By the way, there is no need for the dough to warm up TO room temperature. They should warm up AT room temperature. There is a big difference. 

Peter

« Last Edit: November 08, 2008, 12:43:40 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline ManChicken

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Re: Stretching dough - Cold versus Room Temp?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2008, 01:59:44 AM »
Strange, I have a different almost opposite experience..

If I form the skin while the dough is cold, I wind up with a baked pizza that is very flat, dense, smooth crust with nearly no rise around the edge.  I might as well be making frozen pizza :)  I don't get large bubbles (or any bubbles at all really.)

If I let it warm up first, the crust is much better with a 'normal' edge with a little air in it, and often I do get bubbles.

???

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Stretching dough - Cold versus Room Temp?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2008, 10:27:04 AM »
ManChicken,

Using cold dough is the most common cause of bubbling in the finished crust but it is not the only one. For a more comprehensive list of causes, see Tom Lehmann's post at the PMQ Think Tank forum at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=13820#13820. To preserve that post, I have reproduced the pertinent part below:

There are a number of things that can cause bubbles during the baking of a pizza. Here is a list of them. See if something looks familiar and take the corrective action.
1) Insufficient dough fermentation. The dough should be fermented in the cooler overnight or at least 2 hours at room temperature (assuming a finished dough temperature in the 80 to 85F range).
2) Use of cold dough straight from the cooler. Allow dough balls to warm AT room temperature for about 1.5 hours before shaping, dressing and baking.
3) Most thin crust pizzas should be docked to control bubbling.
4) If you pre-make the dough skins and store them in the cooler be sure to allow them time to begin warming at room temperature (about 20 minutes) before using them.
5) Excessive yeast level. Most pizzas doughs are made with yeast levels around 1.5% as compressed yeast/0.5% as IDY/0.75% as ADY.
6) A good finished dough temperature is 80 to 85F for most pizza doughs, doughs that are colder than this may exhibit bubbling tendencies.
7) In rare cases, baking pizzas in an excessively hot oven might cause bubbling. If you are baking at oner 500F in an air impingement oven or at over 550F in a deck oven, try reducing the oven temperature by 25F to see if the bubbling can by reduced or eliminated.
Note: The number 1 cause of bubbling is a cold dough going to the oven.


To the above, I might add that for a home refrigerator application, Tom Lehmann usually recommends a finished dough temperature of 75-80 degrees F instead of 80-85 degrees F because home refrigerators generally are less efficient than commercial coolers.

Peter

 

Offline GreenEggChef

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Re: Stretching dough - Cold versus Room Temp?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2008, 03:07:04 PM »
I'm new to the forum, but have been making pizzas since about 1990. My main pie is NY style and I often bake it in my Big Green Egg ceramic cooker.

I usually freeze my dough, unless I am pressed for time...in which case I make it early in the day and cold proof it in the fridge all day. If it's frozen, I put it in the refrigerator section in the morning. About an hour before I am ready to bake, I take it out and put it on floured surface and put a towel over the top to keep it from forming a skin. I used to shape it while it was cold, but it didn't come out as thin as I like it without a lot of work.

Mike


 

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