In contrast to my previous post in Reply #1262 of this thread, I have come across an interesting article, which is written in Italian and is partly entitled "Maturazione e Lievitazione". According to an online Italian-English dictionary, the word maturazione
is a noun, meaning "maturation", "ripening", or "physical, qualitative transformation(s) through aging". And, the word lievitazione
is a noun, meaning "leavening" or "rising". Since the verb "to leaven" is a derivative of the the Latin verb levare
, meaning "to lift" or "to levitate", I will use the terms "leavening1
" and "levitation" interchangeably in this post. Moreover, according to the dictionary, the English noun "levitation" translates to "lievitazione" in Italian. Below are the links to my aforementioned post and the Italian article respectively:http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg171967.html#msg171967http://www.scattidigusto.it/2011/12/15/lezioni-di-pizza-come-fare-bene-maturazione-e-lievitazione/
In my post, I stated:
". . . 'Maturation' of Neapolitan dough is significative of a point in time whereby the starch (i.e., complex carbo-hydrates) and protein (e.g., gluten) molecules of dough have been broken down—as a consequence of the enzymatic and fermentative processes—into simpler molecules, which contribute to the flavor, soft and fluffy texture, and digestion of the end product.
In this sense, maturation is an offspring
of the enzymatic and fermentative transformations."
In contrast, the article, if I correctly understand it, appears to make a clear distinction between the process of dough "maturation" and the process of dough "leavening". (The article seems to view the leavening of dough as a direct consequence or effect of dough fermentation, not vice versa). In other words, within the context of the article, the author (Sig. Carlo Labate, who is a pizza consultant), unlike me, seems to limit maturation only to the enzymatic—not fermentative—transformations [brought about by the operations of amylase and protease enzymes]. The author, as far as I can tell, does not consider the yeasts' [and bacteria's] activities partaking in the process of maturation. In other words, dough maturation (which provides fuel for fermentation) can occur in absence of yeast cells. Although they are undeniably two distinct processes, my post propounds fermentation concomitant
with maturation—inasmuch as the former also substantially contributes to the ongoing simplification
of complex carbohydrates and proteins. I find the author's conceptual analysis meritorious.§1. Dough Maturation
In regard to dough maturation, the article relates:
"We have seen how the mechanical energy used during kneading creates a complex protein structure, the gluten, which is the real skeleton of our pizza. At this point, however, the dough is not yet ready to be used. Before that can happen, there should be two things: the rise [or 'lievitazione', as used by the author] and maturation [or 'maturazione', as used by the author], and this requires a fundamental ingredient, time. . . . The maturation
[as distinct from leavening] is . . . a set of processes that go in the reverse direction of what happens during kneading, that is, the more complex structures, proteins, starches and fats, are broken down progressively into simpler elements. These processes weaken the structure of the dough making it less tenacious, more extensible, easier to digest and also create the fuel for the yeast. In particular the latter [i.e., the maturation processes] need to simplify sugars for metabolism that are created just as a result of the breakdown of starch." (Translated by Google Translate and partly refined by my careful efforts.)
The original text in Italian:§2. Dough Fermentation and Levitation
"Abbiamo visto come l’energia meccanica utilizzata durante l’impastamento crei una struttura proteica complessa, il glutine, che costituisce il vero e proprio scheletro della nostra pizza. A questo punto però l’impasto non è ancora pronto ad essere utilizzato. Prima che ciò possa avvenire devono accadere due cose: la lievitazione e la maturazione e per questo serve un ingrediente fondamentale, il tempo. . . . La maturazione invece è un insieme di processi che vanno nella direzione inversa di quello che succede durante l’impastamento, ossia le strutture più complesse, proteine, amidi e grassi, vengono scomposti progressivamente in elementi più semplici. Questi processi indeboliscono la struttura dell’impasto rendendolo meno tenace, più estensibile, più facilmente digeribile e creano inoltre il carburante per i lieviti. In particolare questi ultimi hanno bisogno di zuccheri semplici per il proprio metabolismo che si vengono a creare proprio come effetto della decomposizione degli amidi."
In respect to dough fermentation and levitation, the article imparts:
[or 'lievitazione', as used by the author] is meant the increase in volume of the dough caused
by the fermentative [or 'fermentativa', as used by the author] action of the yeast that produces carbon dioxide which remains trapped in the gluten structure. . . . It is important to understand that these two processes [i.e., maturation and leavening] do not occur within the same timeframes
and depend, among other factors, on the flour used and the temperature at which the dough is placed. If we use strong flour
(such as Marino flour), the aging processes
[or 'i processi di maturazione', as used by the author] will need more time for their activities
, in which case it is useful to put the dough in the refrigerator2
because cold temperatures slows the activity of the yeast [hence, the activity of leavening] but do not stop the maturation
. Using the right flour can make the dough in the refrigerator for 48 or 72 hours
. Using weaker flour
(for example, the Caputo), a maturation at ambient temperature for 8 or 12
hours may be more than adequate3
. The dose of the yeast must be measured based on the duration of this period and the ambient temperature. The higher the outside temperature, more rapid will be the fermentative action of yeast." (Translated by Google Translate and partly refined by my careful efforts. Italics are added for emphasis.)
The original text in Italian:
"Con lievitazione si intenda l’aumento di volume dell’impasto provocato dall’azione fermentativa del lievito che produce anidride carbonica che rimane intrappolata nella struttura del glutine. . . . E' importante capire che questi due processi non avvengono con gli stessi tempi e dipendono, tra le altre cose, dalla farina utilizzata e dalla temperatura a cui viene posto l’impasto. Se utilizziamo farine forti (ad esempio le farine Marino) i processi di maturazione avranno bisogno di più tempo per la loro attività; in questo caso è utile mettere l’impasto in frigorifero in quanto le basse temperature rallentano l’attività del lievito ma non fermano la maturazione. Utilizzando le giuste farine si può far riposare l’impasto in frigorifero per 48 o 72 ore. Utilizzando farine più deboli (ad esempio la Caputo) una maturazione a temperatura ambiente di 8 o 12 ore può essere più che adeguata. La dose del lievito dovrà essere graduata in base alla durata di questo periodo e della temperatura ambiente. Più alta sarà la temperatura esterna e più accelerata risulterà l’azione fermentativa del lievito."
Below is a translation of the entire
article as it appears in the website:
"We have seen how the mechanical energy used during kneading creates a complex protein structure, the gluten, which is the real skeleton of our pizza.
At this point, however, the dough is not yet ready to be used. Before that can happen, there should be two things: the rise and maturation, and this requires a fundamental ingredient, time.
By leavening is meant the increase in volume of the dough caused by the fermentative action of the yeast that produces carbon dioxide which remains trapped in the gluten structure. The maturation is instead a set of processes that go in the reverse direction of what happens during kneading, that is, the more complex structures, proteins, starches and fats, are broken down progressively into simpler elements.
These processes weaken the structure of the dough making it less tenacious, more extensible, easier to digest and also create the fuel for the yeast. In particular the latter needs to simplify sugars for metabolism that are created just as a result of the breakdown of starch.
It is important to understand that these two processes do not occur within the same timeframes and depend, among other factors, on the flour used and the temperature at which the dough is placed.
If we use strong flour (such as Marino flour), the aging processes will need more time for their activities, in which case it is useful to put the dough in the refrigerator because cold temperatures slows the activity of the yeast but do not stop the maturation. Using the right flour can make the dough in the refrigerator for 48 or 72 hours.
Using weaker flour (for example, the Caputo), a maturation at ambient temperature for 8 or 12 hours may be more than adequate. The dose of the yeast must be measured based on the duration of this period and the ambient temperature. The higher the outside temperature, more rapid will be the fermentative action of yeast.
The period from the end of kneading to the drafting of dough discs is divided into two phases, labeled as the epi-sode [in Italian 'puntata', which is commonly referred to as the 'first or bulk fermentation' in this forum] and finish [in Italian 'appretto', which is commonly referred to as the 'second or balled fermentation' in this forum].
The puntata is the stage where all the dough is left in a compact mass, after which it will be cut/shaped [in Italian 'staglio' (or staglio a mano, 'hand-shaping')], i.e. the forming of individual loaves (or balls, or 'panielli'). The timing of these two phases can be modulated according to various criteria, and there are several possible choices in this regard.
Personally I prefer to make a puntata rather long period followed by an appretto of 3-4 hours. This is particularly useful if you use the fridge, because you need less space if you leave the whole mass of dough together.
Forming dough balls is a delicate operation because of having to manipulate the dough, again applying mechanical energy [by hand-shaping dough balls] and re-strengthening the gluten which had become relaxed during maturation [or during the first/bulk fermentation]. And the greater energy used, the more the gluten will be strengthened. The period of appretto just serves to allow the gluten to relax again, so should be much longer than the greater was the manipulation during the formation of dough balls.
During the puntata, cover the dough in the bowl of the mixer with a clean damp cloth, making sure that it never comes into direct contact with the mixture. For the appretto, the ideal would be to have the special plastic dough trays, which are found both on the internet and in many stores."
(Translated by Google Translate and partly refined by my careful efforts.)
Below are links to other articles in the series by the author:
If I were asked to reformulate my conception of dough maturation in an effort to harmonize it with the author's, I would stipulate: "Dough maturation is effectuated as a result of enzymatic processes, involving enzymes such as amylase and protease, wherein complex starches and proteins of dough are gradually broken down into simpler elements under the proper range of temperatures and length of time—without the aid of fermentation, which concurrently occurs anyway in a yeasted dough, however faster or slower than the maturation! From a molecular standpoint, the maturative processes convert the starches into simpler sugars that are more digestible to our metabolism (and have more identifiable flavors to our taste buds). Also, from a structural standpoint, these processes weaken the dough skeleton (i.e., the supporting gluten structure), making it more relaxed, extensible, and digestible." All in all, I personally prefer to view the "fermentative processes" contemporaneous
to, and interdependent
on the "enzymatic processes" in effectuating dough maturation. After all, the cardinal point is the breakdown
of the starch and protein contents of dough (up to a point or "point of maturation4
being baked into pizzas.
1. Rightly or wrongly, I feel there are popular and unreconciled ambiguities associated with the concept "leavening", especially when it is used concomitantly with the concept "fermentation". Just as smoke is a manifestation of fire-burning, I likewise construe
leavening (hence dough levitation or rising) as an observable manifestation of the biological process known as fermentation. I acknowledge that this interpretation—leavening as a physical symptom of dough fermentation
—might not be accurate.
2. My employment of initial short fermentation (cf. "puntata") of dough mass followed by long fermentation (cf. "appretto") of the resultant dough balls
, as discussed in the posts appearing below, is supposed to be a shortcut accomplishing the same result without the use of refrigeration (or even without the use of my marble chambers by attuning the percentages for hydration, salt, and/or starter culture or fresh yeast to the anticipated room temperature, and stretching or shortening the time accordingly). According to my repeated experiments, I believe that the early formation of dough balls after the "initial short fermentation of dough mass" slows down the fermentative reactions and, therefore, provides more time for the maturation to take place. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg165901.html#msg165901http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg172280.html#msg172280http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg172531.html#msg172531http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg172992.html#msg172992
3. If by "Caputo" the author means "Caputo '00' Pizzeria" flour, it is debatable that maturation at ambient temperature for 8 or 12 hours is more than adequate. Of course, please note that the author qualified his statement by using the modal verb "may".
4. Cf. "point of pasta". "Point of maturation" can be deemed as a point in opposite direction to "point of pasta".