Omid, wonderful as always! I always get inspired with your work!
With the direct method, do you think that the dough has a longer window of usability compared to the indirect method? I am just referring to the optimum window where the dough has not exhibited any deterioration from effects of over fermentation or where the dough has exhibited enough signs of fermentation to be ready for baking.
Dear Marlon, thank you! According to my experience, the "direct method" of managing dough fermentation (i.e., initial short fermentation of dough mass followed by long fermentation of sequent dough balls) does provide a longer shelf-life or window of usability (by about 24 hours or more if carefully implemented
) in contrast to the "indirect method" (i.e., initial long fermentation of dough mass followed by short fermentation of ensuant dough balls)—as long as the ambient temperature is aptly monitored and controlled
, not excluding the cautious use of hydration, salt, and fresh yeast/culture percentages in preparing dough. And, a mixer that befittingly oxygenates the dough and does not rise its temperature is instrumental to this end. The qualitative formation of individual dough balls is also another factor.
Here I am precluding any resort to dough refrigeration. Nevertheless, if an individual or pizzeria employs the direct method (which I assume is more common in the U.S. than in Naples) and does not have the effective means of controlling the ambient temperature, then dough refrigeration can avail itself as a supplemental
) solution, for the purpose of preserving
(distinct from fermenting
) the dough balls. Of course, some may prefer dough refrigeration as a substitutional way of fermenting dough. The business environment can and often does impose certain limitations on the dough practices a pizzeria adopts.
Closely related to this issue of "window of usability" is the business aspect of minimizing losses
in a commercial setting. As a not so exact example, let us assume that your hypothetical pizzeria yesterday prepared (using the indirect method and no refrigeration) 120 dough balls for today. Further, let's say, your pizzeria is left with 50 dough balls by the closing time. Can your pizzeria afford the loss of money, supplies, and labor—not just on this occasion but also on other inevitable, future occasions—if the leftover dough balls must be discarded? Further, let us imagine that your pizzeria consequently prepared 80 dough balls for the same day for the week after. Two hours before the closing time, you ran out of dough balls and were compelled to close the door. Can your pizzeria afford such a loss of business?
As a tentative conclusion, it seems to me that since the Neapolitan pizza business in the U.S. is in its infancy and not generally as stable and predictable as in Naples, a
(not "the") prudent course of action to confront the fluctuations of business cycles is to use the direct method of dough fermentation, along with the supplementary use of dough refrigeration. Perhaps, that is why Mr. Roberto Caporuscio in the video (
) contends "this one here I recommend all the time, most of the time, for new place to do the directo"
[until such time the business becomes more stable and predictable]. Of course, again, this is only one way of surviving the U.S. business environment, which is understandably not the same as Naples'. Have a great day!