Author Topic: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough  (Read 6710 times)

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Offline fazzari

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Last week I wrote to a friend of mine that the reballing of dough balls (using Reinhart type recipes) was as vital a step as any to making the ultimate pizza.  In fact, in my experience, leave the reball out and you might as well go try another recipe.  I went back and looked through Reinhart's recipes and realized that he recommends bulk fermentation in the fridge (at least for small batches), and then scaling, and balling on the day of baking.

The dough I'm working on is not a Reinhart recipe exactly, but that is where I started many, many months ago.  So, here is a recipe:

100%   bread flour
 62%   water
   2%   honey
   2%   salt
   2%   olive oil
    .5 % yeast

I preferment 33% of the flour making a poolish.  This sits 16 hours at room temperature.  The rest of the ingredients are added and mixed for 4 minutes....the dough rests for 5 minutes...the dough is finished by mixing for 3 minutes.   At this point, i usually scale, ball and refrigerate.  I opted for putting the whole piece of dough in tupperware and refrigerating.   I cut a piece of dough from the bulk after it had been refrigerated for 36 hours.  this piece was balled, and refrigerated in its own container until the next day.
It was taken out 2 hours prior to bake, and made into a pizza.  It was exactly as any other dough that I had reballed before using.  This pizza was baked in my home oven at 590 degrees for 5 minutes.

John



Online Pete-zza

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 06:30:28 PM »
John.

That's a great looking pizza.

I'm also glad to hear that your bulk rise followed by dividing worked out well. Another member today inquired as to that possibility at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16607.0.html. In his case, however, he did not have time to keep the dough balls in the refrigerator for as long as you did. His plan is to make the pizzas tonight.

Peter

Online norma427

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 08:41:33 PM »
John,

That is one tasty looking pizza!  :) Your experiments are always fascinating.  Good to see you had great results.

Norma
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Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 01:46:01 AM »
Peter and Norma
I'm thinking I have a theory that might possibly be correct....in the case of high hydrated doughs, the dough is so loose and hard to handle, that the act of balling them after mixing does very little to build strength in them.  After they sit in the fridge for a period of time, the acids from fermentation strengthen gluten bonds...which makes them much easier to handle and much easier to ball (reball), which in turn builds more strength.  And as for the bulk fermentation of high hydration doughs, the more dough mass the faster the fermentation, the faster the cycle above occurs.

I know what I've observed with Reinhart type doughs...and now I'm wondering how doughs such as the Lehmann types would change (or not), if they were allowed to bulk ferment in the fridge before scaling and balling. 

Thanks

John

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 06:37:39 AM »
John,

Your theory about high hydration doughs is interesting.  You could be correct in bulk fermentation of high hydration doughs, the more mass the faster the fermentation, and then the faster the whole cycle occurs. 

This isnít an actual experiment, but I know when I bulk ferment my preferments for the Lehmann dough, (in larger amounts) there is a lot more bubbling going on in a 3 day cold ferment than if I do a preferment for 1 dough ball in the same time frame.  Mass, at least in a preferment seems to act different.

I had tried upping the hydration on my regular preferment Lehmann doughs for market and double reballing right after the mix.  Those dough balls were much slacker when I went to open them the next day.  Upping the hydration and double reballing didnít work for me, but then I didnít bulk ferment the final dough. 

With Reinhart doughs (with their higher hydration, for a normal pizza) I know there needs to be another reball not too long before the dough is used, just as you have presented here on the forum many times.

It would be interesting if you did an experiment with upping the hydration for a Lehmann dough and bulked fermented the dough in the fridge before balling and scaling, if you find time to do an experiment like that.  I would personally like to see what would happen in an experiment like that.

Norma
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 10:31:21 AM »
John, nice looking pie.  There is a lot of different things we are talking about here so let's see if we can keep them straight.  
1) Reballing before or after bulk fermentation
2) Reballing (gluten development) of high hydration doughs
3) the mass effect
4) the effects of lengthening fermentation (independent of temperature)

1) I'm not sure if reballing of the dough is specific to the Reinhart formula or if it will change the Lehman dough.  The perspective that I take is that dough is dough.  We like to give them names but they don't really care what you call them.  They do however respond to what we do to them in the same way universally.  Reballing serves one purpose, it builds gluten strength.  It does this for any dough out there regardless of the formulation.  As you know, it's also used widely in the bread world.  

As far as when any dough is reballed before or after the bulk, yes it does make a difference and has a different effect on the final outcome of the crumb.  To see the effect, all you have to do is make a batch of dough enough for 2 pies.  Ball one right after mixing, and ball the other one after a lengthy bulk ferment or after it has risen 25-100% (your choice here).  And yes, time or rest periods and more specifically fermentation builds strength in the dough (biochemically or whatever Scott123 wants to call it  :P).

2)  High hydration doughs are slower to develop gluten, especially if using low protein flours.  They require more mixing and techniques such as folding, (re)balling, and rest periods in-between to properly develop the gluten matrix.  The higher hydration and lower the protein content, the more of these steps you'll have to take develop that dough.  Therefore, (re)balling, (re)folding, rest periods are used with purpose and as needed dependent on if the specific dough in question requires it or not.  

From what I have read on this forum, reballing in general, and specifically after bulk fermentation is a no no for the NY style.  It's not "traditional", and the NY styled doughs may not handle it.  Why?  Because the style gravitates more towards higher protein flours, moderately low hydrations, over mixing, and oil to achieve that unique crust.  But if you up the hydration, or lower the protein content, or cut down on the mixing, or cut the oil out, the game is changed entirely.  Do I personally reball after bulk?  Yes - the heck with traditions.  I do it because my dough, like yours, needs it.  

3) The mass effect has been discussed before, but basically the bigger batch of dough will ferment faster than a smaller batch b/c the bigger batch stays cooler longer.   So when making LARGE batches of dough, you may need to decrease the yeast to about 80% or so of what you normally use.  I think I saw a video or read some post where Tom Lehmann gives a great explanation of this.  

4) Effects of lengthy fermentation.  There is a lot to discuss here so bear with me.  I don't have all the answers but will give you my take on these topics.


I'm thinking I have a theory that might possibly be correct....in the case of high hydrated doughs, the dough is so loose and hard to handle, that the act of balling them after mixing does very little to build strength in them.  After they sit in the fridge for a period of time, the acids from fermentation strengthen gluten bonds...which makes them much easier to handle and much easier to ball (reball), which in turn builds more strength.  And as for the bulk fermentation of high hydration doughs, the more dough mass the faster the fermentation, the faster the cycle above occurs.


John, you are correct (generally speaking) that balling a high hydrated dough immediately after mixing may not be enough, and that dough may require another reballing after a rest period.   I think what you are experiencing here is that you are reballing the dough cold after it has rested in the fridge.  Cold dough is usually  easier to handle then room temperature dough, especially when dealing with a high hydration dough.  

Now, if you were to allow that dough of yours to reach room temperature, it may in fact be much harder to handle than before!  Why would I say that as this seems contradictory to what I stated in 2).   What happens when dough sits for any length of time, is that enzymes break down the dough making it more extensible and soft.  This happens more readily in higher hydration doughs and at higher temperatures.   This is why if you want to work with a long fermentation dough, it is a good idea to decrease the hydration by a few percentages or accommodate this effect.  

In some of my earlier experiments with an high hydration dough (AP = 70%+, BF >73%, HG 80%) and long fermentations of 3-5 days, the dough would turn almost into a liquid!

Anyways, not very scientific, but this is what I have observed in my dough making.

Chau
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 10:55:03 AM by Jackie Tran »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2011, 12:33:07 PM »
The Lehmann NY style dough recipe started its life out as a commercial recipe. As such, the dough for that style would be made using a straight dough method. Tom Lehmann's advocacy has always been to slightly underknead the dough and to rely on biochemical gluten development (he, and Evelyne Slomon as well, came to use the acronym BGD) to do the bulk of the gluten development. The bulk dough was divided and scaled into individual dough balls that were then placed in dough boxes and cross-stacked and down-stacked in the cooler (there were other alternatives for doing this that need not be discussed here). From that point on until the dough balls were to be used, usually after about 1-3 days, they were not touched. Of course, that would have entailed one or more additional steps that would have required workers to intervene to rework the dough balls in some way. This is something that would be impractical for most commercial settings, with possibly hundreds of dough balls involved, although the well-known restaurant A16 in the San Francisco Bay area did have its workers rework the dough balls during their cold fermentation at least once while they were in the cooler (see the opening post at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg11672.html#msg11672).

In a home setting, we are not constrained by commercial practices. However, when I volunteered back in November, 2004 to try to adapt the Lehmann NY style dough recipe to a home setting, which gave birth to the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.0.html, I tried as much as possible to relate the commercial practices to a home setting and not to try to convert the recipe to something else for which it was not intended. It is important to remember that back in 2004, the forum was in its infancy, and there were not many members who knew a great deal about pizza making. And there were only a handful of members at any given time who actively posted on the forum. Using overly high hydration values and stretch and folds and rest periods and similar bread making techniques were quite alien to what everyone was doing on the forum at the time. By contrast, today new members joining the forum are confronted by 7 or 8 years of the collective experience and knowledge of the members, with a wealth of information on sophisticated dough and pizza making techniques. And it is not unusual to see members adapt and modify all kinds of recipes to suit their wants and needs. So, doing what John did with his latest experiment, including the use of a preferment, is quite common and not the least bit surprising.

The recipe that John used for his experiment is actually quite close to the Lehmann NY style dough recipe. The baker's percents recited for the recipe are in line with a basic Lehmann dough formulation, but for the use of honey instead of sugar, which I am sure that some professional NY style pizza operator is using somewhere but is not usually done for a NY style. So, I suspect that if John was able to successfully use his intervention to divide the cold fermented bulk dough into individual dough balls and return the dough balls to the cooler or refrigerator, then the same method should work with a Lehmann dough. I might add that my recollection is that the Reinhart dough recipes generally call for much higher hydration values than the Lehmann dough recipe (around 70-75%?) and possibly large amounts of oil as well. Those recipes would seem to better lend themselves to a bulk rise with later division and reworking than the Lehmann dough with its much lower hydration, but the method should work with the Lehmann dough nonetheless. Chau did a very nice job explaining the ins and outs of what John had done and I agree with him that it might be worth conducting an experiment with the Lehmann dough with a couple of dough balls to compare the results.

Peter

Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2011, 02:41:20 PM »
Thank you all for your marvelous replies
After reading what I wrote for my theory, I realize I did a somewhat horrible job of explaining and then added other factors which probably didn't matter.  Although "dough is dough", my claim is that scaling, balling and refrigerating a very loose, moist dough immediately after mixing is just about exactly the same as using a bulk fermentation process which goes directly into the fridge....and the reason is, the dough is not changed much at all by the balling process, because there is no stretching or real movement of dough involved.

The only reason this all fascinates me is for the reason I've stated many, many times.  (I'm only speaking of my Reinhart experiments) the reball is the single most important factor to take this dough up notches from where it is without reball.  The effects of this little technique get me wondering about all of the techniques available when making any dough.  I know that different styles of pizza are supposed to exhibit specific characteristics....I'm just talking about food which is good to eat.  I've put most of these experiments under the "general" catagory because I don't know what kind of pizza this is.....I can tell you it's damned good though.  I also have a sense that individual techniques should not be chosen lightly, because they "will" affect dough.  I've wondered to myself many times....how many recipes have I thrown away...because i didn't find the exact correct technique to make this dough a winner!!!

Again thank you all for taking the time to reply....I'm gonna keep trying some things and see what comes up.

John

Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 09:30:19 PM »
Here is a fun little experiment I tried just for the heck of it.  So, I mixed up a very simple dough:

bread flour    100%
water            55
salt                2
sugar              2
oil                  3
yeast              .5

Added water to the bowl followed by all the dry ingredients and mixed for 3 minutes.  Added the oil and mixed per Lehmann's instructions, until the dough was just smooth enough not to break apart when pulled apart.  I made 60 ounces of dough.
I then scaled and balled 4 ten ounce dough balls and refrigerated in containers.  The other 20 ounces I placed in a container and refrigerated without balling for bulk fermentation.
After 24 hours in the fridge, I took one of the dough balls and reballed it and placed back in the fridge.  I took 10 ounces of dough from the bulk fermented dough, balled it, placed it in a container and refrigerated it.  After another 24 hours it was time to experiment with the baking process.

This first pizza is made from a dough ball which was balled after mixing and not touched again.  This was baked in my home oven at 580 degrees, for 5 minutes...I screened it as it was starting to get too dark for my taste.  The pizza was good, but it was a bit chewy for my taste, and not crispy at all.
John


Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 09:36:30 PM »
The second pizza I baked was made from the bulk fermented dough....to reiterate, the dough was refrigerated 24 hours, was then scaled, balled and refrigerated for 24 more hours.  Now, this dough was crisp, with a very thin bottom and a soft middle.  The pizza was baked in the same 580 degree oven, but only took 4 minutes to bake.  Notice there is much more oven spring, and there are lots of tiny blisters all over the crust.  This, I would classify as an excellent pizza for my taste.

John


Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2011, 09:41:17 PM »
This last pizza was made from a dough ball which was formed after mixing, refrigerated 24 hours, was reballed and refrigerated another 24 hours.  This was baked in the same 580 degree oven, just over 4 minutes.  This pizza was also crisp and tender, had great oven spring, and was simply excellent.

By the way, each of these pizzas weighs 10 ounces and is stretched to 10 inches.
John

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 09:58:25 PM »
John, nice job on the experiment and pies.  Both "look" good, but you know the differences can be night and day AND you know the "why" and "how" as well.  I did the same experiment a few months back, just out of curiosity and to test out the typical methods employed by pizzerias of balling the dough a short time after mixing and not reballing.  For my formulation, the results were vastly inferior.  The crumb is as you describe, dense and chewy.  There is a big difference in the crust and crumb when and to what extent you ball (or build strength into) the dough.  It's a fine balance requiring a careful touch that only comes through practice (aka trial and error). 

As a point of interest, one of the methods that I use regularly to produce good pizza involves a 48 hour cold ferment with a divide and reballing at the 24hr mark or about 50% bulk rise.  You are doing all the right things John and your pies will keep getting better and better.

Chau

Offline scott123

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 10:15:15 PM »
Bulk fermentation accelerates fermentation and increases yeast activity.

Reballing does the same thing.

You basically preferred the dough with the most fermentation. You can recreate this effect, though, with the unbulked, unballed dough by extending the clock and adjusting the yeast.  Bulk fermentation is basically just a time (and space) saver, it doesn't really change the inherent nature of the dough.

Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2011, 10:34:39 PM »
Thank you both....I've got another 3 doughs to use in the same manner tomorrow...can't wait to see the differences then.

John

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2011, 11:05:31 PM »
Bulk fermentation accelerates fermentation and increases yeast activity.

Reballing does the same thing.

You basically preferred the dough with the most fermentation. You can recreate this effect, though, with the unbulked, unballed dough by extending the clock and adjusting the yeast.  Bulk fermentation is basically just a time (and space) saver, it doesn't really change the inherent nature of the dough.


Scott just to be clear, I am comparing a dough that is mixed and balled right away with a short or no bulk fermentation and not reballed again versus a dough that is mixed, left to bulk rise to at least 50% volume and then divided and balled.   For me, there is a vast difference in the end product particularly the crumb structure.  I guess the question is...is there biochemical strengthening of the dough as it (bulk) ferments or as it grows in volume?  I see a difference in the the end result when I ball very early versus later.   Also dough will soften up during a long fermentation due to enzyme activity.  One benefit (for me) for balling later or reballing is that I get the opportunity to rebuild the strength after the softening effects of enzymes on the dough.  The difference is similar to a true no knead vs kneading techniques.   This is a drastic example, but it will show the difference in what I am talking about.  Try mixing up a batch just to incorporate the ingredients and no further aggitation of the dough versus any method of dough manipulation (hand kneading, mixer, folds, reballs, etc).   Open and bake both up and most people will prefer the crust and crumb with some structure and lightness from working the dough.  Of course there is a limit to everything.   Reball too much or too often or overknead or overwork the gluten and the dough suffers as well.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 07:49:44 AM by Jackie Tran »

Online norma427

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2011, 06:52:30 AM »
John,

Your experiments are very interesting!  ;D I would have thought before your experiment that the first pizza you baked at 580 degrees F would have been crispy.

The bulk fermented pizza that was bulk fermented and refrigerated for 24 hrs, then scaled, balled and refrigerated for 24 more hours sure does look perfect in browning, oven spring, and blisters all over the crust. 

Am anxious to see how your other 3 doughs balls will perform.  You are always great in doing experiments.  :chef:

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2011, 11:36:39 PM »
The Lehmann NY style dough recipe started its life out as a commercial recipe. As such, the dough for that style would be made using a straight dough method. Tom Lehmann's advocacy has always been to slightly underknead the dough and to rely on biochemical gluten development (he, and Evelyne Slomon as well, came to use the acronym BGD) to do the bulk of the gluten development. The bulk dough was divided and scaled into individual dough balls that were then placed in dough boxes and cross-stacked and down-stacked in the cooler (there were other alternatives for doing this that need not be discussed here). From that point on until the dough balls were to be used, usually after about 1-3 days, they were not touched. Of course, that would have entailed one or more additional steps that would have required workers to intervene to rework the dough balls in some way. This is something that would be impractical for most commercial settings, with possibly hundreds of dough balls involved, although the well-known restaurant A16 in the San Francisco Bay area did have its workers rework the dough balls during their cold fermentation at least once while they were in the cooler (see the opening post at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg11672.html#msg11672).


Peter


I think I have convinced myself, that balling a bulk fermented dough, will return the best product possible (at least for what I like).  So, in a commercial setting, I don't see this process adding  a whole lot of steps....since the dough has to be balled either way....of course I'm assuming that taking the dough from the mixer,  and placing it in a container to be refrigerated would be a very minor step.  Maybe I'm missing something.

John

Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2011, 11:38:57 PM »
John, nice job on the experiment and pies.  Both "look" good, but you know the differences can be night and day AND you know the "why" and "how" as well.  I did the same experiment a few months back, just out of curiosity and to test out the typical methods employed by pizzerias of balling the dough a short time after mixing and not reballing.  For my formulation, the results were vastly inferior.  The crumb is as you describe, dense and chewy.  There is a big difference in the crust and crumb when and to what extent you ball (or build strength into) the dough.  It's a fine balance requiring a careful touch that only comes through practice (aka trial and error). 

As a point of interest, one of the methods that I use regularly to produce good pizza involves a 48 hour cold ferment with a divide and reballing at the 24hr mark or about 50% bulk rise.  You are doing all the right things John and your pies will keep getting better and better.

Chau
By any chance Chau, did you write your experiment up, hopfully with pictures....I'd love to read about it!!

John

Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2011, 11:42:50 PM »
Bulk fermentation accelerates fermentation and increases yeast activity.

Reballing does the same thing.

You basically preferred the dough with the most fermentation. You can recreate this effect, though, with the unbulked, unballed dough by extending the clock and adjusting the yeast.  Bulk fermentation is basically just a time (and space) saver, it doesn't really change the inherent nature of the dough.

Scott, can you please explain how you can recreate this effect with the unbulked, unballed dough.  Bulk fermentation might be just a time and space saver...but it also creates the perfect situation to make a crisp, nicely textured pizza..  the only other way I know is with a reball, but reballing is tough with lower hydration doughs.

John

Offline fazzari

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Re: reballing dough balls is the same as balling a bulk fermented dough
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2011, 11:49:01 PM »
John,

Your experiments are very interesting!  ;D I would have thought before your experiment that the first pizza you baked at 580 degrees F would have been crispy.

The bulk fermented pizza that was bulk fermented and refrigerated for 24 hrs, then scaled, balled and refrigerated for 24 more hours sure does look perfect in browning, oven spring, and blisters all over the crust. 

Am anxious to see how your other 3 doughs balls will perform.  You are always great in doing experiments.  :chef:

Norma

Norma
After over a year of experimenting with Reinhart doughs, and loving them...especially the texture..I was convinced that it was the higher hydration that made them so good.  So, when I dropped the hydration down to 62%, and the texture was still fantastic...I was stymied.  Little did I know that the answer was always in the reball.  And so now, I'm down to 55% with a Lehmann type dough, and sure enough, the reballed ones and the ones balled after bulk fermention still have the fantastic texture!!!

John


 

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