Author Topic: Cold retard sourdough first or last?  (Read 6109 times)

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Offline johnnydoubleu

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Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« on: February 02, 2012, 01:41:33 PM »
I still haven't really figured out when the ideal time is to cold retard a dough made with sourdough. Should I let the dough get started for a few hours before retarding it or should I retard it after bulk fermentation or for final proofing? Room temp always gets me good results but if I retard the sourdough, reviving it and timing everything gets difficult and the results are less consistent as a result. I have experimented quite a bit but I don't feel like know yet what would be optimal.

When do you cold retard your sourdough and why? How's it working out for ya?

EDIT: I meant "after bulk (for proof) or after final proof"
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 01:55:32 PM by johnnydoubleu »


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2012, 02:07:40 PM »
I would say the answer to your question has a lot to do with the response of your culture to different temps. All cultures are not the same, and even the same culture will exhibit different temperature responses depending on a number of factors.    

I've been intensely experimenting with this concept of "ideal times and temps" for a few years with different cultures and dough types. My preference is to ferment and proof in the range of 60F-75F, depending on the culture and the results I am aiming for. I thought there was no combination I haven't tried, but I don't think I have ever tried cold-retarding on the front-end. I may try this soon.

However, after fermenting, but before proofing, I do end up sticking the dough in the fridge overnight and even for a few days when my schedule doesn't go according to plan. Too long and the gluten can break down and turn to goop. Is there a difference in the final pie when it has been retarded in this way? If there is, it is a very small one. Problem is how can you do a side-by-side test using dough from the same batch?
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 02:09:31 PM by Bill/SFNM »

Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 02:20:04 PM »
Thanks Bill, I am glad I am not the only one who doesn't completely have this in the bag...there are so many variables.

FWIW, my culture is a homemade one created from organic AP and organic rye and pineapple juice (and fed/maintained now on KA AP or Heckers). It is really vigorous and rises quite well but I am not sure it plays so nice with retardation. I wonder if there are established types of sourdough that are more suited to being retarded (and what those types are if any).

I have retarded on the front-end with low-knead doughs (I don't have a mixer so I tend to do something Tartine'ish) and have had some success but other times not so much. With pizza I can get away with the variance/s more than I can with bread.

Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 02:28:13 PM »
For my work flow I am dealing with an apartment that tends to stay around 70 and is fairly dry (certainly right now it is). So I am trying to work around/with that temp. What I'd like to do is make dough late in the evening for use either the following night or the next night and I feel like retarding would give me some more control, ideally. The reason why retarding immediately or close to it is appealing is so that the bulk fermentation could happen when I would like (or maybe even during retardation) and after some gluten has been formed (in the context of a low-knead dough).

Since I have experimented with cold retarding immediately (which would seem to negate using an active starter), I have also experimented with using retarded/non-active starter directly from the fridge and doing a room temp ferment and proof. This dough took a little less than 3 days to ferment, and def still worked. It gave me similar results to retarding.

Also, I have been making a lot more bread than pizza so this question stems from that -- I am looking for a workflow that would work equally well for bread or pizza. I find if I cold proof, that my bread suffers a lot more than my pizza (as compared to all room temp).
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 02:38:42 PM by johnnydoubleu »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 02:39:47 PM »
John,

I don't cold ferment - ever (by cold, I mean sub-40F). It is not something I would reccomend. I don't fault anyone for going this way; I just personally believe it is suboptimal.

60F is as low as I go. I played around with cold fermenting on and off for several years and never got a result that came anything close to what I get at 60-64F. ~60F is easy to maintain with a cooler and a frozen juice bottle full of water.

I don't understand what the allure of cold fermenting is unless it is just about scheduling. You can, IMO anyway, develop more flavor faster at temps near room temp. If a more intense sourdough flavor profile is the goal, I'd encourage you to go the other way and try fermenting around 95F. More discussion on that here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14627.0.html

Craig
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Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2012, 02:43:28 PM »
Thanks Craig, Yeah it is mostly about scheduling -- the "luxury" of more or less a full stop and then a full start.

I agree (based on my far more limited experience with it) with your conclusions and don't think it really is at all close to optimal to cold retard at the moment.

I am intrigued by the warmer temp idea as well.

The allure is just the flexibility -- but if the results aren't ever going to be as good/where they could be without retarding then I am happy to give up on it. Just wondering if there is a way to get it to work and also trying to wrestle with how much value that really brings to the table in the end.

Thanks so much for your input!
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 02:45:37 PM by johnnydoubleu »

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2012, 03:00:52 PM »

Also, I have been making a lot more bread than pizza so this question stems from that -- I am looking for a workflow that would work equally well for bread or pizza. I find if I cold proof, that my bread suffers a lot more than my pizza (as compared to all room temp).

Sometimes I will do cold for the final proof when making bread. It is more of a time management issue than anything else - although it does impart more sourness to the final product. After bench rest and final shaping, the dough goes into the basket and directly to the fridge. Some have mentioned before that commercial operations use a walk-in temp that is in the 40's instead of the 30's that your fridge is likely set at. That may be why you see examples like the Tartine Bread video where the dough continues to rise substantially during the final cold proof (which Chad does).

For the bake after the cold proof, it goes directly into the oven from the fridge.

John

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2012, 03:01:38 PM »
I don't understand what the allure of cold fermenting is unless it is just about scheduling.

Completely agree.

Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 03:05:44 PM »
I think the "allure" of cold retarding partially stems from the fact that it so often the mantra for baker's yeast based doughs and that is a bit hard to get out of one's head (or mine at least).

Further, sometimes I can't use a dough or doughs when I originally intended so having shorter period of time from when I decide I want to make pizza or bread is desirable as compared to having a use window that is static.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 03:11:38 PM by johnnydoubleu »


Offline randyjohnsonhve

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 03:19:10 PM »
Interesting...I have cut a dough that I made at 2 hrs prior to bake, against a cold retard dough I made 8 hours prior to bake, against a cold retard dough I made the day before...The last two showed no difference between the two, but a major difference between the last two and the 2 hr job...Craig, have you cut your 60F dough against cold retard doughs...I know that VPN joints cold retard their dough...And if there is no difference, it seems to be much more convenient to place the dough in a refrigerator at approx 37-40F, than to set up a cooler situation...In addition, I believe that Chris Bianco makes dough the morning of his bake, but I do not know if he cold retards...RJelli :chef:
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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2012, 03:22:31 PM »
John, the method Chad describes (cold retarding after bulk/for proof) is pretty much what I have been assuming to be the way to go if employing a cold retard at any point. Thanks very much for pointing out the temps that Chad likely uses as compared to at home -- certainly would make a difference. That being said, I have read some some studies that introduced some uncertainty about how optimal proofing is as the point where retardation should take place (specifically in regards to sourdough and how it is affected by different temps).
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 03:24:32 PM by johnnydoubleu »

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 03:25:41 PM »
Randy, your testing was with pure sourdough as a leaven?

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 03:33:13 PM »
That being said, I have read some some studies that introduced some uncertainty about how optimal proofing is as the point where retardation should take place (specifically in regards to sourdough and how it is affected by different temps).

That is very interesting. Chad states he does the cold proof because it was "revelatory" to him in regards to complexity of flavor. I have never experienced that level of insight with my own experiments - in fact I prefer the bread that has been room temp the entire time.

John

Offline randyjohnsonhve

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 03:35:22 PM »
Sorry, no it was not, it was with ADY....But tell me on ADY, does it make a difference?  Thx, RJelli :chef:
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2012, 04:03:32 PM »
Craig, have you cut your 60F dough against cold retard doughs...I know that VPN joints cold retard their dough...And if there is no difference, it seems to be much more convenient to place the dough in a refrigerator at approx 37-40F, than to set up a cooler situation.

Yes, and my general observations are that there are no flavor benefits to cold fermentation (rather, it takes significantly longer at refrigeration temps to generate comparable flavor), and there is a meaningful degradation of dough handling properties and crust tenderness after an extended period of dough refrigeration (this is much less pronounced  with bakerís yeast as compared to sourdough). 

I donít know what VPN places do and donít do. I doubt all of them cold ferment. I also doubt very many use natural starters.  Iíve never been to one that had a crust that blew my socks off: 2-Amys, A16, Dough, Tutta Bella Ė all OK, but not particularly flavorful crusts.

CL
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2012, 04:12:40 PM »
Sorry, no it was not, it was with ADY....But tell me on ADY, does it make a difference?  Thx, RJelli :chef:

Yes - any form of baker's yeast vs. sourdough is night and day. Different pH environment (effects activation of proteolytic enzymes in the flour and solubility of gluten), different enzyme situation (LAB produce proteolytic enzymes not found in dough leavened with bakers yeast), and different yeast activity vs. temperature profile at a minimum.  There is simply a lot more going on in dough leavened with sourdough culture (much of which is degrading the gluten). Also, the baker's yeast revives much faster when warmed.

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Offline R2-Bayou

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2012, 04:29:03 PM »
I've had no luck with cold fermenting doughs leavened using sourdough cultures, I just can't get the oven spring. Baker's yeast I've had great results under cold fermentation, but I highly prefer room temp fermented sourdough...
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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2012, 04:45:25 PM »
In consideration of how strongly everyone seems to feel about room'ish temp fermented sourdough being superior, it seems to me that it is reasonable to consider that (especially with a low-knead bread where time is essential) cold retarding might be best done immediately and then a prolonged room'ish temp bulk after that. Meaning if you intended to store sourdough for later use at an unspecified time, best fully retard it to use later fully at room'ish temp/as though it was never retarded (but padding in some time for it to revive). Yes, the sourdough take some time to revive but it will. In a retail/commercial environment where the dough will usually be used within a certain time frame, the ability to hold dough for an extended period of time is less necessary/valuable I would think.

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2012, 05:01:13 PM »
dmc, how much starter are you using and how active is it? How long does it sit out as you are mixing it before it is retarded? Do you go from fridge to oven or let it warm up first?

I have made edible pizza (as well) with up to week old sourdough but bread is not so forgiving as pizza. I am coming at this from the angle that it has to be a workflow that will make truly excellent bread (great crust, spring, flavor etc.) first and pizza second. If the workflow is good enough to produce great bread it will most certainly produce adequate pizza with a little bit of modification.

EDIT: changed "solid" to "edible"
« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 12:18:13 PM by johnnydoubleu »

Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2012, 12:11:27 PM »
Also Dave, I think we all know it is "possible" to cold ferment for days, but, especially in consideration of how truly inactive wild yeast is at low temps, it would seem far from optimal. Shoot, you could store dough in the fridge for weeks and then make pizza, but I doubt it would be very good.

Are you suggesting older sourdough, that has been cold fermented, is superior to that fermented at around room temp? I have found Craig's observations of toughness (from cold retarding) and the like to be accurate (and likely what Girl Slice objected to in Adam's original "creepy bagel" attempts) and the crust in your pic looks pretty leathery, frankly.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 12:18:44 PM by johnnydoubleu »

Offline Crider

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2012, 04:06:04 PM »
I always put my dough balls in the refrigerator for convenience sake. I don't have any fermenting rooms or boxes (also for convenience sake), so the rise times for my dough are effected by the room temperatures which are all over the place based on the seasons and the weather. We almost never run the heater at night, unless there's going to be a freeze. We run the air conditioner in the summer if the outside temps exceed 90 degrees, so having a frige is a great equalizer if I want to make pizza at 7:30 pm.

However, I never refrigerate my sourdough starter. I keep a rather small jar of rye starter and refresh it once per day — about 4 tablespoons rye, 2 tablespoons water, and refresh with a heaping teaspoon of ripe old starter.

When I make pizza or bread, I use the starter after it is ripe and ready to be refreshed, partly out of laziness and thrift, but partly because I feel that too much yeast activity early on is the enemy of sourdough flavor development. I want the dough to develop more flavor before the yeast has peaked.

The amount of old starter I add to the dough is a bit small, around 7%

Last night the outside temps got down to 36 degrees and I had my dough fermenting on the kitchen counter. Perhaps the house got down to 45 degrees or so by the morning.

I mixed — but didn't knead my dough around 9:00 pm. When I got up this morning, it had risen very slightly. That's what I'm looking for, about a 125% or so increase in volume. Then I knead the dough. This redistributes the newly-expanding yeast and bacteria populations in addition to developing the gluten. This kneading also warms up the dough quite a bit.

I formed the dough into balls and put them into the fridge. They will still continue to develop a bit before the dough cools down. If I left them out on the counter they probably would have been way past peak by now at 1:00 pm, but I'm in no place or time to make pizza.

By the way, I make 100% whole wheat. If using refined flour, there a whole lot more time and temperature leeway you get to have with this 'partially ferment before kneading' method.

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2012, 06:06:34 PM »
Let's keep in mind that "better" is subjective to the end user (eater).

Quote
Quote from: TXCraig1 on Yesterday at 02:39:47 PM
I don't understand what the allure of cold fermenting is unless it is just about scheduling.

Completely agree.

I agree as well.

Some have mentioned before that commercial operations use a walk-in temp that is in the 40's instead of the 30's that your fridge is likely set at.

I can't speak for every bakery, but at the time I was working in one, that is exactly correct John.  The walk-in temp was kept in the mid-40s

I don't personally employ a cold-retard period for my round pizzas. Although I have at times needed to pop a doughball or two in the fridge when personal schedules go kapput and I need to slow things down for a couple of hours.

My square pizzas I have always cold fermented (all of my pizzas, round and square, are sourdough leavened with no additional bakers yeast added) for the very reasons Bill and Craig mentioned....scheduling and convenience. It's nice to know I can make a pizza at any point of a three day period during a busy work week and retardation allows me that convenience. My square is my worknight pizza.

As others have mentioned, there is indeed a difference in texture as the dough retards for more than 48-60 hours and it does get tougher past that point, but the pan pizza format with olive oil added in the pan while cooking mitigates the impact of that anyway.

John, in those square pizzas, my culture tends to perform best if I allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes after mixing. After that point I put it in the fridge and take it out 4-6 hours before I need to bake.

Granted, the format is difference in a square pizza, but the recipe is not too far off the mark (no added oil in the dough, just flour, salt, water and starter). I've rarely encountered a problem with oven spring with such pizzas. The pic is from six different batches of my square, at various hydrations (and at various degrees of success of pegging the bake  :-[ :(  )  and I generally get good oven spring.

The success in spring is also highly reliant on how active my starter is when mixing the dough.  --K


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Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2012, 11:28:42 PM »
Thanks PB, that is really illuminating. I have some more thoughts that I'll share over the weekend. Yummy looking squares BTW.

--

I am sort of wondering how much "younger" on the whole a pizza dough should be from bread. I am kinda coming at my pizza more now like it is bread dough that I happen to make pizza with (Mozza and/or Tartine'ish) and I am not sure if this is good or bad yet. I feel like I learned a lot moving to bread for awhile and have no problem with whole grains and whatnot. The timing of the bulk and proof though seems like it would benefit from being adjusted from bread. I am not sure anymore if I should have the dough really at least double and then shape it or shape it and not let it ferment that much. I hope that makes sense. I know I'll get there but in some ways I feel like I made better pizza when I understood bread making less. I didn't care if the dough was young/er because I didn't really know. I do like a dough that is really "digested" all the way though. Seems to sit with me better and feel lighter.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 11:34:33 PM by johnnydoubleu »

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Cold retard sourdough first or last?
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2012, 12:32:35 AM »
I am sort of wondering how much "younger" on the whole a pizza dough should be from bread. I am kinda coming at my pizza more now like it is bread dough that I happen to make pizza with (Mozza and/or Tartine'ish) and I am not sure if this is good or bad yet. I feel like I learned a lot moving to bread for awhile and have no problem with whole grains and whatnot. The timing of the bulk and proof though seems like it would benefit from being adjusted from bread. I am not sure anymore if I should have the dough really at least double and then shape it or shape it and not let it ferment that much. I hope that makes sense. I know I'll get there but in some ways I feel like I made better pizza when I understood bread making less. I didn't care if the dough was young/er because I didn't really know. I do like a dough that is really "digested" all the way though. Seems to sit with me better and feel lighter.

I actually went through this cycle you describe, learning about bread, and then applying it to pizza. I came to the conclusion that the knowledge I garnered before bread making, that only applied to making pizza, did not need adaptation and was only being hampered by my attempts at making it better. Marco (pizzanapoletana) always said pizza is not bread - and I feel that way now. The main reason is the shaping. Bread is made to hold it's shape during the bake, but pizza is made to be extensible enough to be flattened and stretched right before the bake. Although the processes are similar in numerous ways, the gluten goals are somewhat different.

John


 

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