Author Topic: Sourdough gets wetter + loses puff if left in fridge for a week  (Read 1126 times)

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Offline heuristicist

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Sourdough gets wetter + loses puff if left in fridge for a week
« on: February 13, 2012, 02:04:06 PM »
Hello all,

Over the past few months I've started experimenting with sourdough pizza. I bought the Italian sourdough cultures from sourdo.com---I've only used Ischia so far, but if anyone has any comments on the Camaldoli and how it compares to the Ischia I'd love to hear them! At any rate, I really enjoy the taste. I tried going back to regular pizza dough and was rather off-put by how plain it is in comparison!

But I've come across a couple of issues.

First, when mixing/kneading the dough (I use something along the lines of Jeff Varasano's wet kneading, but over a period of around half an hour), I usually go until the dough ball leaves very little residue in the bowl (I have a CuisinArt stand mixer). This is relatively dry, I feel---I can provide proper percentages when I get home if anyone wants them---and then I let the dough rise in the bowl for four hours or so (in the oven with the light on and the door slightly ajar). I then ball the dough and let one rise for another 3-4 hours and then cook with it; the other balls go in the fridge right after being balled. Usually one is used the next day and two are used one week later. I'm finding that the first dough ball rises well and has good puff, but the others do not rise nearly as much (when taking them out of the refrigerator, I let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours covered with a wet towel to keep them from drying out). The two balls that I use one week later rise the least. I didn't really see this problem with the non-sourdough version which was otherwise made identically---does anyone have any tips for dealing with this? Even the one that I use the next day doesn't have as much puff. I'm also finding that they lose their flavour somewhat after having been in the fridge.

The other issue is that, despite how relatively dry the dough feels after mixing/kneading, after the rises it becomes rather wet. Not to say that this is necessarily bad, but I'd like to try to make it drier to see how that changes the final result. I did not find this significant difference in apparent hydration using non-sourdough. I'm going to experiment with making the dough even drier, but I'd love to hear others' opinions on this.

Many thanks in advance! I love this forum!


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Sourdough gets wetter + loses puff if left in fridge for a week
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 03:02:33 PM »
Usually one is used the next day and two are used one week later. I'm finding that the first dough ball rises well and has good puff, but the others do not rise nearly as much

The gluten you developed during kneading is breaking down over time in the refrigerator. When gluten breaks down, the water it has bound-up is released. How long the balls will remain usable in the refrigerator is dependent on many things. My doughs generally ferment for 24-48 hours at room temp before balling and then proofing for a few hours. I'm not sure I've stored them in the refrigerator before proofing, but very often I store leftover, proofed balls in the fridge for a few days before they become unusable.

The reason you may have observed this effect with sourdoughs is that the acids produced by the lactobacilli may be breaking down the gluten over the week you have it in the refrigerator.

On a separate topic, you may want to consider a longer fermentation at a lower temp. You may like the flavor better.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 03:04:37 PM by Bill/SFNM »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Sourdough gets wetter + loses puff if left in fridge for a week
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 03:33:41 PM »
You kind of get a triple whammy on your gluten with sourdough. In addition to the acid produced by the lactobacilli directly breaking down the gluten as Bill noted, the acid environment also activates proteolytic enzymes that occur naturally in the flour itself (proteolytic enzymes break down protein – in this case gluten), and the bacteria also produce proteolytic enzymes of their own – these enzymes are probably a lot more effectively than the acids at breaking down the proteins. Enzyme activity is comparatively very low when using baker’s yeast which is probably why you noticed a difference in apparent wetness.

A week in the fridge is a really long time for sourdough. I suspect your lack of rise is the direct result of enzyme activity degrading the gluten network – weakening it and reducing its ability hold in CO2 and steam – therefore little rise. 

Craig
Pizza is not bread.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Sourdough gets wetter + loses puff if left in fridge for a week
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2012, 01:22:46 AM »
Thanks for the info. The increased wetness isn't that big a deal, but the fact that it puffs up well only on the first day is a bit of an issue. Is there any way to address that?

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Sourdough gets wetter + loses puff if left in fridge for a week
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 12:16:16 PM »
Thanks for the info. The increased wetness isn't that big a deal, but the fact that it puffs up well only on the first day is a bit of an issue. Is there any way to address that?

Don't make more than you can use on the first day?   ;)

All joking aside, that probably is the answer if you want to use that particular sourdough culture. You could try other sourdough cultures and see if they perform better given that requirement. Bakers yeast would work if the ability to hold the dough for days in the fridge is more important than the flavor.

CL
Pizza is not bread.


 

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