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Offline pythonic

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Questions about different fermentation methods
« on: June 24, 2012, 12:17:20 AM »
Can someone please elaborate on the end results of these fermentation methods.  I am trying to understand why texture, flavor and fermentation times is what it is.

Methods:

1.  15hr poolish w/25% yeast and 100% water
Cold fermented for 48 hours.  Will this doughball mimic the flavor of #2 because of the long preferment (poolish)?


2.  Doughball with less yeast for extended cold rise (5-7 days). Why is flavor so unbelievable using this method?


3.  Doughball with normal amount of yeast for say 72hrs.  Why doesn't flavor mimic #2 since it has more yeast and fully fermented quicker?
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Offline scott123

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2012, 01:55:44 AM »
Nate,

Time = enzyme activity = flavor

Yeast, at least, viable, live yeast, is actually a flavor inhibitor, as, the more you use, the quicker the dough ferments/the sooner it's ready, producing less enzyme activity/less flavor.  When you drop the yeast and extend the ferment, that's when the enzymes have a chance to do their thing.

A huge part of the flavor equation is protease.  The amylase enzyme in dough is breaking down damaged starch into sugar, but protease is breaking down gluten into amino acids.  This gluten to amino acid journey is similar to how soy sauce is made.  It's a bit of an oversimplification, but when you drop the yeast and extend the ferment, you're adding soy sauce to the dough. Soy sauce, as you well know, is a powerful flavor enhancer.

It's these soy sauce-ish amino acids that I believe produce the darker hue associated with longer fermented dough.

Beyond the production of amino acids, you're also allowing more amylase activity with longer ferments, which is generating more residual sugar.

One thing to bear in mind regarding fermentation times is that longer/more flavorful isn't necessarily better.  As you push the fermentation clock to longer than 3 days, you'll end up with a dough that some people might love, but others might not. Super long ferments are not for everyone.  When you push dough that far, it stops being the relatively blank canvas that showcases the toppings and starts becoming an intensely flavorful component on it's own.

Another aspect of the potential inferiority of really long ferments is the fact that the protease activity produces a lot of damaged gluten.  The damaged gluten can hinder oven spring as well as produce a knobbly appearance, which can be good or bad, depending on what you're striving for.

Now, when I talk about longer than 3 day ferments being extreme, it's in the context of malted flour doughs. As you get into unmalted flour, enzyme-deprived Neapolitan doughs, you've got a bit more leeway. They don't break down as fast and they don't generate as much flavor. You still have to be careful, though, since additional sugar generation can produce a smaller non-burning window on a Neapolitan bake time. When there's too much sugar in a Neapolitan dough in a WFO, you blink and the crust gets burned.

When I first started doing longer ferments, I became very excited about the additional flavor I was getting, but, over time, I came to perceive it a bit differently.  When I set a fermentation target, I'm literally saying to myself 'how much sauce sauce (and sugar) do I want to add to my dough?'  It's as if, by choosing a fermentation time, I'm measuring soy sauce with a measuring spoon. Some is good, more is not necessarily better.  For me, same doughs are completely flavorless, but, longer than 3 days are a bit overpowering.

The commercial arena matches up with my philosophy as well.  You'll never find a domestic pizzeria that ferments malted flour doughs longer than 3 days.  While a large part of that decision rests on spacial concerns and logistics, I also believe that a majority of the public would be off-put by the intensity of flavor of a longer than 3 day dough.

Offline pythonic

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 02:20:02 AM »
Scott,

Thank you for your excellent response.  I feel like the smartest person in the world just answered my questions, lol.  

Would a 15hr poolish and a 3-4 day cold rise match the flavor intensity of a 7-8 day cold rise with a small amount of yeast?   I love a crust with tons of flavor.  I have a few of glutenboy's formulated doughballs in the fridge right now but it's a long time to wait.

Nate
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 09:46:35 AM »
Nate,

Did you mean 0.25% yeast in example #1 rather than 25%? Also, can you tell us how much yeast you used in examples #2 and #3?

Peter

Offline scott123

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 11:16:25 PM »
Nate, thanks for your incredibly kind words.

I may not be that smart, though, because your followup question is making my head spin  ;D

Generally speaking, many things that make yeast happy, tend to make enzymes happy. Yeast are living organisms, but they can't swim, and enzymes are molecules, so both do their traveling via water activity.  More water = more yeast activity = more enzyme activity.  Enzymes also see a similar boost in activity at higher temps, although their activity may not be as curtailed as yeast is at lower refrigerator temps.  For me, those are the bigger players that drive the enzyme and yeast trains.  Dissolved salt, pH and alcohol generation most likely impact yeast and enzymes in different ways, but my research into them is only preliminary.

Your 15 hr. poolish, if it's at room temp and in bulk, might generate the equivalent enzyme activity of 4 days of cold fermentation, but, to be honest, I really don't know.   I don't work much with pre-ferments.  If 7-8 days is kind of a long time to wait for your dough to proof but you're still looking for the same intensity of flavor, then I might go with a completely yeast free room temp 50% flour 100% water 1 day preferment, then combine all the ingredients and proof 2 days in the fridge.  1 days at room temp with that much water will be very high enzyme activity and should give you lots of flavor- if it doesn't go with 2 room 2 fridge.

This will give you a more volatile dough, though, as room temp will change.

Offline pythonic

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012, 11:20:58 PM »
Nate,

Did you mean 0.25% yeast in example #1 rather than 25%? Also, can you tell us how much yeast you used in examples #2 and #3?

Peter

Pete,

I meant 25% of the total yeast used in the poolish for doughball #1.

#1: 0.50% yeast
#2: 0.18% yeast
#3: Do not have an exact number, was just trying to lay down a scenario.
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Offline pythonic

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2012, 11:29:54 PM »
Scott,

I guess what I'm really trying to find out is what method will produce the best flavor without having to step into the sourdough culture arena.  I understand that a poolish is used to get added flavor faster but will that flavor be equal to a long cold rise dough with little yeast like Glutenboy (Matt) has produced?

Also, if I cut down the total yeast added to my already prepared poolish I should be able to do an even longer cold rise and develop even better flavors?  Am I thinking this right?
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Offline scott123

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2012, 11:49:02 PM »
Nate,

You're looking for more flavor than what you're getting in 7 days?

Less yeast/longer ferment, either by extending the cold fermentation at the end or tacking on a preferment at the beginning will give you more flavor, although, bear in mind what I said before about gluten atrophy.

I've never heard anyone doing this, but if you really want to drive up the flavor without damaging the gluten much, instead of generating a wheat based soy sauce during fermentation, you could literally add soy sauce to the dough. Or you could simplify it even further and add a little msg. Some soy sauce or a little msg along with a 7 day cold ferment will give you dough that will put hair on your chest.  Another thing you can do to supplement the flavor even further is push the salt a bit.  For NY, 2% is the upper end of the spectrum, but perfectly acceptable. Glutamates (from enzyme derived amino acids, soy sauce or msg) magnify the perception of salt, though, so, 2% might seem a little salty.

Offline pythonic

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 12:01:23 AM »
Well I've never went past 4 days but that was including the 15hr room temp poolish so I do not know how many days that equates to.  I currently have 4 doughballs formulated after glutenboy's thread and will eat them on day 5-8.  His dough lacks sugar and oil and has a higher salt content so the flavor should be somewhat different then my present go to dough.  I'm just not sure if the flavor difference is coming from the yeast or other ingredients since I'm already using a long poolish.

Will higher bake temps affect flavor as well.

Also, what about barley malt syrups and malted beers?   Can these be played around with as well?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 12:32:02 AM by pythonic »
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Offline scott123

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 12:26:20 AM »
As you push the oven temps higher (or, more importantly, use more conductive stone materials at the same temp you're using now), what once was browning becomes more uneven and morphs into char.  Char brings a lot of flavor to crusts, especially Neapolitan doughs.  You can always extend the bake time, and instead of getting, say, golden tan, you can achieve golden brown or even deep brown, and that will certainly be more flavorful, but the kind of browning you get in the 5-10 minute realm has an entirely different flavor to the charring you get between 1 and 4 minutes. Both are worth experimenting with, though (a 5 minute bake pushed to a 7 minute dark brown bake and a more conductive stone + broiler to give you 3 minute char-y bakes)

Edit: or using the convection cycle during the bake- that will ramp up your browning considerably.

I don't believe in adding beer to dough.  By the time you use enough beer to provide a substantial amount of flavor to the final crust, you've added enough alcohol to impact yeast growth.  It's also a waste of good beer.

Barley malt, especially a nice dark syrup or powder, will definitely add more flavor to the crust.  If you want to push this even farther, there's molasses. I would start with a regular molasses such as grandma's, and, if you're feeling adventurous graduate to blackstrap.  Blackstrap can be kind of bitter/licorice-y, though, so I'd be careful.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 12:28:58 AM by scott123 »


Offline pythonic

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2012, 12:38:03 AM »
I'm currently at 5 minute bakes right now but the cheese starts to burn a little when I get into the 6 minute range.  

I've played around with the convection a little and it seems to over crisp the rim before the cheese is fully done.  Crust looks ready near the 4 minute mark.  Maybe add less cheese?

It sounds like I may have to join the world of sourdough to achieve what I am looking for maybe.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2012, 10:05:48 AM »
Pete,

I meant 25% of the total yeast used in the poolish for doughball #1.

#1: 0.50% yeast
#2: 0.18% yeast
#3: Do not have an exact number, was just trying to lay down a scenario.


Nate,

Since all of your examples call for using commercial yeast, it is quite likely that all of the scenarios will produce the same or similar byproducts of fermentation but in different amounts, and possibly with some unique interactions (including with bacteria such as lactobacillus). The only way that I know of to be able to equate the three scenarios you listed is to conduct actual experiments. I am unaware of any mathematical algorithms that will give you the answers. FYI, preferments are used by bakers to do some of the heavy lifting and, as a result, shorten the dough production times. That way, when a baker shows up at work at 4:00 AM to make the dough, the preferment is there waiting for him. The production time is measured from the point the preferment is added to the mixer bowl, not when the preferment was made. The same or similar results from using a preferment might be achieved with the proper dough formulation with the right amount of yeast and a longer cold fermentation time.

If you are interested in achieving significantly better crust flavors without using any natural leavening system and only flour, water, yeast, salt and maybe some oil, and no sugar, then the only way I know how to do that is described in the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg33251.html#msg33251. Although I think that that thread is worthy of reading by those who are interested in the technical and science aspects of dough making, it is a long thread. To shorten the time for you to get up to speed, should you wish to do so, you might want to start with the post at Reply 20 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11344.msg106401.html#msg106401. As you will see from the links provided in that post, I was able to make doughs with up to 23 days of cold fermentation. There was no penalty in terms of oven spring, no observable gluten damage, excellent crust coloration (even without any added sugar), a natural sweetness in the crusts in some cases, and with excellent flavors (except for the 23-day old dough). The crust flavors were reminiscent of what I achieved before using natural leavening systems. There was a lot of mystery in what I did, and to this day I can't explain it, although member November did try to help explain what might have happened. All I know is what I did, and memorialized in my posts. I believe that Norma holds the forum record for length of cold fermentation (I believe it is 25 days) but in her case she was using a milk kefir. Most people are unlikely to have the patience to wait a few weeks to use their doughs, although we have some members, like Glutenboy and some of his acolytes, who apparently are willing to wait a week or two.

I agree with scott123 that not everyone will like the results of using a very long cold fermentation window. In my tests, I was using the Lehmann NY style dough formulation, which is essentially a commercial formulation for making a NY "street" style pizza. But what I did with my long fermentation methods was to make the pizzas more like "artisan" pizzas. So, those who favor a classic NY "street" style pizza might not be satisfied with a more artisan style. Since you addressed your original post to Tom Lehmann, I thought that you might be interested in what he had to say when a member over at the PMQ Think Tank once asked Tom what was the longest cold fermentation period he was aware of. You can read the questions posed to Tom and his reply at Reply 99 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8341.msg75183/topicseen.html#msg75183. I might add that I had independently conducted my own research of posts at the PMQTT to see what was most common in terms of fermentation windows and, like scott123 mentioned, three days of cold fermentation was pretty much the max for a basic dough. I had seen as high as five days, but that was rare. If Tom responds to your opening post, I don't think he will be recommending that you go out weeks of cold fermentation. He might suggest using a natural leavening system, or maybe a preferment of some sort, or maybe adding other items to the dough along the lines that you mentioned.

Since yeast quantity was mentioned, I might add that yeast itself can impart flavor to a finished crust. However, according to Prof. Calvel, you need about 2% fresh yeast. He never said in his book (The Taste of Bread) what amounts of dry yeast might be equivalent, but I would estimate around 0.70% for IDY and an equivalent amount for ADY. However, at those levels of yeast, whether fresh or dry, you will not be able to achieve a long fermentation window. Some people also use dead yeast for flavor purposes but that is not something that I have seen members on this forum do.

If you rule out using a long fermentation window, there are indeed things that you can do with your dough to increase the final crust flavors. The possibilities are legion. To assist you in this regard, you might want to read the PMQTT thread at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=22750#p22750. That thread is one of the most popular ever, from a page view standpoint, at the PMQTT. Also, if you use the forum's search features, you will be able to find discussions of any ingredient you might want to add to a dough, along with discussions of preferments and natural leavening system.  

Peter
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 10:29:27 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline scott123

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2012, 01:28:17 PM »
I'm currently at 5 minute bakes right now but the cheese starts to burn a little when I get into the 6 minute range.  

I've played around with the convection a little and it seems to over crisp the rim before the cheese is fully done.  Crust looks ready near the 4 minute mark.  Maybe add less cheese?

It sounds like I may have to join the world of sourdough to achieve what I am looking for maybe.

When it comes to intensity of flavor, I'm not sure that sourdough is buying you any more than an extreme ferment.  We're also talking about sourness vs. umami/maillard.  It's kind of apples and oranges.  Now... you might be able to combine sourdough with really long ferments and get the whole enchilada, but I can't guarantee it.  Remember I talked about pH and enzymes?  It's quite possible that as the acid of the dough increases, enzyme activity drops Perhaps one of the more experienced NY sourdough people can chime in here (Johnnydoubleu, Norma, etc.) but my impression of sourdough is that it tends to be sour and not hugely umami-ish. In other words, as you extend sourdough fermentation, you don't end up with flavor enhancing amino acids, you just end up with more and more sourness.

Cheese really shouldn't be burning in the 6 minute realm.  Are you using brick whole milk mozzarella?  If you are, then I'd drizzle a bit of oil on it to help bubbling/discourage browning.  I'd also mist it with some water before it goes into the oven.

Oil will also assist the cheese in melting/bubbling when you're using the convection feature.  You might want to try adding less cheese as well.

Getting the cheese to bubble the right amount while still getting the right coloration to the crust has been one of the hardest aspects of pizzamaking for me.  The thickness factor has to be perfect, the sauce quantity/cheese quantity has to be on the money. The cheese has to be fresh.  The heat has to come from below and above at the appropriate times.  The cheese has to have enough fat or fat has to be added (cheese almost always melts flawless in a pepperoni setting). The dough has to end up with the right amount of residual sugar to produce the right browning in the right amount of time. The sauce has to have the right amount of water content. It's really quite complex.

It gets a lot simpler with a commercial pizzeria cheese such as Grande, but even that hast to be treated the right way to get the best flavor out of it.

Offline norma427

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Re: Questions about different fermentation methods
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2012, 06:25:21 PM »


Perhaps one of the more experienced NY sourdough people can chime in here (Johnnydoubleu, Norma, etc.) but my impression of sourdough is that it tends to be sour and not hugely umami-ish. In other words, as you extend sourdough fermentation, you don't end up with flavor enhancing amino acids, you just end up with more and more sourness.


Scott,

I never ended up with a real sourness in the crusts of sourdough pizzas until yesterday.  I think that was because I had not fed the starter for a week and it was out at room temperature.  I only fed the Ischia starter two times in a day and did not discard any of the starter.  It was active, but I guess because I didnít discard any, that might be why the sourness stayed in the crust of the finished pizza.  I didnít really think the crumb was sour, (but slightly) but do like a less sourdough taste in any pizza.  I think sourdough pizzas are different somehow than when using other yeasts, or even doing longer cold ferments.  I have tried starters in NY style, Greek Style, Pizzarium, and Neapolitian pizzas.  I found I like controlled temperature proofing to give the best taste in the crust fpr sourdough pizzas.  Maybe other members might not agree with me, but for me that is what I like.  I think a starter does give a better taste in the crust than a long fermentation.  Even my cold fermented dough (25 days) I made with the milk kefir starter (cold fermented), didnít really taste sour.

Maybe you should play around with some sourdough pizzas and see if you like them.   ;D   I always have extra starters I throw away from the discard.  If you want to try some, let me know.  

Norma    
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