Yesterday, we had a pizza party for a family gathering. Aside from the "usual" sourdough pies (these were 48 hour ferments similar to TXCraig1's approach), I also made 2 doughs using Brian Spangler's well reputed recipe that he has been so kind to share with us on this forum.
I will start with the error I made in case it is relevant. I miscalculated the flour and water for the poolish and ended up with much less yeast (perhaps 1/3 of that in the recipe) than required in the recipe. So, after 13 hours the poolish was still underdeveloped. I let it keep going for another 4 hours in the oven with the light on (say 78-80 degrees) and the poolish started showing some bubbles by then. Still not very active compared to pictures I had seen, but ok enough that I went on with it.
I then followed the recipe which calls for a grand total of about 0.05% IDY (as in here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11994.msg124161.html#msg124161
Brian's description says he starts the dough at about 10:30 AM, and balls it up at about 2:30 for service that evening. Assuming the average guest is around 7 pm, that would be about 8 1/2 hours at room temperature (I believe he said he is at 74 degrees).
To hedge my bet and out of concern that this was too low a yeast level, I actually used about 0.07% or so. Coincidently, I also started at about 10:30 am, etc. At about 4:00 or so, after having balled the dough at 2:30, I saw very, very few bubbles in the containers. Into the oven with the light on (again 78-80 degrees). That helped. By the time I baked at about 6:30 for one dough and 7:00 for the other, the doughs had some bubbles but much less than what I usually observe, etc.
Everyone loved the Spangler style pies. The dough opened very readily to 13 inch pies for 250 gram doughs and handled so very nicely. The crowd liked these pies "better" but I have nothing to conclude there since the flours were also different as were the toppings.
So, I am thrilled to have tried out Brian's dough and would be eager to go at it again.
Two areas in which I could use the wisdom of the crowd here:
1 It seems that if I had not upped the yeast a bit and then upped the fermentation temperature, the dough would not have been ready. Any ideas why? Is it because the poolish was not fully developed? The only other thing I could think of is my yeast may be getting older? (the expiration is 3/14 and it has been in the fridge for the last few months [maybe a year?] as I have been using it). I want to get a handle on what to do differently next time besides getting the poolish yeast level right.
2. I would like to explore the idea of preparing the dough including the stretch and folds (or at least some of them) and then putting the dough in the fridge for use the next day or so. I usually do not have time during the day to be around for 3 or 4 hours of stretch and folds in late morning/early afternoon. Perhaps I would prepare the poolish early in the morning, prepare the
dough that night and then put it in the fridge. If I did this, can anyone suggest what the yeast level should change to? I am thinking it could be as much as 0.3% to 0.4% IDY for one day, 0.25% or lower for a few days. If doing so, then this would be a combination of both a cold fermented dough and a poolish dough. Is that redundant/unnecessary in terms of dough and flavor devleopment?