Author Topic: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long  (Read 546 times)

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Offline Hillbilly

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How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« on: January 30, 2014, 01:34:34 PM »
Is there a way to tell if the dough has been in the fridge too long and is no longer usable?


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 03:00:31 PM »
Hillbilly,

There is no simple or easy answer to that question. It all depends on the type of dough, its ingredients, and how the dough is made and managed. But, within that sweeping statement, the two factors that most govern the lifespan of the dough are yeast quantity and the temperature of the dough as it ferments. Other factors like the hydration of the dough and the amount of salt and sugar (if used) can also affect lifespan but if their values are within their normal ranges, they play a much lesser role.

I and other members have made dough that cold fermented for over twenty days and was usable. According to member November, researchers at North Dakota State University concluded that a yeast dough was usable up to about thirty days. Most people strive for a window of usability of about one to three days. To achieve that window, one would normally select an amount of yeast and control fermentation temperatures so that the dough is ready at the desired time. If too little yeast is used, the window of usability will increase. If too much yeast is used, the window will be shorter and the dough will be ready sooner than desired. It might even overferment and be unusable. There can be clues as to when a given dough has fermented too long, but the clues can differ from one dough to another. Most people look for excessive bubbling of the dough, particularly at the sides and bottom of the dough storage container, as signs of having gone too far. A ballooning of the dough by triple or more, especially if the dough shows signs of weakening and impending collapse, is another sign of the dough having gone too far. If a depression formed by a finger inserted into the dough remains after the finger is removed, that is also a fairly good sign that the dough is ready to be used.

Peter

Offline Hillbilly

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Re: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 03:53:24 PM »
Thanks Peter. I figured it wasn't going to be a simple answer.

I used this formula:
Bread Flour 100%
Water 63%
IDY 0.2%
Salt 1.75%
Oil 2%
Sugar 1%

It was mixed in a bread maker and allowed to rise until the beeper sounded, around 1 1/2 hrs then into oiled containers and into the fridge. That was less than a week ago and the dough smells wonderful and still looks ok (no mould anyways  ;). I'm going to use this afternoon and hope for the best. Just in case I made some emergency dough balls. :) The finger test you mentioned suggests the dough is definitely ready.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 04:14:23 PM »
Hillbilly,

A bread maker can impart a fair amount of heat to a dough, especially if the knead time is long and also if the bread maker is allowed to go through a complete cycle. That is true even with the relatively small amount of yeast you used. There are some bread makers that can have the heat mechanism diengaged so that the dough can be kneaded without heat, but it does not sound like you have that feature. So, unless there was a reasonable period of time before refrigerating the dough to allow it to give up some of its heat to the room, it perhaps was quite warm and already fermenting when it went into the refrigerator.

Please let us know how things turn out.

Peter

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 06:33:02 PM »
If it turns grey and water on the outside of it then that dough needs to be used for a rolled out thin crust pizza...seriously.  ;)

Bob
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 07:51:48 PM »
If it turns grey and water on the outside of it then that dough needs to be used for a rolled out thin crust pizza...seriously.  ;)

Bob

Bob,

I don't know about the water part but a grey dough is not necessarily the kiss of death. See, for example, the roughly 12-day dough ball shown below and also in the second photo at Reply 29 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg36081.html#msg36081. Even the bubble in that photo, which night have suggested overfermentation to the uninitiated, was harmless. The area around the bubble was firm.

Peter


Offline Hillbilly

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Re: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 08:42:50 PM »
Verdict is in. I cooked up the old dough ball and one I made this afternoon. The grandsons ate the one with today's dough. The wife an I ate the older dough, which wasn't grey. I have very little experience with dough or pizza making so my judgement won't be the same as yours but the wife and I both liked it. The old dough ball had more flavor but both pizzas were pretty good. My 10 year old grandson ate 3/4 of one and the rest of that one was eaten by his little brother, who didn't like the "burned bottom". He has to look and check it out. Otherwise I'm sure it wouldn't have been an issue. The wife and ate the one with the older dough, except for 3 pieces (tomorrows lunch for me) and that was good. Both the old and new doughs stretched easier than some of the others I did a few days ago. Maybe I'm starting to get the hang of it. Time will tell.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2014, 03:10:30 PM »
Hillbilly,

I stumbled across this article by Tom Lehmann and thought that you might find it of interest:

http://www.pizzatoday.com/uncategorized/2012-august-dough-shelf-life/

Peter


Offline Hillbilly

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Re: How to Tell if Dough's Been in the Fridge too Long
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 05:16:13 PM »
Thanks Peter. That was a good read and I learned a lot.


 

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