Author Topic: How long to ferment?  (Read 1890 times)

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Offline billneild

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How long to ferment?
« on: March 20, 2006, 10:25:45 PM »
I just made the second of two NY style crusts.  The dough for the first was in the fridge for about 9 hours and the second for 55 hours.  Both crusts were based on 63% hydration and the dough hit the fridge at about 85 degrees.  Both crusts were excellent and couldn't detect any real difference in the way they handled, cooked, or tasted.  Does a cold ferment beyond a few hours add much?  If it does what am I missing?

Bill


Offline Randy

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Re: How long to ferment?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2006, 07:13:03 AM »
What brand and type of flour did you use?  The recipe you used would be helpful.

Offline billneild

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Re: How long to ferment?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2006, 08:11:55 AM »
Randy - KA bread flour.  The recipe is pretty standard for this forum.  15" pie, 10 oz. flour, 6.3 oz. water, 1/2 TB EVOO (added at end), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 pack ADY.  Mixed in food processor.  As I said, the crust was as near perfect as I've ever made (due largely to Pete-eeza and Chiguy helpful comments when I first came to this site).  My question is what is supposed to be the difference in long versus short cold ferment times?  For that matter, is there a difference between cold and warm ferments?

Bill

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How long to ferment?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2006, 09:12:08 AM »
Bill,

Those are good questions. With a longer fermentation there is a greater opportunity for the biochemical activity to produce a dough that is more extensible (stretchy) and a crust that has more flavor, better texture and greater aroma. How long it will take to produce these results will usually depend on the particular formulation and the dough management procedures used. Someone with a good palate will usually be able to detect the difference between the results of a short fermentation and a long fermentation. However, as we get older, our tastebuds become less sensitive, so we won't always be able to detect some of the subtle differences.

The differences between a room-temperature and a cold-fermented dough will usually be time related. The same kinds of biochemical actions take place but the rates and extent of the biochemical actions will be different because cold fermentation slows down the fermentation process considerably. Undoubtedly there are some differences even from a biochemical activity standpoint but given enough time, I suspect that a properly managed cold fermented dough will end up similar to a room-temperature fermented dough in terms of dough texture, crust flavor, etc. What is often not noted is that cold fermentation is often used as tool for dough management, since it gives the pizza operator greater control over the dough, helps with dough inventory management, etc. Otherwise, the pizza operator will have to decide at the end of the day what to do with all the leftover unused room-temperature fermented dough balls.

Peter

Offline Randy

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Re: How long to ferment?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2006, 10:01:01 AM »
It sounds like you have your basic dough in good working order so I will offer a layman's view of what Peter just pointed out.  Off the top of my head I would say they are three, no four ways to make a jump in flavor.  I have listed them in order of bang for the buck you might say but number 1 and 2 are interchangeable depending on your pizza goals.
1. High gluten flour with a cold rise.
2. A starter using AP, 00, or bread flour.
3. Addition of sugar and or honey
4.  The amount of char when baking

Of course a wood fired oven can add another level altogether.

Stick with your basic recipe and experiment until your taste are satisfied.

Randy
« Last Edit: March 22, 2006, 07:53:19 AM by Randy »

Offline chiguy

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Re: How long to ferment?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2006, 12:55:50 PM »
 Hi Bill.
 A refridgerated dough should be retarded for between 12-72hours, 12 hours being the minumum before it is ready for use. The finished dough temperature should be between 72-84F. The fact that you are at 85F on you're finished dough temperature, you're refridge temp and possible the amount of yeast(?) you used is good reason why you were able to use  the dough after 9 hours. You can all but forget about using the retarded dough after  only a few hours though. These temps and time frames have been tested and set by baking professionals in the pizza industry.  Like Peter described, the cooler temperatures slows down the fermenation process considerably and for these reasons there is a minimum time in the cooler.
 Bill, i think you answered you're own question, you do not detect a difference in the finished crust after the initial retard.  As for me and others who i have tested this theory on time and time again. We have notice a taste difference in the finished crust with a retarded dough at different times of use. It can be more or less depending on the formula used. One more thing i should mention is that no one is right or wrong when it comes to tasebuds.     Chiguy   
« Last Edit: March 21, 2006, 01:00:04 PM by chiguy »

Offline billneild

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Re: How long to ferment?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2006, 03:59:56 PM »
Thanks to you all.  I am curious as to whether any of the tastings were done in a side by side blind manner in the same way as a wine tasting.  I won't be having a large number of people over to something like this for several months, but perhaps someone else has.  I agree with Peter that there is an element of dough management involved.   I can remember when we would be getting toward the end of the night and have to make the call on whether to pull a tray of dough from the cooler or if what we had brought to room temp. was adequate.  One wouldn't want to be throwing all that dough away and the dough prepped and in the cooler was good for several days but it wasn't easy to stop it if started to warm up!


 

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