Author Topic: Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended  (Read 796 times)

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Offline norcoscia

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Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended
« on: December 18, 2013, 07:18:29 AM »
Hi, not sure this is the best place to post this question but here goes.

I have been making NY style pies and I have always used my fridge to retard my dough for 2 or 3 days. I'm happy with my results but I have seen many posts about retarding at higher temps for longer periods. I would like to see if that process will improve the flavor of my finished pie.

I noticed some have been using an ice chest with a block of ice to hold the dough in the 60 degree range for 4 or more days. I wanted to do something a bit easier since my schedule is sometimes not as predictable as I would like.

I found a small wine cooler on sale at best buy, the price was 69.00 (pict below). It seemed perfect for the task - I picked it up the other day and installed my temp logging probe - the unit is very quiet and holds a very constant temp (see graph below).

My question is - what is the best temp to develop optimum flavor - I can set it anywhere between 55 to about 63 degrees. I plan to use a small amount of starter I have been using for years (for bread).

Any help from those that have experimented with this process would be appreciated - like everything else I'm sure I'll adjust the recipe to my liking over time but looking for some good advice from the great folks here to get started....

Thanks in advance and I hope all of the members here are having a great holiday season!!!!

PS. Just FYI -- the cooler is still on sale at Best Buy (with free shipping) as of today...
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 07:23:20 AM by norcoscia »


Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 07:34:07 AM »
Norcoscia,  I can't help with your question, but did want to offer two things.  I bought the same cooler with the same idea in mind.  While the temp is very consistent, it does not use a compressor, so it is very quiet, but it does not have the power to drop the  temp all that much, so in the summer if it is in the 80s or above in my garage, it won't get the temp into the high 50's or low 60's,  IIRC it will move the temp about 15 degrees from ambient.  If you use it in an air conditioned space that is not an issue.  I also bought a small electric pad heater ( at a Walmart ) and a digital temperature control, and use it now as a proofer -  it works great to start your sourdough from the kit you buy from sourdough.com, and it also is helpful for proofing bread.   

Offline norcoscia

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Re: Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 07:47:01 AM »
Thanks barryvabeach - I plan on keeping this in the house, I know these solid state (peltier based) coolers only work (+ / -) well in a window around the ambient temperature. I think it should do the job for me at least until I figure out if this is something I would like to do long term.

I plan to keep a few wine bottles in the bottom to give it a little more thermal mass so it can get the dough to the target temp a bit quicker.  I'm really concerned it will not last - did you have any issues with reliability, is yours still working - BTW, nice idea with the blanket - this will made a good proof box - I may try that next time I decide to make some bread....

Offline Mmmph

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Re: Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2013, 09:12:02 AM »
I have a 28 bottle wine cooler i my house and I use it for dough regularly.
I set it for any temp between 54F-64F, depending on when I need the dough ready.
These are 2-3 day ferments, so flavorwise the doughs come out great.

Using a starter, I would recommend 60F and up to maintain the culture's robust activity.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2013, 11:27:53 AM »
I have a 28 bottle wine cooler i my house and I use it for dough regularly.
I set it for any temp between 54F-64F, depending on when I need the dough ready.
These are 2-3 day ferments, so flavorwise the doughs come out great.

Using a starter, I would recommend 60F and up to maintain the culture's robust activity.
Mmmph,

Have you experienced any conflicts between the wine temperatures and dough temperatures?

Peter

Offline Qarl

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Re: Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2013, 11:45:14 AM »
I use a tall thermoelectric wine cooler (32-bottle).  Works much better than using a plastic drink cooler with bottles of ice water.

I have two small humidor (hygrometer/thermometers) that I still directly on the shelf with the dough containers.  There definitely is a 2-3 temperature difference from the top to bottom (however, mine is tall, like a mini college dorm fridge).  I place mine in the middle.

There is a 3-degree temp difference between the electronic thermostat on the wine fridge and what the two cigar hygrometer/thermometers are reading.  So I just adjust the wine cooler's thermostate down a few degrees to compensate.

I have found that 60 degrees on the wine fridge thermostat equates to 63 degrees on the hygrometer/thermometer.

I use 63 degrees for an 18 hour ferment.

and like mmmph said, low to mid 50s for a 2-3 day ferment.

Offline Mmmph

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Re: Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2013, 11:51:03 AM »
Bill...I don't use it for wine. I'm not much of a red wine drinker. I keep a small stash of white wine in my daughter's old college mini fridge, along with bottled water.

Yeah, I have three refrigerators...I picked up the wine cooler on Craigslist from a couple who received it as a wedding gift and never used it. List price $300. I would never pay that much. I got mine for $150. I use it only for dough proofing, otherwise, it has a gallon jug of water in it.

http://www.wineenthusiast.com/wine-enthusiast-silent-28-bottle-wine-refrigerator-(stainless-steel-trim-door).asp
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Offline norcoscia

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Re: Retarding dough in a wine cooler - what temp is recommended
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2013, 07:28:32 AM »
Thanks Guys, good info - like yours, my units internal thermometer is off a few degrees but that is easy compensate for. I guess I'll try it at 61 for a few days. I usually use IDY or ADY and pull from the fridge 1 or 2 hours before I'm ready to make the pie. I have noticed others on this board (that use starter) take the dough out of the cooler 5-12 hours before making the pie - I hope I don't mess this up... but I can't wait to try it this way to see if it does make a difference I will notice....


 

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