Author Topic: Super Saver  (Read 1514 times)

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Super Saver
« on: October 30, 2004, 04:45:09 PM »
Super Saver
By Tom Lehmann
http://pizzatoday.com/production_articles.shtml?article=Njc4c3VwZXI2NzVzZWNyZXQ2ODI=

Proper dough management saves headaches.

Effective dough management and storage begins with the dough formulation. Dough that is made with high yeast levels (above 2.5 percent of the flour weight) tend to be less stable when exposed to variations in temperature during mixing and storage. Dough made with yeast levels in the range of 1 to 2 percent do better.

When exposed to even slightly higher than normal temperatures during mixing, the higher yeast levels can begin producing sufficient amounts of gas to change the dough density. This makes the dough more difficult to cool down efficiently.

Salt also has a bearing on the storage properties of the dough. Many have referred to salt as the policeman of the dough. This is in reference to its ability to regulate the yeast activity in much the same way a traffic cop regulates the flow of traffic. If salt is used at a low level, 1.5 percent of the flour weight or less, the yeast might decide to ferment your dough to its fullest extent in the shortest possible time. This can result in blown dough, sour or acid tasting crusts, or general inconsistency in flavor performance. When used at levels above 2.25 percent of the flour weight, expect to find a slightly salty taste in the finished crust.

You might also find the dough isn't rising fast enough. This can be a real problem in the production of pan-style thick crusts where waiting for the dough to rise in the pan is a problem already. It may not be as much of a problem with thin crusts. I've seen salt levels in some thin crust doughs as high as 3 percent of the flour weight. The reason for the high salt level in this case is to allow for longer dough storage at room temperatures without having the dough over-ferment. In a thin crust situation, you can get away with higher salt levels because you are not expecting as much dough rise. Since the thin crust will be a much smaller portion of the entire pizza, as opposed to a thick crust, the extra saltiness of the crust does not pose much of a flavor problem.Effective dough management and storage begins with the dough formulation. Dough that is made with high yeast levels (above 2.5 percent of the flour weight) tend to be less stable when exposed to variations in temperature during mixing and storage. Dough made with yeast levels in the range of 1 to 2 percent do better.

When exposed to even slightly higher than normal temperatures during mixing, the higher yeast levels can begin producing sufficient amounts of gas to change the dough density. This makes the dough more difficult to cool down efficiently.

Salt also has a bearing on the storage properties of the dough. Many have referred to salt as the policeman of the dough. This is in reference to its ability to regulate the yeast activity in much the same way a traffic cop regulates the flow of traffic. If salt is used at a low level, 1.5 percent of the flour weight or less, the yeast might decide to ferment your dough to its fullest extent in the shortest possible time. This can result in blown dough, sour or acid tasting crusts, or general inconsistency in flavor performance. When used at levels above 2.25 percent of the flour weight, expect to find a slightly salty taste in the finished crust.

You might also find the dough isn't rising fast enough. This can be a real problem in the production of pan-style thick crusts where waiting for the dough to rise in the pan is a problem already. It may not be as much of a problem with thin crusts. I've seen salt levels in some thin crust doughs as high as 3 percent of the flour weight. The reason for the high salt level in this case is to allow for longer dough storage at room temperatures without having the dough over-ferment. In a thin crust situation, you can get away with higher salt levels because you are not expecting as much dough rise. Since the thin crust will be a much smaller portion of the entire pizza, as opposed to a thick crust, the extra saltiness of the crust does not pose much of a flavor problem.

Crucial Gauge
By far, the most effective tool for dough managemet is temperature. With control of the dough temperature, yeast action can either be sped up or slowed down. Higher dough temperatures are generally brought into play to mature more rapidly. In this case, mix dough that is commonly 10 to 15 F warmer than normal. At this elevated temperature, the dough will begin fermenting somewhat faster than usual.

This is commonly referred to as an "emergency dough". Will it be as good as your regular dough? No. It will exhibit a tendency to blister and bubble. Also, the flavor might not be quite the same as your regular dough.

In contrast, mixing dough 10 to 15 F cooler can slow down the fermentation rate of the dough. I've done this on numerous occasions when there was still considerable traffic in and out of the cooler. With the increased traffic, the actual temperature of the cooler is somewhat higher. By mixing the dough a bit cooler, through the use of colder water or even ice water, the dough temperature can effectively be lowered to a point where it can be in the cooler long enough without developing excessive fermentation characteristics.

The operating temperature of the cooler, or even the freezer, also has an important bearing on dough management or storage capability. A cooler that is operating at too high (45 F or above) a temperature might allow the dough to ferment too long before effectively controlling the rate of fermentation. This will lead again to blown dough. A cooler that is operating between 35 and 40 F will effectively control the rate of fermentation somewhat faster and result in better performing dough over the following day(s).

If you happen to be one of those who freeze dough in a walk-in freezer, a chest, or even a reach-in freezer, operating at 0 F or below, you don't have too much to worry about. Under these conditions dough will have an effective shelf life of about 10-15 days. In order to get a longer shelf life out of the dough, you will have to depress the freezer temperature to something in the neighborhood of -20 to -35 F, and provide air movement around the product in the range of 600-800 linear feet per minute. These conditions constitute "blast" freezing, which is a whole different world than most pizzerias operate in.

If freezer temperature is higher than 0 F you will probably experience longer than desired freezing times to fully freeze the dough. This in itself is not that great of a problem. Of course, if your business is frozen dough, this can become a major problem in a hurry. This is the reason why I've always recommended to those who want to freeze their dough, for whatever reason, to keep their freezer set at -5 or even -10 F (it will significantly reduce the time needed to freeze the dough).

I've seen several cases where a store cannot effectively hold its dough for more than a single day without having it blow or collapse. In all cases the problem has been traced back to excessive yeast levels or elevated cooler temperature. Temperature control and dough formulation are both important aspects of a good dough management/storage program. By combining both of these carefully, you can maximize your ability to effectively store your dough for the longest period of time while still maintaining great performance.

Tom Lehmann is a director at the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas. If you have questions or comments, contact Jeremy White.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2004, 04:49:23 PM by Steve »
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