Author Topic: At what point do you make dough balls?  (Read 2477 times)

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Offline Pizza Nomad

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At what point do you make dough balls?
« on: November 24, 2008, 10:58:09 AM »
Dough experts:

When making dough, when is it best to ball the dough?  Before or after the cold rise?  I have been making batches, letting the entire batch cold rise in the fridge for at least 24 hrs.  I then ball the dough, put it back in the fridge overnight.    Is it more common to ball the dough right after mixing?   

Tom


Offline Art

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008, 11:14:31 AM »
I form the balls immediately after the dough comes out of the bread machine and then into the fridge asap. I believe doing it later would disturb the gluten structure that has already formed........or something like that.  ::)  Art
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Offline anton-luigi

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2008, 11:17:07 AM »
It seems to work better for me to ball immediately after making the batch, prior to refrigerating.  I think that the gluten structure gets  disturbed too much by the extra handling,  as posted by ART while I was typing this post!!! :)

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2008, 11:29:08 AM »
Don't know what is the "correct" way, but I do a 16 hour bulk room temp rise and then make dough balls which rise for 4 hours. Seems to work well for me. Don't actually time it anymore as a few hours in either direction doesn't seem to make much of a difference. Keeping out of the refrigerator is what keeps the final product in better shape. The flavor of the crust however improves slightly with a day or two in the fridge. I usually go with room temp all the way.


PNW

Offline anton-luigi

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2008, 11:43:03 AM »
PNW,  there is only a "slight" improvment in flavor with the cold fermenting?  Huh,  I may have to try the room rise as you are doing.  I seem to be getting a lot of rise with mine even in the fridge,  so I guess I will have to drop the yeast amounts,  and try your procedure.  To this point,  I have only done a minimum of 3 days of cold fermenting before cooking. 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2008, 12:38:54 PM »
If the dough is to be cold fermented, I would do the division and scaling up front, before going into the cooler/refrigerator. If the dough is to be fermented at room temperature only, I would do a bulk rise and divide and scale after the bulk rise, just as is done in Naples. However, the two dough formulations shouldn't be the same (the room temperature version will usually use less yeast).

Peter
« Last Edit: November 24, 2008, 12:44:03 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Verace

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2008, 05:07:09 PM »
Peter, would you mind elaborating on why a bulk rise is not recommended for a cold ferment?  Also why does the cold ferment use more yeast? 

Although not done in Naples, I prefer a cold ferment because it provides greater control over baking time (and therefore eating time!)

Verace

Offline November

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2008, 06:52:08 PM »
Peter, would you mind elaborating on why a bulk rise is not recommended for a cold ferment?

The only purpose of a bulk rise is to maximize the dough's internal thermal efficiency due to the larger mass to surface area (thermal interface) ratio.  In other words, when the yeast produce heat as a byproduct in the dough, the mass of dough with the smallest surface area will lose the least amount of heat over time.  Once you ball the dough, you increase the heat exchange rate through an increase in surface area.  This isn't a critical factor in fermentation when the yeast are in an environment that falls within normal (comfortable) functioning temperatures such as room temperatures (e.g. 68-77F).  It does become a critical factor when you place the yeast in an environment that is not optimized for their physiology, such as a cold refrigerator.

The point being, in any instance where you place something, anything, in a temperature controlled environment, you obviously want that something to reach the controlled temperature.  Placing a bulk mass of dough in the refrigerator is counterproductive to that end.

Also why does the cold ferment use more yeast?

The desired amount of yeast is not a result of temperature function; rather it is a result of time-dependent net activity.  Restated from above, yeast do not function optimally in a cold environment (the same as most organisms on planet earth).  Therefore to compensate for their lower activity over a predetermined time, more yeast are used to perform the same net activity as yeast in an optimal (warmer) environment for that same predetermined time.  However, if the time at two comparative activity levels is not the same, it may not be desired to increase the amount of yeast operating at a lower activity when such activity takes place over a longer period of time.

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Offline Essen1

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2008, 07:48:33 PM »
RN,

Great info, thanks for posting that.

But how does it work when a starter is used? Is it the same?
Mike

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Offline November

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2008, 08:21:36 PM »
But how does it work when a starter is used? Is it the same?

Well, unless you use a starter for something different than what you use yeast for (e.g. leavening, flavor), it's the same.


Offline Tiramisu

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2008, 12:12:38 AM »
Hello,

This is a bit off the subject but my dough balls flatten out into pancakes after just a few hours at room temp which is a pain because they "melt" into each other making it problem.  Is this normal or am I doing something wrong? I have been doing a 24 hour batch cold ferment, then form balls for a 4 hour room temp rise before using.  After reading this thread I may make the balls before putting into the fridge however.  Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2008, 08:01:55 PM »
Peter, would you mind elaborating on why a bulk rise is not recommended for a cold ferment?  Also why does the cold ferment use more yeast? 


Verace,

I see that November has already addressed your questions and there is little that I can add to improve upon his answers. However, there are also practical advantages to dividing a bulk dough into smaller dough balls to be cold fermented, and that is that it is easier to do the division while the dough is fairly warm, rather than cold out of the refrigerator or cooler.

A while back there was a discussion on essentially the same questions you raised, at the PMQ Think Tank at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=14180#14180. You might find the debate at that thread of interest. You will also note that the thread discusses the practical considerations in doing the division of a bulk dough into individual dough balls earlier rather than later.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2008, 08:11:49 PM »
Hello,

This is a bit off the subject but my dough balls flatten out into pancakes after just a few hours at room temp which is a pain because they "melt" into each other making it problem.  Is this normal or am I doing something wrong? I have been doing a 24 hour batch cold ferment, then form balls for a 4 hour room temp rise before using.  After reading this thread I may make the balls before putting into the fridge however.  Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Tiramisu,

It is hard to give a specific answer to your question without seeing your dough recipe, but I suspect that your dough has a high hydration, or low viscosity. Generally speaking, dough balls with a high hydration or with a lot of oil will spread in the manner you described. And it can easily happen within only a few hours. Over a longer fermentation period, the dough balls can spread even further because of the action of protease enzymes in the dough that attack the gluten structure, causing the dough to weaken and become more extensible. Most professional pizza operators tend to use hydration in the range of 55-60%, even for flours that can tolerate much higher hydration. The lower hydration levels help keep the spreading effect under better control, and also makes it easier for the pizza makers to open up the dough balls to make skins without experiencing excessive extensibility.

Peter


Offline Tiramisu

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Re: At what point do you make dough balls?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2008, 10:41:38 PM »
Hi Peter,

Thanks for the reply.  I am using the Varasano dough recipe which does have a very high hydration of 65%.  The only modification I have made to the recipe is using all Caputo flour.  The pancake effect has not been a huge deal but it does get annoying when they melt together. I ordered one of those big dough proofing boxes from a bakers supply joint to help combat the problem since they are much wider then the typical tupperware box I have been using.  My wife gets annoyed when I use every tupperware container in the house to store dough balls in so I decided to invest in a real proofing box.  Now if I could just afford a real temperature controlled proofing box.  I will ask Santa..

Thanks



 

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