Author Topic: pre-ferment versus multi-day refrigeration  (Read 2371 times)

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Offline DoouBall

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pre-ferment versus multi-day refrigeration
« on: May 20, 2009, 01:31:15 AM »
If one is using commercial yeast alone,  I wonder if there is any difference between using a pre-ferment such as a poolish to enhance the flavor of the dough, and doing a straight dough method with a 2-3 day rise in the refrigerator. Does the long refrigerator rise achieve the same flavor goals as the pre-ferment or not?

What I would like to know is, what that flavor difference would be(more sour, more fragrant, more complex flavor etc.) and whether it is better for pizza making( Neapolitan and New York style) to use a pre-ferment or straight dough with a very long refrigerator rise. I understand that using pre-ferments is actually more common in breadmaking then pizza making and I'm wondering if it is just because of practicality in a large business or because it's actually unnecessary for making a terrific pizza.

Thanks,

Alex


Offline TronCarter

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Re: pre-ferment versus multi-day refrigeration
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2009, 11:23:34 AM »
I think the differences in taste between a poolish and refrigerator ferment is up to the person tasting it.  It is certainly simple enough to try both of them and see what you think.  I do a bench / refrigerator ferment for pizza and poolish for bread.   

I think for mass produced pizza, the refrigerator ferment is chosen because it is easier and I believe that chains are less concerned with final dough flavor because there is sauce, toppings, and cheese that mask a lot of the subtle flavors.  Bread on the other hand has only itself for flavor and therefore more effort (i.e. poolish) is put into them.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: pre-ferment versus multi-day refrigeration
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2009, 11:38:36 AM »
Alex,

Your question about the differences between using a preferment versus a long-fermented dough is a good one. Unfortunately, there is no simple or easy answer to that question. To give you an example, a poolish that is classically made comprises only flour, water and commercial yeast. The flour and water are used in equal weights, and the amounts of yeast are usually fairly small. For example, for a classic poolish that uses water at 60 degrees F and is to be prefermented at a room temperature of 80-85 degrees F for about 3 hours, the yeast (IDY) is about 0.5% of the poolish flour. The corresponding values of yeast (again, IDY) for a prefermentation period of 7-8 hours is about 0.23% of the poolish flour, and for 12-15 hours it is 0.033% of the poolish flour. However, over time, people have dramatically altered the characteristics of what they often refer to as a "poolish". For example, people use different amounts of the poolish (some even change the ratios of flour and water), they drastically change the yeast quantities, they use different water temperatures and prefermentation temperatures and times, and they add other ingredients to the poolish. Some even refrigerate the poolish. Each combination will have its own different and unique effect on the dough (including its strength) and the finished crust characteristics, including the taste and flavor of the finished crust, and its color, texture and aroma. Depending on the particular form of the "poolish", and the amounts and types of acids and other byproducts produced, the flavor of the finished crust can be mild, pronounced, sweet or sour. Some of the flavors might even be considered objectionable.

I understand that there are some pizza operators who have used preferments in their dough making, although they are quite rare. On occasion, Tom Lehmann has suggested methods and dough formulations based on preferments. One example, for a "take-and-bake" dough, is described in Reply 362 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg23239/topicseen.html#msg23239. Tom has also discussed what he calls a "sponge" preferment application at the PMQ Think Tank at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=38304#38304. I actually used the latter "sponge" method in connection with my interpretation of JerryMac's NY style dough recipe and reported on the results at Reply 28 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6515.msg62814.html#msg62814. I think most commercial pizza operators stay away from using preferments because of the complexity and time involved in preparing and managing them. Also, most pizza operators use low-cost help to make the dough for their operations, so considerable training would be required, much of which would be wasted because of high labor turnover in pizza operations. Where you are more likely to see use of preferments is by artisan bread makers. They understand the biochemistry of dough much better than others and they also plan the use of their preferments by including special temperature and humidity controlled rooms for preparing and maintaining their preferments.

I personally am a big fan of using preferments. I like the flavors that they impart to the finished crusts. I have been able to get comparable (and sometimes even better) crust flavors from a long, cold fermentation, but it takes a dough with more than just a few days of cold fermentation. It will usually take from six to fifteen or more days of cold fermentation.

If preferments intrigue you, you might want to take a look at the following threads:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5851.msg49940.html#msg49940,

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6515.msg55855.html#msg55855,

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7327.msg63267.html#msg63267, and

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4625.0.html.

Peter

« Last Edit: May 20, 2009, 11:44:58 AM by Pete-zza »