I hear you, but I am still having a difficult time getting my mind around the process. Maybe if I walk through my thought processes, something will come back to you.
In thinking through this subject in relation to a commercial operation, I would think that the easiest way of introducing flavors into a dough, along with some collateral textural and aroma attributes, would be to use scrap dough in the new dough. The scrap dough could even be the regular dough that was set aside from the rest of the dough for several days in order to intensify the contributions of that dough when added to the additional ingredients of flour, water, salt, yeast, etc. to make the dough as part of the final mix. Normally, this scrap dough would use commercial yeast, as would the final dough as a separate addition, since the leavening power of the scrap dough would be diminished after several days. This method would have the advantage that it would be easy to instruct workers, especially low-cost labor, how to make the dough reliably and consistently. And one could perhaps use a lot of the scrap dough in the process of making the final dough from which the pizzas are to be made, with corresponding increases in the flavor, texture and aroma profiles of the finished dough and pizza.
If the scrap dough method is ruled out because it uses commercial yeast, that means that one would also have to rule out the classic preferments like poolish, sponge and biga because they are also based on using commercial yeast. Classic old dough (and chef
and pate fermentee
) methods based on using commercial yeast would also have to be ruled out.
I think this pretty much leaves us with two methods, a “natural” old dough method and a mother dough method, both of which are based on using wild yeast. Both of these forms were described briefly by pizzanapoletana (Marco) in one of his early posts on this forum. I have excerpted below (in italics) the part of Marco’s post on this aspect. As will be noted in the excerpted portion, Marco prefers the mother dough method, which is a direct method, to the natural old dough method, which is an indirect method.The old dough method, is a way of using a piece of acidified dough from the previous batch (thus including salt and usually made with a natural wild yeast starter otherwise doesn't have leavening power). When using a culture starter from another regions, like the Italians one, I strongly recommend not to use the old dough method, but instead the Mother dough method.
In the mother dough method, a piece of dough made with only water and flour plus the culture starter, is refreshed with a 50% addition of water and flour, and after is left to ferment for a minimum time of 3-6 hours, a piece is cut off (the dauther) and used as fermenting agent or in large quantity as preferment. This way, thanks to the strong innoculating of the original mother dough into the refreshment, there is a better chance to avoid contaminations.
, Reply 10). (Note: “dauther” in the above excerpt is intended to be “daughter”)
As between these two methods, I believe the old dough method would most likely be the easier one to implement in a pizzeria such as De Lorenzo’s, especially if contamination issues are not of concern and also if the dough preparation is to be done by low-cost labor. What I don’t have a good grasp of is how effective this method is for making dough on one day to be used the next, especially if the dough out of the mixer is left to ferment (presumably at room temperature), punched down, and then refrigerated, as previously described in relation to the De Lorenzo operation. The two times I used this method it took over a day of fermentation/ripening of the dough, at room temperature, to get a usable dough. Admittedly, my starter culture was not wildly active to begin with, so that may have been the reason I didn’t achieve great success with that method. That may also be the reason why some bakers, even artisan bakers, add a bit of commercial yeast to their natural starters and preferments. In my case, I went to the direct method or variations of it.