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Author Topic: Is it okay to do all the burk fermentation in individual dough balls?  (Read 549 times)

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Offline flatfeed611

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Is it necessary to let the dough bulk ferment for a while in a big dough ball, or can the bulk ferment be done all while in individual dough balls?

Offline HansB

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Re: Is it okay to do all the burk fermentation in individual dough balls?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2022, 12:29:55 PM »
You are not really bulk fermenting if you ball right away. Bulk fermentation begins when mixing ends and lasts until the dough is divided/balled. If I make a large batch I bulk for about two hours then ball, but you can ball right away if you desire.
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Offline flatfeed611

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Re: Is it okay to do all the burk fermentation in individual dough balls?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2022, 12:50:31 PM »
You are not really bulk fermenting if you ball right away. Bulk fermentation begins when mixing ends and lasts until the dough is divided/balled. If I make a large batch I bulk for about two hours then ball, but you can ball right away if you desire.

Are there any ill-effects if I ball right away?

Offline HansB

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Re: Is it okay to do all the burk fermentation in individual dough balls?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2022, 12:57:16 PM »
Are there any ill-effects if I ball right away?

Not really. It's best to try both ways to see which you like better.
Instagram @hans_michigan.

"The most important element of pizza is the dough. Pizza is bread after all. Bread with toppings." -Brian Spangler

"Ultimately, pizza is a variety of condiments on top of bread. If I wanted to evolve, I figured out that I had to understand bread and first make the best bread I possibly could. Only then could my pizza evolve as well." Dan Richer

Offline drimkunas

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Re: Is it okay to do all the burk fermentation in individual dough balls?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2022, 10:41:51 AM »
Tom Lehman used to downplay the importance of bulk fermenting, and even stated that it was more important to have control over temperature and to ball and fridge so as to minimize variables in temp. I also think that unless your 'bulk' is a certain size (allowing heat retention inside), there is little to be gained from it.

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Is it okay to do all the burk fermentation in individual dough balls?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2022, 01:02:09 PM »
Tom Lehman used to downplay the importance of bulk fermenting, and even stated that it was more important to have control over temperature and to ball and fridge so as to minimize variables in temp. I also think that unless your 'bulk' is a certain size (allowing heat retention inside), there is little to be gained from it.
drimkunas,

You are right about Tom. See, for example, these posts by Tom:

Reply 1 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=60121.msg602787#msg602787

Reply 5 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=58181.msg584111#msg584111

Reply 5 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=65954.msg644868;topicseen#msg644868

Peter


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Is it okay to do all the burk fermentation in individual dough balls?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2022, 01:06:10 PM »
Are there any ill-effects if I ball right away?

The longer you leave dough in balls, the slacker it will tend to get, AOTBE, to the point of making it really easy to get thin spots. I find that my pizza suffers if I go longer than 24 hours in balls.
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Offline jma6610

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Re: Is it okay to do all the burk fermentation in individual dough balls?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2022, 07:07:10 PM »
The longer you leave dough in balls, the slacker it will tend to get, AOTBE, to the point of making it really easy to get thin spots. I find that my pizza suffers if I go longer than 24 hours in balls.

In terms of "all other things being equal" - there is a distinction that hasn't been considered and wasn't mentioned by Tom L. There is a difference between comparing the rate of fermentation in a large bulk quantity of dough, which can be faster due to the heat generated by the fermentation process, and whether or not dough - either as bulk or in individual balls, is reballed/balled-for-the-first time and thus put back in a round shape after flattening during either bulk or as an initial ball.

Here's what I mean. If you bulk ferment you're also permitting the yeast time to multiply and get started on the fermentation process prior to balling. When you ball after bulk, the dough will already be on its way and so the leavening process will be much quicker when you ball after bulk versus when you ball immediately (there is also a short lag time when the yeast isn't leavening at all). The more rapid rise that  occurs when balling after bulk can be much more able to exceed the effect that gravity has on flattening the ball, making the ball more likely to rise vertically rather than flattening (especially if you're working with a higher-hydration dough). If you ball immediately and don't re-ball, the leavening will be slower when the ball is formed since the yeast has not yet had time to multiply and start working. So the ball will be more likely to flatten out.

So, if you're working with smaller quantities of dough, if you compare: a) bulk followed by ball with b) divide/ball and then re-ball later at the same time as you go from bulk to ball in the a procedure, you should get the same result. If you compare: c) bulk followed by ball with d) immediate divide/ball (once only), you may get a flatter ball with d - especially if you're using higher hydrations since gravity will tend to flatten d more since there isn't as much leavening power when you ball to overcome the pull of gravity to flatten the ball in a tray. This assumes, of course, that we're speaking about having the balls in trays that don't prevent the balls from flattening and not in individual bowls where the bowl limits the ability of gravity to flatten the balls.

I think that this corresponds to what you've mentioned about permitting the dough to be in balls longer than 24 hours and is something different from what Tom L. discussed about whether bulk fermentation is different from immediate balling.

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