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Author Topic: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?  (Read 1097 times)

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Offline PizzaboyTroy

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Whether a restaurant-building establishment or with a food truck or what have you.

I have tried Googling this question but found little info. After that failed endeavor, I reached out to the one, the only, the legend Peter -- the incomparable PizzaMaking forum moderator who has been providing resources and information for this community for nearly two decades! -- and he recommended that I post this question in here.

I'm just a regular ol' homebaker, a couple years into making pizza but only about a year of doing so while seriously delving into the science. Us homebodies are typically advised (most of the time) to cold ferment our homemade dough from 48 to 72 hours in order to develop maximum flavor in our pizzas.

But what about in a restaurant or otherwise commercial setting? How long do you ferment/proof your dough?

One of the things that attracted me to pizzamaking (asides from, well, loving pizza) is that it is, in a way, similar to barbecue. It takes time -- there is no instant gratitude. BBQ is my dojo and my background; I've catered several big events in that realm of grub slinging in the past five years.

There are pizza restaurants all around America that are lauded for their fantastic flavor in the crust. Yet from the information I have found, a lot of pizzamakers will create their dough the night before, or the morning of, the day they make pizza, and have customers lining out the door for it. How is it that the dough is only proved for such a short amount of time yet packing flavor that has patrons raving over it?

This goes back to my original question, which I know has the potential to reach a plethora of subjective answers, and that is why I'm so darn curious to know: how long do you shop owners/employees ferment your dough? I guess a sub-question to that would be, how is this regulated by the health department as well? Are you able to do long ferments? What if you run out of dough via high demand? I'm just so interested!

Offline 9slicePie

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2022, 11:26:38 AM »
In-for-answers-!


Good thread.

Offline woodfiredandrew

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2022, 01:15:56 PM »
To me simple answer is within you,
Great pizza, flavors etc. are very subjective, there is no one answer- that is why pizza huts of the world, authentic pizza makers survive and thrive at the same time.
You figure out what you like and what would sale and you strive to achieve it.
Now a days in 24/7 social media world we have lost our ability to reach out inward to find out what we would like and make us happy because there is so much stuff get put out most people get confused.... IMHO
case in point- you run the test to find out for yourself.
Hope it helps!!!     
People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered, love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives, do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable, Be honest and frank anyway. If you are successful , you will win false friends and true enemies, succeed anyway.

Offline Fyre

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2022, 02:38:33 PM »
We shoot for 48-72 hours cold proof. Occasionally we'll get caught short and have to use 24 hour dough. My dough is good for about 5 days although we rarely have it get that far... after the fifth day it starts to break down.

Offline wesslock

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2022, 03:18:16 PM »
We go for a72 hours or longer up to 5 days based on schedule.  We are mobile unit and its part time so that is the hardest part of planning. Most people dont care or cant tell if you do a 24 hour dough. But the ones that do know appreciate the mature dough. there really is a big flavor difference. It does create refrigeration issue when you have mutliple events in a row. 

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Offline waltertore

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2022, 03:30:33 PM »
Also depends on the space you are in and volume you do.  Many pizzerias in high rent areas don't have the square feet to do but a same day dough.  This is something to get figured out before you sign a lease.  I grew up 15 minutes outside of Manhattan in NJ.  No shops I worked in had space to do more than a same day dough (mid 1970's).  I knew some pizzerias that had their dough made by a nearby bakery due to not having space to make their own.  I worked in one of those as well.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2022, 03:32:14 PM by waltertore »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2022, 03:48:22 PM »
Troy,

Several years ago, when the late Tom Lehmann was a member of the PMQ Think Tank, he was asked by another member (pizzanerd) what was the longest useful life of a cold fermented dough that he had ever seen or heard of. His answer was seven days. But he did not like the results. Full details can be read in the post at Reply 5 at:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=68701.msg665989#msg665989

Peter


Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2022, 10:51:30 PM »
From mixer to the oven:  80 - 100.  The dough I used today was mixed Sunday morning.
Bellucci's Pizzeria
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Offline pizzablogger

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2022, 11:04:33 AM »
Many good answers already. The size of your space will definitely play a role. The more pizzas you have to make, the more space you may need......especially if you will be using a walk-in or some other type of refrigeration to store the dough.

What style of pizzas will you be making? What hydration, types of flour, etc.? Using baker's yeast, natural leavening or a hybrid? If the natural route, do you prefer the crust flavor to favor more lactic acid qualities or more acidic flavored qualities? Lot's a ways to skin a pizza cat and there is no "best" method, only what works best for your specific situation.

Our deck oven pizzas, where I use a dough specific to the Baltimore location, from mixer to oven, use dough that is 74 to 78 hours old. A significant portion of that time period involves a pre-ferment that is left at room temperature for 22 hours and then a long bulk rise at room temperature, followed by spending time in the walk-in before the balls are taken out for a final rise at room temp before cooking. This process is specific for my lack of space to do more of the fermentation time in the walk-in. As an aside, the pre-ferment rise at room temperature is too long and I am gonna keep tinkering with it.

Our wood-fired pizzas, which are a different dough than the deck oven, use dough about 54 hours from mixer to oven.....again with a significant portion of that being an ambient temperature rise.

The health department does not require any specific considerations related to mixing dough where I am, particularly because there are no animal fats (lard) or time/temperature sensitive individual ingredients in our dough. As long as the space, equipment and storage items are kept clean, we are good to go. Check with your local Health department about your specific area.

As far as your inquiries on shorter-fermented doughs, I am not sure what pizzerias you are referring to, but keep in mind the temperature a dough is fermented at plays a role in how far along the fermentation process that dough is when making a pizza. A dough that is made the night before and never refrigerated can have a good amount of flavor development to it.....is it the same as a longer fermented room temperature dough or a longer fermented cold dough? No.

In my experience, the general public has little idea about the difference in crust flavors between a very well-made pizza crust and a great one. Many people in America have experience eating pizzas that typically feature bland, relatively flavorless crusts which also may be quite dry inside due to prolonged bake times. So even a modest increase in flavor and/or textural quality in a crust will be a relatively large revelation to such a person.

Also, any type of "mystique" a restaurant can gain from newspaper articles, TV appearances and general hype plays a roll. One of the most famous pizzerias in the world typifies this phenomenon......most people buy into the hype and absolutely rave about the pizza. The two times I have had it my immediate thought is there are multiple places making the same specific style of pizza within 20 minutes of here that are making pies which are much better. And then when I think more about it, said famous place, even though it is not as good as the other nearby places offering the same style, is still making pizza much better than what anyone in most parts of the country will ever experience. And then when I think even more about it I remember that it's just pizza.....fold it, eat it and smile. It's pretty good at the end of the day!

Cheers. --k

--k
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2022, 03:44:38 PM »
Pblog,


Great to see you here! You're running the Paulie Gee Baltimore location, is that right ?

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Offline stamina888

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2022, 09:22:12 AM »
Subjective, and this is just my opinion, and it depends on a variety of factors such as yeast %, temperature, etc.

Dough should be at its most optimal point at day 2.  Day 3, still usable in the early-mid part of the day.  Day 4, discard.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2022, 10:44:30 AM »
Pblog,


Great to see you here! You're running the Paulie Gee Baltimore location, is that right ?

He (Kelly) is the owner.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2022, 03:45:27 PM »
Great, thanks Craig. Kelly was a regular on these pages before my time here. Wish I had a chance to visit his shop while I was in the  East !

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2022, 07:53:11 PM »
Subjective, and this is just my opinion, and it depends on a variety of factors such as yeast %, temperature, etc.

Dough should be at its most optimal point at day 2.  Day 3, still usable in the early-mid part of the day.  Day 4, discard.

Why should dough be at its optimal point at 2 days?
Bellucci's Pizzeria
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Astoria, New York

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Offline drimkunas

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2022, 11:04:23 AM »
as others have said, it is up to you and the type you are making. Using a poolish, the place I used to work at did overnight in the walk in and used the next day.

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Offline Josh123

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Re: How long do you ferment/proof your dough in a commercial setting?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2022, 03:45:20 PM »
48-100 hours depending on how busy we are. Sometimes use 18-24 hours if we get absolutely smashed and have to make dough for Saturday service. But that’s when we cross north of 250 18” pies.

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