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Author Topic: Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?  (Read 347 times)

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Offline Dptdpt

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Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?
« on: July 02, 2017, 06:43:00 AM »
I usually do a 2 day refrigerator ferment, but we decided last minute yesterday morning to have a pizza party last night, so I attempted to make a quick dough. I made the 65% hydration dough with about .5% ADY, and put it in the fridge, thinking that letting it rise for 2 hours while the WFO heated up, would be enough for the dough to be ready. It wasn't ready at cook time, so I put it in a 150 degree oven to speed things up. I've never done that before, but it actually worked pretty well. The dough developed a little bit of a dried skin on it, but rose quite nicely, and we had a great pizza party.

So - does anyone else do this (use the oven to speed things up)?

And how about the opposite problem - when the dough has gone too far, developing bubbles, etc.

I've had my WFO for two years, but still consider myself something of a newbie when it comes to making dough.  Too often I don't get the dough timing right.  I've still yet to come up with a go-to timing and yeast percentage. I've used that table on this site that shows yeast %, but my dough still often has issues. What do you people do to ensure the dough is ready in time - and what do you do if it's not?  I'd also appreciate any advice as to how to tell when the dough is ready without stretching it.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 07:05:55 PM by Dptdpt »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2017, 09:56:56 AM »
Using a warm oven (or other warm place) or a refrigerator to speed/slow things is the right thing to do. 150F may be a bit aggressive, but you had the right idea. Small corrections sooner are better than big corrections later, however if you're only doing a short ferment, everything is big corrections later.

Ensuring your dough is ready in time largely comes down to experience. The more you make pizza, the more you will know what to look for and what corrections to make when things aren't going as planned.
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Offline AndyBern

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Re: Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2017, 06:06:11 PM »
I'm certainly not a professional at this, but here's a couple of things I do to adjust the timing on my CF dough:
  • I don't have a fancy refrigerator. I find the back of the lower shelf is the coldest. If a couple days before baking I see the dough is progressing a little bit too fast, I move it there. If too slow, I move it to a higher shelf toward the front. I like 5 to 7 day ferments, and this typically gives me 2-3 days of extra control.
  • If 2-3 hours before baking I see my dough will not be ready, I speed up fermentation by floating the dough bowl or bag in some warm water (95 to 105F, as needed). Because the bowl/bag is still closed, it doesn't dry out. Just make sure no water leaks in.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2017, 01:01:19 PM »
To speed up the rate of fermentation:
Increase the finished dough temperature.
Add a small amount of vinegar to the dough (replace 2% of the dough absorption with vinegar), this acidifies the dough slightly to speed up the rare of fermentation, don't worry about the flavor, acetic acid is one of the acids formed by the yeast during fermentation.
Reduce the salt level to 1.5% (less salt = faster fermentation rate).
Place the dough in a warm environment (115F) is the warmest you will want to go as anything above that will actually begin to slow the fermentation rate (thermal death point for yeast begins at 138 to 140F).

To slow down the rate of fermentation:
Decrease the finished dough temperature.
Add a small amount of baking soda to the dough (1%) to neutralize any acids present or being initially formed by the yeast. Yeast is an acid loving organism so keeping the pH a little higher will slow the fermentation rate slightly until the yeast can over come it through production of its own acids (acetic, lactic and propionic).
Increasing the salt level will slow the fermentation rate.
Place the dough in a cooler/cold environment to slow the fermentation rate (when combined with decreased finished dough temperature this is VERY effective). This is how we prevent frozen dough from fermenting prior to the freezing process.
Note: By flattening the dough slightly (reducing its cross section) the dough will adjust to a higher or lower temperature much faster than it would if left in a dough ball form.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline Dptdpt

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Re: Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 02:20:11 PM »
To speed up the rate of fermentation:
Increase the finished dough temperature.
Add a small amount of vinegar to the dough (replace 2% of the dough absorption with vinegar), this acidifies the dough slightly to speed up the rare of fermentation, don't worry about the flavor, acetic acid is one of the acids formed by the yeast during fermentation.
Reduce the salt level to 1.5% (less salt = faster fermentation rate).
Place the dough in a warm environment (115F) is the warmest you will want to go as anything above that will actually begin to slow the fermentation rate (thermal death point for yeast begins at 138 to 140F).

To slow down the rate of fermentation:
Decrease the finished dough temperature.
Add a small amount of baking soda to the dough (1%) to neutralize any acids present or being initially formed by the yeast. Yeast is an acid loving organism so keeping the pH a little higher will slow the fermentation rate slightly until the yeast can over come it through production of its own acids (acetic, lactic and propionic).
Increasing the salt level will slow the fermentation rate.
Place the dough in a cooler/cold environment to slow the fermentation rate (when combined with decreased finished dough temperature this is VERY effective). This is how we prevent frozen dough from fermenting prior to the freezing process.
Note: By flattening the dough slightly (reducing its cross section) the dough will adjust to a higher or lower temperature much faster than it would if left in a dough ball form.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Interesting. But are you saying to do this to the dough hours or days after I've formed it into dough balls?  I wouldn't think I'd want to mix anything into it at that point.

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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2017, 02:41:33 PM »
Formulation changes/modifications are just that, made to the dough formulation at the time the dough is made while procedural and environmental changes/modifications can be made at ant time.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2017, 02:57:31 PM »
Formulation changes/modifications are just that, made to the dough formulation at the time the dough is made while procedural and environmental changes/modifications can be made at ant time.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I think the OP was asking specifically about the best way to make big changes to the fermentation schedule well after the dough was made.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Suggestions for accelerating/retarding dough fermentation?
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2017, 07:47:38 PM »
Maybe I'm still missing the point of the question, but after the dough is made, and by the time it is scaled and balled, short of putting the dough back into the mixing bowl and making a formula change, like the time I made a dough and couldn't figure out why it was fermenting so fast, I kept going over the ingredients that I had scaled and I distinctly remembered scaling everything as specified in the formula and then I went over the addition of the ingredients to the mixing bowl and I could envision adding each ingredient....but wait! Not the salt! Could I have forgotten to add the salt? Yep! There it was a small plastic bowl with the salt still in it...oops! I took all of the dough and added it back to the mixer along with the salt that was not previously added, I remixed the dough and for as good as it could be, all was good at the end of the day. Aside from forgetting to add an ingredient, I don't advocate ever remixing a dough unless the dough is blown and I need dough TODAY. In a normal setting, if one sees that the dough is fermenting at too fast or slow of a rate the best option is to expose the dough to a warmer or colder temperature, BUT because the dough has already fermented to some extent it is going to be less dense than when it was mixed so it will present something of a challenge to change the temperature of the dough (less dense dough is an excellent insulator) so the best approach is to flatten each dough ball to about 1 to 1.5-inches/25 to 37.5 mm before exposing the dough to the external temperature. By decreasing the cross section of the dough piece in this manner it will be easier and faster to bring about a change in the dough temperature, thus affecting the rate of fermentation in the desired manner. Remember, the rate of fermentation is not affected until the core (center) temperature of the dough is adjusted. Just putting the dough into a warmer or colder environment will not appreciably impact the rate of fermentation and by the time that it might have the desired impact you will have probably forgotten why you put the dough into that environment to begin with. The problem with putting the dough into a very warm environment to speed up the fermentation rate  is that only the outer portion of the dough will warm up and expand, further complicating any hope of impacting the core temperature so any expansion of the dough that you see will be due only the expansion of the outer portion of the dough/dough ball.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

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