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Offline DoouBall

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Fermentation Questions
« on: March 18, 2017, 12:23:22 PM »
Dear Dough Doctor,

I have been experimenting with pizza making for about 10 years and tried most of the recipes on pizzamaking.com and many others. However, I still don't fully understand fermentation and it's effect on the final dough product. Some of my biggest confusions lie here:

1)Does fermenting at room temperature produce a different flavor profile compared to using the fridge? Please assume the low yeast methods and long fermentation, such as 18 hours (Lahey method)
2)If you're doing a multi day fridge fermented dough, is there really any benefit in using a poolish too?
3)Does a long bulk ferment achieve most of the benefits of a preferement like poolish?
4)Does it make sense to do a bulk ferment at room temperature and ball ferment in the fridge? Is there an advantage to this over doing both at fridge temperature? Example: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/life-changing-pizza-dough-with-joe-heffernan-of-seattle-s-independent-pizzeria
5)What's the benefit of balling dough right after it comes off the mixer rather than doing a long bulk ferment followed by ball ferment?

If you could help shed some light on some of this confusion, I would really appreciate it!

Thanks,

Alex

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 01:04:12 PM »
Alex...this is a great post...I have wondered many or most of these too....will be great to see Tom's answers...

Offline Cogs

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 02:41:07 PM »
Some light reading until the Doc chimes in;

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=41039.0

Offline DoouBall

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 08:20:35 PM »
Thanks Jersey Pie Boy and Cogs. I've seen that article Cogs, will re-read. Will be really interesting to see what Tom says if he's available!

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 09:28:15 PM »
Alex;
Well, here goes. Mind you, these are my own personal views.
#1) There is a shift in the balance of acids produced between cold and warm fermentation temperatures which results in a flavor shift. In the end it is up to you to decide which flavor you want. Keep in mind that with warm fermentation there are also more changes to the gluten structure of the dough too which you will need to be aware of and address accordingly. Protease enzymes are the main culprit here as they are more active at the warmer temperatures.
#2) Yes, it adds another dimension of flavor to the crust.
#3) In the truest sense your dough size is not usually large enough to qualify as a bulk dough (bulk ferment) To achieve the benefits associated with bulk fermenting the dough you are going to need to have a minimum of at least 10-pounds of dough, 25 -pounds would be better. The benefits of bulk fermentation come from the heat of metabolism generated by the yeast during the bulk fermentation period. For many home pizza makers bulk fermentation is fermenting one, maybe two pounds of dough. That's a single dough ball in the world of fermentation so in my book it doesn't qualify as bulk fermentation...sorry.
#4) To me, this makes the least sense of all the methods. Why? Because when you RT ferment the dough becomes less dense and is a MUCH better insulator, then you ball it and put it into the fridge, good luck at cooling it down, and if you did manage to cool it down it will be hard/difficult/impossible to consistently replicate the cooling rate and amount of fermentation the dough actually receives because it is being cooled so slowly. Can it be done? Sure! Does it make good/great pizza? Sure! Can you do it consistently? According to the people who contact me regularly the answer is no, and there lies the problem. Think of it this way, if the dough temperature is 5F different it may take a significantly longer or shorter time to get the rate of fermentation under control in the fridge, plus, don't forget that due to the heat of metabolism the dough is actually trying to warm up to the tune of about 1F per hour which makes cooling the dough just that much more difficult in a home refrigerator which is questionable at best when it comes to cooling dough.
#5) The benefit to balling the dough right after mixing is because at that point in time the dough is as dense as it is going to be (the denser the dough the easier it is to cool or freeze) because it conducts heat better than it would if it were allowed to ferment and become less dense). The fact that the dough can now be cooled more rapidly and consistently means that there is greater latitude to missing the desired finished dough temperature without causing a significant impact upon the rate of fermentation which controls the amount of fermentation the dough will receive in any given period of time. This is also why one can hold the dough balls under refrigeration for a longer time when they are scaled, balled and placed into the cooler/fridge within 15 to 20-minutes after mixing.

As a student of the dough, you might want to see if your local library has a copy of Baking Science and Technology, by E.J. Pyler. This is an excellent resource book on all things related to baking. It was the "handbook" required by our Baking Science and Technology (BS&T) students when I worked at the American Institute of Baking (AIB). If your local library doesn't have it you can find it on Amazon, I stand to be corrected on this but I think the cost is about $40.00 in hard cover.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

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Offline invertedisdead

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 11:53:17 PM »
Great questions, many things to ponder on. Some of this is in line with a new dough formula I've been tinkering with, based on a few of your many great posts, Tom. Many thanks for all your contributions!
the proof is in the pizza

Offline DoouBall

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 01:53:35 AM »
Thank you Tom! That really helps a lot. I'm going to spend some time thinking about your answers.

Offline csnack

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 04:15:30 AM »
I have to admit, I felt kinda silly "bulk fermentating" a single 19 oz would be dough ball and then finally balling it for another 24 hours. Felt kinda like buying a small amount of something to flip on eBay to make 99.9% of my money back.

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2017, 09:28:13 AM »
Thanks Tom, this is great info..I've been doing tiny "bulk" fermentation sometimes RT, sometimes CF, sometimes a combo, so that I can delay balling until 24 hours pre-bake to get (when all goes well) the eggshell-crisp finish    It does seem to work...but I do  give up some evenness in the finished dough..this is obvious when opening and I can see some area thicker than other..Is there a shift in technique/process  that could improve that?  By the way, when I do a 48 hour RT, 24 bulk.24 ball per Craig's method, my doughs are very even  These doughs are all hand-mixed and use stretch/folds.  Thanks!

Offline bradtri

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2017, 03:27:36 PM »

#5) The benefit to balling the dough right after mixing is because at that point in time the dough is as dense as it is going to be (the denser the dough the easier it is to cool or freeze) because it conducts heat better than it would if it were allowed to ferment and become less dense). The fact that the dough can now be cooled more rapidly and consistently means that there is greater latitude to missing the desired finished dough temperature without causing a significant impact upon the rate of fermentation which controls the amount of fermentation the dough will receive in any given period of time. This is also why one can hold the dough balls under refrigeration for a longer time when they are scaled, balled and placed into the cooler/fridge within 15 to 20-minutes after mixing.


Since I've gone completely to aluminum sheet pans for my dough balls I put the pans in the fridge to pre-chill them so the dough balls get a head start on chilling as soon as they are put on a pan. 
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2017, 05:10:28 PM »
Since I've gone completely to aluminum sheet pans for my dough balls I put the pans in the fridge to pre-chill them so the dough balls get a head start on chilling as soon as they are put on a pan.
In the past, when the finished dough temperature was higher than I was shooting for, I put the dough balls in the freezer for a while to cool them down faster. This was in a home setting so it may not be as practical in a commercial setting.

Peter

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 08:20:48 PM »
Peter;
Yep, done that myself any number of times. Just keep an eye on it so you don't end up freezing it. In a commercial setting you're better off just using it, maybe taking a day off of the refrigerated shelf life if it is too warm. The reason for this is because we have no idea of the rate of cooling, but one thing is for sure, it is faster then it is in the cooler. If we start making adjustments for missed dough temperature targets we are sending a message to the crew that it is OK if you miss the targeted finished dough temperature as you can just put the dough balls in the freezer for a period?? of time and all is good and nobody will be the wiser...it doesn't quite work that way, and then add in the probability that who ever was going to pull the dough out of the freezer got side tracked doing something else and the dough balls end up getting frozen. Just too many "what ifs" at the store level but perfectly OK at home.
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Offline joe_b

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 07:01:03 AM »
Interesting questions- and answers!

Tom, I bulk ferment at room temperature for 12-24 hours, then bulk ferment in the fridge for a further 12 hours or so, before balling, and leaving in the fridge for 24 hours before using- essentially a 3 day process. I'm pretty happy with this work flow, and the final product. However, I notice you mentioned that 'bulk' fermentation at room temperature, then fridge temperature is pretty pointless- but I find that the retarding makes my dough much easier to ball (I tend to do a 70% hydration and balling it can be interesting at room temperature!). Would you suggest it's ok to work like this? Or would you recommend removing the retarding? If so, why?

Thanks in advance!

Joe

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2017, 12:38:48 PM »
Joe;
I was referencing the rate of fermentation, not the actual dough consistency. The outer portion of the dough will cool to some extent during the refrigeration period (the core of the dough will be pretty much unchanged temperature wise) unless you're dealing with a pretty small dough. What you are seeing is the effect of a colder dough which is a stiffer dough and when we are dealing with high absorption doughs that added firmness due to the cooler temperature can make handling the dough much easier. You could probably achieve the same effect by placing the dough in the freezer for a short time prior to opening it.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline joe_b

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2017, 01:04:18 PM »
Thanks, Tom- as always, much appreciated!

Currently I am making pretty small batches although planning on upping the quantities to commercial levels pretty soon so will have to report back as and when!

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Offline DoouBall

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2017, 12:08:15 PM »
A few days ago I had the great pleasure of stopping by Il Pizzaiolo in Oakland, CA. The Margherita pizza was excellent, if not traditional. I detected a hint of marjoram in the chopped herb topping. However, the dough had a great flavor with a hint of tang. I could have sworn it was sourdough, but the pizza maker was very open with me and told me that while they use sourdough for their breads, pizza is made with active dry yeast. They found ADY to be more consistent and have been using pretty much the same dough recipe for 11 years. They use a large percentage of yesterday's old dough (I'm very curious how much???) to create the flavor.

In addition, he told me that they ferment for about 8-12 hours at room temperature and then another 12-24 hours in the fridge. I asked them why do they mix room temp and fridge fermentation and he told me that it's to "get the yeast started. If you put the dough in the fridge right away, it takes too long for the yeast to get going." I can see Tom's point that consistency would be difficult to achieve with this method because you lose perfect temp control and cooling of the dough, but it does seem a faster way to get flavorful, fully fermented dough balls ready for baking. One of the problems I've had with fridge only doughs is that sometimes, the yeast seems to do almost nothing in the fridge and I have to take the dough balls out 3-4 hours before using just to build some bubbles in the dough. This could also be due to my Sub Zero fridge which has the strange feature of turning watery ingredients into ice randomly. So I will probably experiment with this mixed temp fermentation method more.


Offline DoouBall

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Re: Fermentation Questions
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2017, 08:34:40 PM »
Today, Joe Heffernan from The Independent Pizzeria, subject of the Life Changing Pizza Dough from ChefSteps.

https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/life-changing-pizza-dough-with-joe-heffernan-of-seattle-s-independent-pizzeria 

Joe told me the same thing I heard from Pizzaiolo - he likes to start the fermentation at room temperature to wake up the yeast and start fermentation, and he uses the fridge during balling so that he can extend the fermentation and control exactly when he uses the dough balls. He also told me that he uses preferments in his foccacia dough but prefers straight method for pizza dough because a)he's looking for complexity but not necessarily tang and b)he finds that with preferments, the dough doesn't always have as much oven spring which he wants for pizza.

This makes a lot of sense because from everything else I read, room temp fermentation works even better than cold rise for enzyme development, but the problem is that when the dough is ready, you only have a couple of hours of usability; a little longer if you use 3% salt like the Neapolitans. However with the warm-cold approach, you get the room temp flavor and speed followed by the tighter fermentation control of cold rise. Thoughts?

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