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Author Topic: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment  (Read 1686 times)

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Offline bradtri

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Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« on: April 13, 2017, 10:06:54 PM »
It has often been said on the forum that sourdough should never be kept in the refrigerator.  I had some doughballs left over from a gig last Friday so I decided to toss them in the fridge and see how they turned out today, six days later during my next bake.

The original dough was 4% Ischia, 63% GM Neapolitan, 2.7% salt, 2% oil and was fermented for 48 hours at 61F (plus a few more hours during the event).  The refrigeration was for 6 days. 

In retrospect, I probably should have reballed them this morning as they were quite flat and didn't have a great rise in the oven.  But I can honestly say they tasted great and really weren't a whole lot different than the "fresh" dough I made for today that was the same recipe and 48H ferment.

As far as I am concerned, it sure seems that fully or mostly fermented sourdough dough balls can be kept quite well in the refrigerator and used at a later time.  Wish I had more pictures but this is the only one I got.

We did my son's track meet today.  We only sold 3 pizzas from 4-5, but then there was a break in the track meet and we made pizzas non-stop for the next 1.5 hours.  Ended up selling 46 of the 48 doughballs that we took.  Donated all of the profits to the track and XC teams.

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2017, 09:37:51 AM »
It has often been said on the forum that sourdough should never be kept in the refrigerator. 

True, but probably 98% of the times were me saying it :-D

My comments have been with respect to what I believe is a negative impact on texture and tenderness, not flavor. I think it's interesting that you didn't notice a big difference in flavor. I believe that's consistent with what I wrote here: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=41039.0

One caveat to your conclusion is that unlike baker's yeast, SD cultures can vary quite a lot, and while the fridge worked well for you, someone else (even someone else who thinks they are using Ischia) may end up with a sloppy mess.
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Offline bradtri

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2017, 12:44:59 PM »
True, but probably 98% of the times were me saying it :-D


Yours was the name I had in mind ....   ;D

I honestly was quite surprised when the 6-day refrigerated SD baked up as nice as it did as I was expecting it to be a failure.  I've several times held fully fermented SD doughballs for an extra day in the fridge and was always quite pleased with the results.

As always, my disclaimer is that I don't feel I have extremely discerning taste buds and the variables introduced by my technique sometimes outweigh the variables in the dough.

I'd like to see other forum members try the experiment to see what results they have with their SD.  I'd be willing to wager a couple Calabrian peppers that most are successful.

i.e.  Make extra doughballs for your next pizza bake and then try holding a fully fermented SD doughball in the fridge for 1-3 days and then bake to see how the result compares to the original dough.
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Offline Rolls

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 12:59:30 PM »
@bradtri,

Aside from taste and texture, does the above pizza look like your usual pies?  Was the above dough ball brought to room temperature before shaping?


Rolls
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 01:04:38 PM »
I'd be willing to wager a couple Calabrian peppers that most are successful.

How are you defining success? Almost as good as RT? As good?
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Offline bradtri

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 01:35:55 PM »
@bradtri,

Aside from taste and texture, does the above pizza look like your usual pies?  Was the above dough ball brought to room temperature before shaping?


Rolls

Again, my mediocre perception skills aside, I would not have been able to tell the difference between this and my regular pies.  I've had quite a variance in leoparding these days from the Pizza Party as I'm not that great and keeping a consistent heat/fire environment from pizza to pizza.

To me, the taste was the same and the texture was more tender.

The doughballs were brought to room temp before baking.  They had flattened out considerably from the long wait in the fridge and obviously stretched very easily.
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Offline bradtri

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 01:40:05 PM »
How are you defining success? Almost as good as RT? As good?

That could be anything from "not a failure" to "the same as one's normal pizza".

I guess I'd throw out there that a SD doughball held for 1 day in the fridge would be 95% as good (taste, texture, appearance) as a normal doughball and held for 3 days should be 85% as good.

If I was trying to make the absolute perfect pizza for someone, I don't think I would risk the fridge.  But, if I have a need to delay a bake for either a short time or up to several days, I'd certainly do this and would still feel that my pizzas were well worthwhile.
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Offline Rolls

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2017, 02:29:51 PM »
Bradtri,

I think your dough was able to endure such a long journey because of the relatively high protein content of your flour (I assume you used General Mills Neapolitan Flour).  Perhaps you would not have had the same result using one of the lower protein 00 varieties. The yeast from the sourdough starter were still up to the task of leavening the dough despite the various temperature fluctuations, so all was good there.  Knowing how your dough performed this way will be probably be useful to you in a commercial setting.

Your pizza looks good to me, and I would happily enjoy eating it, though Enzo Coccia might say it is showing signs of "morbillo" :-D

Cheers,

Rolls
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 02:43:48 PM by Rolls »
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Offline ccgus

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2017, 05:50:45 PM »
I'd like to see other forum members try the experiment to see what results they have with their SD.  I'd be willing to wager a couple Calabrian peppers that most are successful.

I do this quite often, even using up to a week later. As Rolls mentions, I bet the higher gluten you have, the better off you're going to be. Here's an extreme example, where it was in the fridge for at least 3 weeks:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BOvWpFdBgLz/

It was pretty hard to handle though.

Here's a more typical example, baked after about 4 days in the fridge:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BPvdnFLhBYh/

They always taste good to me.

Offline bradtri

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2017, 10:23:37 AM »
I do this quite often, even using up to a week later. As Rolls mentions, I bet the higher gluten you have, the better off you're going to be. Here's an extreme example, where it was in the fridge for at least 3 weeks:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BOvWpFdBgLz/

It was pretty hard to handle though.

Here's a more typical example, baked after about 4 days in the fridge:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BPvdnFLhBYh/

They always taste good to me.

Wow ... 3 weeks is really out there.   Makes my 6 day example not so crazy. 

I wonder how much the protein content has to do with it.  I thought most 00 flours were in the 12% range.  My feeling is that the SD activity is just very minimal at refrigerator temps.  I know Craig has said that his chart probably isn't as reliable at the temperature extremes, but in the 35F row it is showing several hundred hours for fermentation even at fairly high percentages of SD.
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Offline robertscalchi

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2017, 11:54:43 PM »
I used to ritually ball and store dough for five to six days fermentation before I got the pizza party. 00 flour and ka bread flour with ischia and camadoli. I've frozen the mothers and stored them in the freezer successfully for 1 year but not longer. Recently I've followed TX craig charts on 48 hr room temp starter ferments. Learned a lot of control. But surprisingly I've store ischia 00 balls with 4% to 8 % starter after a 24 hour rise and a reball and 48 hr fridge rise with outstanding tenderness and airy crust    :chef:

Offline bradtri

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2017, 09:47:07 AM »
I used to ritually ball and store dough for five to six days fermentation before I got the pizza party. 00 flour and ka bread flour with ischia and camadoli. I've frozen the mothers and stored them in the freezer successfully for 1 year but not longer. Recently I've followed TX craig charts on 48 hr room temp starter ferments. Learned a lot of control. But surprisingly I've store ischia 00 balls with 4% to 8 % starter after a 24 hour rise and a reball and 48 hr fridge rise with outstanding tenderness and airy crust    :chef:

thanks for the feedback.  From what I've seen with my own eyes and heard from others, I certainly don't see that much, if any, harm is done by storing SD balls in the fridge.  It's certainly a great way to help manage your time from making the dough to when you want it to be ready for use.

The only freezing I've done is to dehydrate the SD starter and then freeze it in zip top bags.  I've got some just over a year old and it woke up very easily when I tried it.
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Offline tracy

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2017, 09:02:57 AM »
After 12 hours of RT fermentation, I divide up my dough, shape, oil, flour, and bag, and then keep in the fridge for at least 48-96 hours before using, with no ill effects.  I've also frozen 96 hour cold fermented dough, thawed a week later in the fridge, and then baked and it was actually pretty great.  I do see residual fermentation while the dough is in the fridge, but nothing like what occurs while it is at RT of course.  I will say that the dough balls can start to get a little wet after about 72 hours in the fridge (smells like ethanol, so assuming a byproduct of the fermentation), but actually I observed this occurring to a much greater degree when refrigerating dough made with active dry yeast over my starter.  All that said, refrigerate away.  Like TXCraig has mentioned, I don't know how much it does for the flavor, but it certainly doesn't seem to hurt anything.  I tried doing a 48 hour RT fermentation followed by 48 hours in the fridge, but that was way, way too much.  At that point the gluten was completely broken down and it was very difficult to shape the dough, and stretching was almost impossible.  However, you could definitely taste the sourdough.

Offline TX2Labs

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2017, 06:31:47 PM »
I hate to start a new thread when my question is along the lines of this thread, so I'll start here.

I'm still a pizza newbie, concentrating solely on NP pies.  Currently use ADY, 24 hrs bulk in the fridge, 24 hrs balled in the fridge, taken out 1-2 hrs before cook.  I seem to be getting decent results and happy customer (wife), but of course I want to take it to the next level.  That seems to be SD.

However, it seems like unless I'm ready to get super serious then I might need to stick with the simple life of ADY and my current workflow.  From what I've read, to take advantage of SD I would need to have the ability to bulk ferment in the 65 degree range for 24 hours and then another 24 in balls.  I understand Craig does this with a cooler and ice, but that is starting to get to a little too much work for me based upon my work schedule and unpredictable weeknights.  I guess the other alternative would be to buy a separate wine fridge, but I don't have the space for this (we've maxed out our wine fridge space for actual wine).

So I can't have it both ways, right?  I can't stick with my normal schedule and just substitute the starter for the ADY (at the appropriate amounts) and leave everything else as-is, just hoping for better crust?  I just seriously don't think I'll have the ability, space, patience, or equipment to keep a temperature controlled RT rise for SD.

Just wanted to get thoughts before I bought the starter culture.

Offline bradtri

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Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2017, 10:22:48 PM »
Tx2labs - for SD you really need to go through a controlled temperature fermentation and refrigerator temps are too low. Craig's sd fermentation chart (stickie in this forum) is THE place to start.  Time, temperature and sd pct are your 3 variables to control.   

In a reasonably  cool basement, especially in the wintertime you could pull off a 24 hr ferment.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 10:47:45 PM by bradtri »
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Offline bradtri

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2017, 10:25:03 PM »
For example , 24 hours at 71f and 2.5% SD.
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Offline tracy

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2017, 09:33:33 AM »
I do my bulk fermentation at room temperature, which is between 75-78F.  It's not ideal, but haven't had any real problems per se.  I've cut down my SD to 2% and have been able to do a 24 hour ferment followed by 96 hours in the fridge.  I get a lot more activity than you'd get at 65F, but everything tastes and looks fine (of course, don't have a 65F bulk ferment dough to compare to) and the dough is a breeze to open.

Offline bradtri

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Re: Extreme sourdough in the refrigerator experiment
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2017, 04:42:45 PM »
I think what Tracy is doing gives you the flexibility needed.  Ferment your dough at room temp until it is mostly done then put in fridge to hold until a couple hours before you bake.
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