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Author Topic: Differences In Bulk When Making 4 vs 25 Pizzas  (Read 423 times)

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Offline Taahir

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Differences In Bulk When Making 4 vs 25 Pizzas
« on: January 17, 2021, 11:53:39 AM »
Need some guidance here please. Have always only made pizza for the family, making about 2-6 at a time, without any major issue. Did my 1st popup yesterday (see picture below of end result - Pepperoni and Chilli Oil), and using the same formulation as normal, the bulk fermentation was almost double in size versus normal, which messed with the entire workflow. My usual workflow is a 48h CF, with the last 10hrs being CF balls, and final 2 hours being RT. Formulation is based on Caputo Blue, with a 62% hydration, 2.8% salt, and 4.8% Sourdough starter.  Dough was mixed roughly by hand, left to rest for 15 mins, before 3 rounds of slap-and-fold with 15 min windows in between, before being put in the refrigerator. For noting is that we had a power failure overnight for 2 hours, so the refrigerator was off for that period.

My theory is that due to the size of the bulk ferment, once in the refrigerator it takes a lot longer to cool down, and coupled with the power going out, would have resulted in what happened, which was 9hrs in to the 36hr bulk phase the dough was doubled already (after punching down it stayed relatively stable for the remainder of the period). Could this be the case (larger bulks will get warm during initial kneeding/mixing phase and take longer to cool down, fast tracking the fermentation, versus smaller bulks?)

Pizzas were decent regardless, with all being sold out, but trying to get a consistent approach going forward for bigger bulks (48hr CF).

Any thoughts?

EDIT: Corrected the formulation mentioned above. Tried a version using less sourdough and a bit of IDY before, but couldnt get it to work.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2021, 12:36:49 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Yael

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Re: Differences In Bulk When Making 4 vs 25 Pizzas
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2021, 10:14:23 PM »
[...]
My theory is that due to the size of the bulk ferment, once in the refrigerator it takes a lot longer to cool down, and coupled with the power going out, would have resulted in what happened, which was 9hrs in to the 36hr bulk phase the dough was doubled already (after punching down it stayed relatively stable for the remainder of the period). Could this be the case (larger bulks will get warm during initial kneeding/mixing phase and take longer to cool down, fast tracking the fermentation, versus smaller bulks?)
[...]

I think your theory is just right.
Yeast likes heat: any more degree can impact the fermentation exponentially; bulk fermentation takes more time to cool down; and Tom Lehmann explained that yeast activity produces heat, so bigger bulk fermentation (I think he used to say 5kg flour dough and more) will be even harder to cool down. "Harder to cool down" means yeast is still fermenting, meaning it's still producing heat, meaning it's harder to cool down... etc!
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” - Pablo Picasso

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Differences In Bulk When Making 4 vs 25 Pizzas
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2021, 11:11:16 PM »
Split the batch into several containers for faster cooling.

Offline Taahir

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Re: Differences In Bulk When Making 4 vs 25 Pizzas
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2021, 07:06:45 AM »
I think your theory is just right.
Yeast likes heat: any more degree can impact the fermentation exponentially; bulk fermentation takes more time to cool down; and Tom Lehmann explained that yeast activity produces heat, so bigger bulk fermentation (I think he used to say 5kg flour dough and more) will be even harder to cool down. "Harder to cool down" means yeast is still fermenting, meaning it's still producing heat, meaning it's harder to cool down... etc!

Thanks for the viewpoint. Makes sense I guess. Logistically likely is easier for me then to split the bulk in to 4 different batches before putting in the fridge. Or maybe contemplating putting it directly in the freezer for 30 mins prior to transferring to the fridge. For note, had some left over dough today, that I froze on Saturday. Noticed that even after coming up to room temp, it was even tastier, yet quite a lot harder to work with. Anyways, back to testing table. Next popup is a few weeks away so have some time to get the timings right.

Offline Taahir

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Re: Differences In Bulk When Making 4 vs 25 Pizzas
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2021, 07:08:07 AM »
Split the batch into several containers for faster cooling.

Thanks. I did in fact split it in to two, but probably that was too big. Given it was also a fairly hot evening when I was doing bulk, so likely I need to try split it in to 4 containers, and try cool it down faster (or do the bulk with a fan/aircon on so that the room stays cool?)

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Offline Rolls

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Re: Differences In Bulk When Making 4 vs 25 Pizzas
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2021, 09:17:45 AM »
Tom Lehmann used to say that a dough amount of approximately 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) or less will ferment the same whether it is kept in one mass or divided into balls.  A dough amount larger than that is subject to what is known as the "mass effect of fermentation", whereby the heat generated by the fermentation process (heat of metabolism) is not easily dissipated from the dough because of its larger volume.

In pizza making, it is important to have consistency from one dough ball to the next in order to have consistency in the finished pizzas.  This is why Tom recommended balling the dough right after mixing and getting the dough balls into the fridge right away (within 20 minutes), essentially skipping the "bulk fermentation" phase.  This is not to say that "bulk fermentation" should always be avoided when making pizza.  I've noticed that in Italy, bulk fermentation is part of many dough making procedures.  Again, it all comes down to knowing how to manage your workflow in order to guarantee consistency and quality in the finished product.


Rolls
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