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### Author Topic: Dough Temperature.....while in refrig overnight and just prior to baking  (Read 2876 times)

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#### Crusty

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##### Dough Temperature.....while in refrig overnight and just prior to baking
« on: February 13, 2005, 09:45:02 AM »
I have seen much guidance on water temp that leads to a final dough temp of 80-85f.  Two questions:

1. What is the optimal refrigeration temperature for the 24 proofing?

2. What temperature is optimal just prior to baking ?

(I am trying to figure out how long it must sit at room temperature prior to baking but with different refrigerators and varying weather and temperature a discrete temperature that the dough should reach would be helpful.

Thanks,

Crusty

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Dough Temperature.....while in refrig overnight and just prior to baking
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2005, 11:11:19 AM »
Crusty,

Two excellent questions.

As to your first question, professional pizza operators use coolers that operate at around 35-40 degrees F. That's about 10 degrees lower than I can get out of my home refrigerator, but there are some home refrigerators that can get down to around 40 degrees or so. Some members of our forum have devised different ways of getting the dough to cool down faster. Canadave uses a metal container for the dough, which cools down faster than plastic or wood because heat conducts away faster from metal than other materials. Giovanni puts his dough in the freezer for a period of time. For a dough ball for a 16-inch pizza, I myself have tried Giovanni's approach and have been able to get away with around 30-40 minutes in the freezer without having the dough start to freeze. Most of the time I just put the dough in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and let it go at that.

As for your second question, the technical answer is that the time that it will take for the dough to reach the desired temperature for shaping, etc., depends on the temperature of the dough when it comes out of the refrigerator and the temperature of the room in which the dough is to sit before shaping. Newton's Law of Cooling, which also applies in reverse to heating, says that the temperature of an object changes at a rate proportional to its temperature and the temperature of its surrounding environment. To calculate that rate of change you need a starting temperature and some other data points that, with a scientific calculator and understanding how to use differential equations, you can actually calculate how long it will take for the object (such as a dough ball) to reach a particular temperature. Tom Lehmann says that the dough should be above 50 degrees F to shape without running the risk of bubbling. Since your dough is likely to be at a higher temperature coming out of the refrigerator (if your refrigerator is anything like mine) than a dough coming out of a professional cooler, it will take your dough less time to get above 50 degrees F than where a cooler is used.

I personally shoot for a temperature of between 55-60 degrees F. Obviously, the time to reach that temperature will be shorter in summer than in winter. But one way to do a rough calculation is to see how fast the temperature rises in a fixed period, such as a five minute period, and use that figure to extrapolate out to the desired temperature. The process is exponential rather than linear, but it will be close enough for your purposes over a 1-2 hour total time period. So, for example, if the temperature of the dough coming out of the refrigerator is at 50 degrees F and you are shooting for 55 degrees F, and the temperature rises 1 degree within the first 5 minutes, it will take roughly 50 minutes for the dough to reach 60 degrees F. I chose the numbers for this example for simplicity of the math, but, in actuality, at this time of year, where cooler room temperatures prevail, the rate or increase is much slower, more like 0.5-0.6 degrees F over a 5 minute period. To get a more accurate figure you will have to learn how to implement the math of Newton's Law of Cooling. Most bakers simply learn through experience in making doughs at different room temperatures throughout the year.

FYI, the optimal finished dough temperature used to be 85-90 degrees F. But, as cooler technology improved and coolers became more efficient, the optimal finished dough temperature was dropped to 80-85 degrees F. So, unlike Newton's Law of Cooling, it is not a natural law.

Peter

« Last Edit: February 13, 2005, 02:05:42 PM by Pete-zza »

#### Crusty

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##### Re: Dough Temperature.....while in refrig overnight and just prior to baking
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2005, 06:00:27 PM »

Thanks Peter.   I took some measurements today with my digital probe thermometer.  My garage refigerator is 34 degrees and my kitchen is 42.  The pies I made last night were from 24 hour proofing in the garage.  The batch I made last weekend spend the 24 hours in the kitchen refirgerator.  I felt that the batch last week that was proofed 24 hours in the kitchen was superior in yeast development crust with better flavor and bubbles.  Up to this point I pulled the dough from the refrigerator 2 hours prior to baking and now I will work towards targeting the 50 degree plus point.

Another point/observation.  The kitchen refigerator would naturally be opened much more in the course of 24 hours than the garage that was probably not opened at all.

Next time I will take measurements and report the results.

Crusty

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Dough Temperature.....while in refrig overnight and just prior to baking
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2005, 07:40:55 PM »
Crusty,

A point to keep in mind is that when someone like Tom Lehmann talks about a 24-hour retardation, 1 1/2-2 hours warmup before shaping, and 2-3 hours useful life thereafter, it is all in the context of having a cooler that can get down to 35-40 degrees F (he is, after all, talking about professional pizza operators, not home pizza makers). If you can get those temperatures in your refrigerator, whether the one in your garage or your kitchen, those numbers apply and should serve you well. However, if you can't get such temperatures, i.e., your refrigerator is warmer than a professional operator's cooler, then it is quite possible that you don't need numbers as high as those mentioned above since you are starting from a higher dough temperature. Maybe an 18-hour retardation period is enough, and maybe you don't need almost 2 hours of warmup, etc.

FYI, today I made a pizza dough and I took the temperature of the dough at 10-minute intervals after I brought it out of the refrigerator. The temperature of the dough was around 43.6 degrees F and room temperature was around 70 degrees F. I let the dough relax for a few minutes to adjust to its new environment, and then took its temperature at the 10-minute intervals. I decided that I would shoot for around 56 degrees F. I saw that the temperature rose about 1.3 degrees F in the first measured interval and extrapolated that, at that rate of temperature increase, it would take about 1 1/2 hours or so to get to the 56 degrees F benchmark. The final number was quite close, being off by about 5 minutes. So, it appears that that simple approach works reasonably well for our purposes. In some respects, this simple approach is better than some of the calculated results since you are dealing with a known quantity--a mass of dough of given weight--and the real-time changes in temperature. In our approach, it doesn't matter what the dough weight is so long as you take a few measurements and extrapolate from there.

I'm not advocating that everyone sit over a ball of dough and take repeated measurements. It is perhaps good enough to just take the dough's temperature once in a while (or just stick the stem of the thermometer into the dough) and when it reaches the targeted temperature, you are good to go. (I don't have one, but I understand that there are digital thermometers that can be preset to a particular temperature and emit a signal when the targeted temperature is hit.)

Your observation about the impact of opening the refrigerator door often and its effect on dough temperature is a valid one. That is one of the reasons why many professional pizza makers, like those who specialize in retarded NY style doughs, make their dough at night, when the workers aren't going in and out of the coolers all the time.

Keep us posted.

Peter

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