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Dough ball refrigeration question - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Dough ball refrigeration question

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  • Dough ball refrigeration question

    Hello all,
    Do any of you refrigerate your pizza dough balls in preparation for the stretching time? I don't mean the rising/fermentation period, but once the dough is shaped and getting ready for the bake? And if you do or don't, why or why not? And did you do it the other way before and change over? Again, why? And has that made things better?
    Many thanks and Mangiamo!

  • #2
    Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

    Hi Kim!

    I am a bit confused by your quesiton for you begin by saying "in preparation for stretching" and later say "is shaped and ready for the bake". So I will address both...

    Refrigerating the dough makes it stiffer and directionally less extensible.I don't see that as desirable before shaping. The normal logic is to have it at room temperature so it will be more extensible. Cold dough seems to tear more easily in my experience.

    There is an argument that refrigerating shaped pizzas MIGHT have potential value in that CO2 and alcohols are more soluble in cold dough. Thus you could get a puffier pizza using cold, shaped dough. But....puffiness shouldn't be a problem if you are making good dough so I don't see any great logic in it. (For bread, yes, but...not pizza).

    Those are my thoughts. I look forward to others opinions!
    Jay

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    • #3
      Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

      In the heat of summer, Caputo dough's natural extensibility becomes a liability, as it can droop all over the place. I cold ferment for days, and warm up the dough balls before stretching them. Most of the year, that's about 45 minutes at room temperature, but in summer heat, I cut that down to about 15.

      And why? Because cold fermented dough tastes better. If you are going to chill anyway, why not make the dough in advance, and make pizza day less frantic?
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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      • #4
        Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

        Jay, I was referring to the time after the dough is shaped into balls, awaiting the stretching time. So, after the dough has risen, fermented, all of that, and you now shape the mass into smaller balls. As my oven - like most here - is outside, and I am stretching the balls into the circles while the air temps are summertime high, and the dough not yet being stretched is waiting its turn on the marble, I wonder about that extra above room temperature's affect on the extensibility/anti-tear of the dough. I don't think I fall into the refrigerate camp and I have never refrigerated the dough at any point in its life. I've also never made pizza outside while the day's temperatures are hitting high 80's and more. Until last night. I'm not overly worried. Just curious.
        Grazie molto,
        Kim

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        • #5
          Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

          I almost always refrigerate my portioned dough. It happens to be what I think produces the best combination of flavor, extensibility and cooked product, but is also extremely helpful for managing the prep required for large amounts of dough and large parties.

          My standard procedure is to portion the dough early without ever doing a real bulk ferment, meaning I mix and knead, rest + a few stretch+folds all in ~1-2 hours and then portion and refrigerate until shortly before I am ready to stretch into rounds. This fridge retard/ferment can be anywhere from 1/2 a day to 2 days in advance. Longer than about 3-4 days and I start to not like the results as much. This is with sourdough. Yeast dough is a little different and, IME, less long-retard/storage friendly.

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          • #6
            Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

            Ahhhh!!! Thanks Kim!

            I am with splatg! I think the slower proof in the refrigerator gives more flavor. You should try it! It actually gives your more flexibility for the dough is good for about three days in the fridge.

            I always refrigerate my dough for at least a couple of hours (if I make it early on the day it is to be used). I ball the dough early (before refrigeration) or late (after) depending on the flour used. I ball AP late and Bread and 00 early. My distinction is that the AP seems to benefit from the extra stiffness from balling about 2 hours before use while the Bread and 00 are IMO too stiff if balled late (and are therefore harder to handle/stretch).

            Down here in Texas I routinely use the oven at temps in the 90s and there can be no question that the dough overproofs easily under those conditions though it is hardly a disaster for pizza. I haven't noticed a textural difference between room temp and 90. I will try an experiment to see what I get.

            Good question!
            Jay

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            • #7
              Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

              Hi splatg!

              My comments are specific to IDY. My sourdough is SO inactive at my refrigerator temp (which is 35 F) that I never retard my sourdough - only IDY - which I find has some activity left such that the balls do grow and mature in the fridge. Do you know what temp you are retarding at? I wonder if that is part of our differing perceptions!

              Thanks!
              Jay

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              • #8
                Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

                Hi Jay
                My fridge is set at 36F , but I did neglect to say that I let the portioned balls sit out at room temp for a couple of hours before putting them into the fridge. Basically just until it's obvious they are starting to get going. Any longer than that at RT or if I pull them from the fridge too soon before stretching they explode the containers.

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                • #9
                  Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

                  Ahhh, splatg!

                  Gotcha! I give iDY no more than 20 minutes or so before going into the fridge for I know it will keep going. I really should try sourdough for pizza. I think my reluctance arises from my dissatisfaction with retarded sourdough bread relative to the conventional double expansion - all at room temp.

                  Gracie!
                  Jay

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

                    This is a good topic for me now. Thanks for the input.

                    Last night's pizza was with a bit of sourdough starter for a biga and then after that was ready I used commercial yeast for the final dough. I'd never done that and was experimenting. I didn't really have any insurmountable problems but I didn't like the way the dough responded when I tried the over-the-knuckle stretch. Which usually works. Not a problem, as I was still very able to take care of it on the marble. Just took a little longer to get the stretch I wanted.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

                      Hi Kim!

                      My doughs are usually too wet/delicate for the full "over the knuckle" stretch. Your dough sounds underrelaxed which is in my experience mostly a matter of the flour, the hydration, the mixing, and the time from balling. Did you have a shorter proof time than normal? (If it was softer than normal I would have suspected the biga but it is not likely to be the culprit for too inelastic.)

                      Interesting!
                      Jay

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                      • #12
                        Re: Dough ball refrigeration question

                        I have said before that I think an IDY dough and a sourdough made and handled exactly the same are vastly different in terms of how the gluten develops and behaves, so perhaps your use of some sourdough in the recipe had something to do with the change in handling vs. what you are used to.

                        Like Jay, I am not really much an over the knuckle stretcher for the same reasons he gave. A little bit at the very outset and then it's onto a floured peel to finish. That said, I have never experienced a stubborn or hard to stretch dough with the high hydration, WFO-suitable recipes. The exception would be overt mishandling issues like attempting to re-ball and re-stretch a round.
                        Too warm doughs are harder to handle, more slack and prone to getting holes. Overproofed doughs are even more hole-prone. For me, on the just barely side of room-temp or even a little bit cool is ideal. Warmer than that and I do change my shaping technique to working almost exclusively on the floured peel.

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