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KEmerson 07-03-2010 06:04 AM

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!

texassourdough 07-03-2010 08:07 AM

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!

dmun 07-03-2010 08:07 AM

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?

KEmerson 07-03-2010 08:34 AM

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,

splatgirl 07-03-2010 09:34 AM

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.

texassourdough 07-03-2010 09:44 AM

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!

texassourdough 07-03-2010 10:07 AM

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!


splatgirl 07-03-2010 10:59 AM

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.

texassourdough 07-03-2010 11:05 AM

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.


KEmerson 07-03-2010 01:44 PM

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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