Dough beyond 48 hours--should it be degassed and re-balled?

I am sure that I am not alone in having extra dough in the refrigerator beyond 48 hours for any one of a number of reasons. How is this handled by others here? Freeze the dough? Extend the cold fermentation and degas/ball on a daily basis until it is used (or until it is deemed no longer acceptable)? And how does one recognize when there is no longer enough substrate left in the dough for continued keeping?

Ken K

Ken K.
posted over 4 years ago

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And I suppose the corollary is can dough be degassed too much or too often?

Ken K.
posted over 4 years ago

When I have people over for pizza, I'll usually make a couple of extra balls in case I get a nasty tear when stretching, or if people just happen to be really hungry. More often than not, I have an extra ball or two left over.

Most of the time, I just make another pizza the next day. When I first started doing this, I noticed the left over "next day" dough was actually better than the previous night, so increased the rise times of my dough accordingly.

Now, when I make dough the next day, I notice it's not good as when I use it at the intended time. When you start seeing large, abnormal bubble(s) it is a sign that can mean your dough is over risen. Second, and this is more telling, your dough will start to crater. Instead of forming a small dome, you'll notice that the top begins to sag. When you work the dough, it will be slack. Your dough won't be elastic, but it won't perform well either.

There are some visual cues, but a lot of it is getting to know a specific recipe and when it's best used.

As for freezing and re-balling, I don't have good answers, just guesses and a few data points. I've noticed that Whole Foods sells dough that was previously frozen. It performs really well, so I know it's possible that you can get a good result from frozen dough. That said, I think they're freezing it right after it is balled. I don't know how different the end-result will be if you froze dough that's already been fermented.

As for re-balling, I'm not entirely sure. It's worth trying, but I don't think it will breathe new life into dough that is past its prime.

Thumb raji
Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 4 years ago

Thanks, Raj. So I take it that when you have not used some of the doughs on the days for which they were intended that you put them back in cold storage without degassing/kneading them? WRT CPR for the very old dough (Cornicione-Pizza Resuscitation), I have no desire to use a dough beyond its prime, and I usually score two points as they enter the wastebasket... (occasionally I have missed beyond 7 feet....)

You raised an interesting question in my mind in the second and third paragraphs WRT the issue of Next Day dough having initially been better than the previous night but that now it is not as good as when you use it at the intended time. Any thoughts about why?

- Ken   over 4 years ago

I always make 3 320g ish dough balls when making pizza. Sometimes, I use one for pizza and leave the other two in the fridge. When I make the 3 dough balls, I put them individually in olive oiled stainless steel bowls and cover tight with plastic. I have left them in the fridge for up to 5 days. I don't make pizza with the "old" though, I make focaccia bread. Warm the balls to room temp and stretch the dough in a sheet pan heavy with EVOO. Let it proof and bake. Put salt over the top or work in some fresh rosemary when stretching.

Patrick R.
posted over 4 years ago

Funny you should mention it. We have been making ciabatta with the older doughs, which have been quite good, although not quite as good as when made from fresher dough. I have yet to make focaccia, although I like it quite a bit, especially with olives. We will give that a try!

Ken K.
posted over 4 years ago

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