Master Dough Fermentation

I am probably being too obsessive, but I would like to understand the fermentation a little better. I had fine success with my first master dough without starter the other day. I now have four batches going. I have a few questions:
1. how long can the fermentation go? Is there any value in doing a third (bulk + two additional) or fourth? If so, what is the max, or would that depend on how much substrate (flour, other carbs) are available? Is there an increase in flavor development with additional fermentations?
2. has the amount of yeast specified in the dough been determined so that there will be only enough for 2 cold fermentations before it tires or runs out of substrate?
3. Tony suggests letting the dough come up to temp for 1-2 hours before use, which is fine, although we live on the coast and some days are warmer/colder than others---we choose to not use our heating and cooling a great amount, so that we live in a varying ambient temperature. However, what would be the downside to leaving it out for, say, 3-4 hours--is it that there would be more gas in the crust from fermentation outside the refrigerator in warmer environment? I assume that restaurants have to deal with this all the time...

There is a single thread underlying these questions, but I haven't determined yet what it is...!

Ken K

Ken K.
posted almost 5 years ago

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All of these questions really depend on the flour you are using and the protein and gluten in the flour. The higher the protein and gluten the longer your dough can last maturing or out at room temp. Yes typically you can let your dough ferment longer in the refer and at room temp especially if your using a flour that's in the 13% or higher in protein. We had variables and times in the book like 36-48 hrs for maturing in the fridge. Could it be longer ? In most cases yes. Controlling your temp of the dough is the key after mixing. If the temp was between 68-72 degree after mixing and you bench rested it for a bit and got it into your fridge, you could let it mature for a long period of time (if you can wait or have the time to wait), the stronger the flour the longer the maturation. In most recipes we have malt in the recipe so the added simple sugars will help for longer maturations. Controlling your doughs temp is the key.
Every flour composition breaks down differently. It will take some R & D to determine which flour will last and be better for longer periods of time (3,4,5 days) power flour and my flour have worked great for longer maturations.

Tony Gemignani admin
posted almost 5 years ago

Thanks for the reply, Tony. I am approaching 24 hours for four batches intended to be used during the second game tomorrow: KA bread, Caputo 00 Red, Central Milling High Mountain Hi-Gluten, and Tony's Artisan from Central Milling. Off the bat, I was amazed at the difference in feel between the KA and the other three flours. All were made with your Master Dough without starter, including diastatic malt. They each had an hour rest, then were placed in the fridge--they have doubled in the past 18 hours. In a few hours, we will knock them down in our mixer, and separate them into individual balls. I am anticipating some great results, as last week we used your recipe and even though we were using plain ole KA bread flour, the results were quite good. Thanks for writing your "bible"!

(BTW, if you remember a bubbly, enthusiastic upstairs neighbor who lived above your place in North Beach 3-4 years ago, that is our daughter, Kristy. We used to love visiting her because it meant we would have some fantastic pizza. I think that the truffle pizza was the best I have ever had, and the pizzas with burrata were next. I was excited to see that you had published a book)

- Ken   almost 5 years ago

Looking forward to seeing all of
your results. Yes all the doughs will perform differently. Will you be cooking these pizzas tomorrow? Please tell your family hello.

- Tony   almost 5 years ago

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