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Help a hard working dad trying to feed his pizza loving kids

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  • Help a hard working dad trying to feed his pizza loving kids

    Hi folks, I've loved Pizza Quest since reading, following, and baking along over the last 7 years or so for me. Needless to say, my kids love my pizza and I love making it for them.

    I am at a phase in my life, however, where time is of essence. I only make pizza once a month at most, and really would like to contribute more to the kitchen and making things my family enjoys. I don't mind getting the dough prepared in advance, and doing the fermentation in the fridge obviously is critical. But when I get home after having picked up the kids, and it's already about 4:30PM, I don't have enough time to let the dough thaw out (2-3 hours), proof, and then stretch and bake into the oven without getting dinner prepared far too late from when my family needs to get and get onto other responsibilities.

    Do you have any suggestions? I can't imagine I can take the dough out at 7:45AM and expect it to proof all that time and be useful in making pizza at 5-6PM. Should I to proof the dough a lot faster (1 hour) by putting it in the warming oven, or finding some other source of heat? Or would proofing it too fast ruin it?

    Or alternatively, can I slow down the proofing process to have it occur over 8-10 hours by using an ice cooler or mini fridge or wine cooler of some sort, set to a diff temp? Or does proofing need to happen at a specific rate?

    Thanks for any tips. I'd love to know if there's a solution, as well as learn about the science of proofing pizza dough. I'd do the same for bread if it applies.

  • #2
    I think you may be over-complicating it a bit. While cold fermentation does develop a bit more complex flavors, I personal can't tell that much of a difference once you all all the topping, and I don't think you or your kids would either. I've tried many methods, but I'm currently just fermenting my pizza dough for ~22 hours, in balls, at room-temp and use very small amounts of yeast/starter, and I happy with the results. I suggest you do this and the pizza will be ready to stretch and bake as soon as you get home, with no need to wait for thawing. You would of course have to experiment a little with your own yeast/starter and dough recipe in order to not over-ferment, if you do decide to do a long room temp fermentation.


    • #3
      Thanks DavidLH. Are you using a standard neo-napoletana recipe to make it work for you, with just much less yeast? Your method may definitely be as simple as it gets, and I'll be certain to give it a go.

      But with that said, if that's successful, couldn't I just use less yeast, do the cold ferment, and pull it out in the morning? I've always found the final pizza dough to be too lifeless when over-proofed.
      Last edited by pizza_corleone; 10-01-2019, 11:35 AM.


      • #4
        No problem. I personally use a standard Neapolitan pizza recipee: 100% Tip 00 flour, 65% water, 2.5% salt and tiny bit of fresh yeast, which for my 24 hr room temp fermentIon is about a 3 mm diameter ball of yeast per 250 g pizza dough ball. I dont think the specific recipee matters much though. You can of course do a cold fermentation first and then pull it out of the fridge the morning before, whatever works best for you. It wont overferment if you just adjust your yeast accordingly.


        • #5
          Interesting. So does the proofing stage of bread making only exist in the way that it’s typically described, with under and over proofing possibilities, if not done right, only because typically a lot of yeast is used?


          • #6
            I'm not sure if I completely understand your question. Any recipee will call for an amount of yeast that fits the fermentation temperature and time described in the recipee. In most recipees, the amount of yeast is high because most recipees call for a short fermenation time at room temperature or a fridge only fermentation. You would need to add much less yeast if going for a longer period at room temp, such as the schedule you suggested where the dough is taken out of the fridge in the morning, and left until dinner.


            • #7
              I freeze dough balls regularly. I just put them on the counter (granite) for an hour and they are thawed. I place the individual dough balls into zip lock bags or into a vacuum sealer bag and then into the freezer. You can take the frozen dough balls out of the freezed and put them in a bowl of hot water (still in their bags) for 20 minutes or so and they will be thawed. You can dump out the water after ten minutes and refill it with hot water to speed up the thawing. Either method should get you usable pizza dough on a work/school night. Note that I have had the bags spring a hole in them and I have had the dough essentially floating in water. In that case I simply reshaped it into a ball and dusted it with flour and proceeded as normal. No problem at all.