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How to Make a Long (20-24 Hour), Room-Temperature Fermented Dough

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  • How to Make a Long (20-24 Hour), Room-Temperature Fermented Dough

    For several months, I have been conducting experiments in an effort to make a long, room-temperature fermented dough based on using commercial yeast. By ?long?, I mean about 20-24 hours. The advantage of such a dough is that it is comparable from a fermentation standpoint to a dough that has been cold fermented for several days, with comparable finished attributes, such as crust/crumb texture, taste, flavor and aroma. What made the exercise particularly challenging in my case is that the room temperature at which the various dough balls were fermented was around 80-82 degrees F. That is a very high temperature at which to ferment a dough. Also, in my case, I did not want the dough to expand much more than about double. I was shooting for a range of 80-120%.

    The difficulty in making a 20-24 hour room temperature fermented dough, especially at a high room temperature as I used, is that the dough after that period of fermentation can easily be on the verge of overfermenting. As a result, the dough can be wet and sticky because of the release of water into the dough, and the gluten structure can be compromised by the action of protease enzymes that degrade the gluten during the long period of fermentation. Because of the weakened gluten structure, I found it necessary to punch the dough down toward the end of the fermentation period and to re-knead it to recreate the elasticity in the dough. Typically, that re-knead took place during the last few hours of the total fermentation period (e.g., hour 20 in a 24-hour period). My objective was to use only a single punchdown, not several, which would require that one be present for the additional punchdowns. I had in mind a dough that can be started one day and be used about 20-24 hours later, without little or no fussing in between.

    In the course of my experiments, I tried a lot of things. I tried different flours, but mainly all-purpose flour and bread flour because of their widespread availability. I tried hydrations from about 55% to 70%. I used salt at levels from 1.25% to 1.75% (any higher, although useful to slow down the fermentation and the protease enzyme, would have produced an overly salty crust to my taste). I even tried different ways of incorporating the yeast (IDY) into the dough. For example, I tried adding the yeast directly to the flour, I tried rehydrating the yeast in a small amount of warm water (to avoid shocking the yeast with cold water), and I tried adding the yeast as the last ingredient at the end of the dough kneading process. I also tried room temperature water, cold water directly from the refrigerator, and ice cold water. I tried sifting the flours, different sequences of ingredients and different kneading methods, including the use of the whisk attachment. Reducing the amount of yeast was another option, but I was using only about 1/64-1/128 teaspoon of IDY as it was. If I went above those levels, the dough would ferment too quickly and rise far too much (triple or more). Clearly, the elephant in the room was room temperature--and its powerful effect on the fermentation process, even with levels of yeast that are hardly measurable.

    As a result of all of the tests, I concluded that most of the things I did had little noticeable effect on the final dough in terms of controlling its expansion. However, I did find that if the hydration was too high, the final dough would be so wet and so extensible and fluid--almost like a very thick batter--as to be unusable, whether using a peel, a screen or anything else. So, the hydration had to be on the low side to make this kind of dough work. Ultimately, I found a combination of ingredients and quantities that worked. The dough formulation I devised for the 20-24 hour room temperature fermentation is recited below. That dough formulation is essentially a NY style dough formulation using only flour, water, salt and yeast (no sugar and no oil). However, the principles I learned have more general applicability to other styles of dough, and doughs including other ingredients, such as oil and sugar. The flour I used for the dough formulation posted below was King Arthur all-purpose flour. The nominal thickness factor was 0.095, and the bowl residue compensation was 1.5%.

    Using the Lehmann dough calculating tool at Lehmann Pizza Dough Calculator, here is the dough formulation that I settled upon, for a 14? pizza:

    King Arthur All-Purpose Flour (100%):
    Water (55%):
    IDY (0.012%):
    Salt (1.5%):
    Total (156.512%):
    268.87 g | 9.48 oz | 0.59 lbs
    147.88 g | 5.22 oz | 0.33 lbs
    0.03 g | 0 oz | 0 lbs | 0.01 tsp | 0 tbsp
    4.03 g | 0.14 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.72 tsp | 0.24 tbsp
    420.81 g | 14.84 oz | 0.93 lbs | TF = 0.096425
    Note: Nominal thickness factor = 0.095; for a 14" pizza; bowl residue compensation = 1.5%

    The principal thing to note in the above dough formulation is the relatively low hydration of 55%. I selected that value, even though it is considerably below the rated absorption for all-purpose flour (around 60-61%), to compensate for the release of water into the dough as a result of the very long fermentation. A higher nominal hydration may be possible, but the risk of the final dough being too wet and unworkable increases rather dramatically. For benchmark purposes, I think I would use a nominal hydration about 5% below the rated absorption for the flour used, as I did with the King Arthur all-purpose flour.

    To prepare the dough, I started by combining the IDY with the flour. The amount of yeast used, 0.012% of the weight of the formula flour, was a bit more than one half of the 1/64 teaspoon ?drop? mini measuring spoon such as shown at Mini measuring spoons for dry yeast. You might wonder how such a small amount of yeast can be uniformly dispersed within so much flour, but, oddly enough, simply stirring the yeast into the flour works remarkably well. As previously noted, I did not detect any change in dough performance with any of the methods I used to add the IDY to the dough. However, I would not add the IDY directly to ice cold water, which may shock the IDY and impair its performance.

    I then added the water, which was cold directly from the refrigerator and at a temperature of about 45 degrees F, to the mixer bowl of my basic KitchenAid stand mixer. The salt was added to the water and stirred to dissolve, about 30 seconds. I then gradually added the IDY/flour mixture to the mixer bowl, at stir speed, using the flat beater attachment. Once the bulk of the dough had pulled away from the sides of the bowl and collected around the flat beater, about 1-2 minutes, I cleared the dough mass from the flat beater and switched to the C-hook. There was still a little bit of raw flour that remained at the bottom of the mixer bowl so I simply worked it into the dough mass by hand when I switched to the C-hook. The dough was kneaded using the C-hook, at speed 2, until it was smooth and cohesive, about 5-6 minutes. I then kneaded and shaped it by hand into a round ball, lightly coated it with oil, and placed it in a one-quart Pyrex glass bowl. I covered the bowl with the accompanying plastic lid, which has a small hole in the center (for pressure release purposes), and placed the covered bowl on my kitchen counter. The room temperature was about 80-82 degrees. The finished dough temperature was 77.8 degrees F.

    About 18 hours later, the dough had roughly doubled in volume. I removed the dough from the bowl, punched it down, and re-kneaded it to restore the elasticity of the dough, which had been degraded by all of the biochemical activity that had occurred during the long fermentation. I did not use any bench flour when re-kneading the dough, even though it was on the wet and sticky side when I removed it from the bowl. The re-kneaded dough was returned to its bowl, covered, and allowed to ferment for about another 4 ? hours. During the last hour of the 4 ?-hour period, I turned on the oven to preheat my pizza stone, which had been placed on the lowest oven rack position, to a temperature of around 525 degrees F. When the dough doubled again, I removed it from the bowl and placed it on a lightly floured work surface to coat it on all sides. I then pressed the dough down gently to flatten it and then pressed it outwardly using my fingers. Once it reached about 10?, I lifted the dough and stretched it out to 14?. The dough was remarkably easy to handle. It was somewhat extensible but it was balanced by elasticity, as evidenced by its tendency to shrink when placed on the peel. The skin had a uniform thickness, with few variations and imperfections in dough texture or quality. The dough was not wet, so I felt comfortable using a peel to load the dressed skin into the oven. I was able to easily adjust the size of the skin on the peel by tugging the skin at its edges, much as I have seen in several of the videos that members of the forum have referenced.

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  • #2
    Re: How to Make a Long (20-24 Hour), Room-Temperature Fermented Dough


    Either your name is Pete, or you are a plagerist trying to get someone to click on the links in your signature. Your post is copied word for word from
    How to Make a Long (20-24 Hour), Room-Temperature Fermented Dough


    • #3
      Re: How to Make a Long (20-24 Hour), Room-Temperature Fermented Dough

      David, nice catch. I sure don't think this guy is Pete (Global moderator from
      My suggestion to Gollimari - crawl your self promoting, plageristic, scamming, sorry butt back under the rock you slithered out from.

      Sorry guys...these weasils that sneek under the radar really tick me off.



      • #4
        Re: How to Make a Long (20-24 Hour), Room-Temperature Fermented Dough

        We're such a nice bunch (until we catch a fake)
        I'll flag the post and James will likely give "Pete" the boot.
        Ken H. - Kentucky
        42" Pompeii

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