When it comes to dough rest, things look pretty much as follows: too short is not suitable, as is generally known. But too long is no good either. Most bakers today do not give wheat dough the time it needs for a variety of reasons. It often has to be done quickly or there is a lack of space. The production pressure is high.
That applies to smaller bakeries as well as to industrial companies. Here and there, the dough is often processed with little rest and then put into the oven with a short piece of fermentation. The results are yeast bakery products that are not very airy or lack in taste. These hastily produced breads and rolls often taste flat, one-dimensional and hardly develop typical flavors.
Long dough guidance delivers healthier products
However, baking is subject to natural processes: yeast and enzymes develop their best properties at their own pace. A long dough run is therefore sensible. It significantly enhances bakery products. In addition, bread with long dough is healthier and easier to digest, it has a more intense aroma and it also looks better thanks to its better structure.
Because doughs with a short lifespan are also criticized for causing abdominal pain and discomfort in sensitive people, a long dough period is also a good argument for a healthier diet and thus a “clean label”. The so-called “Fodmap” content also plays an important role. This gives information about the amount of certain fermentable sugars in food, which can lead to the mentioned health complaints. In this context, researchers have shown that it is not the type of grain used that is responsible for high values, but a short dough rest. However, we will not talk about the Fodmaps here, as there is enough reading material on the net. We will also not go into the addition of pre-doughs.
Back to the dough: many bakers – and not just them – are wondering how they can incorporate long dough rest periods into their production processes from an economic point of view. Frequently, they lack the space required for large quantities of “extremely” long-term baked goods. In this case, an alternative would be, for example, to allow long dough runs only for one or a few products in the range, and then advertise this accordingly.
One good example of this is the popular use of pizza dough in gastronomy. Truly good pizza dough should be open and airy at the edges. Different degrees of browning also play a role: these ensure a lively taste of the crust.
Cold fermentation makes product very tasty
Cold fermentation simply slows down the chemical processes during fermentation through cold. At the same time, this method produces the really tasty aromas. A subtle acidity is also created in this way – which in turn affects the taste.
However, that is not all: the structure and texture of the resulting dough is different as well. It has fewer bubbles, becomes smoother and is easier to process. This is essentially due to the fact that the enzymes have more time to break down the proteins. In addition, the delayed fermentation process ensures a better gluten structure, and the dough forms larger and thinner pores during baking.
Experiment with pizza dough
The question of how long the raw dough should be placed in the cold store for good results has not yet been answered. A pizza dough experiment has shown that the optimal quality is reached at a ripening period of three to five days. In order to achieve this result, a large quantity of pizza dough was cold fermented in the refrigerator for ten days. In the meantime, a piece of pizza of the same size was made every day.
The first baking day showed a rather narrow and small pored structure. From the third day on there were clear changes: gradually the structure of the dough became looser and bubbles formed, which made the end product more and more airy and crispy. However, on day five, the fermentation produced very thin and light areas of dough that burned quickly. From day six, it was over: the dough did not rise properly from that point on, the structure suffered and so did the taste of the pizza.
The experiment has therefore shown that it is not difficult to achieve good results with a wheat yeast dough using the principle of cold fermentation. The use of flours with a high gluten content is, however, indispensable. Adding durum wheat flour can also be useful. A high-protein flour with a falling number that is not too low provides the basis for long fermentation processes. After all, the longer the enzymes have time to break down the protein, the more of it has to be there.
By the way, the baker can benefit from cold fermentation just as much as the (Italian) restaurateur, who wants to stand out from the crowd and serve his guests homemade food. Of course, it doesn’t always have to be pizza: Mediterranean products such as ciabatta or root bread can also be made in this way with little effort. Only looser, crispier – and simply better.
There are of course countless ideas for healthy baked goods that taste particularly good thanks to cold fermentation. We would be happy to discuss details in the forum.