The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bringing old dough back to life.

Pain Partout's picture
Pain Partout

Bringing old dough back to life.

I have been playing around with refrigerated doughs, and modifications of these doughs, from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I have some old pizza dough using "Earl's" Thin Crisp Pizza Dough with Semolina. Excellent modification, thanks Earl.    I forgot ther remaining dough in the is now 16 days old!  I want to turn this into bread,...but what should I do to make the lax high-hydration dough come back to life?  Should I add new yeast?  Do another preferment?  Just throw it out......? 

Floydm's picture

I wouldn't add more yeast... it ought to be plenty fermented by now!  If it smells strongly of alcohol I'd probably chuck it out (not that it'd hurt you, just that I think it'd come out pretty nasty).  If you shape it and it seems like it still has some life in it, throw it in oven and see what comes out.  Worst case, it comes out a brick or a pancake and you toss it out.

Pain Partout's picture
Pain Partout

Floydm.  It doesn't smell like 80 proof.... guess I won't make any $$ selling it. Just looks pretty "limp" in its 5-quart refer container.  But....sigh...I don't want to waste my time making a brick or a pancake.  Likely will,...though.  Thanks for your comment.

PLloydie's picture

pretend it's a sourdough and refresh it see what happens..

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Chuck it.

nbicomputers's picture

i would not chuck it but i would not bake it ether.

bakers allways end up with old dough that goes unused. just mix a fresh dough and a pert of the old dough to the new batch you can add about 20% by wieght to the new dough.

so if making 100 oz of new dough you could add up to 20 oz of the old dough to the new batch

or you could make a diferent dough calling for some old dough as in the following formula for old fashond crulers

sugar 14 oz
salt 1oz
milk powder 4oz
shortening 7oz
vanilla and lemon flavor
mace or nutmeg
old dough 8 to 16oz
eggr 8oz
water 2lb
cake flour 1 lb 8oz
breag flour 2 lb 8oz
baking powder 3oz

just mix to a smoth dough and rest about 10 minutes

cut into 2 oz pieces and shape into bow tie or twist crulers and fry at 350 for about 1 minute turn and fry 1 more minut (1 minute on each side)

finish when still hot by rolling them in cinnamon sugar or let cool and finish by dusting with powdered sugar.

these can also be froxen after shapping for about a week

if frozen let come to room temp and fry as above

summerbaker's picture

I had no idea that you can add up to 20% old dough to a new batch.  That is a very useful fact - totally changes my outlook on trying to make "just enough" for the loaves that I want to bake immediately.  Maybe I won't worry so much next time...

BTW I've been trying to talk my husband into getting a small deep fryer since he tends to freak out over the splatter that results from my stovetop kettle frying.  Your crulers sound like a great first recipe to try in one!


Pain Partout's picture
Pain Partout

Thanks all, for your comments.  I finally decided to bite the bullet, be brave, and try to refresh it as a sourdough.   I weighed out the dough as 22 oz.  I added 22 oz of a 100% hydration new "starter" (about 1 Cup all purp flour + 1 Cup water).  I cheated by adding 1 tsp dry yeast and 1/2 tsp Diastatic Malt powder....fearful that the original yeast may have been killed off by the over fermentation.  Beat all together, left in 5 quart pot, and left to sit on the counter for 3 hours, in which time the still lax,shaggy mess had doubled. 

Then, ...added 2 tsp salt, and 2 cups bread flour. Mixed all with spoon, turned out on counter and incorporated about 3/4 C additional bread flour (almost 3C total "new" flour was added by the the time of forming the loaves).      

Folded all.  Set aside for 30 min covering with a towel.  After the initial 30 min rest, I refolded and rested an additional 30 min. 

Lightly shaped into two "logs" (1# 12 oz each), placing them on cornmeal-sprinkled parchment.   Rested for another 30 minutes while preheating oven to 450 degrees convection.  The loaves were not doubled at time of baking.

Baked on stone for 35 min.  Voila...!  Very good bread, with great oven spring. 

NEVER throw out that old-over-the-hill dough...?  It's good to be cheap...?   Thanks for giving me courage.

PLloydie's picture

I'm glad you bit the bullet and gave the sixteen day old dough a chance! It was the final inspiration I needed, to give something a try. SOLID BEER.

I've mixed together 100g strong white flour

                             100g light rye

                             (33.3%of final dough's flour weight)

                             40g white sugar                                (20%)

                             1.5g Safael US-04 English Ale yeast     (0.25%)


US-04 (according to the packet) likes temperatures between 15 and 24C.

At TIME ZERO it was at 24.5C Has a flavour profile similar to sweet liquer, from 'mashing' malted grains for beer production, in terms of sweetness and 'grain' flavour.

At 1.5 hours it had doubled in size and despite air temp being 21 degreesC it had risen to 24.9

At 4 hours it has trebled in size and is 24.7C while air temp is 18C.

As the activity slows I'll transfer it to the fridge for a SECONDARY type fermentation and hope to bake with it in two weeks time..

Pain Partout's picture
Pain Partout

PLloydie,...this sounds inviting.  Do you think you will have to refresh your dough after it has been refrigerated for two weeks?   What will the longevity of the beer yeast, following the further fermentation, without feeding?  Intriguing.  So much so,..that I went out this afternoon and bought a packet of English Ale Yeast at a local beer-making supply.  The beer yeast is likely to be more tolerant of increased alcohol production, possible result of a very long fermentation....but....?

Bread and beer yeast offer the same benefits:  Carbon Dioxide...err...bubbles in the dough. But, as the alcohol levels increase, does this also affect the gluten in the dough??  It will be most interesting to hear your results.  Please keep us posted as to your outcome. Sounds tasty.....

PLloydie's picture

I'm thinking it'll be the lower ph that affects the yeast. However there will be plenty of more acid tolerant yeasties ready to take over. The only time I plan to refresh it is for the final dough. Although the activity will have dropped I reckon it will be very prolific, just sleepy.

I'll have an update shortly..

PLloydie's picture

Here's the latest on the "Single Batch"starter.

At 38 hours we have a nice grainy alchohol smell. Nice and sweet. Starting to use up the oxygen now but still pretty active.

I'll give it another day or so at room temp while it's becoming anarobic to produce plenty of 'fruity ester' type flavours and lactic acid.

Pain Partout's picture
Pain Partout

Thanks for the update on your "Ale dough", PLloydie.  You must have this tightly sealed?  Otherwise, could it become anaerobic?  Wouldn't a little Oxygen sneak in, if you are allowing the extra Carbon dioxide to escape?  Do you have a "water lock" on the dough bowl..similar to what you might use in making a brewski?   Don't you HAVE to vent the excess Carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation, or risk blowing the lid off your bowl? 

PLloydie's picture

Fermentation is an anaerobic exercise for yeasties. The OXIDATION phase is all about cell growth. Louis Pasteur found (and this is The Pasteur Effect)that, increased aeration decreases fermentation. For a bloke living in a time where NOBODY believed living things could be so small as to be INVISIBLE hewas pretty good!!  Aaanyway... You're right Pain Partout, it's unlikely to be an ANAEROBIC culture as a whole! I've sealed the top of the bowl with clingfilm, which if it were beer would protect it while it was actively fermenting as any air breaching the seal would be moving outwards. I'm not so fussed INFECTING this BEER cos I never sanitised either the equipment or the BEER. Cos I WANT IT INFECTED! Although I am thinking about doing the full un-INFECTED solid beer (with an airlock) to see how a single strain of yeast (or two) develops flavour WITHOUT lacto's etc.. UPDATE on that... 10pm 14 april 96 hours Volume has dropped about 15% smells incredible. Rather than smelling like alcoholic flour it's starting to develop real aroma characters. I was gonna put up a photo but I can't find my camera, it's bed time and it looks just like the last one only 15%(ish) smaller.. Lloydie

PLloydie's picture

Pain Partout's picture
Pain Partout

Ahhhh..... "Our mate, Louis".  I knew him well (NOT).   We should have had his ornately-framed picture over the benches of the laboratories I have been enslaved within.  More exciting than counting spores, or having me hands totally gooed up in making slides.  Love making bread,...I was always messy.


How's the Solid Beer "mutating"......?




Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


PLloydie's picture

It just spins me out to think that a chemist would  effectively create (with a couple other scientists) a whole new area of study (MICROBIOLOGY) Although maybe it was the knowledge he had of chemistry allowed him to deduce his way toward the missing link..

My fiance and I got bitten pretty hard by the brewing bug a couple of years ago and that crashed into my existing obsession for bread. Kinda started liking yeasties and friends since. The two things have SO much in common. It was sort of written I guess I'd end up trying to make SOLID BEER.....

Speaking of which the ferment is now in the fridge moved there at 141 hours. Dropped about 30% in volume.Smells like some sort of grain spirit!

What sort of work does your lab do Pain?

Mini I'm glad you asked. I think I might be buying some stuff from the brew shop that won't be turned into beer. Saw some barley flour at the markets last week too. Hmmm that just might be a good start for an isolated yeast type SOLID BEER..

This photo is a sourdough I made after adding crushed CHOCOLATE MALT (well roasted) to my ferment about a week before I baked, then building up the volume by refreshing without removing any ferment..



PLloydie's picture

Safely in the fridge and almost back to it's original volume.

Alcohol, lactic acid and acetic acid have a preserving effect. With SOLIDBEER1 smelling like spirits and having been inoculated 'naturally' I reckon he's pretty safe in the fridge til next weekend (14days total). My only real concern is that the acidity will damage the gluten. I think I've had it happen before with a red wine starter. My guess in the end was that it's super high acidity destroyed the gluten. However with the starter being only 33% of the total flour and half of that being rye, I'm not too fussed about it. I'll use a good strong flour for the final dough.

Rather than wait until next week to see the results of SOLIDBEER1, for the minimal risk/wastage I'm going to get another one going this weekend.For SOLIDBEER 2 my stab in the dark hypothesis is that "Yeast and Lactic acid producing bacterias will each have an individual effect on the fermentation of a common media"

My methods for managing the constants will involve sanitising all equipment until just prior to using with a food servise no-rinse sanitiser, and sanitising the medium using heat (microwave)
I will inocculate two equal portions of sanitised "solid wort" with different organisms. One being US-04 english ale yeast and the other being Browns SourCream.

For each group I will

1 Measure 100g boiling water 20gwhite sugar to a plastic container and micro wave on medium for three minutes.

2 Measure 50g White Rye and 50g Strong White flour into plastic container and microwave on medium for three minutes.

3 Measure 30g cream into plastic container and boil briefly.

4 Quickly mix flour water a with US-04 and cream.
mix flour water b with sour cream.

After one hour;

Attached Image 566 x 425 (177.37K)