The Fresh Loaf

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Question about proofing dough balls

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MarkS's picture
MarkS

Question about proofing dough balls

I used to work at Domino's Pizza. We would order dough from the commissary and we would get plastic stacking trays with frozen dough balls. Over the course of about 3 days, if I remember correctly (it has been over 7 years), the balls would thaw and proof.


 


What I found odd though was that the trays are not air-tight and the dough balls were not covered in oil. And yet, they proofed without ever forming a skin. I cannot replicate this at home. Every time I have proofed a ball of dough in my fridge and missed part of the ball when covering it in oil, that part forms a tough skin. The thing is that the oil is causing the corn meal I'm using to stretch the crust to stick to the crust. I want to eliminate the oil coating completely.


How do I do this? Any idea how Domino's does this? Air + dough = tough skin, except the magical dough made at Domino's commissaries. I'm at a loss.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

I don't know how Domino's magical commisary dough does it (and I'm not sure I want to:-)


I do know how I do it: I just put the whole container loosely inside a large plastic bag before putting the whole thing in the refrigerator. I make sure the top of the plastic bag is high enough the dough will never touch it, so I don't have to oil or otherwise coat the bag at all. (For proofing some shapes this means sticking a piece of cardboard in the bag too to hold it wide open.) I often don't even bother to close the end of the bag; I just put the open end against the inside wall of my fridge so the spaces are pretty small. As a result, I can reuse the same large plastic bag over and over again very easily. I just use one of the bags I originally bought to keep my 5# flour sacks in - works fine for me.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

does it matter if the water condensation from the bag falls back onto the dough.  I've noticed that the top of the dough is somewhat wet and more so when it is out of the fridge to continue to ferment in room temp the next day.  Would it be advisable to mop up some moisture with a paper towel or just leave it as is?  Thanks for the advice.  Judy

Chuck's picture
Chuck

To tell the truth I've never seen condensation on my plastic bag, even though my loaves are typically around 76% hydration.  Maybe my experience is because I usually leave my pastic bag "open" by butting its stiff top up against an inside wall of my refrigerator, leaving only minimal spaces but not creating a truly tight seal. Or maybe a whole lot of condensation (not just a little:-) indicates something is wrong; it seems to me that if the water started out in the loaf, most of it should stay there else the hydration level will be really messed up.


Searching here on TFL suggests that drops of condensation falling back onto a proofing loaf are to be avoided because they'll often cause discolored spots in the crust, while the moisture that's still on the loaf should stay there (i.e. don't try to wipe it off). Often loaves are misted just before going into the oven as part of "steaming"; loaves that already have a moist surface just save you the effort of misting.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Could the condensation be because of the humidity in your location?  I am aware that HK can be rather hot and humid.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Now that you mention it, I think you're right that moisture/condensation varies quite a bit depending on what the climate is like in your location.


Bread dough sweating has never been an issue for me, but it's apparently just my dumb luck. I live near Boston Massachusetts USA; it seldom gets above 90F here, and the relative humidity isn't bad at all (despite being very near the ocean). I now realize I don't have either a good sense of what's typical or any relevant experiences to relate:-)


(I complain about the three weeks or so of what seems to me to be beastly weather every summer around here  ...but when I visit Atlanta Georgia or Washington D.C. [in Virginia], I completely wilt.)


 

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

It could be that, but I thought condensation occurred naturally no matter where as soon as as the cold dough meets the warm temp outside the fridge. The dough feels warm while it's starting to ferment and my plastic bag gets a bit wet on the inside.  The dough  remains covered when it's out of the fridge and it becomes even wetter insidel.  I just wondered if I should check my dough every now and again to wipe up the moisture from the bag or just leave it alone.  I'm looking forward to cooler wieather so that I can just leave it to proof in room temp. We don't have central heating but when the temp falls to below 10C, the house can get miserably cold.


Judy

dscheidt's picture
dscheidt


It could be that, but I thought condensation occurred naturally no matter where as soon as as the cold dough meets the warm temp outside the fridge.



Only if the cold thing is below the local dew point. Dew point depends on the humidity. In most air conditioned space, the humidity will be low enough that the amount of condensation will be small or zero. Hong Kong, unairconditioned, in summer, is going to be quite high most of the time.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

of sneaking a peek or two at the dough while it's in the fridge and because it's covered in an almost opaque plastic garbage bag,  I can't see the inside clearly and I have to open it up to check the inside which may have caused the formation of water droplets. I now use clingfilm to cover it so i can see what's going on inside the bowl.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Quote:
The dough remains covered when it's out of the fridge and it becomes even wetter inside.

Well I dunno for sure, because when I think back about it I've never had that exact situation. Every time I remove proofed dough from the fridge I'm on the way to "doing something else", and always remove the plastic bag. (Even if the next thing is just "thaw", without thinking about it I've always switched from the plastic bag to a different cover.)


Quote:
I just wondered if I should check my dough every now and again to wipe up the moisture from the bag or just leave it alone.

No first hand experience means I'm not absolutely sure. But my best guess is you should not try to wipe up the moisture if the bag was sealed - only if the moisture clearly came from the atmosphere rather than the dough. With the bag sealed, you have a closed system: no water in and no water out - all that condensation had to come from somewhere, and the only obvious candidate is the dough itself. Mopping out that water will be in effect lowering the hydration of your dough.


I remember when my Mom would take a frozen loaf of bread out of the freezer. Initially the plastic bag would be all coated on the inside with ice crystals. But if I opened the bag, besides getting invited to stand in the corner, I got to eat the extremely dried out bread when it warmed up. If left alone, eventually the bag would be clear, indicating the bread was thawed and it was finally safe to open the bag. All that moisture had gone back into the bread.

spacey's picture
spacey

I retard all of my doughs in the firdge currently, and I do this in metal mixing bowls covered with a silicone rubber lid (not the floppy ones that fall in, but a metal-rimmed jobbie).


Anyway, the conensation doesn't matter.  It will either get folded in when I shape, or I just drop it into the sink.  You should be able to do the same with no ill effects as long as you're not otherwise in some borderline territory.  By that I mean as long as the dough isn't nearly over-risen, or where there is some acidity present as with sourdough, and your gluten is weak so the small amount of water can contribute to the loosening and quick demise of most of the remaining structure.


Anyway, aside from that it's never been a problem.  You will usually want to place your pizza balls into a bit of flour before you start your stretch anyway, and that'll mean either the water mixes in, or forms its own bond with the new flour and doesn't stick to your dough.


NYC resident here, so we go from hot and humid to cold and dry.  I don't think it's a concern on either end of the spectrum.

Dillbert's picture
Dillbert

most newer home refrigerators are "frost free" - with the side effect that the relative humidity inside the fridge tends to the very low side.  anything that wants to "skin over" needs to be covered - pudding, gravies, dough, etc.


no clue about the refridgerated storage at the pizza shop - but it may not have experienced that problem.