The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What happens to dough once it is flattened (or rolled out) and left over time?

giyad's picture
giyad

What happens to dough once it is flattened (or rolled out) and left over time?

Does anyone know what happens to dough that is flattened or rolled out but then left for a day?  What does the yeast do, what happens to the dough itself?

I rolled out some dough and didn't end up using it all, so I put 2 of them in the fridge but left them rolled out.  When I took them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature, I noticed the dough had only very slightly contracted, but pretty much kept the shape of when I rolled it out.  However, I noticed that the dough had become much more elastic than it was before, so when I worked with it, it was very easy to get it extremely thin without really breaking it.

My question is, why did that happen?  Is this common practice in certain types of baking where you want to really stretch out the dough?

Sorry I'm new to baking and found this kind of fascinating, just would like to know why this happens.  Personally I think it has to do with the fact that it cools down much quicker when its flattened, so it would be the same as if I had left a ball of dough out for maybe 30 minutes longer, but thats just my guess, would love to hear what people think.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Gluten aligns itself over time creating a stronger network. Also the dough will continue to ferment creating a build up of organic acids. Acidity causes the gluten to tense up and so the dough becomes more elastic. The fact that it's rolled out doesn't really matter.

Plenty of great articles to read over at SFBI

Michael

giyad's picture
giyad

Thanks!

 

breaducation's picture
breaducation

Are you sure you meant elastic? It sounds like what you are talking about is extensibility(The ease of the dough to be stretched). If a dough is highly extensible then it can be stretched out very easily which sounds like what you are describing. An elastic dough is one that resists being stretched.

If your dough is indeed extensible than it is because resting the dough allows the gluten to relax.

giyad's picture
giyad

you're absolutely right, I meant extensible then... it was very easily stretched.  Does this happen only when the dough is flattened or even when it is rising in a ball?

flournwater's picture
flournwater

The extensibility of the dough can be expected to increase as it ferments, whether it's rolled out or formed  into a "ball" (boule).

It's simply a factor of the previously described process of gluten strands aligning and the dough relaxing into a balanced state.

As mwilson pointed out above: "The fact that it's rolled out doesn't really matter."

giyad's picture
giyad

Cool, well what about time?  Does the fact that its flat increase the speed at which it ferments, or is shape not a factor?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

does allow the dough to be stretched and made thinner (extensibility) without it tearing or shrinking back (elastic) which is why many pizza dough recipes call for the dough to rest in the fridge overnight so that it can be stretched very thin for thin crust pizza.  I'm guessing that the flat bread you had, after resting it in the fridge, would hae made some very fine flat bread too.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Increased extensibility can too be expected for three reasons.

  • Gluten relaxing
  • Gluten aligning
  • Protease activity

As dough ferments you can expect an increase in both extensibility and elasticity. Ultimately a good dough is one that is well balanced between these properties. Increasing both allows for a fuller and more voluminous bread.

Increased elasticity can be attributed to:

  • A more organised gluten network through natural aligning. (Passive development)
  • Development of acidity through fermentation

I suggest that anyone interested in dough rheology read the article on Dough Strength at SFBI. It's a great read.

Michael

giyad's picture
giyad

Absolutely it tasted great, but it ended up becoming thinner than I had wanted just because as I tried to lift it off the plastic it would stretch and get thinner until i layed it on the pillow to shape it.  This is all very interesting stuff, enjoying learning about how gluten works