The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Signs of Excessive Proteolysis?

hotsawce's picture

Signs of Excessive Proteolysis?

Hey all,

Ive been having some success with naturally leavened pizza dough, but had a significant set back the other day.

My starter is a whole wheat starter fed at 20% inoculation once per day. It has smelled great so far - mostly of sweet, fermenting fruit with no acetone smell.

i use my starter to make a leaven at 50% inoculation with King Arthur bread flour. This leaven rises for about 4 to 5 hours in a warm spot until fully ripe and the edges just begin to recede. It has floated without issue in my formula water. This leaven is 10% of the dough weight.

So I mixed my pizza dough, into large lexans for a bulk ferment. The dough felt very strong with stretch and folds and rose to twice its volume. The bulk was about 5 hours at a 70ish ambient temperature. Nothing seemed out of the orderinary here, and I was encouraged it rose nicely during the bulk and the dough seemed to be strong. I then stored it cold and balled the next day (it continued to rise slightly in the cooler.)

Once in balls, the following day is where things get weird. The gluten has almost disintegrated. It’s very wet, when I pull a dough ball out of the tray it leaves pieces behind. It can’t be stretched without tearing - it’s not tough or tight. It’s pretty slack, just seems to fall apart.

Does anyone have any idea what may have happened? It sounded like proteolytic activity from what I’ve read, but it’s a little surprising considering I feed my starter at a relatively low inoculation and nothing about it indicates over acidification. It smells quite nice and normal. I’m wondering if maybe it overproofed? But even so, I’ve never had over proofed doughs just fall apart like that.

jimbtv's picture

I can only refer you to this post:

A search on "proteolytic" in this forum will bring up several other references. Since it appears that no changes were introduced in your ingredients or processes there really isn't much else.

Personally-speaking, I am leaning more towards an inadvertent change in the process or formula. I don't know if you are making dough professionally or if this is all for your own use. I would redo the dough and follow the usual steps very specifically. Then I would check my temperatures very closely, including the temperature of your chiller, to insure the dough isn't proofing faster than you think.

Good luck and please keep us posted on your results.