The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

what is the difference between retarding in bulk or balls

sallam's picture

what is the difference between retarding in bulk or balls


Is there a big difference between retarding pizza dough in bulk then divide and shape the next day, and between retarding shaped loaves ?

I'm asking because I don't have enough fridge space, so I thought why not mix then retard, and the next day I S&F , bulk ferment in RT then shape and proof in trays?

What are the differences in terms of taste profile and oven rise ?

DanAyo's picture

Hi Sallam, I am in the process of conducting a pizza dough experiment. It should solve your cold storage problem.

Check the post out and let me know what you think.


BakersRoom's picture

Yeah, I mean that's just it, its what's convenient for you.  

I've worked in a pizza restaurant, and made pizza for myself at home.  In the restaurant, where they make sure to have a huge walk in fridge, you can proof the dough in balls.  Its worth it to note its not sourdough pizza.  But its very convenient in that you can just grab a ball, shape and bake. 

At home, where I am making sourdough (naturally leavened) pizza, I bulk some outside the fridge, then finish bulk in the fridge for 15-18hrs or so.  When I pull the dough out of the fridge, I shape, let warm up/proof for 2-4 hours, and its perfect.  

But for pizza, it doesn't really matter that much as long as it is in the right state of proof, in my experience. 

sallam's picture

Thanks for sharing your experience.  That's exactly what I was looking for. I too make my pizza with sourdough.

Now, how long do you keep your dough in room temperature, before you put the bulk dough in the fridge? do you wait for a specific height before moving it into the fridge?

And do you shape while its cold right out of the fridge ?

"it doesn't really matter that much as long as it is in the right state of proof, in my experience."

How do you define the right state of proof ? what are the signs in your experience if you want maximum oven rise? 

BakersRoom's picture

After I mix my dough, I bulk ferment at 78 degrees for 2 and a half hours, with a stretch and fold each half hour.  There is hardly any volume increase I'm looking for.  I'm looking for a softening of the dough.  It will feel more delicate and silky as you stretch and fold it.  I use a levain that is 50% whole wheat and 50% rye for my pizza dough.  If you use a levain that is more white flour, you will need to increase fermentation time until the dough feels the way I described.  

Yes, you must divide and weigh the dough as soon as it comes out of the fridge.  You want it to have maximum relaxation time before it is shaped.  

The right state of proof is when the dough has lost about half of its elasticity.  When you shape the cold dough, try to pull on a little of it, see how much it stretches.  When it stretches double that with the same amount of force, you're good.  This usually takes 2 hours after removing from the fridge, but stays that way until nearly 4 hours.  

But I don't want maximum oven rise.  If I did, I may proof a little longer, but what I want is just enough proof to give me a proper rise in the crust, but not so much proof I have trouble shaping.