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Jan 10, 2007 12:11 PM

Help! Pizza dough overfermented?

I made a ball of pizza dough using a recipe I found somewhere -- 4 cups flour, a package yeast, some warm water, and a little olive oil. I let it rise for 2 hours as directed in the recipe, then punched it down and divided it into three pieces: one for that night's dinner; one went into a little baggie in the fridge; the third piece went into a freezer bag in the freezer.

That night's dinner worked out fine. It was more pliable but more fragile than the Trader Joe's dough I've been using up to now. OK tradeoff. Nice pizza.

Two days later I took the refrigerated dough ball out of the fridge and found the (ziploc) bag had swollen up. When I opened it, the fermentation smell nearly knocked me over. Stuff I've read says if it smells like beer (and this smelled like beer, but exponentially more so), it's overfermented, and I threw it out. I do not have high hopes for the frozen dough ball.

Should I have skipped or shortened the rise time for the dough I planned to use at a later date? Did I make a mistake by storing it in a sealed bag where it couldn't breathe? Appreciate any advice...

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  1. I've done pretty much exactly what you describe here, except I usually place the dough on a tray and cover it with plastic. It does smell great after sitting in the fridge for a day or two, so I'm not sure what happened to yours. I'll be interested to see if anyone else has an idea.

    1. That dough was just fine. Many bread recipes call for a long, slow, chilled rise in the fridge. If it didn't have any off colors or weird moldy patches, it was fine. The concentrated smell was just the "exhalations" of the yeast trapped by the plastic bag. Next time, take it out of the fridge, put into a clean bowl, and let it warm up at room temp. If it continues to rise, you're good to go. FWIW, long slow rise dough recipes use significantly LESS yeast since the dough will have such a long time to mature. The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart is an excellent book--it has the clearest & most thorough explanation of flour fermentation I've yet encountered...after you read this, you will truly understand bread.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        Ditto, there was not a thing wrong with that dough you pitched. Do get The Bread Bakers Apprentice.

      2. I take my pizza making pretty seriously and I always use the refridgerator retarded rise method. Ideally, I leave it in there for 3 days, but 24 hours will suffice. It will be much easier to handle also. If you want to know more try for everything you ever wanted to know about pizza. Here's a link to a specific thread.

        1. Thanks you guys -- I have a lot to learn! I'll do some reading and give it another try.

          1. Just rename it sourdough crust!

            There are no mistakes - just name changes!