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Jul 15, 2010 04:06 AM

Pizza dough emergency

Hi all - Need some expertise. I followed the dough recipe here:

I questioned the use of ice cold water but followed it anyway. Now, checked my dough and it didn't double overnight and only have enough flour for dusting the work surface when rolling out my dough.

I took the dough out of the fridge. Any suggestions.

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  1. Did it rise at all? If so, give it more time at room temp than the recipe calls for. If not, I'd suspect bad yeast.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sfmiller

      I just purchased the yeast fresh yesterday before I used it. Can that be possible?

      1. re: itryalot

        I just posted this at the duplicate thread and asked the mods to delete it.

        Let it rest at room temp for a few hours; it should double, especially with the hot weather we've been having throughout the States. Possibly the use of ice water and the chill of your refrigerator retarded the dough proofing greatly, even when using instant yeast, which I assume you did. That's really ok, as you've probably developed some nice flavor overnight in the dough, which was the point of the recipe. High hydration + long slow proofing - No kneading = flavor.

        As long as your yeast was viable, give the dough a few hours to warm up, and it should be just fine. Also, this dough will be soft and doesn't need to be rolled out; gentle stretching/spreading with fingertips should be all it takes. So don't worrry about your limited flour supply; you won't need it.

    2. It's beginning to look promising. I see some growth already.

      1 Reply
      1. re: itryalot

        There ya go, it's coming up to temp. Should be very good; the photos at seriouseats are seriously beautiful. Don't sweat the dough, just let it do it's thing.

      2. I was multitasking and think I used traditional yeast instead of instant. This called for the flour to be mixed with the yeast dry. Running out to the grocery store to buy more flour, just in case.
        What do you think will happen if that is the case? It seems that the dough may have the granules in it and dough is VERY hard. Should I start over? Off to get the flour and will check in when I get home.

        4 Replies
        1. re: itryalot

          Mm, that's a dough of a different color now. This dough should be very soft. Active yeast needs to be dissolved prior to adding the flour; from your description it sounds like the yeast was not fully dissolved; bummer. The density of the dough you wrote of just may be from the cold, but it doesn't sound right. I'd start over. It's just flour, not much of a financial loss.

          You can still use active yeast, you'll need to proof it in water first, and I'm not sure you'll be able to use the cold water method for proofing. No matter, you can still let dough rest in the frig overnight. Peter Reinhart uses instant yeast predominately in his baking books, and I'd think about trying that yeast in the future, but you can still use active with the same results, just a llittle different technique.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Bought flour, instant yeast am going to start over and not refrigerate since my house is AC'd in this heat. Will cook it at 5pm tonight so should still develop some flavor.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              This is not true - I haven't proofed active yeast in years. It may have been necessary 100 years ago, but not with modern products. I treat it as a dry ingredient, just like instant yeast, and never have any trouble.

              Also, I think the cold water is to counteract the heat of the mixer (in the original). Reinhart is all about dough having an ideal temperature.

              1. re: LisaPA

                Well, first of all, active dry yeast was developed during WWII, so it hasn't been around for 100 years. And I certainly wasn't using yeast 100 years ago, when yeast slurries, cream yeast and then compressed yeast were the progressively available commercial and consumer choices.

                Under most baking conditions, active dry yeast needs to be proofed or rehydated. It contains coarse oblong granules with live yeast cells encapsulated in a thick jacket of dry, dead cells with some growth medium, as opposed to instant yeast, which has smaller granules with substantially higher percentages of live cells per comparable unit volumes, is more porous, and needs a higher hydrated dough to work to it's fullest capability. The points of hydration with ADY is to dissolve the larger yeast granules and jumpstart the fermentation process. Dissolving the yeast first generally results in better yeast activity. I did some research on this subject at; the choice to hydrate first or not has it's camps; some bakers have found that it's not necessary and consider the process to be nothing more than a wive's tale, and not critical, but I firmly believe that hydrating first has it's distinct advantages.

                The best reason I know for hydrating ADY is to check it's viability, aside from the obvious reasons stated above, although active dry yeast produced today is very reliable, performance wise, and has been genetically modified to provide almost as much yeast activity as instant. I worry less these days about the freshness of my yeast and more about dissolving it completely and pre-activation.

                If you are indeed using ADY without proofing first and getting good results, more power to you. It's may be doable under certain dough conditions, but is basically not a recommended method of working with that type of yeast. If you are using high hydration doughs, I can see why active yeast wouldn't necessarily need to be proofed. To that end, why not switch to instant yeast entirely, if you're opposed to hydrating, or just want to skip that step?

                There have been occasions where I did not proof the ADY first, whether by choice or mistake, and the results were less than spectacular. In my bread baking future, when I use active dry, I will continue to proof first.

          2. I kept the other dough. It is getting spongey and bubbly. Should I keep and bake as pizza bianca or should I toss?

            6 Replies
            1. re: itryalot

              I use Peter Reinharts dough all the time and get great results. you'll even see some of my pies in the My Pie Monday (ESNY1077) on Slice.

              I find the "doubling overnight" isn't really what happens, especially when you are talking about a slow rise in the refrigerator. Usually it just slightly increases in size or more relaxes into the bowl instead of a nice ball shape. When you take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature is when you'll notice an increase in size.

              II would keep the dough and use it. you can even fridge your newest dough for a few days before using it.. the flavor will get better with age.

              1. re: ESNY

                I do follow your posts regularly. Did you read that I used traditional yeast by accident? (picked up the wrong jar)
                The dough looks like it has granules in it but is rising. Is it saveable?

                1. re: itryalot

                  Yes, leave it at room temperature. I rise the dough at room temperature to give it a start (about half an hour or so) before putting in the refrigerator or you end up with what you did, especially since you started with cold water. It still works, just takes that much longer. Using traditional yeast will take that much longer. Spongey and bubbly are a good sign. I'd go ahead and use it, even if it wetter than it's supposed to be, on a hot stone. Pizza bianca sounds good.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I put the new (good) dough in the refrigerator and will let the flavors develop until tomorrow and put the old (traditional yeast) dough on the counter still and it is growing and still spongey but taking much longer. I will leave it until tomorrow too. Whatever happens, it's dough. I'll use my zucchini flowers on the new pizza dough since I don't want to sacrifice that.

                    1. re: itryalot

                      I've found fresh baked bread is good, whether it's exactly as it should be or not. But, good call on reserving special ingredients for the "sure" thing. I think the long rise will help the old one, too, and it sounds like it's on its way.

                  2. re: itryalot

                    I'm not really that solid a baker and the extent of my dough making is pretty much just pizza dough.

                    I use SAF instant yeast. Not sure what traditional yeast is. Is it like the block of cake yeast? Instant yeast you just mix with the flour and don't need to mix in water or proof. If the dough is rising, the yeast is working. Not sure how it might affect texture though... maybe the dough will eventually gobble up the remaining yeast??

                    If you are scared to use it for pizza, You might as well try at least a pizza bianca or even a grilled pizza with the dough to see how it turned out since you went through the effort and then make the pizza with the new dough. consider it an experiment.

                    One of my more recent failures happened when I didn't realize until it was too late that I had no cheese in the house. Should've checked first, but I was certain I still had some fresh mozzarella left. So since I couldn't make pizza but already had the dough ready and the stone all hot, I made a faux pizza bianca and then used the it as the bread for an amazing italian sausage sandwich.

              2. I don't think anyone has mentioned it (I could be wrong) but I wouldn't use the ice cold water in it. I don't see the point of doing that if you are then going to do a fast rise at room temperature with a lot of yeast. If I were you, I would always proof the yeast anyway. And in the future, if you have a warm dough that hasn't risen after an hour or so, just mix some extra yeast with about a tsp of flour and 1/2 tsp of sugar together, let it proof for 5 minutes or so just so you can see it's activity, and knead it into your original dough. And you said the dough was dry? Did you add a lot of flour while kneading because it seemed too sticky? Avoid that in the future, because the dough is usually sticky because all of the water has not been absorbed by the flour. Just keep kneading no matter how big a mess it looks like, and usually it should come together fine after a while.

                Anyway, I don't know how welcome this lesson will be, but think about it this way with any type of bread material:

                Your basic four ingredients are (almost always) going to be flour, water, salt, and yeast. On a free day, get a bag of flour and do a bunch of experiments and make observations. Make a "control dough," then play with the ratio of water to flour (hydration), yeast quantity to rising time, salt quantity to end flavor, addition of fats: oil, butter, milk, cream, etc and how the dough reacts. Addition of sugars (white, brown, honey, maple syrup, etc) and how they change the final product. You will learn a TON about bread and hopefully after that, make different breads without a recipe since you can guess at the outcome by the appearance and texture of the dough.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Jemon

                  Thanks. My family (abroad and here) have never used sugar in bread or in pizza dough though. I am learning as I go and making notes on my recipes.

                  1. re: itryalot

                    Depends on the bread you are making - European-style breads typically do not have sugar added. A white American sandwich loaf does.

                    1. re: LisaPA

                      Some Euro breads do, such as brioche, off the top of my head. I often see pizza dough recipes with honey or sugar as well. I'm not sure if these are traditional or not.

                      1. re: Jemon

                        Sugar is not traditional in pizza dough but plenty of recipes have it. I'm indifferent to using it, as long as its a fairly scant amount. I care about results not authenticity. My favorite neopalitan dough recipe doesn't use sugar but a square/focaccia style one does.

                        1. re: ESNY

                          Sugar feeds the yeast so it works more quickly. If you want a long slow rise, it's not needed.

                          1. re: chowser

                            I don't really care about the yeast feeding properties of the sugar in the recipes, I use it for sweetness. I will let the dough rise as long as it needs to.

                    2. re: itryalot

                      Yes, I have seen many recipes with sugar and/or honey as well. Obviously, sweet breads (the bread, not the meat) do have sugar added -- easter sweet bread, brioche as you have stated, pannettone, etc.