DR Lehman bulk fermentation versus single fermentation

i am expermenting with bulk fermentation and the reason being is that i can degas punch down or fold the dough to give the yeast new feeding ground and reales some co2 things i can not do when i skip the bulk fermentation phase but i allways have propblem when i am ready to stretch the pizza dough it does not stretch as smooth i think when i fold the bulk dough i have doen somthing bad to the glutin strands that are forming in a certain way my question is if i am retarding the dough for a long time 48 hourse do i need the bulk fermentation?

To answer your question: No, oyu do not need the bulk fermentation when you are retarding the dough for 48 hours in the cooler. This provides all the fermentation your dough needs.
What you might have been doing previously is bulk fermenting, and then scaling and balling the dough. If you do not allow sufficient time for the dough to relax after balling it, the dough can be somewhat difficult to shape into dough skins. The term we use for this is “bucky”. The time required for the dough to sufficiently relax in this case will depend upon a number of factors; protein content of the flour, amount of yeast in the dough formula, temperature of the dough, length of time that the dough was bulk fermented, temperature at which the dough was bulk fermented, and how tightly the dough balls were rounded. I have found that when I use a bulk fermented dough, I can usually begin shaping it into dough skins after about 75 to 90 minutes after forming into balls. This is when I mix the dough at 78 to 80F and ferment for 2.5 to 3 hours.
An even better approach is to use a sponge and dough process. By this process, you make a sponge from 60 to 70% of the total flour, add all of the yeast and roughly 2/3 of the total water (70F). Mix the sponge for only 4 to 5 minutes, then set it aside to ferment for 3 to 4 hours, add the sponge back to the mixing bowl along with the remainder of ingredients (the remainder of water should be added as ice water), you want the dough to come off of the mixer at 76 to 78F. Mix the dough just until its smooth, then immediately weigh and form into balls, place the dough balls into dough boxes and wipe with salad oil, cover and set aside to rise at room temperature for a period of time. NOTE: Test the dough periodically to determine when the dough is ready to begin shaping into dough skins. Hint: Think 45 to 60 minutes.Variation: If you wanted to, you could place the dough balls into the boxes, wipe with oil and cross stack in the cooler for about 2 hours, then down stack and nest the boxes like you normally would. The dough will be ready to use on the following day. It’s a lot of additional work, and I really can’t see all that much improvement in flavor as compared to a dough that has been managed in a conventional manner.
Where this spppponge-dough process really shines is when making dough for a take and bake operation.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

thank you very much DR now regarding the spong there is no harm done to put the fermented bulk back in the mixer ? i am talking as far as the glutin strands that have allready been shaped in a certain way ?

DR Tom you ev mentioned that autolyse produces a bread like crumb is that true ? so if i want to produce larg crumb what should i do ? skip autolyse ? increase hydration ? reduce mixing time ? cause i thought what produces larg holse is not to over mix and to have higher hydration .


Nope. Not at all.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


I think what you may be thinking about is incorporating a prefermented dough, such as dough coming from a prior batch (“old dough”), as part of the final mix. Since the prefermented dough has already been kneaded, the usual advice is to add it to the rest of the dough ingredients toward the end of the mixing time. Otherwise, the double mixing can negatively affect the gluten network, and the color and flavor of the finished crumb (mainly due to overoxidation).


I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting below some descriptions of the autolyse method. I believe that autolyse, if correctly implemented, is a good way, along with using relatively high hydration levels, of getting a breadlike crumb with an open texture. However, I personally am not a big fan of a soft, breadlike crumb in a pizza crust. In a bread, yes, but not for a pizza crust. But, that is just my opinion and I know of a lot of people who routinely use autolyse for their pizza doughs (but mainly in a home setting, although Evelyne Slomon uses rest periods for the pizza doughs made in her restaurant).

[i]“Artisan Baking Across America,” by Maggie Glezer.
" The term “autolyse” (pronounced AUTO-lees and used as both a noun and verb) was adopted by Professor Raymond Calvel, the esteemed French bread-baking teacher and inventor of this somewhat odd but very effective technique. During the rest time, the flour fully hydrates and its gluten further develops, encouraged by the absence of: compressed yeast, which would begin to ferment and acidify the dough (although instant yeast is included in autolyses lasting no longer than 30 minutes ecause of its slow activation): salt, which would cause the gluten to tighten, hindering its development and hydration; and pre-ferments, which would also acidify the dough. The flour’s improved hydration and gluten development shorten the mixing time, increase extensibilty (the dough rips less during shaping), and ultimately result in bread with a creamier colored crumb and more aroma and sweet wheat flavor.

At the end of the autolyse, the once-rough dough will have greatly smoothed out and become much more extensible. Salt, compressed yeast, and pre-ferments are now added and the mixing is continued. While it may seem strange to add salt directly to a dough, as long as it is finely granulated, it will quickly dissolve. If you are hand kneading, you can actually feel the dough tighten and dry when the salt dissolves.

Here is the technical explanation of what’s happening during autolyse: The term “autolyse” means “self-destruction,” referring to the proteolytic–or protein-attacking-enzymes during this hiatus. While it might seem contradictory to want to dismember gluten when it is supposed to be developing, it is, in fact, one of mixing’s primary steps. When gluten first forms, it is jumbled together in an uneven manner. During mixing, the gulten is pulled apart and rebonded into a stronger and more uniform network. The autolyse facilitates that step without mechanically altering the dough. The reason acid-producing ingredients like pre-ferments and compressed yeast are avoided is because these proteolytic enzymes work more effectively in a more neutral pH environment.

Finally, the bread’s color and flavor are improved because the dough is mixed less, so that less air is beaten into it and, thus, less oxygen. Oxygen is believed to oxidize the flour’s unsaturated fats and bleach its yellow pigments. The fats are a source of vitamin E and an important source of flavor. Oxidizing them destroys their vitamin E content and unpleasantly alters the flavor of the bread."

“The Baker’s Companion,” King Arthur Flour
“Most of the recipes in this chapter include a step called an autolyse, in which the flour, starter, and water are combined and allowed to rest for 20-30 minutes before the remaining ingredients are added and the dough is mixed. This simple step prepares the dough for the mixing or kneading that follows. When flour and water are first brought together, the gluten is disorganized and tangled, and it must be mechanically pulled apart by kneading before it can reassemble into organized long strands. An autolyse gives naturally occurring enzymes the chance to untangle the gluten, so less mixing is necessary to develop the dough. Salt and additional yeast, if used, are not added until after the autolyse, because they tighten the gluten–just the opposite of what an autolyse accomplishes. An autolyse also increases the dough’s extensibility, which is its ability to stretch without pulling back like a rubber band. This makes the dough easier to shape and increases its ability to rise in the oven.”

“The Bread Baker’s Apprentice,” Peter Reinhart
“One of the techniques that bakers often use to minimize mixing (and thus to reduce oxidation that causes natural bleaching of the flour) is to mix the flour and water for only 4 minutes, enough time to hydrate the flour fully, and then let the dough rest for 20 minutes. During this resting, or what the French call the autolyse, the protein molecules complete their hydration and begin bonding on their own. Then, when the mixing resumes and the other ingredients are added, it takes only 2 to 4 additional minutes to complete the mixing process, during which the newly formed gluten molecules continue to bond to one another in more complex ways.”[/i]

When you have “old dough” going back into new production the rule is to try to limit the “add back” to not more than 15% of the fresh dough weight. At this percentage the impact of the old dough is minimum. However, in reality, we many times add a lot more than 15%, so the impact in this case can be of greater significance. The industry has found that it is better to add the scrap, as you would a fermented sponge, back the the new dough at the beginning of the mixing stage. This allows for more complete incorporation of the scrap into the new dough and lessens the variability that it can otherwise have on the new dough. Will the amount of add bacjk affect the flovor of the new dough? Without a doubt. This is why the trim scraps generated form cutting dough out from sheets, or trimming it off of a screen/disk must be properly managed as the amount, age, and temperature of the scrap/add back will all affect the way the scrap impacts the fresh/new dough. This is why we strive to control the size of the sponge (%) of the flour fermented in the sponge, the temperature that the sponge is set at, as well as the fermentation temperature of the sponge, and the fermentation time.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

TY TY so autolyse help reduce mixing great so what will create large crumbs is it hydration oven temp level of fermentation !!? thank you for your help

DR TOM do you prefer slow mixing over fast mixing all mixing on speed one will that create a softer dough ?

I like to mix my pizza doughs on second speed whenever possible. For my bread doughs, where I’m really trying to develop a fine gluten film, I try to mix on third speed on a 4-speed mixer or on second speed with a 2-speed mixer. The only time I will ever mix at anything slower is if the mixer doesn’t have the power to mix at the higher speed, but then too I can always reduce my dough size to accomodate the ability of the mixer to mix my dough at the desired speed.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

If you want to achieve an open, coarse crumb characteristic to your pizza crust you want to have the following in place;

  1. Sufficient dough absorption to allow the dough to rise and create the desired open crumb structure.
  2. Under mixing helps to achieve the desired amount of weakness in the glutem film allowing for the coalesing of the individual gas cells to create the desired large, open cell structure.
    These are the main elements to getting an open crumb structure.
    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

TY Tome Sufficient dough absorption= high hydration ? or autolyse?

Autolyse actually means to destroy, such as autolysed yeast AKA dead yeast, a reducing agent similar to L-cysteine, but OK, I’ll also recognize it as meaning rest or fermentation period. I don’t know who started that expression. Hydration is to hydrate, add water, so in this case you would want to add additional water to the dough providing it has the capacity to carry the additional water without becoming excessively difficult to handle. Most pizza doughs will carry up to about 58 or 60% absorption (based on the total weight of the wheat flour). Also, if you have the time, you can allow the dough to ferment for an even longer period of time. The longer a dough ferments, the more starch is autolysed (converted to sugars for use by the yeast as a nutrient) by the amylase enzymes, (Hey, maybe this is where that term came from) and the dough will become softer due to the freeing up of the water that the starch was carrying. Also, at the same time, protease enzymes will be working on the gluten forming proteins in the flour, degrading them and making for a softer, and substancially weaker dough at the same time, then toss in the affects of the acids formed during fermentation on the protein and you have a real “one-two” punch on the gluten forming proteins. This, when all combined is what makes an over fermented dough look something like that we affectionately call “elephant snot” (gooey, sticky, stringy).
When you add the additional water you just make the dough more fluid without getting all of the surplus baggage that comes with the longer fermentation times. I’m not against fermentation, on the contrary, I’m all for it, but like everything else, in excess it can be problematic.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

TY tom very much i got now finaly but i promise that i will have more questions sorry to bother you thanks again

Don’t sweat the questions. Without questions there is no learning, and without learning there is no progress, without progress there is now growth, and without growth there is stagnation, and our great industry would go the way of bagels, donuts, and those huge cake muffins that USED to be al the rage.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Okay, so would you say there is no benefit to mixing the flour and water, letting it rest for 15-45 minutes, then adding the yeast? You would be just as well served with a longer, slower fermentation?

no benefit, mix, ball, coat, and refrigerate ASAP
anything else opens up for inconsistencies…
be sure to cross stack in the refrigerator for around 90 minutes before nesting

…what protein % flour are you using ?

We are formulating our dough now. We hope to open in March.

there are some good formulas at the PMQ recipe bank, that’s where I got started…
my formula now is

12% protein flour
60% water
2.75% salt
.45% IDY

practice Tom Lehmann’s suggested dough management