?_Lehmann: development of dough in the mixing stage

Tom,
Back in 2003, I attended your excellent pizza production seminar at AIB. You taught us to undermix our dough, and to let time and the chemical processes further develop the dough. In fact, to prove your point, I watched you and 3 guys take a dough ball, (which was mixed the day before and refrigerated), and slowly pull the ball into a giant 3 foot windowpane. This leads me to 2 questions:

  1. In your instructions to making an emergency dough, you don’t mention (at least I haven’t found it) anything about mixing the dough longer to develop the dough, since time is of the essence. Why not?
  2. There are some other dough experts (who seem to work with the at home baker) that recommend mixing your dough to full development (windowpane test), and then refrigerating overnight. What is the purpose of these instructions?

Thanks again for the valuable information Tom
John

John;
The reason why I don’t recommend mixing an emergency dough longer (to full gluten development) is bacause then the dough would be excessively soft and even sticky. With the increased temperature, and the increased mixing the dough would just be a mess to work with. Ask any bread baker who always mixes his dough to full development) what his dough would be like if he allowed the dough to get into the 90 to 95F temperature range during mixing.
As for home baking of pizza, there is no need to mix the dough to full development unless you REALLY need the exercise. Even the atrisan bread bakers now advocate mixing the dough just until it comes smooth and then allowing it to ferment in the fridge overnight. This isn’t to say that you can’t do it, but it just isn’t necessary, and I’m all for following the path of least resistance.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom,
Whats that big word, “biomechanical glutenation”…good to know,
Otis

Biochemical gluten development:
The action where gluten is developed in a yeast leavened dough system through natural, biochemical processes (exposure to acids, alcohols, and enzymes primarily, plus a little physical movement of the dough itself as it rises) as opposed to gluten development through mechanical means (mixing/agitation of the dough mass). In short, letting Mom (Mother Nature) do your dough development for you rather than asking Mr. Hobart to do it for you. Mom has a whole lot more experience, has been doing it a lot longer, and really does a better job of it too.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom,
That story about the Russian people mixing the dough by hand and employing good old Mom to help get it done, I always remember.
Gave me great hope, especially back when I was kneading by hand.
What a great relief.
Otis

PS the full story is available, perhaps told better by Tom for accuracy.

Yep, that was the bakery in Romania where they told me they had 60 mixers. I was thinking maybe spirals, or planetary. or by sole long shot, horizontal mixers. You can only imagine my surprise when I saw what appeared to be at least 60 bowls, about 1 meter across, and about equally as deep, with two men, each armed with a wood agitator (looked a little like a baseball bat, only longer) mixing, or shall I say, stirring, the dough to an oatmeal like consistency, then moving on to the next mixing station and repeating the process. After about three hours of fermentation, the dough was ready to go to the bench for portioning and making up into some wonderful tasting bee hive bread. Bio-chemical gluten development rocks!
Tom Lehmann/TDD

great story, and best part is that it’d true

Otis;
It is absolutely true. It was in my report to U.S. Wheat Associates, the sponsor of the trip at that time. Keep in mind that Romania was a very strong, card carrying communist country at that time.
Tom