over blown dough

Hi, I just used the following Dough based on Tom Lehmans pizza dough recipe,
after getting the dough from the mixer at 78 F , i balled the dough and transferred the same to the refrigerator, however the dough was practically spilling out from the dough tray, and clearly smelt a little beer like, Overblown is what i thought. please help, here is the bakers percentage used

Flour 100%
Salt - 1.75%
Water - 57%
IDY - 0.25%
Oil - 1.75%
Sugar - 2%

The pizza’s turned out fabulous though, great texture, light airy crumb, however i had to discard an entire dough tray caus eth dough balls literally blew out on me. Too Much yeast guys even at 0.25%
What could i be doing wrong? it seems that there was more yeast, i recently switched to SAF yeast and found that the yeast i was using earlier could be used up to 0.50% safely without any overblown characteristics.


Did you mean to say that you used a commercial cooler rather than a refrigerator? And if the latter, did you cross-stack and then down-stack the dough trays? And did you go directly from the bench to the cooler? And how long were the dough balls kept in the refrigerator/cooler before using?

Also, what brand of yeast were you using before you changed to SAF and was it also IDY?


Actually, not too much yeast, in fact, we notmally use a little more IDY at 0.375%, but where I think you may have gone astray is in the dough management. I didn’t see anything on your dough management procedure. Be sure to take the dough DIRECTLY from the mixer to the bench for scaling and balling, then place it into dough boxes, oil the tops of the dough balls lightly, and (here is where I thing you may have gone astray) cross stack the dough boxes for 2-hours, then down stack the boxes and nest for storage overnight. On the following day, remove a portion of the dough boxes from the cooler and keeping them closed/covered, allow the dough to temper AT room temperature for 1.5 to 2-hours, then you can begin opening the dough balls into pizza skins for immediate use. Once you begin opening the dough, it will remain good to use for up to a 3-hour period of time, just remember to keep the dough boxes covered or the dough will crust over.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

What should one do if they only have reach-in refrigeration which does not allow enough room to cross-stack? We can BARELY criss-cross them, just enough to get a few gaps of space between trays but there is no way we can cross stack therm 90 degrees… I’m talking MAYBE 10 degrees crossed. I suppose anything helps…

We were also having an overblown dough issue when we first started making larger test batches in our mixer. The first time was an accident with 200% yeast LOL… but the 2nd was with 1% ADY (not IDY), and that was still too high I thought. We brought it down to .75% and that batch seemed to behave better but the dough was over 90F coming out of the bowl so maybe it was just fermenting too fast to be slowed down by our fridge. We are doing a cold rise for about 24 hours… we may bring the yeast level down to .5% ADY.

We did one batch where we dumped the finished dough on the table, hand kneaded it a bit and balled it to bulk rise with the bowl turned upside-down over it (it was a small 12lb batch so we werent worried about bulk size). after 30 min, it had risen some but not a ton so we just knocked it down, scaled and balled it and trayed it, cross stacked it (as I described above) and checked it the next day. It wasnt overblown to the extent where it had fallen but it was much larger than I would have assumed.

BTW, all the doughs (with the exception of the accidental 200% yeast batch) baked well and tasted good. I am still however trying to replicate the small batches I was doing by hand prior to having my mixer.

*Tom, I see the video where you guys are putting 12 scaled balled doughs per tray. I cant wait until the day I can keep my dough balls from expanding so much I’m limited to 6-8 max LOL. I think my dough temp and process of retarding just isn’t cutting it right now… working out the kinks before we open.

How many we put in a tray depends on size. We put 11 - 12oz balls in a tray, 8 - 18 oz balls and 6 - 25 oz balls.

Cross stacking is key. If you don’t have room to do that, I am tempted to say something smart-@ss… but I will just leave it that I don’t know the answer.

If you can’t properly cool the dough, you are going to be challenged keeping it from blowing out. Rich, don’t cover and let rise, just ball it up and get it cold. By letting it rise before balling you are just jump starting the yeast process and adding to your problem.

I operated for the first 5 years without a walk-in, using a two door and eventually 3-door Delfield upright.

The dough trays can be offset to the side (staggering left/right) up to 3 or 4 trays in a stack. It doesn’t cool near as well as the reach-in doesn’t have nearly the capacity as a walk-in but it can be done.

Move fast and mix as you go given your cool down options. Also will probably want to extend your uncovered time (maybe 3+ hours) before you close-stack them for the night.

We are at 8-10oz balls and 6-12oz balls per tray. I’d be ok with these but I would prefer 12-10oz balls and 8-12oz balls. I’ll work on it as my dough management improves :slight_smile:

I’ll assume it would have been something like “Get a walk-in for gods sake” LOL… We just took over an existing bar/tavern with limited space. I actually think we can cross stack at a full 90 degrees in our True T49 if I remove the shelving from the T49 and then use our single door True and Delfield PTB station for the remaining refrigeration needs, we might be OK. I think we’ll be dedicating the T49 for dough only. If I can cross stack on one side then move to the other side for the remaining stacked retardation/fermentation and ultimately leave it on that side for use (pulling from the same side daily so there is no confusion), we should be able to manage our dough much better. We’re still experimenting before we open.

Thats something I hadnt even considered… Thanks. If we cant properly cross stack them in a dedicated double door upright reach-in, I will try this.

Yep, “get a walk-in” pretty much sums up my idea there. I think you will find that 11 doughballs works better than 12. Off-setting the three rows works well. This way you get four down each long side and three down the center off-set from the rows on the side. For eight, three down each side and two in the center row, again off-set.

use colder H20…we use ours from the walk-in…try 55 degree H20…we don’t oil our dough or cross-stack it…

A walk-in cooler has much more cold air than a reach-in cooler. If you fill up a reach-in cooler with warm dough, it will take a very long time for the dough in the center of the middle try to cool down.

We were able to get the dough out of the mixer at 81F, scale and ball it quickly, place 11 balls (for smalls) as you suggested, oiled the tops lightly, cross stacked for about an hour, dough temp was 51F so we nested the trays… checked back several hours later and they seemed to be exactly what I had hoped… on the way in this morning with my fingers crossed :slight_smile: We are doing this in 12.5lb (flour weight) batches for test so we only got like 3 trays worth so we’ll see how inefficient my reach-in is with a full stack of warm dough to cool down :slight_smile: A Walk-in is not in the near future but perhaps later in the year…

Thanks guys. Sorry to jack the OP’s thread.

@ first never had a walk-in either, but was able to get a double door roll-in cooler…actually held about 3 dolly’s of dough…didn’t take up any more space than a 2-door reach-in…

My dough tray boxes dont fit on my rolling rack… so I dunno if a roll-in retarder/proofer will help me much. I suppose I could revert back to standard trays and plastic wrap so they fit on the rolling rack… if I stayed using my box trays, I’d be opening and closing the door every time I added a tray of dough to cross stack them and then when I went to nest them, the door would be open again enough to let all the cold air out… no difference from my T49 fridge… but I assume the refrigeration unit on the roll-ins are much better?

I’m going to consider a walk-in soon but we’ll see how the next few weeks/months go.

p.s., the 11 balls per tray were too much. They crowded pretty badly. At like 6 hours in, they hadnt touched each other but the next morning, they were crowding pretty badly. The temp was at 38 and the doughs were slightly higher but they surely were too cramped in the box. I’m gonna go to 8 (3l, 3r, 2c) and see how that does.

It is no problem for them to be touching in general. They come right apart, but they should not be touching after just overnight. What is the weight of those doughballs? When we put 11 of them in a tray, those are about 11-12oz each. We are using 2oz of bakers yeast with 25lbs of flour and using the water as cold as possible from the tap, but we have a huge walk-in and cross stack the dough for 2-4 hours before nesting.

The last batch I did of smalls were 9oz dough balls (were doing 10-11" pies as small). The batch of 12.5lb flour was at 64% hydration using caputo flour, 2% (4oz) salt, 2% (4oz) oil and .875% (1.75oz) ADY. They crowded pretty bad and I didn’t oil the tray so even cold they were nearly impossible to remove from the tray. Today’s test batch we reduced to 60% hydration and no oil in the dough, but oiled the tray lightly. Unfortunately my tap cold water is still too warm to get my batch out of the bowl at between 80-85F so ill try the water out of our soda gun which runs thru a cold plate. Todays batch came out ay like 92f We’ll see tomorrow…

You could try getting a large water cooler and keeping the water in the fridge overnight so you would be working with 40 degree water. Also, we don’t use that kind of yeast, but that is nearly twice the amount we use in our dough. We use 2oz with 25lbs of flour. Your recipe would call for 3.5oz. But I don’t know how the two types compare for quantity that should be used.

Yesterdays batch at 60% hydration and reduced yeast were perfectly tame in the trays in the fridge and even after up to 2 hours warming at room temp… But the baked pie came out much too dense regardless of opening the balls cold, 1 hour room temp, 2 hours room temp… So back to the drawing board. Today’s test batch was 12.5lbs flour, 63% hydration with 1lb at 104F to activate my yeast and the remaining 6.875lbs cold from my soda gun thru the cold plate. I also ice chilled the bowl and poured it out prior to mixing lol. After mixing for a total of 10 min mostly on speed 2, the dough came out of the bowl around 88F. This time I went back up to 1% ADY (2oz which is fairly common for ADY) and tossed in a bit of VWG. Tomorrows tests bake in 10 hours min…

We can use our dough a couple of hours after we make it if we must, but generally, the dough we make each day is for tomorrow. Having it made a day ahead gives us a buffer if we run out of the stuff we made the day before, but the dugh really handles and rises best about 24-30 hours after we make it.

Oh not to confuse anyone. Yesterdays test batch was made around noon so when I posted “10 hours min” at 2am, I meant we were waiting at least the 24 hour period we normally would. I’m gonna make another test batch this morning for tomorrow morning test baking.