Problem with my dough...

I have been using the same dough recipe for a long time now, and nothing has changed. I use the same amount of yeast, water, oil, salt, and sugar and mix it for the same amount of time.

Just recently I notice the dough is no longer rising and increasing in volume, but rather just laying flat and becoming very sticky.

Does anyone have an idea on what may cause this? Here is my recipe

25lb Flour
7qt Refrigerated Water (40 degrees approximately)
8oz Sugar
7oz Salt
6oz Oil
1oz Yeast (I use a slow rise over 3 days, and get around 6 - 7 days total life out of the dough).

I dump the water into my mixer bowl, add in my oil, sugar, and salt then whisk it together for 30 seconds to a minute. I then dump in my flour, add my yeast on top and mix it for 7 - 8 minutes.

As I said normally after I ball it, I cross stack it in the walk in open, to cool down, and then after 2 hours stack them normally and they usually last for 6 - 7 days total.

I am noticing that it is coming out slightly stickier than normal when mixing it now, and then after sitting for the first day it is no longer becoming bigger and rising, but rather just laying flat and becoming very sticky and light feel (it is nowhere near its usual density).

My first thought was a problem with the yeast, but we have tested the yeast, and even went as far as to get a whole new batch of yeast on our food truck.

We live in Florida and it has recently gotten a little cooler outside, but I would not assume it would be anything to affect the inside of my store.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

My first guess would be the yeast, but I guess you’ve got that covered. Don’t discount the weather, as it probably makes a much bigger difference than you think. The temp in my store is generally in the 50’s in the morning now when I show up as opposed to the high 70’s in the heart of the summer. The flour is colder and unless I run the water for a while, the water is colder. If I don’t use warmer water, the final temp of my dough is quite a bit cooler now than in the summer.

My recipe is somewhat similar, but I don’t use sugar…

My initial observation is I wouldn’t add the oil in 1st…mix all your ingredients + the yeast for a few minutes, then add the oil…

You can hold back some of the oil or water and add as needed, to help with the ‘stickiness’…

Also, I’ve found, if the dough is a bit sticky, let it bench rest for a bit, so the flour can digest/rehydrate the flour a bit more…

The weather will make a huge difference in your dough making, so you have to account for it. My water temp varies from 65 or so in the summer to up to 110 in the winter to get my desired finished dough temperature of 83.

If it’s gotten colder and you haven’t changed anything, I’m guessing your yeast isn’t becoming active enough and that’s leading to the poor rise. That’s just a guess; I’m no dough expert.

Check out this thread:

I had some questions about water temp and Tom Lehmann gave a formula in there that works perfectly every time. It took a little bit of trial and error to figure out my “friction factor”, but my dough is now perfectly consistent every time and I can make slight variations based on usage expectations (e.g. if I’m expecting to use the dough in 24 hours or 48 hours, etc.)

We take the ambient temperature next to the mixer, the temperature of the flour, plug it in to that equation and out pops our water temperature.

I also have to echo what Patriot said - get a slight mix going without the oil, and then add it. If you add the oil and water to the bowl before the flour, the oil sits on top of the water and prevents your flour from hydrating.