Weird Batch of Dough

We struggle with training on dough and ran across a batch last night that I can’t figure out what they did.

We use 16# water, 25# flour, 2 c sugar, 1/2 c salt 2 T yeast and 1/2 c oil.
We usually leave at room temp. for 15 mins then move to walk-in for 3 days before using. It’s usually a joy to work with.

Last night, the trays we pulled out were gooey and had the consistency of stretch armstrong (I kid you not - a 20 oz. dougball pull to the full span of over 4 feet without breaking). Just to test, we cooked some and the toppings all slid to the middle - looked like a 10" pie stuck in the middle of a 14" crust. Three trays had to go in the garbage.

Just trying to get our training right - does anyone have any idea what our employee could have done wrong on the recipe to get these results?

too much water or not enough flour would do that I suppose. The more water you add the stickier the dough will be. To me it sounds like your cook used 25 pounds of water and 16 pounds of flour.

to make things a little easier you might want to use a cups/quarts/gallons measurement for your water. I will be stopping by my house later and will get the conversion for you. The old saying “a pint is a pound the world around” is not true. In any case, there is a tool out there designed for food costing help It is called the book of yields and you can get it at
www.chefdesk.com It has tons of useful information. including weights and measurements conversions as well as product yeilds. It’s a great tool that any restaurant owner should have.

one gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.

at sea level…gets lighter as you get higher

One thing that can give exactly the results that you have described is failure to cross stack the dough boxes when they are first put into the cooler. This results in sweating of the dough balls in the box, making for wet, gooey dough balls. The excessive haet that is also trapped in the dough as a result of not cross stacking leads to excessive fermentation which can be responsible for the excessive stretch and gassiness of the dough balls. This all said, I think you would do well to consider changing over to weight measures rather than volumetric portions. This will give you much more precise control over the dough which will translate to improved dough consistency. I would suggest getting a good, low cost (under $200.00) electronic scale for weighing the ingredients. A spring scale will work well for weighing both the flour and the dough, but I am not too fond of them for weighing the other ingredients. The best way to get your ingredient weights is to portion out each ingredient into it’s own container, then weigh the container with the ingredient and subtract the tare of the container. Do this three times and take an average of the three weights for each ingredient. You now have your dough given in weight measures and there is no reason for making any mistakes in weighing out those ingredients. As a side benefit, with your dough formula in weight measures you can easily manipulate the size of your dough without the need for making any corrections.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Yes, I agree. I should have been more precise in the recipe. The flour comes in a 25# bag so that’s easy. The water is measured on a scale (with allowance for the bucket weight). Each of the other items has a color coded measuring cup/spoon.

Just remember that your 25 Lb. bag of flour more than likely does not contain 25 Lbs. of flour!

Absolutely right! I always tell our students that a 50# bag of flour can vary by as much as 20-ounces, but if you take 10, 50# bags of that flour and weigh it the total weight of the flour will be 500#. Because some bags are light and others are heavy, the differences will even out collectively.
Because of the way different people use volumetric measures the actual weight of a portioned ingredient can vary significantly. I just recently came from a store where they were portioning the flour by the scoop. I got them to change when I showed them how much the weight of flour varied in the scoop between the top of the bag and the bottom of the bag. When they were taking flour from a full bag (the top) they were jamming the scoop into the flour, effectively packing it into the scoop, but by the time they were down towards the bottom of the bag they couldn’t jam the scoop into the flour anymore so there was actually less flour, by weight, in the scoop.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

"We usually leave at room temp. for 15 mins then move to walk-in for 3 days before using. It’s usually a joy to work with. "

I am confused… We make our dough , cross-stack in the walk in 90 minutes, then stack and use 12 - 48 hours after. After 2 days we find the balls too gassy and bubbly, we either make bread sticks or dispose of.

Does anyone else wait 3 days to use their dough or am I missing something?

Thanks…

There are two things to consider here. First is your finished (mixed) dough temperature. This should be in the range of 80 to 85 F. and it should be checked for each dough that you make. Doughs that are warmer than this can result in the very issue that you cite. The other thing is the 15 minute rest at room temperature that you are giving the dough. while it may not seem like a lot, it is a very important 15 minutes in that you are allowing the yeast to fully activate and begin fermenting and forming all those neat little gas bubbles that come back to haunt you later on. As the dough ferments, it becomes less dense and more difficult to cool, hence, the dough does not cool down as consistently as necessary to hold it for up to the maximum of three days, then too, when those 15 minutes actually become something closer to 20 or 30 minutes things go south in a hurry. Some stores and some chains too actually keep their dough as long as 5 days, but they also use a lower finished dough temperature and practise excellent time and temperature control of the dough.
That all said, when you make the dough makes a huge difference, if you make the dough at the beginning of the day, or during the day, your dough will not see a cooler operating at its coldest temperature for several hours, but if you make your dough at the end of the day your dough will see the cooler at maximum operating efficiency (during the night when there is no traffic into the cooler). Where you place the dough in the cooler makes a difference too. If you place the dough near the door you may encounter problems in the long run as this is the warmest spot in the cooler. Its best to place the dough to the back of the cooler where the temperature is more constant. I’ve written a number of articles on this very topic and you should be able to find them in the archived articles of either PMQ or Pizza Today.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor