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I recently made Pizza following a recipe that asked to bulk ferment for 24 hours in the fridge, then shape and then proof for another 24 hours in the fridge (in the shape of balls). However, I read that it takes about 20 minutes for the gluten to relax so that the dough is workable. So my question is - can I bulk ferment for 24 hours, degas and mix and then bulk ferment again for another 24 hours without shaping, then take out of the fridge shape and let rest for 20-30 minutes? Will it be the same in terms of workability? It'll be a whole lot easier for me in terms of organisation (fridge space, proofing trays etc.)

Thanks!

  • What do you do after you remove the dough from the fridge after the whole 48 hours? Do you let it rise for a while at room temperature before baking? Or bake immediately? Or something else? – Athanasius Oct 28 '19 at 18:32
  • @Athanasius I let it rise at room temperature just to catch up on temperature. When it's around 60 degrees farenheit I will shape it to discs – talsegal Oct 28 '19 at 20:18
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I honestly don't really see much of an advantage in splitting into separate dough balls for the second 24 hours of refrigeration. It sounds like OP is going to take the final dough balls out of the fridge, let them warm up some, then shape, the rise until ready to bake.

My standard pizza recipe tends to be retarded in the refrigerator for 1-3 days, after which I remove it, split into balls, let rest, then shape, then rise a bit at room temperature until I'm ready to bake. I've tried recipes that required me to separate the dough first in the fridge (or to do it as OP does, in the middle of the refrigerated part of the process), but I've never seen an advantage to it in the way the dough behaved.

The only advantage I can see of splitting into dough balls after the first 24 hours is then after day 2 you can just remove the number of dough balls you plan to use for one pizza bake. You could potentially let others in the fridge for more time (even a couple more days) until ready to use, or you could even freeze some of them individually for future use.

If you're not planning on that, or planning on baking basically straight out of the fridge (which I don't recommend), there's not a strong advantage to splitting dough into smaller pieces early.

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If you want the traditionally round shape with an even crust around the outside, having a piece of dough that isn't spherical will make that a little more difficult (not impossible) to achieve. A dough ball will be easier to work into that shape, especially if you plan on slapping and throwing the dough into shape.

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