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Recently, I tried to make naan using this recipe:

  1. Combine 375g flour, 75g yoghurt, 200g water, 6g sugar, 4g salt, 15g oil, and 2g yeast and let rest 20 minutes.
  2. Knead 1 min then rise 45 min, repeat.
  3. Divide the dough into 5 pieces, roll into balls, let rest 30 min.
  4. Bake on preheated pizza stone 2-3 minutes and brush on garlic butter.

However, I let the dough rise overnight in the fridge rather than for an hour and a half at room temp, and had to punch down and quickly knead the dough two extra times. The next day, when I went to stretch the dough balls out, they tore easily and did not stretch well, like the dough had been overworked. Is this a result of the additional punch downs?

  • Did you let it come to room temperature before stretching? – Rob Jun 3 at 10:27
  • @Rob they were not quite room temp, but not fridge cold either. – mbjb Jun 3 at 12:49
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Probably not. The enzimes in the yeast and flour break down among others the gluten, which is responsible for the dough structure. Some reading material on enzymes

Too much protease activity would break up the gluten, destroying the network that forms during kneading. A little bit, however, softens the dough and makes it more workable. If the dough is allowed to autolyse (i.e., rest) or if preferments are used, proteases have time to work before kneading, making the dough easier to knead.

I would say this is rather "over-leavening" than overworking. (Over-leavened breads stay usually flat.) But the additional punches probably also helped breaking the remaining gluten chains.

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