Lately, I’ve received a number of questions on dough management, so I’ll review the basics. Keep in mind that these are only guidelines; they may need to be modified to some extent, to fit the operation of your shop or to produce your specific type of pizza. In all cases, though, the basics will be the same.
Effective dough management is fairly easy to accomplish once you understand and apply the basic principles—i.e., time and temperature controls with a dose of consistency thrown in.
Time controls. Make sure you keep your timing consistent across the board—when mixing the dough; taking the dough directly to the bench for cutting (scaling) right after mixing; placing the dough into the cooler quickly after getting it into the dough box; and getting the entire dough scaled, balled, boxed and into the cooler within 20 minutes of coming from the mixer. Keep track of how long you allow the dough to remain cross-stacked in the cooler (remember, dough balls that weigh 12 ounces or less will require less cross-stacked time than larger/heavier dough balls).
Temperature controls. Bring the dough from the mixer at the desired finished dough temperature (usually 80° to 85°F), using the correct water temperature to achieve the desired finished dough temperature. Also periodically check the cooler to ensure it’s working properly.
Consistency. This one is a bit more ambiguous. Think about how you round the dough balls (keep them all about the same tightness), where you put the dough in the cooler, how you down-stack the dough boxes (top to bottom, so that the stack is reversed in order, is the correct way), and the amount of time you allow the different weights of dough balls to remain cross-stacked. Try to maintain your shop at a consistent temperature throughout the year. After pulling dough from the cooler, you will want to allow it to temper at room temperature for a period of time before trying to shape or bake it (keep in mind, again, that the smaller dough balls will require less time to properly temper than larger/heavier dough balls). This means that you might want to pull the large dough balls from the cooler first, followed by the smaller dough balls a little later, if you want to have all of the dough ready for use at the same time.
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