On a roll

QUESTION:

How can I make fresh dough orrolls last longer? It seems wastefulto throw them away at the end ofthe day.

ANSWER:

I’m going to assume that when you say“rolls,” you mean breadsticks, and thatyou are using a typical pizza doughformula to make them. Sometimes

when we speak about preservation offinished products made from yeastleaveneddough, such as breads androlls, we are talking about the productremaining free of mold growth forsome period of time. Other times,we might be discussing how we cankeep the resulting baked productssofter longer and avoid characteristicsof staling (firming, dryness andoff flavors) from developing in theproduct. Unfortunately, there is noone easy magic bullet (preservative)to add to dough to make the resultingdough and/or finished product lastlonger. However, there are ways ofextending shelf life of some finishedbaked products through adjustment ofingredients, formulation and/or process.Also remember that these daysthe word “preservative” is sometimesthought of as a dirty word and is notwell-received by the general public.

In the case of using traditional pizzadough to make breadsticks and rolls,a typical pizza dough formulation isa fairly lean dough (low in fat andsugar), and a fully baked product doesnot lend itself well to staying fresh(soft) for very long at room temperature.Keeping finished bread and rollproducts warm and not exposed todirect heat and air movement will helpwith maintaining good eating characteristics,but after a while they willstart to dry out and will become firmand unpleasant to eat. In some cases,gently reheating (refreshing) roomtemperaturefinished bread and rollproducts for a short period of time willhelp to improve eating characteristicsand flavor of the product, but be awarethat they will not stay that way verylong. There really is not much that wecan adjust with regards to ingredientsand formulation, unless you are willingto do so, and that comes with anincrease in ingredient cost.

One alternative may be to par-bakethe breadsticks rather than fully bakingthem. This would involve making thebreadsticks in your usual manner andthen giving them a short bake in orderto set the structure of the product (3minutes at your usual bake temperature,or around 465° to 485°F). Thepar-baked product would be light incrust color and will need to be finish-bakedas needed (3 minutes at yourusual bake temperature, or around465° to 485°F) in order to color thecrust and warm the breadstick. Aftercooling, par-baked breadsticks canbe stored in a plastic bag or a closedcontainer at room temperature for upto two days. If the storage time is goingto be longer than two days, I’d suggestrefrigerating or freezing the packagedproduct shortly after cooling thepar-baked product. By adjusting yourtypical procedure, this would allow youto have fresh breadsticks and not wastethe product.

Jeff Zeak is the pilot plantmanager for the AmericanInstitute of Baking (AIB). Needmore dough advice? Visit theDough Information Center at
PMQ.com/dough.