Fermentation is dependent on the environment where the dough is stored. To find out what are the main factors that have an effect on the dough fermentation and how do they influence the mature dough properties, we talked through the process with Alex Peña, director of product development at Bellarise (Pak Group).
By Catalina Mihu
The bakery solutions provider summarizes core factors behind controlling dough fermentation:
• Temperature - The optimal dough temperature for fermentation is between 76 - 78°F (24.4 – 25.5°C). Higher temperatures increase yeast activity, while a lower temperature will slow it down.
• Time - The fermentation time allows for the development of distinctive flavor and texture.
• Yeast dosage – The more yeast used in a dough, the faster the fermentation. Too much can add an undesirable yeasty flavor.
• Salt dosage – The typical Baker's Percent is 1.8 to 2.5. A higher amount of salt slows fermentation time.
• Sugar dosage - When added to the dough up to 5% Baker’s Percent, sugar will increase the yeast activity. When used above 10% Baker’s Percent the gassing activity will slow down.
• The presence of antimicrobial agents - the most spices have antimicrobial activity, such as cinnamon and can slow the fermentation.
One of the best methods to control the fermentation process is the consistent working conditions including temperature and time accuracy, while timeframes will vary upon application, Peña explains.
On the other hand, enzymes produce hydrogen peroxides by using substrates and hydrogen peroxides oxidize the gluten network which improves dough strength and dough stickiness reduction; increases fermentation tolerance and increases bread volume.
Peña recommends the using of baker’s yeast instead of chemical leavening.
“It is best to use baker’s yeast instead of chemical leavening for doughs due to off-flavor from the chemicals. Chemical leavening is an acid and base reaction, which results in water, carbon dioxide gas: chemical leavening is used to aerate the dough or batter providing more viscosity. The bubbles created by the leavening expand during baking providing a final crumb structure. Chemical leavening can be used for pastry products like cakes, cookies etc,” Peña adds.