Fermentation Questions & Answers

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a.            What defines fermentation? What is fermentation all about?

  • Fermentation is the process by which yeast acts on the sugars and starches in the dough producing carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.

b.            What factors contribute to the rate of fermentation in any given product?

  • Controlling Fermentation requires a balance of time, temperature, and yeast quality and quantity.
  • The temperature of the dough is affected by bakery temperature, flour temperature, machine friction and water temperature, being water temperature is the easiest to control.
  • High percentages of fat and sugar inhibit yeast growth, so sponge method is used, allowing for most of the fermentation can take place before fat and sugar are added.
  • Fermentation can be retarded by refrigeration, or speeded in the proofer, where the temperature and humidity can be controlled and are set higher that room temperature.

c.            Describe any scenarios that you have encountered where you had to actively manage the fermentation rate of your dough or sour.

  • In two occasions I placed the dough I was working on in the fridge to control fermentation. The first time, I placed the challah bread dough in the fridge as I was running late for proofer the cut off. The second time I placed sweet bun dough in the fridge, as I was preparing the dough one day in advance. I should have used half of the yeast amount, but even leaving the yeast amount as in the original recipe the fermentation was slowed by the fridge temperature and I was able to use the dough for the following day’s production.
  • In the previous course, while I was in the bread station I made several loaves of white pan bread, but the team taking care of the proofer, didn’t realize they had forgotten about my bread until it was too late. In that occasion, we used the ovenproofed dough as part of a new recipe. While it seemed we were simply re-purposing the dough, we actually learned that dough was acting in the country loaf recipe similarly as a natural sour in artisan bread recipes.

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