Fermented Pizza Dough: Long vs. Short

pizza dough tray fermentation flour caputo quebec

If you’re the type of person who likes to experiment in your kitchen, then you’ve probably tried making your own pizza dough at home. If you have, you might have discovered that, beyond the flour mess it makes, there’s a bit of a debate among pizzaiolos about whether to let the dough rise for a long time or for just a short time. While it might seem like an unimportant detail, it actually has a pretty huge impact on the overall result of your pizza.

What is fermentation and what’s its role for pizza?

Dough takes time to rise because of the presence of yeast. Yeast is one of the basic ingredients in dough, along with flour and water. The yeast feeds on sugars in the flour, which produces carbon dioxide gas (the same gas that makes soda fizzy). The carbon dioxide gets trapped in the tiny air pockets that form during fermentation, making your dough light and fluffy when cooked.

Why does fermentation time matter?

Since yeast has more time to eat sugar in long-fermented doughs, it does not ferment in your stomach. Have you ever went to bed after a pizza night only to wake up at 3 AM so thirsty you could just drink from the faucet ? Well that’s the sign the dough finished its fermentation directly in your stomach. So careful with those recipes that promise the perfect dough in less than an hour. Chances are, the yeast amount you have to put in the mix is out of this world. Sure the rising will take place more quicklu and the pizza will look pretty… but instead of fermenting on the counter it will to do so in your stomach !

So what’s short enough and what’s long enough?

In short-fermented doughs, the process of fermentation happens quickly at room temperature, around 6-8 hours. In long-fermented doughs, it occurs much more slowly—often over 24 hours, up to 72 hours—at colder temperatures.

Now fermentation time is not something you decide on the go. It should be proportionate to the protein content of the flour you are using. For longer fermentation (days), use higher protein content flour such as the Caputo Chef’s flour.  As for shorter fermentation time (hours) use lower protein content flour such as the Caputo Pizzeria or Classica.

What we recommend ?

Well…You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been, at least that’s what they say. I don’t know who “they” are but I do know the experience of your 20s have some influence on your 30s, maybe not a life-or-death influence but it gives some points of perspective that you can’t get if you never try it. So why not try both types and see what works best for you? Our conclusion is that trial is worthwhile.

And be sure to put your hands on one of our fermentation dough trays.. we wouldn’t want to see all your efforts go to waste by having your precious dough balls go dry on the counter or in the fridge.