For the yeast and the enzymes to be happy and fermentation to take place properly, it is important that the dough be neither too warm nor too cold when it comes out of the mixer. A range of 74 to 77 F is considered optimal for most doughs (although rye doughs benefit from slightly warmer temperatures). The only way a baker has at his/her disposal to get the dough temperature he/she desires (desired dough temperature or DDT) is to use the proper water temperature.
How to calculate the water temperature?
Here is what I learned at the San Francisco Baking Institute during the Artisan I workshop I attended in 2009 (and I am quoting from the reference material we were given):
- If the dough is too hot, the yeast will move too fast and fermentation tolerance will be reached before the proper balance of strength and flavor has been reached;
- If the dough is too cold, the yeast will be very sluggish and fermentation will take a very long time.
Factors contributing to the final temperature of the dough:
- Room temperature
- Flour temperature
- Water temperature
- Friction factor (amount of heat created by the action of the mixer)
- Temperature of pre-ferment if using
The only temperature the baker can control is the water temperature (for more info on how to determine the friction factor, click here).
DDT = 75 F
Flour temperature = 65 F
Room temperature = 65 F
Friction Factor = 8 F
Base temperature = DDT x 3 (since we have only three factors to consider)
75F x 3 = 225 F
The known temperatures and the friction factor are substracted from the base temperature to find out what the water temperature should be.
Base Temperature 225 F
Room Temperature minus 65 F
Flour Temperature minus 65 F
Friction Factor minus 8 F
Water temperature = 87 F
225 – (65+65+8) = 87
If all of the temperatures are accurate and the friction factor has been determined properly, using 87 F water will yield dough with a final temperature of 75 F.
If using a preferment, that preferment must be considered as a fourth factor, i.e. the base temperature is DDT x 4 and the temperature of the preferment needs to be substracted from it to get the proper water temperature.
Lazy baker says
You must have been reading my mind, how did I forget all this or why have I become so lazy???
there is a much simpler way to calculate required water temperature. I call it the magic number method. In my experience the number 48 in winter and 46 in summer works well. We use Celcius here (the one that makes sense) so all temps are in degrees C. When you arrive at the bakery take the Flour Temp, say 20 degrees C. Subtract that from the magic number "48" and this gives you the required Water Temp for a Final Dough Temp of 30 degrees C. (adjust the magic number accordingly if you like them a bit cooler)
So for example : Magic Number "48" minus Flour Temp (20) = Required Water Temp (28). Easy!!
This number works for my bakery but if you find the final dough temp higher or lower due to mixing friction varying between mixers or other factors , simply adjust the magic number higher or lower.
Danny Guimaraes says
Very interesting the magic number method! How about if I want the dough at 27 c?
Thanks for this insightful post.
I think some people also use 54 Fare.heit as the mob agic number. U fund it confusing.. .
Linda Cannon says
What if I want the dough at 100 degrees – boiling point, trying to source a heated dough mixer Can you help please
Hi Linda, I am sorry I can’t help you with that one. I have never heard of a desired dough temperature of 100 degrees Celsius (boiling point). What do you need such a dough for?