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.