Technological Aspects Of Dough Fermentation

Very good accounts of the fermentation and preparation of doughs, describing the large variation in time needed to produce them while taking into account the mechanical and chemical methods of preparing dough, are already provided by textbooks (20-22). It can be deduced from this literature that all these processes have both advantages and disadvantages in the production of certain bakery products. For example, the short preparation time (2 hr) required for wheat flour doughs without bulk fermentation as compared with that required for wheat doughs with bulk fermentation (4-7 hr) is an advantage. However, the rapid formation of gas caused by the high proportion of yeast used means that it can be difficult to keep to the processing schedule required for this kind of dough preparation. A very tight schedule is required for dough preparation because of the rapid increase in volume. Keeping to it is crucial because the final stage of fermentation has a decisive influence on the volume and shape of the bakery products.

The variations in fermentation time for sourdoughs (3-48 hr) in which rye milling products are predominantly used is even greater than that for yeast doughs. All microbiological sourdough fermentations are based on the active proliferation of the sourdough microorganisms. In contrast with this, the ability of yeast to proliferate under anaerobic conditions is exploited in dough fermentation only to the extent that the weak proliferation and growth of the yeast cell during fermentation contributes to reducing the fermentation time required for the development of the dough and the formation of the dough volume.

In sourdough fermentation, proliferation is brought about by a ripe sourdough (alternatively, by one in which metabolic activity has ceased) used as an inoculum (23). A portion of this sourdough is used to make a fresh mix, together with flour and water. All sourdough preparations are bulk fermentations, the sourdoughs acting as preliminary doughs to produce bread doughs. The proportion of inoculum in the sourdough determines the process and method of fermentation, depending on the ripeness of the sourdough required for making bread dough. Based on the ratio of fermented flour to total flour, the inoculum can range between 1 and 50%.

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