Why should pizza dough smell like alcohol? Is alcohol added to pizza? What about customers who don’t drink or take in any form of alcohol at all? All these and many other questions arise because sometimes, pizza dough smells like alcohol.
If you have ever come across a fermented dough, you might have perceived the smell of alcohol from the dough. Those who are used to baking might not be surprised, but if you have just started your adventure into baking, then you could be shocked and worried when this happens.
I had my fair share of this experience when I first ventured into the baking world, and I thought someone had poured some alcohol into the dough that I was trying to ferment.
But of course, this was not the case. It is usual for your dough to smell like alcohol, so you do not have to panic.
In this article, I will take you through what happens when you begin to perceive this alcohol smell from your dough and what could be the best way forward for you.
Why the Smell of Alcohol?
If you are baking or preparing pizza, I am sure at some point you might have covered your dough to let it rise before you proceed. Now when this happens, the dough begins to undergo a process of fermentation.
The yeast present in the dough rises, and it can produce alcohol as a byproduct. The dough ferments when it hits moisture and warmth.
The warmer the temperature, and the more yeast that is available, the quicker your dough ferments. This means that there will be a higher level of alcohol in your dough.
The fermentation process is necessary to give the pizza dough more flavor and taste than a bland taste. So, fermentation is a necessary process if you must have a quality, flavorful pizza. So. it would be natural for your dough to have some smell of alcohol.
It is good to note that your dough starts to ferment from the point where you mix all your ingredients to the point that you bake it.
The heat during baking discards the yeast and ends the fermentation process. In as much as fermentation is necessary, it can be overdone beyond the required limits.
Your dough will have a strong alcoholic smell and a more pungent sour smell as well. This excess will defeat the purpose of having an excellent, flavorful pizza dough. Too much fermentation will end up making your pizza dough sour, with some acidic taste. What every chef needs to master is how to achieve moderation when they are fermenting.
It is a skill because under fermentation gives your pizza dough a bland taste. Moderate fermentation makes your dough flavorful and tasteful.
And too much fermentation gives your dough a bland taste. Virtue, they say, lies in the middle, so it is a skill to acquire as you master the art of baking.
How does dough become over fermented?
The dough can become over fermented when you have allowed it to stay for too long. During this time, the yeast must have overdone its work.
The gluten that is found in flour would have at this point been deteriorated, the process has produced excess gas, and this causes the dough to expel gas and deflate.
When this happens, similar to an inflated football, the dough may not be able to rise anymore. Another bad addition to all this is that the yeast won’t produce carbon dioxide during baking. The alcohol content and the rising acidity levels are a lot stronger, so you end up having an end product that reeks and tastes unwanted flavors.
As earlier stated, the speed with which your dough will ferment is directly proportional to the amount of yeast added to the dough during the mixing process and the amount of heat that the dough is subjected to.
The unique trick to getting your dough to stay for a long time is to add a tiny amount of yeast to the dough. This allows you to leave it for almost 15 hours while you carry out other activities. The dough can also be stored in the refrigerator for 3- 5 days.
Does the temperature around you matter?
Definitely, the temperature around you contributes to the quality of the fermentation process. If you have a warm temperature, your dough will rise correctly when you have added all your ingredients. The dough needs to rise two times before you carry out the baking.
The first time of rising is when you mix the ingredients. If the weather is too cold, your dough will not ferment properly. If the temperature is too hot, your dough might ferment faster than it should, and then it will collapse later on.
So, if you are in a hot climate, it is necessary to keep your dough in a cool place.
Effects of over fermented dough
If your dough has over fermented or is over-proofed, this might affect the baking process a little. Your over fermented dough will not rise and expand while you are baking, leading to deflation.
This is caused by too many air bubbles present in the dough. These bubbles form because of the excess gas produced during the extended time of fermentation.
Your bread will still be perfect for eating, but the shape and texture of your pizza dough might not turn out well. If you are a foodie, you know that the food’s aesthetics also contribute to your desire and appetite for the food.
How you can tell if your dough has fermented to the right amount
The best way to know that your dough has fermented to the right amount is if it doubles in size. If you leave it fermented, it will rise and should be as twice as you left it.
It would help if you were watchful, you do not want your dough to over ferment and give you a more difficult time trying to bake your pizza.
Another way you could test the right amount of fermentation is by poking the dough. It would be best if you used your finger and press down the dough.
If the dough rises halfway and still has the dentation mark of your finger on it, then you can be sure that it is ready to be baked.
Signs of over fermentation
- Overfermentation affects the texture of the dough, and it losses its elasticity
- The dough has a powerful smell of alcohol that can not be gotten rid of even when you bake.
- The dough has a bubbly appearance because of the presence of excessive gas within.
It is natural to perceive some alcohol from your dough, this part of the fermentation process. The light smell of alcohol can be intense when your dough over ferments. When your dough ferments appropriately, you won’t perceive this alcoholic smell after baking.
But when your dough over ferments, this alcoholic smell can persist even after baking your pizza crust. The trick is to know when the fermentation process is enough and perfect for you to bake.