Baking is Science
If you’ve ever looked at a professional bread or pastry recipe, you’ve probably seen something called ‘desired dough temperature’ or DDT. But what does that mean?
In a nutshell, desired dough temperature is exactly what it sounds like it should be—the temperature you want to shoot for when you’re making bread or pastry at home in order for the yeast and enzymes to ferment at just the right speed, not too slow and not too fast.
The temperature is impacted by the following factors: the room temperature, the flour temperature, the friction factor (the heat the mixer generates), and the water factor. Typically the water temperature is the easiest one to control, and you can find all kinds of equations online to help you calculate that but for the home baker here are some basic tips.
1). Most recipes don’t have a desired dough temperature listed. It is generally a good idea to be somewhere in the 74-77° F range.
2). If your dough is running a little warm after you mix it, find a cooler place to let it ferment. Check the temperature periodically to see what it’s at.
3). If your dough is running a little cool, put it someplace warmer. Under a lamp might work, or if you let your oven warm up a little, turn it off, and then put the dough in there that can help. Again, be sure to periodically check the temperature.
Purchase yourself a good thermometer and give this a try—it’s an easy way to improve the quality of your baking in no time!