Making our 72-hour dough is relatively easy, simple in fact. The most challenging part comes after the 24 hour bulk ferment or 72-hour cold ferment and that's when we ball it up. Or make our dough balls. The reason we are folding our dough is to strengthen the protein threads inside the dough. By folding the dough together we are trapping the carbon dioxide and the alcohol created by the yeast. The step is pretty critical in the dough making process, think air pockets and air bubbles.
Remember when you are handling the pizza dough to be gentle. I can't emphasize this enough. We are just folding the dough together, keeping the gluten strands in tack and then sealing the ball so the all the gasses will stay inside. If we skipped this step, our dough would be far to slack and would not shape or form into anything.
1. Generously dust both sides of the dough with your bread flour.
2. Place dough portion between your hands and fold in the edges by pressing them into the center of the dough. This is going to be the seam side. The opposite side should look smooth and seamless.
3. With the seam side facing away from you, rotate the ball ninety degrees. Gather and fold the edges into the center of the dough again.
4. Repeat this process about 25-35 times. Each time the portion gets more and more taught. Be careful to be firm but not aggressive, try and not tear the gluten strands.
5. Place the smooth side in your palm and swiftly pinch the seam closed. This is the part where we trap all the carbon dioxide inside the ball. Be aggressive with the pinch.
6. Place each dough ball into an oiled, cylindrical airtight container (like these) for a day or two. Ideally you will want to make the dough balls same day as you bake them. Let them rest at room temp for 4-5 hours.