The photos below show my latest Caputo 00 pie in which I tested the use of diastatic malt in the basic “giotto A16” recipe in an attempt to increase the coloration of the finished crust. As readers may recall, I recently made Caputo 00 pies in which I used dry dairy whey to accomplish the same objective. The theory behind today’s test is that it may be possible to extract sugars from the flour in significant quantity beyond what is needed to feed the yeast during fermentation so that the residual sugars then become available to increase the coloration of the crust during baking.
The recipe I followed was essentially the same as previously reported at Reply #172, but for the substitution of the diastatic malt for the dry dairy whey. Although it may have been possible to just add some diastatic malt to the Caputo 00 flour and hope that it would extract more sugars from the flour—through the action of the diastatic malt on the existing damaged starch molecules in the 00 flour—I elected to try to increase the amount of damaged starch at the same time so that more of it would be available for use by the diastatic malt (specifically, the amylase enzymes in the diastatic malt). The approach I chose to increase the damaged starch was to run the Caputo 00 flour through my food processor by dropping the flour a tablespoon at a time down the tube of the processor. This was similar to what I did recently in a version of the giotto A16 recipe in which I used a natural preferment and a same-day, room-temperature rise. (The results of that test were reported at the Caputo 00/Caputo 00 Biga thread.)
The final recipe I ended up with was as follows (including baker’s percents):
100%, Caputo 00 pizzeria flour, 7.59 oz. (1 1/2 c. plus 4 T.)
57.3%, Water, 4.35 oz. (approx. 1/2 c.)
2.4%, Sea salt, 0.18 oz. (between 7/8 and 1 t.)
1.79%, Extra-virgin olive oil, 0.14 oz. (between 3/4 and 7/8 t.)
0.6%, Diastatic malt, 0.05 oz. (a bit over 1/2 t.) (Note: The malt used was Bob’s Red Mill brand, from Whole Foods)
0.30%, IDY, 0.023 oz. (a bit less than 1/4 t.)
Finished dough ball weight = 12.32 oz. (for a single 13-inch pizza)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.093
Finished dough temperature = 81.5 degrees F.
In making the dough, I tried as much as possible to use the same processing steps as I previously used with the giotto A16 recipe in which I used the dry dairy whey, including a few days of retardation of the dough in the refrigerator (a total of about 54 hours) and two knockdowns of the dough during its stay in the refrigerator. The dough was brought out to room temperature for about 2 hours before shaping. Rather than shaping the dough on my wooden cutting board as I usually do, today I decided to do all the shaping on a smooth, glass-like cutting board. I decided to do this after seeing the wonderful video that James posted earlier today on this thread. I found this change to be very helpful. The dough handled very well—pretty much along the lines of what I saw in the video (which I ran over and over again until I just about had it memorized.) The dough didn’t quite have the balance of extensibility (stretch) and elasticity (springback) as the previous doughs including the dairy whey, but it was quite good nonetheless. I had no problems whatsoever with the dough.
The dough was shaped into a 13-inch round and dressed in a basic Margherita style. It was baked on a pizza stone that had been placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at about 500-550 degrees F. During the roughly five minutes that the pizza baked on the stone, the crust achieved reasonable coloration. As with my last experiment using the diastatic malt, the degree of coloration was less than what I was hoping for. So, to increase the browning of the crust even more, I moved the pizza to the uppermost rack position and exposed the pizza to the broiler element, which had been turned on about 4 minutes into the bake cycle. It took less than 30-45 seconds for the crust to brown up to the level I was hoping to achieve. This was faster than what I normally experience when baking crusts that do not include diastatic malt (or dairy whey for that matter). Consequently, I believe that diastatic malt is a reasonably good alternative to dairy whey in increasing the degree of coloration of the finished crust. Whether it is possible only to use diastatic malt without having to increase the starch damage in the Caputo 00 flour is an experiment for another day.
The pizza itself tasted very good. However, like the recent pizza in which I used two punchdowns and reshapings of the dough, the crust was still bread-like in quality—from the middle all the way out to the rim. It was chewy but didn’t seem to have that nice crunch. Since the only difference between the two doughs was the type of color enhancer used, I am inclined to believe that the handling of the dough may be the reason for the bread-like quality. The only way to get clarity on this is to repeat the experiment but not handle the dough during its time in the refrigerator. As far as crust flavor is concerned, I clearly prefer the Caputo 00 pies that use a natural preferment and room-temperature fermentation, and especially when accompanied by the use of dry dairy whey or diastatic malt to achieve better crust color. The Caputo 00 pies based on refrigerated doughs will have greater flavor the longer the period of fermentation, but the flavor impact is still not at the level achievable from using a preferment. That, of course, is a personal opinion--one undoubtedly influenced by all the naturally leavened Caputo doughs I have made, of which there have been quite a few. As between dry dairy whey and diastatic malt, my preference is the dry dairy whey, mainly since the dairy whey appears to produce a better handling dough. I see no reason why both dairy whey and diastatic malt can't both be used together in a dough. They will both increase coloration but through different mechanisms.
The photos below show the finished product.