Author Topic: Need help with getting a more tender crumb  (Read 599 times)

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Offline IIFYPizza

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Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« on: June 11, 2015, 03:06:09 PM »
I just made my 4th pie and so far I'm absolutely loving the process. However, I'm still out to achieve my ideal crumb (which I know won't come quickly). With that said, I have a few questions.

I'm shooting for a pizza that's thick all around (center can be a little thin), very soft, yet slight crunch (not sure how to classify that). I pretty much just shoot for a lean dough with a little bit of oil and sugar to make up for low oven temps (550F) to help with browning, tenderness, and oven spring. I'm wanting something exactly like a Neapolitan, but maybe a little thicker of a center (which I can probably change with my stretching technique). My most recent recipe was this:

100% KABF
58% hydration (including oil)
4% sugar (add browning, and help a little with tenderness)
2% salt
1.5% oil (help with tenderness and to a lesser degree oven spring)
.21% IDY
.125 thickness factor

I let it ferment for 90 hours at 35F, and then another 2.5 hours at room temp before baking. I preheated my oven with a ceramic pizza stone on the lowest rack for about two hours (I believe around 550F, but not 100% sure. I just ordered an IR thermometer so I can get an answer on that soon). I then stretched the dough, placed on peel, topped and launched. It cooked for about 7 minutes (I think slightly over cooked by about 30 seconds to a minute). The crust had a nice outer crunch to it, it was very tender in the center, good browning and char on bottom, however the crust was way too chewy to my liking. It was not tender/soft enough, and I'm wondering what I can do to help change that? I was contemplating taking the protein content of the flour down a little bit by making a blend of KABF and AP flour. Is this a good idea?

Here are some pics of the final result, and just to show what I'm looking for, I attached TXCraig's crumb shot from his sticky in the Neapolitan section. The last picture (TXCraig's pizza) is EXACTLY the softness I'm trying to achieve. I'm aware that his is the ideal pizza under ideal conditions (temp, fermentation, flour, baking time, etc.) however how can I point myself in that direction with the tools I have on hand. I would like to stay away from adding more oil and sugar IF possible, but any recommendations are greatly appreciated.  I'm contemplating getting a pizza oven in the ~$300 range, but until then I have to make due with my home oven.


Offline Bisquick

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 12:28:45 AM »
You definitely don't need to add more sugar/oils. I managed to get a crumb similar to the one you are describing by using unbleached all purpose flour and one of the many NY style formulas. I used 62% water, 1% oil, 1.75% salt, and no sugar. I baked the pizza in a pan placed on a pizza stone in a oven just over 500 degrees.  I used a standard issue $4.00 Wal-Mart oven thermometer to tell me when my standard issue apartment oven was at the right temperature. (I only preheated for about twenty minutes.) The dough was proofed at room temp for a few hours, rested in the fridge for about two days, then allowed to sit a room temp for about and hour and a half before baking. (I slapped and tossed the dough as soon as I took it from the fridge, then let it sit on a pan in a cold oven.) I baked it for about ten minutes, turning it once during the process.  The result was a pizza with a flat, floppy, fold-able body and a rim with a soft puffiness and a size comparable to a "speed-bump".  The dough was perfectly golden brown, the skin slightly crispy and the flavor was excellent. One thing I've learned about the finished texture of a pizza is how several different factors play into it.  For example, too low a hydration (below 55%, very little oil) can make a finished dough stiff and cracker like, but believe it or not a high hydration (above 65%) can do the same thing. (Though a higher hydration dough will most likely not be thin like a cracker, the bottom can be almost as tough as one.) One reason a high hydration dough can be stiff is because the more water in a dough, the longer it will take to bake in a home oven, which results in the bottom being very tough.(This is generally not a problem in professional settings, where the oven temps in Neapolitan/artisan shops are around 800 degrees and the pizzas cook much faster.) I've found one way to achieve decent results from a high hydration in a home setting  in a home setting is to excessively proof the dough at room temperature, creating an excess of carbon dioxide which in my experience makes the dough light and airy enough to avoid a stiff crumb. That brings me to this point - you should use a formula that will allow carbon dioxide and natural sugars (converted from starch) to tenderize the dough, not added sugar or excessive oil. I would recommend raising the water to around 62-63%, slightly reducing the salt to around 1.8%, keeping the oil the same and not using any sugar. Proof the dough for a few hours at room temp before you put it in the fridge to ensure your yeast is active and to begin the process of breaking down the starch. (If you use sugar and go straight to the fridge with the dough, the yeast is almost dormant, therefore most likely converting only the simple, added sugar, right? This will most likely result in a flavor lacking in complexity. This is actually preferable in a lot of professional settings, as many customers may prefer a somewhat neutral dough that allows more flavor from the sauce and toppings. Myself I want a dough that packs a little punch.) Following the aforementioned formula is, so far, the closest I've come to achieving a Neapolitan/ NY hybrid style pizza at home. (Though I must admit, the excessively gassed "artisan" style pizzas that I made with hydration levels of almost 70% were delicious, though the texture - floppiness, foldability - was not the best. ) Without an oven that can reach 800 degrees, one has to rely on carbon dioxide and natural sugars to get results, which generally means at least some proofing outside of the fridge.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 12:30:46 AM by Bisquick »

Offline IIFYPizza

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 08:01:52 PM »
Thank you so much for the help Bisquick!

Right now my dough is currently in the fridge and will be ready to bake in exactly 20 hours, so I will see how lowering the protein content of the flour will effect the crumb.

I do have a question about the part of fermenting before placing in the refrigerator; wouldn't that just be factor for the thickness of the crust and yeast activity, and not necessarily the moistness/tenderness of the crumb? Ultimately my goal is to alter the recipe so I can achieve a softer pie.

I think my next two pies will look like this (only altering one variable at a time):

1) Move hydration up to ~60-62%

2) Eliminate the sugar

So after seeing how the lower protein content of the flour affects the dough, I will then see if increased hydration (which means increased moisture) leads to a softer crumb, then I will see if by eliminating sugar I can still achieve a tender crumb on low temp. bakes.

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 08:09:14 PM »
Bisquick,

Ordinary table sugar, aka sucrose, is eventually converted to simple sugars, the only type of sugars that yeast can use as food. In the case of sucrose, the simple sugars are glucose and fructose. Tom Lehmann very often recommends that one add sucrose to a dough that is to be cold fermented for more two or three days, at a rate of about 1-2%.

From what I understand, sucrose can be converted to simple sugars two ways. The first way is through the enzyme sucrase (sometimes called invertase). That enzyme is present in yeast and catalyzes the hydrolysis of sucrose to glucose and fructose. The second way is through acids. The acids might be added to a dough but they can also be the acids of fermentation.

Peter

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 08:19:49 PM »
Bisquick,

I forgot a third way of converting sucrose to simple sugars. It is to heat an aqueous sugar solution. So, if someone adds sugar to water that is warm, that might help cleave sucrose into glucose to fructose. I tend not to think that the heat of fermentation does much for a conversion of sucrose added dry to the dough but I am not certain on that point.

Peter

Offline Bisquick

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 12:49:29 AM »
To answer the question about how proofing for a few hours prior to placing the dough in the fridge may help soften the crumb/texture, my experience has told me this - A decent amount of carbon dioxide in the dough greatly improves oven spring, meaning the dough will be less dense and rubbery, resulting in an airy, soft crumb.  If you ensure your yeast is healthy, active, and producing carbon dioxide before refrigerating your dough, the dough will expand as your gluten strands relax. The expansion comes from the gas the yeast produced while still warm, giving you a dough ball that is proofed but not over-proofed, as the yeast lie nearly dormant in the fridge. Just remember that it takes the yeast a while to cool down before sleeping, so your dough proofs for a while even after your put it in the fridge, and when your gluten strands relax it should expand. I usually have a decent idea how the final texture of my pizza will turn out by looking at the dough ball right before I stretch, slap, and/or toss it.  If I make and proof the dough just right, I get a great result. 

As for sugar in the dough, Pete I admit that I'm not familiar with the exact scientific specifics of how yeast breaks down different sugars, but my experience has told me this - Adding refined table sugar to the dough generally results in a milder flavor, and I suspect this is partially because it causes the dough to proof faster, as the sugar is already processed to a simple form and is easily consumed by the yeast. I prefer to leave out granulated sugar and allow the yeast consume and convert the natural sugars in the flour. Don't get me wrong , though.  It's not to say that a decent pizza can't be made by using refined sugar, as I know many commercial establishments use it, it's just not my preference.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 12:51:31 AM by Bisquick »

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 08:33:10 AM »
Bisquick,

I fully understand what you are saying about the sugar. It's not an essential ingredient for pizza dough. But to complete the sugar story, I wanted to mention that any simple sugars that remain after feeding the yeast are residual sugars that contribute to crust coloration through participation in the Maillard reactions. If enough sucrose is used in the dough, it can also contribute to crust flavor and color through caramelization, which is essentially "cooking" the sugar. That is why sugar (sucrose) is used by so many people who feel that they need more color in their crusts. But, even then, sugar can't be looked at in isolation. It has to be balanced against the amount of yeast used and the nature of the fermentation (room temperature or cold, or maybe even both in combination) and the duration of the fermentation window.

Finally, at high levels, sugar can be perceived in the crust as sweetness on the palate. But, for that to happen, you need to use a lot of it.

Peter

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 10:02:17 AM »
As for sugar in the dough, Pete I admit that I'm not familiar with the exact scientific specifics of how yeast breaks down different sugars, but my experience has told me this - Adding refined table sugar to the dough generally results in a milder flavor, and I suspect this is partially because it causes the dough to proof faster, as the sugar is already processed to a simple form and is easily consumed by the yeast.

It's an interesting question, does sugar make the dough ferment faster or just start fermenting faster? Maybe it's a distinction without a difference? Yeast can convert sucrose to fermentable sugars, but they can't convert starch to fermentable sugars. In the absence of added sugar, be it sucrose or something else, the yeast can't do much until the amylase in the flour starts breaking down the starch into glucose. Converting sucrose to glucose and fructose is not a very efficient process for the yeast, so I suspect they will use glucose if it is available. Sugar/sucrose is sucrose no matter how much it's processed. It doesn't get "simpler" via processing. I suspect that sugar gives the yeast a faster start, but once glucose is widely available via enzymatic conversion of starch, fermentation progresses at a relatively similar rate either way. It would be interesting to know Tom's thoughts on this.

In any case, I don't think that fermentation time should be the reason to not add sugar if you wanted it for browning as fermentation time is easily controlled by the initial yeast quantity, AOTBE.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
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Offline IIFYPizza

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 02:29:57 PM »
Ok guys, so today is bake day. The picture attached is the bottom of the dough after about 40 minutes of proofing at room temperature. It's got another hour to go, but IMO its looking overproofed/extremely tough. I suppose we will just see how everything pans out.

The recipe i'm using for this dough is:

Flour (100%):
Water (58%):
IDY (.3%):
Salt (2%):
Oil (1.5%):
Sugar (4%):
Total (165.8%):
244.15 g  |  8.61 oz | 0.54 lbs
141.61 g  |  4.99 oz | 0.31 lbs
0.73 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.24 tsp | 0.08 tbsp
4.88 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.44 tsp | 0.48 tbsp
3.66 g | 0.13 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.81 tsp | 0.27 tbsp
9.77 g | 0.34 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.45 tsp | 0.82 tbsp
404.8 g | 14.28 oz | 0.89 lbs | TF = 0.12625

I did a blend of 50/50 KABF and AP to get a protein content of 11.5%. I mixed everything up (no knead), and let it ferment for 70 hours at 35F. I took it out so it can proof at room temperature for 2 hours before the bake and simultaneously preheating the oven to see how how it can get. I received my IR thermometer so I'll be able to get a definitive temp. on my baking stone.

What do y'all think of the gluten development in this picture?



Online Pete-zza

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2015, 02:38:33 PM »
It's an interesting question, does sugar make the dough ferment faster or just start fermenting faster? Maybe it's a distinction without a difference? Yeast can convert sucrose to fermentable sugars, but they can't convert starch to fermentable sugars. In the absence of added sugar, be it sucrose or something else, the yeast can't do much until the amylase in the flour starts breaking down the starch into glucose. Converting sucrose to glucose and fructose is not a very efficient process for the yeast, so I suspect they will use glucose if it is available. Sugar/sucrose is sucrose no matter how much it's processed. It doesn't get "simpler" via processing. I suspect that sugar gives the yeast a faster start, but once glucose is widely available via enzymatic conversion of starch, fermentation progresses at a relatively similar rate either way. It would be interesting to know Tom's thoughts on this.

In any case, I don't think that fermentation time should be the reason to not add sugar if you wanted it for browning as fermentation time is easily controlled by the initial yeast quantity, AOTBE.
Craig,

It is an interesting question that I have pondered many times in the past, especially since many members have commented on the role of sugar in the fermentation process. Today, I stumbled onto a Lallemand article on some aspects of the the subject at http://www.lallemand.com/BakerYeastNA/eng/PDFs/LBU%20PDF%20FILES/1_19WATR.PDF  (Fermentation  Activity of Yeast). I have been long aware of the osmotic effects that sugar (and salt) can have on yeast performance but I wondered whether sugar at low levels might speed things up.

Peter

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2015, 03:20:59 PM »
The article says up to 3% sugar speeds up gas production. I'm guessing this is 3% of the total dough as opposed to baker's%. If so, then hydration, and to a lesser extent other ingredients, become a factor. For example, 3% of a 60% HR dough would be ~5% sugar in baker's %.
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Offline Bisquick

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2015, 10:39:42 PM »
Bisquick,

I fully understand what you are saying about the sugar. It's not an essential ingredient for pizza dough. But to complete the sugar story, I wanted to mention that any simple sugars that remain after feeding the yeast are residual sugars that contribute to crust coloration through participation in the Maillard reactions. If enough sucrose is used in the dough, it can also contribute to crust flavor and color through caramelization, which is essentially "cooking" the sugar. That is why sugar (sucrose) is used by so many people who feel that they need more color in their crusts. But, even then, sugar can't be looked at in isolation. It has to be balanced against the amount of yeast used and the nature of the fermentation (room temperature or cold, or maybe even both in combination) and the duration of the fermentation window.

Finally, at high levels, sugar can be perceived in the crust as sweetness on the palate. But, for that to happen, you need to use a lot of it.

Peter

I remembered this morning how important time and temperature are when it comes to the proofing process. They are both critical factors. Therefore, sucrose in my dough may result in a flavor much different than someone else, if my final (pre-baked) dough temp is 10 to 20 degrees higher or lower than that person, even if we are both using the same recipe.  Speaking of temperature,  I read somewhere some time ago that the temperature of the water added to the dough can play a role in how fast amylase forms, which I suppose has a direct effect on the conversion of the starches to glucose.  At the time I didn't realize how important a factor the formation of amylase could be.  I tend to remember the general way that I make/proof the dough, whether it be a cold/warm rise, chilled flour or room temp flour, chilled water or room temp water, and if I like the flavor and texture of my finished product I try to make the next batch the same way, and at times I've been able to get consistency, but at times it can be difficult, considering my doughs are made in a home environment. What's interesting is that a lot of restaurants and commissaries struggle with consistency themselves, and they have professional equipment. One thing I have learned about consistency is while it may be difficult to achieve a specific flavor every time, it's really not that big of a deal if the flavor is good.  I wonder if the flavor produced from the yeast feeding on glucose vs sucrose is different, and if so, how much the factors of time and temperature would play into that?  I know time and temp are critical factors, but I'm wondering if my results are more the result of time and temp of the result of the yeast converting glucose and not sucrose.

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2015, 05:15:58 AM »
I also saw different articles on the web that say sugar (surcose) is fermented rapidly if not above a certain percentage (increases yeast activity).  https://www.craftybaking.com/how-baking-works/yeast   

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2015, 09:50:42 AM »
I tend to remember the general way that I make/proof the dough, whether it be a cold/warm rise, chilled flour or room temp flour, chilled water or room temp water, and if I like the flavor and texture of my finished product I try to make the next batch the same way, and at times I've been able to get consistency, but at times it can be difficult, considering my doughs are made in a home environment. What's interesting is that a lot of restaurants and commissaries struggle with consistency themselves, and they have professional equipment.

It's not your home environment that leads to inconsistency but rather a lack of documenting procedure. Relying on memory does not put you on the path to consistency. Likewise, professional equipment does little to support consistency. Human hands still have to touch the process, and different people often do things in different ways even when given specific instructions.

Quote
I wonder if the flavor produced from the yeast feeding on glucose vs sucrose is different, and if so, how much the factors of time and temperature would play into that?  I know time and temp are critical factors, but I'm wondering if my results are more the result of time and temp of the result of the yeast converting glucose and not sucrose.

Yeast don't directly metabolize sucrose in any sort of normal situation. Yeast have invertase near their outer cell membrane which converts sucrose to glucose and fructose which the yeast can use directly. Glucose and fructose are isomers (molecules with the same chemical formula but different structures) and the byproduct of fermentation are the same with each. C6H12O6 --> 2C5H5OH (ethanol) + 2CO2
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Offline Bisquick

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2015, 09:50:47 PM »
I also saw different articles on the web that say sugar (surcose) is fermented rapidly if not above a certain percentage (increases yeast activity).  https://www.craftybaking.com/how-baking-works/yeast   

Norma

Great article Norma. I knew most of this already, but I love the way the article spells it out.

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2015, 10:06:10 PM »
Great article Norma. I knew most of this already, but I love the way the article spells it out.

Some of the stuff in the article is incorrect. For example the statement "sucrose, glucose and fructose are fermented rapidly." Sucrose may be easily cleaved by the yeast into glucose and fructose which are fermented rapidly, but sucrose is not fermented for all intents and purposes. Also, the statement "the bacteria, on the other hand, function well even in cold temperatures, so they now have an opportunity to thrive" is decidedly false. In fact, it's polar opposite wrong. Bacteria thrive over yeast above about 75F up to the point where they start to die. Below 75F, the difference in activity is trivial. Besides that, unless you are talking about a sourdough, the amount of bacteria in relation to the yeast is all but meaningless.
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Offline Bisquick

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2015, 02:03:45 AM »
It's not your home environment that leads to inconsistency but rather a lack of documenting procedure. Relying on memory does not put you on the path to consistency. Likewise, professional equipment does little to support consistency. Human hands still have to touch the process, and different people often do things in different ways even when given specific instructions.

Yeast don't directly metabolize sucrose in any sort of normal situation. Yeast have invertase near their outer cell membrane which converts sucrose to glucose and fructose which the yeast can use directly. Glucose and fructose are isomers (molecules with the same chemical formula but different structures) and the byproduct of fermentation are the same with each. C6H12O6 --> 2C5H5OH (ethanol) + 2CO2

I suppose this means that one major difference in adding sucrose is the speed of the fermentation, because adding sucrose means the yeast don't have to wait for it to be broken down from the starch. I assume this means that added sugar also plays a role in the shelf life of the dough? I suppose it would extend it? My first school of thought was that it would cause the yeast to do their job faster and thus die off quicker, meaning it would shorten the life of the dough, but now I'm thinking it may extend the life of the dough by empowering the yeast and helping it control the natural bacterial growth in the dough. This would explain why sugar could cause a milder flavor, because if the article from Norma's link is correct, the natural bacterial growth is part of what helps produce excellent flavor compounds, which is why so many people like to chill their dough before proofing it, so the yeast can't take over too quickly.  I guess it's also true that while natural bacterial growth is good for flavor, too much of it for too long is what spoils the dough, why may be one reason why sugar is, to some, an important ingredient in bread/pizza making, because it acts as a preservative.


Offline IIFYPizza

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2015, 02:22:13 AM »
Sorry for starting a thread in what appears to be yalls own, my fault. I also appreciate the help that's been given in regards to my original question!

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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2015, 03:17:00 AM »
My first school of thought was that it would cause the yeast to do their job faster and thus die off quicker, meaning it would shorten the life of the dough, but now I'm thinking it may extend the life of the dough by empowering the yeast and helping it control the natural bacterial growth in the dough.
It's irrelevant. Just add less yeast if you want to slow things down.

Quote
if the article from Norma's link is correct,
It's not.
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Re: Need help with getting a more tender crumb
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2015, 07:30:52 AM »
Sorry for starting a thread in what appears to be yalls own, my fault. I also appreciate the help that's been given in regards to my original question!

IIFYPIZZALINK:
  Good morning. I have read your postings with much interest. I see you have baked your revised recipe.
I hope you will post the results of this recent bake. If you are not happy with it, perhaps I can help you correct it.
.
Good luck to you & enjoy the rest of the day.

~DINKS.