Author Topic: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"  (Read 6789 times)

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dmcavanagh

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I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« on: February 18, 2012, 04:19:57 PM »
I see reference to "thickness factor" in many recipes, a fractional number such as  0.15. Exactly what does it mean? Are you saying the dough is less than 2 tenths of an inch thick? Also, doughs thickness is very dependent on fermentation and the point at which the pie is cooked. A pizzas "thickness", not only depends on the amount of dough, but also on the rise of the dough and the results of oven spring while cooking. So, what does "thickness factor" mean, and wouldn't dough ball weight be a more meaningfull measurement?
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dmcavanagh

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 04:36:30 PM »
Also, how you shape/form your pie would make an impact on final thickness. Everyone has their own shaping and resulting cornicione when the pie is finished.
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Tscarborough

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 05:04:00 PM »
I assume it means the thickness of the final pizza skin in relation to it's size and is used as a method to determine the weight of the required doughball.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 05:06:10 PM by Tscarborough »

parallei

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 05:19:23 PM »
Here is a recipe in Baker's Percentages:

Flour - 100% (KABF)
Water - 64%
IDY - 0.5%
Salt - 2.0%
Olive Oil - 2.5%
Sugar - 1.5%

If you wanted to use it, you'd need to know what total weight you wanted.  So:

The TF is the weight of the pie dough (oz) divided by the area of the pie (sq in).  If you know the TF and the size of the pie you want, you can calculate the weight of dough you need.

An Example

Say you want to make calzone and you wanted four (4) @ 10-inch diameter dough balls:

A good TF for a NY style pie is 0.08 – 0.09.  So for a Calzone lets use TF = 0.09.  So for four (4) balls you’d want:

Area per 10-inch diameter ball = (10/2)^2 * pi = 75.54 in2
Area * TF = 75.54 * 0.09 = 7.07 oz per pie (200g)
Total weight = 4 * 200g = 800g

So for the dough above:

Total Baker’s Percentages = 100% + 64% + 0.5% + 2.0% + 2.5% + 1.5% = 170.5% = 1.705
The weight of flour = 100% or 1.0 or “x”

So:

800g = 1.705x

Weight of Flour = x = 469.2g
Weight of Water = 0.64 * 469.2 = 300.3g
Weight of IDY = 0.005 * 469.2 = 2.35g
Weight of Salt = 0.02 * 469.2 = 9.38g
Weight of Olive Oil = 0.025 * 469.2 = 11.73g
Weight of Sugar  = 0.015 * 469.2 = 7.04g

Or:

You can go to the Expanded Dough Calculator .......but you still need to know the total weight, or  TF first
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 05:35:02 PM by parallei »

dmcavanagh

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 07:13:58 PM »
I understand baker's percentages well, I not only make pizzas but also breads of all types. I don't understand the meaning of the numbers 0.08 or 0.09 as a thickness. 0.08what? And who determined that was the correct number for a certain pie. How's does it account for the amount of aeration that might have occurred in a dough ball while fermenting. How does it account for the rise the dough will undergo while cooking. Is it a measurement of the dough as it is spread out before cooking and topping? If so, is 0.08 8 onehundredths of an inch. What if I like my crust twice as thick as someone else's. Doesn't that change the usefullness of the numbers? Can anyone possibly tell the difference between 0.08 and 0.09 when spreading a pizza dough??? For that matter, can that small a differece even be mrasured? I'm still puzzled!
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parallei

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2012, 07:45:42 PM »
TF is just a ratio or weight to surface area.  It just gives you an idea of how much dough to use for a certain size pie.  It is NOT a thickness, like 0.09 inches.  It is a RATIO.  In this case the ratio is weight per square inch.  Weight over area.....oz/in2.   Its units would be oz/in2;  like miles/hour.  Knowing that ratio you can determine the weight of dough you need for area of pie.  How where they determined?  By peoples experiences.

It doesn't account for the expansion what occurs during fermentation, it is just weight to area. It doesn't account for expansion during cooking.  It is just:  This weight of dough for this size pie.....I can tell the difference between 0.08 and 0.10.

The number is very useful as a starting point.  If you like your pies twice as thick for a given size of pie, just double the weight of dough used.  Then instead of a a TF of say 0.09, you would have a thickness factor or 0.18.  If you sent the recipe in Barker's Percentages and the TF to someone else, they could  reproduce you "style" in as many or as few pies as they wanted.

I'm sure you understand what a ratio is.  However, I'll post a few more example later.   Time for dinner........

dmcavanagh

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2012, 08:27:50 PM »
parellei

I get you now, just couldn't quite grasp the number in relation to thickness, ratio makes more sense. I guess I just don't get quite that particular about numbers when I make pizza. I know from experience how much dough to make for whatever pizza I'm making. When the day arrives that I have to break out a calculator and perform math equations to make a good pie, is the day I stop making pies. I can see the need for a commercial operation trying to coordinate a product for widespread reproduction, but it's really not critical for a home cook. I make basically to same dough to make the same pie time after time without needing to perform a math exam. I prefer it that way.
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Pete-zza

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dmcavanagh

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 08:52:06 PM »
Thanks for the links Pete, I'll read up a little. I have never used the dough calculator, but I can see the usefullness of it for someone unsure of how much dough to make. Still not sure who came up with the numbers, was it more or less a trial and error thing?
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dmcavanagh

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 09:00:11 PM »
Pete

Is there a chart somewhere with the TF factor which is common for different styles of pie. If 0.08-0.09 is typical for NY style, what would be the factors for Sicilian for example? Thanks in advance, I'm sure it's around here somewhere, but I don't remember ever seeing it.
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parallei

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 09:02:14 PM »
Quote
I make basically to same dough to make the same pie time after time without needing to perform a math exam. I prefer it that way.

Well, O.K......  I understand where you're coming from, but it does have some utility for the home pizza guy or gal.

For instance, if I wanted to make 3 @ 12-in pies using my usual recipe for 1 @ 14-inch, using TF's it is a breeze.  Of course there are other ways to do it, but they include math also.  For example:

Para's normal 14-inch pie weighs 12.3 oz.  The area of a 14-inch pie = 153.9 in2.  TF = 12.3/153.9 = 0.08.

Area of 3 @ 12-inch pies = 3 x 113.1 = 339.3 in2

so I need 0.08 x 339.3 = 27.1 oz dough.

But then, I like doing math.

Best,

Paul

« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 09:08:31 PM by parallei »

dmcavanagh

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2012, 09:13:53 PM »
parellei

I have a "dough calculator" in my head. That's what making pizza for 45 or so years will do for you!
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Pete-zza

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 09:14:09 PM »
Still not sure who came up with the numbers, was it more or less a trial and error thing?

Dave,

I never did learn how the thickness factor came into being. I think it was a trial and error sort of thing. Tom Lehmann used the thickness factor (dough loading factor) mainly to show people how to transfer crust (or sauce or cheese) characteristics from one pizza size to another. When I did the basic design of the first dough calculating tool, I embedded the thickness factor into that tool so that it could be tied to dough formulations on a standalone basis, not just to change from one pizza size to another. For those who prefer to work with dough ball weights, the dough calculating tools have a Dough Weight option. The thickness factor is just a tool. It is not obigatory that one use it.

Peter

parallei

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 09:19:16 PM »
Quote
Is there a chart somewhere with the TF factor which is common for different styles of pie.

Out of the mouth of Pete.......

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12243.msg115759.html#msg115759

dmcavanagh

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012, 09:45:33 PM »
parellei

thanks, just added that to my "favorites" for future reference.
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Jackie Tran

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2012, 12:06:34 AM »
Wow, awesome thread and awesome posts guys.  I'll need to sit down and read this again.

JHutchins

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2013, 11:04:54 AM »
There is one question that Dave asked that wasn't answered. I search the forum a bit didn't find an answer. Do you use the radius of the cooked or uncooked pizza?

For example, 13.9 oz stretched to 14" would give a TF of 0.090. If the baked pizza is 13.5", the thickness factor is 0.097.

parallei

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2013, 11:58:06 AM »
There is one question that Dave asked that wasn't answered. I search the forum a bit didn't find an answer. Do you use the radius of the cooked or uncooked pizza?

For example, 13.9 oz stretched to 14" would give a TF of 0.090. If the baked pizza is 13.5", the thickness factor is 0.097.

Pre-bake.  It is just the ratio of the weight of dough divided by the area of pie (oz/in2) that one uses to calculate the total weight of dough you need and how much per dough ball.  If you baked an un-topped pie, then measured the finished area and weight, I'm are you'd get a real different value (shrinkage and loss of water).

TXCraig1

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2013, 12:36:02 PM »
It also gives you an average across the entire pie. Different thicknesses and widths of the cornicione could result in pies with the same thickness factor having  very different crust thickness across the majority of the pie.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
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parallei

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2013, 01:05:23 PM »
It also gives you an average across the entire pie. Different thicknesses and widths of the cornicione could result in pies with the same thickness factor having  very different crust thickness across the majority of the pie.

Yep.  It just gives you a weight of dough for a given skin/pan size.  After that, you're on your own!

The Dough Doctor

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2013, 03:28:58 PM »
Rather than "thickness factor" we like to call it "dough density". This is a value referencing the weight of dough per square inch of pizza surface area. One very important aspect of using this is that you can make any size pizza you want having the same thickness here is an example of how it works:
Lets say you make a 12-inch pizza using 10-ounces of dough. The 12-inch pizza has 113 square inches of surface area so we divide the weight of dough by the surface area (113) and we get 0.0884 (you might call it 0.09 if you wish. Said another way, each square inch of this pizza contains 0.0884-ounces of dough weight. Now, lets say you want to make a 14-inch pizza. How much dough will you need to make the same pizza but only to a larger size? Use Pi X R squared to find the surface area of the new pizza size. Pi = 3.14; R = 7; R squared = 49 so, 3.14 X 49 = 153.86 (call it 154) square inches. Now, multiply the new pizza diameter by the dough density value of 0.09 that we had for the 12-inch pizza and we come up with 154 X 0.09 = 13.86-ounces of dough will be needed to make the same crust that you made as a 12-inch only now as a 14-inch pizza. You can easily do this for any size pizza. You can also use this method for calculating the sauce and cheese weights too. In this application you will need to replace the dough weight with the sauce or cheese weight to arrive at a sauce density or cheese density value.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Pete-zza

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2013, 05:42:56 PM »
The subject of thickness factors and dough loading factors has come up many times over the years. Along the way, I decided to settle on "thickness factor" instead of "dough loading factor" since we have many members whose eyes glaze over at anything that sounds technical and I didn't want them to shy away and tune out from using the concept.  Thickness factor just sounded more user friendly. When Mike (Boy Hits Car) and I designed the various dough calculating tools at http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_tools.html, we opted for thickness factor for the same reason. However, that didn't eliminate the need to explain to members from time to time how to do the actual calculations, much as Paul (parallei) did earlier in this thread.

It also didn't help that when PMQ went digital, a lot of the articles and Q&As on the dough loading factor, and many other articles as well, went dark and, to the best of my knowledge, can no longer be found at the PMQ website. However, through the use of the Wayback Machine, one of my all time favorite websites, I was able to find many of Tom's old PMQ writings, including the one on dough loading factor, at http://web.archive.org/web/20110820052532/http://pmq.com/mag/2004november_december/lehmann.php. So, thanks to the Wayback Machine, Tom's writings live on despite what PMQ has done to deep six them.

Peter

JHutchins

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2013, 11:12:50 PM »
OK. I just didn't see it specified anywhere.

I see how it can be useful, in combination with the Lehmann Pizza Dough Calculator, when changing the size of your pizza and how it will let you determine the amount of dough you will need. But I also see a major limitation since the actual thickness (and density) can very quite a bit depending on how you stretch the dough and how big or small the cornicione is as has been mentioned.

I usually work with dough weight instead of thickness factor, but I have calculated thickness factors to get an idea of how my pizzas might compare to others in the forum.

JHutchins

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2013, 11:18:13 PM »
Peter, I was able to find that PMQ article here:
http://www.pmq.com/November-December-2004/In-Lehmanns-Terms/

Pete-zza

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Re: I Have Questions about "Thickness Factor"
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2013, 08:18:04 AM »
Peter, I was able to find that PMQ article here:
http://www.pmq.com/November-December-2004/In-Lehmanns-Terms/
JHutchins,

Thank you for finding that link. The original link was http://www.pmq.com/mag/2004november_december/lehmann.php so it looks like PMQ changed the URL to incorporate the In Lehmanns Terms wording. There is a In Lehmann's Terms section at the PMQ website at http://www.pmq.com/Food-Ingredients/ but if you click on the ARCHIVE link, you will not see anything before December 2012. That is about the time that PMQ went digital. So I assume that you found the link you referenced through a search. PMQ is notorious for changing things without preserving the items changed. They have done this twice with the PMQ Think Tank software. The most recent PMQTT software change rendered hundreds of PMQTT links on this forum, and at the PMQTT, inoperable. I requested that PMQ provide a way of accessing the old links and only received an apology. However, at my request, Steve, the owner and Administrator of this forum, found a way of saving the old links, using a global change. So now the old PM links work on our forum but not at the PMQTT. Unfortunately, some very good information on the original PMQTT are still dead, and were never archived at the Wayback Machine.

You are correct that the thickness factors work well with the dough calculating tools, including the Lehmann dough calculating tool. Tying thickness factors with baker's percents in the tools was intentional. This is discussed at Reply 918 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg130858/topicseen.html#msg130858. That post, and also the one at Reply 60 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3477.msg156992/topicseen.html#msg156992, discuss some of the inherent shortcomings of the thickness factor. That is one of the reasons why I created the post at Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12243.msg115759/topicseen.html#msg115759.

BTW, there are a few errors in Tom's article. I mention them in Reply 6 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13843.msg139046/topicseen.html#msg139046. Errors in PMQ articles are quite common but are almost never corrected. People have been asking for years about the sugar in Tom's NY style dough recipe at the PMQ Recipe Bank at http://www.pmq.com/Recipe-Bank/index.php/name/New-York-Style-Pizza/record/57724/ where sugar is discussed in the instructions but is not listed as an ingredient.

Peter