Author Topic: It's the water?????  (Read 4629 times)

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Offline scampi

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It's the water?????
« on: August 27, 2005, 10:03:17 PM »
Just curious how many people making their dough use bottled water. Here in California the water is horrible in most areas. In fact, there is a fantastic New York style pizzeria in San Diego called Bronx Pizza that always uses bottled water in their pizza making. The owner says that is the main secret in making New york style pizza and if you add horrible tasting tap water to your recipe..well, it aint gonna taste good.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2005, 10:16:44 PM »
I use bottled water. I recently received a report from my local municipality that said that the city's water was first rate. Even though the pH is in range for use in pizza dough, the taste is terrible. It's potable but I can't bring myself to use it for anything other than cleaning purposes.

There has been a fair amount of discussion on the role of water in making pizza dough at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,853.msg7751.html#msg7751, and elsewhere in other threads on this forum (e.g., http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,64.msg12766.html#msg12766 and
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,291.0.html.)

Peter
« Last Edit: August 27, 2005, 10:44:15 PM by Pete-zza »

piroshok

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2005, 11:56:25 PM »
I 've read that only alkaline water affect the dough and ph nuetral is ok to use but other swear by purified or filtered water is the best to use. Well it will be a matter of trial and error I suppose and which pizzas come out the best all things equal ;D

Offline Chuckleheadfunk

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2005, 12:36:06 PM »
I read in a bronx cookbook that the secret to some of those authur avenue bread shops IS the bronx water...     

Offline Steve

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2005, 02:32:21 PM »
NYC has very clean drinking water. But, with all honesty, I'll have to side with the "myth" factor here. I've read several books which also claim that this is a myth.... even going so far as to bake two pizzas, one made with genuine "NYC" water and the other with tap water, and there was no discernable difference in taste.

Think about it for a minute. You ask a shop owner what's his "secret" and he cleverly says it's the water. So you shrug and walk away knowing that you can't get NYC water back in your hometown. It's an easy way for the shop owner to "blow you off" so to speak.

I remember seeing a TV show once... maybe it was Myth Busters (not sure). They went to an upscale restaurant somewhere and used a garden hose (out back) to fill fancy bottles with tap water. They then had the waiter pass off these garden-hose filled bottles off as ultra premium bottled water from some exotic spring in some part of the world. The patrons eagerly drank this stuff and commented about how good it was. They even tasted different "brands" side-by-side and could clearly taste differences (taste got better as price went up).... even though ALL of the bottles were filled with the same garden hose from the same spigot!!

So, long story short, a LOT of this hoopla over water is self invented (self delusional)... it's called the placebo effect.

Steve
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2005, 07:07:01 PM »
The same myth about water exist in Naples, where people says is the main reasons for good pizza, breads and coffe' . It is true that the water from the Serino acqueduct was exeptional, but that water doesn't reach Naples in purity anymore (it is now mixed with water from other acqueduct). What is more, it only serves the upper side of Naples (where I grow up and where my parents still live).

Having said that, water is of vital importance for pizza/bread making, but it is not ONLY a question of ph. There are more important factors that ph, which most of the time do not get considered. Some bottled water may be infact no good for dough making for the opposite reasons. I cannot use 100% the same process I use in Naples here in London, for example, and I have used a different one in US last year. All because of the different water type (taste may be an indicator, but doesn't reflect always the goodness or not for dough making).

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Offline Steeb

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2005, 11:19:37 PM »
I remember seeing a TV show once... maybe it was Myth Busters (not sure). They went to an upscale restaurant somewhere and used a garden hose (out back) to fill fancy bottles with tap water. They then had the waiter pass off these garden-hose filled bottles off as ultra premium bottled water from some exotic spring in some part of the world. The patrons eagerly drank this stuff and commented about how good it was. They even tasted different "brands" side-by-side and could clearly taste differences (taste got better as price went up).... even though ALL of the bottles were filled with the same garden hose from the same spigot!!

So, long story short, a LOT of this hoopla over water is self invented (self delusional)... it's called the placebo effect.

Steve


Heh... they did that on Penn and Teller's B.S. Great show on Showtime.

Offline Steve

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2005, 07:31:40 AM »
Heh... they did that on Penn and Teller's B.S. Great show on Showtime.

YES!! That's where I saw it! I love Penn and Teller!  8)
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Offline foster444

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2005, 11:40:09 AM »
That's the classic cognitive dissonance experiment.  Make 'em pay through the nose and they'll say they LOVE it!  If it's cheap, they'll honestly say, "This is crap."

Pure cognitive dissonance.

Bob

Offline bigriver

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2005, 04:58:35 PM »
cognitive dissonance

Would this apply to KA Flours as well???


Online Pete-zza

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2005, 06:59:22 PM »
bigriver,

For what KA charges for its Sir Lancelot high-gluten and other flours by mail order, it's a fair question to ask. However, KA has the tightest milling specs in the industry and I like the fact that their flours are not bromated and unbleached, even though I might not be able to tell one flour from another in a blind test. The trick with the KA flours is to find a source, such as a bakery or foodservice distributor, who will sell you a 50-lb. bag for what it costs to have KA send you a 3-lb. bag or two from Vermont. You can throw away about 75-85% of the 50-lb. bag and still come out ahead.

Peter

Offline pam

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2005, 12:36:04 AM »
cognitive dissonance

Would this apply to KA Flours as well???
It may be the case between, say KASL and All Trumps, but there is definitely a qualitative difference between AP, Bead, and High Gluten flours.
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Offline bigriver

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2005, 12:50:39 PM »
It may be the case between, say KASL and All Trumps, but there is definitely a qualitative difference between AP, Bead, and High Gluten flours.

Without question there is a world of difference between AP, Bread, and High Gluten. You made my point for me in regards to KASL and All Trumps.  I wonder, in a blind test what the results would be.  The bottom line of course is, perception is reality.  If you believe that KASL works better for you than than All Trumps/Bouncer or the like, it will.  I would be interested to hear what the industry (Pizza Joints) are using.  Does anyone have any input on their local pizza establishments flour of choice?  I know that Ceresota is king in Chicago, and a lot of pizza places in Minneapolis St. Paul area use Balancer (not sure who makes that)....

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2005, 03:14:12 PM »
I once spoke with a technical person at Bay State Milling, the miller of the Bouncer high-gluten flour and reportedly also a miller for King Arthur. He attributed KA's success to a combination of having first-rate flours but also first-rate marketing. He talked more about their marketing than their flours.

I would guess that the All Trumps high-gluten flour from General Mills is one of the most popular among pizza operators who want high-protein and high gluten. However, many operators, especially those who deliver, are as likely to use lower protein flours, such as a bread flour or a blend. Crusts made from those flours are less likely to turn hard and chewy by the time they reach their destination. Many operators, especially those with great ovens, can even get away with using all-purpose flour and turn out some very decent pizzas. That has been one of the greatest revelations to me.

Unlike fancy bottled waters, it is harder to use flour types for marketing purposes, and this is even truer at the pizza operator level. Instead, pizza operators will proclaim that their doughs and sauces are trade secrets (joking that "if I tell you I will have to kill you") or that the water they use in their doughs is the reason for their great pizzas. Or they build themes (some might call them gimmicks) around their pizza to attract patrons. The truth of the matter is that there aren't as many differences between their doughs as they would like us to believe. The dough formulations are usually fairly standard formulations developed with costs and profits in mind more so than quality. That's one of the reasons why there are only a few artisanal pizza operators around. For them, quality is usually the differentiating factor for marketing purposes, and cognitive dissonance is more likely to be at play there as they try to convince patrons to pay up for what they get--by differentiating what they do (e.g., using imported Italian flours, tomatoes and olive oils, wood-burning ovens in full view of patrons, serving pizzas uncut, etc.) from what the rest of the crowd dishes out. This raises the bar for what they do because the quality has to be there consistently.

Peter
P.S., bigriver, Balancer is a Pillsbury flour.

Offline pam

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2005, 08:29:40 PM »
Without question there is a world of difference between AP, Bread, and High Gluten. You made my point for me in regards to KASL and All Trumps.  I wonder, in a blind test what the results would be.  The bottom line of course is, perception is reality.  If you believe that KASL works better for you than than All Trumps/Bouncer or the like, it will.  I would be interested to hear what the industry (Pizza Joints) are using.  Does anyone have any input on their local pizza establishments flour of choice?  I know that Ceresota is king in Chicago, and a lot of pizza places in Minneapolis St. Paul area use Balancer (not sure who makes that)....
Uh ... hardly. I said there MAY be a difference between KASL and All Trumps: I haven't used KASL, so I don't know either way. What I DO know is this:
there's a pizza shop here in Durham across the street my office that buys their flour based strictly on price: whichever bread flour they can get the best price on from their supplier that week is what they buy. (I guess it's to their credit that they stick with bread flour.) After about a year of wondering why their crust could be so good one week and so crappy the next week, I complained to the ass't manager about the uneven quality, and he told me the story. I started asking what flour they were using at the time whenever I got a pie. By the end of the year, it was clear that one brand in particular was always good (it got to the point where I could say, "You're using ___ this week, aren't you?" and be right), a few brands were consistently good, some were consistently bad, and some were consistently mediocre. These days, I ask what flour they're using before I order and if it's not on my list of "good" flours, I order something else. Haven't gotten a bad pie (from a crust standpoint) since I started asking first.
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Offline scott r

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2005, 12:40:49 AM »
pam, why are you holding out on us?  Which one is the best flour that your pizzeria uses ??
« Last Edit: October 13, 2005, 12:22:15 AM by scott r »

Offline pam

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2005, 02:37:58 PM »
General Mills H&R Bread & Pizza Flour.

Should have mentioned this is an American style pie. I've tried making NY style with it, with and without vital wheat gluten. It's not bad, but, IMO, it's not as good as one made with All Trumps. YMMV.
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Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2005, 06:00:11 PM »
Back to the water for a minute, isn't it true though that certainly in some cases the use of bottled water can be much more beneficial for good, healthy yeast activity than city water?  I also bake whole wheat breads quite often, primarily for health reasons.  I switched to bottled water about a year ago.  If I am being honest, I don't know that the change is always perceptible, I think changes loaf to loaf are as likely to be attributable to other factors as much as the water, but I was sufficiently convinced in reading bread baking sources that I couldn't be making things worse by moving to bottled water, and I could at least remove poor water as a contributing factor if the results were less than fantastic.

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2005, 06:49:06 PM »
youonlylivetwice,

There are several factors to consider when deciding what water to use in making pizza dough. Obviously, the water has to be potable (drinkable), but other factors to consider are pH and mineral content (usually calcium and magnesium). Since these topics have been covered before, you might find it useful to take a look at this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,853.msg7751.html#msg7751. You might also take a look at Replies 17 and 19 starting at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,571.msg5913.html#msg5913.

Most of the attention on water is devoted to pH. But mineral content is also very important. While hard water (one with high mineral content) is considered to be preferable to soft water and will result in a more open cell structure, it is generally believed that water that is too soft tends to result in a soft, sticky, inelastic dough (because of slower fermentation and reduced gluten-tightening effect from the minerals in the water), and water that is too hard will increase fermentation activity and toughen the gluten excessively and make it difficult to handle and manipulate (because the toughening of the gluten retards the fermentation, gas production and, consequently, the rise and volume of the dough).  Tests indicate that the best fermentation rate is produced when the water hardness is 125-150 parts per million.

I recently saw the water report of my municipality (outside of Dallas) and the water looked to pass all tests with flying colors. Yet it is still among the worst tasting water I have ever had. I don't use it for making pizza doughs but I am willing to bet that I couldn't tell in a blind test.

Peter
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 01:19:19 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: It's the water?????
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2005, 09:21:29 AM »
Once again I am probably in over my head; the only real issue I had come across (which was convincing enough to get me to change to bottled, whether the results were perceivable or not) was that the way city water is treated is, by definition, intended to not allow 'things' to grow in the water supply.  For that same reason, it does not make for a beneficial environment for good yeast activity.  That made intuitive sense, and at the relatively low cost of water, was good enough for me.   If I can improve on that by looking into the different types/sources of bottled water, it may be another step in the right direction.
I don't know much of chemistry but the explanation of city water treatment seemed reasonable to me, and since no one had mentioned it yet here I thought I would toss it out.

thanks!


 

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