Author Topic: Gummy Layer  (Read 6598 times)

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Offline BillPizza160

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Gummy Layer
« on: February 11, 2006, 02:17:10 PM »
I have run a pizza place for about seven months now, but have always been plagued with the problem of a fine gummy layer just under the sauce.  Customers will come back claiming the pizza is not cooked or "doughy".  I have read the Pizza Encyclopedia on this issue and made sure the pizza is cooking properly so that points to the dough.  We have tried different methods to make it but it always turns out the same.  I don't have a dough proofer, its that the problem.

This is getting frustrating and I scared we are going to lose customers over this issue.  They are being patient because we do make a good product, but there is greater potential for us if we could solve this problem.

We use a 18' Impinger conveyor, instant yeast, keep our water temperature measured at 105.  Very confused and getting frustrated.  We use High Gluten Pizza Flour, olive oil, salt, and sugar.  Any help to get rid of this snot (as I've learned its called) would be appreciated.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2006, 05:58:25 PM »
BillPizza160,

If you have read John Corrells's Encyclopizza, then you are perhaps aware that there is a difference between a "gummy" dough and an "uncooked" dough. In fact, John addressed this distinction recently at http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi/noframes/read/26857.

If you'd care to tell us in detail how you make and manage your dough, that might help zero in on the source of the problem. Just looking at the ingredients, there doesn't appear to be anything out of order there. So, that suggests your dough management or a temperature/time issue involving your conveyor oven. I'm assuming also that you aren't pre-saucing your skins too far in advance of using them and that your sauce isn't too watery and migrating into the dough and creating what Tom Lehmann always refers to as the "dreaded gum line".

Peter

Offline BillPizza160

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2006, 06:09:29 PM »
thanks for the quick reply.  I did read the difference between gummy and uncooked and I really think that its a raising issue.  We just don't know how long to let it raise.  We use a 22lb of flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup salt, 3/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 of shortening, 1/8 of dry yeast.

We take the dough out of the mixer, knead it some by hand and then let it raise for about 90 minutes.  We then weight it into balls and wrap it in plastic film and let it raise for another 60 to 90 minutes.  We then stretch it (sheet it) and place it in the fridge usually for overnight.

We don't sauce them until they are ordered and our sauce is known for its thickness.  Reading everything I just feel its the raise time.  But it doesn't seem to help if we leave it longer.  If we leave it in balls to long it breaks out and smells yeasty.  Any help would be greatly appreciated I really desire a consistent product.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2006, 08:50:46 PM »
BillPizza160,

I would like to take a closer look at your formulation, but in the meantime can you tell me how much water you are using and also what style pizza you are making and what the dough weights are for the different sizes of pizzas you make? Also, are you using screens or disks? And how long are you allowing the skins to warm up before using? Lastly, what kind/brand of cheese are you using? I once read of a case where a pizza operator was having problems similar to yours and the center of the crust didn't bake fully. It turned out that the operator was using a high-moisture, low-fat cheese to save money and the impingement oven couldn't penetrate the cheese.

You might also find the following advice of Tom Lehmann (of the American Institute of Baking) useful as far as pre-sheeting skins is concerned, even though he personally is not a fan of pre-sheeting skins:

This is what I like to do when I need to pre-form the skins. Shape the skins and put them on flat trays in the cooler to chill for 20 to 30 minutes (you can do this in the morning). As the skins cool, stack them on a tray with a light application of oil and a sheet of parchment paper between each crust. Don't stack more than 10 skins high. Cover each stack with plastic to prevent drying. In preparation for a rush, begin traying up some of the refrigerated skins and put them on a covered tree rack near the prep area. This will allow the skins to warm for 10 or 15 minutes before you use them. Every chance you get, tray up more skins from the cooler to replace the ones you've used. By doing this the dough will have a chance to warm up a bit, you don't need to make any adjustments to your baking conditions with a conveyor oven, and bubbling will be minimized (I'd still dock the crusts though just to be safe).

Peter
« Last Edit: February 11, 2006, 10:20:30 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Hi Gluten

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2006, 12:35:55 AM »
Hi BillPizza160,

I read over your posts and it's my impression that you may have to go through a process of elimination to find the cause.

Even though you have mentioned that your sauce is thick, you may want to brush some oil on a skin before you sauce it. I only mention this because I have seen "thick" sauces release too much water and create a thicker gum line. The oil will act as a barrier and you will know if it is the offending culprit.

If that doesn't do it, try baking it longer with a lower temperature. This can help dissapate moisture. Depending also if you are using pans,screens or perforated disks. Also, do you get a lot of big bubbles when baking?

Another parameter you haven't mentioned is the amount of water (hydration) used in the recipe. Too much will can cause problems. Do your pizzas get soggy after being in a box for 10-15 minutes? Is your recipe based on a known commercial recipe?

I don't think a dough proofer is a problem. All of the pizza joints in my area basically take the dough out of the mixer, weigh, ball it and then get it straight into the cooler. Have you read up on standard dough mixing and management procedures? You may want to check out Pizza Today and Pizza Marketing Quarterly's websites.

Peter brings up a very good point concerning cheese. A low moisture cheese may be the solution.

I'm sure that you will find the problem and be able to correct it. It is only a matter of separating the componets into smaller parts and examining each part.

'Just a few thoughts...

Good Luck & Best Wishes!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2006, 08:23:19 AM »
BillPizza160,

If my math is correct, and pending response on the amount of water used, this is what I get for baker's percents for your formulation:

100%, Pizza flour, 352 oz. (22 x 16)
   ?    , Water
0.64%, Sugar, 2.25 oz. (1/3 c.)
0.67%, Salt, 2.37 oz. (1/4 c.)
1.68%, Oil, 5.93 oz. (3/4 c.)
0.48%, Shortening, 1.69 oz. (1/4 c.) Note: Weight assumes using Crisco
0.18%, Instant dry yeast, 0.64 oz. (1/8 c.)
Note: Total fat = 2.16%
Total dough ball weight = ?
Thickness factor = ?

The only things that jump out at me at this point are the amount of salt and the amount of yeast. They are both on the low side. But until we know what kind of pizza you are making (and the amount of water being used), it is a bit premature to comment further. I'm also not sure why you are using both oil and shortening, but if you are satisfied with their use I am hesitant to tell you to change it. However, you might test using either all oil or all shortening to see if you can detect a difference. Once we get all of the baker's percents I may be able to help you with a formulation for a small number of doughs to play around with using a home mixer.

Hi Gluten raises several good points. The procedure I like to use to diagnose problems is to 1) know what type of pizza is being made, 2) examine the formulation to see if it is appropriate for the style of pizza intended (especially in terms of quantities and relationships of ingredients used), 3) examine in detail the procedure for making and managing the dough, particularly the sequencing/staging of the ingredients, 4) understand how the dough is made into skins, stored and dressed, and 5) understand what equipment is to be used to bake the pizza, including use of pans, screens or disks, bake times and temperatures. To produce a consistent, reproducible dough, it has to pass all of the above "tests". That's where the process of elimination that Hi Gluten talks about comes into play.

In addition to the earlier questions, can you tell us what specific brand of pizza flour you are using?

Peter

« Last Edit: February 12, 2006, 08:41:31 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Hi Gluten

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2006, 03:23:01 PM »
I'm going to leave the math to Peter, since he has spreadsheet for the calculations. I would have to do it by hand. But if necessary, I will covert it to metric, do the necessary calculations and reconvert it back to lbs. and ozs.

I too would be willing to make small batches and follow your methods. I have All Trumps, KASL, Caputo 00 pizzeria and some commercial bread flour here. I also have KA Vital Wheat Gluten as well. For mixing I can use a Kitchenaid, DLX and a food processor (to simulate a VCM).  Finally, I have a small commercial pizza oven (can accommodate a 16" pizza) and a bunch of smallwares, such as pans, screens,disks, dockers, etc.,etc.

H.G.

Offline BillPizza160

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2006, 10:02:04 AM »
We are using a brand of cheese called Ricolli, low moisture, its pretty high end up here and our customers seem to really enjoy it.  We use standard traditional pans.  We tried a new method today for mixing the dough by putting water in first and using the mixer at a higher speed which made it come together faster.  We also proofed the yeast which is new for us.  We used a bit more yeast as well.

Is the holding ok?  Letting it raise weighing it in balls, raising again and then stretching and into the fridge.  Does that seem fine?  Our weights are: 16' = 750 grams, 12' = 450 grams, 9' = 225 grams.  I don't think you could class our pizza as any specific, we just have a traditional style crust, not to thick, not to thin.

We don't often get large air bubbles, but it does happen sometimes.  I really appreciate your help guys.  Its great feedback.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2006, 10:21:20 AM »
Bill,

How much water are you using and what is the brand of pizza flour?

Peter

Offline BillPizza160

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2006, 10:31:30 AM »
We use Dover Flour - Canadian Brand.....

For water we generally use about 4.5 Litres.

The dough we made this morning is now just sitting there and doesn't seem to be rising, but its cold in the shop this morning.  ERRRRR - getting frustrated.


Offline Aaron

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2006, 11:19:06 AM »
That Dover flour is bagged half an hour from my house,I have driven by but never stopped in,I will have to check and see if they do retail.
Aaron

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2006, 11:48:07 AM »
Bill,

If you are using 4.5 liters of water (4500 milliliters, or 4500 grams) for 22 pounds (9979.20 g.) of flour, then your hydration works out to 45.1%. I have calculated the thickness factors for your three pizza sizes and they work out to 0.132 for the 16", 0.14 for the 12" and 0.125 for the 9". In the U.S., these numbers would suggest medium to thick crusts. The hydration (45.1%) strikes me as being on the low side for the crust thicknesses you seem to be using. I assume that the crust is on the softer side rather than cracker like, because of the gumminess problem you have described. Is that correct?

The updated baker's percents look like this:

100%, Pizza flour, 352 oz. (22 x 16), (9979.20 g.)
45.1%, Water, 4.5 liters, 158.73 oz. (4500 g.)
0.64%, Sugar, 2.25 oz. (1/3 c.), (63.79 g.)
0.67%, Salt, 2.37 oz. (1/4 c.), (67.19 g.)
1.68%, Oil, 5.93 oz. (3/4 c.), (168.12 g.)
0.48%, Shortening, 1.69 oz. (1/4 c.), (47.91 g.) Note: Weight assumes using Crisco
0.18%, Instant dry yeast, 0.64 oz. (1/8 c.), (18.14 g.)
Note: Total fat = 2.16%
Total dough ball weight = 523.61 oz. (14,844.34 g.)
Thickness factor = 0.132 (16"), 0.14 (12"), and 0.125 (9")

I might add that the reason most people who do not like to sheet doughs in advance is because the doughs can be a bit "bucky" (overly elastic) to shape and sheet in advance of fermenting the doughs in the cooler. Letting the dough balls rise a couple of times before sheeting helps but it may be better to do this after the dough balls have undergone cold fermentation. I'm not familiar with the Dover flour. Do you know the protein content?

The picture I am now getting is that you are making fairly thick/stiff doughs with low hydration and using small amounts of yeast (IDY) and salt, pre-sheeting the doughs into skins before putting them in the cooler (I assume they are covered to protect them from drying out), and using pans to bake the dressed skins once they are taken out of the cooler and allowed to warm up.

If my assessment is correct, I don't know if that is the right combination. I am not a pizza operator, but I think I understand dough behavior pretty well. I would personally give some thought to increasing the salt and yeast levels (at least double the salt), doing the sheeting after the cold fermentation, and possibly experimenting with using screens and/or perforated disks. For the dough prep and management, I would first put the water in the mixer bowl, dissolve the salt and sugar in the water (alternatively, the sugar can be added to the flour), add the IDY to the flour (there is no need to proof the IDY), add the IDY/flour mixture to the water and mix until everything comes together, and add the oil and shortening and mix until the dough is smooth. If you plan to ultimately sheet the dough after cold fermentation, you would scale and divide the dough into individual dough balls, lightly coat them with oil, cross stack them in the cooler for a while, and then down stack them in the cooler. They would be sheeted the next day, with or without docking, as may be your practice, before dressing and baking. I would try using screens and/or disks since I have some doubts about using the pans, which may be preventing your oven from fully baking the crusts.

A couple of other points. I would start using a scale, if you are not already doing so, to weigh at least the flour, and preferably the water also. You might be OK using volumes for the other ingredients since they are not that large. I would also temperature adjust the water to achieve a finished dough temperature of around 80-85 degrees F. That should help achieve consistency from one dough batch to another, and should also allow you to compensate for the cold kitchen you mentioned in your last post.

Peter



Offline BillPizza160

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2006, 12:11:24 PM »
wow... thanks that was great information.  Our dough does come out on the softer side, not cracker like at all.  We just weighed out the balls on the new batch we made using the method of putting the water in first and it feels like a completely different dough, very smooth.  Its going through its second rise right now.

My question about putting it in balls and then putting it in the fridge concerns me.  It seems when we put it in the fridge it comes out very hard to work with.  Should we take it out of the fridge and let it warm up before trying to sheet it?

No idea what the protein count is on the flour but it states its a high protein pizza flour.  We have tried discs and screens, makes not difference at all to be honest.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2006, 12:56:28 PM »
Bill,

If you cold ferment the dough balls before sheeting, the typical recommendation is to allow the dough balls to warm up for about 90 minutes before sheeting. You didn't indicate whether you are docking the skins but, if so, you could use a cooler dough. However, there is still the risk of bubbling in the crust if you do use docking.

Since you seem to have ruled out using screens or disks, you might consider using slightly smaller dough balls. That might make it easier for your conveyor to bake the pizzas throughout without the gummy-like characteristic to the crust. Or you can use a lower oven temperature and bake the pizzas longer. Another possibility is to increase the hydration level of your dough and bake the pizzas at a lower temperature for a longer time. In fact, I am puzzled that you can get away with using only 45%. I would think that that would produce a dense crust with few holes and little airiness and would also be a burden on your mixer to mix the dough to the desired consistency. That is where weighing your ingredients becomes a useful tool to tell you whether you are using the correct quantities.

BTW, I neglected to mention in my last post that the typical cross-stacking time is around 2 hours.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 13, 2006, 12:58:44 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline BillPizza160

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2006, 01:32:34 PM »
We have tried lowering our dough balls by about 50 grams and it didn't seem make much of a difference.  Should we try to go lower then that?  I just got done putting this newest batch on the sheets and it was beautiful, I was able to toss it, which is something we normally can't do because it is so tough.  I'm crossing my fingers and hoping this works.  When we sheet them they go right in the fridge and are there until we use them.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2006, 01:46:32 PM »
Bill,

I think you could go lower with the dough ball weight but you have to be careful how far you go with this because you may change the character of the pizza and how your customers might react to the changes. Have you tried using a longer bake at lower temperatures? Or more water, along with a longer bake at lower temperatures?

If your dough improves from better preparation and you plan to continue sheeting before placing the skins in the cooler, you may want to heed the advice given by Tom Lehmann in Reply #3 above. You might also do a test run sheeting after cold fermentation to see if that improves your dough even further.

Please keep us posted on the results of your latest dough batch.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2006, 06:50:18 PM »
Bill,

As a followup to my last post, I thought you might be interested in the following item prepared by Tom Lehmann today relative to possible cause of a gummy dough problem that a poster at the PMQ.com Think Tank was experiencing. The possible sources Tom Lehmann listed are:

Baking at too high (hot) temperature; Too much sugar in the crust formulation for the type of oven used; Incorrect finger configuration on top of oven (air impingement ovens only). Any of these could result in a baked bottom and a raw, or underbaked top. If we are talking about a gum line under the sauce, that's altogether a different problem that could be caused by any of the following: Sauce too thin (waters out); Insufficiently baked pizza; Dough too cold going into the oven (colder than normal); Pre-saucing of the dough skin (especially bad if the sauce tends to water out); Insufficient dough absorption, water content, resulting in a dense dough with poor bake-out properties; Insufficient yeast to properly leaven the dough. These are all things that might given you a gum line just beneath the sauce.

As you will note, except for the sugar issue (which is not a problem in your case) and the finger configuration possibility, all of the possible causes mentioned by Tom Lehmann were previously raised in the earlier posts.

Peter


Offline lilbuddypizza

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Re: Gummy Layer
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2006, 01:41:03 PM »
Ahhhhh...my favorite subject about my most hated aspect of pizzas. Here's a link to previous discussions:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1612.msg22622.html#msg22622

There's not much you can do, except add the sauce after the top has cooked slightly. Yes, an added step, but better than losing customers.


 

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