Author Topic: Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza  (Read 6367 times)

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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2006, 11:39:01 AM »
scpizza,


I am pretty certain that Marco meant that you should start with commercial yeast until you figured things out.

Peter

Indeed.....


Offline scott r

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2006, 12:22:49 PM »
scpizza, that is a beautiful crumb structure.  You were able to achieve that much faster than I was.  You are definitely doing something right! 

Was this pizza cooked with your crazy stove top oven idea?

Offline scpizza

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2006, 07:21:23 PM »
Thanks Scott.  I feel like a blind man looking for a black cat in a dark room, but with the kind suggestions of everyone here and enough trial and error, eventually I'll get that cat.  Once I do, I intend to write up a summary of everything I've learned to share with others chasing their own cats.

Unfortunately this pizza was not cooked with my crazy stove top oven idea because I still can't find the beast nor convince anyone to make one for me, but I continue to look.  It's a good idea.  Instead, this was a conventional oven that I cajoled into getting a little hotter than usual.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2006, 07:46:03 PM »
scpizza,

Can you tell us in a bit more detail how you cajoled your oven to get more heat? I know that in some ovens there is an adjustment that can get maybe another 25-50 degrees F above about 500 degrees F, but not to 700 degrees F.

Peter

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2006, 09:08:54 PM »
Impressive progress! You are probably already doing this and this is probably intuitively obvious, but you would be well-served to change only one parameter at a time.

Except for your oven temp, we have pretty similar ingredients and equipment. I use 10% starter as a percent of total weight and a 64% hydration including starter. My dough doubles at room temp after about 8 hours and then it goes into the fridge for a day. I've tried using less starter and longer fermentation and, for my tastes, the result is just not as good.

You may want to try NOT dumping everything at once into the Santos. Also, a final 20-minute riposo makes a big difference in the final texture.

Keep us informed of your efforts!

Bill/SFNM

Offline scpizza

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2006, 09:00:32 PM »
Progress update:

I've been running more experiments.  Had some suprising failures.  For example did one batch with 76% hydration and an 18 hour rise @ 70 degrees which should have been killer...yet crust was awful.  Dense with a few huge bubbles.  Go figure.

I had a very good batch today (picture below) and attribute it to a few changes in technique I'd like to share with the group.

I took a few hours to carefully read the summarized works of our learned brethren on the other side of the kitchen making sourdough.  About 75% of the sourdough faq is directly applicable to our work with pizza.  This should be required reading for anyone using starters with pizza:  http://www.faqs.org/faqs/food/sourdough/faq/  (note, this page also gave me an ah-ha on the effects of hydration: http://www.artisanbakers.com/crumb.html)

I made two key changes to this latest batch:

1) Added yeast only after autolyse, and added salt only at very end of kneading.  The sourdough faq says that salt messes up the gluten structure, so adding it early can cause probelms.  And of course the acidity from the starter may interfere with the autolyse process.

2) Took from starter at peak of yeast activity.  Up until now I had been using starter without regard for the time since the last feeding.  It could have been 2 hours, could have been 36 hours.  Turns out by 36 hours most of your starter is dead and the bacteria concentration is abnormally higher than yeast.  The time to take it is just before its peak, which can vary by starter culture but is probably sometime between 4-12 hours since the last feeding.  You can time it fairly exactly if you use a 50% water, 50% flour by weight refresh mix, then observe the yeast activity via bubbles and height in the jar.

For this batch I did a 67% hydration dough, 21 hour rise @ 75 degrees.  The dough felt just right.  It was a coherent, jiggly, stretchable pillow of air.  It stuck to things, but then un-adhered by slowly stretching then detaching by glutenous strands.   I didn't overhandle it, but it was not averse to handling and did not disintegrate.  It almost stretched itself out when lifted.  I confess it was about 80%-90% of initial volume and could not have taken much more rise time before overblowing.

It turned out fantastic.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2006, 09:06:05 PM by scpizza »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2006, 09:11:35 PM »
and added salt only at very end of kneading.  The sourdough faq says that salt messes up the gluten structure, so adding it early can cause problems. 

Turns out this week I have been experimenting with exactly this point - when to add the salt. I have done two batches so far: one with dissolving the salt in the water at the very start of the mixing and one with the salted mixed in near the end of kneading. I want to do a few more tests, but so far, I haven't been able to detect any difference. I see no indication of anything blocking the formation of gluten.

Bill/SFNM

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2006, 09:48:06 PM »
scpizza,

I think there is such a thing as too high a hydration. I liken it to a sponge saturated with water. To get that type of structure to rise would take a lot of leavening power. I'm not sure that can be done easily in a highly hydrated dough with a preferment, even a virile one. By analogy, a properly made ciabatta bread with its high hydration will usually be quite flat. In fact, the Italian word "ciabatta" translates into "slipper".

The autolyse you used is the classic one as devised by Professor Raymond Calvel in the 70s. Much has been written on this forum about autolyse (the term is even in the Pizza Glossary), but one of my favorite threads on the subject is this one: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2632.msg22758.html#msg22758. You should particularly note cocoabean's post at Reply 9. BTW, in Italy, a rest period called a riposo is sometimes used with doughs. Apparently it can be used like an autolyse or at the end of a knead.

I have read both of the references you cited, and agree that they are good sources of information on starters. However, there is so much contradictory information on preferments on the internet I don't know what is fact and what is fiction. This is an area rife with opinion and anecdotal evidence.

Peter

Offline scpizza

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2006, 08:37:45 PM »
I made an interesting discovery.  It turns out one should never attempt to reshape a dough ball after it has risen - for neither high temp nor low temp ovens.  For low temp, you'll destroy the rise (see my prior post - and independent confirmation from scott r comments).  For high temp, you'll destroy the stretchability of the dough!

I put too many doughballs in a bin and had to separate them and extract them as separate gobs as they had risen into each other.  As I removed each one, I dutifully reshaped it back into a pretty ball.   However when I went to flatten the ball into a skin, I encountered a most curious problem - excessive elasticity.  I couldn't stretch my dough out!  The dough was like Stretch Armstrong, it would just keep coming back into a ball.   Only after 5 minutes of forceful stretching and holding would the dough begin to flatten, but even then would want to clump into thick spots and tear in thin spots.

This was with proper yeast, rise, temp, kneading, etc. and producing beautiful crust --- just way too thick.

On a lark I took one of the blobs and did not reshape it, but just pulled it straight out into a skin and viola - it stretched beautifully and evenly.

I speculate this phenomenon has something to do with how the gluten strands are chemically altered and cross linked during the rise while in certain orientation.  If you scramble that alignment after this process, the resulting dough can't be stretched properly.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2006, 09:17:35 PM »
scpizza,

You learned a lesson that all of us have learned at some point in our pizza making careers. Tom Lehmann describes the dough tightening phenomenon as follows:

When you knock down the dough balls and re-round them you are really toughening the gluten...and it can then take several more hours before you can shape the dough ball into a pizza skin. This is the nature of wheat based doughs, the gluten just doesn't like to be stretched, and formed back into a ball. It gets tough and very difficult to manage. We call this "bucky".

Peter

Offline scpizza

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Re: Problems with Neapolitan-Style Pizza
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2006, 11:36:20 AM »
If a shaped ball needs time for the gluten to adjust to its new arrangement, then does the technique used to shape a ball matter?

I use this technique, which is a sort of rolling on the side while pressing in with the thumbs in the middle.  It seems to cycle the dough up in through the center and out down the sides into a toroidal shape.  I envision this aligning the gluten strands in a radially symmetrical form that would make for even stretching when forming the skin.  But this is speculation.  Any thoughts on ball shaping techniques and what works well?




 

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