While I was shopping recently in a local Kroger’s, I stumbled across packages of the Jiffy pizza crust mix, at $0.39 a package. I was happy with the discovery of this product since I have long wanted to experiment with such a product but was unable to locate it in the stores near where I live (just outside of Dallas). What intrigued me most about the Jiffy Mix product on this occasion was the idea of making a cold fermented version of the Jiffy mix dough, just as I believe member pizzoid (Al) did recently with a Chef Boyardee brand of pizza crust mix.
When I studied the information on the package, I saw the following ingredients:
Wheat flour, animal shortening (lard & partially hydrogenated lard), yeast, contains less than 2% of each of the following: salt, whey, dextrose, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate), etc. (the rest of the ingredients included a preservative and the standard vitamin supplementation, which I have omitted).
What I couldn’t tell from the ingredient listing was the precise sequence of ingredients by weight. I didn’t see sugar specifically mentioned although I did see the dextrose, which is a glucose form of sugar that is less sweet than ordinary table sugar (sucrose). I also noticed that the leavening is similar to a chemical leavening system called WRISE, which is used in certain frozen pizza doughs and take-and-bake dough formulations. I recognized the whey as a mechanism for getting better crust browning without the lactose in whey being used by the yeast as food. I also wondered whether the yeast would propagate in the short dough preparation period (a matter of minutes), even using hot water, as called for in the instructions. It occurred to me that the yeast may have been added more for flavor than for its leavening function, and maybe in large amounts.
After looking at the nutrition information on the package, including total fat and protein per serving, I concluded that the flour was perhaps a low-protein flour, possibly along the lines of a cake or pastry flour, or possibly an inexpensive industrial flour with a protein level of around 9%, and that there was perhaps a high fat content in the mix. The instructions said to use ½ cup water, and after subtracting estimated weights of the other ingredients in the mix, I estimated that the hydration was above 65%. Depending on whether one wanted to make a 12” pizza or a 14” pizza, as noted in the instructions, I calculated a thickness factor of about 0.09 and 0.07, respectively. In the course of going through the above analysis, I checked the nutritiondata.com website only to discover that there was nothing on the Jiffy pizza mix.
I decided that I wanted to make a 14” pizza. So, I calculated roughly what I would need to add to the mix in terms of water and flour to get to the dough weight corresponding to the 14” size. I decided not to add any other ingredients, like yeast or sugar, on the assumption that those ingredients were perhaps in ample quantities to survive a day of cold fermentation. Also, I had decided to use cold water right out of the refrigerator, rather than “hot” water as mentioned on the package.
To prepare the dough, I started by trying to sift the Jiffy mix ingredients. I quickly discovered that the fat in the mix, which was in the form of fairly large “pills”, would not go through my sieve. So, I quickly discarded the notion of sifting at that point and proceeded to make the dough in my KitchenAid mixer in my usual fashion. As I did this, I found the hydration to be on the high side, necessitating the addition of more flour until the dough was in a form that I could handle. Once done, the dough was lightly coated with oil and placed into a plastic container and into the refrigerator. The finished dough weight was almost 19 ounces, and the finished dough temperature was 64.5 degrees F.
The dough remained fairly dormant for a good part of the day but overnight the dough expanded by about 50%. I couldn’t tell whether the expansion was the result of the yeast or the chemical leavening, or both. But the dough looked quite normal, albeit on the soft side. After about 24 hours, I removed the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up for about 2 hours. When time came to shape the dough, which I intended to put on a pizza screen, I saw that the dough was far too soft and too wet to shape and put on a screen. So, I decided to use a 14” dark anodized cutter pan. I oiled the pan liberally with oil, and shaped and stretched and pressed the dough to fill the pan right up to the edge.
I dressed the pizza with November’s pizza sauce, whole-milk mozzarella cheese, and the Kroger’s brand of pepperoni (which I thought, BTW, was very good). The pizza was baked in the cutter pan directly on a pizza stone (on the lowest oven rack position) that I had preheated for about an hour at about 500-550 degrees F. After about 5-6 minutes on the stone, I shifted the pizza out of the cutter pan directly onto the pizza stone for about another minute or two, to get better bottom crust browning, following which I moved the pizza to the upper rack position to finish baking, about another minute or two.
The finished pizza is shown in the photos below. The pizza actually turned out better than I thought but I wouldn't describe the crust as being a normal yeasted pizza crust. It was more like a biscuit crust with the usual flavors and textures that are part of a biscuit crust. The crust was perhaps something between a yeasted crust and a biscuit crust. I did detect a lot of sweetness on the palate, which leads me to believe that there is a lot of dextrose in the Jiffy pizza mix. A small amount of sugar may have been extracted from the flour by amylase enzyme performance over the course of about 24 hours, but I suspect it would have been quite small for the type of flour I think may be used in the mix.
As can be seen from the above description, I used a combination of research and personal knowledge of ingredients, dough formulations, and pizza making, estimates, educated guesses, and assumptions. To carry the exercise to the next stage, I will have to either get better information on the Jiffy mix and its ingredients or else I will have to do some trial-and-error to get what I am really after—in my case, a pizza dough that is more like a normal pizza dough that can be cold fermented and without having to completely reconstruct the Jiffy mix formulation by adding a bunch more ingredients. I want only to add more flour and, if needed, water (and possibly a pinch of yeast). Otherwise, I can make my regular dough almost as easily (but not as quickly). Maybe my objectice is unattainable because of what the Jiffy mix is and I am simply asking it to do too much.