Author Topic: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?  (Read 2163 times)

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Offline Bubba83

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My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« on: January 18, 2008, 04:06:34 AM »
Alright, well, I am going to put everything I did in detail so that maybe someone here will be able to tell me what went wrong.

First, I suspended 1/2 tsp of Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast in 1 cup of 105 degree water for 10 minutes.

I mixed 2 and 4/5 cups Stone Buhr Unbleached White Bread Flour with 1 and 1/4 tsp Morton's Iodized Salt, and 1 tsp sugar in a large mixing bowl.

I then put the water and yeast into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stirred with a metal spoon until all the flour had been picked up into the dough. (about 2 mins)

I then put the dough on a wooden block that I had dusted lightly with flour, and kneaded for about 2 more minutes.  At this point, I added a little less than 1 tsp of olive oil and kneaded that into the dough for another 8 minutes or so until the dough felt smooth.  This is the part where I goofed a little.  I rolled the dough into a ball and put a bit of safflower oil aroudn the outside of the ball as it says in the Lehmann's recipe.  Then I remembered that I was supposed to have split the dough into two and create 2 balls before applying the oil.  I split the dough anyway and tried to form balls the best I could, but there were naturally some creases because of the oil making things slick.

I then put each dough ball in its own tupperware container and refridgerated for 2 hours uncovered.  After 2 hours, I set a piece of saran wrap on top of the bowls loosely, so they were partially covered.  I left them overnight for around 18 hours.  The next day I took a dough ball out and left it out for 2.5 hours (still lightly covered by saran wrap) until it had become room temperature of about 65 degrees.  I was a little confused though because the dough balls never expanded from the size they were when I originally put them in the refridgerator.

I stretched the dough gently and pressed it down with my knuckles to begin flattening it and forming it out into a circular skin which was supposed to be 12 inches.  Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble with keeping desired thickness in the middle of the dough (it was getting too thin), while the edges were a bit too thick for an NY style.  Eventually I had to stop at about 9 inches because the middle was getting to the point where it might tear soon.

I applied my hand-crushed tomatos, basil, and salt.  Then I applied my provolone cheese, pepperoni, olives, and mushrooms.  During the time I was constructing the pizza I had been preheating my pizza stone in my oven at 500 degrees for about 30 minutes.  I then put some cornmeal on the stone and set the pizza on it, turned the oven to bake, and about 11 minutes later the pizza was done.  I took it out and let it sit on the stone 4-5 minutes before cutting and enjoying.

It was tasty, but the dough was not even close to right.  It was incredibly hard on the bottom.  Like graham cracker hard.  The color on the bottom was a nice golden brown, so I don't really think it burned.  The dough towards the middle of the pizza was indeed too thin, and very hard and crunchy, as the dough came towards the edges, it became thicker.  The bottom was still as hard near the crust, but the crust on top was much better, but much too thick on the edges for an NY style.

I am thinking about trying it without preheating the stone tomorrow with the other dough ball.  My thoughts are that it might help the dough on the bottom stay a bit softer, but that might not have been the problem at all.  I am also interested about hearing everyone's thoughts on why my dough never expanded in the fridge.

Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.


Offline yaddayaddayadda

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2008, 08:33:35 AM »
I'm sure others will be better able to analyze your recipe, but to me 11 mins at 500 degrees seems like an awful long time.  I don't cook my pizzas for about 7 mins.  That could be part of the hardness of the bottom. I'll defer the rest to the experts :)

Offline Bubba83

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2008, 05:58:15 PM »
At 7 minutes the crust on top looked too doughy, which is why I left it in longer.

Of course, this could be because the dough was so misproportioned.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2008, 06:00:49 PM by Bubba83 »

Offline TarHeelPizza

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2008, 06:44:13 PM »
At 7 minutes the crust on top looked too doughy, which is why I left it in longer.

Of course, this could be because the dough was so misproportioned.

Bubba,
I'm still a newbie at pizza baking.  However, I know that you MUST preheat the stone.  Don't waste a dough ball on a cold pizza stone.  I'll leave to the experts here to direct your other efforts.

Offline Bubba83

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2008, 06:54:52 PM »
The other problem I am having is that the all in one stone I have from Pampered Chef says int he manual not to ever put the stone in the oven without something on it.  It got really dark brown and was smoking when I put the pizza on it.  I am not sure what it is made out of but I am pretty sure it was not intended to be preheated.  I should probably look into getting some other kind of stone soon.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2008, 11:11:33 PM »
Bubba83,

I have a few thoughts and suggestions.

From your writeup, it sounds like the dough balls may not have been completely covered during the cold fermentation and, as a result, may have formed a thin crust on the surface. Lehmann doughs do not rise very much during fermentation but if a crust was formed on the surface of the dough balls, that may have impeded the rise in the dough. I suggest using a lid on the storage containers or, if you want to use plastic wrap, secure it tightly to the storage container with a rubber band.

If all of the water you used was at 105 degrees F, there should have been a noticeable rise in the dough balls. However, as noted above, if there was a crust on the dough balls, then that could have prevented the dough balls from rising in the normal fashion. BTW, if using ADY, you need not use all of the water at 105 degrees F. You should only use a small amount of water at 105 degrees F, say, 1/4 c., and leave the rest of the formula water cool. The rehydrated ADY can then be added to the remaining formula water. This is the practice I follow, and recommend, when using ADY.

If you plan to use cornmeal, either as a release agent, or for added crust flavor, or both, you should use the cornmeal on your makeup board or peel rather than putting it on the hot stone, where it might burn before you deposit the pizza onto it, resulting in a bitter taste. I would also preheat the stone for an hour.

The rest of your problems in preparing the dough to make the pizzas appear to be related to inexperience. My practice is to flatten the dough with my fingers, starting at the middle and working outwardly toward the perimeter, without overworking the center of the dough. Once the "skin" is of a size where I can lift and stretch  it--using my knuckles--I turn it and stretch it outwardly to its final size. I avoid the middle as much as possible so that it doesn't become too thin. If a crust was formed on your dough balls, that might have prevented you from properly shaping and stretching the dough balls out to the desired final size. If the dough skins had been of the correct size, then you should have been able to bake the pizzas in about 7 minutes. In your case, with an initial 11 minutes of baking, followed by another 4-5 minutes of rest on the stone, the natural result would be a hard crust. That is because a long bake time dries out the dough.

You should also be sure not to rework, or re-ball, or reshape the dough balls when you are ready to use them to make pizzas. That will only make the dough too elastic to work with. You didn't indicate whether you did this, but if you did, that could have contributed significantly to the handling problems you mentioned.

Peter




Offline Bubba83

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2008, 04:13:11 AM »
Thank you for the indepth response Pete-zza, I did not rework the dough at all when I went to create the skins, because I read another thread where you told another person that may have been their downfall.  I think my yeast probably didn't activate well, and I am probably going to try IDY from here on out...  I will attempt to use some sugar and 1/4 cup water to foam the yeast the next batch of dough I make, and I will cover it better.  I will also get a new stone and cook it for less time after trying to distribute the dough better...  Once I take it out of the oven I will take it off the stone to let it rest on something not as hot.  I will take pictures again and all and hope for the best on my 2nd attempt!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2008, 09:50:45 AM »
Bubba83,

Unless your ADY was not properly maintained or it was very old, it should work. But if you decide to use IDY, there is no need to rehydrate it in water. You can add it directly to the flour. In your case, unless your kitchen is really on the cold side, I think about 1/2 t. IDY should work with your amount of flour, in which case you can also use slightly warmer water.

In addition to the points raised in my last reply, you might also try adding the dry ingredients to the water instead of the other way around. The way I usually do it is to start by dissolving the salt in the water (and also the sugar if used) and then add the flour and IDY gradually while mixing, and finally the oil.

I am puzzled that your stone is not intended to be preheated to bake something on it. But if that is, in fact, the case, you will want to get the right stone.

Peter

Offline Anis

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2008, 10:12:17 AM »
Should you have let the dough balls rest for 20-30 mins in room temp before retarding it in the refrigerator?  I had the same problem once.  But it was with bread dough. 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2008, 10:46:31 AM »
Anis,

There would have been no harm in doing what you suggested. As a practical matter, letting the dough balls "proof" for about 20 minutes (or even a bit longer) is what happens when pizza operators divide dough in bulk coming out of the mixer into individual dough balls. By the time the last dough ball is done (and weighed), the early dough balls have been sitting at room temperature for the entire time until the last one is done. I usually don't let the Lehmann dough balls proof before putting them into the refrigerator. A typical refrigerator runs several degrees warmer than a commercial cooler, so I view that differential as compensating for the omitted proofing of the dough balls. Also, I want to get the longest fermentation window I can get, so I get the dough balls into the refrigerator as soon as possible. But using or not using a short proof of 20-30 minutes should not be the difference between success and failure.

Peter


Offline Anis

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Re: My First Pizza Attempt - Lehmann's Style - Any Advice?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2008, 11:03:08 AM »
Peter,

Thanks.  I'm still not sure why on some occasions the dough does not rise at all.  My pizza dough is OK.  Working on my bread skills and encounter this problem from time to time.  Still narrowing on what is really the cause.  ;D

Anis