My neighbor opined that the taste of corporate Shakey's crust reminded him of Stella D'oro bread sticks. So, I bought their Sesame variety. Beside the enriched flour and sesame seeds, the only ingredients listed are soybean oil, corn and malt syrup, salt and yeast. No water. So, I went for broke. I replaced our one pound of flour starting point with 13 ounces of flour and 3 ounces of malt powder packed by SeoulTrading USA Company of Englewood, NJ. It has the grind of flour. After refrigerating the dough for 20 hours, the dough would tear very easily. It baked up without an aroma, and the texture was kind of gritty. The malt powder really changed the nature of the crust, but in the wrong direction from Shakey's. So, I agree with DNA Dan in the post above and Mad Ernie's post here:http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1911.msg175974.html#msg175974
that additives figure into the equation.
The thought has crossed my mind that they add something to Shakey's dough mix that does nothing but stink up the restaurant and parking lot to entice customers. But I don't have a background in chemistry to be able to figure this out. Here is the 2012 Subway ingredients list:http://www.subway.com/Nutrition/Files/usProdIngredients.pdf
Breads are listed at the beginning of the document. While some of the chemical additives are probably necessary when using frozen dough, something in those lists is also stinking up the neighborhood. Yet, the list of chemicals is no longer than found on packaged supermarket breads.
Calcium Sulfate and Ammonium Sulfate are listed on both the Shakey's bag and the cartons for Subway's Italian (White) Bread. DNA Dan believes yeast activity decreases in super-low hydration doughs. Could this be the reason for the chemical yeast nutrients in Shakey's recipe?
I think a lot of the additives being discussed here were around for many years and could even have been included in the dough additive that folks working at Shakey's like Lightmeter added to the flour and other ingredients back in the 60's and 70's.
On the Round Table thread, DNA Dan posted a link to a Pendleton Flour technical booklet. Enhancing the picture for their bag of Mondako thin crust pizza mix, I was able to copy the ingredients list. It is:
Unbleached Wheat Flour (Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
If all of this is true and chains like Shakey's and Mellow Mushroom are using industrial food ingredient products, this presents another hurdle - how to buy them. It is hard enough to get foodservice suppliers to sell to you in many parts of the country. I don't know for how long people can ask for samples from ingredients suppliers before they catch on.