Author Topic: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?  (Read 6906 times)

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Offline Jackie Tran

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I've been curious about this mystery for some time.  It "seems" that baking at higher temps do produce bigger oven springs but if it does, how does it do this?  Theoretically it should not make a difference since water boils at 212F, so technically any temp above that should produce the same oven spring. 

To solve this mystery, all we would have to do is a simple test.  Take 2 pies from the same batch and bake them at different temps and see.  For this particular test, I decided to use an emergency dough formula and bake in my MBE (mini black egg) oven.  I chose this dough formula and the MBE b/c I've had the best results with it for oven spring and I can easily control the temps in the MBE.

I used a very basic NY dough recipe with just flour, water, ADY, and salt.  No sugar or oil was added.  ADY was at a whopping 1% and the dough was proofed and baked at about 3 hours from start to finish.
These were taken from the same batch and ended up being around 100gm each stretched out to 7".  I purposefully left a thicker rim for easier comparison post bake.

The first pie (red pie) was baked at a temp of 520F.  I normally bake pizza at 700 and get a good crust rise, so I decided on a much lower temp of 520 to see the difference.  At the start of this test, I fully expected a difference in crust rise.  My hypothesis is that a higher oven temp will indeed produce a bigger oven spring if all other factors impacting oven spring remain the same.   

The first pie ended up taking around 4-5mins to bake and the bottem was still pale.  The 2nd pie was loaded at a hearth temp of 700F and baked around 3 min.

The result is that a higher oven temp doesn't improve crust rise (oven spring).  It does cook a pie faster though, if that's what turns you on.  Visually both crust had the same amount of rise to them.  The lower temp bake required more time in the oven and consequently produced a crunchier rim which I much preferred.  The other rim had a slight crunch to it at first and softened up later. 

I didn't care as much that I was wrong in my hypothesis but discovered in the process that baking below 700F is where I really should be baking for crunchier rims.  Without this experiment, I'm not sure how many more soft rimmed pies I would have eaten.   :-D


Offline norma427

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2010, 07:53:58 AM »
Jackie Tran,

Your experiment was very interesting.  I see you got about the same results that I did, when using lower bake temperatures.  I still wonder if different formulas and hydrations come into play when using different temperatures to bake.

Both of your pies look great.  :)

Thanks for doing the experiment,

Norma
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2010, 07:59:57 AM »
Thanks Norma and thanks for doing your tests as well.  It was really your thread that got me curious enough to test this out.  I'm glad I did as I had several other revelations during the process.

I copied my response down from the MBE thread as it is more appropriate here.
You're welcome Norma.  I too have wondered many similar things.  In the process of trying to figure out how to make (great) pizza, my mind starts asking all sorts of questions.  It's fustrating to wonder about so many factors but only be able to test a few at a time, cross off the list, and repeat testing. 

I'm finding out that two of the most important factors to oven spring is the amount of (commercial) yeast used and proofing volume/time of the dough.  I once thought high hydration was also key to oven spring, but your results have put that to rest.  I think in the big picture it does affect oven spring but likely has a much smaller effect after 60%.

With your results and mine, I'm confident in moving forward to producing a really outstanding pie in the home oven soon. 

Cheers,
Chau

Offline sear

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2010, 09:19:00 AM »
Im curious to know, how low can you go ?

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2010, 10:03:25 AM »
Im curious to know, how low can you go ?


 :-D  If that's a serious question, i honestly don't think oven spring is affected any differently at temps above boiling point.  You can bake as low as you'd like and still get the same oven spring (theorectically).

scott123

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2010, 10:09:47 AM »
Chau, I'm going to have to disagree with your conclusion  :P

First of all, if you look at the crumb shots, the higher temp pie appears to have bigger voids. It may just have turned out be the luck of draw of where the pie was sliced, but if these two crumbs are typical, the white pie has a lot more spring. Bigger voids = increased oven spring.

Secondly, the jump from 3 to 4-5 minutes is not really going to be that discernible. If you really want to see the impact you get from increased heat, do a 3 minute pie and an 8 minute one.

Lastly, we've talked before about thicker crusts mitigating spring.  By going thicker, you're producing less overall spring and causing the difference to be less discernible, not more.

You did prove that the longer you bake a crust, the more moisture you drive out it and the crispier it gets, as opposed to quickly bake crusts that may come out of the oven crisp, but soften quickly due to the moisture in the core of the crust traveling outwards as it cools.

Shorter baking times always produces increased oven spring. Always.  You just need to perform an experiment where the results are easier to detect.

Edit: And where are these results that challenge the idea that elevated hydration increases oven spring?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 10:14:36 AM by scott123 »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2010, 12:43:26 PM »
Yes I think the voids are more of the luck of the draw where I slice the pie.  Also my pies are maybe not great for judging by the number or size of voids, as I am still using a slightly modified hand technique to purposefully induce airbubbles into the dough.  If i ever make a video on my kneading technique I'll show it. 

Also the bake time didn't seem to affect spring that much since the majority (if not all) of the crust spring is achieved in the first 1 -1.5 minutes max.  This is what I noticed but didn't time it.  I can next time.  Once that 1.5 minutes is up, the spring is done is the crust is set in the next few minutes.  Even if I lift the lid at the 1.5min to rotate the pie, the crust spring isn't lost.  So after 2 minutes max, I don't see the crust getting any bigger or smaller. 

The thicker rim was somewhat accidental.  I'll try to thin the rim out next time I do this test. 

Scott, I thought the rim size was relatively the same.  If there was difference it wasn't much especially for such a temp difference (520 vs 700).  What's even more strange is that i thought the first pie had an slightly more airy texture but that is rather subjective.  So if temperature doesn't make a difference or much of a difference, then it should stand true for an even bigger difference in temps.  I'll redo the test soon but bake at 350 vs 700 to compare the the crust rise. 

Also I did not do a test on oven spring relative to hydration ratio.  I made that conclusion loosely on Norma's result.  She seems to get great oven spring despite using a 61%? HR.  Now you know I can't hand knead a 61%, but maybe it would be interesting to do a 65% vs 75% hydration ratio difference.  Of course I think HR does make a difference with oven spring, but I'm guessing that the difference it makes becomes less as the hydration ration increase.  Where the cut off is for a dramtic difference I don't know.  Norma seems to get a good rise with 61%, so I'm assuming it's after 60%. 

I'll have to add that tests to the list of experiments to do though.

Thanks for your feedback.

Chau
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 12:45:18 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Bob1

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2010, 12:53:58 PM »
Tran,
Another consideration is ferment time, mixing times, and gluten strength of the flour.  As the gluten breaks down on a long ferment the oven spring will increase in identical doughs at higher temps.

Bob

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2010, 12:59:11 PM »
Tran,
Another consideration is ferment time, mixing times, and gluten strength of the flour.  As the gluten breaks down on a long ferment the oven spring will increase in identical doughs at higher temps.

Bob

Bob I'm not sure I'm hearing you right.  So as gluten breaks down in a long ferment, you'll see a bigger rise with higher temps?  Why is that?  I would think the opposite would be true.  Does gluten breakdown not lead to less oven spring at any temps?

I wanted to say that I do realize that (high) oven temps maybe just 1 factor affecting oven spring.  There are lots of other factors at play here.  From my results, I concluded that if all factors were equal that higher temps do not (dramatically) affect oven spring.  Has this been your experience?   

Chau
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 01:27:47 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline norma427

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2010, 01:20:49 PM »
Jackie Tran and other members or guests,

I have never tried this same dough in the same range temperatures in my home oven, because my home oven set-up rarely can get to temperatures around 525 degrees F.  When trying the same experiment in my BBQ grill set-up with firebricks at 545 degrees F, I got about the same results.  My home oven, deck oven and BBQ grill set-up are all different, except my deck oven and BBQ grill set-up have lower measurements between the top and bottom.  I donít think I could get these same results in my home oven.  I have seen great oven spring in my home oven using higher hydration doughs, so I donít know how all this relates.  I will still keep searching and watching to see what happens in my set-ups. 

I also saw the oven spring get being the greatest in the first few minutes.  After the dough is set, there isnít any more oven spring.  I didn't exactly time the minutes, but that could be another experiment. 

Best of luck to you Jackie Tran in experimenting with all of this and learning what can produce the best oven spring,

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!


scott123

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2010, 01:52:16 PM »
Also the bake time didn't seem to affect spring that much since the majority (if not all) of the crust spring is achieved in the first 1 -1.5 minutes max.  This is what I noticed but didn't time it.  I can next time.  Once that 1.5 minutes is up, the spring is done is the crust is set in the next few minutes.  Even if I lift the lid at the 1.5min to rotate the pie, the crust spring isn't lost.  So after 2 minutes max, I don't see the crust getting any bigger or smaller.

The more heat that's transferred to a pizza, the bigger the oven spring, the faster the bake time. A typical Neapolitan pie bakes in 1.5 minutes and most likely achieves max spring somewhere around the 45 second mark.  As you add heat, the reaction accelerates (and magnifies).

Also I did not do a test on oven spring relative to hydration ratio.  I made that conclusion loosely on Norma's result.  She seems to get great oven spring despite using a 61%? HR.  Now you know I can't hand knead a 61%, but maybe it would be interesting to do a 65% vs 75% hydration ratio difference.  Of course I think HR does make a difference with oven spring, but I'm guessing that the difference it makes becomes less as the hydration ration increase.  Where the cut off is for a dramtic difference I don't know.  Norma seems to get a good rise with 61%, so I'm assuming it's after 60%. 

Steam is a tremendously important player in the oven spring equation.  If you're familiar with puff pastry- that's a zero yeast/zero leavening product that rises solely from steam.  When I praise the benefits of elevated hydration, 'elevated' is both relative and flour dependent.  I'm really only talking about a few points above a flours rate absorption value. As you go really high with the HR, the excess water will take longer to turn into steam and you'll lose spring. So you want, generally, more water, but not too much. For a flour with an absorption value of 63%, that translates into up to about 69%.  Hydration is very heat dependent, so as you increase the water, you'll want to increase the heat as well.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2010, 02:13:56 PM »
Wow Scott, your understanding of these topics is deep. As I get into understanding these concepts questions only create more questions.  I guess in the end it's a very delicate balance to produce a great pie. Thanks for all your help thus far and I'll keep studying to improve.  I really dont mind being wrong as long as I get to keep learning and eating good pizza during the process. :)

Offline EZPIZZA

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2010, 02:33:19 PM »
Could the use of tomato sauce with its higher moisture content have affected the amount of spring in the first one.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2010, 03:12:45 PM »
Could the use of tomato sauce with its higher moisture content have affected the amount of spring in the first one.

I doubt it.  Also affected it for the better or worse?  Both rims IMO demonstrated a similar amount of rise. The 2nd one is not stretched as evenly as the first, but the first looks a bit bigger to me.

Chau

brayshaw

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2010, 03:17:58 PM »
Great knowledge Scott! The hydration sweet spot for my home oven is what i'm trying to lock in on atm. My pizza oven will be another story..

Paul

Offline Bob1

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2010, 04:46:13 PM »
Tran,
When I ferment a dough for long times and the gluten weakens too much the oven spring does go down.  Depending on the flour strength and the mix times there is a relax point were the bounce will be bigger.  I agree with Scott about the hydration, and add, that if the dough is too tight it will appear the same at any temp.


Bob   

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2010, 06:12:50 PM »
Bob I think I understand what you are saying now.  As with there being a window of useability of dough, there is also a window of maximum spring.  I think that is true whether you are cold fermenting or not.  I also agree that it can be affected by type of flour (protein content) and the mix times/technique along with a whole host of other variables. 

I'm not disagreeing with Scott that hydration does affect oven spring.  I know it does, but I wonder how much it affects it after a certain point (say 60%?).  Surely there is a neglible difference b/t a HR of 74% and 76% but is there a significant difference between 65% and 75%.  This range is what I'm interested in for making NY style pizzas.  I guess there's only one way to find out.  Is anyone interested in doing a test?

That is a good point you make about gluten tightness limiting oven spring although again, is the difference significant?  I use to overknead all the time and get leathery crumbs.  However I always did get decent oven spring as well.  it's quite possible I could have even gotten even more spring if I hadn't overkneaded.  On a few particular pies, I also overdid the stretch and folds just to see what would happen.  The gluten matrix was so tight I couldn't open the dough without tearing it.  But I still got decent oven spring.  So yes I can see it limiting spring, but does it affect real world results? I'm not sure.  Here's the pie with too many stretch and folds. Reply #28
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10734.20.html
However with the appropriate/limited amount of stretch and folds, i find that it helps trap air bubbles and tents up existing airbubbles thus aiding in oven spring.   But it's more of a faux oven spring.  It is man made rather than yeast made. 

One other question I have for you guys is do you think that the % of yeast used makes a difference in how temp affects oven spring?  Meaning I got great spring in both pies despite the almost 200F difference but the % of ADY was around 1%.  Had I dropped that number by 1/2 and baked in the same time frame of 3 hours, would I have seen a different result? 

I plan on redoing this experiment but use more drastic bake temps like 350 vs 700.  I also plan on timing how long it takes the crust to achieve the spring.  It should give us a clearer picture on how much temp does affect oven spring (in pizza).  But instead of making pizzas, I may just opt to bake up strips of dough, both thin and thick to see what differences I can induce.  I think this would provide a better visual indicator than making pizzas.  Let me know if you disagree Scott.

Thanks for the feedback all.

Chau
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 06:17:54 PM by Jackie Tran »

scott123

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2010, 06:21:10 PM »
Tran,
When I ferment a dough for long times and the gluten weakens too much the oven spring does go down.  Depending on the flour strength and the mix times there is a relax point were the bounce will be bigger.

Are you sure about this?  From my experience, I've noticed that I get the most extensiblity from unrefrigerated same day doughs. I've never really tested this, but extensibility usually translates into better oven spring. The moment I begin chilling dough, I get a slight drop in extensibility and this seems to continue throughout the entire length of fermentation.  Once overfermentation kicks in, I'll get random bubbles that rise quite a bit (toothiness), but the overall crust mass doesn't seem to rise as much.

If gluten does become more extensible as it degrades, that would be fantastic, but, with the pies I've done, I'm not really noticing it.

Unless, of course we're talk about doughs that utilize starter.  In theory, as a sourdough ages, more acid is created and acid promotes extensibility.

scott123

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2010, 07:03:24 PM »
One other question I have for you guys is do you think that the % of yeast used makes a difference in how temp affects oven spring?  Meaning I got great spring in both pies despite the almost 200F difference but the % of ADY was around 1%.  Had I dropped that number by 1/2 and baked in the same time frame of 3 hours, would I have seen a different result? 

Short answer:  If 1/2 the yeast produced the same volume of dough- the results would have been the same. If it rose less pre-bake, then the spring would be less.

Long answer:  Although I started off thinking yeast activity was critical for oven spring, as time has gone by, my feelings have evolved.  For the slow oven spring that bread encounters, yeast activity is critical, but, with the time frame involved in great pizza, I don't think yeast plays much of a role while the pizza's in the oven. Pizza just doesn't spend enough time the  in par-yeast killing temperature window. Bread spends a lot time in that 80-120 yeast friendly window, so you want to stimulate the yeast in bread dough into a frenzy so that, as it bakes, the yeast keep spewing out lots and lots of CO2. But pizza, I think the amount of CO2 that's generated while baking is negligible.

What I believe now is that yeast is critical for creating CO2 pockets all the way up to the bake, but once the pizza hits the oven, it's the small pockets of CO2 plus steam that are making the big pockets of air.  In theory, all the yeast could be dead going into the oven and you'd still get great oven spring- as long they did they're job beforehand and added plenty of CO2 to the dough.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 07:11:13 PM by scott123 »

Offline Bob1

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Re: Does a higher baking temperature result in a bigger oven spring?
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2010, 07:05:28 PM »
Scott,
It seems to work that way for me.  We may not be comparing apples to apples because, if I remember correctly , you usually use bromated flour.  That may operate a little different.  Here is a pic I posted a while back of simple Chef Boyardee dough that was fork mixed as the directions call for and fermented overnight.  I cooked it at 650 degrees.

Bob