Author Topic: Problem with browning?  (Read 351 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Bisquick

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • Location: Cincinnati
  • I Love Pizza!
Problem with browning?
« on: February 17, 2015, 12:02:24 AM »
Recently I've begun to favor wetter doughs, around 67% water and 1% oil, the standard 2% salt and low amount of yeast. The flavor and texture of wetter doughs and lower amount of yeast is more appealing to me than the other end of the scale.  I've managed to achieve decent oven spring and a decent crumb, but the problem I have is that my dough doesn't seem to want to brown half the time. The edges will brown (the cornicione or rim) and the very edge around the bottom, but the bottom itself seems to stay pale and the cheese browns/burns, which is when I usually pull it out of the oven. I'd really like for the pizza to brown before the cheese.  I usually bake between 450 and 500 degrees F, and I don't know that my oven or the dark non-stick pan I use has much to do with it, because as I mentioned, the whole pizza will brown some of the time, but half the time it won't. I've heard that sugar will help brown a pizza, but I've made doughs with absolutely no sugar whatsoever (using a poolish, high hydration, and long fermentation) and achieved a beautifully brown crust all over. I just can't seem to consistently achieve one, and I don't understand why.  Any advice on this?
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 12:09:52 AM by Bisquick »

Offline mitchjg

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1431
  • Location: Oakland, CA
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2015, 10:05:34 AM »
For clarity - are you saying that the higher hydration dough does not brown well on the bottom, but the lower hydration dough does brown well on the bottom?

If so, are you, by any chance, using more bench flour on the dough and the peel to prevent sticking?  I ask in case more flour on the bottom is going into the bake.
Mitch

Offline Bisquick

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • Location: Cincinnati
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2015, 09:00:09 PM »
I mentioned the higher hydration and my basic recipe because a lot of times when I ask a question people will inquire as to the recipe I use so they can give a more educated answer.  I do use a liberal amouint of dusting flour when I stretch and toss the dough before I bake it. Could this inhibit browning?

Offline mitchjg

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1431
  • Location: Oakland, CA
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2015, 10:34:53 PM »
I thought I was reading you get the browning problem on the bottoms is occurring more with the higher hydration doughs.  That brought me to wondering if the higher hydration / stickiness was causing you to use more bench flour on the bottom.  Yes, excess flour on the bottom can cause browning issues and also bitterness.

Was it correct to associate higher hydration and browning problems?
Mitch

Offline Bisquick

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • Location: Cincinnati
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 12:07:40 AM »
No I was just listing that because a lot of times when a person presents a problem they will be asked info such things so that pinpointing the problem is easier. I've made lower hydration doughs, from 58% to 63%, which have browned up quickly and beautifully, and I've had doughs hydrated at 68% brown up quite nicely also, but I've made doughs at a low hydration that didn't want to brown up. I'm thinking I may have an idea of what the problem is. I think I may have been over-proofing the dough. Over proofing is much easier than most people realize because of the heat involved in the mixing process, even in hand mixing.  I think part of the problem I was having is that for a while my doughs were baking up very gummy/rubbery and I thought that lack of fermentation was the issue, so I began to proof my doughs at warmer temperatures for a very long time (8 hour poolish +12 hours at 75 degrees F).  I've just read an article - see "The Water" paragraph at http://www.generalmillscf.com/industries/pizzeria/support-tool-categories/news-articles-and-events/scratch-dough-is-key-to-signature-pizza - that implies that lower hydration will usually cause the dough to be rubbery/gummy. I've recently realized that this can be countered by adding a liberal amount of vegetable/olive oil to the dough, but I don't care for doughs with a lot of oil in them. So basically I think I was over-proofing to prevent a gummy dough, but what I should have been doing was simply using a higher hydration by either adding water or supplementing with oil. This problem solved, I now realize that proofing the dough as I was previously doing is too much. It's not to say that proofing like that will automatically ruin a dough, but I'm much more comfortable with trying safer methods, like putting the dough in the refrigerator as soon as it's mixed, balling it a few hours later, immediately returning it to the fridge, and then removing it and letting it sit at 75 - 80 degrees F for a minimum of two hours right before I bake it. I'm thinking this may yield much better results.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22728
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 09:52:10 AM »
Bisquick,

Unless the dough recipe you are using calls for a pan of some sort, sometime you might try baking directly on the pizza stone. It takes a while for the pan to get to the temperature at which the pizza starts to bake and at the low temperature you have been using, you may experience some browning problems. Sometimes you can get better browning using a pan if you put a fair amount of oil in the pan. That essentially causes the crust to 'fry" and darken in the process.

Peter

Offline woodmakesitgood

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 338
  • Location: CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 10:48:17 AM »
bisquick, do you have an IR thermometer?
450-500 is not very high temps especially for a very wet dough, and the half the time you get browning might be the for bakes that are at 500...I'd say try to stay closer to 500.

What style are you making btw?
I think you could get nice browning in a pan, Detroit style, with oil on the bottom like Peter said.
Charles

Offline Bisquick

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • Location: Cincinnati
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2015, 07:20:31 PM »
I do have a stone, but I like using the pan because it seems like putting the pizza directly on the stone is a bit of a mess in a home oven. I once worked at a pizza place that had brick ovens, and cooking directly on those worked rather well on a larger scale, but whenever I've tried cooking directly on the stone at home I've never been particularly impressed with the results. The reason I have a stone is because I have had success with putting the pizza in a pan and then putting the pan on the stone, which I will probably do from now on. I'm not making any particular style, what I'm trying to do is combine elements from each style to get a result that I like. The best doughs I've made have been at a higher hydration (65- 68%) without oil and/or sugar, but I'm finding that perhaps a small amount of oil and sugar is ok because they help tenderize the dough a bit, and the sugar helps the yeast to produce a little faster, which is ok as long as it's not producing too fast. I'd like to make a pizza that's a little tender, somewhat thin and floppy, but with just the right amount of strength, as well as being nice and leathery on the outside so it has the texture of a good pizza and not a piece of sandwich bread. Of course I want the flavor to be really strong and I want it to brown up as quickly and nicely as possible.  I'd love to get a nice, dark brown, almost charcoal, like Papa John's pizza's has. I can't help but think that the browning must really contribute to the flavor, because the best pizza's I've made, the ones that I think tasted best, are the ones that browned up really well. (Not to say that all pale/lighter crusts are bad. Some that I've made were actually quite good, but I like the browner crust better.) The oven thermometer I use is just a standard, $4 Wal-mart oven thermometer. I suppose an infared thermometer would give me a more true temperature reading?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 09:05:06 PM by Bisquick »

Offline Bisquick

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • Location: Cincinnati
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2015, 10:09:31 PM »
Or you mean I should use an IR thermometer to check the temperature of the dough? I just ordered one. I didn't know anyone made such a thing. This should actually be a huge help. I can now keep all ingredients the same basic temperature by starting with them chilled and then bring the temperature up simply by letting the dough sit at room temperature or in a very slightly warmed oven. I've tried using probe thermometers but the dough would always want to stick to them and tear and I keep my doughs in a bowl so getting the probe under them instead of probing them was a big hassle. Thanks.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 10:42:11 PM by Bisquick »

Offline woodmakesitgood

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 338
  • Location: CA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2015, 11:29:39 PM »
I was thinking IR for the stone, but it might be good for the dough too.  :chef:

I looked around at the PJ clone thread, and Pizza Hut pan pizza thread, both pies have good browning at 500 degrees or so. Both of those doughs have a lot lower hydration than yours though.

I'm not sure you can get thin and floppy with good browning at 67% hydration and 500F,
it seems like the crust would dry out before the browning happens.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 11:32:11 PM by woodmakesitgood »
Charles


Offline Bisquick

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • Location: Cincinnati
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2015, 09:41:44 PM »
I may try a hydration around 62%. I like the higher hydration doughs but I do admit they are harder to handle when it comes to tossing them. They stretch too easily.

Offline Essen1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3457
  • Location: SF Bay Area
    • The Hobby Cook
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2015, 09:48:57 PM »
Crank up the temps.

450F - 500F is too low. Go to 550F if your oven goes that high.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline Bisquick

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 47
  • Location: Cincinnati
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Problem with browning?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2015, 09:50:35 PM »
Ok. Willy try that thank you.