Author Topic: Weights and Measures  (Read 7011 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Tory

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 74
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2010, 02:26:31 AM »
I typically use King Arthur flour. Their measure for their All Purpose and Bread flour is 4.25 oz= 1 cup

When I make a pizza with a slightly thicker crust, I use 13 oz bread flour to about 8.5-9 oz very warm water.

If I want a "thin crust" (not crunchy) then I only use about 7 oz All Purpose flour and about 4.5 oz very warm water.

But I also use either diastatic malt or honey to feed the "instant" yeast.

Both of these recipes give me enough dough for at least a 15" diameter pizza.


Offline Jose L. Piedra

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 364
  • Location: Montreal, QC
  • Ebeddu e cavuru, e beddu davveru!
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #51 on: October 08, 2010, 03:40:33 PM »
I work in baker's percents, but I've actually never owned a proper scale. When I first took up pizza making, I borrowed a scale from somebody and calibrated a set of instruments consisting of a cup, a measuring spoon, and a shot-glass to the scale. Using the dip and level method, I determined that 1 cup of the flour I use= 140 gr. and make all my pies under this assumption. Sounds crude- but I've nonetheless standardized all my pies to a very exacting grade of quality control this way (all my formulations yield the same result every time I use them, to the point where I feel completely comfortable going out for a cigarette while my pies bake if I bring a watch).

-JLP
Scarsu d'ogghiu, e riccu di provolazzu ::)

Offline pizzablogger

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1334
  • Location: Baltimore
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #52 on: October 12, 2010, 05:11:33 PM »
But how often do people actually get out the scale and weight out each time.

Every time, without fail.
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline c0mpl3x

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1144
  • Age: 28
  • Location: north of pittsburgh PA
  • crumb bubbles!
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #53 on: October 12, 2010, 10:30:21 PM »
i use my scale all the time but i think someone else used it and dropped it as my doughs are coming out far wetter than the percentage says.
Hotdogs kill more people than sharks do, yearly.

Offline jrovito

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 7
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #54 on: October 16, 2010, 02:37:31 PM »
This is a serious rant, so I apologize in advance. >:D
< Rant>
It is incomprehensible to me why someone who is in the pursuit of a perfect pizza, wouldn't use a scale each and every time for each of the ingredients. If you're going to spend 1/2 hour mixing, 1-2 days retarding, and an evening entertaining and tossing, why wouldn't you want to maximize your chances of success or at least reproducibility. The amount of something is measured by its mass. We donít have ďmassmetersĒ, but here on earth we can substitute weight as a very,very,very good approximation.  Use a scale. A good one. Weigh your ingredients. Every time.

I have a close friend who I turned on to Pizza Making ten years ago. He starts with three and a half cups of flour, and eyeballs everything else. He makes Pizza, and sometimes it is good. But he always rolls it in a greased pan. He's asked me to show him how to hand form it, and get it from a peel and a stone, but I just can't. His dough is either so dry that it won't stretch, or so wet that it tears. Even if he does get the hydration close, he wonít plan more than an hour or two ahead of time, so itís never retarded.   

Heck, I have another friend (an M.D. no less) who assembles a pizza on a cold stone covered in cornmeal and slides the whole thing into a preheated oven. Yech.

 I started making pizza as a hobby in the 70's. For Thirty years, I made mediocre pizzas, good pizzas, and sometimes great pizzas. But never the same pizza twice, even though I was using 'basically' the same recipe. Then in 2005 I "snuck" into a pizza convention. Took an all day class entitled "Pizza Dough boot camp".

This is what they hammered into our heads:
1. Use a scale and a thermometer to improve the process
2. Retard your dough (except in an emergency, and then there was a special recipe)
3. Learn and use baker's percentages <a totally non-intuitive -at first- way of communicating recipes>

The quality and consistency of my Pizzas has risen dramatically. (This board has helped as well)

Something to think about: whatís the difference between French bread, Ciabatta, Bagels, and Pizza dough ?  Not much. Slight changes in the ratios of the very same ingredients. Slight changes to process.   Totally different results.

I respect the fact that Jose and others can make a decent Pie without a scale.  But I would never try one of his recipes unless it was expressed in weight. And like another poster, I always skip any recipe expressed volumetrically. I may read it to see how they ran their mixer, or combined there ingredients, or setup their oven, but thatís about it.

How much does a cup of flour weigh ?  Donít Know. Donít Care.
</Rant>

And finally, if youíve indulged me this far, hereís another question that will give you something to think about: How much does a cup of water weigh at tap temperature? If you answered 0.5 lbs / 8 oz. / 227 gms, I donít want any of your recipes.   :'(

Online Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 7224
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #55 on: October 16, 2010, 02:47:32 PM »
This is gonna be fun.  Popcorn anyone?  :-D

Jrovito, welcome to the forum and nice first post.  ;D  There are both types of pizza makers in this world. Those who weigh and those who do not.  As far as I know and would guess, the pizza "masters" of the world do not weigh their ingredients, and hardly even go by volume measurements.  But since we aren't pizza masters,  I agree.  Always weigh everytime for consistency. 

Also just b/c your friend is a Doctor and good at his job doesn't mean he's necessarily good at everything else including pizza making.  Doesn't mean he can't be either, just saying.   Some of the brightest medical ppl make the worse clinicians.   >:D

Again, welcome and post up some pics.

Chau
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 03:12:36 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Tscarborough

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 3832
  • Location: Austin, TX
    • Pizza Anarchy
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #56 on: October 16, 2010, 03:35:37 PM »
I'll take the bait.

I don't WANT the same pizza every time, nor do I want to set up a laboratory in my kitchen to knock out a pie.  If it works for you, Salute!, but unless you are making pies for a living, it is not necessary or required, and, for that matter, no single recipe, no matter how it is expressed will work the same under all conditions.

The important thing in all cooking is to learn to improvise.  Cooks use recipes, Chefs use their senses.

Offline dms

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 168
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #57 on: October 16, 2010, 10:51:26 PM »
I'll take the bait.

I don't WANT the same pizza every time

Don't you know what you want in advance?  Science can help with getting it right. 

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 23453
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #58 on: October 18, 2010, 11:43:54 AM »
I think there is merit to both points of view but perhaps for somewhat different reasons.

On the professional operator's side, it is perhaps not surprising that Tom Lehmann advocates that professional pizza operators weigh the main ingredients, as is discussed in the Zeak/Lehmann video at . It will be noted in the video, for example, that adjustments may be needed to the weight of flour because a bag of flour can vary somewhat from bag to bag (typically a 50-lb bag might vary by about a half pound on either side of 50 pounds). I am sure that over time many pizza operators are able to convert dough recipes recited by baker's percents to volume versions. This makes sense since most pizza operators typically make only one type of dough, with a pretty much standard dough batch size that is replicated over and over again using the same mixer. On occasion, a pizza operator might make a second type of dough but it is very rare to see more that two types of dough being made because it is inconvenient and cumbersome to work with multiple dough types simultaneouisly and to estimate and maintain specific inventories of the different types of dough balls. Of course, over time, pizza operators get to know pretty well what their dough should look and feel like, and make adjustments as necessary. However, to the extent that pizza operators have problems with their dough, it becomes difficult to resolve those problems if only volume measurements are used. That is typically a source of frustration to Tom Lehmann when pizza operators come to him with their recipes recited by volume measurements.

Baker's percents and weighing ingredients come in most handy when it is necessary or desirable to make many different dough types and in scaling recipes up or down for different dough batch sizes and different numbers of dough balls and pizza sizes and crust thicknesses. That description covers a lot of the members on this forum. Without a baker's percent approach, it would be much more difficult in the context of how this forum operates to help them succeed with their pizza making. It would simply take too many iterations of the process and a lot of work and patience to get to the desired endpoint. Very few people on this forum have the tolerance or desire to do that kind of work on behalf of other members. I think that most members would prefer to replicate their doughs and not have them vary from one attempt to the next. However, if they enjoy the idea of having their pizzas have an unpredictability component, that is their prerogative. But they are likely to be pretty much on their own.

As I have noted many times before, I do not personally weigh small amounts of ingredients like yeast, salt, sugar, oil, etc. For those ingredients, I use the volume measurements produced by the various dough calculating tools. If I were making large amounts of dough where using a digital scale made sense, I would certainly use a scale. Also, I have tested conversion values for items like yeast on a special scale that is able to weigh small quantities of ingredients and I have found that the volume measurements that are produced by the dough calculating tools are quite accurate. In my experience, weighing the flour and water and getting the proper hydration value for the particular flour and dough in question go a long way toward achieving success with just about any dough formulation. So, having a good digital scale on hand makes a lot of sense. For those who choose not to use a scale, they can try using the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator at http://foodsim.toastguard.com/ if the particular flour in question is in the pull-down menu.

Peter


Offline Tscarborough

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 3832
  • Location: Austin, TX
    • Pizza Anarchy
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #59 on: October 18, 2010, 08:12:55 PM »
I don't think anyone is questioning the use of scales for food service, not only for consistency, but also for portion control.

In the home environment, technique is what counts, and 2 or even 5% difference in the amount of flour by weight used won't make a terrible amount of difference.  I am pretty sure that good consistent bread has been around much longer than digital scales.

For consistent results, use the same techniques every time with the same ingredients every time, and you can achieve the same result every time without a scale, even though you may have to adjust the proportions some of the time.

I am a masonry guy, so I will use that simile to try and make my point.  Mortar and dough share many of the same properties, and are made in similar fashions, i.e. from a few simple ingredients thoroughly mixed, but not too much.

All mortar mix designs (recipes) are volumetric.  You mix 1 part by volume of cement flour with X part by volume of lime flour with 2-1/2 to 3 parts sand.  The amount of sand is variable, the amount of water added is left to the individual mixing the mortar.


There is a very specific standard for the ultimate strength of the various classes of mortar, and the color of the mortar varies with the amount of sand and water in the batch.  How then can a building that takes thousands of different batches of mortar over a period of months or years be constructed so that no matter what the climatic differences (humidity, ambient temperature, etc) all the mortar will match in color and achieve the correct strength using a shovel for a measuring cup by the lowest paid guy on the crew?

The sand may be wet if it rained yesterday (add less water) or it may be dry if it hasn't rained in a week (add more water).  If the humidity is 100% with no wind at 40 degrees, you will add less water than if the humidity is 30% with a stiff breeze in 90 degree weather.  There is no change in formula, all adjustments are to the eye of the mixer.  He looks at the mix and adds water, and to a lesser extent, sand until it is "right".  Right for mortar means silky, sticky, and workable for a given volume of cementious ingredients.

That is what I do with dough. 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 08:14:38 PM by Tscarborough »

Offline widespreadpizza

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1245
  • Location: NH
    • my beer store opening in june 2011
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #60 on: October 18, 2010, 09:11:20 PM »
Here is my take on using scales.  They,  along with this forum are what taught me what the proper consitency is for different styles of dough is.    Without it,  I would have gotten there,  but not as quickly.  Could I go without it,  sure but why.  I think they have it right over in Europe,  Their recipies are expressed in metric,  and not just for bread.  It makes perfect sense,  and it works over and over again.  I use the site all recipies.com and they have a converter from standard and metric quanities and it works great.  Try making a quickbread from that site,  you can mix it up in one bowl in minutes,  as opposed to dirtying various inacurate measures.  Some of the stuff our newer members have pulled off in the first or second attemps,  are a testament to the scale and also this forum.  My final point on scales is this.  I almost never make dough the same way,  or at least the same recipie or quanity of dough,  but I always use a scale.  The dough calculators on this site have got to be the best thing that has happened to the understanding of dough on this forum.    Now I have an understanding of the general properties of many types of bread and pizza dough,  and formulate whatever I am feeling as far as stlye and how much time I have for fermentation,  and or what I have on hand.  So I always use both the calculator and the scale,  but rarely make the same dough.  -marc

Offline Tscarborough

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 3832
  • Location: Austin, TX
    • Pizza Anarchy
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #61 on: October 18, 2010, 09:27:55 PM »
Note that I am not saying you shouldn't use a scale and recipes, just that you do not have to.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 23453
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #62 on: October 18, 2010, 09:55:47 PM »
There are some members, like Jose L. Piedre (JLP), who have cleverly found ways to make doughs using volume measurements rather than weights. JLP described his particular method earlier in this thread at Reply 51 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11786.msg113329.html#msg113329. Chau described one of his methods at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10789.msg96280.html#msg96280. As far as I am concerned, those are useful contributions for those who prefer to work with volume measurements rather than weights.

I think the hardest dough to make without a scale is a cracker-style dough, especially one that is to yield a very crispy crust. Being off on the hydration by only a few percent (on the high side) can yield a crust that is too soft or tender and not crispy. Of all of the complaints I have read from members about cracker style pizzas, I would say that not getting a crust that is crispy enough is one of the common complaints (along with difficulties in rolling out the skins). Since I like very crispy cracker style crusts, it is hard for me to imagine ever trying to make a dough that will result in such a crust using only volume measurements. Of all the doughs I have made, I would say that a cracker-style dough is the hardest to make by "feel". At a hydration of around 35%, the dough can be so dry that it almost does not have a "feel". Moreover, to be sure that the final skin is thin enough in relation to its size (diameter) so that you end up with a crispy crust on a consistent basis, you really need a scale to weigh the skin.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 10:09:20 PM by Pete-zza »

Online Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 7224
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #63 on: October 18, 2010, 10:31:13 PM »
When I first started making pizzas, scales, baker's percents, and the dough calculating tools were very foreign to me.  I quickly picked up a digital scale and learned how to calculate baker's percents.  I always had a goal of being able to make great pizza by volume measurements and feel.  Though I have accomplished that goal now, it did not come without making hundreds of doughs by accurately measuring and weighing ingredients and making mental and visual notes of changes made to the formulas and the effects on the condition of the dough. 

Though I have only made a few Lehmann style pizzas, I will 2nd Marc's comment about the value of the dough tools specifically the Lehmann calculator.   It took me being on the forum for several months before I got over my fear of using this thing.  Currently I use it almost everytime I make dough, especially for making NY, NY-elite, and even Neapolitan pies.  Yes the Calculator is so versatile.  For those not familiar with it, you can find it on the home page under dough tools.  You can customize your dough with this calculator.  I did it manually with a calculator for months, but this tool is the "EASY Button". 

And for making deep dish or using a new recipe, weighing ingredients is crucial to getting the intended results and I could not dream of eyeballing the amounts.   Because I still like to experiment with different formulas, I always weigh flour and water, and typically use volume measurements to measure the rest. 

Chau
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 10:49:39 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline widespreadpizza

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1245
  • Location: NH
    • my beer store opening in june 2011
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #64 on: October 18, 2010, 10:42:44 PM »
Hmm,  maybe I am in the minority,  I weigh everything except small amounts of yeast...  I have a list of all of my commonly used mixing bowl/dough toos by weight in case i ever let the scale time out or re-zero it by accident.  It has come in handy a few times.  -marc

Online Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 7224
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #65 on: October 18, 2010, 10:49:06 PM »
Hmm,  maybe I am in the minority,  I weigh everything except small amounts of yeast...  I have a list of all of my commonly used mixing bowl/dough toos by weight in case i ever let the scale time out or re-zero it by accident.  It has come in handy a few times.  -marc

Marc, I didn't mention that I have weighed out salt, sugar, oil, yeast, and starter many many times and have kept notes on the standard weight of a teaspoon or tablespoon of each and have since use volume measurements for those items but will often weigh them out again if it's not a common recipe or batch size I use.

The odd thing I've noted using the Lehmann tool is that occassionally the weight of salt (or other ingredients) don't quite match up with the volume measurement given.  I have often fallen back on weighing those items as well b/c they tend to be less than the volume measurements.  As an example, I made pizza tonight requiring 9gm of salt which is ~2 tsp (1.9) according to the tool, but I reached 9gm at 1.5 tsp and stopped there. 

Chau
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 10:53:24 PM by Jackie Tran »

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 23453
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #66 on: October 18, 2010, 11:10:34 PM »
Chau,

I don't remember whether I used Steve's numbers for salt when I was involved in the design of the various dough calculating tools but many of the conversion numbers for the tools came from the nutritiondata.self.com website or corresponding government websites. For ingredients not covered by those websites, I often used the Nutrition Facts for the ingredients. Failing those sources, I would use conversion data derived by weighing ingredients on my small scale that can handle small quantities of ingredients. Also, some numbers from the above sources can be rounded off in the form as presented.

It is also important to remember that certain ingredients can have varying weights. For example, ingredients like salt and sugar are hygroscopic in nature and can attract moisture from their surroundings, including the air. That can increase the weights of those ingredient. Other ingredients can dry out over time in storage and end up with weights that are less than the original weights. There are no easy ways to compensate for these effects. However, the differences shouldn't be so great as to be evident in the final product, particularly when there are competing sources of a given ingredient. For example, salt and sugar can be used in the sauce and salt will also be present in the cheeses and meat toppings.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 11:27:28 PM by Pete-zza »


 

pizzapan