That's an interesting thought on the ovens. I understand the concept of the 'soul' of the idea vs. capacity, I don't think that's abstract at all. It's a valid argument. It's the reason we make dough in house, don't use rollers or presses, and hand toss, etc. So that makes sense that we should consider that with how we bake them as well.
The reason we have been considering them is several-fold; We have limited kitchen space, so getting another full deck system just won't fit. We also live in a tourist town that has a crazy peak season, line out the door, standing room only crazy. It's a good problem to have as a business owner, but currently we throw faster than our ovens can bake pies, so we end up standing there waiting for oven space (as customers begin looking up at the clock getting cranky that their dinner is taking an hour). It's sort of a catch 22. I absolutely will Never go with a conveyor system, so liked the idea that at least the rotoflex is still sort of a deck concept, but! I think I will also look into some other possibilities for sure. Seems worth it. I briefly checked the equipment forums here and will spend some real time on them over the next few weeks.
A thought on oven temps; I checked our oven temps, the Blodgetts can get up to 650. So one thought that I just had, since we have a separate double decker, is to keep the bottom oven at 500 for strombolis and calzones and sicilians (which we do enough of to warrant their own space) and turn up the top oven for pies. That could be a good test of decreasing bake times and the results of that.
And now: Dough results!
So, I went ahead and made a bunch of changes at once, nothing like just diving in
It seemed like a good starting point which I could then work backward from.
Here's what I did;
14.5 Qt Water
.20 lb cake yeast (upped from .16 lb)
.80 lb Salt
.30 lb Sugar
.12 Garlic (flavor only)
Nixed the shortening
Stuck with 12oz Olive oil for testing purposes.
50 lb flour
Mixed 9 minutes, it was done by then. Same amount of time rising out vs. cold proofing.
Initial reaction; The dough seemed really soft and pliable while forming, more so than normal. It balled nicely, and held it's shape just fine while rising.
This morning I threw a pie with it and noticed these distinct changes;
1. The dough ball was stickier than I am used to, it even stuck some to the covering over the dough tray.
2. The dough was soft and pliable, but upon throwing seemed much less elastic than I am used to, I had to throw longer to get it to size.
3. it had noticeable air bubbles in the dough while I was throwing it. I am used to some bubbles, but this was waaaayyyy bubbly. It was also difficult to get even in thickness.
4. it held it's shape on the pizza board, and did not shrink, so that's normal behavior.
5. In the oven the dough produced some bubbles and was seeming to get a nice oven spring to it.
6. However! once out of the oven, it lost all that nice spring and the pie was much more flat than normal, it also did not brown as much.
7. The crust did not brown as much on the bottom and a slice from it did not hold it's shape nearly as well. I.e. during the 'hold it and fold it' test, it drooped from the middle of the slice forward, no bueno.
8. The taste though was Fantastic, the extra salt was great and really brought out the flavors of the dough and the garlic, taste was perfect for what i was looking for.
9. The edge of the crust that did hold it's form had better chew. I wouldn't call it 'chewy' by any means, but more than we are used to getting. Maybe a 4 on the chew scale.
Sooo... here's my thoughts for changes;
1. I am wondering if I over-hydrated the dough? Hence it being sticky and very soft. I am thinking I should try a test batch with 14 Qt water, half a quart less.
2. I did not up the oil content, and since I removed some of the fat by nixing the shortening, I am wondering if I should now try upping the oil content to help give some more elasticity. if I understand correctly this should help the gluten retain some of it's strength and might combat the lack of oven spring? Am I going in the right direction here?
3. And also, wondering about upping the sugar content a bit for browning purposes.
Also, I see that there are several dough calculators on this board, is there one in particular that you guys recommend using as a reference?
And also, this is directed at Scott (and I am sure others), I understand that you make your living by answering the sorts of questions posed on these boards that you are using valuable time answering for free....so, in short, thanks again.