I wasn’t quite sure where to report on my latest Caputo pie. On the one hand, the recipe I used for today’s pie was a modification of the “giotto” A16 recipe, and it also included dairy whey, which in itself has become a topic of interest. On the other hand, today’s pie used a naturally-leavened dough and the dough was subjected to an approximately 10-hour room-temperature fermentation. No commercial yeast and no refrigeration. Since I started with the giotto A16 recipe, I concluded that the scale tipped more to the A16 side and, so, I will report my results here for whatever it is worth.
In preparation for tonight’s pizza, I started with the preferment. Last night, I took a small amount of one of my semi-liquid natural preferments directly from the refrigerator and fed it with a small amount of flour and warm water. The starting amount of the preferment was about a quarter of a cup and the amount of flour and water I added to it about doubled its volume. I put the preferment on my kitchen counter late last night (covered) and left it there until this morning, a period of about 8-9 hours. I then proceeded to incorporate a part of the refreshed/ripened preferment into the giotto A16 recipe. For the amount to use, I decided upon 20% of the weight of flour, the same percent I have used before in similar experiments with other doughs. The recipe itself was otherwise the same as the yesterday’s Caputo dough that I reported on except to the extent that I found it necessary to adjust the amounts of the ingredients to accommodate the inclusion of the preferment. The final recipe was as follows (together with baker’s percents):
100%, Caputo 00 pizzeria flour, 6.68 oz. (1 1/2 c plus 1 T.)
57.3%, Water, 3.83 oz. (about 1/2 c.)
2.4%, Sea salt, 0.16 oz. (between 3/4 and 7/8 t.)
1.79%, Extra-virgin olive oil, 0.12 oz. (a bit less than 3/4 t.)
3%, Dairy whey, 0.20 oz. (a bit more than 1 t.)
20%, Natural preferment, 1.34 oz. (about 2 1/2 T.)
Dough ball weight = 12.32 oz. (for one 13-inch pizza)
Finished dough temperature = 79 degrees F.
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.093
The dough was prepared in the same way as yesterday’s dough but for the substitution of the natural preferment for the commercial yeast (IDY). Since the preferment was in semi-liquid form, I did not proof it as I did the IDY. Once the dough was kneaded into a smooth, elastic ball, I placed it in a covered plastic container and set it on my kitchen counter top to ferment. Very little happened for the first few hours but then the dough started to gradually expand. After about 6 hours, it had risen in volume by about fifty percent. I punched the dough ball down, reshaped it into a new ball shape, and placed it back into its container for the final few hours. After a total elapsed time of about 10 hours, the dough ball had about doubled in volume. I concluded that it was time to shape the dough ball into a skin.
The dough handled extremely well. In fact, it handled better than yesterday’s dough. It had just the right balance between elasticity and extensibility. And, unlike yesterday’s dough, it did not exhibit the pronounced bubbling propensity. I had no problem whatsoever in shaping and stretching the dough out to 13 inches and, in fact, could have gone even further. Again, I wonder whether the dairy whey is a contributory factor to the fine handling qualities of the doughs in which I have incorporated it.
I dressed the 13-inch skin in Margherita style and baked the pizza on a pizza stone that had been placed on the bottom oven rack and preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degrees F. I was particularly interested to see if the crust would brown as quickly as yesterday’s pizza. After about 5 minutes, I saw that the top crust had some browning but not as much as yesterday. So I moved the pizza to the top oven rack and let the pizza bake for a bit less than a minute under the broiler element, which I had turned on about four minutes into the bake cycle.
The finished pizza was excellent. It had a normal rim (cornicione) and it was not bready. The crust was chewy yet tender, with a bit of crisp at the rim. The flavor of the crust was nice but not overwhelming--maybe not quite as flavorful as yesterday’s crust, which had had the benefit of about 3-day’s worth of refrigeration of the dough, but still quite nice. I would say that the overall textural quality of yesterday’s crust may have been a bit better than today’s, yet today’s pizza had attributes that made it highly appealing in its own right. I would be completely happy with either. In fact, I like having both recipes in my portfolio.
I like to learn from my efforts, and today I learned that it is possible to make a same-day, room-temperature fermented Caputo 00 dough leavened only with a natural preferment and produce a high-quality product. Again, the use of the dairy whey seems effective. I might increase the amount used for my next attempt at a same-day room-temperature fermented dough, but that would be about it. I also continue to believe that the dairy whey may be a contributing factor to the good dough handling characteristics I have been getting in those doughs in which I have incorporated it. After today’s experiment, judging from the rate that the dough expanded over the roughly 10-hour period, I also believe that it is possible to reduce the amount of preferment I used and extend the fermentation/ripening period by several more hours. That should contribute a bit more to the flavor of the crust.
The photos below show the finished product.