Author Topic: Crust Softness  (Read 1362 times)

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Offline newsmike

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Crust Softness
« on: April 26, 2011, 04:10:22 PM »
I have a question after trying three different dough recipes from this site. After baking, my crust seems a bit hard, almost bready. I know that the big pizza chains use all sorts of chemicals to achieve the softness, but thinking back on the NYC pizza by the slice joints, I recall that they had a crust which was chewy but still soft, not hard.

I have tried a basic Lehmann, a Lehmann custom designed for me by Pete-Zaa and the Jerry Mac dough.

Anyone else have the issue of the crust being a little too tough?

Thanks  ???


Offline PiedPiper

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 04:50:05 PM »
The only time I have noticed my crust being too tough is when i over knead my dough

Offline newsmike

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 04:58:47 PM »
The only time I have noticed my crust being too tough is when i over knead my dough

I don't think I'm doing that, I stick right to the recipe. Also I should have mentioned that I am using KABF, perhaps that's the issue?


buceriasdon

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 06:05:02 PM »
Sometimes it's recommended to drop the protein content when such a problem occurs. I have a question, is the toughness more pronounced when the crust has cooled? You might try blending in some AP flour to see if that helps. Perhaps raise your water ratio a couple of percent. Good luck, Don

I don't think I'm doing that, I stick right to the recipe. Also I should have mentioned that I am using KABF, perhaps that's the issue?



Offline scott r

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 12:49:45 AM »
99% of the pizzerias in the NY area are using bromated flour.   Bromate is a dough softener and for me defines the style.    Assuming your kneading, proofing, and handling of the dough is correct you can try upping the hydration and adding a poolish to try to get closer to the effects of bromate. 




Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 02:14:07 AM »
5% oil will make a difference
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Offline newsmike

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2011, 03:21:11 PM »
Great suggestions all, thanks I will experiment.

Offline communist

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2011, 04:28:54 PM »
What are your typical bake times and temps and surfaces?

Offline newsmike

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2011, 05:02:29 PM »
What are your typical bake times and temps and surfaces?

Generally 550 degrees for 8-9 minutes on pizza stone.


Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2011, 06:41:45 PM »
I have a question after trying three different dough recipes from this site. After baking, my crust seems a bit hard, almost bready. I know that the big pizza chains use all sorts of chemicals to achieve the softness, but thinking back on the NYC pizza by the slice joints, I recall that they had a crust which was chewy but still soft, not hard.

I have tried a basic Lehmann, a Lehmann custom designed for me by Pete-Zaa and the Jerry Mac dough.

Anyone else have the issue of the crust being a little too tough?

Thanks  ???

I would recommend you try the Peter Reinhart rustic pizza dough recipe. Many people seem to like that a lot. It's pretty tender. Instead of using bread flour try it with All Purpose flour. If you add a bit more olive oil that should make it more tender, but it's pretty tender just following the recipe.  You could also try some Italian 00 flour if you have a source locally (or buy it off of the Internet). But I think that AP flour should provide a dough that is pretty tender, especially if you add olive oil to it. 


Offline scott123

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2011, 05:08:53 AM »
Mike, with higher protein flours, tough crusts are usually a sign of gluten overdevelopment, but with a midrange protein flour like KABF, overdeveloping the gluten can be hard to do. As long as you are using a little bit of oil (2%ish), a little bit of sugar (1%ish) and a hydration that's not too far above KABF's absorption value (62-64%), then your gluten framework should be tender.

I don't think it's the dough that's tough, but the denseness of the final product that's creating toughness.  It's like the expensive, almost impossible to scoop, premium ice creams that contain very little air.  Air is critical to tenderness.

We've talked a little bit about maximizing volume/oven spring in the past. Here's a refresher.

Bromhate

From previous comments, you've made it pretty clear that you're not a fan of bromate. Unless you're getting along in years, you most likely grew up eating bromated flour pizza in Brooklyn. If you're still eating at non chain pizzerias in the midwest, you're most likely still consuming it. If recreating pizzeria style pizza is your goal, then you should use the flour they use- the flour that gives you the most volume with the least amount of effort. You're making your quest for recreating the pizza of your youth SO much more difficult by using KABF.

Yeast Whisperer

The ninth-century Buddhist master Lin Chi is supposed to have said, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” The way I interpret this is: "You can't meet the Buddha, you have to become the Buddha yourself."  No one can tell you how much yeast to use.  You can get a rough approximation, but your environmental variables will produce different results so what works for one person won't work for another. It's up to you to watch the dough, recognize proper fermentation and fine tune yeast quantities in later doughs to hit desired time frames. You can't take a recipe, follow it to a 'T' and then be disappointed that the dough didn't rise enough/achieve sufficient oven spring. A recipe can't predict fermentation in every possible setting.  You have to predict fermentation- and you can only do that through trial and error.

If you post photos of your fermenting dough, we can help tell you when it's at it's peak, but no one here (or anywhere else) can tell you exactly how much yeast to use.

Oven Alchemy

Focusing on recipes while ignoring your oven setup is a little like a gardener going to tremendous lengths to combine ingredients for the perfect soil, but then failing to water the plant or give it light.  Just like a plant can't become a plant without water or light, a NY style pizza can't reach it's full potential without the kind of conditions that you find in quick baking deck ovens. Nothing is more criticial to the pizzamaking process than a short bake time. Without a short bake time, oven spring suffers. An 8 minute pizza will never have the oven spring of what you grew up eating in Brooklyn. The only way to dial that bake time back is modify your oven or get a more conductive, thicker stone.


Summing up, in the past, you've talked a bit out the simplicity of NY pizza and your desire to emulate the pizzeria owners of your youth and not overcomplicate things.  You can't get any more simple than bromate.  NY pizzeria owners have been buying bromated flour for decades without a second thought.  They may not know a thing about baker's percents, but, believe me, at some point prior to opening their establishments, they tested their dough with different quantities of yeast (and water) and learned how to both watch for and predict proper fermentation. If home bakers all owned deck ovens than that aspect would be incredible simple as well, but, since we don't, we have to get a bit nerdy about it. A pizzeria owner can be, for the most part, completely oblivious about their deck oven.  With our thermally challenged ovens, though, we have to understand things like conductivity and thermal mass. Mimicking the effects of a $2K+ deck oven with a $500 home oven is going to involve some alchemy.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 02:04:46 PM by scott123 »

Offline communist

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 09:42:54 AM »
Hark!  The Master Speaks! ;D

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 01:12:20 PM »
In my experience toughness of the crumb comes mainly from overgluten development and/or overfermentation.   Overgluten development can come from overkneading, too many stretch and folds, reballing too many times or reballing during or after cold fermentation.  Gluten development is also affected by the strength of the protein and the hydration levels as well as they affect how easy or how difficult it is to develop the proper amount of strength in a dough.   So a lot of this is somewhat relative with multiple variables potentially affecting the strength of the gluten strands.  It's hard to pick out exactly where your problems lay.  

As Scott mentioned, paying attention to the dough and fermentation is really important.  You should be taking a lot of notes when you make pizza and trying to trouble shoot and improve from there.  

The other variable that can lead to a tough crumb is the use of starters, particularly more mature starters.   I find that as a dough is fermented out really well, I run the risk of a tougher crumb if the dough is made with a starter versus a commercial yeast.   That's b/c the acids developed from the starter can toughen up the gluten matrix.  

A note about using lower protein flours or increasing your hydration to decrease chewiness or toughness.  It can work if you watch your kneading times and dough condition closely.

For many months I increased my hydrations ratios and still continued to get tough crumbs.  This happened b/c I was kneading too roughly.  I was kneading roughly to window pane each time.  The more I increase the water, the harder it made it to develop gluten, and the more I kneaded to offset that.  I was overkneading everytime without realizing it.   So using a higher hydration or a lower protein flour may not be the easy fix that it sounds.   It'll only fix the problem if you again don't over develope the gluten.   And the only way to achieve that is practice and pay attention.  

Chau
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 02:15:09 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Crust Softness
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 05:47:33 PM »
Bromhate

Was this a typo or intentional?  :-D
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