Author Topic: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture  (Read 519 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline pizzapprentice66

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: San Diego
  • I Love Pizza!
Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« on: April 01, 2014, 10:43:59 PM »
Hi, I have live in San Diego.  I have been trying to perfect my pizza dough for about a year now.  I make and bake samples at least once a week.  I am getting frustrated after reading thousands of blogs, articles, watching videos, reading books.  I seem to be stuck in a rut.  Several months ago I decided that I would focus on a very specific portion of ingredients only varying slightly each test.  I figured this would produce my eventual perfect dough.  I was wrong.  I am beginning to think my sourdough starters (I use four different in my tests) just don't form enough gluten.  Here is the good and the bad and my current recipe.  If any has any tips so I can resolve my issues and improve my dough I welcome the help sooo sooo much!

The good:  I love the feel of my dough when working with it before the first rise.  Sometimes, but not always, I get an outer crust that resembles the crumb in my sourdough breads with those pockets glistening and the bottom is thin and crispy.  This is what I think is my perfect dough.

The bad: 
1. very little flavor considering the flavor I get from two of my three wild yeas starters when making bread.
2. dough always tears when I am stretching it, even when I get a window pane before my rise (I never get a really strong pane but I would not expect that with my flour ratios).
3. dough doesn't always give me the nice crumb that I expect around the edge, only on occasion and the dough felt right when working it
4. along with the tears the dough gets so thin right away in the middle unless i roll it and I don't want to roll it.  I watch countless hours on you tube of people stretching Neapolitan dough but I cannot seem to do this without thin spots and tears

My recipe
1 cup wild yeast starter (I use one of three I have from sourdough.com plus a fourth I have made from combining two of them.) I try to keep a 100% hydration by using equal weight (in grams) when I add my water and flour.  All the starters seem active when working with them and all rise well in bread when I use to test the rise in various recipes in Ed Woods book.

390 g Caputo 00 flour (sometimes use Giusto 00)
100 g KA Bread flour
300 ml water (from Brita)
3/4 t salt

-I mix about 300 g of my flour with my starter and all of my water.  I let sit for 30 min.
- I sprinkle my salt in and then slowly add/stir in rest of flour. I always use all my flour and some days I add more when I don't get the consistency I am used to getting. I let it rest for about 15 min after I mix everthing in and before I knead.
- I always mix my hand I don't own a mixer.  I knead with the technique I learned on you tube for wet doughs (I think it is the French technique?) where I scoop and slap down, turn, scoop, repeat.  As the dough firms up I get gentle with it and begin stretching and turning.
- My first knead is about 3 min and then I rest again for 10-15 min
- I knead again until I get a window pane.  I never get a great one, it always tears a little around the edge but I make sure I can stretch at least the apprx 2inch window before it tears.
- I let set in my bowl, covered, until I see about a 1.5 increase.  This is usually about 3 hours for me but sometimes it doubles in this time.
- I take out of the bowl with my scraper (gently as I think I should do).  I press the gas out with my palm and form a ball and let rest 30 min.
- I divide in three balls and shape again then put in my glad containers.
- I start testing my dough at 48 hours and then two more days. I get identical results at 2, 3, 4 days (same tearing, thin in middle, very little flavor).

So I will gladly accept help and apply them systematically to improve my dough.  Thank you and I look forward to having fun here!


Online Adrian

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 17
  • Location: Austria
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2014, 10:49:47 PM »
Am I reading this right?
You use one entire cup (about 190g) of starter for just 490g of flour and let it ferment for 48h (or even more)?

If this was true, you either have a almost dead starter or you do a very cold fermentation. As the dough rises to 150% of volume in 3 hours, I assume your starter is well alive :)

Do you use very cold fermentation? This could lead to a dough full of acetic acid but without much lactic acid which gives the flavour.
If you don't put your dough into the fridge, my guess would be over fermentation. And even if you do so, it still could be. 30' + 25' for kneading and rest + 3h fermentation + 30' of rest.

This is 4:25 hours of warm fermentation with about 38% starter. With my starter the dough would definitely be overfermented by that time.

Adrian

Offline TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10607
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2014, 11:15:06 PM »
You do pretty much the opposite of everything I do. If you want to take a look at how I do things, I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20477.msg202047.html#msg202047

In general, I'd suggest less culture and not using the fridge. Both are likely contributing to your weak dough. I suspect using the fridge is why you aren't getting the flavor or crumb structure you want. IMO, there are few things worse you can do to a SD dough than put it in the fridge for an extended period of time.  I also wouldn't bother with the windowpane test. You may actually be overworking your dough. With 24+ hours of fermentation, it doesn't matter if your dough windowpanes. You hardly even need to work it. Simply getting it homogeneous is probably enough. Time is your friend in developing gluten.

What does your hydration work out to after figuring in the starter?
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6335
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2014, 11:22:33 PM »
Beyond what's already been said, I'm seeing a salt problem. Salt plays an important role in strengthening dough.

I'm not seeing a weight for the starter flour, but, even without taking that into consideration, you're at .9% salt. By the time you count the flour in the starter, you could easily be dipping under .7%.  NY style pizza is in the 2% salt realm and Neapolitan is 2.5% to 3%.

The lack of salt, beyond impacting gluten formation, will also impair flavor.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 11:29:36 PM by scott123 »

Online JD

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 829
  • Location: NE Mississippi
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2014, 08:55:57 AM »
Craig & Scott are pro's... take their advice seriously.

You can take mine with a grain of salt, however. I did about 6 months of experimentation using sourdough & NY style pizza. I eventually realized the fridge completely stunted the fermentation, and like Craig said just isn't optimal for sourdough pizza.

What is your process when you're ready to make pizza? For example, do you re-ball ever? Do you pull the dough from the fridge a few hours early to warm up some?

 
Josh

Offline f.montoya

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 329
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Land of the Rising Sun
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2014, 11:14:32 AM »
I agree with the above post. Scott's advice is spot on regarding the salt, and Craig is also right. The only thing I will add, or slightly disagree with, is that using the fridge can often be an option for great dough depending on the yeast. Neapolitan dough is more about avoiding additional heat during the mixing and ferment period , and there's nothing specifically wrong with avoiding lower temps. However, I recommend not using the fridge when using fresh yeast or starters. If you use IDY, the fridge for three days or four days, actually improves flavor and texture. IDY is really flavorless unless it's given time to mature and warmer temps don't help it much. A good sour dough starter is already full of flavor so you can give it an overnight ferment in bulk, ball it and use it as soon as 4 hours, but, if you are gentle with your dough ball when opening, you'll get great results leaving them in balls longer than that.

One of the great mysteries on these forums is exactly how Craig opens his dough balls. Nobody knows and everybody wants to know because he works with very delicate dough that he very eloquently teaches how to make. Maybe he'll post a video one day because I think there are a lot of people who might be able to replicate his recipe, but are unable to properly handle that dough.  ;D
« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 11:16:47 AM by f.montoya »

Offline TheRailroadBulls

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 36
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Michigan
  • Fatboy Style!!
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2014, 11:25:34 AM »
Beyond what's already been said, I'm seeing a salt problem. Salt plays an important role in strengthening dough.

I'm not seeing a weight for the starter flour, but, even without taking that into consideration, you're at .9% salt. By the time you count the flour in the starter, you could easily be dipping under .7%.  NY style pizza is in the 2% salt realm and Neapolitan is 2.5% to 3%.

The lack of salt, beyond impacting gluten formation, will also impair flavor.

So... if I was making an NY dough, with around 6 liters of water and Bouncer HG flour (I believe it's in the ballpark of 13% gluten), and about 5-6 cups of EVOO, with no sugar added, what would you suggest as a proper amount of salt? Using a bakers calculator tool at home, I came out to just over half of what the shop I work for uses, but they also add a bunch of sugar. My last batch came out fantastic but i've had a problem with tearing too that I never had before I stopped using sugar..
"Conveyers make McPizza" - Some guy on here said this, and if I could remember his name i'd give him proper credit. Best line i've heard in a while.

Offline TheRailroadBulls

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 36
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Michigan
  • Fatboy Style!!
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2014, 11:26:24 AM »
So... if I was making an NY dough, with around 6 liters of water and Bouncer HG flour (I believe it's in the ballpark of 13% gluten), and about 5-6 cups of EVOO, with no sugar added, what would you suggest as a proper amount of salt? Using a bakers calculator tool at home, I came out to just over half of what the shop I work for uses, but they also add a bunch of sugar. My last batch came out fantastic but i've had a problem with tearing too that I never had before I stopped using sugar..

Uh... maybe I meant quarts of water? I can't remember. I'm at school right now.
"Conveyers make McPizza" - Some guy on here said this, and if I could remember his name i'd give him proper credit. Best line i've heard in a while.

Online Adrian

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 17
  • Location: Austria
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2014, 04:15:00 PM »
Assuming a hydration of  about 60% you'll need about 10kg of flour for 6 litres of water.
250g of salt would be 2.5% of salt. 300g would be 3%.

If you have a hydration of 62,5% it will be 9.6kg of flour.
The corresponding weights of salt would be 240g and 288g

Offline pizzapprentice66

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: San Diego
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2014, 08:50:57 PM »
Thanks Adrian.  Yes my starter seems alive when I am feeding and baking bread so likely my issues are related to the cold temp. There is a lot of info out there about using the fridge for pizza dough (and in books too) but I think the recurring theme here in all the responses is DONT DO IT.  And yes you are correct I am using 1 cup of starter

Craig, I think the best thing to try at this point is to follow your directions and see what my results are.  I really did like the idea of the fridge because I make so much dough an it is just me so I like the idea that I could use it day 2, 3, 4 but I think it is crystal clear that, although convenient, it will never produce the crust I want.

Thanks Scott, I see you and f.montoya think I have a salt issue.  So I trust hitting Craig's directions will remedy that situation by increasing my salt. I am not good at calculations yet, one area I really struggle with is the math but I believe at my 100% hydration for my starter and using 190 g (my 1 cup) I am at 67% hydration in my final dough calculation - getting at that figure by using 95g as my flour weight in my starter.

On the re-balling JD, I only have done this a few times thinking that it would help. Once it did reduce tearing and when I cut the crust and examined the cross-section it looked pretty good (nice air pockets in it).  But the second time I tried the re-balling I did not notice any improvement in tearing and crust structure.  And sorry I left off my warm-up (you asked about that).  Yes I always warm up for about 2 hours, varying slightly if the chill goes out of the dough sooner.  I had ready that I should wait until the dough is not chilly to the touch and has that soft, supple feel that it had when I put it in the fridge.

So thanks everyone - SERIOUSLY this is so awesome.  I am going to use my Ischia Island starter and follow Craig's directions this weekend after studying his info a bit more.  I will let you know the results.


Offline TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10607
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2014, 11:00:22 PM »
One of the great mysteries on these forums is exactly how Craig opens his dough balls. Nobody knows and everybody wants to know because he works with very delicate dough that he very eloquently teaches how to make. Maybe he'll post a video one day because I think there are a lot of people who might be able to replicate his recipe, but are unable to properly handle that dough.  ;D

Maybe someday I'll make a video. I would add that there are at least 15 people here at the forum who have seen me open a dough ball in person, so it can't be that great of a mystery.  ;D
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline Tscarborough

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 3058
  • Location: Austin, TX
    • Pizza Anarchy
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2014, 11:14:36 PM »
He just kind of mashes it out with his foot, then spins it over his head for a couple minutes.  Easy-Peasy!

Offline f.montoya

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 329
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Land of the Rising Sun
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2014, 01:58:04 PM »
He just kind of mashes it out with his foot, then spins it over his head for a couple minutes.  Easy-Peasy!

Is that all? :-D :-D :-D

Offline f.montoya

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 329
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Land of the Rising Sun
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2014, 02:00:04 PM »
Maybe someday I'll make a video. I would add that there are at least 15 people here at the forum who have seen me open a dough ball in person, so it can't be that great of a mystery.  ;D

Trust me. Invite me to the 2015 summit, I'm coming...with my HD camera.  ;D

Offline tinroofrusted

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1011
  • Location: OC, CA
  • Experimenting....
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2014, 03:48:31 PM »
Trust me. Invite me to the 2015 summit, I'm coming...with my HD camera.  ;D

You would definitely win the award for longest trip to get there. 

Offline f.montoya

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 329
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Land of the Rising Sun
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2014, 07:53:03 AM »
You would definitely win the award for longest trip to get there.

Or, we could make it an international summit and have it at my house. I'll have two WFO's by then.  :chef:

Offline Totti

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 79
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2014, 02:08:41 AM »
Next business trip to Japan I have decided I may need to drop past Fidel's for a pie. :)

Offline f.montoya

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 329
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Land of the Rising Sun
Re: Help needed to fix my tearing, thin spots and texture
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2014, 08:42:20 AM »
Next business trip to Japan I have decided I may need to drop past Fidel's for a pie. :)

Absolutely welcome, Totti.  :)