Author Topic: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!  (Read 349733 times)

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enter8

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1860 on: January 21, 2013, 07:45:42 PM »
Also the dough strengthening effect of old dough cannot be harnessed simply by "corporeal contact". It isn't magic, or osmosis for that matter.


Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1861 on: January 22, 2013, 04:00:56 AM »
Also the dough strengthening effect of old dough cannot be harnessed simply by "corporeal contact". It isn't magic, or osmosis for that matter.

Dear Enter8, I thank you for your input. Allow me to briefly tell you about one of my several trials of carefully experimenting with the method of juxtaposing, not mixing, new dough batch with old dough batch. In one of my early experiments, I prepared a 2.5 kilo batch of dough, using Caputo Pizzeria flour, 67% hydration, 3% salt, and 0.035% fresh yeast. I let the dough mass undergo 18 hours of initial fermentation at room temperature. This dough was specifically prepared to serve as my old dough after 18 hours of its initial fermentation.

By the 17th hour, I prepared another 2.5 kilo batch of dough, utilizing the same recipe and percentages as above, except my fresh yeast percentage was this time figured at 0.05%. By the 18th hour, I divided the the new dough batch in two halves. I placed the first half (hereinafter "A") juxtaposed with the 18-hour old dough in one container, and I placed the other half (hereinafter "B") all alone by itself in a separate container. Thereafter, I let "A" and "b" undergo initial fermentation for 20 hours at room temperature. After 20 hours, I formed dough balls out of "A" and "b", placed them inside dough trays, and let them rest for 7 hours at room temperature. After 7 hours, "A" dough balls appeared much puffier than "B" dough balls. Moreover, upon physical examination, I noticed that "A" dough balls had tougher skins than "B" dough balls'. At last, I opened "A" and then "B" dough ball in order to draft dough discs. "B" proved to be much easier to open than "A". In fact, I had to manhandle "A" in order to open it into a disc. "A" was indubitably more elastic and less extensive than "B". (By the above account, I am by no means implying that this is how Da Michele carries out the method, if at all. The way I executed the method was for sheer experimental and observational purposes.)

Therefore, at this stage of my ongoing experiments, my empirical data seem to challenge your assertion: ". . . The dough strengthening effect of old dough cannot be harnessed simply by 'corporeal contact'." There seems to be some kind of causation, definitely not "magic", between the old and new dough. If you decide to conduct an experiment like this, I would greatly appreciate it if you share your data here with us.

For whatever it's worth, my experiments also seem to indicate that there might be some sort of causal relation between intensification of the charred blisters appearing on the cornicione (baked out of a new dough) and the age of an old dough juxtaposing the new dough during its initial fermentation. The older the old dough becomes (hence the more acidified it becomes, up to a point), the more over-dramatized the blisters seem to become on the cornicione of the new dough. The picture, below, is an example, which appears as though the dough was cold fermented, whereas it was initially fermented for 20 hours at room temperature (70 to 74ºF) while adjoining a 42-hour old dough, and thereafter it rested as dough balls for 5 hours at room temperature. Good day!

Omid
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 07:34:51 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1862 on: January 22, 2013, 04:05:20 AM »

...As some may know my wife and I spent a week in Naples in mid December. When I return to the U.S in a few days I should have time to present the trip in detail. For now, I want to especially thank Omid and Marco for providing detailed suggests that helped tailor our adventure.
Here are a few shots from the two times we went to Da Michele.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8361/8402776639_a56988efac_b.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8498/8402776741_7de7a0072e_b.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8224/8403868942_74585a9353_b.jpg

-Peter


Dear Peter, I hope you had fun in Naples! I thank you for the pictures. I look forward to more pictures, if it is no trouble. Good day!

Omid
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

enter8

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1863 on: January 22, 2013, 04:07:12 AM »
Dear Enter8, I thank you for your input. Allow me to briefly tell you about one of my several trials of carefully experimenting with the method of juxtaposing, not mixing, new dough batch with old dough batch. In one of my early experiments, I prepared a 2.5 kilo batch of dough, using Caputo Pizzeria flour, 67% hydration, 3% salt, and 0.035% fresh yeast. I let the dough mass undergo 18 hours of initial fermentation at room temperature. This dough was specifically prepared to serve as my old dough after 18 hours of its initial fermentation.

By the 17th hour, I prepared another 2.5 kilo batch of dough, utilizing the same recipe and percentages as above, except my fresh yeast percentage was this time figured at 0.05%. By the 18th hour, I divided the the new dough batch in two halves. I placed the first half (hereinafter "A") juxtaposed with the 18-hour old dough in one container, and I placed the other half (hereinafter "B") all alone by itself in a separate container. Thereafter, I let "A" and "b" undergo initial fermentation for 20 hours at room temperature. After 20 hours, I formed dough balls out of "A" and "b", placed them inside dough trays, and let them rest for 7 hours at room temperature. After 7 hours, "A" dough balls appeared much puffier than "B" dough balls. Moreover, upon physical examination, I noticed that "A" dough balls had tougher skins than "B" dough balls'. At last, I opened "A" and then "B" dough ball in order to draft dough discs. "B" proved to be much easier to open than "A". In fact, I had to manhandle "A" in order to open it into a disc. "A" was indubitably more elastic and less extensive than "B". (By the above account, I am by no means implying that this is how Da Michele carries out the method, if at all. The way I executed the method was for sheer experimental and observational purposes.)

Therefore, at this stage of my ongoing experiments, my empirical data seem to challenge your assertion: ". . . The dough strengthening effect of old dough cannot be harnessed simply by 'corporeal contact'." There seems to be some kind of causation, definitely not "magic", between the old and new dough. If you decide to conduct an experiment like this, I would greatly appreciate it if you share your data here with us.


Omid that's essentially mass effect or more specifically the effects of a different fermentation environment.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 04:38:31 AM by enter8 »

Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1864 on: January 22, 2013, 04:12:20 AM »
Below are some more of my failed attempts in replicating Da Michele pizza base. So far, it has been an educational adventure, and I sincerely thank Peter, my boss, for kindly allowing me to use the Ferrara oven at Pizzeria Bruno. Good day!

Omid
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1865 on: January 22, 2013, 07:01:35 AM »
Also the dough strengthening effect of old dough cannot be harnessed simply by "corporeal contact". It isn't magic, or osmosis for that matter.

Dear Enter8, I thank you for your input. Allow me to briefly tell you about one of my several trials of carefully experimenting with the method of juxtaposing, not mixing, new dough batch with old dough batch. In one of my early experiments, I prepared a 2.5 kilo batch of dough, using Caputo Pizzeria flour, 67% hydration, 3% salt, and 0.035% fresh yeast. I let the dough mass undergo 18 hours of initial fermentation at room temperature. This dough was specifically prepared to serve as my old dough after 18 hours of its initial fermentation.

By the 17th hour, I prepared another 2.5 kilo batch of dough, utilizing the same recipe and percentages as above, except my fresh yeast percentage was this time figured at 0.05%. By the 18th hour, I divided the the new dough batch in two halves. I placed the first half (hereinafter "A") juxtaposed with the 18-hour old dough in one container, and I placed the other half (hereinafter "B") all alone by itself in a separate container. Thereafter, I let "A" and "b" undergo initial fermentation for 20 hours at room temperature. After 20 hours, I formed dough balls out of "A" and "b", placed them inside dough trays, and let them rest for 7 hours at room temperature. After 7 hours, "A" dough balls appeared much puffier than "B" dough balls. Moreover, upon physical examination, I noticed that "A" dough balls had tougher skins than "B" dough balls'. At last, I opened "A" and then "B" dough ball in order to draft dough discs. "B" proved to be much easier to open than "A". In fact, I had to manhandle "A" in order to open it into a disc. "A" was indubitably more elastic and less extensive than "B". (By the above account, I am by no means implying that this is how Da Michele carries out the method, if at all. The way I executed the method was for sheer experimental and observational purposes.)

Therefore, at this stage of my ongoing experiments, my empirical data seem to challenge your assertion: ". . . The dough strengthening effect of old dough cannot be harnessed simply by 'corporeal contact'." There seems to be some kind of causation, definitely not "magic", between the old and new dough. If you decide to conduct an experiment like this, I would greatly appreciate it if you share your data here with us.

For whatever it's worth, my experiments also seem to indicate that there might be some sort of causal relation between intensification of the charred blisters appearing on the cornicione (baked out of a new dough) and the age of the old dough juxtaposing the new dough during its initial fermentation. The older the old dough (hence more acidified it becomes), the more over-dramatized the blisters seem to become on the cornicione of the new dough. The picture, below, is an example, which appears as though the dough was cold fermented, whereas it was initially fermented for 20 hours at room temperature (70 to 74ºF) while adjoining a 42-hour old dough, and thereafter it rested as dough balls for 5 hours at room temperature. Good day!

Omid

Omid that's essentially mass effect or more specifically the effects of a different fermentation environment.

Dear Enter8, indeed I acknowledge what Didier Rosada stated (on which you seem to put certain weight of your position) in his article that I quoted above in the previous page:

"The quantity or 'mass' of dough that is allowed to ferment also plays a role in the strength of the dough. A larger piece of dough has the tendency to increase in strength faster compared to a smaller piece of dough. This is due to the fact that in larger masses of dough, all the chemical reactions happen faster and a better environment is created with conditions more favorable for microorganism activity: temperature, availability of nutrients, etc. This is what we refer to in the baking industry as the mass effect."

If I understand you correctly, your position is that the new dough (referred to in my experiment above, in Reply #1861) gained strength not because of any kind of cross-fermentation and cross-acidification through corporeal contact with the old dough, but simply because of sheer "mass effect" between the new and old dough batches. Within the context of my experiment above, do you suppose that the "mass effect" entails any accumulative effects of the "chemical reactions" of the old dough that are already in a more advanced stage than the chemical reactions of the new dough? Can one validly suppose that the new "fermentation environment", created out of the union between the old and new dough, include certain microorganisms and organic chemicals that may not be readily found, although potentially there, in the new dough if it had remained apart from the old dough? Does your position rule out, either entirely or partly, migration of fermentative and acid producing micro-organisms (in addition to the already generated acids, if any) from the old to the new dough? And, if your position does not rule out such migrations, does it suppose that they can play a role in strengthening the new dough? At last, if I were to repeat the experiment in my Reply #1861, but use another batch of new dough instead of the old dough, do you think that any of the new doughs will develop strength to the same extent as the new dough in my actual experiment as carried out in the same reply number? If "yes" or "no", why?

I am trying to fully comprehend what you specifically meant when you asserted, "The dough strengthening effect of old dough cannot be harnessed simply by 'corporeal contact' [with the new dough]." I thank you for your time and care. Good day!

Omid
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1866 on: January 22, 2013, 07:13:46 AM »
Omid - is the "failure" taste, texture, or both? From a visual perspective, your attempts easily replicate and surpass the best of what Da Michele produces. I find your experiments with proximity to be fascinating.

John

Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1867 on: January 23, 2013, 06:09:50 AM »
Omid - is the "failure" taste, texture, or both? From a visual perspective, your attempts easily replicate and surpass the best of what Da Michele produces. I find your experiments with proximity to be fascinating.

John


Dear John, thank you for the lavish compliment! In terms of texture, I have had great results, but not as much with regard to the flavor when my fermentation time-frame is about 20+5 hours at room temperature. If I stretch the 5 to 8 hours, I obtain much better results. (For all my experiments, I use Caputo Pizzeria flour, fresh yeast, and a hydration between 64.5 and 67%.) On June 25, 1989, The New York Times printed an article, written by Nelson Moe, on Neapolitan pizza. In the article, Salvatore Condurro (one of the pizza operators at Da Michele and the eldest son of Don Michele) told Nelson:

"The first thing is the crust, it's got to be soft and light. That's why we always prepare the dough the day before it is used, using the smallest amount of yeast possible, letting it rise about 15 hours. . . ." (http://www.damichele.net/pdf/rassegna/newyorktimes.pdf)

"15 hours" inside that tub!—that is thought-provoking. Of course, the "mass effect"—a very large and wet mass—is on their side, not to mention the possibility of using old dough by proximity.

Two days ago, I did another experiment with juxtaposing new with old dough. Unfortunately, something came up and I could not use the dough. Below is a picture of how the dough looked like the next day. The left side of the container contains the old dough and the right side contains the new dough. That is about 5 kilos of dough. Have a great day!
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 06:37:00 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1868 on: January 23, 2013, 11:24:04 AM »
If DM is taking old dough from and adding new dough to the tub, there may not be any break in production - ever. That means no washing and sanitizing the tub. The tub could have its own little ecosystem. If this is the case, the active contact area for the new dough is many times larger than simply where it touches the old dough; it's also wherever it touches the tub.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1869 on: January 23, 2013, 11:32:56 AM »
If DM is taking old dough from and adding new dough to the tub, there may not be any break in production - ever. That means no washing and sanitizing the tub. The tub could have its own little ecosystem. If this is the case, the active contact area for the new dough is many times larger than simply where it touches the old dough; it's also wherever it touches the tub.

I was thinking the same thing. It may be that after 100 years the natural yeast in and around the place has developed into something that affects the taste of the final product. Other factors may also be the tap water they use.

Are we positive they only use Caputo 00 pizzeria, and do not blend any other flour in? The blended flour will also contribute to flavor.

John


Offline thezaman

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1870 on: January 23, 2013, 01:13:18 PM »
 john i think that i can confirm caputo only

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1871 on: January 23, 2013, 02:01:30 PM »
john i think that i can confirm caputo only

Thanks Larry.

John

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1872 on: January 23, 2013, 03:19:28 PM »
Dear friends, upon doing a very brief research on this mechanized cheese grater/slicer, I came to find out that it is actually supposed to be a "vegetable cutter"! Nonetheless, it can be adapted for purposes beyond just cutting vegetables, as we use it at Pizzeria Bruno for grating different cheeses. I have never personally used this machine. Please see, below, the three pictures I shot. The last two pictures show the only two labels that I could find on the machine. I am not sure if OMCAN is the company that manufactured this machine or the company that just distributes this product in the US. Below is the OMCAN's URL address which has bunch of information on this food processor:

http://www.omcan.com/foodprocessors/hlc_300.html

By the way, according to Peter, this food processor costs about $1,500.00. Good night!

Omid


I'm trying to figure out what blades they use here.. After looking at the video demos of this, it looks like maybe the da Michele Omcan processor is using the dicing and slicing attachments... I wonder if I could recreate this using my cuisinart's french fry blade? Maybe briefly freezing the fior di latte would firm it up enough to handle this kind of mechanized abuse....
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 03:34:40 PM by R2-Bayou »
"Wretched excess is just barely enough."

Offline R2-Bayou

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1873 on: January 23, 2013, 03:27:31 PM »
Maybe this combination....

<a href="http://youtu.be/hCe9Nnivi2s?t=1m45s" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://youtu.be/hCe9Nnivi2s?t=1m45s</a>
"Wretched excess is just barely enough."

Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1874 on: January 26, 2013, 05:59:38 PM »
I'm trying to figure out what blades they use here. . . .


Dear R2-Bayou, I do not know what blade or combination of blades are utilized at Da Michele to slice the fior di latte. You may like to consider directly asking the pizzeria on their Facebook page and/or group:

Page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/LAntica-Pizzeria-da-Michele/139470536079639?fref=ts
Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/86666565573/

If you try the group, I suggest that you direct your question to Mr. "Dario Condurro", who knows English and is blood-related to the Condurro family.

Judging by what's visible in the Da Michele video (
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pxmIFz5914" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pxmIFz5914</a>
), it appears that the fior di latte (i.e., fior di latte d’Agerola) used at the pizzeria is on the firm side, in terms of consistency. Notice that they are not kept in brine. Also, check out the following Da Michele video, which demonstrates how stretchy or stringy the melted cheese is. (Per my experience, that is not always the case.)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub2-t91jPco" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub2-t91jPco</a>


Good day!

Omid
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

Offline Omidz

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1875 on: January 26, 2013, 09:26:47 PM »
Nice close up of the cheese Omid. This looks so different than our domestic versions. Almost like a hybrid between for De La latte and a whole milk brick of American mozzarella. From the sine you can tell it will stretch and not be very chewed at all.

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1876 on: January 26, 2013, 09:28:53 PM »
This makes me want a make cheese again and try fresh mozzarella logs again too.

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1877 on: January 27, 2013, 04:33:09 AM »
Dear Sub, thank you! I think Napoli72 might be right, although I have not yet studied his works in depth. For some time, I have been of the belief, only a belief, that L'antica Pizzeria Da Michele (hereinafter "DM") uses leftover dough or old dough—not in a direct manner (i.e., not directly mixing a portion of the old with the new dough), but in an indirect manner, which I will describe.

In my estimation, the DM dough technicians are calculatedly mindful of the strength of the dough they produce everyday. We have seen, either in person or in the DM videos available on Youtube, the peculiar strength and consistency possessed by their dough. Here, I am using the concept "dough strength" in much the same way as Mr. Didier Rosada, a professional baker, did in a summary fashion in his article quoted below. Although the article pertains to the sphere of bread making, it relates, in pertinent parts and to various degrees, to the type of dough produced by DM, in my opinion.


Dough Strength: Evaluation & Techniques
(By Didier Rosada)

A. Dough Strength
It is very important for bakers to have a clear understanding of dough strength. At the same time, it is one of the most difficult dough properties to assess. It is almost impossible to learn how to judge the strength of the dough by reading a technical book. Only much dedicated, practical work with dough at the bakery will educate a baker’s hands. With continued practice and guidance, a baker can learn to evaluate the strength of the dough by feel, and learn how to make corrections when necessary to achieve appropriate bread quality.

Strength is responsible for many dough and bread characteristics. An improper balance of strength can result in dough that is difficult to work with. . . . Improper strength balance can also lead to a mediocre final product quality.

Many variables can effect dough strength during the baking process. The goal of this article is to cover the main issues in order to help bakers understand what can go wrong; how to troubleshoot; and how to achieve more normal dough characteristics for optimum product consistency and quality.

B. Definition of Strength
Strength is a balance among three physical dough characteristics: extensibility, elasticity, and tenacity.

   1) Extensibility is the stretching property of the dough. Dough with good extensibility is easy to stretch. This is a fairly important characteristic for manual shaping of long shapes like baguettes, and, to a lesser extent, for the production of laminated dough.
   2) Elasticity is the property of the dough to return to its initial position after being stretched. Dough that noticeably springs back after being stretched is judged too elastic.
   3) Tenacity is the property of the dough to resist, more or less, a stretching action. This property can have some influence during the elongation part of the shaping process. If the dough resists a lot when a baker tries to make it longer, it can be described as tenacity.

There is a very close relationship between elasticity and tenacity. Elastic dough naturally resists the stretching action; dough with a lot of tenacity has the tendency to retract to its initial position very quickly. For this reason—at a bakery level—strength is often described as a balance between dough extensibility and dough elasticity. However, in a laboratory environment, all three characteristics (extensibility, elasticity and tenacity) are taken into consideration.

C. Strong Dough vs. Weak Dough
It is very common to hear in bakeries the terms elastic dough, extensible dough, strong dough or weak dough. Quite often, there is confusion about these important dough descriptions. We will now focus on the exact definitions of strong and weak dough.

   1) Strong dough can be defined as dough with a lack of extensibility and an excess of elasticity. This translates into dough the baker will find difficult to stretch during hand or machine shaping. Also, once the desired length is achieved, the dough will have the tendency to retract from its original length. Strong dough can result in shorter breads with rounder cross sections and inferior cut openings. These defaults can easily be explained by the lack of gluten extensibility, inhibiting the development of the bread during proofing and/or oven spring.
   2) Weak dough will be very easy to stretch (excessive extensibility), and won’t spring back at all (lack of elasticity) during the shaping stage. Despite a good machinability because of its lack of strength, the gluten will be too weak to retain a lot of gas during the proofing and the baking of the bread. As a result, finished products have a very low volume, flat cross sections, dense crumb structure and poorly developed cut openings.

It is critical for the baker to maintain a good balance between dough elasticity and dough extensibility in order to achieve adequate dough and final product characteristics. In baking, it is important to understand that the ingredients and process used can have a direct impact on the strength of the dough.

D. Factors Affecting the Strength of Dough

   1) Ingredients
       a) Flour, being the main ingredient, has a direct impact on the strength of the dough. Protein quantity and quality is, of course, a key factor in the strength of the dough. Flour with a high level of protein will provide a higher amount of gluten in the final dough, resulting in dough with a tendency to be very elastic and not very extensible. On the other hand, low protein flour will result in more extensible and less elastic dough. Very low protein flour will generate dough with a lack of strength.
       b) Protein quality also has a direct impact on the dough. An easy way to understand this is to compare flour made with soft wheat—pastry flour, for example—and flour made with hard wheat, such as bread flour. Proteins from soft wheat don’t have the same gluten forming ability compared to the proteins naturally found in hard wheat, leading to dough with poor strength and poor gas retention. But even when comparing hard wheats—depending on their protein quality—dough and final products can have very different characteristics. The quality of the protein is a very important factor to take into consideration and, because of that, it is difficult to give an exact desirable amount of protein. However, on average, flour between 10.5% and 12% protein should provide a good ratio between extensibility and elasticity.
       c) Ash content also has an impact on the strength of the dough. A lot of bran left in the flour after the milling process will interfere with gluten formation and generally lead to dough with lower strength. A good way to illustrate this is to compare whole-wheat flour and regular bread flour. Whole-wheat flours create doughs that are always more extensible and with lower gas retention. Conversely, low ash content flour (such as patent flour) will generate dough with the tendency to develop a light excess of strength. Again, it is difficult to give precise ash content, but, in general, ash content around .5% is desirable to achieve good strength properties.
       .
       .
       .

       h) Water quality and quantity used in the final dough may also effect dough characteristics. The hardness or softness of the water is due to the level of minerals that it contains. These minerals in a dough system are used as nutrients by the yeast and play an important role during fermentation activity. Hard water, because of its higher mineral content, generates dough with higher fermentation activity, which leads to dough with higher strength compared to dough made with soft water (lower mineral content).
       i) The hydration of the dough (in direct relation to the amount of water used in the formula) also affects the strength. Under-hydrated proteins create gluten with a lack of extensibility and an excess of elasticity. Overly hydrated proteins create very extensible dough with a lack of elasticity, requiring some changes in the baking process (such as longer mixing time, stretch and fold or longer fermentation time) to achieve good final product quality.
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   2) Mixing
This very important step in the baking process can also effect the strength of the dough. . . .

       a) Mixing time also effects the strength of the dough. Longer mixing time mechanically stretches and folds the gluten strands for a longer period of time. As a result, the chains of gluten will be longer and more bonded together, creating a more organized gluten structure. Because of the extra bonds created by a longer mixing time, the gluten network will be stronger. As a result, the dough will be more elastic and less extensible. On the other hand, shorter mixing times generate weaker gluten structure (fewer bonds are created). The dough obtained will have a lack of elasticity and, most of the time, an excess of extensibility. The baker must compensate by increasing first fermentation time and using one or several stretch and folds to improve the strength of the dough.

       b) Dough temperature has an indirect impact on dough strength. Warmer dough temperature generates more fermentation activity; cooler dough temperature generates lower fermentation activity. As we will see in the next section, more fermentation creates stronger dough, while less fermentation produces weaker dough.

   3) Fermentation
In a dough system, fermentation is responsible for the production of gas, alcohol, and—in advanced stages—acidity. Acidity is responsible for three important reactions for the properties of the dough and the quality of the breads.

       a) Some types of acids, such as organoleptic acids, will participate in the flavor of the final products by creating aromas.
       b) In addition, acids, by lowering the pH of the dough, slow down staling and inhibit mold growth, increasing the shelf life of the bread.
       c) Lastly, acidity will physically and chemically reinforce the gluten bonds, reinforcing the elasticity of the dough while decreasing its extensibility.

Bakers must remember that fermentation produces all of these reactions at the same time. For example, we can’t use fermentation for aroma production only, without taking the strength factor into consideration. This means that bakers who want to get good flavor characteristics by fermenting dough a long time will also automatically get stronger dough. To avoid that, some adjustments must be made in the baking process. Longer first fermentation time means shorter mixing time and higher hydration used in the formula (to achieve a soft dough consistency, therefore more extensibility).

When “no-time” doughs are made (no first fermentation is involved in the process), longer mixing time and, sometimes, dough oxidizer are needed. This is necessary to build up enough strength in the dough to compensate for the fact that no acidity will be produced after mixing (and therefore no strength will be developed).

The quantity or “mass” of dough that is allowed to ferment also plays a role in the strength of the dough. A larger piece of dough has the tendency to increase in strength faster compared to a smaller piece of dough. This is due to the fact that in larger masses of dough, all the chemical reactions happen faster and a better environment is created with conditions more favorable for microorganism activity: temperature, availability of nutrients, etc. This is what we refer to in the baking industry as the mass effect. This mass effect is particularly important to take into consideration when applying formulas developed for home baking to production or vice versa. For smaller batches of dough (up to 6 lbs.), longer fermentation time might be necessary, while larger batches (50 lbs. and up) might require shorter fermentation time.

   4) Preferments
Using preferment in the final dough will also effect its strength properties. As a general rule, anytime a preferment is added, the strength will increase. During the pre-fermentation, some acidity is produced, increasing dough strength. However, other factors concerning preferments must also be taken into consideration: the type of preferment, the quantity used in the final dough and their degree of maturation when incorporated in the final dough.

       a) Type of Preferment
Consistency of the preferment will have an effect on the dough extensibility. Because of the large amount of water involved in their formulas, liquid preferments, such as poolish, will develop more enzymatic activity during the pre-fermentation time.

Protease activity is particularly interesting for its ability to make the gluten more extensible, delivering all the advantages of the autolyse listed previously. Preferment allowed to ferment at room temperature and without salt also creates some protease activity (like sponge). If consistency is stiff, then less enzyme activity is generated, but still enough to see positive effects in the final dough.

When a sourdough process is used to make the final product, the dough automatically develops more strength, due to the higher level of acidity produced by these preferments (because of the activity of the bacteria present in the culture). This increase in strength can be an advantage for the baker who decides to retard some dough (stronger dough will retard better).

As explained previously, liquid sourdough promotes dough with better extensibility. Its use in the production of “long-shaped” breads like baguettes is recommended.

       b) Quantity of Preferment Used in the Final Dough
The increase in strength brought about by the use of preferment is proportional to the quantity of preferment used in the final dough. A higher percentage of fermented flour causes more acidity and, therefore, an increase in strength. This is a factor that bakers must take into consideration when developing formulas.

It is well known that higher amounts of preferments improve flavor, but it is important to remember that strength will also be increased and the rest of the baking process will have to be adjusted accordingly.

The amount of preferment is, in general, related to the length of the first fermentation. When only a short first fermentation time is possible, a larger amount of preferment can, and should, be used. If a long first fermentation time can be achieved, then the amount of preferment should be lowered to avoid an excess of strength.

This is a common mistake found in some bakeries. Many bakers think about preferment only in terms of flavor and forget that preferments also have an effect on the strength of the dough. The addition of preferment in formulas can also be used for troubleshooting. For example, flour with a lack of fermentation tolerance, or flour with a lack of maturation benefits from a higher percentage of fermented flour in the formulas (more acidity brought to the final dough).

       c) Degree of Maturation of Preferment
In order to get the maximum benefits from preferments, bakers need to use them when they are properly matured and will bring a good balance of strength to the final dough, improving flavor, and shelf life in the finished product.

           i) Over-mature Preferment
The extra level of acidity developed by an over-matured preferment can lead to dough with excessive strength, making the dough more difficult to handle and producing breads with lower volume, inferior cut openings and tighter cell structure. Off-tastes can also be noticeable.

When preferments are very over-matured, the acidity level can get so high that it starts to deteriorate the gluten. Dough takes a longer time to mix and starts to break down during the first fermentation, resulting in very low final product quality (almost no gas retention is left in the dough).

If preferment becomes over mature, it is necessary to decrease the percentage in the final dough to avoid an excessive amount of acidity. Baker’s percent of the final dough should be recalculated to take into consideration the lower proportion of fermented flour.

           ii) Under-mature Preferment
Under-matured preferment can result in dough with less strength than usual and breads with a flatter cross-section, with a flavor less complex than usual (lower acidity brought to the dough by the preferment).

The use of under-matured preferments requires longer first fermentation time to compensate for the lack of acidity usually produced by a properly matured preferment.

   5) Handling of the Dough
The way the dough will be worked (by hand or with machinery) also has a direct effect on the strength of the dough. Tight pre-shaping and shaping will increase dough elasticity and decrease dough extensibility, resulting in dough that is difficult to work with. Light pre-shaping and shaping will preserve dough extensibility, but might penalize dough elasticity, creating bread with a flat cross section and lower volume.

Bakers must learn how to evaluate the strength of the dough in order to handle it properly. Pre-shaping and shaping shouldn’t be done by habit or routine but more as a function of the dough characteristics. Dough with a lack of strength requires tighter pre-shaping and shaping, while dough with an excess of strength requires a lighter pre-shaping and shaping.

We find that the ability to accurately judge dough strength and evaluate the feeling of the dough may be one of the most difficult skills to learn in the baking profession. Experience and practice, i.e., spending a lot of time working with the dough in the bakery, is the best way to master this important technique. Once the skill is acquired, bakers are able to properly adjust hand-shaping or molder settings according to dough characteristics and have much better success at making consistent bread with optimum appearance.

In a lot of bakeries, it is still a common belief that the harder or stronger we work with the dough, the better it is. As described earlier, if a judicious balance between formula (proportion of the ingredients), mixing, and fermentation has correctly achieved the strength of the dough, it is not necessary to tightly shape the loaves. A gentle pre-shaping and shaping will guarantee final product with the desired characteristics. . . .

E. Conclusion
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, controlling the strength of the dough is crucial to obtaining proper dough characteristics and final product quality. Many factors can effect dough strength; understanding them will make bakers better able to troubleshoot when problems arise.
 
It is important to remember that all the steps of the baking process are interconnected. Therefore, there are many opportunities for the baker to troubleshoot and return to normal dough characteristics if the strength is off balance.

Dough strength can’t be learned in books. Lots of work with dough, under good supervision, is the only way to teach our hands how to assess dough strength properly and adjust our handling of the dough depending on its unique characteristics. (End of Quote)


Let's closely take a look at the very revealing DM video on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pxmIFz5914), from time-mark 1:30 to 4:38. As shown in the video, they ferment their dough batches inside a fairly large metal tub, located to the left of the fork mixer. As you can see, while a new batch of dough is being mixed in the mixer, the DM pizzaiolo takes out a quantity of already prepared and fermented dough from the left end of the tub and begins to make dough balls out of it. My assumption is that the pizzaiolo is opening some room for the new batch of dough being mixed in the mixer. Further, I assume that after the new batch is mixed, it will be placed inside the tub—right next to the old dough. So, the new dough is situated next to and is in corporeal contact with the old dough inside the tub. If so, cross-fermentation and cross-acidification (collectively, if you will, the "pre-ferment effect") may be conduced across the tub, transforming the strength of the new dough, in addition to the texture and flavor of the end products. And, if so, DM must have a very strict schedule for fermenting old dough batches and making new dough batches on timely basis in this cyclical fashion; otherwise, the dough strength, consistency, texture, and flavor can be negatively impacted.

I have already tried this method several times with limited success. I am still exploring this concept. In my assessment, it is very challenging to devise and conduct this kind of experimentation (which inflates your variables) in a non-commercial setting. In my particular case, my two principal obstacles, amongst others, have been my Santos fork mixer and the lack of "mass effect". Have a great day!


After conducting numerous meticulously devised experiments with the method of juxtaposing old with new dough in order to replicate Da Michele dough, I have come to the conclusion that use of this method by the pizzeria is highly improbable. I thought I let you know this. Good day!

Omid
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

Offline CJ

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  • Location: N California
Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1878 on: January 27, 2013, 10:16:40 AM »
I can't get away from the thought of another Ecco system working in a bulk fermentation tub. This is very interesting as I I'm thinking of making some traditional wood dough box's. Could this also have been a place dough received a bit of magic we are all looking for. Question? What wood was most commonly used in the production of boxes.
Thanks
CJ

Offline R2-Bayou

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  • Location: DC
Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #1879 on: January 28, 2013, 11:34:11 AM »
Dear R2-Bayou, I do not know what blade or combination of blades are utilized at Da Michele to slice the fior di latte. You may like to consider directly asking the pizzeria.........

Thanks for the info Omid!
"Wretched excess is just barely enough."


 

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