Author Topic: Neapolitan pizza cooling down  (Read 1827 times)

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Offline dellavecchia

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Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« on: July 04, 2011, 07:25:22 AM »
Tom - What would cause a pizza cooked at very high temps for 60-90 seconds in a WFO, that has a slightly crispy veneer and is meltingly soft in the crumb, to loose those characteristics and become very chewy after cooling down for 10 minutes or so?

John


Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2011, 10:02:28 AM »
John;How did you get it to stay crispy for 10-minutes???
When you fast bake a pizza at high temps, you develop a very thin crust, like searing a piece of meat (to retain the juices). Typically, within a minute or so, the pizza begins getting soft and soggy. Some things that you might do to improve the situation are:
Use a thin crust (no sugar, eggs, or milk in the dough formula).
Make sure the dough is well fermented (one or two days in the cooler is sufficient).
Very lightly oil the pizza skin, and then try using thin slices of fresh tomato rather than sauce.
Bake the pizza to the max, some charring is good to have.
That should be your best shot.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline thezaman

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 08:42:37 AM »
 Tom, neapolitan dough is normally made without oil or sugar. the procedure for making the dough as well as the toppings are modeled after the pizza of Naples. in the neapolitan section i questioned why my dough sometimes gets leathery after cooling. it is sometimes very elastic and hard to stretch and other times soft and stretches easily. i want to know what part of the dough making process  could cause these differences. the soft stretchable skin is the one that has better eating qualities after cool down.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 10:59:05 AM »
I'm betting that fermentation is the culprit here. Any variations in the amount of fermentation that the dough receives would account for what you are seeing. Some of the things that can influence the fermentation are;
1) Variations in the dough temperature.
2) Variations in the amount of yeast.
3) Variations in the amount of salt.
4) To a lesser degree, variations in the amount of water used in making the dough.
5) The temperature at which the dough is fermented.
6) The time to which the dough is subjected to fermentation.
The dough temperature should be as constant as possible. Use a thermometer to measure the water temperature as well as the finished dough temperature.
If possible, scale rather than volumetrically portion the salt and yeast as small variations can make a big in the way the dough ferments.
Try to place the fermenting dough in an area where the temperature is as constant as possible. Many like to use the cooler for long, but consistent fermentation times.
Keep in mind that doughs made without any shortening/oil will always be somewhat tough and chewy. To see a good example of this, just buy two packages of tortillas, one with normal fat, and the other fat-free.
To some extent, variations in baking can also influence the texture of the finished crust too, crusts that are not baked quite as long will tend to be tougher and more chewy.

Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Online scott123

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 01:03:40 PM »
John, heat can disguise excessive gluten formation.

Gluten contributors:

1. Kneading
2. Resting
3. Extended (but not too extended) Fermentation
4. Late balling/Re-balling
5. Older flour (to a point)
6. Salt
7. Acid
8. Excess water
9. Rough handling during the form
10. Long Bakes (for Caputo)

Kneading/Resting/Extended Fermentation

Windowpaning should play no role in great pizzamaking.  The only area where windowpaning works is with emergency doughs, and those, as the name reveals, should only be used in emergencies because of the sacrifice in flavor and digestibility. This is especially true for commercial Neapolitan pizza, where space sufficient for extended fermentation isn't optional (like NY), but mandatory. A Neapolitan pizzeria serving people a same day crust is destined to fail. Water + flour + time = gluten.  It doesn't matter if it's an autolyse, a rest, or the time spent in fermentation. Any dough fermentated longer than overnight should be kneaded minimally. Lower protein flours such as Caputo tend to be a little more forgiving to overkneading, but you still want to be careful and avoid anything close to windowpaning. I use a cottage cheese appearance as an indicator for kneading 2-3 day fermented NY doughs.  Since Neapolitan is generally less fermentation time than that, I'd recommend shooting for somewhere in between cottage cheese and smooth.  I would also, at least once, try a cottage cheese appearance and see where it gets you.

Balling/Re-balling

Even with plenty of rest (6 or more hours) after balling, I still think post-bulk ferment balling might contribute to toughness (at typical elevations ;) ). Maybe.  If you've tried everything else and are still getting leatheriness post or pre-cooling, try a pre-ferment ball. Re-balling is, imo, out of the question.  I know some members re-ball to avoid too much dough spread, and, while I think avoiding dough ball touching is important, re-balling is not the answer.   Tender, minimally kneaded dough should spread a bit and you should allow for this by placing fewer dough balls in each container and staggering them diagonally or using individual containers.

Older Flour

The age of the Caputo flour in your cupboard is always going to be a question mark.  Caputo seems to be somewhat tight lipped about flour manufacturing, so I'm not certain as to how long they age the flour in-house.  Since it's unbromated and they have local pizzerias that need to work with it immediately after purchasing, I'm sure they age it a bit.  Since the Caputo we get in the states is coming from Italy and purchased from specialty stores with potentially poor turnover, that could translate into older flour in our American cupboards, or, some of us make get lucky and latch on to a more direct/faster source. There's also a very likely possibility that you might purchase a fresh bag on one occasion and an old bag on another.  Not only should you, like all professional bakers, approach each shipment with the expectation of slightly different results, you need to be aware that if you go through a bag of Caputo slowly (longer than 6 months), there's a potential for the end of the bag to form slightly more glutenous doughs than the beginning.  

Now, as a flour ages, it doesn't keep increasing gluten forming potential indefinitely.  There is a point where it's gluten potential will reach it's peak and any further aging will have no impact.  Assuming Caputo ages their flour in-house, this should lessen the disparity between flour that's obtained quickly from the manufacturer and flour that's sat around. Also, the gluten potential differences I'm talking about here should be pretty minimal.  If the age of the flour is contributing in some way to leatheriness, it's only part of the problem.

Salt

Salt is pretty straightforward.  Exceeding 3% will give you both gluten and fermentation issues, but I don't see any of the bakers on this board doing that, at least, not intentionally.  I think the most important aspect of salt is to stick to the same amount and measure it carefully.

Acid

Acid in non-sourdoughs is also pretty straightforward.  In longer ferments, you will find some CO2 dissolving into carbonic acid causing some gluten strengthening, but you'll also find some weakening with protease activity.  I don't think one really needs to focus on pH when dealing with non sourdough reasonably fermented (less than 2 days) Neapolitan doughs. The one thing that I would do regarding pH, is, like salt, pick a fermentation routine (time and temp) and try to stick to it.

Acid in sourdoughs... forget about it  ;D.  I can completely understand why pizzerias like Da Michele and Keste avoid sourdoughs.  It brings an unbelievable layer of complexity to the equation. If you are using a starter and experiencing leathery crusts, I'd try switching to an all fresh yeast formula, seeing if that resolves the leatheriness, and, if it does, start analyzing your sourdough approach closer.  A useful tool in that battle might be a pH meter like the one Norma has.

Water

I don't see a lot of documentation on this, but I have found personally, that if you go too much above a flour's absorption value, the crust can get tough.  At least at lower elevations (I don't think Bill and Chau have ever produced tough crusts and they regularly work with higher hydrations). For the rest of us, though, I don't think we should be exceeding 60% with Caputo, with 58% being the sweet spot for the best oven spring while still achieving good tenderness.

Rough Forming

The slap method, although fun to do and watch, might be a bit counterproductive when it comes to tenderness. It's great for developing gluten in the undercrust and giving it a bit more tooth, but... even when done correctly, it still stresses the rim more than a gentle knuckle stretch.  Although neither Bianco nor Lahey make pure Neapolitan pizzas, they do put out amazing and relatively tender products and both are renowned for doing incredibly gentle forms. I find that if I slap the center of my finger pressed dough, the gluten will tighten and, when I go to knuckle stretch it, the center will have far less propensity to thin out. But that's with the dough on the bench and I'm making sure to slap only the center of the dough.  If tenderness is important to you, I'd avoid the jerking of the rim in the traditional Neapolitan slap technique.

Longer Bakes

I know there are some advanced pizza making alchemists on this forum that are pretty proud of their longer Caputo bakes, but, for the rest of us, I think it's a good idea to keep Caputo dough bakes to under 90 seconds, as Caputo doughs have a very strong propensity to produce tough crusts when baked longer.

Summing up, here's my recommendations (try one at time)

Enough kneading to produce a slightly cottage cheese-y appearance
Pre-ferment balling with staggered container placement
Flour age awareness
If sourdough, experiment with non sourdoughs to rule out other factors
58% hydration (or possibly even 56% if you're doing less than a minute bakes)
Gentle forming
Sub 90 second bakes for Caputo


Lastly, if all else fails and you want to guarantee tenderness, I would play around with lower protein flours.  I know Craig has achieved pretty amazing results with KAAP, and although KAAP has a higher protein than regular AP, it's lower than Caputo. Indian bakers making naan at very similar temps to Neapolitan achieve very tender crumbs and great oven spring with lower protein flour. I would suggest avoiding malt, though. A 50/50 pizza 00/pasta 00 might be a good jumping off point.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 01:06:54 PM by scott123 »

Offline thezaman

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 06:40:15 PM »
 thank you, tom and scott. i did one thing in each group that is different than normal. first in toms analysis i let my dough get away from me. .03 ounces of wet yeast in 15 pounds of caputo. i got very busy at work and let it rise 10 hours in bulk before i could get to it. kitchen temperature was about 95 degrees.with scotts analysis i went to 60 % hydration where i have been at 58 %. with the heat and humidity i went in the wrong direction.
  i also talked to Roberto today and he gave me a mixing procedure for refrigerator stored dough. his method is based on all room temperature storage.

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 07:28:02 PM »
i also talked to Roberto today and he gave me a mixing procedure for refrigerator stored dough. his method is based on all room temperature storage.

Any chance you could shed a little more light on this mixing procedure or did Roberto share this with you in confidence?

Also, the lower hydration will help, but, out of my entire list, nothing is more critical for achieving easy to open skins/tender when cool crusts than minimal kneading.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 08:22:40 PM by scott123 »

Offline thezaman

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2011, 01:52:53 PM »
 scott, the main point roberto stressed was reduced mixing time. it seems to me the amount of salt called for in neapolitan dough would strengthen the gluten and help cause the toughness. every recipe i have seen uses 3%, and that is what caputo recommends as well .

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 01:55:33 PM »
every recipe i have seen uses 3%, and that is what caputo recommends as well .

Larry,

Is the Caputo recommendation for a cold fermented dough or a room temperature fermented dough?

Peter

Offline thezaman

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Re: Neapolitan pizza cooling down
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 06:43:04 PM »
I am not sure. The way I read it is mix, bulk rise, ball and use after 6 hours . Refrigerate leftover dough for next day. I am sure others will know for sure