Author Topic: Effects of hydration levels?  (Read 3449 times)

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Offline JimBob

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Effects of hydration levels?
« on: June 09, 2005, 06:17:20 PM »
Hello all, I would like to know how different hydration levels effect the finished crust of a pizza?

Thanks
JimBob


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2005, 07:52:39 PM »
That's a tough question to answer in a general way because there are a lot of factors in any one case that can affect the outcome of a crust. But if you take a single pizza dough recipe (such as the Lehmann NY style dough recipe) and vary only the hydration level while keeping everything else constant (which is not easy to do in a home setting), the effect of increasing the hydration percent should be to increase the openness and airiness of the crumb. Keep in mind also that different flours can have significantly different absorption ranges. For example, for the KASL it is 63% plus or minus 2%. For the Caputo 00 pizzeria flour, it is 55-57%. With some effort, you can go beyond those ranges but the dough will be more difficult to handle and shape or else the overall character of the dough will change. For example, if you increase the hydration percent to around 65-70% or so, you can make a foccacia with its larger hole structure; going to 70-80% hydration, you can make a ciabatta, with its even more pronounced hole structure.

In any one individual case the outcome can vary depending on such factors as how long and at what speed you knead a dough, how you form and shape it (e.g., by a rolling pin, machine, or by hand shaping and tossing), what size skin you make and its thickness, whether you proof the skin before baking, and how the skin is dressed and baked. In a scenario as broad as this, the hydration percent may not govern the outcome of the finished crust.

Peter

Offline JimBob

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2005, 08:13:51 PM »
This answers my question perfectly.  All else aside, increasing the hydration level causes larger air bubbles in the crust (from steam generation??).  Also increasing the hydration level obviously changes the dough consistency. 

So lets say that I have a dough recipe that yields a slightly sticky dough that comes off the hook easily.  The dough is placed in the fridge overnight and then cooked the next day with slightly small air pockets in the finished product.  Because the dough was a little stiff coming out of the fridge I want to make it softer and increase the air pocket size of the finished product.  I want to use the dough right from the fridge with no warm up time.

In this case I could try increasing the hydration level which would result in a dough that is stickier coming off the dough hook but would be softer coming out of the fridge and offer increased air pocket size.

I know this is a very elementary scenario so bear with me.   ???
JimBob

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2005, 09:37:45 PM »
There will be moisture and alcohol (ethyl alcohol) in the dough that will burn off during baking but the principal source of the oven spring will be carbon dioxide. Once the temperature of the crust gets above 140 degrees or so, the yeast will die and the crust will no longer expand.

In your example, you don't want to take the dough out of the refrigerator and immediately shape it into a skin, dress it and bake it. If the dough is below around 55 degrees F when you start to shape it, the crust can develop large bubbles during baking. Some people like the large bubbles, and even fight over who gets them, but if you were a pizza operator you wouldn't and you would start looking for your bubble popper (or you would consider docking the skin with a docking tool before dressing it).

Usually a counter warmup time of about an hour or two is sufficient before shaping, and it allows enough time for the dough to rise a bit before shaping. Since room temperatures can vary quite a bit throughout the year, I use dough temperature rather than time as a guide for when to start shaping the dough. As a target dough temperature, I use around 62-65 degrees F. The dough will last a few hours beyond that even if the dough temperature rises during that time. To be on the safe side if you are making several pizzas at about the same time, you might want to keep the unused dough balls in the refrigerator and remove them one or two at a time about an hour or two before using. I haven't personally had a problem even when I have brought all the dough balls out of the refrigerator at the same time. Sometimes the last dough ball is the best one.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2005, 11:45:14 PM »
Cheesy,

LOL...I used the Lehmann dough as an example because that is the one I have had the most experience with, including using hydration percents from around 60% to 67%. Tom Lehmann, a/k/a "Dough Doctor", is director of baking at the American Institute of Baking (AIB), a not-for-profit organization that focuses on education and research in the baking and food industry. Lehmann is considered an expert on doughs, and especially pizza doughs. He is also involved with PMQ (Pizza Marketing Quarterly) and Pizza Today, both of which are industry publications. When Steve asked for volunteers to adapt Lehmann's industrial-size NY style dough recipe for home use, I raised my hand. Like the Energizer bunny, I kept on going and going... ;D.

Peter

Offline JimBob

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2005, 06:16:35 AM »
Thanks for the reply Pete.  One of the pizza shops I grew up working in had us keep the dough in the prep cooler until we needed to use it.  I do remember that we had to pop bubbles constantly while cooking, but it seems that maybe I became accustomed to a method that was used to preserve dough costs rather than increase the quality of the finished product.
JimBob

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2005, 06:21:33 AM »
Cheesy,
The foremost authority on pizza making at this forum referenced the foremost pizza dough authority in the US and you question the veracity of the post?

Pete-zza's post was factually unassailable. His intent was one of helping a fellow member. Like a poor marksman, you missed the target.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2005, 08:20:15 AM »
I took no offense whatsoever at what Cheesy said, and I don't think he meant any either. I realize that not everyone knows who Tom Lehmann is and I perhaps should have done a better job at the outset of educating folks at the forum on his place in the pizza world. I just try to do what Tom Lehmann does--answer people's questions about pizza as best I can, realizing that I am miles away from being able to do as good and competent job as he.

Peter

Offline scott r

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2005, 02:07:13 PM »
After two months of experimenting with caputo doughs, I just made 20 500 gram balls of Lehmann dough for the first time.  This dough was so easy to get right, and the texture of the dough was PERFECT!  I have been having a trouble with my caputo dough being a tiny bit tougher than a neapolitan pizza I have tasted that was made by a pro.  It is so nice to know that I can make a pizza (Pete-zza modified Lehmann) that turns out better than my local pizza shops!  Peter, and Jeff V, I just want to thank you for all I have learned from you. 

I did change a few things since I was using the eletrolux mixer.  Specifically I totally followed Jeff Varasano's mixing directions exactly, autolyse, very gradual addition of flour, 5 min break toward the end, 20 minute rest before forming balls.  My hydration percent ended up higher than the recipe, quite wet, as I found it tough to get all the flour into the recipe.  I also deviated from the original recipe by adding 1% molasses to the dough.  I did not find that the dough browned (or burned) too fast because of the addition of the molasses.  I have heard from Peter that this could happen with a pizza stone and the addition of sugar in the recipe.  The sugar supposedly works better if you are cooking on a pizza screen or pan.

My pies are going to be made at a party on Saturday, so the pizza I am referring to was made after about a 6 hour room temp rise, and a bake in a 550 degree oven.  Although there were not the strong flavors of fermentation that I think I will get from the fridge rise dough, the molasses added a wonderful flavor to the crust.  It definitely reminded me of my favorite pizzeria from my childhood (Vincents pizza park in Pittsburgh) who I have recently learned use molasses.  I think my guess at the 1% for the molasses was probably correct.  This is some strong flavored stuff!

Again, thank you Peter and Jeff, I think this party is going to be a hit (well at least the pizza!).

P.S. for the same price as ordering 12 pounds of King Arthur Sir Lancelot delivered to my home, I picked up a 50 pound bag cash and carry from a local foodservice provider.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2005, 02:51:48 PM »
scott,

Good luck with your party.

For all the Lehmann doughs I have made, I haven't tried the basic recipe using a formal autolyse method. A long time ago, before autolyse became popular on this forum, I had made a basic Lehmann dough with a rest period, which I treated as an autolyse, but in retrospect it wasn't the best one to use, and I didn't find the results all that noteworthy. I plan in due course to try the basic Lehmann recipe with the Calval autolyse, which I used fairly recently with a preferment version of the Lehmann dough, to see if the dough handling results are similar.

If the Lehmann doughs work out well for you at the party and you don't have to use the Heimlich maneuver on one of your guests or to dispense doses of Kaopectate, would you mind posting the final recipe, including ingredient amounts and the exact procedures you used to make the dough (I assume the Varasano approach)? If so, the Lehmann thread would be a good place to put it, to keep it with all the other Lehmann-inspired recipes. 

You didn't indicate the size of pizzas you are making. But if you will be using 500 gram dough balls, or 17.35 ounces per dough ball, that would suggest a pizza size between 14 and 15 inches (depending on the thickness factor you use). Is that correct?

Peter


Offline scott r

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Re: Effects of hydration levels?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2005, 05:55:08 PM »
You guessed it peter, I am making 14 to 15 inch pies on my round 16 inch stone.  I experimented with some different weights last week while I was trying to get my caputo to work at 550, and this is what I came up with.  I can also cut a dough ball in half and make 2 10 inch Greek style pizzas perfectly.  This is what my wife and her family grew up with, and they have been messing with me telling me that I could never make a pizza like their local favorite. 
Last week I made a trial run to be sure I could do it right.  I bought some tall sided 10 inch pans, oiled the bottom,and let the dough rise in the pans for about 2 hours.  A friend of mine used to work at a pizzeria of this style and clued me into the addition of white cheddar mixed with the mozzarella.  I bought some Cracker Barrel, and mixed this in.  For my test run my wife was so skeptical, but when the pizza came out she totally flipped.  She claims it was even better than any she has ever had of this style and totally authentic tasting.  The advantage I had was that I was using much better ingredients than any of these places do, Escalon, Grande etc.  Also the pizzerias don't have an advantage on the ovens either, because I have asked the best paces and the perfect temp for these pies seems to be 500-550.

Maybe I can get some pics of the pies for a change and post them with the final recipe. 


 

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