Author Topic: dough stretching help  (Read 6153 times)

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Offline raji

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dough stretching help
« on: June 19, 2005, 07:26:34 PM »
Hi there,

I've been having some difficulty with stretching my dough.  In specific, the rim is way tooo thick and the center ends up being too thin.  As you can imagine, this doesn't make for a very good pizza--even if the dough itself is good.

Is this a practice makes perfect thing?  Or is my technique off?  Here's what I'm doing:

1.  Remove dough ball from fridge and leave in bowl for one hour
2.  place flour on work surface and spread around
3.  Place dough ball on work surface
4.  pat down dough into flat circle. 
5.  Pick up dough ball and start stretching with knuckles.  I do this in a counterclockwise position and try to stretch evenly.

Things start to go wrong on step 5.  The dough never seems stretch evenly and the center becomes really thin without the rim getting properly formed.  I make a conscious effort to keep my knuckles close to the edge so the rim gets properly formed--no luck though. 

Any tips?

Thanks,
Raj


Offline David

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2005, 07:23:38 AM »
Raji,
You can see many different methods and techniques used as each practitioner develops his own style and preferred method.Here is a link to a quicktime video that may be of some help  and initial guidance to you:

http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/pages/cvt033.asp

It is important to have your dough in the right condition however before you begin to even hope to achieve the desired results.The rest is practice,practice,practice.For an authentic Neapolitan pizza it is not necessary to form a perfectly round base (Though I have been laughed at for creating "Mis-Shaped" Pizzas before by a" Professional"!)Good luck and don't get frustrated by it.
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Offline Randy

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2005, 07:34:26 AM »
Raj, two things come to mind, the first is one hour from the cooler to shaping is a little short.  Try 2 hours, if not three.  The second is your recipe and instructions.  Post them and let's see what you are using.

Randy

Online Pete-zza

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2005, 10:49:12 AM »
I agree with Randy that the recipe is important. Some recipes, especially those calling for high hydration levels and long fermentation times, produce doughs that are by nature harder to shape because they can become quite extensible (stretchy). Low protein flours, like 00 flours, also quite often result in doughs that do not tolerate a lot of stretching/tossing.

If I were a beginner, or if I wanted to improve my dough handling skills, I would use the Raquel recipe posted on the Raquel thread. The Raquel dough handles as well as any I have made. You have to follow directions exactly, however, if you want to get optimum results. Once you feel you have mastered the dough handling process, you can use what you learn on other doughs.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 28, 2006, 04:12:29 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline D.C. Pizza Master

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2005, 11:34:30 AM »
your problem is that your probably opening the pizza in similar fashion to the lady in the video

i dont understand this whole pick up the pizza and stretch it in your hands style...its very slow and it leaves you with high borders and an uneven distribution of pasta......pf taylor has my method which was learned under my pizza masters from italy

Offline raji

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2005, 01:56:12 PM »
Raj, two things come to mind, the first is one hour from the cooler to shaping is a little short.  Try 2 hours, if not three.  The second is your recipe and instructions.  Post them and let's see what you are using.

Randy

Hi Randy,

Was out of town for the last week and wasn't able to post.  So here's the recipe I'm using:

3/4 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups KASL flour

After mixing with a stand mixer for 15 mins, I let the dough rise for about 60-90 mins.  Then I punch it down and place in a covered bowl for about 24 hrs.  Before using I'll let it sit at room temp for an hour .

Offline Sour_Jax

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2005, 06:58:37 PM »
Raj, two things come to mind, the first is one hour from the cooler to shaping is a little short. Try 2 hours, if not three.

I have a problem with my dough tearing if I try to work with it at "room temp", I have to shape my dough while it's cold. Any suggestions on what might cause this.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2005, 08:46:14 PM »
Sour Jack,

There are several possible causes for tearing. It can be caused by underkneading the dough, too high a hydration level, and/or overfermentation. A dough made from a weaker flour is also more prone to tearing. Too little oil in the dough can sometimes lead to tearing, but my recollection from reading your recipe is that it has plenty of oil. The gluten stands should have been well lubricated.

Underkneading can occur if a strong flour, such as a high-gluten flour, is kneaded entirely by hand, especially if the dough batch is fairly large. My recollection is that you have been using your new mixer for kneading, so underkneading may not be the source of your problem.
 
A dough with an overly high hydration level (the weight of the water in relation to the weight of flour) will ferment faster than one that has a lower hydration level. Using a large amount of yeast will also accelerate the fermentation process. If the water you used to make the dough is also too warm such that the finished dough temperature is above 80-85 degrees F, that can also cause the fermentation to be faster. If your refrigerator is warmer than say, 35-40 degrees F, the dough will ferment faster because of that also. By the time the dough comes out of the refrigerator it may be difficult to shape without tearing because of one or more of the above factors. Usually the dough is highly extensible (stretchy) and hard to keep from getting away from you as you try to stretch it. Sometime this results in holes or tears forming. Poor tossing/spinning technique, usually because of inexperience, can also cause tearing.

There should be no need for you to shape the dough while it is cold. In fact, if the dough temperature is below about 55 degrees F, you can experience a lot of bubbling in the dough during baking. Home pizza makers usually don't mind, but pizza operators hate it.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Peter
« Last Edit: June 25, 2005, 08:49:40 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Sour_Jax

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2005, 09:00:09 PM »
My problem may in fact be underkneading, now that I think about it I amy not be kneading it enough simply because I am fairly lazy. Also, the dough that I used the mixer with was the same way.  But then again it could be a combination of everything you said. The only reason I started shaping it cold was that Bailey's Pizza said something about dough tossing better cold.

Bubbling hasn't been a problem, that I've noticed anyway. I guess I'll have to keep a closer I on how each pie turns out.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2005, 09:16:48 PM »
Sour Jack,

I remembered that I had addressed the question of tearing before and tracked down my post on the subject at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1000.msg8931.html#msg8931.

You might find the advice in that post useful.

Peter


Offline Sour_Jax

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2005, 11:01:46 PM »
If the dough is above the recommended temp, could that make the dough more likely to tear? ie. dough is 85 deg
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2005, 11:36:21 PM »
Sour Jack,

A dough temperature of 85 degrees F would not by itself be a cause of tearing. The finished dough temperature range that is considered optimum for fermentation purposes is 80-85 degrees F. However, temperature has a powerful effect on the rate of fermentation. For every 15 degree rise (up to 100 degrees F) in finished dough temperature, the rate of fermentation doubles. Usually temperature becomes a potential problem when it is accompanied by other factors that accelerate the fermentation process, such as those I mentioned earlier. Not all doughs are prone to overfermenting to the point of causing tears. I have found that I have to be careful with the Lehmann dough because it is a high hydration dough and is prone to fermenting to the point where the dough can become quite extensible. It's not a real problem but I have to be careful when handling the dough. So, I lean toward cooler water in the dough, use of small amounts of yeast, and I get the dough into the refrigerator as soon as it comes off the hook and put it in the coolest part of my refrigerator compartment (away from the door).

Peter

Offline Sour_Jax

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2005, 12:11:30 AM »
85 deg was just an example. My dough was probably warmer than 85, probably closer to 90-100 deg I'm just wondering if a higher temp would cause the dough to "fall apart" or if that is a kneading factor.  Again I think 75-90% of my problem is underkneading.  If someone else could try my recipe out it might help in determining where I'm going wrong. Obviously it will be difficult for someone to try it out exactly, without finding the DME and real salt, but i figure IF someone can get this stuff, have at it and see what happens.  Hopefully somethings can be revealed that will make my (and everyones)bpies better.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2005, 12:25:58 AM »
Sour Jack,

It's hard to say, since I don't usually let my doughs get up to 90-100 degrees F. But, combined with underkneading, if that was the main cause, the high temperature couldn't have helped. The only way you will find out is to try making the dough again and knead the dough more and use cooler water to keep the finished dough temperature down.

Peter

Offline Sour_Jax

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2005, 12:49:12 AM »
Well, once again it's an experimental, individual thing. Not a shared thing, oh well.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2005, 12:42:25 PM »
Raj,

It's always a challenge to analyze recipes with ingredients specified by volumes rather than weights, but I have attempted to do so with your recipe nonetheless.

There are certain things that would help with the analysis. Like what kind of pizza are you trying to make (e.g., New York Style)? Did you proof the ADY in warm water before adding it to the rest of the ingredients or did you just toss it in with the rest of the ingredients? At what mixer speed did you conduct the 15 minutes of kneading? Did you use all warm water? You didn't indicate, but I assume the 24-hour fermentation was in the refrigerator.

I analyzed your ingredients and weighed the amounts of flour and water you indicate in your recipe and come up with a hydration of around 62% (5.90 ounces of water divided by 9.45 oz. of KASL flour). That's a typical and proper hydration percent and I don't think that was the cause of your problems in shaping the dough. If I had to guess, I would say that your dough perhaps fermented too long by the time you tried to work with it.

Your salt level (at 1% by weight of flour) is low, and may have contributed to the acceleration of the fermentation process (the less salt the faster the rate of fermentation and visa versa, all other things being equal).   

If you are striving for a NY style dough, your yeast level (at 1.4% by weight of flour) is also on the high side, and will also promote faster fermentation (the more yeast the faster the fermentation and visa versa).

If you used all warm water, that will also cause faster fermentation (the warmer the water the faster the rate of fermentation and visa versa).

The 15 minutes of kneading, unless it was at stir or 1 speed, most likely was too long. At other than stir/1 speed, the mixere will also contribute a fair amount of heat to the dough ball through friction, unless you temperature adjusted the water to compensate for the frictional heat contributed by your mixer. This becomes a more significant factor with summer upon us.

With the amount of yeast you used, the 60-90 minutes of rest after forming the dough, particularly at room temperature, also accelerated the rate of fermentation. Assuming you then put the dough into the refrigerator, it wouldn't cool down as fast as a dough that went into the refrigerator right after coming out of the mixing bowl.

The amount of olive oil seems OK, and should have actually helped the dough from a handling standpoint.

If I have analyzed and diagnosed your problem correctly, I suspect that the collective effects of all of the above actions resulted in a dough that was fermented too long by the time you got to it. An indication of this is a high degree of extensibility (stretchiness). If you try to hold such a dough by the edges, it will try to get away from you. The dough will also be prone to thin spots forming and possibly tearing. You didn't indicate the temperature of the dough by the time you tried to form and shape it, but one hour may not have been enough bench time. For best results, you shouldn't try to shape it if its temperature is below 55 degrees F. I would shoot for 60-65 degrees F.

If you were striving for a NY style dough, I would increase the salt to 3/4 t., lower the ADY (proofed in a small amount of water, without the sugar) to about 1/2 t., use cooler water (but use a bit of warm water to proof the ADY), shorten the knead time to no more than 7-8 minutes at stir/1 speed (making any minor adjustments as needed), and forego the 60-90 minutes of rest (or at least reduce it to around 15 minutes) and get the dough into the refrigerator without delay (other than a 15 minute rest period if you choose to use same). If you are shooting for a 24-hour retardation, I don't think you need the sugar at all unless, of course, you want a bit of sweetness in the crust. If you are baking on a stone, the sugar might even lead to premature or excessive bottom browning as the sugars (natural and added) caramelize.

I estimate that your recipe will produce a dough ball weight of around 16 ounces. For a NY style, that would produce a roughly 14 inch pizza. Does that sound about right?

If you'd care to provide additional input, I'd be happy to revisit my analysis in light of such additional input.

Peter

Offline Sour_Jax

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2005, 02:22:04 PM »
If you are striving for a NY style dough, your yeast level (at 1.4% by weight of flour) is also on the high side, and will also promote faster fermentation (the more yeast the faster the fermentation and visa versa).

Other than a faster fermentation, what other effects do "more than enough" yeast have on dough?
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: dough stretching help
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2005, 04:06:33 PM »
Sour Jack,

That is a good question.

You can't look at yeast in isolation. That is one of the reasons I like to look at recipes stated with baker's percents since it allows me to see whether the yeast and other ingredients are in proper balance.

To perform its many tasks, yeast requires adequate food, water, oxygen and proper temperature. The bulk of the food comes from sugars extracted from the flour (by amylase enzyme performance) and from any other sugars added to the dough. The yeast will consume whatever sugars it needs and whatever isn't eaten by the time one is ready to use the dough will presumably remain in the dough as residual sugar to contribute to crust coloration and flavor (sweetness). If there is more yeast than is needed in relation to the amount of sugars available, it is, in effect, largely superfluous. To the extent the yeast is still being fed by the time the dough hits the oven, it will produce carbon dioxide for oven spring purposes and be killed once the dough reaches above 140 degrees F. Many people like to use a lot of yeast because they feel that it contributes a nice "yeasty" flavor to the finished crust. The high amount of yeast may also produce a more gassy and light dough that will manifest itself in a lighter, more open and airy, bread-like crust and crumb. It might also improve oven spring, although the degree of hydration will also play a dominant role.

The negative of using too much yeast is that the rate of fermentation will increase, as previously noted in the earlier post, but, more importantly, the dough will have finished the fermentation too soon--before the enzymes and lactobacillus bacteria have had adequate opportunity to produce the byproducts of fermentation that contribute to flavor in the crust. Things like esters, aldehydes, ketones, acetic and lactic acids and several other organic acids--in adequate amounts to produce a noticeable flavor impact. That is why so-called "emergency doughs" that pizza operators make when they run short of their usual dough (or something goes wrong with their regular doughs) produce crusts with little flavor (and usually poor color also). To make these doughs, they jack up the amount of yeast (typically by fifty percent or more) and increase the water temperature by several degrees above normal to make doughs within 2 to 3 hours, total. Flavor can only come with time, and using too much yeast works in opposition to that notion by rushing fermentation before the flavor components can adequately develop in the dough.

Peter


 

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