Author Topic: Problem: Cracker Crust  (Read 1667 times)

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Offline ephman

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Problem: Cracker Crust
« on: June 25, 2005, 06:54:37 PM »
hi,

awesome site thanks :)  i've been making my own pizza's for the past year or so.  i like the sauce i've been making, and dag's has a 4 cheese blend which is great.  i have a bit of a problem though.  for the most part my crusts come out like crackers.  am i not  stretching the dough out enough?  i don't think i'm keeping the pizza in too long nothing burns.  any suggestions would be great! 

thanks,
ephman


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Problem: Cracker Crust
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2005, 07:27:03 PM »
epfman,

I would help to know what style of pizza dough you have been making (e.g., NY), the recipe you are using, and the procedures you have been following to make the dough.

Peter

Offline ephman

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Re: Problem: Cracker Crust
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2005, 10:34:17 AM »
hi,

i think i'm using something close to a ny dough i kind of made it up along the way from trial and error.

1.25 cups of unbleached flour (found it makes a good size single pizza)
.75ish cups of water (from 1 cup warm water with .24 oz of active dry fleischmanns yeast)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablesppon brown sugar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of rosemary

i then mix it up and knead it in a cuisinart.   then a put a little olive oil in a big bowl and surface coat the ball, and cover it with saranwrap and into the fridge for 24 hours (where it is right now).  tada 24 hours later i take it out and let it settle to room temperature, flatten it out on the counter, and then stretch the dough out.  i have the oven totally cranking the knob says 550, with the stone in there for an hour before i put the pizza in.  then when i "think" it's ready i pull it out.  and that's pretty much what i do.

thanks,
ephman
« Last Edit: June 26, 2005, 10:47:45 AM by ephman »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Problem: Cracker Crust
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2005, 11:59:55 AM »
ephman,

I went into my kitchen and weighed all the ingredients used in your recipe, including the rosemary (which I cut fresh from my rosemary bush), and concluded that your recipe cannot work as recited. If you are using 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour and 3/4 to 1 cup water, you will end up with a hydration level that cannot work--it will be like a thick soup. I suspect what you may have been doing but didn't report is that you add more flour to the processor bowl during kneading to get a dough ball that you can handle and work with. If that's the case, then it is not possible to diagnose your problem since we have no way of knowing the actual composition of your dough. I calculate that if you used a total of 1 cup of water, you would need about double the amount of flour you indicated.

Apart from the above, I have some other observations about your recipe. You didn't indicate whether you proofed the ADY in warm water (maybe 1/4 cup?) before adding to the rest of the ingredients, or whether you just threw the ADY into the food processor along with all the other ingredients. If it was the former, then you would get poor fermentation and your dough and crust quality will be subpar.

When I weighed 1 1/4 cup of flour (I scooped the flour from the flour bag using 1 cup and 1/4 cup measuring cups), I got 6.6 ounces. If that was anywhere near correct, then your salt level is at 3% by weight of flour. That's excessive--what I call being in the "danger zone" for the type of pizza dough you are making (above 2.3% salt). Excessive salt will slow down the rate of fermentation because of its effects on the yeast. It will also excessively toughen the gluten. If you used 0.24 ounces of ADY (about one packet), that comes to 3.7% by weight of flour, which is also very high. A typical range of ADY for a NY style dough is 0.25-0.375%. You can go above that, and there are NY style dough recipes that do that, but it's not necessary for a New York style. I calculate that the amount of sugar, at around 5.3% by weight of flour, is also high. As with salt, yeast doesn't like high levels of sugar. In this instance, the amount of sugar is more likely to manifest itself in the form of a rather sweet crust. The amount of olive oil, at 7.5% by weight of flour, is also high. At that level, the crust should be soft and tender, not cracker-like.

I suspect that the excessive readings I am getting from your recipe is because the amount of flour is incorrect for the amount of water you have been using. By doubling the amount of flour, the readings would decline and fall in a more normal range in most, but not all, cases. At double the amount of flour, you would also end up with a total dough ball weight of around 21-23 ounces, depending on the amount of total water used (3/4 vs. 1 c.) That amount of dough would be enough to make a typical 16-inch NY style pizza.

You may want to revisit your recipe to see if you made an error in reporting it or whether you made changes to it that you didn't report. If we can clear that matter up, then we can take a new look at what you have been doing to see if we can put our finger on the problem with the cracker-like crusts you have been getting.

Peter

Offline ephman

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Re: Problem: Cracker Crust
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2005, 01:27:30 PM »
hi,

thank you so much for taking that time to help me, i really appreciate it.  to answer some of your concerns about my dough.  i let .24oz's of yeast proof in 1 cup of warm water, i just don't put the yeast in.  i don't add any flour while i'm mixing or kneading the dough, i usually just pour a bit of water in at a time until the dough feels right.  i never get a soupy mess and for that 1 1/4ish cup of flour i end up using just a tad less then .75ish of a cup of water.  sounds like i need to get a scale and measure things out that way.  i never tried any recipe's for the dough, i've just made it to what feels right, so i guess i'm going to lower the salt and lower the sugar, and maybe try it with a bit less water and see what happens. 

ciao!
ephman

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Re: Problem: Cracker Crust
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2005, 03:31:07 PM »
ephram,

Thanks for your response.

As you have discovered, using volume measurements is an inaccurate and imprecise process. When I weighed the flour and water called for in your recipe, I used a metal measuring cup for the flour and a glass Pyrex measuring cup for the water. To measure out the flour, I just dipped the measuring cup into the bag of flour and scooped until it looked full and did not shake it, tamp it, force more flour into it, or level the surface of the measuring cup. Doing any of these things could easily change the weight--but not dramatically so. With the water, I just poured water into the Pyrex measuring cup up to the 3/4 c. mark. If you decide to measure your ingredients by weight the next time, I would be interested in seeing what numbers you get. I think you will be surprised.

You didn't indicate what size pizza you made with your recipe. If the ingredient amounts in your recipe are indeed correct, and my weight measurements were correct, I estimate that the dough ball weight from your recipe is a bit over 14 ounces. For a thin size pizza, like a NY style, that amount of dough will make a pizza of a bit over 13 inches. I mention this only because if you tried to make the pizza bigger than that, then you could get a cracker-like crust. I personally think that the problem lies elsewhere, especially if your recipe is as represented, and for the reasons earlier mentioned.

Peter


 

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