Author Topic: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust  (Read 2511 times)

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Offline FeCheF

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Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« on: September 29, 2011, 02:06:27 PM »
I dont know why.My very first pie i made browned really good and was fat and chewy.It was alton browns recipe.Ive tried numerous times since then and none are browning.It seems the only way to get them to brown is to over cook them till the crust is a crouton.Ive not changed anything.Same oven, pizza stone, oven temp,time..ect.I have tried other recipes and no matter what, they dont brown. I have even went as far as adding quarry tiles to the top rack.Tried switching to broil after pizza stone reached 500F.Pretty much same results.Also tried brushing oil on the crust,tried spraying water aswell. I am at wits end, and need help.

note: alton browns recipe has a good amount of sugar so i dont think sugar is the problem.I have even tried recipes without sugar and they seem to produce same results. Anyway here are some pics of the most browning i can get with a 7-9 min bake time.







Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2011, 02:17:59 PM »
F.C.;
From the picture, it looks to me like insufficient oven temperature. Have you checked the temperature of your oven lately with an oven thermometer? We normally don't use sugar in any of our dough formulas and they brown quite nicely, even in a home oven, if we want to have a lot more crust color we will brush the edges of the dough skin with oil just before it is put into the oven for baking. Regardless of what your oven thermostat is saying, try bumping it up another 50 to 100F to see if that improves the bake.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline FeCheF

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2011, 02:27:18 PM »
F.C.;
From the picture, it looks to me like insufficient oven temperature. Have you checked the temperature of your oven lately with an oven thermometer? We normally don't use sugar in any of our dough formulas and they brown quite nicely, even in a home oven, if we want to have a lot more crust color we will brush the edges of the dough skin with oil just before it is put into the oven for baking. Regardless of what your oven thermostat is saying, try bumping it up another 50 to 100F to see if that improves the bake.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Well unfortunity 500F is as high as my oven will go. But as ive used this same oven the first time i attempted a pie, and it browned really nicely. Infact, it was browning before the cheese was melting so i was actually unhappy about it browning..lol

Then i have tried other recipes and not got a good brown, so i went back to original recipe and its not browning like it did before. You think my oven is not getting as hot as it did the first time? Maybe i will let it preheat for 2 hours instead of one hour. If that doesnt work I am gonna buy a propane torch and torch the damn crust.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2011, 05:01:03 PM »
F.C.;
While your crust really doesn't look all that bad, if you are looking for even more volume/height, try increasing the dough absorption. With more water, the dough will be softer, and raise more easily during the early stages of baking, giving you more baked height. Getting back to the color issue, the fact that you have made dough with added sugar, and didn't get the desired color, and that you have tried different recipes with the same result, no color, this leads me to think you might have an oven issue. Your local hardware store will have a cheap oven thermometer that you can place on or hang from one of the racks to get a better idea of the actual temperature. Also, if your home oven is heating from the bottom, try placing the baking rack closer to the bottom to see if this will help. By placing the baking rack closer to the bottom, you will increase the heat to the bottom of the pizza while reducing the heat to the top of the pizza, allowing you to bake it a little longer for better crust color development without overbaking the top.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline FeCheF

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2011, 05:14:28 PM »
F.C.;
While your crust really doesn't look all that bad, if you are looking for even more volume/height, try increasing the dough absorption. With more water, the dough will be softer, and raise more easily during the early stages of baking, giving you more baked height. Getting back to the color issue, the fact that you have made dough with added sugar, and didn't get the desired color, and that you have tried different recipes with the same result, no color, this leads me to think you might have an oven issue. Your local hardware store will have a cheap oven thermometer that you can place on or hang from one of the racks to get a better idea of the actual temperature. Also, if your home oven is heating from the bottom, try placing the baking rack closer to the bottom to see if this will help. By placing the baking rack closer to the bottom, you will increase the heat to the bottom of the pizza while reducing the heat to the top of the pizza, allowing you to bake it a little longer for better crust color development without overbaking the top.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I will pick up a thermometer sometime this weekend and see what kinda temps it reaches after an hour of preheating. Although i have tried placing the pizza stone on both the bottom and the middle rack, i dont remember seeing much difference. But i am confused about how reducing the heat on the top of the pizza will improve the top crust color development? If i understand this correctly, you are saying less heat on top will allow the top of crust to brown before getting hard like a cracker? Please explain. Thank you tom.

I will also try adding a bit more water to the mix and see if i get better rise. I didnt know that more hydration produces puffier crust. Maybe brown better aswell?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 05:17:07 PM by FeCheF »

Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2011, 01:36:16 AM »
25-50% increase in sugar and bake at a lower third rack position at the max oven temp
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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2011, 08:55:24 AM »
F.C.;
Putting the pizza in a lower position in the oven will bring it closer to the heating element/burner at the bottom of the oven, while at the same time moving the pizza further from the hottest part of the oven (the top). This will allow you to bake the pizza longer without developing excessive top color, and hopefully, get a better overall crust color. In some ovens I will bake a pizza for about 10-minutes on a lower rack, and then rotate the pizza 180 degrees and place it on a higher rack position to finish baking. This allows me to get a decent bake on both the bottom and top of the pizza. Remember, home ovens are really not the best pizza ovens, not by a long shot, so we need to be creative in how we bake our pizzas in a home oven, and every home oven is a creature onto itself, no two seem to be alike.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline BTB

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2011, 09:20:17 AM »
Tom's advice here is right on and I couldn't agree more.  Since I've gotten into home pizzamaking several years ago through this website, the best lesson that I've learned -- besides that ovens vary tremendously -- is as a general rule, that it is best to start out baking the pizza on a lower rack (not middle rack), turning 180 degrees at least once during the bake cycle, and -- judging on the degree of doneness -- move the pizza to a higher rack level to aid in top browning (ranging from a little to a lot).

This allows (one) to get a decent bake on both the bottom and top of the pizza. Remember, home ovens are really not the best pizza ovens, not by a long shot, so we need to be creative in how we bake our pizzas in a home oven, and every home oven is a creature onto itself, no two seem to be alike.
While I agree with Tom's thoughts here, everyone has to experiment with their own home ovens and see what results are appreciated most from their families and friends.  While you don't have to do many of these things in good commercial ovens, like a good deck oven, home ovens are a vastly different animal unfortunately.

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« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 03:56:37 PM by BTB »

Offline FeCheF

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2011, 11:04:58 AM »
Thanks for all the input everyone. I will try all your suggestions and see what works best with my oven. Funny thing is, before i got my pizza stone, i used to just use a pizza pan and i had to wrap the edges of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent crust from burning. These were mostly frozen pizza's. And to top it off, the directions if i recall, called for an oven temp of 450F for 12-14 minutes. Im really starting to think tom may be right, something must have happened to my oven and the element isnt getting as hot as it did before. Maybe all these long preheats at 500F did something. It is an old oven, not ancient, but a good 20 yrs atleast. I will definitly be picking up a oven thermometer tonight.

Im also going to try adding more sugar to the recipe. I dont understand baker percents but if im using 1 TBSP of honey, 50% increase would be 1 1/2 tsp correct?


Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2011, 04:57:32 PM »
F.C.
Bakers percents are used when weight measures are used rather than volumetric portions. To find the weight of any ingredient using bakers percent, follow these steps:
Flour is always 100% you decide what weight of flour you want to use, then mark it down as 100%.
Using your calculator, enter the flour weight, then press "X" and enter the percentage shown for the ingredient that you want the weight for, then press the "%" key and read the ingredient weight in the display window. Remember, the weight of the ingredient will be given in the same weight units as the flour weight was shown in (pounds, ounces, grams, kilograms, etc.)
Example:
You want to use 500-grams of flour. This is shown as 100%
Salt: 1.75%
Oil: 2%
ADY: 0.5%
Water: 60%

500 X 1.75 press the "%" key and read 8.75-grams.
500X 2 press the "%" key and read 10-grams
500 X 0.5 press the "%" key and read 2.5-grams
500 X 60 press the "%" key and read 300-grams
Now you have the weight of each ingredient.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2011, 05:36:41 PM »
.... Funny thing is, before i got my pizza stone, i used to just use a pizza pan and i had to wrap the edges of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent crust from burning.....


You are comparing cooking frozen pizzas and their browning ability to those of a fresh dough pizza? ???
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Offline FeCheF

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2011, 06:41:32 PM »
You are comparing cooking frozen pizzas and their browning ability to those of a fresh dough pizza? ???

No, I was just mentioning that with just a round preferated pizza pan i couldnt prevent the crust from burning. I forgot to mention that i didnt have that problem problem, even with frozen pizza once i got a pizza stone. Now unless you have something constructive to say, move along troll.

Offline chickenparm

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2011, 11:36:16 PM »
Buy this one if you have a store nearby or buy one like it.Totally worth every penny.

http://www.harborfreight.com/non-contact-laser-thermometer-96451.html
-Bill

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2011, 11:49:38 PM »
No, I was just mentioning that with just a round preferated pizza pan i couldnt prevent the crust from burning. I forgot to mention that i didnt have that problem problem, even with frozen pizza once i got a pizza stone. Now unless you have something constructive to say, move along troll.

I read JD's question as just that, a question.  He is a valued member here as well as any who put time and effort in contributing.  Let's play nice, I'd hate to see the pizza peels come out and the pizza sauce go flying :-D.  Well maybe I wouldn't but we can still play nice.   ;D

Cheers,
Chau

Offline FeCheF

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2011, 12:40:11 AM »
I made a dough with a 50% increase in honey and removed the quarry tiles from the top rack.I also moved the pizza stone to the bottom rack. I preheated the oven to 500F for around two hours. Baked for 5 minutes, then switched to broil for 2 minutes, then back to bake for 2 minutes. Results seem to be better to me, but heres a pic of the finished pie.

Its was buffalo chicken, fresh basil, and mushroom.


Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2011, 02:44:25 AM »
about as close as youre going to get, without going over-cooked and dried out, without knowing your temp/time.   what is your bake time/temp?
Hotdogs kill more people than sharks do, yearly.

Offline FeCheF

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2011, 10:34:03 AM »
about as close as youre going to get, without going over-cooked and dried out, without knowing your temp/time.   what is your bake time/temp?

Its wasnt dried out at all. The top crust was nice and crispy on the outside and chewy in the inside with lots of air pockets. The bottom was slightly droopy but not soggy at all. As far as baking times go, Ive already posted I had the oven at max temp 500F which i then baked on the pizza stone on bottom rack for 5 minutes, then i turned on the broiler (top element) for 2 minutes. Then switched back to bake (bottom element) for another 2 min. So 9 minutes in total at 500F. Heres a crumb shot.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2011, 10:39:29 AM »
Nice crumb shot FeChef.  Looks good from here.

Chau

Offline Pigslips

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2011, 10:39:05 PM »
I dont know why.

Hey dude, Some days I wish my pie looked that good!   :chef:
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Offline FeCheF

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Re: Cant seem to get that fat brown crust
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2011, 11:50:23 PM »
Hey dude, Some days I wish my pie looked that good!   :chef:

I would agree with you if i wasnt looking for that nice charred crust with a chewy inside. I now see that im gonna have to go with a weber kettle and propane burner to achieve this. Stay tuned!