Author Topic: crusty old alcohol  (Read 2075 times)

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Offline FatterByTheMinute

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crusty old alcohol
« on: July 09, 2005, 12:19:16 PM »
Hello, I recently came across the site and loved the content - especially the attention to detail.

After a few trials (some laughably bad), I've found myself on the first rung of the pizza ladder, i.e. I can make something edible. But I've just made one using dough that's had 24 hrs in my garage, and on eating discovered that in a couple of places the crust tasted horrible. I presume its alcohol (the area around the dough in the garage and later in my kitchen was fuming with a sort of alcoholic odour).

I have a cheap oven that goes only to 410F, and i'm using unglazed tiles for a crispy base. Only making them for myself, so quite small pizzas, around 8 inch. Quite thin base (1/8 inch thereabouts), and a fair amount of sauce and cheese. Takes about 6-8 min.

Am I undercooking the crust? How could I get that right without overcooking the topping?

Thanks!


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: crusty old alcohol
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2005, 01:15:14 PM »
FatterByTheMinute,

Welcome to the forum.

What you experienced were the odors of overfermentation. I am assuming that you were using an all-purpose flour or something like it to make your dough. Unless your garage is like a refrigerator in terms of temperature, it would not be unusual to experience overfermentation after 24 hours with a dough using all-purpose flour (and many other flours as well). One of the problems that often comes with overfermentation is that the dough won't brown up properly when baked. This is because all of the sugars in the dough, both natural and added, will have been consumed by the yeast by that time, leaving little to contribute to browning of the crust during baking--even after extending the bake time beyond the normal time. Also, the dough may be overly soft and difficult to shape without the dough tearing or forming weak spots.

You will have to experiment with your oven to determine what particular configuration of your tiles, rack positioning, oven temperature, and broiler use will produce the best results in terms of achieving the desired crust browning and crispiness and proper baking of the toppings. Achieving this balance will be make more difficult if you use a lot of sauce and toppings, especially weighty ones. If you use a lot of toppings, you may want to try baking the pizza at the middle rack position of your oven and extend the bake time so that (hopefully) the crust is finished baking at the same time as the toppings. Using your 410 degree oven temperature may be a plus in this situation since it will almost automatically force you to a longer overall bake time.

Peter


Offline FatterByTheMinute

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Re: crusty old alcohol
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2005, 01:57:46 PM »
Excellent, so if I change to the fridge rather garage I should have improved results. Out of interest I'm using strong white bread flour for the recipe, and the crust colour seemed reasonably brown to me so maybe I got lucky there. Time to try some in the fridge!

Thanks for your help!

PS If anyone knows of particularly effective means to lose the weight that I shall put on by eating test pizzas, you know where to post :)

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: crusty old alcohol
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2005, 02:33:09 PM »
FatterByTheMinute,

If the flour you used is like bread flour, then I suspect that you could make it out to 24 hours at room temperature (the stronger the flour the longer the fermentation it can tolerate). The type of flour is only one factor. The temperature of the dough when it is put out to ferment, the room temperature, and the amount of yeast are also factors. If you use cool water and don't overheat the dough by mixing, or if you use a small amount of yeast, then the dough will stand up better to long fermentation times at room temperature.

If you'd care to post your recipe, along with your particular processing technique, we might be able to determine how it might best be used under your particular circumstances.

Peter

Offline FatterByTheMinute

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Re: crusty old alcohol
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2005, 12:54:03 PM »
I'll gladly take you up on that offer! Sorry for the delay; rest assured I have been eating pizza during this time :)

Here's the dough recipe I currently use. I've tried a couple of others, but this has become my standard for the moment.

250g (9 oz) strong white bread flour (mine has 12.8g protein per 100g flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6g (1/4oz) sachet easy blend driest yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
approx. 1/4 pint (150ml) warm water

Here's my method (all mixing is by hand or spoon):

Mix flour and salt in glass bowl.

Either:
     mix yeast and water then add to bowl along with olive oil
or
     add yeast to bowl and mix, then add olive oil and water

Stir with wooden spoon until most of dry ingredients become "doughy".

Knead (by hand, on a worksurface) for 5-10 min.

Put the dough in an oiled bag then into the fridge for upto 2 days, usually knocking back and kneading for 3-4 mins halfway between initial kneading and use.

Baking method:

Preheat oven for 210C (410F), with unglazed quarry tiles on a shelf

Take out dough from fridge, leave for maybe 5 min.

Stretch dough to a circle (or dented elipsoid as is usually the case).

Leave dough for 10 min.

Stretch a little more, place in oven on tiles, add sauce and grated mozzarella.

Bake for 6-8 mins (typically).

I tend to cook for just myself, so use only half of the prepared dough. I'll usually slice the dough in half when I feel like cooking one. I tend to stretch it quite thinly if this is the case. The taste is reasonable, and I'll sometimes add more olive oil to make a softer crust.

Voila, an amateur "masterpiece". Well, it tastes reasonably good. Enlighten me knowledgeable people!

--
FBTM

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: crusty old alcohol
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2005, 03:43:03 PM »
FBTM,

Thank you for posting your recipe and dough management procedure.

I notice your use of a "sachet of easy blend dried yeast".  I understand this to be the U.K. equivalent of our "instant dry yeast". I assume, therefore, that you are in the U.K. So, I will stick to the use of grams and other metric measurements in my analysis of your recipe.

In order to study your recipe, I have converted it to baker's percents. This is what I get:

100%, 250 g., Strong white bread flour (nominal protein content of 12.8%)
0.56%, 1.4 g., Salt
2.4%, 6 g., Easy blend dried yeast
5.6%, 14 g., Olive oil
60%, 150 g. (150 ml.), Water (warm)

If this is the recipe you originally used, along with a 24-hour fermentation in your garage, then I can see why you got the results you got. If I am correct in my analysis, the combination of a very small amount of salt, a large amount of yeast, warm water to make the dough, and a 24-hour fermentation in your garage should have produced a dough that rose very quickly and achieved a high volume. Depending on the temperature in your garage (London today is 23 degrees C, or 73.4 degrees F), the dough could well have overfermented. This seems to be confirmed by the alcoholic smell you detected when you first reported on your results.

I believe the main villain in this scenario is the small amount of salt, together with the large amount of yeast. The amount of salt you used, at 0.56% by weight of flour, is far below average. Salt in effect acts as a regulator of the fermentation process. Too much and the dough will not rise enough, the fermentation will not go well, and you will get an inferior result. Too little (below 1.5% by weight of flour) and the dough may rise too fast (because fermentation is not restrained) and possibly collapse (due to the escape of carbon dioxide gas produced in excessive quantity). The dough may also be slack and sticky and result in a crust that is flat or insipid tasting, yeasty, or sour or acid tasting. This may well have accounted for the poor taste of the crust that you experienced.

The amount of yeast used in your recipe is also high on a relative basis. I don't know what characteristics of the crust you are trying to achieve, but I regularly use less than 1/10th of the amount of yeast you used. You may be able to get away with using the amount of yeast specified in your recipe, but you will not be able to use a long (e.g. 24-hour) room temperature (garage) fermentation. The reason is that the yeast will quickly consume all the natural sugars extracted from the flour and there will be little residual sugar left to promote browning of the crust. The dough might also start to collapse once the sugars have been consumed. Refrigerating the dough will overcome many of these problems, but even then I don't think you need a whole sachet (6 g.) of yeast for the amount of flour your recipe cals for.

The amount of olive oil in your recipe, at 5.6% of the weight of flour, is also on the high side. However, if you are looking to get a soft and tender crumb in the crust, the amount your recipe calls for will do the trick. Your dough may not rise as much because the oil coats the gluten strands and restricts full absorption of the water, but the dough will be highly extensible (stretchy) and fairly easy to handle.

Based on the above analysis, I would recommend that you increase the amount of salt substantially, say, to 4 g. or so, reduce the yeast to about 2 g., and refrigerate the dough when it is done. You could also reduce the amount of olive oil, but if you are looking for a soft and tender crust, then I would not change the amount, or reduce it only slightly. It all depends on what characteristics of the crust you are trying to achieve.

As for the process for making the dough, I would do the following. I would first combine the flour and the easy blend dried yeast in a first bowl. Then combine the water and salt in a second bowl, and stir or whisk the mixture for about a minute or so, or until the salt has fully dissolved in the water. I would use warm water, at around 43 degrees C (around 110 degrees F). Next, start adding the flour/yeast mixture gradually to the water/salt mixture and stir to incorporate. Continue doing this until all of the flour/yeast mixture has been incorporated. The dough at this point may have a shaggy appearance and feel and may seem a bit dry. Then add the olive oil and incorporate that into the dough and knead the dough until it forms a smooth and elastic ball. Ideally, the dough should be a bit tacky--not dry and not wet. If necessary, make adjustments to flour and/or water to get to the desired condition. Since your dough has a modest hydration level of 60%, you should be able to add a bit more water if necessary without adversely affecting the dough. Once the desired condition of the dough is achieved, I would do about a minute of final hand kneading to get the dough in the shape of a smooth, round ball. The dough can be lightly coated with olive oil and immediately go into the refrigerator (in a covered container), but it can also be allowed to rest (covered lightly) for about 15-30 minutes before going into the refrigerator.

Based on the amounts of ingredients recommended above, the dough should be in good shape for about two days in the refrigerator, and there should be ample residual sugar, along with the protein in the flour itself, to provide adequate crust browning. When you are ready to use the dough, you should bring the dough to room temperature for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough reaches about 13-16 degrees C (about 55-60 degrees F.) If you try to shape the dough after only 5 minutes out of the refrigerator, as you apparently did with your dough recently, then it will be hard to handle and shape and it will be prone to bubbling when the dough is placed in the oven onto your preheated tiles.

Your oven temperature limitations constrain the baking of your pizza, so you will have to experiment with both the positioning of the tiles in your oven and the bake time. The crust will most likely be drier and crispier than usual because the pizza will require a longer bake time than usual to get adequate bottom crust browning and sufficient temperature above the pizza to fully cook the toppings on the pizza before the bottom crust starts to really darken. You will also have to experiment to achieve the proper balance between the amount and types of toppings and the finished crust conditions you desire. If your oven has a top broiler element, you may also want to consider using it if it appears that the crust is browning too fast, that is, before the toppings are done cooking.

I think you should see improvement in your pizzas should you follow the above recommendations. If not, come back and we will analyze the actual results you achieve.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 03, 2005, 08:43:40 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline FatterByTheMinute

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Re: crusty old alcohol
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2005, 10:36:51 AM »
Duly noted! I'm looking forward to tonight's batch, following your recommendations.

I was interesting by your comments on the relative amounts of yeast and salt in the original recipe - this came straight out of a book for making Italian foods. There must be some drunk Italians around, possibly the guy who wrote the recipe!

As a sidenote, I am indeed in the UK. Is anyone aware of how the Frankie & Benny's chain make their margherita pizzas? Rather thin crust and I'm not sure if its actually a yeast-based dough they use., but "dem's good eatin'!"

Thanks again Pete. I'll let you know how I get on.

FBTM

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: crusty old alcohol
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2005, 10:50:49 AM »
FBTM,

I might be wrong, but is your original recipe for bread rather than pizza? They have a lot in common but there are also differences. The Italians do use oil in their breads and there are low-salt breads (along the lines of Tuscan breads).

Peter

Offline FatterByTheMinute

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Re: crusty old alcohol
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2005, 11:34:11 AM »
The recipe is from p.116 of Sainsbury's Deliciously Italian book.

Under the heading Pizza Bases: "A simple bread dough is the recipe for a successful pizza base..."

Bread it is!

FTBM