Author Topic: How can I get more "puff" in my crust?  (Read 773 times)

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Offline dbarneschi

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How can I get more "puff" in my crust?
« on: March 26, 2012, 08:09:24 PM »
I have been making Neapolitan-style pizzas in my home oven for the last two years. Although I am really happy with the flavor of the dough, the sauce, the melting of the cheese, etc., I still can't seem to get the signature "puff" in the crust.

My small, electric oven gets quite hot. By placing my inch-thick pizza stone two inches from the broiler element and heating the oven on the broiler setting for two hours, my pies wind up cooking in exactly two minutes. There is often a good amount of charring on my crust, but the crust is usually stiff and sense. I have been using an Ischia natural sourdough starter. My recipe, which is a variation on the "Nearlypolitan recipe" (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=10024.0), is as follows:


Quantities shown for (1) 240g dough ball

Levain
13g 00 flour (100%)
10g water (77%)
2g 100% hydration Ischia storage starter (15%)

Mix the levain and use once it has reached its peak in volume. (You should hope for a 24-hour ferment, but it might end up nearer 14.) Ambient temperature should be ~72F.

Final Dough
130g 00 flour (100%)
80g water (62%)
25g levain (19%)
5g salt (3.8%, effectively 3.5% compared to total flour)

1. First mix 80% of the flour, all the water and the levain until even and let it rest for 20 minutes.
2. Then add the salt and gradually mix in the remaining flour, followed by another 20-minute rest.
3. Knead the dough using the “stretch and pull” method until it can pass the “window-pane test.” This should take ~20-25 minutes.
4. Bulk ferment the dough at ~72F until it has peaked in volume. This should take ~14 hours.
5. Divide and shape the dough into ~240g balls, which are then proofed at the same temperature for 4 hours before baking.
6. Set a pizza stone in your oven approximately 2” from the broiler and pre-heat the stone using the broiler for 2 hours. During this time, prep your ingredients.
The rest should be fairly self explanatory.

Should the levain be used when it has peaked in volume? Should the dough be bulk fermented until it has peaked in volume? How much should the individual dough balls rise during the proofing period before they are used? I have heard that the Ischia starter is a very aggressive starter and if the dough ends up over fermenting, it can break down the gluten structure and result in a dough with poor oven spring.

Any and all advice is well appreciated!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 08:13:17 PM by dbarneschi »


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How can I get more "puff" in my crust?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 10:11:36 PM »
My guess is probable over-kneading and possible over-baking.

Offline dbarneschi

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Re: How can I get more "puff" in my crust?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 10:23:10 PM »
I see. I'm not sure that I can do a shorter bake time, but I can try less kneading. Before performing a window pane test, how long should I let the dough rest?

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How can I get more "puff" in my crust?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 10:27:46 PM »
I see. I'm not sure that I can do a shorter bake time, but I can try less kneading. Before performing a window pane test, how long should I let the dough rest?

My method and perhaps even my definition of "Neapolitan-style" may be very different from yours. But when it comes to kneading of my dough, less is definitely better. No way my dough evens come close to "window-pane" state.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: How can I get more "puff" in my crust?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 10:31:26 PM »
I would not worry about windowpaining. With a 14 hour ferment, you can get away with a lot less kneading. After your step 2, I'd strech and fold a few times, until it gets tight, give it a 7-10 minute rest and then strech and fold a few more times. If it's not silky smooth, give it another rest and a few more strech and folds. It should be ready for your bulk ferment now.

4 hours in balls should be enough time for the dough to relax - as long as you are getting the volume you want. Post some pictures of how the dough looks at the different steps, and we can give more input.

Craig
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline dbarneschi

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Re: How can I get more "puff" in my crust?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 10:45:33 PM »
Thanks Bill and TXCraig1 for the tips.

TXCraig1: I modified my recipe (cut down the percentage of levain from ~39% to ~10%) based on your advice to me on Slice. However, with a longer ferment time, your dough is essentially turning into a "levain," correct? Perhaps I should cut down on my ferment time as well then, no?

As you recommend, next time I'll post photos of the dough during the ferment, as well as post-bake.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: How can I get more "puff" in my crust?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 11:15:19 PM »
Thanks Bill and TXCraig1 for the tips.

TXCraig1: I modified my recipe (cut down the percentage of levain from ~39% to ~10%) based on your advice to me on Slice. However, with a longer ferment time, your dough is essentially turning into a "levain," correct? Perhaps I should cut down on my ferment time as well then, no?

I would not characterize it that way. I guess if you let it go long enough maybe (the "old dough" method). Fermentation is a complex balance of yeast quantity, hydration, salt, time, temp, etc. There are many ways to get to the end and they don't all taste the same. You have to experiment to find what works best for you. The less yeast you use and the cooler the temp, the longer you will need, all other things being equal. Long time does not imply anything in and of itself.

I'm doing 62.5% HR, 3% salt, 1.5% Ischia culture for 48 hours at ~60F.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline Giggliato

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Re: How can I get more "puff" in my crust?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 11:15:22 PM »
You want a Puffy crusts! You use the more yeast! Thickness is a variable to of course.