Author Topic: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust  (Read 1969 times)

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Offline dbarneschi

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Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« on: April 02, 2012, 02:54:34 PM »
Following the helpful advice of TXCraig1 and others on the site, I reformulated my recipe by decreasing my knead time from ~20-25 minutes to around a minute or two (done a few times with 5-7 minutes rests in between each knead). The result was a puffier dough with a much more airy crumb. Still, however, the crust was tougher and denser than I would like it to be.

FYI, I am using the broiler on my electric home oven. Although I was hoping for a two minute bake, the pies were each in the oven for around 3 minutes (the broiler shut off before reaching the two minute mark).

Even with the limitations of a home oven, I am hoping to improve my pies. Does anyone have any advice as to how this can be done? (Please see my recipe and photos below.) Thanks!

Quantities shown for (1) 264g dough ball

Levain
14g 00 flour (100%)
11g water (79%)
2g 100% hydration Ischia storage starter (14%)

Mix the levain and use once it has reached its peak in volume. This should take ~10 hours. Ambient temperature should be ~72F.

Final Dough
143g 00 flour (100%)
88g water (62%)
27g levain (19%)
6g salt (4%)
Total hydration is 65%

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. Stretch 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 stretch and folds. It should be ready for your bulk ferment now.
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 ~250g 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 dough quantity in my photos is small (enough for only two pies). The images are as follows: 1.The levain after a 10 hr. ferment, 2.Initial bulk ferment, 3.Bulk ferment after 14 hrs., 4.Initial dough proofing, 5.Dough proofing after 4 hrs., 6.The oven setup, 7.The finished pie, 8.Detail of the crumb


Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 03:11:27 PM »
You would probably like the results alot better if you would use bread flour (bf) or regular all purpose flour (ap).  Reserve the 00 flour for bakes above 850 degrees.
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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 04:15:36 PM »
First, let me say that you made a really great looking pie full stop - now take into account that you made in in your home oven with the broiler, it is fantastic!

Here are a couple things to try:

-Lower salt to 3%
-Increase your ball weight to 275g ans leave the extra 25g in the cornice. When opening, do it such that you leave a big rim and then protect it. Be careful to not only make it larger, but also protect it's intregrity.
- Push your sauce just a little bit closer to the rim (leave only 1" unsauced).
- Strech your pie to 13" before launching.

Post some pictures of the pie before and after baking, and hopefully we can give even more suggestions.

CL

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Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 05:43:42 PM »
First, let me say that you made a really great looking pie full stop - now take into account that you made in in your home oven with the broiler, it is fantastic!

Here are a couple things to try:

-Lower salt to 3%
-Increase your ball weight to 275g ans leave the extra 25g in the cornice. When opening, do it such that you leave a big rim and then protect it. Be careful to not only make it larger, but also protect it's intregrity.
- Push your sauce just a little bit closer to the rim (leave only 1" unsauced).
- Strech your pie to 13" before launching.

Post some pictures of the pie before and after baking, and hopefully we can give even more suggestions.

CL



Thanks Craig. I really appreciate the kind words.

As you suggested, I'll cut back on the salt by a percentage. I'll also try not to "disturb" the rim when I open the dough. It's interesting how some videos show pizzaioli carefully working their hands up to the rim, while others show them treating the dough in the same manner from the center of the pie to the cornice.

Also, do you think that my bulk fermented final dough looks okay? I've heard that oven risen dough can be just as big of an issue (and a more difficult one to deal with) as under risen dough. Jeff Varasano talks about "catching the bubble on the way up" so that the dough can expand to its maximum volume in the oven. To find out the best timeframe to work with dough, should one let the dough rise to its maximum volume, discard the dough, and then next time figure that the dough should be used when it has reached (something like) three-fourths of its maximum volume? If so, should one determine (and later consider) this maximum volume during the preferment, the bulk ferment and the proof? I know that most people say that the preferment should transition to the bulk ferment when it peaks (i.e. when it is most active), *not sure about the bulk ferment*, and that the proofed dough balls should be used once they have increased in volume by around 50% (Varasano says that waiting until they double in size is essentially making them over risen).
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 05:50:36 PM by dbarneschi »

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 05:56:35 PM »
I've seen so many different fermentation techniques produce great looking pies, I can't say what works and what doesn't. You'll have to experiment until you find your own sweet spot. My best results have been from bulk fermentation that barley has any rise - maybe 1.1x - and balls that are 1.9-2.0x. Overrising can deliver great flavor, but it can also weaken the dough in the cornice where it lets gas escape and reduces oven spring - not to the point where it is a negative, but less than would have been achieved with a less risen dough. Like anything else, there are tradeoffs. I'd suggest a little less rise in bulk - maybe 1.5X and work down - and around 1.9X in the balls and experiment in both directions.

CL
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Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 06:38:06 PM »
I've seen so many different fermentation techniques produce great looking pies, I can't say what works and what doesn't. You'll have to experiment until you find your own sweet spot. My best results have been from bulk fermentation that barley has any rise - maybe 1.1x - and balls that are 1.9-2.0x. Overrising can deliver great flavor, but it can also weaken the dough in the cornice where it lets gas escape and reduces oven spring - not to the point where it is a negative, but less than would have been achieved with a less risen dough. Like anything else, there are tradeoffs. I'd suggest a little less rise in bulk - maybe 1.5X and work down - and around 1.9X in the balls and experiment in both directions.

CL

Hmmm. Interesting. Thanks for the tips. I'll shoot for these percentages in rises in my next pies. (I'm thinking something along the lines of a two hour bulk ferment and a 6 hour proof - quite different from what I was doing during previous batches.)

The most amazing sourdough flavor I ever had in my pies was when I let the dough seriously over rise. Looks like I won't be getting that flavor again.  :(

Offline shuboyje

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 07:00:16 PM »
Do you have the broiler on the entire bake?  I've heard people in the past claim that too much top heat early in the bake can limit spring by forming a "crust" on the top of the rim before the dough can rise fully.  That almost looks like the case to me as you have lots of spring, just not much lift and you certainly seem to have lots of top heat.  I would try turning the broiler off for the first 30 seconds or so, then kicking it on.
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Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 09:38:49 PM »
Do you have the broiler on the entire bake?  I've heard people in the past claim that too much top heat early in the bake can limit spring by forming a "crust" on the top of the rim before the dough can rise fully.  That almost looks like the case to me as you have lots of spring, just not much lift and you certainly seem to have lots of top heat.  I would try turning the broiler off for the first 30 seconds or so, then kicking it on.

Controlling the broiler is difficult (if not impossible), but you make a good point. Perhaps I'll try to slide a pie in a bit before it turns on next time.

Thanks for the tip.

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2012, 09:52:01 PM »
You don't happen to have two ovens do you?
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Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 02:00:03 PM »
Craig, unfortunately I do not. Do you agree with shuboyje's assumption that the intense heat from the broiler is forming a premature crust on the dough and inhibiting dough spring? If so, might brushing the crust with water immmediately before placing the pie in the oven help hinder this crust from forming? I'd rather not fool around with turning the broiler on and off because this will likely lead to a longer bake time, thus making the crust stiff and dry.

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 02:42:26 PM »
Craig, unfortunately I do not. Do you agree with shuboyje's assumption that the intense heat from the broiler is forming a premature crust on the dough and inhibiting dough spring? If so, might brushing the crust with water immmediately before placing the pie in the oven help hinder this crust from forming? I'd rather not fool around with turning the broiler on and off because this will likely lead to a longer bake time, thus making the crust stiff and dry.

I don't think Jeff was claiming that but rather that he had heard such. I tend to doubt it is correct. I would not brush with water. If anything, paint your sauce a little closer to the rim. I'd keep going the way you're going with the oven for now. Start with the changes to the dough. I wouldn't change too many things at once, or you won't know what is doing what.

CL
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scott123

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 03:20:04 PM »
Damian, the single most important ingredient in Neapolitan pizza- the single most "puff" providing factor- is heat. If you can't break the 2 minute bake barrier- for both top and bottom, there's no amount of recipe tweaking or alterations to dough management that will help you.

You seem to be getting a good amount of top coloration in 3 minutes- thanks, I think, due to the slight droop of the broiler element, putting it very close to the pizza, but, for that broiler, with that many passes/wattage, without oven mods, 3 minutes is the best you're going to get.

The way I see it, you only have two options for working with this oven.

1. Mod the oven to a minimum of 750 deg.  As you push the oven to a higher temp, there's definitely risks involved, and, I believe that the higher you go, the higher the risk, so 750+ is a pretty risky endeavor, but if you want Neapolitan pizza from this oven, I don't think you have a choice.

2. Accept your 3 minute fate and make great NY style pizzas.  You might find one or two people that disagree, but I strongly believe that a 3 minute NY style pizza will always turn out better than a Neapolitan dough baked for 3 minutes. This means, as Gene suggested earlier, using a malted bread flour (along with a traditional NY style recipe).

Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2012, 05:14:51 PM »
Sound advice. I've done many two-minute pies before, but getting them out in two (under two) depends on whether or not the broiler is willing to cooperate. In the case of this last batch, the broiler shut off both times before the two minute mark, and thus I had to continue the bake to around the 2:45/3 minute mark. Someday soon I'll hopefully have a place with a backyard and access to a Primavera 60. Until then, I'll just keep working on my recipe.

Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2012, 09:19:43 AM »
I've seen so many different fermentation techniques produce great looking pies, I can't say what works and what doesn't. You'll have to experiment until you find your own sweet spot. My best results have been from bulk fermentation that barley has any rise - maybe 1.1x - and balls that are 1.9-2.0x. Overrising can deliver great flavor, but it can also weaken the dough in the cornice where it lets gas escape and reduces oven spring - not to the point where it is a negative, but less than would have been achieved with a less risen dough. Like anything else, there are tradeoffs. I'd suggest a little less rise in bulk - maybe 1.5X and work down - and around 1.9X in the balls and experiment in both directions.

CL

Craig - One final question. With your suggested shorter bulk ferment, (I'll be likely trying a ~2 hr. ferment vs. my 14 hr. ferment last bake) but longer proof (I'll likely be doing a ~6 hr. proof vs. my 4 hr. proof last bake), the overall dough development time will still be less. Would you suggested more kneading to develop the gluten structure of the dough? Last time I did three kneading sessions of a minute or so (with an 8 minute rest between sessions) and the dough wound up feeling soft and smooth, and it opened up perfectly. Thanks!

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2012, 09:54:07 AM »
I'd keep it the same. I doubt it is going to make a difference. I'm also guessing you'll nee a little more than 2 hours in bulk. If you change too many things, you won't know what did what. If you like everything better this time, but the dough is a little too loose, you can knead it a bit more next time.
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Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2012, 12:19:44 PM »
Sorry if I missed it but how are you opening the dough ball, maybe that is a factor? 

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2012, 02:24:13 PM »
Sound advice. I've done many two-minute pies before, but getting them out in two (under two) depends on whether or not the broiler is willing to cooperate. In the case of this last batch, the broiler shut off both times before the two minute mark, and thus I had to continue the bake to around the 2:45/3 minute mark. Someday soon I'll hopefully have a place with a backyard and access to a Primavera 60. Until then, I'll just keep working on my recipe.

Damian, if your broiler can produce a two minute bake, then perhaps there's hope.  If you're going to get the broiler to 'cooperate,' you need to pre-heat the oven to a slightly lower then peak oven temp, or like I said, mod it. If, say, the oven goes to 550, then pre-heating it to 525 will keep the broiler on longer. This is going to further handicap your bottom browning (and jeopardize oven spring), which is already pretty anemic, so, if you want to see what the broiler can do, I'd invest in a better stone.  Right now, there's no stone that I've found that will guarantee Neapolitan undercrust char at 525.  Silicon Carbide looks promising, but it's a bit unproven and kind of expensive.  I used to think thick enough steel plate (3/4") could do it, but, after a couple people have tried and failed, I'm not so sure.  If you really think this broiler can consistently do sub 2 minute bakes if it can be kept on, then I would combine 1/2" steel plate with a gentle oven mod- to perhaps 600. 600 won't break your oven and it will keep the broiler for the full bake.

Or, like I said, keep your current stone and push the oven to 750. If your broiler can do sub 2 minutes in the 500s, with a ceiling in the 700s, you could probably easily break the 90 second barrier. Greater risk (to the oven) but with a far greater potential reward (flawless Neapolitan pizza in a home oven).

The way your oven setup is now, you're basically crossing your fingers every time you make pizza.  If the broiler stays on, you win- to an extent (the lack of undercrust color will still be an issue). If it cuts out, you lose.  Recipe tweaks will never overcome this precarious position. You need to commit to a workaround that will ensure fast enough bakes every time.

Once you have the bake time you want, then you can perfect the recipe.  Until then, though, you're trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 10:44:00 PM by scott123 »


Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2012, 10:38:55 PM »
Sorry if I missed it but how are you opening the dough ball, maybe that is a factor? 

I am "pushing out the dough" in a way similar to what Tony Gemignani demonstrates here in this video (minus the hand stretching on the knuckles):

In my next bake, however, I need to do a better job of maintaining the integrity of the cornice (as he does).

What are your thoughts on this technique?

Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2012, 10:45:30 PM »
Damian, if your broiler can produce a two minute bake, then perhaps there's hope.  If you're going to get the broiler to 'cooperate,' you need to pre-heat the oven to a slightly lower then peak oven temp, or like I said, mod it. If, say, the oven goes to 550, then pre-heating it to 525 will keep the broiler on longer. This is going to further handicap your bottom browning (and jeopardize oven spring), which is already pretty anemic, so, if you want to see what the broiler can do, I'd invest in a better stone.  Right now, there's no stone that I've found that will guarantee Neapolitan undercrust char at 525.  Silicon Carbide looks promising, but it's a bit unproven and kind of expensive.  I used to think thick enough steel plate (3/4") could do it, but, after a couple people have tried and failed, I'm not so sure.  If you really think this broiler can consistently do sub 2 minute bakes if it can be kept on, then I would combine 1/2" steel plate with a gentle oven mod- to perhaps 600. 600 won't break you oven and it will keep the broiler for the full bake.

Or, like I said, keep your current stone and push the oven to 750. If your broiler can do sub 2 minutes in the 500s, with a ceiling in the 700s, you could probably easily break the 90 second barrier. Greater risk (to the oven) but with a far greater potential reward (flawless Neapolitan pizza in a home oven).

The way your oven setup is now, you're basically crossing your fingers every time you make pizza.  If the broiler stays on, you win- to an extent (the lack of undercrust color will still be an issue). If it cuts out, you lose.  Recipe tweaks will never overcome this precarious position. You need to commit to a workaround that will ensure fast enough bakes every time.

Once you have the bake time you want, then you can perfect the recipe.  Until then, though, you're trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

I definitely agree with you on the importance of getting a consistent performance from my oven (broiler). I would rather not perform an oven mod, however, as my girlfriend and I recently caused $3000 in water damage to our apartment and would therefore want to shy away from any "risky" behavior.

That said, the only tweak I could make at this point would be to get a better cooking surface. Where do you suggest I find a 1/2" steel plate?

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2012, 11:03:48 PM »
I definitely agree with you on the importance of getting a consistent performance from my oven (broiler). I would rather not perform an oven mod, however, as my girlfriend and I recently caused $3000 in water damage to our apartment and would therefore want to shy away from any "risky" behavior.

That said, the only tweak I could make at this point would be to get a better cooking surface. Where do you suggest I find a 1/2" steel plate?

I'm sure Scott or Craig will chime in here, but from my experience changing out the cooking surface won't impact your "puffiness" that much. I mean I have seen people bake at 350F on a wire rack in 20 minutes and end up with puffy rim. You are already baking your pizzas so fast that I think that a steel plate would be your charring solution, but I don't know about puffiness. My thought would be that you bulk ferment looks over fermented, it about quadrupled in size.

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2012, 01:46:33 AM »
I'm sure Scott or Craig will chime in here, but from my experience changing out the cooking surface won't impact your "puffiness" that much.

Actually intense heat from below is definitely a factor in improving oven spring, and, if you look at Damian's undercrust, he's currently not getting a lot of heat from below.

scott123

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2012, 02:04:54 AM »
I definitely agree with you on the importance of getting a consistent performance from my oven (broiler). I would rather not perform an oven mod, however, as my girlfriend and I recently caused $3000 in water damage to our apartment and would therefore want to shy away from any "risky" behavior.

That said, the only tweak I could make at this point would be to get a better cooking surface. Where do you suggest I find a 1/2" steel plate?

If you look up metal (or maybe steel) in the yellow pages, you'll find a plate distributor.  You want to look for a36 hot rolled steel plate- that's the cheap, generic, industrial grade steel. Get the largest square piece that your oven can handle- the bigger the target the better.  You don't need air gaps on all four sides, just two.  Since ovens tend to be wider than they are deep I recommend sizing it so that it's almost touching the back wall and door. Measure carefully.

The steel plate will go along way in generating more undercrust char, but, like I said, keep a gentle oven mod in mind.  575 isn't 'risky' behavior.  800- now that's risky.

Offline dbarneschi

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2012, 05:01:57 PM »
Scott,

I'll definitely have to look into getting a steel plate. Thanks for the info.

As far as performing an oven mod, does this always mean altering the stove's wiring? If so, not being a very handy person in this department, the forums I have seen on this topic look quite intimidating. Do you have a preferred forum link that you can direct me for instructions with this procedure? Thanks.

Offline communist

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Re: Still looking for more "puff" in my crust
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2012, 08:10:39 PM »
Get the largest square piece that your oven can handle- the bigger the target the better.  You don't need air gaps on all four sides, just two.  Since ovens tend to be wider than they are deep I recommend sizing it so that it's almost touching the back wall and door. Measure carefully.

.
I agree Scott.  My steel plate is 1/2 inch thick and 17 by 17.  I am now doing 16 inch pies, and I would like a larger plate, perhaps 18 by 20.  I did a little sheetmetal work to extend my plate an extra 1 1/2 inch.  It helps when sliding a 16 inch pie.  In the picture, there is a one inch Pizza Gourmet stone underneath which I have from 20 years ago.  I feel it gives me some thermal mass as I bake 4 or 5 pies in rapid succession.  Mark