I'm a new member, and have been playing around with pizza recipes for a couple of months now, using this forum as my chief resource. Today I had a real breakthrough, but was also thrown for a loop by an unexpected result. I will detail what I did today, and attempt my own analysis of what occurred. I would appreciate any input that any of you might have.
Yesterday I made my first dough with bromated All Trumps. Previously, I had been experimenting with KA Bread and KA AP flours, with middling results. I'll not bore you with my various failures up until now, except to say that I found the KA flour pizzas to be rather tough, with mediocre oven spring, although a delightful crispy/crunchiness was often in evidence. I made various changes in kneading method, yeast amount, and hydration in order to lessen the chewiness while maintaining spring, to no avail, although I learned a lot in the process. Based on what I read about the bromated All Trumps, I thought it might help with my problem.
Yesterday I made the following dough:
Flour: 400 grams (100%)
Water: 240 grams (60%)
IDY: 2 grams (.5%)
Salt: 8 grams (2%)
I put all the dry ingredients in my food processor, and gave them a quick pulse to combine. I added all the water (cold, from the tap), and pulsed for 15 seconds until the water was absorbed. I autolysed for 30 minutes, then gave another 15 second pulse, until the dough was spinning around the blade. The temperature of the dough at the end of this process was 73 degrees.
I hand kneaded the dough with a little bench flour for 3 minutes, at which point it was beautifully hydrated, slightly sticky, and smooth as the proverbial baby's bottom. After this knead I did a windowpane test: the windowpane was extraordinary, showing excellent gluten development.
I then divided the balls in two, put them each in a lightly oiled plastic container, and put them in the fridge for a 24 hour cold fermentation.
When I pulled the dough today the balls had enlarged by roughly 50%. I gave them a two hour counter rest, then opened the balls. This was the best handling dough I've ever had. It handled like a dream, and I had two 11 inch pies in no time.
I've been baking on an outdoor gas grill, a Weber, with a pizza stone set where the grates usually are. I preheat for 30 minutes, at which point the stone read 650 degrees or so on my laser. Air temp was probably 550-600 degrees, as best as I can tell.
Now here is where things get tricky. My previous pies, made with KA flour, cooked with this set up in roughly six minutes. These pies cooked in four, and when I say cooked I mean that another couple of seconds and they would have burned unacceptably.
These pies were gorgeous (sorry, no pics). Great spring, elegant cornichone, nice char. But rather than being tough and crunchy, like the KA pies, the texture was more Neapolitan; soft, slightly moist, a touch of crispiness. Strangely, despite the softness, individual slices had very little sag; they held up very well. Given the high gluten content of the All Trumps, the highest I have worked with, my penchant for strong kneading, and the relatively low hydration, I expected exactly the opposite. What happened?
I'm guessing that the bromate in the All Trumps might have hastened the browning, which caused me to pull the pies too early. Had I gone to six minutes or so I think I might have retained most of the elegant crumb qualities while adding some crispiness to the crust. I'm thinking that the bromated All Trumps might work more effectively at lower temps, say around 550 degrees, where a longer cook time might draw more of the moisture out of the dough before excess browning occurs. I know that the old "elite" NY pizza makers used an unbromated, medium protein level flour for their pies cooked in high temp coal ovens; the bromated All Trumps seems to have come into vogue along with lower temp gas ovens, so perhaps there is a connection. I know that Brian Spangler uses unbromated Harvest King for his dough, and cooks in a gas oven that goes to 650-700. I've also noticed that the New Haven elite pizza joints use bromated All Trumps, and cook at very high temps, but push cook times to the limit, producing pies that are, visually, right on the edge of overcooked. But they have the soft crumb and crisp crust, and taste amazing.
I'm going to try the same recipe and method as above, but with Harvest King, in my outdoor oven, while attempting the above recipe exactly in my indoor electric at 550 degrees, to see if this theory has any merit.
Please let me know what you think.