Author Topic: Weak, soft dough ... please help  (Read 1556 times)

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Offline bradtri

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Weak, soft dough ... please help
« on: August 12, 2012, 09:16:06 PM »
I'm using Reinhart's Neo-Neopolitan recipe with KABF and mixing 8-10 minutes with bosch mixer.  After mixing I portion into 475 g balls and put in ziplocs in the fridge for 1-3 days.  Then they go into the freezer.

If I stick to the recipe exactly (by weight), the resulting dough is ridiculously sticky and difficult to work with.  The dough is very soft and easy to tear when shaping.  I frequently add 1/2 c or more of flour during the mixing just to get something reasonably workable, but the dough is still quite soft.

By contrast, I bought some pizza dough balls from a local bread maker.  The dough was very rubbery and difficult to work with and shape.  But, it was much better pizza than what I have been making.  It was a very unique texture.  The dough seemed relatively high hydration, but was not sticky whatsoever.

I've tried adding a couple tablespoons of gluten, but even that doesn't seem to help?

Do I need a longer knead time?  I've seen some references which say not to add the oil up front.  Will I get better results if it is added after the 5 minutes of letting the flour absorb the water?



Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2012, 12:48:10 AM »
Do what you've been doing in your Bosch (without adding the extrra flour or gluten), then give the dough a 10 minute rest, then knead it by hand 10 times. Give it another 10 minute rest and then knead it another 10 times. I bet it will feel much better. If it is still a little sticky, give it another 10 minute rest and another 10 kneads. See how that works.

It should be OK to add the oil at the begining.

What kind of flour are you using? What is your whole formula?

CL
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Offline bradtri

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2012, 08:10:59 PM »
Thanks for the reply.

"What kind of flour are you using? What is your whole formula?"

I'm using King Arthur bread flour.  The Neo-Neopolitan recipe is from Reinhardt's Artisan Bread Every Day:

680 g flour (which includes an added 1 T of gluten)
14 g  salt
3 g   instant yeast
28.5 g sugar
482 g water
28.5 g oil

That comes out to almost 71% hydration as is.  I seem to remember someone on the forum saying that KABF could only absorb water in the low 60% range?

Last night I tried another batch (before I read  your post) and didn't warm the water at all, left the oil out until after the dough rested after initial mixing to absorb the water.  I ended up adding about 37 g of flour, which takes this to about 67%.  The dough turned out quite a bit better, although I've yet to cook with it. 

I've done the 10 minute rest/knead technique that you mentioned on some of Reinhardt's bread recipes and that does work good.  I will try it on my next batch of pizza dough.  I'm usually lazy and just leave the dough in the Bosch and give it a few pulses every 10 minutes.  Is that too much of a short cut compared to hand-kneading?

What do  you think a good % would be to shoot for with King Arthur Bread Flour?


Offline bradtri

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2012, 08:45:29 PM »
I tried some of the 67% dough that I made a couple nights ago and it was a huge improvement!!  The dough is still soft enough that it only needs some gentle persuasion to become a 14" round.  But it baked up real nice and was probably in my top pizzas ever.  Very light and puffy.   So, clearly I'm just not ready to handle the higher % doughs and will probably even go down to 65% for the next batch to see how that works.  My only complaint with this batch was that the amount of flour I had to use on the peel to keep it from sticking ended up causing too much of a flour taste on the bottom.  I'll probably switch back to mostly corn meal next time.

In case anyone's interested, I'm baking these in a big steel keg.   I had the air temp up to 675 and the lodge cast iron pan was up to 643.  I use a second lodge pan underneath as a heat shield with four cast iron couplers as spacers in between.  Of course, my biggest problem is getting enough top heat, so my pizzas are a bit pale.  I'm working on an idea to suspend a circle of 1/4" steel from the dome of the grill to give me some good top radiant heat.

Any thoughts on how much space to have between the pizza and the top steel plate?  I'm thinking of setting it to around 6".

buceriasdon

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2012, 08:52:30 PM »
The closer you can get the top plate of steel the better.
Don

Offline bradtri

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2012, 08:22:53 PM »
Here's a few pics of what I got with the 67% dough.  Just from a workability standpoint, I feel like I'd still like to try 62-65%.  But these were pretty darn good.

The stone is at 600-630 and the air temp is about 650.


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2012, 08:31:33 PM »

Do I need a longer knead time?  I've seen some references which say not to add the oil up front.  Will I get better results if it is added after the 5 minutes of letting the flour absorb the water?


Yes, hydrate first...an forget the VWG. Knead time is already too much..take 5 out. Craigs stretch an folds will definetly help you. Try your 62-65 hydro on a stone. Until you get your other mods done I think the second iron skillet is too much. Once sorted out you gonna need a stone anyway....
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 08:35:19 PM by Chicago Bob »
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Offline bradtri

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2012, 01:00:52 PM »
On the next batch, I'll shoot for 65% and see what I have after 5 minutes of kneading.

The lower iron pizza pan is being used as the heat diffuser.  Otherwise I'd have freakishly high temps for the pan exposed directly to the coals.

So far, I'm like the cast iron pizza pan as it seems to heat up quicker both initially and in between pies.  One of these times I"ll throw a regular stone back in there while still keeping the lower cast iron pan as the heat diffuser.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2012, 01:23:05 PM »
On the next batch, I'll shoot for 65% and see what I have after 5 minutes of kneading.

The lower iron pizza pan is being used as the heat diffuser.  Otherwise I'd have freakishly high temps for the pan exposed directly to the coals.

So far, I'm like the cast iron pizza pan as it seems to heat up quicker both initially and in between pies.  One of these times I"ll throw a regular stone back in there while still keeping the lower cast iron pan as the heat diffuser.
Yes, I was referring to the top pan...I'd swap that out with a stone...
looks like the top cast iron pan is mess'in with your heat flow..I'd try the swap out before addressing the top dome plate mod you motioned..
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 01:28:09 PM by Chicago Bob »
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buceriasdon

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2012, 10:29:13 AM »
I did some reading on a couple of forums about pizza baking on your grill and it appears the vast majority of users perferred a stone over steel. 
Don


Offline bradtri

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2012, 07:28:23 PM »
I did some reading on a couple of forums about pizza baking on your grill and it appears the vast majority of users perferred a stone over steel. 
Don

I definitely will try the stone for my next bake, but I'm curious as to what I will see as the difference?  Will I have a slower cook time on the bottom of the pizza allowing the top and bottom to cook more evenly?

I checked a few threads in the stone/tiles forum and it sounds like some folks are using steel.  I didn't find much though describing what to expect for cooking differences compared to stone.

On the flip side of this topic, I scored a 13" round piece of 1/4" steel today for FREE!!  I made connections with a fellow that works in the machine shop at my company and told him what I was looking for and 10 minutes later he called me to come pick up a beautifully cut piece of steel.  He used a computer controlled water jet to cut it so it is perfectly round and smooth.  Couldn't believe my luck.  He'll get invited over once I fine-tuned my pizzas a bit more!!

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Weak, soft dough ... please help
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2012, 08:15:46 PM »
I definitely will try the stone for my next bake, but I'm curious as to what I will see as the difference?  Will I have a slower cook time on the bottom of the pizza allowing the top and bottom to cook more evenly?

I checked a few threads in the stone/tiles forum and it sounds like some folks are using steel.  I didn't find much though describing what to expect for cooking differences compared to stone.

On the flip side of this topic, I scored a 13" round piece of 1/4" steel today for FREE!!  I made connections with a fellow that works in the machine shop at my company and told him what I was looking for and 10 minutes later he called me to come pick up a beautifully cut piece of steel.  He used a computer controlled water jet to cut it so it is perfectly round and smooth.  Couldn't believe my luck.  He'll get invited over once I fine-tuned my pizzas a bit more!!
Yes, I think you will...also,that top iron skillet was blocking air flow over the top of your pizza...should be significantly better with a stone.

Many are using steel in the home oven...try it...
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