Author Topic: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?  (Read 10326 times)

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Offline MrPibbs

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Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« on: August 30, 2012, 04:25:17 PM »
I have not been able to find a basic answer to why the various dough dockers (pins, plastic, wide, narrow, etc.) exist.  It seems that stretching and tossing the dough is more common, and apparently rarely is a rolling pin ever used to make dough even.  I don't understand the purpose or value of a dough docker, but there are plenty of them still for sale, so they must provide some kind of value.  Could someone give a basic run-down on them, please?   Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 12:45:17 AM by MrPibbs »


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Purpose, When to Usef Dough Docker?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 04:37:01 PM »
As far as I know, dockers have one purpose: to decrease the potential for bubbles in the crust.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Purpose, When to Usef Dough Docker?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 04:42:49 PM »
A lot of cracker crust guys use 'em....oh,and crappy dough at the chain (pain) joints.
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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Purpose, When to Usef Dough Docker?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2012, 04:45:36 PM »
A lot of cracker crust guys use 'em....

...as do cracker companies. Take a look at a saltine. Docked. Ritz. Docked.

Offline MrPibbs

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Re: Purpose, When to Usef Dough Docker?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 12:44:14 AM »
So the gist of people here is don't use the docker with your own custom pizza?

Also, same question with small or medium size rolling pins.  As a newbie, I was thinking a roller seems like it would help give a thinner/uniform bottom to the center.  In part, I ask about a roller because using Peter's versions of Lehman's formulas 60-65% hydration (I'm using KASL) & 1, 2, & 3 day cold fermenting, yet hand stretching into shape seems to give some paper-thin patches that result in the sauce leaking through.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2012, 09:43:49 AM »
MrPibbs,

The main purpose of using a dough docker is to minimize the occurrence of large bubbles in the finished crust. It does not necessarily prevent them but only reduces the likelihood of their occurrence. Dough dockers are used most commonly for cracker style skins but they also can be used for dough skins that might be "bucky", or overly elastic. Some places, like Papa John's, for example, use dough dockers for all of their skins. In a home setting, it is also common to use dough dockers if the skin is to be pre-baked or par-baked before finishing. That applies mostly to cracker style pizzas.

You can read more about the use of dough dockers at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16565.msg161630.html#msg161630, Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7919.msg67963/topicseen.html#msg67963, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6191.msg53148.html#msg53148, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6951.msg59691.html#msg59691, and Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7551.msg64578/topicseen.html#msg64578.

On the matter of using rolling pins, such use is appropriate for the reasons mentioned above and in the various posts cited but not for the New York style of pizza. However, there is one exception to the rule as applied to the NY style, and a temporary one at that, and that is to roll out the skin part way and finish opening it by hand. Tom Lehmann discusses this method in a PMQ Think Tank post at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=41080#p41080. Ideally, you eventually want to be able to open up skins for the NY style (and other noncracker styles) entirely by hand.

Peter

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Purpose, When to Usef Dough Docker?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2012, 09:54:13 AM »
So the gist of people here is don't use the docker with your own custom pizza?

I guess you can use the docker whenever you want to, although it's not appropriate with most styles of pizza. One pizza I've been trying to clone for a long time is a cracker crust from a place called Tommy's. Almost every cracker crust in the world is docked, but Tommy's doesn't dock their dough, so I don't dock it when I'm trying to clone it. Because I don't dock it, my crust sometimes ends up with large bubbles that push a lot of the cheese and toppings over the edge of the pizza when it's baking. Consequently, I have to watch the pizza carefully near the end of the bake. I keep a grill fork handy to pop bubbles as soon as I see them. It's a hassle, but it's something I have to do if I want to replicate their pizza.

Also, same question with small or medium size rolling pins.  As a newbie, I was thinking a roller seems like it would help give a thinner/uniform bottom to the center.  In part, I ask about a roller because using Peter's versions of Lehman's formulas 60-65% hydration (I'm using KASL) & 1, 2, & 3 day cold fermenting, yet hand stretching into shape seems to give some paper-thin patches that result in the sauce leaking through.

It's really your choice. But it also depends on what style of pizza you're making. If you're making NY style pizza and you use a rolling pin, you're not making NY style. Same with Neapolitan or Malnati's style deep dish.

But if you make Chicago thin crust, a Tommy's clone, or other variations of deep dish (not Malnati's style), you'll need to roll it with a rolling pin.

...Unless you choose to do it a different way. But if you do it a different way, you're sorta making up a new style, which may or may not be a good thing.

Offline jduchon

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2012, 03:26:17 PM »
I don't know about the group, but the baked bubbles are my favorite part.  My wife always asks me to put more large bubbles in the pie.

Not sure how to add more bubbles.

JD

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2012, 04:08:42 PM »

Not sure how to add more bubbles.


One easy way to get bubbles is by par-baking (and not docking). Using a stiff, sheeted/rolled dough probably helps achieve bubbles. But with par-baking you might just end up with one large bubble that's as big as the entire pizza skin.

I hate the concept of par-baking pizza skins, partly because I see it as a very inefficient way to achieve results that could be done in other, easier ways. If you check out this thread, you can see a lot pizzas I've made, most of which have bubbles. (Some of them had uncontrollable bubbles.) If you do what I do with these pizzas, it should not be difficult for you to end up with the bubbles you love.

Offline MrPibbs

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2012, 04:46:01 PM »
All very useful and wonderful feedback.  You are all really great, and I appreciate learning from you very much.  Saving me from so many mistakes that are not always intuitive.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2012, 04:48:07 PM »
I don't know about the group, but the baked bubbles are my favorite part.  My wife always asks me to put more large bubbles in the pie.

Not sure how to add more bubbles.


JD,

I agree with Ryan that par-baking or pre-baking crusts in inefficient. However, for a cracker-style crust in a home environment, docking and par-baking or pre-baking the crust works quite well.

Once you get outside of cracker-style crusts, such as a NY style or an American style, it isn't quite so easy to induce bubbling. I recall one of our members saying that he made over a hundred pizzas trying to intentionally get pronounced bubbling in a New York style dough, all to no avail (see Reply 37 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5541.msg48111.html#msg48111). Tom Lehmann says that using the dough cold, that is, without tempering at room temperature, will have a tendency to result in bubbling in the crust (see item 5 in his PMQ Think Tank post at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=194&p=776&hilit=#p776). However, that doesn't always work. One might think that using high hydration doughs might lead to some increased bubbling but it is not guaranteed. I have made doughs with a hydration of around 50% and an "effective" hydration of around 54% (due to the addition of ingredients with a water component) and was able to achieve significant bubbling in the finished crust. If I were to intentionally try to induce bubbling in the finished crust, I think I would use a lot of yeast--considerably more than normal for the particular dough formulation--and let the dough ferment for an extended period of time, including a reasonable temper period at room temperature before making the pizza. And if you have an oven that can deliver an extra jolt of heat to the pizza, so much the better.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 05:00:36 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2012, 05:37:34 PM »
Tom Lehmann says that using the dough cold, that is, without tempering at room temperature, will have a tendency to result in bubbling in the crust.

In my experience, that kind of bubbling is just tiny bubbles on the surface of the crust, rather than bubbles of the crust (also similar to what you can see in a lot of my Tommy's pics).

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2012, 05:47:56 PM »
In my experience, that kind of bubbling is just tiny bubbles on the surface of the crust, rather than bubbles of the crust (also similar to what you can see in a lot of my Tommy's pics).


Ryan,

When Tom Lehmann talks about the propensity of cold dough to lead to bubbling, which is a topic he has been discussing for years, the bubbles he is referring to are the type that can require piercing with a bubble popper, as he discusses, for example, in his PMQ Think Tank post at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=23333#p23333.

Peter

Offline Meatballs

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2012, 05:59:32 PM »
Quote
Not sure how to add more bubbles.

Tom Lehman is correct, as referenced.  I like bubbles too, if I want to maximize them, often I do, I work the colder than normal dough into a round by hand, spin if the dough will take it, and treat the rim very gently and don't deflate any bubbles I find there.  Refrigerater, retarded rise, doughs work best.  When I was a child, under 8 years old, I remember family fights over the bubbles in the pizza my dad brought home from the "front" pizza place in Philly.  3 or 4 day old dough seems to work best for the cold forming, not cold really just colder than normal, dough.  I make New York thin style 0.08 TF, as all pizza should be.

Ron

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2012, 10:48:46 PM »
I use surgical docking at times. If I see a bubble at the edge of my cornice, i'll give it a quick flick or knife prick to keep it from becoming a big ugly black bubble.

CL
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Offline Jackitup

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2012, 10:57:01 PM »
My favorite cracker crust ever WITH bubbles that I still try to duplicate. Many have been close but this one was the best!! And yes, dough docker was used, just not OVER used.

Jon

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Offline Meatballs

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2012, 05:26:44 PM »
CL said,

Quote
I use surgical docking at times. If I see a bubble at the edge of my cornice, i'll give it a quick flick or knife prick to keep it from becoming a big ugly black bubble.

What's "Big Black and Ugly" to some is heaven to others.  I say put away that bubble stabber and stop flicking the babies.  Bubbles are what puts artisan in artisanal... or something like that.  Pizza is not surgery, its..... cooking, or baking, and bubbles are god's way of saying burnt is good, I paint a little sauce on those baby bubbles so they blacken and char even better. 

By the way, I make 95 gram dough balls when I make pizza dough that I roll out pretty cold and bake as pitas, they are awesome with my Hummus (taught to me by a Lebanese Cajun Chef, yes you read that right) and inflate every time.

Ron

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2012, 05:34:36 PM »
Ron, sounds like you have very refined connoisseur tastes.. ;)
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Offline Meatballs

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2012, 06:07:25 PM »
Don Sinatra,  (bow, grovel and snivel, sloppily kiss the ring)

Thank you sir, I am known as a gastronome and a National grade Beer Judge (BJCP).  May I add, your Pizza chops here are considerable.

Ron

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Purpose, When to Use a Dough Docker?
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2012, 06:21:24 PM »
Ronnie,
Your credentials and skills (in all things you knowledgeably persue and graciously present ) are widely appreciated by all of us benefactors here. I dig your pizza's too!  :chef:
Now ...please excuse me while I go wipe the meatball juice off from my ring.....  >:(
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