Author Topic: Springless Dough  (Read 1016 times)

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Offline harmdogg

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Springless Dough
« on: November 12, 2012, 04:38:49 PM »
Hey folks,

I've been working on this dough for close to a year, and something has screwed up with my recipe/technique. It rises just fine on the counter, but once it's in the oven--nothing! Flat, dense, colorless pizza.

Here's a little background: I'm cooking in the oven at 450 on a 18"x18" stone. I mix and knead by hand. Usually mix, knead, then set on the counter until it doubles in size. Before, I started reading all these posts on here, I used to THEN stick it in the fridge overnight... Now I know that's a mistake. It was over-proofing, thus the flat, dense pizza.

After reading about dough and whatnot for countless hours, I know that if you're going to refrigerate; mix, knead, and stick directly in the fridge... I'm trying to get away from refrigerating entirely if possible. When I'm making pizza, I'm hungry THEN!

I digress... Saturday I mixed/kneaded like crazy (never seemed to smooth out), proofed (it doubled in 90 minutes). I punched it down. Formed my "dough balls"--which weren't that smooth by the way--and let it rise a second time (45 mins or so--much warmer/faster this time since I was preheating the oven). Poked the balls, and the indent stayed. Rolled them out, stuck in the oven. Nothing. This time, it seemed more like UNDER proofing rather than my usual OVER proofed dough because there were just TINY little air bubbles in the crust. Different than my normal screw up.

Here's the recipe I was using:
(No scale, so I converted everything myself--check my math if you'd like!)
This usually makes two 16" pizzas. Relatively thin. Not crispy thin though. Well, if they were cooked correctly, they wouldn't be crispy.

Durham - 1.25C   (445 g total for both flours)
Bread  - 2.25C
Water  - 9.5 oz (105 degrees)
Yeast  - 2.5-3 tsp
EVO    - 1 Tbsp
Sugar  - 2 tsp
Salt   - 1.5 tsp

100% Flour
61.5% Water
2.0% ADY
3.0% EVO
1.5% Salt
2.0% Sugar

I put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mixed well. Then added the wet. I used more yeast to speed up the proofing process. I think I read that somewhere. Also, when I was mixing the dough, there wasn't NEAR enough water to incorporate everything. I probably left out 1/4 C of flour and still had to add at least another 1/2 oz of water (14.25 g or another 3% in total weight). After the 2nd rise, those little dough balls were awfully lumpy too.

I'm sure a standing mixer would have done the trick. And one of my hands was kind of sore from doing "fix it " stuff around the house earlier that day. This was the first time I used durum flour. I thought for sure that the extra protein would give that crust a nice dark color... You could imagine my surprise when I opened the oven!!!

Guide me, pizza experts!

Tyler


Offline The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
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Re: Springless Dough
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 04:53:23 PM »
Tyler;
Tow things come to mind. 1) The Durham flour might be slow to hydrate, as such the dough will feel just fine, but then with time it will begin to hydrate and the dough will stiffen up, but since you didn't mention anything about that I'll assume that's not the problem here. 2) You did mention rolling the dough out. Is there a possibility that you are rolling/sheeting the dough too thin? How thin is too thin? 1/8-inch or less might be too thin for a rolled dough. To test this, try hand forming the dough ball into a pizza skin and let's see it the resulting crust looks better. A dough that is rolled too thin will readily allow heat to pass through it where the heat is dissipated as steam from the moisture in the sauce and vegetables (all of which are about 90% water). Sorta like trying to solder a water pipe which still has water in it. One other thing comes to mind too, 450F seems a might cool unless you're baking for an extended time. Can you bake at a higher temperature?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline harmdogg

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Re: Springless Dough
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 05:53:06 PM »
Thanks Tom.

Actually, now that you mention it, the dough did seem pretty dense and unworkable to begin with. I've hand-tossed decent doughs, and I could get quite a bit of stretching done with just tossing it back and forth between my hands. Not the case this time. I mean, I still threw it up in the air because I had little kids around, but it did nothing. Probably made it worse.

I've cooked at a higher temp before, but it took forever to preheat. Not being sure how high my oven goes in the first place, I was a little concerned that I'd catch the kitchen on fire! Short of putting it on "CLEAN", I'll see how hot I can get it. FYI - Usually at 450, it was taking about 8-9 minutes or so to cook and brown the cheese (fresh mozz slices).

I'm going to make some dough tonight and stick it straight in the fridge until the next night. I'll also make some for a "fast rise" tomorrow, and cook both of them as hot as I can while trying to hand stretch if possible.

Think it has anything to do with my kneading? Like I said, unless my math was off, I was right on top of 65% water by weight, but I still had to add more. Maybe I'm a bad kneader!

Offline The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
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Re: Springless Dough
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2012, 03:23:23 PM »
With the fermentation that you are giving the dough I don't believe your kneading is at fault. We have just barely incorporated ingredients into something that more closely resembled oatmeal that a pizza dough, but after 24-hours in the cooler it exhibited very good gluten development due to biochemical gluten development.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline harmdogg

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Re: Springless Dough
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 11:19:44 AM »
I'm embarrassed to tell you what the issue was...

Short answer: I didn't pay much attention in "Home Ec." when I was in middle school.

Longer answer: Measuring the flour. Would you believe that I've been "packing" my dough in a big liquid measuring cup? Time to buy a scale! What I thought was 3.5 cups of flour was more like 4.5. No wonder it was almost impossible to knead. No wonder it was dense with no spring in the oven.


Monday night, I spooned the flour into solid measuring cups, and leveled off like in Home Ec. class. You could imagine my surprise when I put hands in the dough and it was easy to mix and knead without cramping my hands! Followed by frustration that all the research I've been doing on dough and baking for the last year and a half--albiet, it was helpful and fun to learn--has all been the fault of my MEASURING!

It spend 24 hours in the fridge. Took it out last night, warmed for a few hours, threw it up in the air, perfect circle--no rolling pin needed--and threw it in the oven at 525. It actually rose in the oven like it's supposed to! Whodathunkit!?

Thank you, Tom, for all your suggestions and insight, but this was just a bonehead move on my part.

Quick question for you... The bottom of the pizza obviously had good texture and color to it since it's on a piping hot stone, but the crust hardly changed color at all. Cheese was nice and caramelized, but nothing on the crust.

I'm thinking two things:

1. Fermenting longer will let it darken better.

2. I tried it WITHOUT durum flour this time. I was afraid it was going to be too tough like you suggested, so it was straight bread flour. I'll use durum next time, but could that be the cause, too?

Any other suggestions?