Author Topic: Newbie with questions  (Read 5434 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Newbie with questions
« on: December 30, 2005, 07:38:21 PM »
Hello all.  This is my first post.  I found you guys about a week ago and really enjoy your site.  I've read through quite a few posts hoping to find a solution to my particular probelm but haven't had any luck yet.

I love making homeade pizza.  Heck I love pizza in general, everything about it.  In fact it is my hope to someday own my own small pizza shop.  I worked at a few different pizza places as a kid/young adult and that's where my love for pizza started.  I first worked at a little locally owned shop where I learned a lot about pizza making.  I then worked at Little Caesar's and basically learned all about how to make bad pizza.  I then worked at a party store/deli that made pizza (although only square baker's sheet-pan style).  Anyways I learned a few different ways of doing pizza which I thought helped me tremendously.  However it's been many years since I worked making pizza and now that I want to make it at home I can't find the right recipe for the dough.

I've tried a number of different dough recipes but I'm not satsfied with any of them.  I'm very picky about my crust and can't seem to come close to the way I really want it.  I prefer a soft, chewy, yet slightly crunchy (in places) crust.  Every pizza I make comes out way too dense, not at all airy or soft and almost crackery.  Tonight's pie was yet another dissapointment.  The toppings, sauce and cheese all tasted great but the dough was again too dense, flavorless, and stiff as a board.  Here is the recipe I use for the dough, form Sara Moulton on foodnetwork.com:


1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling the baking sheet

In a bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir to combine. In the food processor, combine flour and salt and pulse. Add the yeast mixture, cold water, and oil. Pulse until a ball is formed: this will happen quickly, be careful not to overwork the dough. Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for several minutes until dough is smooth. Allow dough to rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl and allow to rise at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, divide into 2 to 4 balls, let rise another 30 minutes.
Heat up pizza stone in a 500 degree F oven. Form a 10 to14-inch pizza crust and place on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with yellow cornmeal. Place topping on the crust and place the pizza, with the parchment paper in the oven on the pizza stone or on hot inverted cookie sheet (not aluminum). Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.


The only things I do different are:

I use a KA mixer to get the dough started then change to working it by hand into a ball.  I knead it after an hour, cut it in half and let it rise for another half hour.  I put cornmeal on my peel and transfer it from the peel directly onto the hot stone (no parchment paper).

So with this info can anyone see anything glaring that I might be doing wrong to cause my dough to be so lifeless?  Thanks for any help you can give.  Sorry my first post is so long.

As an added note: I don't seem to have any luck in the stretching process with any of the recipes (the one above included) I've tried.  I always loved the stretching and hand tossing and spinning of pizza dough, but these recpies I've tried won't allow me to stretch hardly at all before they will rip.  Hmmm, I MUST be doing something drastically wrong.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2005, 08:11:49 PM by 3.14159265 Guy »


Offline chiguy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 560
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2005, 08:24:00 PM »
 hi 3.14 Guy,
 Wecome to the forum. Just a quick glance of you're recipe it looks like everything is in order to make a good pizza. The one thing that stands out is the fermentaion, it is probably not long enough and this is probably why you're finished crust is like cardboard. I would give the dough at least 2-2 1/2 hours to properly ferment. It is winter and you're kitchen may not have that warm place to rise that alot of same day rise recipes call for. I am sure you will get some other feed back, I noticed you were online now and wanted to address you;re question quickly.    Chiguy
 

Offline chiguy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 560
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005, 09:09:27 PM »
 Hello 3.14 Guy,
 I have better read through you're process. I have addressed this same problem, a lack of stretching with fellow member Danes Dad in the American Style section of the forum. There is a good chance that you're dough is UNDER MIXED or has not been KNEADED WELL ENOUGH. This is usually the cause of a dough being springy or tearing upon trying to stretch. It could also be from too low of hydration but i estimated you're water is probably between 60-65%. This is fine for a pizza and should not contribute to the tearing. I would assume that you may even have to roll the dough out sometimes.  The fact that the dough is possibly under fermented really needs to be addressed first. There are two more things i would suggest. The first is to divide the dough right after it has been mixed. Cutting and tearing dough during the fermention process will probably alter the gluten structure. I would also add the oil last, during the kneading process. When the oil is added with all the ingrediants during mixing the oil can get soaked into the flour. When this happens the oil soaked flour cannot attach to each other and will not develop a great gluten structure. Once again atributing to the lack of stretching. So to recap what i said, increase mixing and longer fermentation.    Chiguy

Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2005, 09:16:01 PM »
Thanks ChiGuy,

I'm going to try the next batch with longer fermentation, longer kneading, adding the oil during kneading and cutting the dough in half immediately.  I will post the results in another week when I try it again.

I see a lot about high gluten flour.  Should I try to use that rather all purpose?

Thanks again for the quick response!


Offline chiguy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 560
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2005, 09:28:13 PM »
 Hi 3.14 Guy,
 Yes if you have access to High Gluten by all means you should try it. You may find you like it better. The High Gluten also helps with a open airy crust with good voids. You may not have to alter you're recipe at all, except for the flour. I thought you said you were using bread flour? The all purpose is very difficult to achieve a window pane dough. In my opinion all purpose is for baking cookies not pizza(except deep dish). Here are some pics of high gluten dough mixed well. THIS IS ONLY 2oz. OF DOUGH.  Chiguy
« Last Edit: December 30, 2005, 09:54:03 PM by chiguy »

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21164
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2005, 10:54:14 AM »
3.14guy,

I agree with chiguy. Using a roughly 1 1/2 hour fermentation period for a "same day" dough, whether using all-purpose or even higher-protein flour, will invariably lead to mediocre results in my opinion. Pizza operators will sometimes make and use such a dough but it is generally an emergency measure that is undertaken when they run out of their "good" dough (quite often a refrigerated dough) or something happens to their good dough to render it unusable. I would suggest using your recipe but process it as chiguy has suggested, and also use an overnight fermentation. With 1 1/2 cups of total water for 4 cups of flour, there should be plenty of hydration to support an open and airy crumb in the crust.

BTW, you might also find it useful to read the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.0.html. The subject covered there is a NY style dough/pizza, but the principles are general in nature and should apply equally well for the most part to your situation. I think you will also get some good ideas and information by looking at the Glossary posted at the front page of the forum.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 31, 2005, 11:00:21 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2006, 10:29:37 PM »
Thanks Pete-zza and Chiguy.

I worked late on last week's "pizza night" and knew I wouldn't have time to make dough and wait for rising so I went to a local authentic Italian bakery that sells pre-made, not-frozen dough (cold, but not close to frozen).  I used that as I do normally with the same types of toppings and everything, and the pizza was VERY good.  Not great still.  This time I had plenty of stretch (so my homemade dough is definitly the problem) and the taste was better than mine as well.  However this time I noticed that there were areas where a piece of pizza, when viewing from the side (profile) you could see brown on the bottom (a bit too much brown) and un-cooked doughy areas just above it.  above the doughy uncooke dareas the crust was again perfect and then the perfectly done toppings (italian suasage, green peppers, onions, black olives and mushrooms).  My oven goes to 500 and that's what I cook at usually.  Why now, with the dough I bought, did it get so undercooked in a few middle spots like that, with most of the bottom getting very done, almost "crackery"?  Should I use pizza screens?

This Saturday I will be making my own dough, and am thinking of using the high gluten flour (I found 25# bags for $5.99 at my local Italian market).  I will do the overnight method with the amount of water prescribed by Pete-zza.  Should I use a screen?  I always used screens at my first pizza job (we had dual deck ovens at I believe 525 degrees).  Or should I stay on the preheated stone at a lower temp?

Thanks again.  This week I'll take pictures!!

Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2006, 10:32:02 PM »
By the way, chiguy...

HOLY COW!  That's a LOT of stretch!!!!  Thanks for the pics!

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21164
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2006, 11:12:40 PM »
3.14 Guy,

It's hard to say why the dough you bought had the uncooked areas. One possibility that comes to mind is that the dough may have been too cold when you baked it. If you didn't let the dough warm up enough (around 55 degrees F) before you dressed and baked it, it's possible that the bottom and top of the pizza got enough heat but the center did not, and baking the pizza any longer would have burned the bottom crust of the pizza. If that wasn't the problem, then maybe the dough needed a longer bake at lower oven temperature to bake the entire pizza more uniformly. Another possibility is that you sauced the pizza too far in advance of baking or you used too thin a sauce (too much water) and the water leached into the dough, preventing it from baking thoroughly.

Whatever the cause of the problem you experienced, I wouldn't assume that you will have the same problem with the dough you plan to make on Saturday or that your stone and oven situation were at fault. Unless you did any of the things discussed above, I'm inclined to believe that it was the pizza dough you bought, not your oven arrangement. The way to know for sure, of course, is to simply make your next pizza as normal, using your normal oven temperature, and see whether the problem resurfaces. If it does, then your oven arrangement becomes suspect.

I looked at your recipe again and don't see anything out of order with it, however, I did note that the salt is on the low side. Unless that is intentional, I would be inclined to increase it to at least a teaspoon or a little bit more. 

Please keep us posted on your progress.

Peter


Offline chiguy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 560
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2006, 11:13:35 PM »
 Hi 3.14Guy,
 No problem, I like when members here post pics as well. The dough ball you bought from the italian bakery may be baked differenty at the bakery than you baked it at home. This may be the cause of the excess browning & uncooked sections. The dough may not be intended for a really hot pizza stone. The dough could possibly have excess sugar that causes it brown too fast, and leaving it undercooked on top. The next time you go to the bakery ask them what thier baking method/pan,stone and the temperature and time. I have a couple of question for you. Did you let the dough ball rest at room temperature for a hour or two?? Did you put cold sauce on the pizza? Did thay happen to mention the dough weight and what size pizza it will make?
 I am glad to hear you are jumping back into making you're own dough again. Once you get dough making down you will never need to buy pizza dough again. Reread through the recipe and procedure again that you plan on using and have a go at it. If you have any questions just ask, there is always someone here to help you.  Goodluck, Chiguy


Offline buzz

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 559
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2006, 10:07:03 AM »
3.14--

Your recipe as it stands will result in a crackery crust (especially if rolled thin). Use AP and the formula of 1 TBS. oil: 1 cup flour. A long knead if fine with this ratio, and a long rise is preferred (I let mine rise in the oven, giving it shots of 250 degrees for a minute or so every couple of hours)--I like around 8 hours.

My basic formula is:

1 cup AP
1 TBS canola oil
.50 tsp yeast
5-6 TBS water (depending on humidity levels, age of flour)
.50 tsp Kosher salt
.50 tsp sugar

I prefer kneading by hand, but I've learned that this formula works very well in the dough cycle of the bread machine--it makes an excellent, versatile dough which can be rolled thin or thick!

If you roll this dough out to an eighth- or even quarter-inch thickness (in other words, not wafer-thin), the result should be the crust you're looking for. You can also experiment with a percentage of pastry flour or 00 flour.

Try par-baking the curst before adding toppings.

Offline buzz

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 559
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2006, 10:17:33 AM »
As a matter of fact, the other night I made one using this formula and cooked it on the bare rack of my countertop convection oven--it was awesome--usually I have leftovers, but I couldn't stop myself from gobbling up the whole thing! Pizza is way too good!

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21164
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2006, 10:28:26 AM »
buzz,

As a point of clarification, in your last post is the "formula" you are referring to yours or 3.14 Guy's?

I estimate that 3.14 Guy's recipe yields a hydration percent of over 60%. Is that too high for a cracker type crust, even if the dough is rolled out thin?

Peter

Offline buzz

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 559
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2006, 11:35:23 AM »
Sorry--mine!

Percentages aren't my thing, but 1.5 cups water for 4 cups of flour does seem a little high. Don't forget, though, bread flour needs a bit more hydration.


 

Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2006, 11:33:44 AM »
I think the ball may have been too much for one pizza (I didn't weigh it or ask the bakery about the weight unfortunately).  But it did seem a bit on the thick side once dressed.

My Saturday pizza has now turned into Sunday pizza this week.  It's now Sunday morning and I'm about to start making my dough.  I bought high gluten so I am going to use that this time.  I will up my salt to a teaspoon or a little more - I've been thinking since one of my complaints is that it is bland that maybe I needed more slat, but was afraid to use too much.

So I will start my dough now, and let it rise until tonight.  I'll get the camera out and snap some pics as I go along.  Thanks again for the help!

3.14 Guy,

It's hard to say why the dough you bought had the uncooked areas. One possibility that comes to mind is that the dough may have been too cold when you baked it. If you didn't let the dough warm up enough (around 55 degrees F) before you dressed and baked it, it's possible that the bottom and top of the pizza got enough heat but the center did not, and baking the pizza any longer would have burned the bottom crust of the pizza. If that wasn't the problem, then maybe the dough needed a longer bake at lower oven temperature to bake the entire pizza more uniformly. Another possibility is that you sauced the pizza too far in advance of baking or you used too thin a sauce (too much water) and the water leached into the dough, preventing it from baking thoroughly.

Whatever the cause of the problem you experienced, I wouldn't assume that you will have the same problem with the dough you plan to make on Saturday or that your stone and oven situation were at fault. Unless you did any of the things discussed above, I'm inclined to believe that it was the pizza dough you bought, not your oven arrangement. The way to know for sure, of course, is to simply make your next pizza as normal, using your normal oven temperature, and see whether the problem resurfaces. If it does, then your oven arrangement becomes suspect.

I looked at your recipe again and don't see anything out of order with it, however, I did note that the salt is on the low side. Unless that is intentional, I would be inclined to increase it to at least a teaspoon or a little bit more. 

Please keep us posted on your progress.

Peter



Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2006, 01:02:29 PM »
It's currently rising.  I predict it'll rise for about 4 hours.  Hopefully that's enough.  We'll see.

Step 1 (yeast blooming)

« Last Edit: January 15, 2006, 03:39:43 PM by 3.14159265 Guy »

Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2006, 01:03:56 PM »
Step 2 (half way through mixing in the KA)

« Last Edit: January 15, 2006, 03:39:11 PM by 3.14159265 Guy »

Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2006, 01:05:10 PM »
Step 3 (form a doughball)

« Last Edit: January 15, 2006, 03:38:31 PM by 3.14159265 Guy »

Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2006, 03:36:05 PM »
Step 4 (3 hours of rising)


Offline 3.14159265 Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Newbie with questions
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2006, 03:37:37 PM »
Step 5 (split into two doughballs)


 

pizzapan