Author Topic: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment  (Read 6535 times)

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Offline chiguy

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2005, 07:54:09 PM »
 Hi Peter,
 It's me Chiguy, the recipe's were listed as Basic Dough Formulations and only gave bakers percentages. I guess it is up to the operator/pizza maker to calculate dough ball weight/thickness for any given formula. I understand the process of sugar in dough, i was curious if the higher level for a cracker crust had some other significance other than browning and food for the yeast(as in texture). As you know i do have a scale so i make enough dough for as many as i like from the formula. I usually will take a 14oz dough ball and try to roll it out to 1/8 inch about 18inch across(consistency problems with this part). I take a 16 in pan and place it over the rolled out dough. I then take a pizza cutter and cut flush around the edge of the pan, I take off the excess dough and remove the pan. I then place the pan level with the cut dough and use both hands to slide the skin onto the dusted pan. As you can probably tell from the process i use that i would be much better equipt if i had a sheeter. I have never used thickness factors(I should start) and have usually came to conclusions for a doughs weight through trial and error. I do use the dough ball weight squared ,times pie approach but thats about it. Any way like i said i may have to try the formula out again to see if i made some error's along the way, but this is the formula i was given. Any suggestion would be appreciated.   Chiguy


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2005, 09:10:08 PM »
chiguy,

You are correct that absent a frame of reference, the exercise is left to the baker. But all is not lost. There is a simple way to start the process. Let us assume that we start with one cup of all-purpose flour. That is what buzz has been using in his original recipe posted at this thread. When I recently weighed a cup of King Arthur all-purpose flour, I got 4.4 ounces. Using the 50% hydration figure, the amount of water by weight comes to 2.2 ounces. A cup of water technically weighs 8.33 ounces, but when I actually weigh a cup measured out by volume, I usually get around 8.2 ounces. That's a bit less than 1/4 cup. The rest of the ingredients are simple to handle. The 4.4 number (the ounces of flour) is multiplied by each of the percents for those ingredients, and the weights so calculated are converted to volumes by the use of conversion data. Doing that, we end up with the following:

100%, All-purpose flour, 4.4 oz., 1 c. (measured out by volume)
50%, Water, 2.2 oz., a bit less than 1/4 c. (measured out by volume)
2%, Salt, 0.088 oz., between 3/8 and 1/2 t.
4%, Sugar, 0.176 oz., a bit less than 1 1/4 t.
2%, Oil, 0.088 oz., a bit over 1/2 t.
0.75%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.033 oz. a bit less than 1/3 t.
Total dough weight = 6.96 oz.

Of course, it may be necessary to tweak the amount of flour and water to get the dough consistency you think will work. In that case, it is useful to note the changes in order to recalculate the baker's percents the next time.

I estimate that the almost 7 ounces of dough in the above formulation can be rolled out to about 14 inches. If that is the case, then the calculated thickness factor will be 0.045. The first time you roll out the roughly 7 ounces of dough you should have a pretty good idea as to whether that thickness factor is accurate enough. For instance, if 13 inches is the best you can do while achieving good results, the thickness factor can be recalculated. For 13 inches, the recalculated thickness factor for the roughly 7 ounces of dough would be 0.053. Once you achieve the desired thickness, and thickness factor, that figure, along with the baker's percents, can be used to calculate the amounts of the ingredients to use to make any size pizza. For example, if you are interested in a 16-inch thin-crust pizza, and assuming that the 0.045 thickness factor works, then if my math is correct the formulation becomes as follows:

100%, All-purpose flour, 5.7 oz.
50%, Water, 2.85 oz.
2%, Salt, 0.11 oz., between 1/2 and 5/8 t.
4%, Sugar, 0.23 oz., 1 5/8 t.
2%, Oil, 0.11 oz., between 5/8 and 3/4 t.
0.75%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.043 oz., a bit more than 3/8 t.
Total dough weight = 9.04 oz.

With this formulation, there would be no leftover dough, just as there was none when I made the dough using buzz's original recipe. In practice, you may find it easier to make a bit more dough and trim it, and if that is the case then you could select, say, 10 ounces, and rework the ingredient amounts. BTW, a thickness factor of around 0.05 is consistent with calculations I have come up with before in working with thin-crust doughs.

Peter


Offline chiguy

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2005, 09:39:38 PM »
 Hi peter,
 Thankyou for taking to the out to help with the formula. It seems you have great success using the thickness factor formula. I must start using this procedure to achieve more acurate results on the thin crust. I usually do not mind if i make a little extra dough but knowing the right dough ball weight for and thickness factor is essential.  Chiguy       

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2005, 10:00:14 PM »
chiguy,

The thickness factor is not perfect but using it does have the benefit of forcing you to be rigorous and disciplined about the process. If there is a better way of achieving consistency of crust thickness from one pizza to another, whatever the size, I don't know of it. And if there were a better approach, then folks like Tom Lehmann and Dave Ostrander, from whose writings I learned about the thickness factor approach, would know of it and be speaking and writing about it--which they aren't. I use the thickness factor as my baseline and I modify it as personal experience suggests. For me, it eliminates a lot of experimentation and frees up time to try out new types of pizzas with a high degree of confidence in the results I hope to achieve. Of course, it helps to like math and working with numbers.

Peter

Offline elsegundo

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2005, 11:44:23 PM »
Pete-zza

I agree with everything you write -with one addition.  I read a lot of posts that are using too small of a quantity to be accurate. Most pizza places use 25-50 pounds of flour to use as a base.  It is a lot more accurate to add 11 pounds of water to 25 pounds of flour than to calculate 44 percent of 16 ounces or even less. Any time it is less than a pound of flour you can get close with the salt, sugar, and oil but not as accurate. Also if any time I see cups listed instead of weight I get nervous. I realize that for many it isn't necessary to get that accurate. After a lifetime of experimenting, I believe it is.

I agree with your thickness measurement and I believe it is the final frontier. If we are really scientific we need to measure at the time the dough is rolled and the time the dough is placed in the oven. I am still working on this for my own efforts.

If we think of the book "Top Secret Recipes", we would see a diagram which would include both diameter and thickness. I think we are darn close. 

thanks

Offline buzz

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2005, 10:56:04 AM »
I find it fascinating to see how different people approach the same problem! I always excelled at math and science, but don't find it agreeable when applied to pizzamaking (I'm sure I'd feel differently if I owned a pizzeria and had to make huge batches of dough!). That's why I like to go by look and feel--and I get very consistent results. The problem I've found is, as I said in another post, there is an appreciable difference between summer and winter pizzamaking in terms of hydration (due to humidity), which is one reason I like to stick with look and feel as opposed to relying in weighing. Last night Alton Brown (the ultimate weigher!) did a show on cobbler and when it came to adding water to the flour, he kind of threw up his hands and said, "Well, it can take 1 TBS or 3, depending on age, humidity, etc."

That's why I like to do it "by hand". But as long as you make a good pizza, it doesn't make any difference!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2005, 11:18:29 AM »
elsegundo,

I agree with everything that you say except that I have come to accept the fact that most recipes in the U.S. will recite volume measurements instead of weights and that is not about to change anytime soon, if ever. Unless instructions are given in recipes about how to measure out volumes, such as flour, for example, there will be instances where a recipe may not work out as hoped or require further experimentation or midcourse corrections. But overall people will usually get acceptable results, as we have noted with many recipes posted on this forum with volume measurements. I personally deal with such situations by converting volumes to weights as best I can--as I tried to do in the earlier post with the General Mills cracker-type crust recipe--and introduce the thickness factor to be able to broaden and expand the use of the recipe. Ultimately, the formulation stated in baker's percents should be more malleable in my opinion.

What you say about using very small amounts of ingredients is indeed correct. When dealing with small quantities of ingredients, accuracy and precision are compromised more so than with much larger quantities. For example, how do you accurately measure out 1/16 teaspoon of yeast? Yet, I usually post what I calculate (or my spreadsheet calculates) to be the required quantities (usually by both weight and volume) of ingredients to be used in the formulation in question. In great measure I do this since some of our members (pftaylor comes to mind) have scales that can weigh small amounts of lightweight ingredients like yeast, salt, sugar and oil. Even for those ingredients where conversion data is used, the conversion data (for converting from weights to volumes) can be less that 100% accurate because ingredients change with time, age, environmental conditions, etc., and also because labelling information used to calculate such conversion data may not be entirely accurate.  Yet, with all the imprecision and perceived deficiencies in the "system", the numbers are usually close enough (and in proper proportion in most cases) to allow most of us to make some pretty good pizzas.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2005, 11:50:29 AM »
buzz,

The only place where I use weights in my baking is with doughs, either pizza dough or bread dough. Just about everything else is done by feel, or by following recipe instructions. I have many times made pizza dough without weighing flour and water--usually because a scale wasn't available to me. But I have made enough pizza dough to know how to use volumes and make the needed adjustments to get the desired dough consistency and other parameters I am looking for. I think that the greatest value of weights is to a beginning pizza maker--of which there are many on this forum--because it allow him or her to have a good entry point to pizza making and, perhaps more importantly, to minimize the likelihood of failure the first time out. Once the person gains experience and achieves repeated success, he or she has the option of continuing to use weights or to use touch and feel. The differentiating factor is experience.

Peter

Offline buzz

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2005, 12:17:50 PM »
Lol! There are people who like a more Alton Brown approach and there are those who prefer Rachael Ray (just eyeball it)-- either way can produce great results. If you watch the Food Network, you will see plenty of pros who use either method, according to their personal styles (I've seen professional chefs making pizza without measuring at all, even by meauring cups). I've never had a problem using cups instead of a scale, but if somebody is more comfortable with weighing, then go for it! My motto is: there's no right or wrong, as long as you wind up with a good pizza!

Offline chiguy

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2005, 12:54:55 PM »
 Hi everyone,
 I was a measurement guy for a long time. I must say once i started using bakers percentages i never looked back. It is just easier in my opinion when making larger quantities. As everyone is aware this is common practice in bakeries and most pizzerias. I am always frusterated when i ask my 87year old grandma how she makes a recipe and she tells me a handful of this or that. As for what the Chefs do on television i am sure it is rehearsed at least a few times before shooting the show. I also am sure that General Mills and other flour millers have fairly consistent moisture levels in thier flour. I know they are very concerned with customer satisfaction(large pizza operators). If someone is overly concerned with the age of thier flour they should not be using it. I am fairly confident with flour millers and have found bakers % easier for making a wide array of baked goods. If anyone is interedted there is a great website www.pastrychef.com that uses bakers percentages and has alot of great recipes.  Chiguy 


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2005, 02:28:49 PM »
For doughs I have been working on for a long time and are pretty much just the way I like them, I no longer need to measure and just go by feel. Though, I always use a scale when it comes time to divide the dough into individual pieces so that each is uniform weight.

But for doughs that I am still tweaking, I like to take careful weight measurements and notes. I just don't have the memory to recall after a few days or weeks the amount of each ingredient and what changes I want to make so I need to refer to my notes, especially since I am baking several days per week a wide range of different kinds of doughs.

Bill/SFNM

Offline buzz

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2005, 04:24:15 PM »
I don't think the shows are rehearsed in the way you mean-- these people just know what they're doing so they don't need scales or even measuring cups. Mario Batali is a great example--he just dumps a quantity of flour from a bigger bowl into a smaller bowl (eyeballs it), then adds what water and yeast he needs and starts to knead. If it needs a little more liquid, he adds it; if he needs a bit more flour, then he adjusts accordingly. That's the way I like to do it because it's fun--but since I still use measuring cups I'm not eyeballing it the way the pros do!

But each to his/her own--as long as you get there!

Offline elsegundo

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2005, 10:51:07 PM »
I have no problem with those who want to use cups for flour or feel for consistency. It works for them. For me, I'm a simple guy and I found that by following a formula exactly and repeatedly I also develop a feel. 

One thing that hasn't been mentioned for a while is that with cracker style you are producing a dry dough. A sense of feel can be misleading for me and some others. The tendency is to add more oil and water.  With weight measurement and autolyse, I resist the temptation and get the consistency I'm looking for. Also weighing and recording your efforts gets you closer to the type of pizza you are going for, with small adjustments. I never use less than a pound of flour. By nearly always using that measurement I get closer to the cracker goal. I believe cracker is the most unforgiving of the styles.


I haven't read it here before, but cracker dough is really good for bagel dough. The leftover pizza dough, if any, becomes bagel dough, so that pound of flour doesn't go to waste.
 
I am an AB fan because he gives the amounts (if not weights)in his recipes as opposed to the other stars.

BTW, I would love to see Peter Reinhart, Rose Berenbaum, Joe Ortiz, or Nancy Silverton with their own show. If the names are unfamiliar, then I wish you pleasant discoveries.

Offline scott r

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Re: Latest Cracker-Style Experiment
« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2005, 04:41:46 AM »

BTW, I would love to see Peter Reinhart, Rose Berenbaum, Joe Ortiz, or Nancy Silverton with their own show. If the names are unfamiliar, then I wish you pleasant discoveries.

I second your vote for Reinhart.  Not only for his baking knowledge, but also because I really got a sense that I would like the guy after hearing his seminar

Food Network are you out there?
« Last Edit: December 23, 2005, 04:46:28 AM by scott r »


 

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