Author Topic: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour  (Read 2502 times)

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Offline Johnny the Gent

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Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« on: April 14, 2013, 09:12:45 PM »
I plan on sharing some of my experiences with this style of pie in this post. For the last couple of years I've really come to enjoy this style, for several reasons, the first that come to mind being:

- less equipment required than stone baking (no wooden peel, aluminum peel, stone, etc)
- less mess , less flour everywhere  ;D
- I can experiment with wet doughs - for AP flour I consider wet in the 70% and above range
- dough thickness - I have a wide range to experiment with, and can really load up on sauce and toppings (when I'm in that kind of mood)

Tonight, I ended up making some dough using the following formulation:

100%  flour (low protein, 9.8%)
75%    cold water
3%      dried whole milk powder
1.8%   salt
1%      sugar
2%      grapeseed oil
.30%   IDY

I mixed all the dry ingredients except for the milk powder in a bowl.  This was slowly incorporated into the water with a whisk. For easy cleanup, I did this all inside a rectangular plastic dough rising tray.  Once the dough started to form one cohesive, rough mass, I sprinkled the powdered milk over it and began hand kneading it all together.  This took about 5 minutes.  Next, I measured out the oil and poured it on top of the dough mass.  My little assistant (wife's nephew) filmed the next step (video link below). Notice the oil on top of the dough.

75% hydration dough


After a couple more minutes of stretching and folding and the dough is smooth - into the fridge it goes.  Tomorrow I'll divide and ball the dough. I haven't decided yet on a doughball weight. ???  Here are the pan dimensions: 15" x 10". 

More to come tomorrow...



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Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2013, 09:57:49 PM »
Here is a sicilian pie made a few weeks ago, which roughly followed the same formula - but with less water, and no milk powder.

 - half topped with roasted peppers, basil, cherry tomatoes, pepperoni and mozzarella
 - half with roasted peppers, basil, cherry tomatoes, roasted eggplant and black olives.
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Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 12:13:18 AM »
Well, I'm not quite sure what to think of tonight's effort...I really wanted to make a sicilian type pie, with a tight, uniform cell structure throughout. Here's what I came up with:

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Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 12:27:48 AM »
This 600gm doughball was in the fridge for 24 hours, then left out 2 hours prior to baking.  It was a pleasure to stretch into shape - didn't resist at all.  It felt good under my fingers, not overly gassy, but showing just enough signs of life.  There were some bubbles present.  I used my trusty steel enamel coated pan for this pie.  After topping with a light coat of cheese and olive oil, I placed it in the middle rack with just the bottom heat element on. No stone.  After 7 minutes or so, I laid on the sauce ( a mixture of hand crushed italian peeled tomatoes (Annalisa), minced garlic, chopped basil, and just a pinch of sugar and salt) and more EVOO.  I then turned on the broiler element and let it cook until the cheese browned - approx 7 more minutes. 

I had just a couple bites (because I already had dinner), and it tasted delicious.  Sometimes simple toppings are the best.
The bottom had a nice crisp quality, and the crumb was soft, but at the same time springy. I'll be sharing this with the coworkers tomorrow :D.
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Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 12:15:42 PM »
For the last couple of weeks, I've been trying to find VWG (here known as "farinha de gluten" - literally translated as "gluten flour") to boost the protein level of the AP flour I have available to no avail.  Well, this morning I received a call from a shop in our Central Market that specializes in flours- they now have it in stock. Oustanding!

My next experiment for the weekend will be to supplement the AP flour with just enough VWG to simulate King Arthur Bread Flour protein levels, and try the same recipe/workflow posted above.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2013, 12:49:32 PM »
My next experiment for the weekend will be to supplement the AP flour with just enough VWG to simulate King Arthur Bread Flour protein levels, and try the same recipe/workflow posted above.

Johnny,

Since your last tour of duty on the forum, there was a tool that was added that helps users to calculate how much vital wheat gluten to add to an existing flour to achieve a particular targeted total protein content. That tool is called the Mixed Mass Conversion Calculator, and is at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/. In your case, it will help if you can get the protein content of the brand of the VWG you will be using. In the U.S., that value is typically in the 65-78% range. If you can't get the number for your brand of VWG, using a value in the middle of the range should still get you quite close. Since your flour and VWG are unlikely to be in the pull-down menus, you would use the % blocks. the Mass entry is the amount of the formula flour that will be deconstructed into the two components--your flour and VWG. The target % is the targeted protein content you want for the blend.

One thing you will want to avoid if possible is making too big a jump between where your current flour is and where you want it to be. For example, if you are using an all-purpose flour you don't want to jump to a protein content of a high-gluten flour. Going from all-purpose to bread flour is fine, however.

It will be interesting to see what results you get. Not everyone likes using VWG. In the U.S., users can usually avoid having to use VWG because there are better and more flour options in most cases. It is outside of the U.S. in certain countries that people have trouble because their flour options are few, leaving them no choice in many cases but to use VWG.

Peter

Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2013, 01:17:12 PM »
Peter,

I plan on becoming accustomed to that tool very soon - thanks for providing the link, as well as the tips on how to use it!

I'm eager to see what the protein content is, once I get that I'll share that info here.  You mentioned something that I pondered this morning- if supplementing AP flour with VWG to achieve KASL protein levels for NY style pies was doable. I'm sure it could be done, but I'd be afraid of grossly "decharacterizing" the flour. I'll stick with bread flour/manitoba flour protein levels, for sure.

Since all my mixing is done by hand, I'll most likely whisk in the VWG into the water, followed by slowly mixing in the flour to avoid lumps.

It's understandable why some people refrain from using VWG - but as you're aware, in my case it's a matter of necessity. Yesterday I stopped by a restaurant supply shop (zeroed in on their bakery/pizzeria section :D) and among the 7 different brands of flour available, all had a listed protein level of 9.8-10%.

"Adapt and overcome" as the USMC taught me! ;)

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Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2013, 01:24:18 PM »
These are absolutely beautiful. Excellent technique with this style.

John

Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2013, 01:44:36 PM »
John,

Thank you for the kind words!  If I were to be really honest, I was surprised to see such an open crumb structure, vs a tight, dense, uniform crumb (especially using such little IDY). 

By the way, I just confirmed subscription to your site. Very, very nice!

J
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2013, 01:59:45 PM »
Since all my mixing is done by hand, I'll most likely whisk in the VWG into the water, followed by slowly mixing in the flour to avoid lumps.

Johnny,

There are actually two points of view on how to handle the VWG. Member November (who actually designed and owns the Mixed Mass Percentage Calculator) believes in combining the VWG with water. His rationale, as explained at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4358.msg36401.html#msg36401, is: Since water is required for gluten to form, I give gluten the best opportunity I can by adding the VWG directly to the water before adding the water to the mixture.

On the other hand, Tom Lehmann says to combine the VWG with the flour. My recollection is that this is to reduce the likelihood of clumping or "pilling".

An additional point to keep in mind is the need to make an adjustment to your formula hydration to compensate for the fact that VWG has different absorption characteristics than regular flour. Tom Lehmann discusses this matter at Reply 4 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20569.msg203584/topicseen.html#msg203584.

Peter


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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2013, 02:25:33 PM »
Johnny,

Here are a few other tidibits on the use of VWG:

Replies 3 through 6 starting at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4803.msg40804.html#msg40804.

Peter
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 02:30:05 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2013, 11:18:55 PM »
Peter,

Excellent - reply 2 (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4803.msg40804.html#msg40804) was also a goldmine of info.

Regarding how to use VWG - I'll use November's method first and see how that goes.

Well - I was able to pick up what I thought was going to be VWG, but was not...I picked it up anyways, after all, it's got gluten ;D  The product is called "Gluten Flour", and has a protein content of 40% (40 gm per 100 gm serving). 

On the label: "Suggested use: Use Gluten Flour with other flours for the preparation of breads and pastas. For each kilogram of flour, use 250gm of gluten flour."

Thanks again for all the relevant links!

J
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2013, 06:30:12 AM »
Johnny,

In a lot of countries outside the U.S., VWG is called "gluten flour". See, for example,  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11954/gluten-flour-vs-vital-wheat-gluten So, you may have VWG after all, although I can't recall ever seeing a protein content as low as 40%.

Peter

Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 01:10:45 PM »
Johnny,

In a lot of countries outside the U.S., VWG is called "gluten flour". See, for example,  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11954/gluten-flour-vs-vital-wheat-gluten So, you may have VWG after all, although I can't recall ever seeing a protein content as low as 40%.

Peter


A belated THANKS Peter - I plugged in the VWG protein % as 70%, and was satisfied with the results.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 01:22:30 PM »
Here I am late to the party again, but I had to stop and say that those pies with the pepperoni, olives and basil are simply gorgeous.
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2013, 08:55:13 PM »
Craig,

Coming from you that's quite the compliment - thanks! 

Basil here in Brazil is very similar to the basil used in Thai restaurants. As I'm sure you're aware, it's very aromatic and pungent.
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Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2013, 06:47:02 PM »
Tonight's "emergency" sicilian pie. Not my favorite way to do it, but in the end it all works out.  ;) No measuring - just eyeballing. I probably used 350 grams of flour, and the dough felt like it was at 70%. 

Topped with a local cheese called "queijo prato" (which is a variation of Danish Danbo cheese. Imagine a mix between a very, very mild cheddar and whole milk mozzarella), some buffalo milk mozz, salami, onions, and fresh oregano post bake.
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Offline Giggliato

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2013, 10:52:09 AM »
Those pies do look delicious. I practice a similar method when I make Foccacia bread. Your 75% hydration bread looks similar to mine although I normally do not use a cold rise. I let the dough sit out at room temperature for a few hours. I also do not use sugar or milk powder but I might begin to.  Here is a document I made that describes the method, adapted from America's Test Kitchen.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z0Aaztfn3u31EicSnUf95ts_MmGPhL1-Y8aQpp-02c0/edit?usp=sharing

Here is where I tweak the recipe,

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aj7knJ84DwjAdFpwa0ZDZHpYZUZGaEdKbnVUNl9PRVE&usp=sharing

4000 grams is for a sheet pan. I'm curious about what temperature you bake at and the amount of time that you bake for? Also, why do you use low protein flour and then add protein?

Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2013, 06:19:18 PM »
Those pies do look delicious. I practice a similar method when I make Foccacia bread. Your 75% hydration bread looks similar to mine although I normally do not use a cold rise. I let the dough sit out at room temperature for a few hours. I also do not use sugar or milk powder but I might begin to.  Here is a document I made that describes the method, adapted from America's Test Kitchen.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z0Aaztfn3u31EicSnUf95ts_MmGPhL1-Y8aQpp-02c0/edit?usp=sharing

Here is where I tweak the recipe,

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aj7knJ84DwjAdFpwa0ZDZHpYZUZGaEdKbnVUNl9PRVE&usp=sharing

4000 grams is for a sheet pan. I'm curious about what temperature you bake at and the amount of time that you bake for? Also, why do you use low protein flour and then add protein?

Giggliato,

I've recently began using a little sugar and milk powder to overcome the shortcomings of AP flour - to help promote crust browning. I use AP flour not out of choice, but because it's the only flour available for me here in Brazil. Hence, my adding VWG to better simulate bread flour.

Regarding the bake temperature, I typically use the highest heat setting in my electric oven - which is 300 degrees celsius (572 degrees farenheit). I don't have an IR thermometer, but I suspect that the oven can exceed that temperature. For example- I've been able to achieve 2:00-3:00 minute bakes for some of my Neo/NY style pies (13"), but I don't particularly enjoy attempting it - and oven setup is completely different for that matter (soapstone/steel) placed close to the broiler. Got off track there.

Usually my Bonci inspired pies are finished between 10-15 minutes. Sometimes I bake in the middle rack with both elements blazing hot, and sometimes I bake in the bottom, then move it to the middle or upper rack. It all depends on each individual pie, how they're topped, dough formulation, etc.

Thanks for providing your focaccia docs - looks very well laid out. I'd like to see some of your focaccia pics.

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Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: Sicilian pies made with low protein flour
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2013, 05:48:42 PM »
Here's a memorable sicilian pie from several months ago:

HR in the low 70's, no sugar or dried milk, 2% oil. This pie didn't get topped to the edge of the pan - sometimes I like to eat plain untopped crust ;) Pie topped with slices of locally produced lamb sausage, whole milk mozzarella, hand crushed peeled tomatoes, EVOO, with fresh oregano, fresh tarragon and a light dusting of grana padano post bake.
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