Author Topic: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................  (Read 2691 times)

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Offline GotRocks

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Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« on: April 30, 2013, 02:00:47 AM »
It's been a few decades since I've done any major dough work, but we are bringing pizza into our restaurant offerings with the purchase of a larger location that already had a triple-stack of Sveba-Dahlen classic pizza ovens and a 30Qt spiral mixer onsite.

After some serious searching through my decades of scribbled kitchen notes, I finally found my favorite pizza dough recipe. I remember it was a wonderful dough to work with but I am having some annoying problems now. I am ready to bring back the sheeter that I found there and put into  storage,  I hate sheeters!! But this dough has got me thinking I may need it.

 I guess the best way to phrase this is:  the dough is being very difficult and fighting me every inch of the way.
 I am having difficulties opening up my dough balls, the dough is difficult to stretch, and it is snapping back on me too. The good part is that It tastes great, And it has great oven spring, after arguing with it for an eternity, I can get it as thin as I want and it holds together well. It is just too difficult to get it there. I need help!

This formula used to be good with a 12 hour hold time, I'd get 3-4 days out of it before it would blow, and I could also use it as an "Emergency Dough" within an hour of mixing too, that's why I loved the formulation.

The original formula called for cake yeast, But I am now using IDY,  I looked up the conversions, and substituted amounts correctly (I think)

Here is my formula;

Flour: 100.00%   (Bouncer)
   Salt: 1.75%   (Kosher)
   Sugar: 2.00%   
   Instant Dry Yeast: .50%   
   Vegetable Oil: 3.00%   
   Water: 58.00%   (70 degrees)

Being a little unfamiliar with spiral mixers, I stood there and watched it mix, as soon as my dough started looking good, I'd stop the mixer and pull a piece and stretch it out to see if I could "Window Pane" it. As soon as I saw what I remember for good consistency, I dumped the batch on the table, portioned it, and balled it up, the balls formed beautifully, everything looked like a success, then the next day I went to use some, it was a beast! I could barely get the ball flattened,, I would flatten it, and need to let it sit for 10-15 minutes, stretch a little and let it sit, stretch some more and let it sit. Spinning and tossing wouldn't even get it to open up more.
I let a few balls come up to room temp, no real changes, The only noticeable benefit is now that it is 4 days old, it has gotten slightly easier, but not much.

I am ready to add onion or garlic to relax it, but I am afraid of any flavor change . I am not seeing any relaxers available though my distributors.
Would adding more oil help loosen this up a little? Is there a specific order of adding ingredients I should follow?

What am I forgetting? What Am I doing wrong? Did I over mix it? Did I not mix it enough? Do I need to find a lower protein flour? Do I need to add more oil? Or go back to cake yeast?
I was hoping I could teach my employees how to quickly hand stretch dough, and I am afraid to even show them this batch for fear they'll tell me to get bent if I expect them do battle with this stuff!

Where do I start?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 02:02:49 AM by GotRocks »
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Offline Kostakis1985

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 08:24:00 AM »
I use a very similar dough formula and never have a stretching issue are you sure you measured the water correctly because how your describing the dough I would guess you had about a 50 -52% hydration not 58.
Jamie

Offline scott r

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 09:41:04 AM »
mix less and ferment more!!!!      (either using more yeast or a longer stay in the fridge)  Spiral mixers develop the dough very fast... especially if you are doing smaller batches in there.       

good luck!     I love those ovens!             

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 09:58:43 AM »
I use a very similar dough formula and never have a stretching issue are you sure you measured the water correctly because how your describing the dough I would guess you had about a 50 -52% hydration not 58.

Thank you for your reply,

Yes, everything went across a certified Hobart 30# capacity deli scale.
 I held back about a pint or so of water, and added it all slowly after the dough came together.
I did it all just like I used to do when I was using a  planetary mixer to make this dough formulation years ago. Thats why I'm baffled by this.
Maybe I was reading the dough wrong due to using a different style of mixer?

The dough felt correct when balling it, it was satiny smooth, very malleable, the air bubbles worked out nicely, everything looked and felt the same as I remember. Right up until I went to open it up and make a pizza skin with it.

I plan on making another batch of dough this morning for more testing and see what happens, I thought I may have over-mixed it and over developed the gluten?
So you don't think this has anything to do with the variables I am currently working with? This is done in a spiral mixer instead of a planetary, Or IDY instead of fresh Yeast, you think it was light on hydration? Do you think increasing the oil would loosen it up a little?


As per using onion or garlic as a relaxing agent, I read "Powder" is used, I have both products in "Granulated" form and before I cause anymore problems, I'm wondering if anyone has used granulated product with good results.

Thank you,
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Offline GotRocks

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 10:06:21 AM »
mix less and ferment more!!!!      (either using more yeast or a longer stay in the fridge)  Spiral mixers develop the dough very fast... especially if you are doing smaller batches in there.       

good luck!     I love those ovens!           

I may need to change dough formulation if my only option is longer ferment times. I would really like to have a dough that can be used within the first 12 hours,

As per the Sveba Dahlen ovens:
 I was concerned about using electric ovens at first, but then I baked in them and I am impressed. The tunability is spectacular being able to set top and bottom heats independently, and having glass doors and lighted interior is also a huge plus. The US distributor sent me both the service and ops manuals in PDF format, so I am more confident in parts availability too.

Thank you.
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Offline Kostakis1985

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 10:17:57 AM »
Yeah im kind of baffeldd as well because if it worked before it shouls still work today thats why i thought there was a weight of flour or water mismeasured but my guess now is overmixing I only mix for around 6-8 minutes, and if you want faster fermentation just use warmer water to achieve a higher finished dough temp that definitly helps fermentation.



Btw I was wondering if there was a scale i could use to measure my dough ingrediants easier and faster... Is the hobart scale a big time saver? Is it worth it?
Jamie

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 10:37:11 AM »

Btw I was wondering if there was a scale i could use to measure my dough ingredients easier and faster... Is the hobart scale a big time saver? Is it worth it?

I got the scale at an auction for  $80.00, it has a printer for rolled adhesive labels,PLU, pole display and all the other retail features.
 I got it because we cure/smoke our own bacon, sausages,  snack sticks, & Jerky, and I needed a commercial scale for legality purposes. I am upgrading to a Berkley/Avery connectable scale that interfaces with our POS system.

I prefer beam scales, this Hobart deli scale was used because it is what I had available to me. it reads down to 1/10th of a pound, so you need to convert from ounces to a decimal numeric, not optimal in my opinion.

What is your typical batch weight?

I had to work fast balling this dough, since it was starting to rise on the table, I don't think I want to go warmer on water.

Maybe the water measurement was narfed by the guy I had measure it, you got me thinking now. Maybe he spilled some between the scale and the mixer and said nothing. But the dough felt correct to me.
I'm making another batch in about 30 minutes, we'll see what happens this time around.

Thank you
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Offline scott r

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 10:43:32 AM »
sounds like mixing too much is your main issue.   unlesss your willing to up the hydration.   beware that a dryer dough needs much less kneading than a wet one does.     Your dough is pretty dry.   

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2013, 09:31:01 PM »
Thanks for the helpful replies,

I will be making another batch on Monday or Tue for use on Wed and beyond.

I baked about a dozen experimental pies  on 04-29 to nail down my portioning, the flavor and texture is exactly what I want.
It was getting close to being blown out, it still fought me a little, but it was much easier than the first 24-36 hours.

I am really starting to agree that it was probably under-hydrated, especially after talking more in depth with the person who I had put in charge of weighing out my water.
 I asked him if he spilled any, and his reply was "Well, some spilled, but not much, just a little" So translating that into reality, it probably means he spilled quite a bit and decided to not say anything or fix it.  (what happened to finding responsible help?)

Today, I took some of the blown out dough, cut it into pieces, and tossed it into the deep-fryer, then I coated it with some cinnamon-sugar for a snack, I think we are adding those sweet little nuggets as a special item to use up blown dough.
I might even consider drizzling some honey or maple syrup on them too.
We reopen in our new location in about 48 hours, Then the pizza comes online in about a week. I still need to redo our POS, cost out my ingredients, and train some people on the art of opening up a dough ball and how get a somewhat circular pizza out of it.

Thank you all again for your help,
I'll report back with dough version 2.0 when I get there.
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Offline GotRocks

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2013, 11:06:27 AM »
I am still having some issues with this dough even after increasing the hydration considerably.

I am able to work with it, it is a little less forgiving than I remember, but I can open it up just fine, and in an acceptable time limit.
 Here is my problem;
None of my employees are able to open it up properly, and I am ready to bring in a sheeter to make pizza skins due to my aggravation level, or I am going to use AP flour,  a sheeter or a combination of both.

I really do not want to use a sheeter, every place around runs their dough through a sheeter and serves then cracker-style pizza's, I like my nice raised edge thin that I used to do with this dough.
The problem lies more with unqualified help, and lack of talent in this area more than the dough.
I brought a guy in who told me all the pizza places he has worked at, and I have eaten at a few of them in my days, so when I toss him a dough ball, he asks where he can find a rolling pin. (ARGGH) I carefully demonstrated how to flatten and stretch, and asked him to do it, and he had it destroyed before it was even flattened.

I have used a sheeter very few times in my life, I am thinking that I could have these goobers sheet the dough to get it somewhat flat, then maybe, hopefully they will be able to open it up by hand properly from that point.
They just can't seem to get the technique of flattening a round dough ball into a round circle by hand, and I have given up trying to teach them.

Any suggestions on an easily workable dough formulation that might make it easier for these guys to stretch?
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Offline mkevenson

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2013, 11:51:13 AM »
Got Rocks, no disrespect intended, but your recent post illustrates two issues. One is your employees opening a dough ball, the other is the teachers ability to teach the process. I am only one pizza maker, and a home cook at that, but in my experience it seems that it can take some length of time for a new technique such as opening a dough ball to be learned. Also , my experience, sometimes the match between teacher and student just doesn't  click. You may be able to open your dough balls great, to your satisfaction, but perhaps you and the student are not clicking. Since there seems to be a lack of "qualified" applicants, perhaps a different teaching method or a different teacher would help. Obviously I don't live in your world, these are just my initial observations.
Good luck!!!!


Mark
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Offline GotRocks

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2013, 01:33:14 AM »
Got Rocks, no disrespect intended, but your recent post illustrates two issues. One is your employees opening a dough ball, the other is the teachers ability to teach the process. I am only one pizza maker, and a home cook at that, but in my experience it seems that it can take some length of time for a new technique such as opening a dough ball to be learned. Also , my experience, sometimes the match between teacher and student just doesn't  click. You may be able to open your dough balls great, to your satisfaction, but perhaps you and the student are not clicking. Since there seems to be a lack of "qualified" applicants, perhaps a different teaching method or a different teacher would help. Obviously I don't live in your world, these are just my initial observations.
Good luck!!!!


Mark

Yeah,  my dough is not exactly what I remember it being,  it is not horrible to work with, it's just not the perfect dough that I so fondly remember working with back in the day, and that is what I am trying to rectify, so I can have an dough that is easy and fast to stretch and does not have the consistency of wonder bread.

 I think I may need to blend some flours to come up with a lesser protein mix to get the workability that I remember having. I am limited by geography as to what products I can get up here through my distributors, and LTL freight for us is not a cost effective or feasible option. So, time to do some experimenting, I'm just glad that flour prices are not what they were a few short years back.


Employee issue;
 I found something interesting about this particular employee who was heavily on my mind during the rant in my last post.
He has never successfully made a pizza anywhere that he has said he had worked!
He lied on his app, and he lied during his interview, because in his mind, apparently he thought he could just BS his way through, he thought that making quality pizza was easy peasey and that nobody would notice that he was incapable of what he said he could do and the very specific help-wanted ad that he responded to.

 I decided to call this guys (alleged) previous employers (300 miles away) to do some verifying right before I signed his payroll check and let him go today.
His previous employers verified my suspicions that he had lied to me, and that they had also let him go shortly after his hiring due to him not being able to handle the duties assigned to him, or even lesser duties being done properly. One place even described him as "Totally Unemployable anywhere in the food service industry" (wow)
I tried to keep him on, I really did. But there was no suitable position in my restaurant for someone with his particular skill set. I even tried him as a DMO (Dish Machine Operator)


When I interviewed this guy, I was very clear that I needed someone who could take ownership of the pizza end of our menu, get that running tight, and be able to train others using the basic components/recipes which I provide, and be able turn out a quality pizza without major oversight from me. Basically I need someone to take ownership of that line of product, I do not have time to start a total noob, that was to be his job, I have other things happening that I must attend to. (like running the place)

Now it's my turn to be condescending towards you;
I just finished a 16 hour day on about 4-5 hours of sleep and we got shorted product by one of our main suppliers and this shorting still has me trying to figure out how i'm going to cover a catered event for 500 people going out at noon tomorrow, and still have enough product to get us through until next week Thursday,  so I may seem a little harsh in my next paragraph due to my current stress level..

Maybe someday when you're an employer in a high-volume restaurant that strives for perfection like we do, you may understand why it is beneficial to cut your losses early on with some employees who are not able to handle the responsibilities which they stated that they could handle.
Pizza is not my mainline item. It is a secondary product in my operation.
On a typical day we are already cooking/serving 800-1200 pounds of meat (that takes anywhere from 12-18 hours to prepare) without the volume of off-premise catering that we see this time of year.
 Since not everyone is a devout carnivore like the bulk of our customers, this is why I have decided to diversify our menu and make use of the beautiful stack of three European pizza ovens that were already in my new building that we have just purchased.
This also gives me an option to move some of our main product in a different format that would otherwise become waste and in turn lower my food-cost ratio while providing another unique product to our customers.
 Do I need to go into the differences between being a home pizza cook, and one that needs the utmost in repeatable consistency, and a very tight order to table timeline, and to stay within projected food/labor costs? Or do you already understand why that is so important?

So, let me know when your parking lot is packed full, and you have vehicles parked up and down the highway for over a city block in both directions with a line of customers out the door waiting for up to an hour to purchase your products and the sheriffs office calling to say they are going to start ticketing my customers for parking on the highway. Then explain to me how well your patience holds out when you realize your new hire is a total and complete fraud. Should I mention the out of pocket costs incurred for each and every new hire you may bring on?
We are only as good as our crew, luckily I have some true rockstars, we do not have time to start out a noob who has zero inherent skills,  and is unable to properly execute the most basic of duties in a high-volume commercial kitchen. Did I mention the 71 other restaurants all within a 10 mile radius of us who are all competing for the same customer base? Life in a tourist town sure is grand when you have just shy of 70 days to make your nut for the year, give it a try, you'll love it!
Watch the movie "The great Outdoors" sometime and you'll get a wonderful understanding of where I live and work. And yes, there is actually a restaurant named "Paul Bunyans" here, but they do not serve the 96 ounce steak as seen in the movie.

Alright, rant over. I hope I have not offended anyone too horribly.
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Offline patdakat345

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2013, 09:58:13 AM »
I just want to say that I am a person who has trained hundreds of people In Computer Aided Design and I sympathize with your getting qualified help and training them. Some people picked it up right away, some require more time and others will never learn it the way you want. You were right to fire the person. He lied, proved unable to do the work in his previous job.
Only you can determine how much money you are willing to spend for training.
You might make it practice to do a background check, previous employers, Internet, etc.

Pat

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2013, 11:22:40 AM »
I just want to say that I am a person who has trained hundreds of people In Computer Aided Design and I sympathize with your getting qualified help and training them. Some people picked it up right away, some require more time and others will never learn it the way you want. You were right to fire the person. He lied, proved unable to do the work in his previous job.
Only you can determine how much money you are willing to spend for training.
You might make it practice to do a background check, previous employers, Internet, etc.

Pat

Thank you for the kind words of encouragement, I'll be making dough on Sunday, and working with a few new employee prospects for the pizza end of the operation on Moday AM, I think i'm going to blend APF & Bouncer 50/50 to see what I get. And then I'm off to Chicago in the afternoon to go look at an 80-Qt VCM for only $3K and hopefully I can bring it back with me and put it to use here.
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Offline mkevenson

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2013, 01:36:29 AM »
I apologize for responding to your thread. Obviously I am not in your world and have no experience in the commercial cooking world. Well not exactly, but not too mention here. In my last post I was only trying to illustrate possible ideas to resolve your situation. I am sorry that you did not receive my suggestions favorably. I wish you all the success that you may receive.


Mark
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Offline scott123

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2013, 04:05:31 AM »
Mark, there's no reason to apologize. The advice was sound, regardless of your level of professional experience.

GotRocks, there was no condescension in Mark's post, and his advice, as I said, was good. Your bad day wasn't Mark's fault.  He was just trying to help.

The moment your employee asked for a rolling pin it should have immediately told you that he had never stretched dough before. With your history making pizza you should have been aware that stretching abilities don't happen immediately, nor do they even occur overnight.  If a worker is conscientious (one of the hardest traits to find) taught well and understands the principles, it takes, imo, at least 50 pies before they can begin to stretch a skin properly.

As far as the dough goes, any dough that's to be cold fermented shouldn't be anywhere near smooth/windowpane prior to balling, especially a 14% protein flour dough.  Cold fermented 14% protein flour doughs (All Trumps, Bouncer, Balancer, etc.), have extremely tight kneading tolerances. Just a tiny bit too much kneading and they're difficult to handle and the baked crust tends to be tough when cooled.  14% flour is incredibly unforgiving.  If you want an easier go of things while still maintaining an ideal puffy/chewy NY style texture, bromated 13% is the answer.

Blending the bouncer with AP will take you in the right direction, but, it omits the bromate, which, for NY style, gives you the best  oven spring with the least fussing. Even if you're in an especially remote area, as long as you're east of the Rockies, your distributor should be able to provide a bromated 13% flour. Tracking down any one of these

Spring King
Full Strength
Occident
Pillsbury xxxx patent flour
King Midas Special
Superlative
Commander
Majestic
Springup
Perfect Diamond (I think this is 12.5%ish, but not sure)

should, with your current formulation, give you a highly manageable dough with ideal baking properties.

Even with a 13% protein flour, if you're going to cold ferment, even if only for a night, you don't want smooth/windowpane post knead. Extremely minimally kneaded dough has a cottage cheese appearance.  For cold fermented dough, you want something in between cottage-cheesey and smooth. The cold ferment will develop the gluten the rest of the way.

Offline GotRocks

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2013, 04:04:43 PM »
I just did a 1/10th size batch mixing Bouncer & APF at a 50/50 ratio , the dough is so workable it is nothing short of spectacular, even after a short 40 minute rest while I waited for my ovens came up to temp (Sveba Dahlen Classics)

I took a total noob, a friend of mine who has never worked in a restaurant, I taught him bakers percents, showed him the dough making process, and had him scale while I balled dough. I stretched out a pie and explained what I am doing while he watched, so I tossed him a doughball and he had a 16" skin opened up that was impressive for a noob.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the dough reacts and bakes tomorrow. The pies I ran through the oven today were as expected very dull and wonder-breadish.
We'll see how things act tomorrow, and maybe add some salt & yeast to liven it up a little.

Thanks for the help
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Offline adm

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2013, 05:14:01 PM »

I took a total noob, a friend of mine who has never worked in a restaurant, I taught him bakers percents, showed him the dough making process, and had him scale while I balled dough. I stretched out a pie and explained what I am doing while he watched, so I tossed him a doughball and he had a 16" skin opened up that was impressive for a noob.


Can you hire him to run the Pizza side of your business?

Online Chicago Bob

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2013, 05:44:30 PM »
I only skimmed over this but I would say you need AP flour...especially if you are talking anout dusting off the old sheeter. Your formula on first post is classic for sheeter if you switch to AP.
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Offline Trickydick

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Re: Dough consistency problems, I need help....................
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2013, 01:28:53 PM »
Glad you were able to sort out your dough problems.  Seems like you might stick with your formulation vs switching to Bromated flour?
As an aside to Scott123,  about the Bromated flour.  Are the health risks overstated with the Bromated flour?  I had seen a similar recommendation you made in a previous post.  Ill point out that I'm a noob (first post to your 5000+).  I'm sure it's probably covered in a hundred other threads, but seems relevant to this.  With many ingredients and additives, I know there is controversy and misplaced regards of health concerns (nitrites for instance) but there are also appropriately placed concerns. 
To the OP, not sure where your business is.  Headed on summer vacation with the family soon (Colorado). Note sure if will be able to come in for a pie unless I know where to look. 

TD