Author Topic: Improving Dough's Flavor  (Read 2126 times)

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Offline susanandmarkw

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Improving Dough's Flavor
« on: June 24, 2013, 12:24:29 PM »
I'm an avid cook and baker and have been reading these forums for a while now. Been making pizza at home for years and have honed my techniques somewhat, but I'm not in the big leagues like most here. My main use case is to make pizza for my family 2-3 times per month.

I've got a simple sauce I really like (garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and balsamic), and we usually do a bit of pre-cooked pepperoni and onion, with some basil after the fact, though I've been known to mix it up with spinach or arugula as well, to sneak in a few extra veggies. Usually use very light cheese, and a blend of mozz and parm or similar hard Italian, all fresh. Also sometimes make a "grown-up" pie for hubby and self that's a little more daring, and generally sauce free: pesto, bacon/onion, eggplant, straight Marg with fresh tomatoes, lobster, etc.

Used Cook's Illustrated's pan pizza recipe (using skim milk as the liquid and AP flour) for years, pretty happily. Doctored it up a bit with herbs, parm, etc. now and again, just to shake things up.

Recently moved from there to a more New York style, baked on an oven stone (currently using the Dough Joe) at 500 degrees for about 6-8 minutes. Started with Cook's New York recipe, and a few others, but have found we generally prefer the Dough Joe blend.

Right now I'm pretty happy with the texture of my dough. I've been doing half recipes--a full recipe just makes too much pizza for us--divided into two balls. I'm using King Arthur organic bread flour, as that's also what I use in my bread. I use filtered water, kosher salt, organic EVOO and SAF instant yeast. I've been letting the greased balls rest/develop in the fridge for 24-48 hours, then proof at 70-80 degrees 3-4 hours before using.

Been happy with the thickness, elasticity when rolled out into two 12-14" pies, and end result chewiness. The crust has had nice air bubbles, with acceptable, but not outstanding, browning on the outside and some softness/chew left on the inside--which is my goal. (Though a little extra exterior crunch would be nice, I don't want to sacrifice the soft interior.)

What I'm not as excited about is the crust's flavor. It definitely lacks a little something, and I am looking for ideas to improve that. I've tried using a bit more yeast (2t, instead of 1) and sugar (roughly 3t) in my initial dough, and think that helped a bit, but I'm still not getting that "yeasty", complex flavor I want. I do have a sourdough starter for bread baking, but so far haven't had much success translating that to pizza. (My two attempts were abysmal failures, resulting in unusable dough.)

Would adding more sugar help with the browning? I kind of felt I was already at the limit, with such a small batch.

Have some 00 flour (Caputo) I'd like to try, but am a little nervous to futz with the flour, as the texture now is solid. Will that help flavor any? If I wanted to try, do you guys suggest a 50/50 ratio of flour types? And, when adding the 00, would you bump the bread flour for good old AP?

Any other ideas/suggestions? I didn't think adding herbs or parm/garlic would be advisable for a pizza cooked on a stone, as I was afraid of those elements burning and becoming bitter. (The pan offered protection for the dough.)

Advice is always appreciated. Thanks!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 12:29:32 PM by susanandmarkw »


Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 12:42:35 PM »
Susan;
If we had a copy of your dough formula that would greatly help determine what might be necessary to achieve the flavor profile you're looking for. Two things come to mind:
1) Check your salt level, it should be around 2% of the total flour weight to promote the best finished crust flavor. Crusts that are deficient in salt generally have a flavor that is best described as being flat or even starchy.
2) You said something about not getting enough crust color. Proper baking and development of the crust color are vital in flavor development in the finished crust. I wouldn't recommend using more sugar to improve the crust color as this will also make the crust sweeter tasting, which may not be the flavor profile you're looking for, so at this time I might suggest seeing if you can bake at a higher temperature or for a slightly longer time.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline susanandmarkw

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 01:09:01 PM »
Which forces me to admit that I'm one of those terrible bakers that use imprecise measurements and "eyeballing it" rather than weighing my ingredients. I know baking is a science but I've been doing it for a while and, not that I don't have disasters, I'm usually pretty good.

Here's my best approximation of the recipe I've been using ...

2 1/2-3 c of KAF organic bread (start with 2-ish and add more as needed to come together)
1 c cold filtered water
1 T Morton's Kosher salt (not precisely measured)
2 t SAF gold instant yeast
2-4 T olive oil in dough, more for oiling balls and bowl
1/2 beaten egg (the only really "different" ingredient in this recipe)
2 t sugar (again, not precisely measured but more guessed at from experience)

... Dry ingredients mixed, then yeast added and mixed again, followed by wet ingredients. Mixed in KitchenAid 7 qt. until comes together, adding more flour or oil if needed to reach desired consistency. Kneed for 7-10 minutes after it comes together. Make into roughly orange-sized dough balls and immediately put in oiled, covered bowl in fridge. Let cold proof for 24-48 hours, depending on how on the ball I was about pre-prep and then punch down and reform into balls, before letting dough come to room temp 2-4 hours (until it loses chill and re-rises a bit) before forming into 12"-ish pies. I don't really let it rise much again after getting it formed--maybe 10-20 minutes just by virtue of time it takes to get everything together. I keep the dough covered with parchment once it's rolled out, so a skin won't form and keep it at room temp, too.

Preheat oven stone for at least one hour at 500 degrees (Wolf oven). Bake pizzas for 6-8 minutes (watching) directly on stone, until cheese on top bubbles and browns a bit. Allow 10 minute closed door oven stone recovery before doing second pie.

Based on advice will try upping temp to 550, which I believe is as high as my oven will let me go.

I'm looking for a yeasty, flavorful dough. Not sure how else to convey it. Want the chew to remain, just don't want all the sauceless/topping-less crust pieces to go to the dogs because they're just "meh" ... Not bad, just not quite where I want it to be.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 01:48:16 PM by susanandmarkw »

Offline susanandmarkw

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2013, 01:47:20 PM »
Hmm, was punching down and reforming into balls the fully-cold-risen dough before letting it come to room temp, based on my bread experience, but reading other places here that the 2-3 hour come back might not be enough? True or untrue?

My concern is that they're already fully risen after the 24-48 in fridge and if I didn't reform them before letting them come to room temp, than they'd be wildly over-risen.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 02:03:57 PM »
Susan;
According to my calculations at 6-grams per teaspoon and approximately 1-pound of flour that you are using, your salt level is only about 1.3% which is a bit low for optimum flavor. I would suggest increasing the salt level to about 1.5-teaspoons for about a 2.2% salt level.
If the top of the pizza is getting done too fast you might also try moving to a slightly lower rack position for your baking as this will increase the bottom heat while decreasing the top heat.
To achieve a more open crumb structure and possibly better crust browning you might also consider increasing the amount of water that you are adding to the dough by about 1-ounce (again, assuming you are using about 1-pound of flour. I also noticed that you are using the SAF Gold Label yeast, is there a reason for this? The Gold Label yeast is actually intended for use with high sugar doughs such as sweet dough and Danish while the Red Label is intended more for typical U.S. bread and pizza dough formulations.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline susanandmarkw

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 02:08:04 PM »
Susan;
According to my calculations at 6-grams per teaspoon and approximately 1-pound of flour that you are using, your salt level is only about 1.3% which is a bit low for optimum flavor. I would suggest increasing the salt level to about 1.5-teaspoons for about a 2.2% salt level.
If the top of the pizza is getting done too fast you might also try moving to a slightly lower rack position for your baking as this will increase the bottom heat while decreasing the top heat.
To achieve a more open crumb structure and possibly better crust browning you might also consider increasing the amount of water that you are adding to the dough by about 1-ounce (again, assuming you are using about 1-pound of flour. I also noticed that you are using the SAF Gold Label yeast, is there a reason for this? The Gold Label yeast is actually intended for use with high sugar doughs such as sweet dough and Danish while the Red Label is intended more for typical U.S. bread and pizza dough formulations.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I'm using the SAF gold because I do bake sweet breads frequently, so it's what I keep on hand. :) I use it for all my breads--sweet and otherwise--and haven't noticed any issues, and it's been a lifesaver for truly sweet breads (cinnamon rolls, etc.) that would sometimes fail with the regular SAF red. (A little extra insurance for sugar run amok.)

I will try upping the salt, but I'm already using the stone on the lowest rack and my Wolf oven's "bake stone" setting, for whatever that's worth. (It's a relatively new oven, so I'm still getting used to its quirks.)

It's not the top is getting done too fast, per say, I've just been using that as a judge of when the pie is done, overall.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 04:05:16 PM »
Susan;

That makes perfect sense with the SAF Gold.
Do you know what the dough temperature is immediately after mixing?
Do you take the dough directly from the mixer to the bench/counter for cutting and balling, or do you allow the dough to bulk ferment for a period of time before cutting and balling it?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline susanandmarkw

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 04:19:16 PM »
Susan;

That makes perfect sense with the SAF Gold.
Do you know what the dough temperature is immediately after mixing?
Do you take the dough directly from the mixer to the bench/counter for cutting and balling, or do you allow the dough to bulk ferment for a period of time before cutting and balling it?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I haven't taken the temperature immediately after mixing. I do hand kneed briefly and then ball right away. Would it better to wait?

Also, do you think changing up the flour (00, AP or a mix thereof) would improve the flavor without adversely affecting the texture?

Is reforming after the cold rise and before it comes to room temp, a good or bad thing?

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2013, 05:03:17 PM »
Susan;
Fermentation plays a big part in the flavor equation. You might try making a dough and rather than taking the dough directly to the bench for balling, start by taking only one dough ball from the bulk dough, allowing the rest of the dough to ferment at room temperature for 30-minutes, then take another dough ball, keep repeating this in 30-minute increments until you are out of dough. Be sure to tag each dough ball so you will know how long it was allowed to bulk ferment for. This will provide for significantly more fermentation to the dough, which should help to provide the finished crust with a more pronounced fermentation flavor. You might need to do this a couple of times to find the time that works best for you and gives the finished flavor you're looking for. While I don't normally do it, it is perfectly OK to re ball the dough after allowing it to temper. My only argument with doing it is that it adds another couple of hours to my scheduling. I'd rather just pull the dough from the fridge, allow it to temper AT room temperature for 90-minutes and then begin making pizza.. You've just got to find what works best for you. The best part about experimenting with pizza is that even the mistakes taste good.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Online tinroofrusted

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2013, 06:22:29 PM »
Hi Susan,

You are already receiving such good advice from Tom L. that I hesitate to even jump in, but here I am anyway. 

If you are looking for improved/different flavor, one possible technique would be to use a poolish, which you probably know is a preferment. You take a quarter to one half of the flour in the recipe and combine it with a similar quantity of water and a bit of yeast, and let that sit on the counter for 12-18 hours before you make the dough.  For a good example of a great recipe using a poolish, take a look at the Apizza Scholls thread here:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11994.msg124161.html#msg124161

Here's another thread where the Scholls dough is attempted/discussed:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=13661.0

We've been working on a recipe database for the forum and the Apizza Scholls clone recipe can be found on it here:

http://doughgenerator.allsimbaseball9.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=8

As far as flour goes, it is hard to improve on King Arthur Bread Flour in a home oven. The Caputo 00 is great flour; it has a unique flavor and texture but it doesn't brown all that well. Try putting a small amount, say 10%, into your dough and see if you notice any difference. 

Best of luck with finding your "perfect pizza"! 




Offline susanandmarkw

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2013, 09:10:57 AM »
Made pizzas last night with a few alterations and feel they turned out great ... A bit more salt, to the point it was quite salty when first mixed, though it didn't seem so by the time the cold rise had completed. I also let it rise about two hours immediately following kneed, before forming into balls and putting into fridge for a 36 hour cold rise. Punched down and balled again while cold and then let rise back for about 2 hours before rolling out.

Also, boosted the oven temp to 550 (let stone/steel preheat for almost 2 hours due to an airport run) and tried out a few new toys: the Baking Steel, which I did think gave better performance than the stone, which I also used in the other oven to compare. Pies on the steel baked in 5-6 minutes, versus 7 or so for the stone, and had a more evenly browned crust.

All in all, I think the crust flavor was improved and we slightly preferred it to the other dough I tried which used a half-half 00 and AP mix, though that dough was very easy to roll out and still quite good, though didn't have quite the same chew.

Lastly, got an EXO Super Peel and found it amazing! It uses a cloth to help move the pizza from the peel to the stone (kind of like a conveyer belt), which I found super helpful for not losing toppings and keeping my pizzas round and perfect from the peel to the stone/steel. Not great for getting the pizzas off (too thick), but we have a metal peel for that.




Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2013, 09:48:48 AM »
@susanandmarkw, why don't you be "daring" and give a three day cold ferment a try? 36 hours is ok, but three days will improve your flavor and won't compromise the integrity of your dough.

Offline susanandmarkw

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Re: Improving Dough's Flavor
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2013, 11:34:20 AM »
Hmm, tried the three-day cold rise WITHOUT the punch down, reform at the end--just took the dough balls out of the fridge and let them rise for 90 minutes more--and found my crust far less fluffy, and more cracker-like. Which of those two changes--the longer rise vs the reform--would you guess would be responsible for that change, which wasn't what I was looking for. More flavorful crust was; I still like some chew and rise with my finished pies.


 

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