Author Topic: My dough is too soft, why?  (Read 1391 times)

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Offline DustinA

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My dough is too soft, why?
« on: September 13, 2013, 02:07:45 PM »
I'm really struggling with my crust and I just can't figure out how to adjust it to get what I'm looking for.

First off, here is my formula.

3 cups KABF
1 1/2 cups cold water
.6 oz cake yeast
2 teaspoons morton's kosher salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

680g KABF
340g cold water
17g cake yeast
9.6g morton's kosher salt
9.6g light brown sugar
28g Olive Oil

100% KABF
50% cold water
2.5% cake yeast
1.4% morton's kosher salt
1.4% light brown sugar
4.2% Olive Oil


I mix my water and sugar together and set aside.  I then use my kitchenaide mixer with paddle attachment to mix my flour and salt.  Once that is thoroughly mixed, I crumble my yeast in, add my water mixture, change out the paddle for the dough hook and mix until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.  I then knead for about 5 minutes, divide it, ball it, and place in the fridge for 48 hours.  I then bring it out for 2 hours before I stretch it out into skins.  I bake on a pan in the lowest rack of my oven at 500 degrees.  Halfway through, I slide it off onto the rack itself to brown the bottom.

My issue:  My dough is extremely soft and light colored when it comes out.  I'm looking for a deep, golden brown and a nice crisp bite.  I've tried coating the crust with olive oil or butter as a browning agent, and while it gives me the color I'm looking for, it's still pretty soft.  Is there any way around this?
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 02:19:04 PM by DustinA »


Online The Dough Doctor

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 02:25:19 PM »
Dustin;
50% absorption seems to be rather low for the type of flour that you're using. This might be restricting the oven spring of the dough during baking thus making a more dense dough which is more difficult to get to brown during baking than a lighter, better risen dough. I would suggest increasing the dough absorption to 63% (15.12-ounces) call it 15.5-ounces. The dough will most likely take longer to pull off of the sides of the mixing bowl but that is normal with the higher absorption. When you remove the partially baked pizza from the pan, try placing the pizza onto a rack in the highest or second to highest rack position as this will provide more top heat to the pizza for better top color development. The softer dough consistence should exhibit better oven spring during baking which will improve both the color and crispiness of the finished crust.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline DustinA

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 02:54:11 PM »
Thank you!!!

Online Aimless Ryan

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 03:27:54 PM »
First off, here is my formula.

3 cups KABF
1 1/2 cups cold water
.6 oz cake yeast
2 teaspoons morton's kosher salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

100% KABF
50% cold water
2.5% cake yeast
1.4% morton's kosher salt
1.4% light brown sugar
4.2% Olive Oil

Your formula (in percentages) is not equal to your recipe (volumetric measurements). If you're using 3 cups of flour, that's probably in the neighborhood of 14 oz. If you're using 1.5 cups of water, that's about 12 oz of water. If you're using the volumetric measurements you listed, your hydration percentage is not 50%; it's much closer to 100%.

I didn't mention the weight measurements because they look to be in line with the bakers' percentages. So are you measuring by weight or are you measuring by volume?

Offline DustinA

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 03:31:18 PM »
There are 8 ounces in a cup.  3x8 = 24.  Hence my 24 ounce measurement and the stated 50% hydration level.  Sorry for the confusion Ryan!   :)

Offline DustinA

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 03:32:49 PM »
In ounce measurements, it breaks down like this.

24 oz KABF
12 oz cold water
.6 oz cake yeast
.34 oz morton's kosher salt
.34 oz light brown sugar
1 oz Olive Oil

Online Aimless Ryan

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 03:36:07 PM »
3 cups of flour is not 24 oz by weight; it's 24 fluid oz. They're not the same thing; not even close. That's your problem.

Offline DustinA

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 03:41:37 PM »
Ah, good point.  Thank you Aimless.  I didn't even think of that.

Check out the link below from the King Arthur website itself.  Skip down to "Measuring Flour." 

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/measuring.html

You weren't off my much at 14oz

Online mitchjg

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 03:43:04 PM »
Dustin:

The cups / ounces discussion is not clear.

If you fill an 8 ounce measuring cup with water, the actual weight will be 8 ounces. 

If you fill the same 8 ounces measuring cup with flour, the actual weight will be something like 5 ounces (it depends on how softly you pack it).

The volume for both is 8 ounces.
But, the weight, such as you would get using a scale, will be very different.  Flour is less dense than water.

So, that is why does not make sense to say
3 cups of flour = 24 ounces of flour =100%
1 1/2 cups of water = 12 ounces of water = 50%.

Unless you are approaching in a way that is different than described, you are likely doing:

3 cups of flour = 15 ounces of flour (approximately) = 100%
1 1/2 cups of water = 12 ounces of water = 75%

Hard for anyone to go further with advice until this is clear and verified.

So, is this what you are doing? - filling the measuring cup with flour?  Or, are you weighing the flour on a scale?  or ?

thanks,
Mitch

Online Aimless Ryan

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 03:43:51 PM »
Quick learner. You'll do well here.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 04:14:49 PM »
If you fill an 8 ounce measuring cup with water, the actual weight will be 8 ounces. 
Mitch,

It is actually 8.345 ounces. That is with the measuring cup on a flat surface with the one cup marking being viewed at eye level, using the lower meniscus. I would say that 8.1-8.2 ounces might be closer to what most people get when they measure out a "cup" of water volumetrically and then weigh it. At least that is what I got when I ran a series of weight tests.

Peter

Offline adm

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 04:42:56 PM »
Seriously, for baking the only way to go is bakers percentages and metric measurements. Or at the very least, baker's percentages and imperial measurements. Although, that way calculating the percentages will be harder.

Too many variables and unknowns otherwise - for example, how tightly the cup of flour is packed.

Buy a cheap electronic metric scale. A halfway decent one will measure from 1g to 5Kg in 1g increments and probably run $30. It will be the best investment you ever make for reliable and repeatable baking.

I am British and we invented Imperial measurements, but they are really so 19th century. We still do pints for beer though and miles for distance. But all precision measurements are metric. It's just better that way.

Online mitchjg

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2013, 06:43:46 PM »
Mitch,

It is actually 8.345 ounces. That is with the measuring cup on a flat surface with the one cup marking being viewed at eye level, using the lower meniscus. I would say that 8.1-8.2 ounces might be closer to what most people get when they measure out a "cup" of water volumetrically and then weigh it. At least that is what I got when I ran a series of weight tests.

Peter


Peter:

Live and learn - thank you.  I assumed that an "ounce was an ounce" by definition.  Apparently, that is correct for an Imperial ounce, but the U.S. system is not the same - a U.S. customary fluid ounce weighing 1.041 ounces.

Thanks for that - here is a wikipedia reference explaining differences and origins, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluid_ounce

- Mitch

Offline La Sera

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 08:47:23 AM »
Imperial measurements should be long dead and forgotten by now.

Measuring by metric weight will make your life easier.

Offline ThePieman

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 11:34:18 AM »
Dustin:

The cups / ounces discussion is not clear.

If you fill an 8 ounce measuring cup with water, the actual weight will be 8 ounces. 

8 fluid oz of water weighs  8.35 ounces. 1/3 of an ounce per cup of water is probably too big an error in a dough formulation, to ignore.

 :chef:

Edit: Pete already answered above. I should have read the entire thread. Sorry
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 11:43:57 AM by ThePieman »

Offline DustinA

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2013, 10:47:58 AM »
Ok, after the aforementioned dunce moment regarding fluid ounces, I went out and bought a digital scale.   ;D  Once I got home and tried to measure out my ingredients by weight, I was running into a new problem.  The scale wasn't registering the smaller weights very well.  Flour and water were fine, but I didn't feel as if I was getting an accurate measure on things like yeast.  Is this common or did I just get a crappy scale?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2013, 12:24:17 PM »
Ok, after the aforementioned dunce moment regarding fluid ounces, I went out and bought a digital scale.   ;D  Once I got home and tried to measure out my ingredients by weight, I was running into a new problem.  The scale wasn't registering the smaller weights very well.  Flour and water were fine, but I didn't feel as if I was getting an accurate measure on things like yeast.  Is this common or did I just get a crappy scale?
DustinA,

You are OK. What you did was fairly standard and common. Some members use a second scale with greater accuracy that can weigh small amounts of ingredients. I have both types of scales, one for mainly flour and water and any other ingredients used in fairly large quantities, and the other in case I need accuracy in weighing out small amounts of ingredients, and especially lightweight ingredients. But most of the time I just use the large scale for ingredients used in large quantities, like flour and water, and measuring spoons for everything else.

Peter

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Re: My dough is too soft, why?
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2013, 03:08:34 PM »
Like Peter, I pretty much always use measuring spoons for yeast, sugar, and salt. I used to measure oil by volume, too, but I've come to realize that oil is almost always something I can measure pretty accurately by weight, even if I use my 32 oz mechanical scale. However, I now also have a cheap digital scale that measures in either ounces or grams, which means I always measure oil/fat by weight nowadays (in grams). (I've also been trying to convert my brain to thinking in metric measurements, but that's not easy.) My digital scale is only accurate to within 2 grams, but I'd imagine that's just as accurate as measuring with a spoon. I'd like to get a scale that's accurate to within at least 1 gram. If I do, I'll probably end up measuring all my ingredients in grams.

Just don't geek out about it. As you gain more experience, your understanding of all this stuff will come together, just from the repetition and stuff like that.


 

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