Author Topic: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz  (Read 1638 times)

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Offline mr_doh

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Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« on: September 26, 2013, 04:48:58 PM »
Hi, new to Pizzamaking forum, and this is about my 4th-5th try in attempting basic pizza.  Hoping I can get some advice on browning my outer top crust.

here is my 2 latest attempts. 

1rst pic - non weighed different batch.
2nd pic - weighed with the recipe posted in the picture using dough calculator.  I might have went too high for hydration.
               and ended up adding 16 extra grams flour AP during mixing since the flour seemed too wet for my mixer.

-- weighed 2nd pizza pic for 12" pizza ---

Flour Type:  Gold Medal AP + Red Mills Semolina Flour (half / half mix)
Stove Type: Electric 500 degrees (have a thermometer in oven) Ran for 1 hr preheated.
Stones: Kitchen Supply Old Stone Oven Baking Tiles 6 (see pic)
Cooking Time: 6-8mins
Dough: mixed dough stand mixer, let sit 45 mins then hit refrig for 24hrs.  Popped out of refrig 2 hours before shaping.
Toppings: basic shredded pack cheese, basil, Carbonell Extra Virgin Olive Oil ontop.
Sauce: basic canned centos tomatoes, pressure cooked with yellow onion, salt, oregano, little oil, butter, and added some sugar after done.  was a little watery.

I can't seem to get color on the top of my crust and I'm afraid of cooking longer that might harden my pizza.   I haven't tried putting oil on my crust yet or even leaving it in to cook a bit longer.  The crust was chewy, but doesn't look to me like it is done.

I've also tried one attempt (not pictured) before I started weighing where I shaped dough 1-2 mins before adding toppings which resulted in a really hard crust, but that was a different recipe.

Any tips on what I might change?


Offline pizza is love

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2013, 05:41:18 PM »
About 1/2 way through rub the crust with a stick of butter. I do this most of the time

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2013, 06:55:03 PM »
Looks pretty damn good to me, man.

It looks to me like you might be looking for a little more top heat, but you may instead want to add a little sugar (1% or less). I'm thinking maybe if you raise your stone, that might help you get the results you want without adding sugar (or complicating your process). But that's a tough call for me because I keep my stone on the bottom, too, and I never move it because my oven has some kind of evil top heat that makes even the best cheese melt wrong.

Someone else will show up with the right answer soon enough. Also, if that's only your fourth and fifth pizzas, I assure you you'll eventually solve this problem on your own.

Offline mitchjg

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2013, 09:14:06 PM »
How did the bottom look?  If it looked the same, then it would seem to me you need to cook it longer.  Don't be afraid, try it!

You will find that you will constantly be trying new things, especially if you hang out here.


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2013, 10:14:32 PM »
Oh, I just saw that you already use 2% sugar in your dough. That kinda makes everything I said in my previous post meaningless.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2013, 10:24:02 PM »
I just noticed that you used 50% semolina. That might have something to do with your browning issue. That's what I'd call a very extreme amount of semolina, and I can't think of any reason to use any semolina. I don't know how much of an impact the semolina makes on your browning issue, but I'd say using 100% flour and 0% semolina would be a good place to start, for many reasons.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2013, 07:54:26 AM »
I can toss out a couple thing that you might want to experiment with. I also bake as you do but I also move the pizza to a higher rack position for the last couple minutes of baking.
You might try brushing some olive oil on the dough edge just before you put it into the oven for baking, this will give an improvement in crust color.
I am in agreement with Ryan in that you might be pushing the semolina flour a bit too high. I seldom ever use more than 25% of the total flour as semolina. I have also had problems getting crusts made with AP flour to color up as well as I like so I always use a bread flour. My "go to" flour is the Pillsbury Bread Flour available from just about any supermarket. Like Ryan said, go to 100% regular flour and then begin introducing the semolina flour at increasing levels to see what you get, it will also be a good excuse for making pizzas, just be sure to log your results, and remember, even bad pizza tastes pretty good!
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2013, 09:38:24 AM »
I have also had problems getting crusts made with AP flour to color up as well as I like so I always use a bread flour. My "go to" flour is the Pillsbury Bread Flour available from just about any supermarket.
This may be a little off-topic, Tom, but I'm curious to know if you can pinpoint the reason for this lack of browning with AP flour. I guess I've noticed the same thing recently, though I didn't necessarily realize it until I read your post. Since I've used a lot of different flours within a relatively short time span recently, I've been able to notice for the first time in my pizzamaking career just how much of a role particular flours play in browning. One of the things I've noticed (and pointed out) in my Giordano's style pizzas is that the pizzas I've made using Pillsbury AP flour (bleached and unbleached) and Gold Medal AP flour browned very little (as shown throughout the top half of this page), but the pizzas I made using Mondako flour and Power flour browned a ton, as shown in the two pizzas I documented on this page: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,25774.140.html.

After connecting some dots (I think), something Peter said in Reply #296 of the Tommy's cracker style thread (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12446.msg275753.html#msg275753) makes me think perhaps the Pendleton flours may be malted or something, but I admit that I barely even know if this sentence makes any sense. That is, malted flour vs. unmalted flour is a very new idea to me, even after making thousands of pizzas, always trying to learn something from one pizza to the next.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2013, 09:47:50 AM »
One of the things I've noticed (and pointed out) in my Giordano's style pizzas is that the pizzas I've made using Pillsbury AP flour (bleached and unbleached) and Gold Medal AP flour browned very little (as shown throughout the top half of this page)...
...except for the first one, which obviously browned quite a bit specifically because it contained 2% sugar. After that pizza, I stopped using sugar in my Giordano's style dough, and I haven't included sugar in any of the stuffed pizzas I've made since then.

Offline chasenpse

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2013, 10:53:58 AM »
I'd suggest experimenting with your stones position in the oven, try moving it up a notch and see if you get better results. Also something to consider is using bread flour instead of AP, it should take on a better color on top of giving you a better crumb structure.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2013, 11:22:48 AM »
Ryan,

Pretty much all domestic white flours are malted, and certainly at the retail supermarket level. If you look at the ingredients list for the Pillsbury and Gold Medal flours, you will see the ingredient "malted barley flour". That means that the flour is malted. It is possible to get domestic white unmalted flours but you would most likely have to get it at the foodservice level except that you might be able to find organic flours, which are usually unmalted, at certain retail outlets. An example of an unmalted all-purpose flour from General Mills is this one: http://www.professionalbakingsolutions.com/product/hr-flour-soft-wheat-all-purpose-bleached-enriched-50-lb/14467000?mct=Flour&ct=all-purpose&typ=Type. The Sperry bread flour from GM is also unmalted (it doesn't have even the vitamins/iron enrichment package): http://www.professionalbakingsolutions.com/product/sperry-organic-bread-flour-untreated-50-lb/57901000?mct=Flour&ct=organic&typ=Type. You will often hear complaints from people who use unmalted organic flour that their crusts aren't brown enough. In a home setting, with normal ovens, the same applies to the imported 00 flours, like the Caputo Pizzeria flour, which is also unmalted.

I have always correlated crust coloration with protein content. So, all else being equal, a high-gluten flour is likely to produce more crust coloration than bread flour, and bread flour is likely to produce more crust coloration than all-purpose flour. Several years ago, I discovered that I could get more crust coloration out of an all-purpose flour by adding vital wheat gluten and dried dairy whey (because of its high lactose content). I discussed this topic at Replies 204 and 205 starting at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg15668.html#msg15668. I could have added some form of sugar to the dough but the recipe I was using was based on Tom's NY style dough recipe and it did not call for any sugar for a one-day cold fermentation application.

Peter

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2013, 12:00:50 PM »
Ryan;
Peter nailed it. My references for Gold Medal flours shows that all of the winter wheat based all purpose flours are malted, but when you go to the soft wheat flours such as Helmet, Golden Shield and Cameo these are not malted. All purpose flours typically have a lower protein content than bread type flours and since the proteins are a functional part of the browning equation the higher protein flours will contribute to a better color on the finished crust. Just for comparison, bread flours average from 11.1 to 12.6% protein content, All Purpose flours run from 8 to 10.5% protein content, and strong bread/pizza flours run from 13 to 14.2% protein content and semolina flour comes in around 12% protein but it is not malted. One thing to keep in mind is that while a pizzeria can easily get away using 100% of an all purpose flour with good crust color due to his commercial oven, when we try to replicate the same thing in our home ovens we don't have the same baking properties so it can present a challenge to get enough heat to brown the crust to the color we're looking for, so in some cases we may need to cheat a little by adding things like sugar, whey solids, or nonfat dry milk solids. Even the addition of vital wheat gluten to the formula will increase the protein content to the point where we see an improvement in crust color.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2013, 01:27:11 PM »
Peter and Tom,

Thank you for giving me a piece of a puzzle that I feel like I should have found many years ago. I'm tickled. It never fails to amaze me how much there is to learn about pizza, even though I know enough about pizza to know I should never be amazed by how much there is to learn about pizza. The information you two have shared with me in the previous two replies is information I already know will be extremely useful to me throughout the remainder of my adventures in pizzamaking.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2013, 03:19:24 PM »
Ryan,

What we didn't tell you, and you didn't ask, is what the malted barley flour does. Simply stated, its purpose is to convert damaged starch to simple sugars. Damaged starch is starch in the flour that is damaged during milling of the wheat although wheat sprout damage can also result in high levels of damaged starch, maybe even excessively so. There are enzymes in the malted barley flour, called amylase, that work on the damaged starch to convert it to simple sugars. This conversion is helped by the fact that damaged starch can absorb more than three times the amount of water that undamaged starch can absorb.

The simple sugars are used by the yeast as food. Yeast can only feed on simple sugars. It can also feed off of sucrose, or regular table sugar, that might be added to the dough, but the table sugar has to be first broken down into forms of sugar that the yeast can use.  But that takes time. So, if there is no added sugar in the dough, the yeast gets the bulk of its food from the breakdown of damaged starch. I say "bulk" because there are small amounts of natural sugars in the flour that help feed the yeast until the amylase enzymes do their job. Whatever sugars remain in the dough after the yeast has been fed are called residual sugars. These are the sugars that contribute to crust coloration at the time of baking. The Maillard reactions require these sugars to contribute to both crust coloration and flavors.

The above is a simplified version of how sugars are produced in doughs. For a more technical and elegant version of what happens, see the following discussion that was taken from the theartisan.net website:

Sugar Transformations (Rosada)

Simple sugars: The main simple sugars, glucose and fructose, represent about 0.5% of the flour. Yeast can directly assimilate them by penetration of the cell membrane. Simple sugars are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide by zymase, an enzyme naturally present in yeast cells. Because of this easy absorption, these sugars are the first ones used in the fermentation process. Their consumption takes place during the first 30 minutes or so at the beginning of the fermentation process.

Complex sugars: The two main types naturally present in flour, saccharose and maltose, represent approximately 1% of the flour. Because of their complex composition, these sugars will be used later on in the fermentation process. The lapse of approximately 30 minutes at the beginning of the fermentation period is necessary to achieve their enzymatic transformation into simple sugars. The enzymes involved are saccharase, which transforms saccharose into glucose and fructose, and maltase, which transforms maltose into glucose.

Very Complex sugars: The main very complex sugar is starch, which represents about 70% of the flour content. Two types of starch are found in flour: amylose and amylopectin. Amylose is degraded by the enzyme beta amylase into maltose, and in turn the maltose will be degraded into glucose by the maltase enzyme. Amylopectin is degraded by the alpha amylase enzyme into dextrin, after which the dextrin is degraded by the beta amylase into maltose. This maltose will them be degraded by the maltase into glucose.

The simple sugar, glucose, obtained during these transformations is used by the yeast to generate carbon dioxide and alcohol. During the fermentation process, most of the starches used are the ones damaged during the milling process. Because the particles are damaged, they can easily absorb water during the dough making process. This water contact triggers the enzymatic activity. A non-damaged particle of starch will only retain water at its periphery and not inside the particle itself.


To the above, I will also note that softer white flours, such as those milled outside of the U.S., including the Caputo 00 flours, have less damaged starch than our domestic flours. To extract more sugars out of such flours, you would have to damage some of the starch. Of course, that is not done. The flours remain unmalted.

Peter

Offline mr_doh

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2013, 12:41:36 PM »
I was using Semolina thinking it might make the dough stretch and more chewy.  My previous attempts were mainly with just plain Gold Medal AP which I probably hydrated way too low (by hand) which resulted in really tough crust which was also very white.

I tried picking up some Pillsbury Better/Best Bread flour, but the HEB grocery I frequent didn't have that so I grabbed King Arthur Bread Flower.  I'll search forums and see if anyone has some sucess with that.

Also, I'll try a few different things mentioned here and make up a bigger batch of dough just to test since I keep making single servings and I don't want to test on the only thing I have for dinner :)

One other issue I'm having is that I have a pretty thin inner crust and wondering if I might be stretching that too thin for what I want.

I'll try Oil on outer crust, maybe move to top last few minutes, and a few cook longer.  When testing do you guys top the pizza (tomatoes maybe) just to try different methods?

thanks for all the tips.  Amazing like so many have already said about all the stuff that can go into making the perfect pizza.

Dave

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2013, 04:18:06 PM »
When testing do you guys top the pizza (tomatoes maybe) just to try different methods?

When you say "testing," are you talking about making a pizza-like food item with no intention of eating it? If so, I never do that. Every pizza I make has at least two purposes: 1) To feed me (or someone else); and 2) To teach me something.

Offline mr_doh

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Re: Doh! Brown my crust - tips plz
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2013, 11:25:29 PM »
When you say "testing," are you talking about making a pizza-like food item with no intention of eating it? If so, I never do that. Every pizza I make has at least two purposes: 1) To feed me (or someone else); and 2) To teach me something.

heh yeah I want to test a few doughs to see how the crust turns out before I throw a bunch of expensive toppings on top and  I'm guessing if I don't throw anything on it then it isn't going to bake the same.