Author Topic: Why add semolina to pizza dough?  (Read 3301 times)

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Offline drewsky6

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Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« on: November 07, 2013, 06:21:36 PM »
Can someone please explain what are the reasons one would substitute some semolina for flour in their pizza dough?

Also, how does the addition of semolina affect - water absorption, gluten formation, etc.?

Thanks.

Andy


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 07:44:25 PM »
Can someone please explain what are the reasons one would substitute some semolina for flour in their pizza dough?

To make your crust taste gritty and nasty, I guess. That's all it did when I tried it, and that's why I will never do it again.

Offline norma427

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2013, 09:35:53 PM »
Andy,

I have not been able to find semolina rimacinata di grano duro but if you look at some other forum members that have used that type of flour you can see they had good results.  This is one thread where Johnny the Gent made great looking pizzas with the kind of semolina he can purchase.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,24810.0.html  If you also use the search word semolina you should be able to see more what is posted about semolina in different style of pizzas.

Norma
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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2013, 08:01:20 AM »
The addition of semolina flour (the same flour that pasta is made from) should not impart a grittiness to the finished crust unless the dough is extremely dry as are used for making some of the cracker type crusts. The semolina flour adds toughness/chew to the finished crust as well as a slightly different finished crust flavor profile. All of our work has indicated that you can go up to about 25% substitution of semolina flour for your regular flour with good results, beyond that toughness in the finished crust (especially as it cools) can begin to pose a problem. Semolina flour has a larger particle size than your regular flour (this is why it also works well as a peel dust) so it hydrates at a slower rate, due to this it is common to add just enough water to the dough to give you the desired consistency, but then the semolina flour begins to hydrate, and the dough tightens up, making handling/opening the dough difficult. To correct for this I always adjust the absorption on any doughs made with around 25% semolina flour so they are softer than normal and even somewhat sticky as these characteristics will disappear as the semolina flour hydrates over the next 30-minutes or so.
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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2013, 11:00:37 AM »
Eh, maybe I'll give it another try someday then. When I used semolina for deep dish, I used this formula:

80% Meijer AP flour
20% Bob's Red Mill semolina
52% Water
0.5% ADY
1% Salt
22% Corn oil

To me the crust for these two pizzas tasted gritty. (Hmmm, now I wonder how deep dish with grits would turn out.) It basically had the same effect as cornmeal, but not as noticeable. It wasn't horrible, and I could see why some people might like it, but I certainly would not have mistaken it for Malnati's, specifically because of the semolina.

I don't know if this shows anything useful, but here are a couple pics of one of the two pizzas I made with semolina.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 02:51:48 PM »
Ryan;
At 52% absorption, your dough might have been too dry to fully hydrate the semolina flour. If you are trying to get that characteristic yellow color of the Chicago deep-dish pizzas, remember that they get that color through the addition of a yellow food coloring called "Egg Shade" you can Google it and it comes up.
Tom Lehmann/the Dough Doctor

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2013, 03:13:46 PM »
Noooo, I'm not trying to get any yellow color (except the color I can't avoid getting from the ton of oil). I'm a "keep it simple" kind of guy. (Seriously, REALLY simple.) My standard deep dish dough contains nothing but flour, water, ADY, and corn oil. Although Malnati's frozen pizza packaging also lists olive oil (after corn oil), I decided to substitute more corn for the olive oil because the way I see it, including olive oil in the dough adds more work but doesn't add any noticeable flavor. The formula I shared above is different because I was trying someone else's idea, just to find out if maybe they were onto something.

I'm thinking my deep dish dough tends to be a little overfermented (particularly in these pics). It seems like I use a very small yeast percentage, but I guess very soft dough allows yeast to work faster than yeast works in most other types of dough.

Offline drewsky6

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2013, 01:37:39 PM »
Given the impact of the semolina, would you be more inclined to include it in recipes that are oil-free or with oil? And similarly, would you be inclined to mix it with AP flour, bread flour, or, say Caputo Blue Bag?

I am using a Blackstone, so depending on how high I run it, I can get cook times between 90 seconds and 4ish minutes.

I am generally aiming for something between Neo-Neapolitan and New Yorkipolitan - meaning, fairly thin with a puffy cornicione.

Thanks!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2013, 08:36:26 PM »
Given the impact of the semolina, would you be more inclined to include it in recipes that are oil-free or with oil? And similarly, would you be inclined to mix it with AP flour, bread flour, or, say Caputo Blue Bag?

drewsky6,

I think you can go either way with the oil or lack thereof. Some time ago, I used semolina flour and King Arthur bread flour, without any oil, in an effort to clone a Papa Gino's pizza as sold back East. See, for example, Reply 79 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8167.msg71404.html#msg71404. I liked the combination of the two flours even though it was later established that Papa Gino's did not use any semolina flour in its pizza dough.

I am not so sure about blending semolina and Caputo flours. I have seen semolina flour combined with other flours, but not with Caputo 00 flour. That would be highly unconventional. But my rule is that if people want to experiment, that is their prerogative.

Peter

Online TXCraig1

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 11:12:20 PM »
drewsky6,

Can I ask what is driving your interest in adding semolina? particularly given that you are interested in Neapolitan-ish pizza.
Pizza is not bread.


Offline drewsky6

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2013, 04:01:24 PM »
To answer TXCraig1...

The short answer is curiosity.

The long answer is this:

I live in Israel, in the city of Beer Sheva. Beer Sheva is a pizza wasteland. It isn't a stretch to say that I am making the best pizza in the city, because it didn't take much. At first it just took things like fresh tomato sauce, real mozzarella, Lahey dough, and the skillet-broiler method.

I started a workshop teaching others how to do this at home too. I have a "first adopter" kind of confidence - reading blogs and experimenting is enough for me - but others need hand-holding and whatnot. I give credit where it is due and send all participants links to the sites I have learned from.

But then I decided I wanted to start selling pies - maybe a popup here, or maybe "cater" a party there. I had all sorts of ideas about how to do this oven-wise. I followed the development of things like the mighty pizza oven, the pellet oven, 2-stone products, and the Kettle Pizza. Real wood-burning stone oven was not really portable (I know some people build them on trailers, but still) and was too expensive. Then I saw the Blackstone and I obsessed about it for months. And then I finally figure out a way to get one here without a huge expense.

So suddenly, I have the ability to do a much wider range of pizza styles then I've been able to do. Neapolitan-ish is possible. But I've started to doubt whether that's the right path for what I want to do. It is AMAZING right out of the oven just after it cools, but it drops off significantly after that (soggy, or, if reheated, tough).

So I have recently started thinking about going less "authentic Neapolitan" and the price and availability of different flours has entered the equation. I have to go to a specialty store to get Caputo, and it is about 3 times the price of bread flour, and 5 times the price of all purpose. I can get semolina for about the same price as all purpose flour - people here make cream of wheat with it (called daisa) and also certain kinds of kubbeh (meat-filled dumplings).

But now that I am not aiming for authentic Neapolitan, there are SO many other variables, I am overwhelmed with the possible variations. All Purpose, Bread Flour, Semolina, Whole Wheat. Oil. Sugar. Knead vs. No-Knead. Epoxy? Starters? Cook at 900 degrees? Or 600 degrees? I have nothing else to sample to see what I like, and there are too many variations for me to really test them all. I just can't make that much pizza.

So I am trying to get as much "book" knowledge as possible about the different options so that I can reduce the amount of pure experimentation I have to do.

That was a lot, but I hope it clarifies things.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Why add semolina to pizza dough?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2013, 04:26:01 PM »
I use it a lot at a rate of 20% when making normal NY style, both in the kitchen oven and the WFO.  It adds a little "toothiness" to the dough, but it is subtle.  The semolina I use is almost as fine as the flour, the Bob's Mill brand is relatively coarse in comparison.


 

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