Author Topic: It didn't make sense until I got a mixer/Your dough is too dry!  (Read 2143 times)

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Offline Flagpull

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Many of you have been following my efforts over the past year or so and I have certainly progressed a lot over that short amount of time.

Up until about a month ago I had been hand kneading dough and not taking the process very seriously because, well, hand kneading is a pain in the butt. While I was in the outerbanks, on a whim, I went into the "Kitchen Collection" store in the Tanger Outlets...I walked in and what would smack me in the face but none other than the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series (575 Watts) Mixer......on sale for $260 (refurbished, of course).

Welcome to the big leagues.

I realize now there is no such thing as a dough recipe but more of a realization that "oh, that is what dough is supposed to look like."

Over the past month i've been using this base recipe:

2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/4 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Yeast
1 1/2 Teaspoon salt

From that base recipe (I mix half of the ingredients, and then slowly add the rest, I have also been using a 20 minute autolyse period) i've learned what the dough should feel like. Extremely wet. Almost to the point of being difficult to handle. There is a moment towards the end of the mixing where you just sort of know...it feels baby butt and silky smooth and it stretches easily. It's just done. I seperate the final ball in to two roughly 11 ounce balls and refrigerate overnight.

Unbeknownst to me my method of mixing and my final dough (I even use KA Bread flour) is very similar to Jeff V's. That makes me feel good even though my final product is nowhere near the level that jeff's is.

After the rise the dough is easy to stress; I couldn't attempt to toss it as its just too loose and wet, it feels so nice and stretches so easily, you don't have to force it into its shape.

Stretch it out thin, put it on the peel, lay down the cheese and top with the sauce (this lets the crust stay crisp and light instead of heavy and soggy). The final product is truely magnficient and this particular pie reminded me a lot of John's on Bleeker St. The color of the dough is fantastic. It has the right amount of tip sag and I love the balance. With the sauce on top you really get to taste the tomato and the cheesy goodness underneith is wonderful.

To sum it all up; I can't believe I used to knead by hand and think what I was making was a good pizza. Now I think I could knead by hand and do a bit of a better job, now that I know what I am looking for.


Offline chiguy

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Re: It didn't make sense until I got a mixer/Your dough is too dry!
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2006, 07:18:50 PM »
 Hi Flagpull,
 I have the same KA mixer, it works pretty good i think. A hell of alot better than kneading by hand.
  Although there is something artistic about hand kneading the way the Italians do.
 The recipe you are using sure has a high hydration, but it looks like its working out just fine. If you plan on holding the dough much longer than a day in the fridge you may think about cutting the yeast back a bit. I will also say that once you get a scale and start using bakers percentages, making larger dough batches becomes even easier. Happy pizza making ,  Chiguy 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: It didn't make sense until I got a mixer/Your dough is too dry!
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2006, 08:14:21 PM »
Philip,

I'm puzzled by how you were able to incorporate 1 1/4 cups of water into 2 1/2 cups of flour. Unless you are using a heavy hand with the flour or a light hand with the water, or you are using a lot of bench flour, I estimate that the hydration is around 80%. I couldn't get any closer, even using my spreadsheet, since you didn't indicate what size pizzas you were making with the roughly 11 ounce dough balls.

The reason I ask is because recently, just for fun, I tried to make a Lehmann NY style dough with a hydration of over 75%. I was using a scale so I knew what the weights were for the flour and the water. By adding the flour gradually at low machine speed, I was able to get all of the flour into the water. I also used an autolyse. However, when time came to use the dough, after a period of refrigeration, it was impossible to handle the dough or get it onto a dusted peel. The dough stuck to my fingers all over the place. Once I was able to get my fingers out of the dough, I tried shaping the dough on a sheet of parchment paper (to which it stuck), and I then tried stretching the dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap (the dough just oozed and stuck to the plastic wrap). I finally pressed and shaped the dough in a cutter pan. Needless to say, the results were not what I was hoping for, although the pizza tasted OK. And, oddly enough, the oven spring was lot less than I expected. I concluded that it was not possible to make a pizza dough with such high hydration. It might be possible to make a ciabatta bread at such high hydration levels but not a pizza.

Peter

Offline Flagpull

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Re: It didn't make sense until I got a mixer/Your dough is too dry!
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2006, 11:32:36 PM »
I forgot the other part of my post, sorry!

While that is my base recipe, I end up adding probably another cup and a half of flour throughout the mixing process. I meant to say that now I can do it by feel and I don't adhear to a recipe as much as I once did.

Do this:

3 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/4 Cup Water

That is probably closer to the final amounts after I finish mixing and have the balls seperated. I make a 12 inch pie with the 11 ounce ball, by the way.

Double edit: My scale is on it's way to me, come on UPS, woo!

Offline Flagpull

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Re: It didn't make sense until I got a mixer/Your dough is too dry!
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2006, 02:37:02 PM »
And it is getting better... ;D

Offline Lydia

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Re: It didn't make sense until I got a mixer/Your dough is too dry!
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2006, 05:31:15 PM »
Peter?

Did you post your process and findings somewhere in the forum?

I've recently revisited one of my older recipes that uses Phillips basic proceedure, without incorporating as much of the assumed total flour.

Nearly all of the gluten development is occuring before the final addition of flour. It's pretty gloppy though.

I'm playing with a method that is similar to one mentioned recently...somewhere around here - that allowed the dough ball to rest in the flour bin for a drier outer crust. Right now, I'm thinking my lower home-oven temps. are working against me.

Philip

You may later find that the KitchenAid can knead insufficiently and may require some manual kneading in-order to develop a smooth dough.
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: It didn't make sense until I got a mixer/Your dough is too dry!
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2006, 07:21:49 PM »
Lydia,

Since Philip posted in the NY style board, I can only assume that he is following a NY style dough formulation--but one without oil. I'm not certain which particular formulation he is using. It could be his own.

Peter

Offline Flagpull

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Re: It didn't make sense until I got a mixer/Your dough is too dry!
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2006, 11:37:40 PM »
Nearly all of the gluten development is occuring before the final addition of flour. It's pretty gloppy though.

This, I believe, is the important part. I've been following Varsanos methodoligy as of late.


 

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