Introduction Ė While Iíve been reading the forums for a while, Iím a first time poster. Iíve been making pizza at home for three years. I was born and raised on Long Island on NY style pizza, so pizza isnít just an occasional food, itís a lifestyle. Moving to Seattle was a huge Pizza (and Bagel) disappointment, although the Teriaki rocks. I started making my own pizza after seeing Alton Brownís show. On a whim, I recently took some excess pizza dough and made bagels with it. Wow, my first time results were better than anything I can get locally. Itís amazing what a few minutes in a hot bath can do for a bagel.
Iíve shared my pizza with many friends and neighbors and always get rave reviews, but recently implemented some new and very good (I think) ideas I read about here while trying to fine tune my dough. Unfortunately, it also caused a minor problem. My last batch of dough was way too active. I read about autolyse, which makes perfect sense. I made a double batch of dough, omitting my usual tablespoon or two of olive oil to allow for a higher cooking temperature. Unfortunately, I changed two things at once; a ďBozo no-noĒ.
My simple recipe is approximately as follows:
4 cups flour (Gold bond bread flour)
1 ĺ cups of water
2 table spoons of sugar
ĺ table spoon of kosher salt
1 packet yeast
I cook on a pizza stone set on the lowest rack level and preheated for at least 15 minutes, once the (electric) oven is up to cooking temperature.
I mixed the yeast with warm (100-110įF) water, mixed it up, then added the sugar and salt, then started the Kitchen Aid, using the dough hook. I added about three cups of flour and mixed it on low, until it was soupy, almost like a pancake batter. I let it sit, with the mixer off, to autolyse for 15 minutes, something I had never done before. I turned the mixer back onto the second setting and slowly added flour, until the dough was satiny and smooth. I let the mixer run for about 15 more minutes, divided the dough ball into 5 portions, hand kneaded, by turning them onto themselves (like a squid?) and stored them, sealed and barely coated in olive oil, for three days in the refrigerator. Once out of the fridge, the dough was allowed to sit for four hours to reach room temperature. I kneaded them again by rolling them on themselves again (the squid thing again), rolled them around a bit in some dry flour to shape them into balls and ďsetĒ the outside skin up, then set them in bowls to relax, prior to making the pizza in about an hour.
The issue Ė The dough was a little tough, taking some time to get stretched out and relaxed. I suspect a longer mixer time, after the autolyse, would help out here. The problem, however, was that the air bubbles in the dough just kept coming back and they were big air bubbles. I had the dough stretched out and ready for sauce and it just kept rising. Finally, in a sort of desperation, I quickly built the pie and slipped into a 500įF oven. The result, which tasted fine, was quite a bit thicker than normal. A very puffy crust, which is OK, but the dough under the sauce, normally pretty thin and flat was pretty thick and filled with air pockets, not at all NY-ish. I even had one of those huge crust bubbles, which Iíve never had before. The first pie was almost Sicilian thick halfway between the crust and the center of the pie. I worked the dough a bit more on the second pie and bumped the oven to 550įF, which helped a little bit, but this is as hot as my oven will go. At this temperature, the bottom crust was crispy brown and the top was nicely browning; nearly perfect, but the crust under the sauce and cheese was still too thick and I could not get it to thin out on the remaining pies.
I have two pizza dinners for company in the next two weeks and this experiment was kind of a success, but I need to get the dough to ďchill outĒ and not be so puffy when Iím getting it into the oven. Can anyone provide a suggestion?
FYI Ė I left the olive oil out with the hope I could take the oven temp up to higher to crispen and toughen up the crust a bit without having the oil cause the crust to brown prematurely. I normally cook at 475įF. I like the texture of the pizza much better cooked at 550įF, without the oil in the dough. Itís more like what I grew up with.
The rest of the details Ė Cheese was shredded Mozzarella, with slices of provolone and sprinkles of parmesan. I try to use at least three cheeses in every pie. Sauce is usually an upline bottled spaghetti sauce product. I sprinkle Italian seasonings onto the sauce before applying the cheese. Of the five pies made last night, I made a plain cheese, taco, broccoli (put on before the cheese), garlic, and a garlic/shrimp, which my house specialty. Unless I use a lot of Provolone (which can get greasy), Iíll drizzle a bit of EVO on the pie before cooking.
Again, the extra puffy dough is my concern. What can I do to rectify this overactive dough?
Thanks in advance,