Author Topic: Introduction and minor dough issue  (Read 1611 times)

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Offline Jack

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Introduction and minor dough issue
« on: April 26, 2006, 12:12:20 PM »
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,

Jack


Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Introduction and minor dough issue
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2006, 01:17:41 PM »
Hi Jack,

The first thing that I see wrong is the yeast.

Remember that you are making pizza and not bread.  That amount of yeast ( 1 packet ) is enough to make
bread, and quite a bit of it.

Next time you try your recipe, drop that recipe down by 1/2.  I'd say more, but drop it by half and see
how it works in *your* kitchen, with what you use.

If you drop it down too low you may not get the results you want.

I used to use a lot more yeast than I used to, but now I use about 1 teaspoon of yeast for the
amount of flour you are using.

Mark
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Introduction and minor dough issue
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2006, 02:32:50 PM »
Jack,

Canadianbacon (Mark) has properly commented on the amount of yeast. Since you are using volume measurements, it is hard to say for sure, but I estimate that you are using well over 1% yeast. Since you are hydrating the yeast in water, I assume you are using active dry yeast (ADY). If that is so, then you don't need any more than 0.5% ADY (by weight of flour) for a dough that is to be cold fermented in the refrigerator.† I'd also like to suggest that you hydrate the ADY by putting the ADY in a small amount of warm water (about a quarter of a cup), at around 100 degrees F, for about 10 minutes, and keep the rest of the water cool. Using all warm water will only cause the dough to start to ferment and rise too quickly. That may have been a factor, along with the large amounts of yeast, for the excessive amount of bubbling in the dough that you experienced after three days. I would also not add the sugar and salt to the yeast as it is being rehydrated. I would put the cool water in the mixer bowl and add the salt and water to the cool water and stir to dissolve. Then I would add the hydrated yeast, followed by the flour. Ideally, what you would like to achieve is a finished dough temperature of around 75-80 degrees F at the time the dough balls go into the refrigerator.

I don't see oil as being a critical issue so long as it is not used in excess. Using a lot of oil can affect the crispiness of the crust by preventing the moisture in the dough from escaping and allowing the crust to dry enough to become crispy. But at around 1%, this effect should be minimal. I also wouldn't worry about the oil as far as crust browning is concerned. The much bigger villain is the sugar, especially in the amount you are using, which I estimate to be somewhere around 4%. At those levels, a pizza baked on a pizza stone can easily start to brown prematurely and excessively, often before the rest of the pizza has finished baking completely. If this happens, there may not be sufficient time for the moisture in the dough to be driven out to create a crispy crust. It may be dark but not crispy. So, if crispiness is a desired crust characteristic and you plan to use a pizza stone, I would reduce the amount of sugar significantly, or even leave it out altogether, and use a small amount of oil if you like the flavor and other contributions that oil provides. If you decide to reinstate the oil in your dough recipe, you should add it after all of the flour has been added to the bowl and kneaded into a rough dough ball. It should not be added to the water since doing this will impede the hydration of the flour by the water.

I might add that you can also use a lower bake temperature and a longer bake time to increase the chances of getting a crispy crust. Doing this allows more time for the moisture to be driven out of the dough. Of course, for this to work, the dough formulation and dough thickness have to be just right. From the looks of your dough recipe, it seems that there is plenty of water in the dough to prevent the crust from becoming a cracker, even after a fairly long bake. If you are making roughly 12" pizzas, as I estimate from your dough recipe for a double batch, then your dough thickness should be OK.

You also indicated that you reshaped or re-kneaded the dough balls after they had been set out at room temperature to warm up. This is something that you should not do. Re-balling or re-kneading the dough only disorients the gluten structure and makes the dough elastic and very difficult to stretch out, even after giving the dough a fair amount of time to relax again. The way I recommend that you process the dough balls when they come out of the refrigerator is to simply (and gently) remove the dough balls from their containers, place them on a lightly floured work surface, cover them with a bit of bench flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Under normal circumstances, the dough balls should be ready to be used within 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They will usually be good thereafter for a few more hours. At no time should the dough balls be reshaped, as by re-kneading or re-balling. They should be pressed out by the use of the fingers and stretched out to the desired diameter in the usual fashion.† †

In terms of baking the pizzas, you should make sure that you allow sufficient time to get the desired temperature, say 500 degrees F or more. In my oven, I usually need about an hour from the time I turn on the oven.

Peter

« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 02:49:13 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Steve

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Re: Introduction and minor dough issue
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2006, 08:07:06 AM »
The whole purpose of the autolyse period is to allow the flour to fully hydrate before it's kneaded. You effectively short-circuited this process by adding the remaining flour after letting it rest (the new raw flour did not have a chance to rest and fully hydrate.) Next time add all of your water and all of your flour, mix until it forms a ball, then let it rest for 30 minutes. After the rest period, add the salt and yeast and knead for several minutes.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Introduction and minor dough issue
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2006, 10:33:53 AM »
What Jack used was not the classical autolyse approach as recommended by Professor Raymond Calvel, who originated the autolyse method. What Steve described is the classical autolyse method. Other forms of rest periods, such as was used by Jack, will make the dough softer and more manageable and have similar effects to a classically autolysed dough, but the purest hydration, if that is what is desired, is achieved through the Calvel approach described by Steve.

Peter
« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 10:35:34 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Jack

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Re: Introduction and minor dough issue
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2006, 04:19:40 PM »
Gentlemen,

Thanks for the great feedback.  It looks like I have a few basic things to change and a bunch of fine tuning to do.  I think Iíll be making a few pies this weekend and will work on my dough.  Iíve never been able to discuss my dough with anyone before, so Iím very appreciative of the time you spend on my behalf.

Mark/Peter Ė I will cut the yeast down.  Itís odd, that prior to this batch of dough, which was my first autolysed effort, that amount of yeast was not an issue.  Perhaps there were other more serious issues with my dough that was holding the yeast back. 

Peter Ė   I will keep the dough temp down, by mixing the yeast in a small amount of warm water.  I know I was above noticeably above 80F when I the dough was complete, as Iíve noticed (Engineer) that the mixing process adds a fair bit of heat to the dough.  Iíll also cut down on the sugar and not rework the dough once it has gone into the fridge.  I was not at all unhappy with the results cooking at this temperature or time, but will play with the temperature, keeping the dough constant and see how the results vary.  Oh, your guess on size, roughly 12 inch pies was dead on.  My working surface, the back side of a cutting board, as well as a 16 inch pizza stone limits my pie size.  Typically, my pies are 12 inch round to 12 x 14 inch ovals.  Iíve been looking for large terra cotta or quarry stone pieces to cover the entire lower rack of my oven.

Steve Ė Iíve had difficulty in the past with getting the proper balance of hydration.  Iím using very basic volume measures.  My dough was not consistent batch to batch, so I elected to start dialing in the dough as it was kneaded.  It appears, from reading the various forums in depth, that what I need to do is pick up a digital scale, so I can weigh the ingredients and be more consistent that with volume measuring devices.

Gents, I really appreciate the help and guidance.  Iíll post back results in the next week or three with my results and maybe a picture or two if itís not too hectic to remember to shoot.

Jack


 

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