Author Topic: My Pizza Woes  (Read 2058 times)

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Offline GarrettB

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My Pizza Woes
« on: July 05, 2006, 05:49:35 PM »
I've been poring through these forums for awhile and have collected many great tips and morselfs of advice.  So when it came time to finally sit down and produce a pizza, I chose the eminent Lehmann recipe.  However, I've had problems; problems I don't understand, and so I'm coming back looking for a little science and maybe a few band-aids.

I've made a few batches of this stuff using 60% moisture, but only at 300g of flour.  That was enough for one pizza, and seemed to go pretty smoothly.  But when I upped the baker's recipe to 600g of flour, things went sour.  Here's what went down.

600g of King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour in a mixing bowl with 6 grams (1 tsp) of salt.  Mixed.  In the 325 watt Kitchenaid mixer fitted with dough hook went the 150g of water I measured, mixed with half a packet of Kroger brand active dry yeast (yes, I know I need less but it was sort of an eyeball measurement).  This I put in the mixing bowl and added the rest of the 200 or so grams of water.

With the dough hook moving slowly I added the bowl of flour to the mixer.  After all the flour was placed in the mixer I waited another minute or so until everything was incorporated, and added 9g of DaVinci brand olive oil.  This I then let mix in the Kitchenaid mixer for about 15-20 minutes, not the instructed 8-10 because I was making some stuffed mushrooms too.

When the time was up I took out a sticky, tacky dough, floured my hands up a bit and kneaded for 3-5 minutes.  I didn't split the dough into two equal 1lb. portions because of lack of bowls, so I took the whole glob and shaped it into a ball, coated in olive oil, placed in a deep ceramic bowl, covered with plastic wrap and let it hang out in the bottom of my fridge overnight.

When I took it out the dough was still sticky; sticky enough to stay stuck to the side of the bowl, but with careful pulling everything came out in one piece.  You know, that kind of sticky  :D.  I let it sit for 2 hours, getting fairly warm but still noticeably cool, but people were hungry.  So I started mashing the dough down, pressing out bubbles and generally having a difficult time.  The dough seemed to elastic, so I let it sit for five minutes to relax.  I try again and start getting it thinner, but some parts start thinning out sooner than others, and tearing starts happening all over the place.  Everytime I try to thin out a thick part, an already thin part rips, no matter how hard I try to isolate the pulling.

The pizza before this I added lots and lots and lots of flour during kneading, after mixing and before refrigeration.  This tearing was even worse, and the pizza didn't even think about stretching.  The reason I did that was because the pizza before THAT I used a very sticky, very wet dough.  When I prepared it the whole bottom fell out.  Everything was delicious, but when I pulled the pizza out of the oven, only a ring of dough came up, leaving a glop of gooey goodness on the stone in the oven.

So, what am I doing wrong here?


Offline bolabola

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Re: My Pizza Woes
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2006, 06:13:41 PM »
Waiting to work with my first NY dough tomorrow so I can't tell you about the stetching and tearing part but the glob in the middle is probally because your sauce or tomatoes are to watery or your morz was to wet..
Pizza Rocks

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My Pizza Woes
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2006, 07:24:13 PM »
GarrettB,

You may have started out with a Lehmann dough recipe but by the time you made all the changes to it, it was no longer a Lehmann recipe, but rather a pale imitation. Also, your processing of the dough was not in accordance with any instructions that I can recall as having written for any Lehmann dough recipe. The combination of the changes you made to the Lehmann recipe itself and your improper dough preparation and management were responsible for the results you got. What you did can be corrected, and fairly easily, but you will have to follow both the recipe and instructions as exactly as they are stated. Once you become proficient, then you can try to freelance a bit. But not until then.

I will try to give you some pointers below but I would like to suggest that you read the following thread before you make your next Lehmann dough: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.0.html. If you follow the instructions given there, you should have much greater success in your next attempt, whether it is a Lehmann dough or any number of other possible doughs.

You indicated that you used active dry yeast (ADY). You will note when you read the above thread that the basic Lehmann dough recipe calls for using instant dry yeast (IDY). It is easy to substitute ADY for IDY if you'd wish, and in your case I would just use a bit more of ADY, by volume, than the amount of IDY called for in the Lehmann recipe you use. It is not clear from your post whether you rehydrated the ADY properly, but the way to properly rehydrate it is to stir the ADY into a small portion of the total water (about a quarter-cup) that is at a temperature of around 100 degrees F. You will have to measure the temperature because if you are off too much on either side you are likely to get improper yeast performance. The ADY should be allowed to rehydrate for no more than 15 minutes. At that time, the hydrated ADY can be combined with the rest of the water, which should be cool, especially this time of year if it is warm where you are.

The extent of your kneading of the dough, 15-20 minutes in the machine and 3-5 minutes by hand at the end, was also excessive, even for a dough ball weight of around 34 ounces. You will have to use longer knead times than those specified in the abovereferenced thread, but you shouldn't need a total of 18-25 minutes. Since dough knead times will vary with dough batch size, I have tried in the instructions given in the above thread to describe how to tell when the dough is ready without reliance on the clock.

In your case, once the dough comes out of the mixer, you should divide it into two equal-weight dough balls. If you leave it in one big ball as you did, especially with the excessive amount of yeast you used, it will not cool down uniformly or ferment properly. I suspect that the reduced hydration you used (a bit over 58%), along with the overkneading and subsequent improper dough management, may have been major contributors to the poor condition of the dough you ended up with. FYI, the abovereferenced thread discusses different possible containers to use to hold the dough if you don't have enough bowls.

Apart from stating that you mashed down the dough and pressed out bubbles when you were ready to use it, you didn't indicate whether you re-kneaded or reshaped the dough in any way, especially if the large dough ball was divided in two at this point. Re-kneading the dough at this point is a big no-no and will only mess up the gluten network in the dough and create an excessively elastic dough. You also shouldn't press out the bubbles in the dough. Otherwise, you can end up with a flat and dense crust.

I could comment further, but my recollection is that all the important points and considerations are covered in the thread referenced above.

Please try again and come back to tell us how you do.

Peter

Offline dinks

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Re: My Pizza Woes
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2006, 03:34:30 PM »
PETER:
   Good afternoon my learned friend. I read GARRET 'S posting with much interest. As you know & as Mr. Lehman has recently stated & has been known to me for many years is that 10 minutes of agitation is all that is required in a planetary style mixer (Kitchen aid, Kenwood of England Hobart) is OPTIMUM in yeasted lean bread dough. (7 1/2 to 8 1/2 minutes in a Bosch type or Spiral type mixer)   That is well settled. Why??? ... it takes that time to develop the gluten strands to it's fullest. Past this we have begun to explore the "POINT OF NO RETURN". The gluten strands begin to weaken to a point  that it cannot hold the weight of the water (Which weighs 6 pounds per Gallon). The water is then released & we have a white glob that doesn't work.
     Anyway my friend It is best that you explain this bit of "Baking Science" to GARRET.
   Good luck & have a nice day.
    ~DINKS   

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My Pizza Woes
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2006, 04:08:36 PM »
DINKS,

Always good to hear from you, my friend, and I hope that all is well with you.

In rereading my post to GarrettB, it occurred to me that maybe I was a bit too harsh on him and, if so, I apologize. I was just trying to spare him some agony the next time around.

On the matter of knead times, I recently did some research in all my pizza cookbooks to see what knead times were specified in relation to the amount of flour used and mixer speeds. Maybe you didn't see my post on the results, but it is at Reply 4 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3204.msg27136.html#msg27136. As you will see there, the machine knead times in almost all cases were within the window you mentioned. In times past, I have also intentionally destroyed pizza dough by running it through the gluten formation stage, to the overknead stage, to the letdown stage, and, finally, its death stage. In my case, I used a food processor to move through the stages a lot faster than in a stand mixer. It was quite an educational experiment to see how the dough changes as it goes through the stages.

Peter

Offline GarrettB

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Re: My Pizza Woes
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2006, 01:38:35 AM »
No offense taken.  An answer is an answer.   ;)

Offline ernestrome

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Re: My Pizza Woes
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2006, 06:27:45 AM »
I have seen a real improvement since i stopped eyeballing and dropped the  'or so's' from my measurements! 

I now use a 0.1g scale, which allows me to keep pretty good track of everything.

I am following varasano's spreadsheet as it makes it really simple to keep track of measurements. http://www.think2020.com/jv/recipe.htm

I might also note that Varasano says that you should not be a slave to the measurements given in the spreadsheet.

I would say that you should follow slavishly for between three and ten or more separate attempts and then trusting feel.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2006, 07:00:07 AM by ernestrome »


 

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