Author Topic: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast  (Read 2442 times)

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Offline evilal

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Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« on: September 02, 2006, 05:52:52 AM »
Hi all,

I'm relatively new to home pizza making but this forum has been a tremendous help. I have a couple of small problems that I hope you can help with... I do not have an electric mixer/kneader (yet) so I have to do everything by hand. Two questions:

1) How long should I mix the ingredients in the bowl, and how long to knead by hand for? Most posts give these numbers for machine kneading/mixing only.

2) I have real problems obtaining hydrations of even 50%, let alone higher. The dough at these levels just feels too sticky to works with and feels impossible to knead. (I'm using DeCecco '00' flour -- only '00' I can find in Ireland so far).

I'm probably doing something silly, so any suggestions are appreciated.

3) The most common yeast here is something called "McDougalls Fast Action Bread Yeast"; I'm trying to figure out if this is IDY or ADY so I can follow the recipes correctly. The package gives no clues that I can figure out... it comes in packets of 2x7g and says "Perfect for  bread machines" on it. On their website they say  " oz fresh yeast is equal to 1 x 7g sachet." So is it IDY?

Again, any advice greatfully accepted!

Thanks,

Alex


Offline enchant

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2006, 08:04:01 AM »
Alex,

Are you measuring your flour by weight or by volume?

BTW - when you're ready to buy an electric mixer, start keeping an eye on Amazon.  They regularly have great deals on Kitchenaid mixers.  This Kitchenaid Artisan mixer was on sale for $152 shipped (after rebate) a couple of weeks ago.

--pat--

Offline evilal

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2006, 09:19:13 AM »

Are you measuring your flour by weight or by volume?



Doh! (looks bashful)

I don't have a decent set of scales, so I was doing volume. I forgot that flour and water have different densities. Arrgghh.

I just did a batch of dough by weight and 55-57% was really easy to work with.

Thanks for the tip on the mixer; unfortunately living in Ireland means that neither Amazon.com nor Amazon.co.uk will ship appliances here (although in the past I have got stuff shipped to a relative in the US and then sent on). FYI, Amazon UK are selling that for 250 *pounds* (or US$475). http://www.amazon.co.uk/KitchenAid-KSM150-BBU-Artisan-Mixer/dp/B000094U5J/?tag=pizzamaking-20

Something to pick up next time I make a trip home I guess!


Thanks again,

Alex

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2006, 09:21:58 AM »
Alex,

I think it is a good idea for a beginning pizza maker to weight the flour and water. Doing this, especially with a proven recipe, will get you get more accurate results to begin with. You didn't indicate how you calculated the 50% hydration number but if you were using a proven recipe and a scale, the dough shouldn't have been sticky and impossible to knead at 50% hydration. Most 00 flours are rated at around 55-57% hydration and some can tolerate over 60%. If you used volume measurements and guessed at the hydration, then it would be easy for you to be far off on the hydration.

Usually, bread machine yeast, at least in the U.S., is IDY or something tantamount to it. However, many bread machines call for ADY. Just looking at the numbers you provided, I would guess that you have ADY. The 7-gram packet is equal to 7/28.35 = 0.25 ounces. In the U.S. that's equivalent to 1/2 ounce fresh yeast. To be on the safe side, you should look at the instructions on the packet of yeast. Typically the instructions for ADY will say to either rehydrate the yeast in warm water (110-115 degrees F in the U.S.) or mix the yeast in half of the flour and other ingredients and use much warmer water (120-130 degrees F). The instructions for IDY will usually say to just mix the IDY in with the flour, not water. I would go with the instructions on the yeast packet. If in doubt, you can always rehydrate the yeast in water, even if it turns out that what you have is IDY.

As for the knead times, that will depend on the dough batch size. A bigger dough batch size will take longer to mix and knead than a small dough batch size. I suggest that you do the following for a hand knead: put all of the water into the bowl, add the salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until the salt is completely dissolved and you can no longer see the grains of salt (about 1 minute); add the yeast to the flour if IDY, or add previously-hydrated ADY to the water/salt mixture in the bowl; gradually add the flour to the water in the bowl and stir using the wooden spoon; at the point where using the spoon can no longer easily move the dough, remove the dough from the bowl and put onto a lightly floured work surface; put the remaining flour on the work surface and gradually work it into the dough, little by little, by kneading until the dough takes on a smooth appearance and feel. Ideally it should be on the slightly tacky side, however, it is still possible to tweak the ingredients by adding more flour and/or water. If you are using a proven recipe and you weigh the flour and water, you shouldn't need more than say, a teaspoon of either flour or water at this point.

What I have found useful in hand kneading doughs, especially those using a high-gluten flour (which the 00 flour is not), is to use an autolyse-like rest period during the preparation of the dough. In the above sequence of steps I outlined, I would introduce the rest period just after a good part of the flour has been added to the water/salt mixture in the bowl and mixed with the spoon. Just cover the bowl with a towel or sheet of plastic wrap and let it sit for the duration of the rest period. If you are only making a single dough ball, I would use 5-10 minutes for the rest period. If you are making several dough balls, I would use 20-25 minutes. I think you will find that the rest period will make the kneading go much easier.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 02, 2006, 09:25:41 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline evilal

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2006, 09:49:57 AM »
Peter,

Thanks for all the great advice. My main problem seems to have been using volume, not weight... I'm off to buy a good set of scales!!!

Thanks also for the kneading advice, I'm going to follow that.

Once again this forum has proved a source of great info!


Alex

Offline buzz

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2006, 10:51:49 AM »
I've never had a problem hand-kneading any kind of dough and I don't use a scale. If you start with a little less water than you think you'll need, then keep adding a little more until the dough comes together, it works just fine. In this way, you'll easily be able to compensate for humidity, and age and other vagaries of the flour with no problem.

Offline LukeyDip

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2006, 12:22:46 PM »
Hi Alex,


Where abouts in Ireland do you get this flour from.

Have been searching for quite a while.

Pete-zza,

Can you point me in the right direction fro some proven recipes ?

Dec

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2006, 12:46:12 PM »
LukeyDip,

What kind of pizzas or styles are you interested in?

I assume that you are in Ireland also. Is that correct? If so, what kinds of flours are available to you, and their protein levels if you have that information?

Peter

Offline LukeyDip

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2006, 06:20:23 AM »
Hi Peter,

Yes I am in Ireland,

Looking to try and make thin crispy based pizza.

Strong Bread Flour and Semolina based flour available.  Have been trying to find  decent Italian Pizza flour here without much luck.

So far I have been using a mixture of strong bread flour with the semolina flour about 3/4 bread flour and 1/4 semolina flour.

Bases are ok but do not get the air bubbles or the cripiness right. Also the taste seems to be a little bit off more doughy than should be


Dec

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2006, 01:20:33 PM »
LukeyDip,

There are others on the forum who are far more knowledgeable about cracker-type crusts than I. However, from what I have read on the forum, I would suggest that you take a look at these items:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizzainnstyle.php
http://www.pizzamaking.com/thincrust.php
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,779.msg6826.html#msg6826
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,105.msg709.html#msg709.

If the above links don’t meet your needs, you might look at the general board for cracker type crusts: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/board,28.0.html.

I think that your 'strong" bread flour should work in the recipes referenced in the above links.

Peter


Offline chiguy

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2006, 01:27:35 PM »
 Hi lucky Dip,
 You are most likely on the wrong track on your quest for thin and crispy. The fact it is doughy as you mentioned could have to do with the thickness factor of the pizza skin.
 When i percieve thin crust and i am from Chicago, i assume 1/2 centimeter after it has baked?? The dough is ran through a sheeter and then cut with tin molds to size 30cm, 35cm etc... The finish crust after baking will be all the same thickness with no thick edge/crust. Is this what you are trying to emulate??
 The flour used for Cracker crust commonly are an all-purpose flour(10%protien). All the thin crust places here in Chicago use all-purpose. The bread and high-protien flour will tend to be on the chewy side and not cracker as you would like.  The hydration levels are in the 50% range. I have found that added oil (2-4%) should be used to add a bit of tenderness to the crust when working with lower hydrated (50%) doughs.
 The flour an thickness factor seem to be the two factors that need adjusting. I am currently using a .065 thickness factor for thin crust. This would be about 10oz/280gr for a 14in/35cm pizza. I also am a big advocate for using pizza stones, even with thin crust. I have tried pans and  screens. There is definetly a plus to using a pizza stone, it draws moisture from the crust, giving it that cracker crunch. Not sure if this is the exact style you are looking for but hope you find some tips useful.   Chiguy
 

Offline buzz

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2006, 10:19:44 AM »
I agree with Chiguy--the best thin, crackery crust pizza I have eaten is made with AP. Bread flour makes a denser crust--crisp, but not light and crackery like my local pizza place. The trick is in rolling it out paper thin and then cooking it at 650 F or so (neither of which I can do at home, unfortunately).

Offline evilal

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Re: Hand-kneading, high hydration problems, and mystery yeast
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2006, 01:26:13 AM »
Hi Alex,

Where abouts in Ireland do you get this flour from.


Hi Dec,

I've found this 00 flour in two places: Fallon & Byrne on Exchequer St next to the Karaoke bar, and Morton's grocery store in Rathgar/Ranelagh. I would imagine that some of the italian places may laso carry similar ones but haven't seen any. Let me know if you find more sources!

Also, if you're looking for a pizza stone in Dublin try Stock opposite Major Tom's. Much cheaper than Kitchen Compliments (who have been out of stock for a while anyway).

Alex


 

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