With Thanksgiving behind us, I made a pizza using the latest MM clone dough using the Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup (5.5%) and the Grandma’s Original molasses (6%). I calculated the amount of both products to use based on my preliminary review of the MM Nutrition Facts. I also lowered the amount of salt and increased the amount of oil, also based on my preliminary review of the MM Nutrition Facts. The main purpose of the test was to see if the combination of the Steen’s and the Grandma’s Original molasses would yield a sweeter finished crust and also to test the notion of the salt having an effect on that sweetness, as was postulated and discussed in recent posts.
Rather than making my standard 10” MM clone pepperoni pizza, I decided to try something entirely different. For the latest pizza, I followed the instructions for making an MM clone “House Special” as shown and described at http://www.nbcdfw.com/the-scene/food-drink/Mellow-Mushrooms-House-Special-Recipe.html
. I followed the instructions as given except that I omitted the ground beef. The dough for that pizza was defrosted for two days in the refrigerator and brought out to room temperature (68 degrees F) for two hours before using to make the pizza. As it turned out, and somewhat inexplicably, the dough was actually ready to be used to make the pizza after only one hour, not the usual two hours. But, since I had turned on my oven after the first hour, the dough got an extra hour to warm up. The dough ball opened and handled easily. The pizza was baked on a pizza stone that had been placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated at 450 degrees F (per the instructions in the article) for one hour. I wondered whether I could extend the bake time to 25-30 minutes as noted in the article, but the best I could do was about 12 minutes. The article itself says to remove the pizza from the oven when the crust is golden brown, which is what I did.
The pizza turned out well (it looked like the pizza shown in the article) and was very tasty and, more importantly, the crust was noticeably sweet. So, in that respect, I would say that the experiment was a success. However, it is hard to say without further experimentation whether it was the particular combination and amounts of the Steen’s and Grandma’s molasses that was responsible for the sweetness or the lower amount of salt, or possibly a combination of the two. As noted above, I had established the amounts of the Steen’s and the Grandma’s Original molasses to be used based on my analysis of the MM Nutrition Facts. Whether those numbers are correct or even close is something we may learn if I get a response from MM to the questions I posed to them, but, then again, given the intricacies of Nutrition Facts, we may never get the answers we are looking for.
Interestingly, the crumb of the finished crust seemed lighter in color than normal, even though the dough itself looked a bit darker than normal. The crumb was also not as dense as usual, even with a formula hydration of only 51%. I’m sure that the large number and amounts of toppings and the relatively low bake temperature had an effect on the oven spring and final crust texture. That was also a reason why I deviated from my usual pepperoni pizza. I wanted to see what effect the weight of all of the toppings would have on the final crust and crumb characteristics.
In retrospect, it is possible that I could have used an even lower formula hydration. The Steen’s cane syrup is slightly thinner in consistency than the Grandma’s Original molasses and, hence, might suggest a slightly lower formula hydration. Another open question, one that was mentioned in recent posts, is whether the Steen’s is merely an equivalent of the Grandma’s Original molasses. The Steen’s and the Grandma’s Original molasses are quite similar in total sugars and their colors are about the same. I would describe the Steen’s as having more of a caramel-molasses flavor and the Grandma’s Original molasses as having a more traditional molasses flavor.
For my next experiment, I may try using only the Grandma’s Original molasses and with a lowered salt level in order to determine whether the salt quantity has the same effect in the pizza crust as it did in my simple kitchen experiments reported earlier in this thread.