For purposes of my experimentation, I used the basic Lehmann dough formulation for a 12” pizza, based on a thickness factor of 0.10 and a hydration of 65%. Using the dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_calculator.html
, the final dough formulation was as follows:
KASL Flour (100%): 190.85 g | 6.73 oz | 0.42 lbs
Water (65%): 124.05 g | 4.38 oz | 0.27 lbs
Oil (1%): 1.91 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.41 tsp | 0.14 tbsp
Salt (1.75%): 3.34 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.6 tsp | 0.2 tbsp
IDY (0.25%): 0.48 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.16 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
Sugar (0%): 0 g | 0 oz | 0 lbs | 0 tsp | 0 tbsp
Total (168%): 320.63 g | 11.31 oz | 0.71 lbs | TF = 0.1
I started the dough making process by first sifting the flour (KASL). Flour is sifted at the miller’s facility, but I have discovered that with time in storage it can settle and compact and form clumps. So, to improve its hydration, after weighing out the flour I sifted it twice. It is possible at this point to add the IDY to the flour and sift that too, which will more efficiently disperse it within the flour, but I believe that adding the yeast at this time foreshortens the useful life of the dough. I expounded on this aspect recently, in the context of using autolyse, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3919.msg32928.html#msg32928
(Reply 42), and my recent experiments on this point seems to support the above conclusion, as will be discussed more fully below.
In preparation for their use, I coated the bottom parts of the whisk, flat beater and C-dough hook mixer attachments (see the photo below) with a bit of oil, applied very lightly with my fingers. It is not clear whether this was really necessary, but anything that could help keep the dough from sticking to the mixer attachments seemed like a good idea.
The first mixer attachment used was the whisk. It was mounted in my KitchenAid mixer, and all of the water in the formula was added to the mixer bowl. The water came directly out of the refrigerator, at around 40 degrees F. I found no need to temperature adjust the water to achieve the desired finished dough temperature in the 70-75 degrees F range because I suspected that the water would warm up in the bowl and since I was only using the stir speed over a relatively short period of time, the heat buildup in the dough due to machine friction would not be significant. Indeed, that turned out to be the case and the finished dough temperature was around 74 degrees F. I suspect that as the weather turns cooler here in Texas, I will use slightly warmer water and/or a bit more yeast to achieve comparable results.
With the mixer speed set at stir, I then added the sifted flour to the bowl, about a tablespoon at a time, aiming the flour at the center of the whisk. To be sure that as much of the flour as possible went into the whisk and was fully hydrated by the whip, I used a long, thin, flat, semi-flexible plastic spatula (also shown in the photo below) to scrape any random flour from the sides of the bowl-- which was actually quite minimal--into the path of the whisk. I continued to add the flour to the bowl until the dough started to collect in the middle of the whisk. I would estimate that I added about 2/3 of the flour while the whisk was attached and working the batter-like dough.
In my machine, I know when to stop adding the flour when using the whisk because the whisk makes a slight grunting/groaning sound when it can no longer effortlessly mix the dough, thereby serving as an audible signal to stop adding the flour. In my recent experiments, once I heard the sound, I stopped the mixer, removed the whisk, and shook and scraped the dough from the whisk back into the bowl. As one might suspect, some dough stuck to the wires of the whisk. However, I found an easy solution to this problem. While I didn’t use the solution this time, it is to simply increase the thickness factor in the dough calculating tool from 0.10 (as noted in the above formulation) to, say, 0.102 or 0.103. Doing this will automatically increase the total weight of the dough ball by an amount that should reasonably compensate for the small amount of dough that might stick to the whisk and take too much time to remove entirely. So, it’s no big deal if a bit of dough sticks to the whisk and can’t be easily removed. If one has a scale, the weight of the finished dough can be adjusted in any event, if desired, to get the final weight specified in the dough formulation.
Once the whisk had done its job to its maximum efficiency, I switched to the flat beater. I continued adding the flour, again at a tablespoon at a time, and allowed the flat beater to incorporate the added flour into the dough, also at stir speed. Once the dough started to pull off of the sides of the bowl and to gather around the flat beater (a convenient visual indicator), I added the IDY and let it incorporate into the dough, for about 30 seconds. I then added the remaining flour, the salt, and oil and incorporated them into the dough. In my case, I found it necessary to add a bit more water, about 1/2 t., to absorb all the remaining flour and get the desired tackiness in the dough. Just that added 1/2 t. raised the hydration of the dough to 66.4%. Yet, the dough was not just some wet, hard to handle blob.
Readers familiar with the autolyse process may have noted from the above description that I used many features and attributes of that process. Indeed, that was the case. I basically used the classic Calvel autolyse but without the usual rest period(s). As the classic Calvel autolyse dictates, only the flour was added to the water to start, followed later in the process by the IDY, and the salt and oil. Leaving the IDY out of the initial flour/water mixture (although it is an option as noted above) ensured that the dough would not be acidified (it prefers a neutral pH), and leaving the salt out at that point prevented it from affecting the performance of the enzymes (e.g., protease) and from affecting the gluten. Leaving out the oil prevented it from possibly impeding the hydration of the flour. Arguably, there was a small amount of resting of the dough as I switched from one mixer attachment to another, but I estimate that the totality of those incidental autolyse-like “rest” periods was about 1 1/2 minutes, if that. If those brief “rest” periods helped, I am indeed grateful.
After the dough was done kneading, I removed it from the flat beater and replaced the flat beater with the C-dough hook. The dough was kneaded with the dough hook only long enough to produce a smooth, soft, cohesive dough ball with a modest degree of tackiness. To me, the dough had much the feel and softness of an autolysed dough. Maybe not identical, but reasonably close.
As the final step before putting the dough into the refrigerator, I formed the dough into a round ball and placed it on my work surface (unfloured). Then, using the method described and shown at http://www.woodstone-corp.com/cooking_naples_style_dough.htm
, with particular reference to Images 4b and 4c, I subjected the dough to about 30 seconds of “punch and knead” in order to strengthen it but without overly developing the gluten structure. With a small quantity of dough that I was making (11.3 ounces), this was a fairly simple exercise and took very little time. Once done, the dough was re-shaped into a round ball with a taut skin, brushed with a very small amount of oil, put into a metal, tightly lidded container, and then into the refrigerator. From the time that the water was first put into the mixer bowl until the finished dough went into the refrigerator, the total elapsed time was about 10-12 minutes. This is a fraction of the time usually consumed when autolyse and similar rest periods are used.
The next post in this series describes the most recent experiments using the method described above.