Tom Lehmann recently briefly described a method at the PMQ Think Tank forum at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=38304#38304
for adapting a direct-method dough recipe to a “sponge” preferment format. I am certain that the suggestion to use this method was intended to be with respect to a low yeast dough recipe, but I wondered whether it would work for a dough formulation with a lot more yeast, such as the one originally given by JerryMac at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5851.0.html
. As those who have tried JerryMac’s dough recipe know, Jerry Mac’s dough is made and used the same day. By contrast, Tom’s method would permit a period of cold fermentation of up to three days. It was that feature that intrigued me, especially in the context of using a lot of yeast (about 1.4% IDY) rather than the minuscule amounts usually used in the sponge preferment method.
I decided to try Tom’s sponge method without changing JerryMac’s basic recipe. In my case, I used the same version of JerryMac’s recipe as recited in the opening post of this thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6515.msg55855.html#msg55855
. That dough formulation, for a 16” pizza, is this one:
|King Arthur Bread Flour (100%):|
Morton’s Kosher Salt (1.61763%):
|320.14 g | 11.29 oz | 0.71 lbs|
217.69 g | 7.68 oz | 0.48 lbs
4.35 g | 0.15 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.44 tsp | 0.48 tbsp
5.18 g | 0.18 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.08 tsp | 0.36 tbsp
15.09 g | 0.53 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.16 tsp | 0.72 tbsp
562.45 g | 19.84 oz | 1.24 lbs | TF = 0.0986728
Note: The nominal thickness factor = 0.096738; the bowl compensation factor = 2%
As noted above, the flour I used was the King Arthur bread flour. It was sifted in preparation for using. Because of the anticipated wetness of the dough and its natural propensity to stick to things, I used a bowl residue compensation of 2%.
To prepare the sponge in line with Tom Lehmann’s instructions, I used 60% of the formula flour, one-half of the weight of the formula flour as water, and all of the yeast. The values of the sponge ingredients can be specified as follows:Sponge Preferment:
King Arthur bread flour: 192.08 g. (6.78 oz.), (1 c. + ½ c. + 2 5/8 t.)
Water:160.07 g. (5.65 oz.), (1/2 c. + 2 T. + 2 ½ t.)
IDY: 4.35 g. (0.15 oz.), or 1.44 t. (a bit less than 1 ½ t.)
Note: The volume measurements given above for the sponge flour and water are measured out in accordance with the Textbook method as defined at Reply 21 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6576.msg56397.html#msg56397
To prepare the sponge, I combined the flour, water and IDY in the mixer bowl of my standard KitchenAid stand mixer, using the stir speed and the flat beater attachment. The water was at a temperature of 54 degrees F. The sponge ingredients were mixed for about 3 minutes. The resultant sponge had a hydration of 83.33% and it had a finished temperature of 71 degrees F. The sponge was allowed to ferment, covered by a sheet of plastic wrap, at a room temperature of about 81 degrees F, until the sponge peaked and then started to collapse (the break point). Normally, the peak and break points take several hours to occur but with the high amount of yeast, it took only three hours. The first photo below shows the sponge shortly after the break point occurred.
Once the break point was reached, I used the sponge with the remaining formula ingredients as part of the final mix. The final mix can be recited as follows:Final Mix
Sponge Preferment as prepared above
Remaining flour: 128.056 g. (4.52 oz.) (1 c. + 1 1/2 t.)
Remaining water: 57.62 g. (1/2 c. + 2 t.)
Salt: 5.18 g. (0.18 oz.), or 1.08 t.
Honey: 15.09 g. (0.53 oz.), or 2.16 t.
Note: The volume measurements given above for the flour and water are measured out in accordance with the Textbook method, as above
Using the remaining formula water at about 47 degrees F (directly out of the refrigerator), all of the ingredients for the final mix were combined in the stand mixer at stir speed, using the flat beater attachment, until the dough mass gathered around the flat beater, about 2 minutes. I then replaced the flat beater attachment with the C-hook and kneaded at speed 2 for about 4 minutes. The finished dough weight was 551 g. (19.44 oz.), and the finished dough temperature was 77 degrees F. The dough was quite wet and pretty much without form but, using a bench knife and a lightly floured work surface, I formed the dough mass into a round ball. The dough was then put into a lightly oiled 1 ¾-qt. Pyrex glass bowl, covered with its plastic cover (with a small hole in the center for the release of gases), and put into the refrigerator. The dough remained in the refrigerator for just shy of two days. During its stay in the refrigerator, the dough rose quickly and even bumped up against the inside of the cover of the bowl (but did not push it off). When I removed the dough from the bowl, it was very soft, wet and gassy. So, to more fully develop the gluten structure, I re-kneaded the dough and let it warm up at room temperature for 2 hours. The second photo below shows the dough ball just after re-kneading.
To prepare the pizza, I shaped and stretched the dough to 16” and placed the skin onto a 16” pizza screen. Because of the high hydration of the dough, around 68%, I lightly sprayed the pizza screen in advance with a canola oil spray to minimize the likelihood of the skin sticking to the screen. As with my previous efforts with JerryMac’s dough recipe, the skin was highly extensible. However, I had no problems in getting the skin out to 16” and onto the pizza screen. Had I chosen to use a peel along with a stone capable of handling a 16” pizza, it is possible that I would have encountered sticking problems. Using parchment paper or member Jackitup’s skin management method depicted at http://s186.photobucket.com/albums/x41/Jackitup1/?=view¤t=95f76c71.pbw95f76c71.pbw
would have been possible workable alternatives. I used the 16” screen because my stone cannot itself accommodate a pizza size greater than 14”.
The skin was dressed to make a buffalo chicken pizza, which is one of my favorites. To do this, I first coated the stretched out skin with a layer of buttermilk Ranch dressing (Ken’s brand). I then added the following items in sequence: drizzles of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce; crumbled blue cheese; diced yellow onion (red onion is also a good choice); pieces of chicken that I had grilled in a grill pan and coated with more of the Frank’s Wing Sauce; shredded mozzarella cheese (low-moisture, part-skim); pieces of partially-cooked bacon; and more drizzles of the Frank’s Wing Sauce. I used about half the amount of mozzarella cheese that I would normally use on a 16” pizza.
The pizza was baked, on the screen, on the top-most oven rack position of my oven, at a temperature of about 525 degrees F, until the rim of the pizza expanded and started to turn light brown, about 4 minutes. I then shifted the pizza off of the screen (which was then removed from the oven) onto my pizza stone to get increased bottom crust browning, about another 3 minutes. The stone had been placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at the above temperature. After the bottom of the crust of the pizza reached the desired color, I moved the pizza back to the top-most oven rack to get increased top crust browning, about 2 more minutes (I will have more to say about the color issue below).
The photos in the next post show the finished pizza. The pizza was excellent. It had a large rim that was open and airy and with several large bubbles (see the cross sectional view in the slice photo in the next post) and with a crunchy outer veneer. The rest of the crust was chewy and a bit crispy. The crust flavors were better than with a dough of similar age but prepared using the direct method.
The crust coloration was good but it took longer than usual to get the color to the desired level. I believe that the dough did not have the usual amount of residual sugar to contribute to normal crust coloration. I somewhat expected this because of the large amount of the sponge (about 70% of the total dough weight) and the large amount of yeast (almost 1.4%) that ends up using most of the sugars released by enzyme performance, leaving little fermentiscible sugar in the remaining flour. Anticipating this possibility, I had thought to add about 0.5-1% diastatic malt, by weight of total formula flour, to the dough as part of the final mix to get increased extraction of sugar. However, because of the use of about 4.7% honey, I thought that there might already be ample residual sugar to contribute to the final color of the crust. That turned out not to be quite the case, so if I were to use the sponge method again with JerryMac’s recipe, I personally would add some diastatic malt to see if the results are improved. For those interested in diastatic malt, it is sold by Bob's Red Mill (http://www.bobsredmill.com/product.php?productid=3529&cat=0&page=1
I believe that perhaps the most valuable lesson to come out of my recent effort is that the sponge preferment method can be used with JerryMac’s recipe to extend the fermentation period beyond a single day, or part of a day, to at least two days. As made clear above, there is no need to change the ingredients or their quantities in any way. Only the preparation method would be changed.
EDIT: Corrected the amount of sponge flour.