Author Topic: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust  (Read 13890 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22131
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2009, 06:43:09 PM »
John,

Diamalt is apparently a brand name for a particular diastatic barley malt. Diastatic malt works to attack the damaged starch in flour to release additional sugar (natural sugars) for feeding the yeast and to create more residual sugar in the dough at the time of baking to contribute to crust color development. Professor Raymond Calvel was very fond of using diastatic barley malt for his many French dough formulations. He used it in straight doughs and in preferments applications based on commercial yeast. For straight doughs, the diastatic malt went into the mixer bowl with the rest of the ingredients. If an autolyse was used, the diastatic malt went into the mixer bowl after the autolyse rest period. When used with a preferment, it went into the dough as part of the final mix. In Professor Calvel's case, he used the diastatic malt at a rate of about 0.2-0.3% of the weight of formula flour. When I originally worked on the expanded dough calculating tool, after some research, including discussions with a representative of the largest malt supplier in the U.S., I recommended that diastatic malt be used at the rate of 0.33-0.66% of the weight of formula flour. If too much diastatic malt is added, the result can be a slack dough with poor performance.

I found your response to item 7 to be very interesting. Normally, you don't want to fully develop the dough during the mix stage because it oxidizes the carotenoids and will penalize final crust flavor and aroma. Salt is an antioxidant and, if added early in the mix stage, will help reduce the oxidation but maybe not completely if the mix is too aggressive. One of the reasons why Professor Calvel devised the autolyse method was to shorten the mix time and thereby ameliorate the oxidation of the carotenoids. It's possible that in your case, with a hydration of only 45%, the dough doesn't get the same degree of development as a bread dough would at around 68%. This is a subject that I will have to pay closer attention to when I get back to making cracker-style doughs, especially the color of the crumb. An overworked dough will yield a crumb that is whitish and washed out looking, whereas a properly mixed dough will yield a crumb that is creamy white.

Peter


Offline fazzari

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 902
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2009, 05:09:06 PM »
Peter
I appreciate the information on malt...this is similar information I have found and the rates of usage I have tried are based on recipes by various bakers I've read about.  Actually, the latest of what I've read says to experiment malt rates with the different flours...some need more than others.
As far as my answer to question 7....remember, that we are comparing severely undermixed dough to a dough which is better developed but still undermixed.  There is a dramatic difference in these two doughs.  My opinion is that the thing which gets lost in all of this is that cracker crust is undermixed on purpose to allow for simple machining by a sheeter...but we musn't forget that the act of sheeting itself further develops the dough.  That's what makes this process so difficult...how much should your dough be developed, how much will your sheeter further develop the dough, how long will the skin be good etc. etc. etc. 
In my opinion, the sheeted dough from the moderately developed dough was much better than the sheeted dough from the severely undermixed batch.  On the other hand, the laminated dough from the severely undermixed dough was better than the sheeted dough from the moderately mixed batch.  I think my pictures show some pretty dramatic differences in appearance alone.
Anyway, it was a fun exercise!!
John


Offline smokey12

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 4
  • Location: chicago burbs
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2009, 08:47:03 PM »
John, I want to thank you for this experiment/test. It is fantastic. I am a new forum member (addicted!) and have been laboring and testing for years to get myself into the pizza biz.  Being from Chicago, I have hi standards to live up to.  I have a question from your post #19 regarding your statement "This exercise was to allow the home pizza maker a chance to make a crust only found in pizzerias, because of the sheeter issue"........what is the sheeter issue?  I have a Somerset sheeter and am concerned that perhaps I don't understand its nature other than to take it for granted that it is just a series of mechanical rolling pins.  Would you elaborate?  Thanks, Smokey

One observation from your pics:  your technique of short room fermenting, laminating, fridge-proofing then cooking produces a strong-celled, uniform crust whereas the DKM w/ laminating technique(s) of long room ferment, laminate then cook produces a layered looking product.  A big difference.  Your lamination "welds" back together?

Offline fazzari

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 902
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2009, 11:27:18 PM »
Hey Smokey, 
The pizzerias I have worked in and own use a very low hydrated dough...in fact mine is about 36 percent.  I also use a high gluten flour.  You need a pretty strong sheeter to laminate this type of dough..I have even sent back brand new ones which couldn't handle the pressure.  I don't know how much you have read or experienced... but a laminated dough starts with pulling a long ribbon through the sheeter.  This sheet is then rolled up turned 90 degrees and run through the sheeter again.  Everyone you talk to will have their own method...but basically you are taking layers of dough and sheeting them into one dough... [quote author=fazzari link=topic=6604.msg65713#msg65713 date=1231375420

"Layering and reduction (thinning) processes improve the grain and texture of the finished product by reducing the size of large gas bubbles and by forming many nuclei for steam evolution as a result of subdividing pockets of entrapped air.  These actions are separate frojm the fat layering effect and will occur even in the absence of any laminating medium such as shortening, although the latter may facilitate steam entrapment when it is present as a discontinuous phase.  The practice of braking cracker or biscuit doughs to improve texture is based on these considerations, although dough development is another important result of such procedures".
[/quote]

And so replicating this process at home is tough without modifying the dough product and some procedures so one can use a rolling pin instead of a sheeter.....its more work, but I think its well worth the effort.

Your observation about the lack of layering in my dough is correct.  I'm using almost no bench flour between layers, and as I've said before, layering is not the ends, it is the means to create the skins described above.
John

Offline fazzari

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 902
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2009, 07:50:55 PM »
I just finished a test at work with regards to lamination (for my own information) and thought I'd pass on what I learned.  It is a fact that lamination produces a different skin than making a sheeted skin.  So just how many layers does it take to make a perfect lamination.  This is what I did:  I took a small batch of severely undermixed 36% hydrated dough, rolled a sheet through my sheeter and cut out a 7 inch skin.  I then folded the remaining sheet into six layers and rolled a sheet of dough, and cut out another 7 inch skin.  I then folded the remaining sheet into 3 layers (18 layers total), rolled a sheet of dough and cut out another 7 inch skin.  I then folded the remaining sheet into 2 layers (36 layers total), rolled a sheet of dough and cut out another 7 inch skin.

I was very careful to try and make each skin about one sixteenth of an inch thick.  I then dressed each skin exactly the same, and baked them all at the same time, for the same amount of time to see if there was any visably noticable differences in skins.  Although it might be hard to see in the photo, there is much more action in the skins which were laminated, with the most action going to the 36 layer skin.  As for taste and texture, all the laminated skins were much more tender, with the 36 layer skin almost exhibiting a "delicate" texture.  For my taste, the six layer skin and the 18 layer skin were very close..and were almost ideal in what I look for in a skin.  While the sheeted skin was very good, the other skins are just up there another notch.  My conclusion is that any amount of lamination will give you a better textured skin than no lamination.....but I still have to question whether the difference is because of the "lamination process" itself, or is it because one is developing the dough.  I guess the only answer would be to test an unlaminated skin using a severely undermixed dough versus one made from a more moderately mixed or well mixed dough.  I might try this when I have more time.

In the following pictures the skins are left to right: 1 layer, 6 layer, 18 layer, 36 layer


Offline DNA Dan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 827
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2009, 06:56:50 PM »
John, Fantastic experiment. This proves all along what I have concluded regarding this type of crust, that a sheeter is not only essential, but a requirement. Interestingly, once you hit about 6 layers the pizzas seem to look quite similar. However you did note that the increased layer was more delicate. So it's apparent in the taste with more layers. Keep up the great work, your experiments make for fantastic reading.

BTW, out of curiosity what brand sheeter are you using?

Offline fazzari

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 902
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2009, 12:34:42 AM »
We use a Rondo sheeter...its an older model (the old ones are almost indestructable).  Dan, I disagree that a sheeter is mandatory...I've made a ton of pizza at home using the methods layed out in this thread with great success....they are as good a pizza as I've ever made at work, and they really aren't that hard to do if you sheet the dough while it is warm.

John

Offline fazzari

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 902
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2009, 10:05:46 PM »
This post should represent the final chapter in my quest to perfect the laminated cracker crust made at home.  The evolution of the process has come in very small bits and I think I just perfected or at least made easier the last little bit.  First of all I will list the recipe...notice that I have not used a dough calculator in that I think making individual dough balls for this process complicates the method.  This is because I have found it is easier to laminate sheets of dough...and then to cut desired skins from the sheet, or even better...dividing the sheets into manageable sizes so that there is no waste.

Flour      100%      any flour seems to work, I've made my best skins with KA bread flour
Water      45         as hot as you can get it from the tap
Veg oil       4
Salt           1.75
IDY             .75

Place all dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together.  Add all of the hot water with the vegetable oil and start your mixer.  Mix until all of the dry shaggy parts on the bottom of the bowl are incorporated into the dough.  This usually takes 6 to 8 minutes in my KitchenAid.  Cover dough and place in a barely warm oven for about 90 minutes.  Take the warm dough and using your rolling pin sheet the dough into as big a sheet you can..I shoot for a sheet which is at "most" one quarter inch thick.  Now take this sheet and fold it evenly into as many layers as you are comfortable with.  (The pictures below are of skins cut from a  30 ounce piece of dough which I have folded into 6 layers).  You will notice that the dough has cooled considerably and so now you will sheet your folded dough using your rolling pin, but do it smartly also taking your time...don't fight the dough, when it resists being thinned, simply cover it with a towel and let it rest for a few minutes.  I found that by taking my time and letting the dough rest, I could comfortably sheet the dough to about one eighth inch...it might take 10 minutes of total time.  I use no flour during the sheeting process.
At this point I divide my sheet into whatever sizes of pizza I want to make.. I stack them between wax sheets and freeze for about 1 hour...I want to make sure the dough is nice and cold.  By the way, the skins can be kept frozen for a couple weeks if needed.  I then store the skins in my refrigerator to be used 24 to 48 hours later.  The skins below were refrigerated for 30 hours.  They were taken straight from the refrigerator, topped and baked..they don't need to be warmed up.
The skins I cut were 7 inches wide apiece (after minor shrinkage in the refrigerator) and weighed an average of 4.05 ounces.  I baked these pizzas on quarry tile in my oven that had an average temperature of 560 degrees.  The pizzas took right betwwen 5 and 6 minutes to bake.  This is significant because the beef on each pizza was applied raw and on a good skin, the heat comes from the bottom of the skin up through the top cooking the toppings.  Anyway people, it can be done without a sheeter...it takes a little work, but I feel the results are well worth the effort if you want to try something a little different.

John






Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22131
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2009, 09:38:58 AM »
John,

Nice job. It looks like your persistence has paid off.

Am I correct that you don't have to pre-bake the skins before dressing?

Also, as a point of clarification, are the sheets you roll out square or rectangular? If either, how do you avoid any waste (scrap) if the final skins are round?

As a simple test, I used the Weight option of the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html, with 30 ounces as the weight input (the amount of dough you used), and got the following:

Flour (100%):
Water (45%):
IDY (0.75%):
Salt (1.75%):
Vegetable (Soybean) Oil (4%):
Total (151.5%):
561.39 g  |  19.8 oz | 1.24 lbs
252.62 g  |  8.91 oz | 0.56 lbs
4.21 g | 0.15 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.4 tsp | 0.47 tbsp
9.82 g | 0.35 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.76 tsp | 0.59 tbsp
22.46 g | 0.79 oz | 0.05 lbs | 4.94 tsp | 1.65 tbsp
850.5 g | 30 oz | 1.88 lbs | TF = N/A

Does the above sound about right? If so, I assume that one could use a smaller dough weight, say, half of what you used, to make fewer pizzas of the same size you made (7"). Or, someone could use the 30 ounces and make fewer, but larger pizzas. For example, based on your use of 4.05 ounces of dough for a 7" pizza, which translates to a thickness factor of 0.1052372, if I wanted to make a single 14" pizza, which is fairly standard for me for the cracker style, I would need 3.14159 x 7 x 7 x 0.1052372 = 16.2 ounces of dough. To be on the safe side, I would perhaps increase that weight to allow for scrap produced during the rolling/cutting processes. Is my analysis correct or am I misapprehending something?

Peter

Offline fazzari

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 902
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2009, 06:55:59 PM »
Peter
The skins are not prebaked...this is what gives this particular skin the texture it has.

I roll out rectangular sheets, like the size of my dough board at home.  From these sheets you can cut whatever size skins you need...you can even just divide the sheet so there is absolutely no waste at all.  The only reason I am showing round skins is so I can present to the reader that these truly look like a laminated skins found in restaurants.

Of course you can make as large or small a batch as you need..but if you're making round ones or specific size rectangles, allow for some extra dough...this makes the sheeting much easier.

A question for you Peter.. I have done a ton of reading, here, at PMQ, at Pizza Today, anywhere they talk about dough..and I have never seen discussion about laminated skins.  The only article I recall was one from Tom Lehmann, and even in that he only gives a brief discussion of the process.  Have you ever found discussion about these?  I have to think there aren't many doing this process anymore.....but as you can tell from the discussions on this site about Shakeys, Round Table etc...there are those who miss these skins of the past.  They are truly a remarkable skin when they are done right...on the other hand they are very unremarkable when they are bad.  And as I have always said, it has always been the consistency which has been hard to master.
JOhn


Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22131
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2009, 07:17:46 PM »
John,

I don't want to mislead anyone but was the 4.05 ounces of dough for a square or round 7" pizza?

I agree with you on the lamination issue. It is rarely discussed in the literature. However, a member who once worked for Round Table discussed the methods that they used to form their skins, and it was a machine lamination method (see Reply 5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1911.msg17492.html#msg17492). When I made a Round Table clone, I tried to simulate that method. I also tried a superimposed lamination method (individual sheets on top of each other) to get more crispiness in a deep-dish crust, and also for a Lehmann cracker-style crust. However, I think the Round Table method was closest to yours.

Peter

Offline fazzari

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 902
Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2009, 12:02:45 AM »
Peter
4.05 ounces for a 7 inch diameter skin


 

pizzapan