Author Topic: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.  (Read 6571 times)

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Offline XanderKane

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2008, 01:44:49 AM »
Peter,

Ok, here we go. :)

First of all, todays pizza making didn't work out at all as I had planned it to.  I got part way into the preparation of the crust only to discover that my pizza stone had cracked last time I used it.  I've had it for two weeks and it cracked.  not a good sign.  Thankfully though its still under warranty and there's a new one on the way.  Naturally I had to divert my method a little.  I recently purchased a 15" screen at a local restaurant supply store and though I hadn't used it before, I found some instructions on the forum on how to season it.  Interestingly enough I'm pretty sure they were your instructions. :)  So I went through the steps outlined there and got back on track.

That said, onto the matter at hand...the crust.

I've got to say I was really quite pleased with how it turned out.  It wasn't my usual cooking method so there were a few little differences.  the largest being that i had the screen on a rack too close to the oven element so it burned a bit on the bottom center.  Overall though it was a great crust to work with.  It was very easy to shape after its second doubling.  Once baked it had a nice crispy bottom and a soft chewy edge.  The flavor was definitely improved.  I think I'll give it a try again but let it sit in the poolish stage for a bit longer.  It sat for roughly four and a half hours this time around.  If you have any specific questions let me know. I'm not sure what to say about it. :)

I've attached five pictures.  the first is of the poolish after its 4:30 ferment time.  the second is the initial dough ball.  the third of the reformed ball after punching it down.  The fourth is the pizza hot out of the oven, and the final is the cross section. Definitely on the right track.

--Bryan


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2008, 10:41:21 AM »
Bryan,

I'm glad to see that things turned out well notwithstanding the problem with your pizza stone.

I was particularly interested to see what the use of the long, liquidy preferment with a fair amount of yeast would do the coloration in your finished crust. Both the liquidy nature of the preferment (about 125% hydration) and the preferment at room temperature favor enzyme activity by which natural sugars are extracted by the enzymes from the flour to feed the yeast. That was the reason why I added some sugar to the dough formulation. I might have used more but was afraid that the bottom of the crust would brown prematurely or burn when baked on your stone. What bakers often do to combat the depletion of natural sugars in the preferment and to leave more fermentiscible sugars for the final mix is to add some diastatic malt to the dough formulation. That allows more natural sugars to be extracted from the flour to be available as residual sugar at the time of the bake to enhance crust coloration. I did not suggest that option because it might have been premature and I figured that you didn't have any diastatic malt on hand anyway (few people do, even seasoned pizza makers).

It is possible to play around with the preferment in terms of its hydration, the water temperature used, and the amount of yeast used. By varying these parameters, you can shorten or lengthen the period of prefermentation. Preferments are good teachers because you can plainly see the effects of both temperature and yeast quantity on the fermentation process, and within a reasonable time window. With any given dough formulation, it usually takes a series of bake tests using different combinations to determine what works best for that dough formulation. I believe that is how JerryMac came up with the optimum method for his dough recipe. As an example, it is possible in your case to make a classic poolish (100% hydration) with a small amount of yeast and have it preferment for up to 15 hours, even overnight. I was trying to keep your preferment in a range that would allow you to complete the pizza in the same day.

What I will often do in cases where the crust coloration is too light is to move the pizza from its position on the stone or screen to an upper oven rack position where the pizza can be exposed to more top heat. That usually does the trick but you have to be careful not to burn the cheese or toppings. In your case, reducing the amount of yeast in the preferment and letting it ferment longer might preserve more of the natural sugars and give the finished crust more color. Adding some honey or non-diastatic malt, which is used mainly for color enhancement (and flavor) and not to be confused with diastatic malt, can sometimes help, but not always. The honey or non-diastatic malt would be used as part of the final mix, not as part of the preferment.

I was pleased to see that the volume measurements from November's Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator worked out correctly for you. The dough you made looks great. You may not realize it, but as a new pizza maker you did very well using a preferment. If you decide that pizza making is the right hobby for you, you might want to invest in a good digital scale. It will make life a lot easier for you.

Peter




Offline XanderKane

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2008, 11:33:24 AM »
Peter,

Thank you for the encouragement.  I definitely enjoy pizza making and I plan to continue working at it.  I think I've got a decent sized check coming in at the end of this week and a digital scale is going to be on my shopping list.

I would like to tweak it to try to get a little more flavor out of it.  Its a definite improvement over what I started with and I really can't thank you enough for taking the time to help me sort it out.  What would be your next step from here?  Would you try adding a bit of honey to the final mix or reducing the yeast in the preferment and raising the water temp?  If so, how much less and how much higher temp?

Thanks again, Peter.  If you were in my town I'd buy you a new pizza screen, or some flour.  whatever the pizza maker equivalent of a drink would be. :)

--Bryan

Offline MWTC

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2008, 12:14:46 PM »
Check out this thread.

http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?t=4231&postdays=0&postorder=asc&topic_view=&start=0&sid=88c5b5b72adaf4993999397ac5f457d5

I think you are traveling on the same path that I was on a while ago. In fact still traveling on.

MWTC  :chef:

Offline XanderKane

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2008, 12:52:34 PM »
MWTC,

Thanks for the link. :)  I'll definitely read through it and see where your path has taken you.

I've got to say this is one of the friendliest forums I've ever been on.  Its a refreshing change of pace from most.

--Bryan

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2008, 12:56:22 PM »
Bryan,

There are several ways to increase crust flavors naturally (that is, without using special chemical additives), but they usually entail using natural starters/preferments or long fermentation times, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator (usually several days). For doughs that are to be made and used in the same day, a preferment such as you used, or maybe in another form such as a sponge or biga, is one of the few ways to achieve better crust flavors naturally. A simple change, such as going to a higher-protein flour, such as a high-gluten flour, will itself give you more crust flavor because of the increased protein content. Using honey, non-diastatic barley malt syrup, a bit of whole wheat or rye flour, and/or flavorful oils/butter will also contribute to crust flavors, but in different ways. Some people put herbs and onion and garlic powders in their doughs to get still a different set of flavors. Simply baking a pizza at a lower temperature for a longer period of time will contribute to crust flavors because of the effects of the longer bake on protein, sugars, oils, etc.

In your case, if you would like to stick with a same-day dough, you could reduce the amount of yeast in the preferment and allow for a longer prefermentation. How much yeast to use would depend on how long a prefermentation you would like to use, the temperature of the water used in the preferment, and the room temperature where the preferment will be made and allowed to preferment. If you have an idea as to how long a prefermentation period you would like to use, and you can tell me what your room temperature is, I may be able to suggest a protocol to use. I can't say that it will work with great precision because there are so many variables involved. Fortunately, with fairly liquid preferments, there are visual signs when the preferment is ready, or nearly ready, to be used (the profusion of bubbles and the break point). I have made preferments with a minuscule amount of yeast--really just a few grains--and the preferments ultimately became very bubbly. However, it took many hours.

You can also use a preferment in combination with cold fermentation. For example, you could use a preferment and, after the final mix, place the dough in the refrigerator for a couple of days or so. Whether that will satisfy your taste buds is something that you can only tell by actually making a test dough and making a pizza out of it.

Another possibility is to just make a straight dough without using a preferment and let the dough sit in the refrigerator for several days. With this option, you would use far less yeast and cold water. I have made doughs that stayed in the refrigerator for 10 days or more, with extremely good crust flavors. However, most people don't want to wait that long to get to eat pizza. Most people seem to be happy with doughs that are 3-6 days or so old.

As you can see, there are many options. However, the dough formulation you used would have to be modified based on the option selected. The longer the period from the making of the dough to using it, the more problematic the entire process becomes because of all of the biochemical activity that can occur over that time. Usually some aspect gets better, but some others can get worse, forcing you to make other changes to fix the problem parts. That part can take a lot of time and experimentation.

Peter

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2008, 01:29:40 PM »
I've got to say this is one of the friendliest forums I've ever been on.  Its a refreshing change of pace from most.

You got that right! You should read some of the stock investment forums I belong to. Hateful places, although a necessary evil for me.

Great thread you started - flavorful crust is IMO the most important part of pizza making!!


PNW

Offline MWTC

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2008, 02:36:03 PM »
Here is the place where it is all spelled out for us.

http://www.correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizza/_home_encyclopizza.htm

If you follow his instruction, you will have years ahead of you of endless experimentation and growth.

When you figure something out, that raises you to a new plateau, let us know and we can all grow together.

MWTC  :chef:

Offline katef

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2008, 04:07:17 PM »
I too have been looking for a more flavorful dough and after reading this topic, I tried the following recipe:

Harvest King Flour (100%):
Water (58%):
ADY (0.85%):
Salt (1.75%):
Olive Oil (3%):
Sugar (1%):
Total (164.6%):

And the first time I made it, it was pretty good, it had a little bit of a sourdough taste, but was just a little salty.  But then it turns out the fridge I stored the dough in for a week was in the middle of breaking down and the temp was way too high for a standard fridge.  So since buying the new fridge, I lowered the salt content and the dough was super bland and definately lacked salt (that's why I think the frige temp was crucial to the sour taste on the first pizza).  So how do I emulate the sour taste from the first batch?

On a second note, I don't ever seem to get the big bubbles in my dough that others get as viewed in their pictures, but that might be a handling issue, though I try to very careful, but I'm hoping that's something that comes with practice.

Thanks for all the help I have gotten from this site.
 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2008, 05:45:44 PM »
katef,

I don't have an explanation for the salt phenomenon you experienced. Is it possible that you mismeasured the salt for the first dough batch? Or, possibly your tastebuds were overly sensitive to salt the day you made the first pizza. I am suspicious that it was the fermentation temperature of the dough. I suggest that you repeat the recipe the way you first tried it. Keep in mind, however, that you are unlikely to get a strong sourdough flavor in the finished crust using that recipe. For really noticeable sourdough flavor, you would have to use a natural starter culture.

Bubbling in the crust is related in part to the way the dough is handled, as you noted, but it can also depend on several other factors, such as the strength of the dough and the ability of the gluten matrix to retain the gases of fermentation, the hydration of the dough (higher is better for bubbles), the type of bake surface (e.g., stone, pan, etc.), and the temperature of the surface on which the dressed pizza is baked (which affects the oven spring). If a lot of yeast is used, especially along with high hydration and water at a relatively high temperature, it is common to get substantial volume expansion and retention of gases of fermentation. When such a dough hits the baking surface, the result is usually a lot of bubbles in the crust. A good example of such a dough is one made using JerryMac's NY style dough recipe.

Peter


Offline katef

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2008, 10:37:33 PM »
Peter,

Thank you so much for your advice.  It is completely possible that I mismeasured the salt.  I will do exactly as you suggest and make the original formulation again and see what result I get.  My husband really loved the sourdough taste so I reckon I'll be investigating starters soon enough.

I bake the pizza on a pizza screen, I live in Texas and don't want to heat up the oven long enough to use a pizza stone, especially not in the summer.

Thanks again for your help, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Kate

Offline Essen1

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2008, 12:17:42 AM »
Kate,

I was having the same problem, as you are experiencing right now, in the beginning. Not enough flavor in the dough.

Here's what I did. And it started out only as an experiment but it worked for me. Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not claiming I reinvented the poolish, biga or sponge. I had to learn what they are, and how to make one, some time ago, too. But let's not to forget the help I had along the way from fine folks such as Pete (I call him the "Professor", but only privately :D ). Then there is Mr. pftaylor (a Raquel worshiper on a mission ;D ), Novemeber aka RN (the self-proclaimed Nurse, you know ;) ), Villa Roma and numerous helpful others.

Anyway, back to the issue...

I bought a cube of fresh yeast (7gr), dissolved it in 1/4 cup lukewarm water, added 1/8 tsp of sugar to it and let it rest until bubbles showed up. I added a cup of flour and 1/2 cup of lukewarm water, whisked it until it had a smooth, batter-like consistency and let it rest.

After a few hours you could see it was very active, to a point where it almost blew the lid off the container. I took out a wire whisk, whisked some air into it, which brought the volume down a bit and transferred it over to a new, clean and bigger container. I let it sit overnight, fed it the next morning with 1/2 cup of flour and a 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, punched a couple of holes in the lid of the container to let the gases escape and placed it on my window sill, with the window open, of course.

Today, I have a nicely sour smelling preferment, without being overpowering. With every day you let it sit - and without feeding it -  it develops more and more flavor. All I have to do now is activate it, take what I need and that's it. Make sure, when it develops hooch, that it floats on top, not in the middle or the bottom.

Hope that helps a little.

Mike
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 02:29:11 AM by Essen1 »
Mike

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Offline Essen1

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2008, 01:02:55 AM »
Kate,

I forgot to mention the name of the MAN I've learned the most from, in regards to starters:

Bill/SFNM

Look up his posts about starters and such. Extremely helpful. I believe this is one of his videos:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQd38yoND0g" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQd38yoND0g</a>


Mike
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 01:11:01 AM by Essen1 »
Mike

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Offline katef

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2008, 01:26:32 PM »
Mike,

That sounds like a great road to go down.  I think I'll work on Peter's and your suggestions simultaneously and see where I get to.  I know very little about the starter process so your info is extremely valuable. 

Thanks!

Kate

Offline Essen1

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2008, 09:51:23 PM »
Kate,

I currently have three starters going, two of them are laying dormant right now.

One's made with a little ADY to get it going, the second one is the one I described above and the third is similar to the one above but with a different hydration percentage.

There are several books and websites with tons of information. These two are a good start:

http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/biga

http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/homemadestarter

Mike
Mike

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Offline katef

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #35 on: July 18, 2008, 01:53:04 PM »
Hello Peter and Bryan!  I haven't forgotten about the help you two gave me, I just got really caught up in life.  First I tried making a starter, per Bryan's advice and I did what I thought was right, and the crust turned out well, but I'm not sure I liked it well enough for the trouble (I worried about it a lot).  I think I got confused about how much starter to the rest of the ingredients once I made the dough.  I used the starter calculator and tried to fake it within what I have already learned with other attempts.  I think I'm going to try starting with a purchased starter, then I know what it's supposed to be like and go from there.  Though I must say, it's the best pizza I've gotten from a first attempt. 

This past weekend we had people over specifically for pizza, my first pizza for people outside my family, so I went back to the formulation from a few posts back since I have gotten fairly consistant results.  The dough was really, really good.  When I prepared the dough, I was very careful to measure correctly, and the results give credence to Peter's theory that I mismeasured on the salty dough.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I took the information you both gave to heart and got yummy results either way.  I'm not done trying to find just the right NY crust, though this week I'm taking a break with Chicago deep dish.

Kate

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2008, 02:25:40 PM »
Kate,

Did you mean Mike (Essen1) rather than Bryan? I believe Bryan left the scene of the crime before you and Mike stepped up to the plate. For clarification purposes, can you tell which specific recipe you used for your guests?

Peter

Offline katef

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2008, 07:18:12 PM »
You are correct, it was Mike who was helping me not Bryan.  My apologies to Mike.

The recipe I used was:

Bread Flour 100%   11 oz
Water 58%           6.37 oz
ADY .91%             .75 tsp
Salt 1.79%            1 tsp
Olive Oil 2.89%       2 tsp
Sugar 1.28%           1 tsp

That's for a 15" pizza

I made a poolish from half the flour, half the yeast, and the water and let that go for 4-5 hours.  Then added the remaining ingredients and left it in my fridge for 4 days. 

Offline Essen1

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2008, 08:34:01 PM »
Hi Kate,

No worries :)

Quote
I made a poolish from half the flour, half the yeast, and the water and let that go for 4-5 hours.  Then added the remaining ingredients and left it in my fridge for 4 days.

I'm wondering when did you add the sugar? Together with the rest of the remaining ingredients or in the poolish?

Mike

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Offline katef

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Re: Dough needs more flavor...but i don't know what to try.
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2008, 11:34:04 AM »
I added the sugar when I combined in the remaining ingredients.


 

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