Author Topic: Delicate dough that rips  (Read 2564 times)

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Offline gabriel

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Delicate dough that rips
« on: September 01, 2008, 02:57:46 PM »
Hello everyone,

Ever since I started making my dough with a homemade starter, I have the problem that the dough rips when I stretch it into pie shape. I've tried with several different flours (King Arthur AP, Caputo 00, Bel Aria 00, Whole Foods organic AP, ...) and I get the same result.

My typical formula:
100% flour
58 - 60% water
1% 100-percent hydrated starter
salt to taste

Is it over-fermentation?  Typically, I knead for 5 minutes and then let it rise 12 hours, punch down and rise for another 12 hours. Any ideas?

Thanks for your help, I appreciate anyone who has insight on this issue.

Best regards,

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Delicate dough that rips
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2008, 07:38:58 PM »

Your formula varies from my usual in several important ways.

1. Salt, I generally use 2.5%+ - You go by taste and that is ????
2. 1% starter is really low unless your starter is insanely active. I generally use 5% for a 24 hour rise.
3. I usually don't touch the dough until 20 hours (65-68 degrees) and then gently cut/portion & ball up for a few more hours of rise time.
4. Your hydration is a bit lower than mine but I doubt that is an issue here.
5. Mix time of 5 minutes. How are you mixing? I would do 5 minutes on the Bosch with Caputo and be ok. 5 minutes on a KA or by hand would not be enough for me to develop the gluten.

I think you need to tackle each item to get the right output. I would start by measuring salt and boosting the starter.


Offline gabriel

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Re: Delicate dough that rips
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2008, 08:06:44 PM »
Thank you very much Pizza Not War.

1. My salt is in your suggested range. I wrote "to taste" because sometimes I just prefer it less salty.

2. As for the starter, it is pretty active...I use such a small amount because of a thread I read here, where Marco said that in Naples a very small amount of starter is used (5% he said would be quite high, I believe).

Nevertheless, I don't have any problems getting the dough to rise (it will double in 10 hours 85F outside, or 14-16 hours 78F inside). Does less/more starter make delicate dough?

3. I do the individual ball cutting/portioning after the dough has doubled in size (see above schedule). Perhaps I will try letting it rise for longer before I do that.

4. I have always had a difficult time getting over 60% hydration because simply is too sticky too handle. (Any tips?)

5. I knead (vigorously) by hand for 5 - 10 minutes. Is this too little?

Thank you again!

Offline scpizza

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Re: Delicate dough that rips
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2008, 09:41:19 PM »
Salt, hydration, starter % are fine.  Three possibilities come to mind:

1) You are rising this dough at too warm a temperature.  1% starter and 24 hours is fine as long as you are <70F.  Otherwise you are over-rising your dough.  Note, there should never be a need to "punch down" Neapolitan pizza dough - that's a red flag.

2) You are kneading improperly / not enough to form a proper gluten structure.  5-10 minutes is not enough hand kneading.  Try 20-30 minutes.

3) Your starter is not fresh and well-washed.

Offline gabriel

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Re: Delicate dough that rips
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2008, 09:56:36 PM »
Thank you scpizza.

I will see if I can lower the temperature in my place, or otherwise rise the dough for fewer hours. As for "punch down," I guess it's just a term I've picked up here. By punch down, I simply mean a quick re-form into ball shape.

I'm going to give the 20 - 30 minute kneading a try. I'll let you all know what happens in a couple days.

Many thanks.

Offline scott r

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Re: Delicate dough that rips
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2008, 11:52:27 PM »
gabriel, I find that I need to do longer hand kneads with caputo than I do with any other brand of flour.  Here is my favorite link on the subject.

Your dough is definitely under mixed, but beware that over mixing has the same symptoms, sticky dough that tears easily.  I find it useful to over knead a batch when I am teaching someone how to mix dough so they know what all the stages of gluten development look and feel like.   This might be a fun experiment for you to try.

Good luck! 

Offline gabriel

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Re: Delicate dough that rips
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2008, 05:58:33 PM »
Thank you for your help scott r and everyone.

i had success! i kneaded the dough for about 15 minutes and there were several great benefits to it. the dough rose more, smelled nicer, had a lighter texture, and, most importantly, did not tear at all when stretching to pie shape.

actually the first time, i believe i overkneaded, because the dough started to contract very rapidly and wouldnt stretch a bit. this happened after a phase of very elastic dough.

a very important side note...with properly mixing the dough, there were leopard spots from baking! this i something that i've never achieved before, and i wonder if its because of the benefits of proper mixing.

thank you and i wish you all great success in pizza!