Author Topic: Dough Enhancers?  (Read 4257 times)

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Carlyle

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Dough Enhancers?
« on: November 12, 2004, 08:18:04 AM »
Would dough enhancers help or hurt an NY-style pizza crust? When I say enhancers I mean things like ascorbic acid, diastatic malt powder, and vital gluten. As is my understanding (I've only ever used the vital gluten trick on bread loaves) ascorbic acid and diastatic malt powder help yeast work more efficiently, would that help a breadier crust? It seems like it would but I'm curious if the 18+ hours in the refridgerator might create some kind of side effects.


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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2004, 11:47:36 AM »
Carlyle,

For a NY style pizza dough, the flour that is usually recommended is a high-gluten flour, with a typical protein content of around 13-14%.  So, there is no need to add any vital wheat gluten (VWG).  If you choose to use a lower protein flour and supplement it with VWG to increase its protein content, this can be done with reasonably good results.  I did this recently and reported on my results in the Lehmann thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/yabbse/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=576;start=msg5635#msg5635.

As for the ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), as you may know, a small amount of it is often added to instant dry yeast (IDY) and, on rare occasions, to active dry yeast (ADY).  The ascorbic acid acts as a nutrient for the yeast and speeds up its action while strengthening the dough (by preventing the gluten bonds from breaking down).  Sometimes ascorbic acid is also added to flours that can be used for making pizza dough.  I use IDY almost exclusively in my dough making, including NY style doughs, and have not found using such yeast affects the final product in any noticeable way.  In fact, in a conversation I had recently with a representative of one of the major suppliers of yeast, I was told that the amount of ascorbic acid in IDY is very small and unlikely to materially affect the end product.

With respect to diastatic malt powder, I assume you mean the barley malt form as is commonly used in the bread and bagel making trades.  This is barley that has been sprouted, dried and ground into flour, and can be used in place of, or together with, other sweeteners to feed the yeast.  The diastatic malt works through enzymatic activity (it provides additional alpha-amylase) to release sugar from the damaged starch molecules of flour (to produce maltose), which aids yeast action during fermentation as the dough rises.  This is believed to give the resultant product an improved crumb texture, better flavor and more color (because of the Maillard reactions involving the maltose and any other reducing sugars in the dough).  The amount of the diastatic malt to use has to be carefully controlled.   Using it in excess can result in a slack, sticky dough and a gummy crumb in the baked crust.

I have read that the three ingredients mentioned above--ascorbic acid, vital wheat gluten and diastatic malt--can be combined to use as an additive in doughs.  I believe such products are even available commercially.  And sometimes ascorbic acid and barley malt are combined in flour.  While such dough enhancers may be useful in preparing yeasted doughs--and especially breads--in a commercial setting, it is not clear how useful they are, or if they are even necessary, to produce good pizza doughs in a home setting.  The NY style pizza doughs are made so that the resultant crust is leathery and chewy, rather than fluffy and soft like bread.  If a more open, airy crust is desired, this can usually be accomplished by increasing the water content (hydration).  The average home pizza maker should be able to make a decent NY style pizza dough by using a good high-gluten flour, IDY or any other form of yeast, relatively high hydration levels (e.g., 58-65%), and sound dough production techniques, preferably including a period of refrigeration.

As a final comment, you are correct in suspecting that a period of refrigeration might produce its own set of effects.  The refrigeration, especially if coupled with the use of cool water and little or no added sugar, will slow down all the fermentation processes.  Yet they don't stop altogether and the desirable by-products of fermentation will be produced and contribute to the flavor and texture profile of the finished crust.

FYI, for a good discussion on malt, diastatic and non-diastatic, see the Tom Lehmann Q and A excerpt on this topic at http://www.pizzamaking.com/yabbse/index.php?board=7;action=display;threadid=609.

Peter
« Last Edit: November 12, 2004, 11:56:39 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Lars

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Semolina flour
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2004, 07:31:32 PM »
I just made a batch of dough, and I probably should have read this first.  I decided to add some gluten flour to my dough and also decided to add a bit of semolina to see what that would do (I've already experimented with gluten, and so I know it's effects).  The semolina flour I have is a fine grind, and so it blended nicely but required additional water in the dough.  I'm not quite sure if I added enough water.  BTW, I used 1 cup of gluten flour, 1 cup of semolina flour, and 4-1/2 cups of unbleached bread flour.  The recipe was supposed to have 2-1/4 cups of water, but I added another 1/4 cup, and I still don't know if that was enough.  It was difficult to get the window in the dough.

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2004, 10:24:02 PM »
Lars,

I assume when you use the term "gluten flour" you mean high-gluten flour, with around 14% protein, and not vital wheat gluten, which is sometimes referred to as "gluten flour".  Otherwise, you would have a strange concoction.  Depending on the brand, vital wheat gluten can have about 45% gluten and 70-75% protein.  The typical addition of VWG is around 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of flour, or about 2-3% by weight of flour.  Using a cup of VWG would put the total gluten level completely off of the charts, since one cup of VWG is around 11 tablespoons.  

The bread flour and semolina are also high in protein, with the protein content of bread flour typically being around 12-13% (depending on the brand) and the protein content of semolina also typically being around 12-13% (which is the amount required by government regulation for the production of pasta made of semolina flour).  The recommended ratio of semolina to other flours for use in making pizza dough is around 15-25% by weight of the total flours used, although I have seen ratios as high as 30-40%.  In that respect, your ratio of semolina to the combination of flours you used seems to be in the ballpark.  

As for the hydration level, I estimate, based on the types and quantities of flours you used, that the hydration percentage is around 50-51% for 2 1/4 cups of water and around 55-56% for 2 1/2 cups of water.  Those levels would be low for a NY style dough (the more typical range is 56-65%) but might fall within the range for a thin, cracker-style dough.  

I'm not surprised that you couldn't get a good window test.  My experience is that adding semolina to white flours makes the test less reliable than when you use white flours alone.  Also, you may have been low on the water, which can also mess up the window test because the dough is too dry and may even tear.  

I'd be curious to know how the dough turned out and whether you got a good pizza using it.  

Peter

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2004, 09:35:32 PM »
I should have been more careful, I guess.  I did use Vita Wheat Gluten, and now I see on the back of the package that it recommends using 2 tbs of VWG for 4-1/2 cups of regular or ww flour.  I used Bob's Red Mill brand VWG, and I also noticed that it said that it keeps best refrigerated or frozen, and so I'm storing it in the fridge now.  I'm just about the start baking the dough, and so I'll let you know later how the experiment turns out.  One thing, however, is that after the second rise, the dough seemed less dry.  I'd been having problems with my dough being too wet, and I think the flours I've been using perhaps had too much moisture in them.

When I took the dough out of the fridge today, it had some really large bubbled in it, and it was a little more resiliant than I am used to.  I'm going to make one thick and one thin crust today and then figure out what to do with the other third of dough after I try those.  I did like the way the dough handled, even though it didn't seem to want to get thin.

You can't say I'm not adventurous, but I think I'll try to be more careful in the future!

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2004, 10:18:36 PM »
I'm kind of glad you made the mistake you made because it will tell us what happens when you use a flour with an extraordinary amount of gluten in it.  As far as I am concerned, the best way to learn about dough is to test the extremes, that is, by experimenting using too little or too much salt, too little or too much yeast, too little or too much sugar, too little or too much oil, water that is warm versus cold, etc.  This experiment will be the "VWG experiment" and I anxiously await the results of that experiment.

I suspect the high amount of gluten in your dough is responsible for your having difficulty getting the dough as thin as you'd like.  Gluten is like a bunch of rubber bands, and will have a lot of elasticity, more so than flours with less gluten.  As for the moisture, I tend to doubt it is the moisture in the flour that is the source of your problems with a dough that is too wet.  There are a lot of factors that govern the amount of moisture in a particular flour, but the moisture due to these factors tends to be minor.  From my experience, it usually comes down to achieving the right balance (hydration) between the flour and the water.  If you get into the habit of weighing the flour and water, then you will be able to determine what the hydration percentage is and, with experience, learn how to adjust the percentage to get the results you want, and reliably and consistently to boot.  

I'd be curious to know how much yeast you used and how long the fermentation period was in the refrigerator.  I'm wondering what is behind the large bubbles you mention.  I don't think it is because of the added VWG. The most common causes of bubbling are too much yeast, too much fermentation or too little fermentation, or dough that is too cold when baked.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 08, 2004, 10:39:44 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Lars

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2004, 03:05:49 PM »
The recipe I used was 6-1/2 cups total flour, 2 tbs salt 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 cups water, 1/4 cups olive oil, and 2 tbs instant yeast.  This is probably a bit too much yeast, but it has never tasted yeasty to me, and in the past, when using regular flour only, there were never large bubbles.

I did get a bit of the rubber band effect, like you mentioned.  Normally I like to pull the dough into shape, but I had to use a rolling pin to get the dough large enough.  My procedure is as follows:

After the ingredients are all mixed together, I allow it to rice for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, fold it over to deflate and then let it rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Then I divide the dough into three pieces, using a dough scraper, form into balls, and store each ball in an oiled plastic bag that is large enough to allow the dough to rise.  I store these bags in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours.  I took the last one out this morning and baked it into a focaccia shape.

The pizza dough ended up tasting very good, but it did not get crisp, and in fact remained much more moist than my normal dough.  I tend to make focaccia more than pizza, but I always pre-bake the dough for ten minutes before I put any toppings on.  If it is focaccia, I put garlic butter on top, but if it is a thin pizza, I put a layer of thinly slice provolone and put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.

I will also say that this made a very limp pizza - not one that is easy to handle, and so I ate it with a knife and fork.  Sometimes I put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven, but I neglected to do that this time.  I don't know why the dough retained so much moisture, but it came out good as bread but not so good as pizza.  I definitely need to do something different to get a crisp crust.  BTW, I bake focaccia in my toaster oven because it keeps heat better, and my regular oven had trouble at high temps, but I use a pizza stone in the regular oven and put the pizza dough on a round pan with holes in the bottom.  I've tried using a peel, but there is not enough room in my kitchen for this to be practical, especially since the oven door sometimes falls off one of its hinges.  I really need to get a new oven!

Here's some info on the type of gluten flour I used.  This site says that the protein in the gluten helps retain steam and moisture, which is probably why the dough was so moist and limp.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2004, 05:08:25 PM by Lars »

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2004, 07:21:24 PM »
Your recipe and dough processing are so unorthodox that it is hard to analyze.  

Rather than trying to repair your present recipe, you may want to consider starting with a more conventional recipe and go from there.  You should first decide what style of dough you want and the characteristics of the finished product that you would like to achieve.  Then, you should decide whether you want to use the dough on the same day or one or more days later.  It's possible to prepare a dough that allows you to do both, but the initial formulation of the dough has to be just right.  Same day doughs usually use more yeast than usual and warm water, while doughs intended for use one or more days later tend to use less yeast, cooler water, a period of refrigeration/retardation, and in some cases, a bit of added sugar.  The refrigeration usually occurs right after the dough has been kneaded.  It is possible to refrigerate a dough after an initial rising, but it is far less common to refrigerate after two risings, as you did.  In fact, I am hard pressed to remember any pizza dough recipe where the dough is refrigerated after a second normal rising, since this would necessitate a third rising after coming out of the refrigerator before dressing and baking.  To do this would require a fair amount of sugar (natural and added) in the dough to feed the yeast through the multiple cycles.  Starved of food, the dough will overferment and start to die.  You might still try to bake the dough and it may even taste fine, but it won't be a quality crust.

In looking at your recipe, I think the amount of IDY is far too high, even for the total amount of flour you used, and may also have contributed to the bubbling you mentioned, especially when combined with your dough processing system.  I am surprised that the dough didn't "blow" and become unusable, even after going into the refrigerator.  For the amount of flour you used, I think a bit over 1 teaspoon would be sufficient.  I think you could also get away with using about half the amount of salt you used, and you don't need VWG (or very little of it) when you already are using a high-protein content flour.  You didn't indicate that you used any sugar in your recipe, which leads me to wonder whether the yeast didn't run out of food.  If such were the case, the crust would be light in color, like a light tan, and would experience problems browning and crisping up.   The lack of browning/crisping might also be due to a too-low oven bake temperature.   You mention putting a pan of water in the bottom of the oven.  This may be OK for bread (to get a crispy crust) but I don't advocate it for pizza.  

As for your problem using a peel, I will mention that there are short-handle peels available from many restaurant supply outfits if space is a problem.  If that is a solution to your problem, you could bake your pizza on the stone (preheated).  Otherwise you might want to consider using a pizza screen.  Again, it will depend on what kind of pizza dough you would like to make and the characteristics of the crust you seek.

Peter

« Last Edit: December 09, 2004, 07:24:17 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Lars

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2004, 07:22:15 PM »
Actually, the deep dish crust turned out extremely good and was one of the best I have made.  I use a focaccia recipe for the dough, since I actually do prefer a thicker crust, and I can bake it in my toaster oven, which does get up to 450, although my regular oven does not.  I got the recipe from Baking with Julia, and it is basically from Craig Kominiak.  The first two risings only amount to less than two hours, after which the dough is refrigerated over night.  There is no sugar in the recipe, and the dough develops a sourdough-like flavor that I like.  I did find the semolina more noticeable in the thick crust than in the thin, and I will reduce the VWG in the future to perhaps a tablespoon.

I will definitely consider a completely different recipe for the thin crust, but I do like this one for the thick crust.  Perhaps you can point me to your favorite thin crust recipe, if possible.  My main problem with thin crust pizza is that it is difficult to get my regular oven above 375.  I have used a wooden chopping board in place of a peel, and that worked fine for getting it in, but I had to use my long-handled aluminum peel to get it out, although I was able to manage that okay.  I do plan to get a short-handled wooden peel the next time I'm at the restaurant supply shop (Surfas) in Culver City.  The one across the street from me doesn't carry pizza peels.

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2004, 09:39:11 PM »
Lars,

I remember your having mentioned the Kominiak dough that he prepared on a Baking with Julia segment, and I recall watching the two audio-video pieces.   You are correct that the recipe is for foccaccia dough.  However, your version went beyond the Kominiak recipe by using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, added vital wheat gluten (in enormous amounts), and added semolina.  Also, you used 2 tablespoons of instant dry yeast instead of active dry yeast, which actually increased the yeast by about 25% from the amount called for in the recipe.  One way to get the yeasty or sourdough flavor that you like is to use a lot of yeast, and I suspect that was what happened when you used so much yeast.

I'm no expert on foccaccia, although I suspect that one can use a foccaccia dough to make some form of pizza.  It just won't be a thin crust pizza.  Maybe it will be more like a Sicilian style pizza.  But, if what you made tastes good and you can make it with your limited facilities and equipment, then that is all that matters.  However, it would be nice not to be consigned or sentenced to a life of only thick pizzas.  So let's try to see what might be done to mitigate that sentence.

As far as thin crust recipes are concerned, I could point you to several good examples of such recipes at this site, but you are not likely to achieve the best possible results from such recipes without making major modifications to adapt the recipes to your toaster oven and its 450 degree F limit.  Although most thin crust (e.g., New York style) dough recipes call for bake temperatures exceeding 450 degrees F, there are some experts, like Tom Lehmann, who believe that most people use bake temperatures that are too high.  He believes the best results are achieved using lower bake temperatures and longer bake times.  If you can tell me what the dimensions of your toaster oven are (mainly the width and depth), whether you have a small pizza stone for that toaster oven (mine does, and it is quite good), and any limitations to getting a pizza into or out of the toaster oven, then I might be able to design a thin-crust dough recipe for you that will work in your toaster oven at 450 degrees F.   You might even be able to use a pizza screen (my toaster oven will take a screen up to about 10-11 inches).  I assume that your toaster oven has a standard broil feature, which may be used to advantage to do in a small space that which is more difficult to do in a much larger, conventional oven.

So, Lars, tell me about your toaster oven design and maybe I (or others on this forum) can come up with a thin-crust recipe that will work in your circumstances.  In the meantime, I will assume that you have bread flour, all-purpose flour, instant dry yeast, vital wheat gluten and a stand mixer.

Peter


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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2004, 01:02:25 PM »
My toaster oven is fairly large (I think), and I use a 9x13" pan for the focaccia that I bake in it.  Of course my pizza stone is too large at 14x16" (Actually it measures 14.5x16.5").  I have some pieces of granite and/or marble I could put in, but I use them generally as trivets.

I really do plan to save up to buy a new regular oven, and I might need advice on that also, but I don't want to spend a lot of money.  Only three burners on the range part work, and only one reaches high temp.  I looked at some new ovens/ranges and noticed that only one or two burners would reach the highest temperature.  Unfortunately, the one on my range is at the back, and I would expect the high temperature burners to be at the front, since they require more stirring, as a rule.  "Back burner" seems to imply lower heat to me, and so I don't know why my high heat burner is only in the back.

I have at times gotten my regular oven up to 400, but I generally consider that to be a bit of luck.  Also, since the door is not on firmly, I can lose a lot of heat just opening it up, and it never seems to recover fully from that.  I think the thermostat just needs adjusting, but I don't know how to do that either.  It seems like that should be fairly easy to accomplish, however.

I seem to be getting off topic here now, but I don't know how much you like having new threads started.  I really do appreciate your offer to help me with the thin crust.  Let me know if you have ideas about the toaster oven, but I think it would make really tiny pizzas.

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2004, 04:41:49 PM »
Lars,

Until you get a regular stove/oven, we should think about what might be done to make a thin-crust pizza in your toaster oven.  I don't know whether using granite or marble is a good idea from a health standpoint; you may want to look into using unglazed quarry tile instead.  

Will the interior dimensions of your toaster oven permit baking a round pizza greater than 9 or 10 inches?   If so, you can get a pizza screen and use that.  A toaster oven pizza stone would be an even better alternative, but from what you say it sounds like your toaster oven doesn't have a pizza stone as an accessory item.  I have never made a thin-crust pizza, like a New York style thin-crust pizza, as small as 9 or 10 inches.  However, from a purely technical standpoint, I can't think of a good reason why it can't be done.  Let me know what you think is the largest size pizza your toaster oven can make and I will try to come up with a recipe for you to experiment with.  In the meantime, I will play around with my own toaster oven to see what the critical factors and parameters are.

Peter  


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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2004, 07:26:46 PM »
For my toaster oven,  a 9.5" diameter is the largest size pan that would fit.  For a pizza stone, I think 9.5" x 14" would be the largest flat rectangle that would fit.  I'll have to look at Surfas (Restaurant supply) this week-end and see what they have.

My sister used to make mini pizzas from canned biscuit dough, and my brother and I used them for fish bait.  We caught a lot of crawdads that way, which were much better than the pizzas she made, but she used canned tomato paste and Kraft Parmesan cheese (which I always found a bit off in flavor).  I've been making bread dough since I was 9 or 10, and so I don't know why she didn't use some of that instead of the canned biscuit dough.  It was just strange.

I do think it would be nice to make individual 9" diameter pizzas, but I would have to get the little screens for that..

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Re:Dough Enhancers?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2004, 11:45:11 PM »
Lars,

When I have a chance, I plan to try to make a "mini" (9-inch) NY style pizza dough, to be baked on a 9-inch pizza screen in a toaster oven.  I may also try a version for a toaster oven pizza stone, for comparison purposes.  Rather than reporting the results here on this thread, I will report them on the Lehmann NY style pizza thread, inasmuch as I plan to base the mini pizza on Tom Lehmann's NY style recipe.  If that works, then we can consider other possibilities, including scaling down Canadave's NY style recipe or Big Dave's Old Faithful recipe, or any other one that might interest you.  I'm an Equal Opportunity Pizza Maker.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 17, 2004, 11:46:19 PM by Pete-zza »


 

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