Author Topic: DKM cracker crust-Overfermentation...is it possible???  (Read 1652 times)

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Offline smokey12

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DKM cracker crust-Overfermentation...is it possible???
« on: December 20, 2008, 07:53:13 PM »
I have to say, as a new member but a long time "cracker & deep dish researcher", thanks for all your research, data, insite and posts.  My question is that with DKM's high yeast level and 9-24hr. room temp ferment/proof, how is it that you can not overferment or blow-the-dough?  It goes against almost all I have read regarding artisan breads, pizza dough recipes, even Jeff V's technique.  Timing the dough on the "up" seems to be every baker's finesse to give it the proper oven spring(which I have been fighting for a 100's of attempts).  What's happening here?

Smokey


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: DKM cracker crust-Overfermentation...is it possible???
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2008, 09:54:29 PM »
smokey12,

Those are good questions.

Technically, it is possible for a cracker-style dough to overferment. However, because of the relatively low hydration of cracker-style doughs compared with other types of dough, the rate and extent of fermentation is much lower. By way of example, in the case of DKM's cracker-style dough, the hydration is 36%; for other cracker-style doughs, the hydration is not a great deal more, usually in the mid-40's or thereabouts. Most other types of doughs (but excluding deep-dish doughs) tend to have hydrations above 55% and, in many cases, considerably higher than that. So, even with a fair amount of yeast (1.2%) in DKM's cracker-style dough recipe, the rate and extent of fermentation is not excessive, and certainly much less under the same conditions than a dough with, say, a hydration of 63%. You could never get a dough with 63% hydration and 1.2% yeast to last 24 hours at room temperature. It would blow long before that.

Another point to keep in mind is that the yeast is used for somewhat different purposes in a cracker-style dough. In most doughs, the yeast is used to generate gases and to develop the byproducts of fermentation that ultimately contribute to to the flavor and aroma and other attributes of the finished crust. Gas production is not a big factor with cracker-style doughs since the doughs end up being crushed by being rolled out at some point, using either a sheeter/roller in a commercial setting or a rolling pin or possibly a pasta maker in a home setting. With cracker-style doughs, you get flavor contributions from two places: the yeast itself, because of its large quantity, and also from the byproducts of fermentation. For most pizza doughs with normal yeast levels, there is less flavor contribution from the yeast itself.

There are some additional differences between cracker-style doughs and other doughs as far as overfermentation is concerned. When most dough overferment, they become wet and slack and become almost impossible to shape and stretch out by hand without rips and tears forming. To the extent that the doughs can be shaped and stretched into usable skins, they are likely to bake up overly crispy, and even cracker like, and have poor crust coloration because of the depletion of the sugar--both the natural sugars extracted from the starch in the flour by enzyme performance and any sugar added to the dough formulation itself. With a cracker-style dough, the workability of the dough is less an issue, at least in a home setting, because of the use of the rolling equipment as mentioned above. About the worse that is likely to happen with an overfermented cracker-type dough is that the finished crust may lack color because of the sugar depletion. The desirable flavors contributed by the byproducts of fermentation should still be there. This is an observation I commented on at Reply 32 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49257.html#msg49257. I should forewarn you, however, that the taste element can get out of control, as I noted in an experiment I conducted and reported at Reply 97 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg50088.html#msg50088.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 10:06:54 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline smokey12

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Re: DKM cracker crust-Overfermentation...is it possible???
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2008, 10:48:20 PM »
Well, Pete, I am thoroughly honored that my first post has a initial response by YOU.  Your point is well made...it's obvious now about the hydration and length of proof time/temp/yeast level.  And yes, I understand the flavor aspect from enzymatic activity.  So, if gas production is not a big factor is cracker crusts, what gives cracker crusts their much needed lift?...If there is such an impact from my Summerset sheeter.  Do I necesarily need high heat (550 -650) that "charges" the small amout of water molecules to give the skin some liftI(spring) before it hits 130 degrees and the yeast is dead?  And, I am ulitimately trying to not rely on laminating (it's like cheating).  I know one place by me that does probably the best job in Chicago on a thin crust (not a true cracker but a tender & crispy) and I believe that they sheet their day old dough balls and let rest on the PEEL for 15-20 minutes before dressing.  Sorry, too many thoughts.  Thanks again.

Smokey

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: DKM cracker crust-Overfermentation...is it possible???
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2008, 12:01:58 AM »
Smokey,

When I was playing around with cracker-style doughs, I found that there were quite a few variations in the finished product. Some crusts were fairly thick and tender whereas others were thin and crispy, even when using pretty much the same basic dough formulation (from a baker's percent standpoiint). As a strictly home pizza maker, I don't have personal experience with commercial sheeting/rolling equipment such as sold by Somerset but I have read articles such as the one by Tom Lehmann, Director of Bakery Assistance at the American Institute of Baking, at http://www.pmq.com/mag/2002summer/doughformer.shtml. As you will see from that article, dough presses/rollers will de-gas and toughen a dough that is passed through that equipment. To restore some of the volume of the dough, if that is the objective, it is quite common to let the skins "proof" (rise) for a period of time before dressing and baking. Without that final "proof", I suspect that the finished crusts would not be as tender and maybe more crispy.

I might add that I have read of several accounts at the PMQ Think Tank at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewforum.php?f=6 where operators use sheeters/rollers to open up the skins part way and hand stretch the skins the rest of the way to the final size. The skins can then be proofed on racks or put into coolers until ready to be used. This technique, which Tom Lehmann discusses in the above article, can be used for many styles of pizzas, not just cracker-style pizzas. Apparently the proofing method avoids having to use heat, as one might do with a hot press, for example.

Peter

EDIT (1/25/13): Since the link to the above Lehmann article is no longer operative, for the Wayback Machine link to the same article, see http://web.archive.org/web/20100626072731/http://www.pmq.com/mag/2002summer/doughformer.shtml
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 04:22:30 PM by Pete-zza »