Author Topic: 2nd attempt - Dough/base still sucks... :(  (Read 1185 times)

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Offline notoriouseddie

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2nd attempt - Dough/base still sucks... :(
« on: January 12, 2009, 05:53:42 PM »
Hello everyone!

I'm new to pizza making  - I was given a pizza stone as an Xmas present and I couldnt help but try it out.

I have made two attempts at making my own pizza and despite delicious toppings, the base/crust/skin or whatever you call it is severely lacking. I found a recipe on videojug which was as follows:

170g plain white flour
125ml warm water
1 tsp salt
1tsp dried yeast
0.5 tsp sugar

The recipe instructed that I should leave the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours before rolling and preparing to bake.

Each time i found that the underside of the pizza barely cooked and remained very white and floury. The crust rather than being crisp and chewy was hard and crunchy and didn't develop any real golden colour despite the fact that I had the stone heating for an hour at 400 - 450 degrees F (My ovens max temperature)

I was recently in New York and would love to make pizza like you would get in the deli's where you buy a slice at a time. Is my recipe no good or am I doing something wrong? Does anyone know a good relatively thin crust NY style pizza recipe or any particularly good recipe in general?

Any info/tips would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Eddie


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: 2nd attempt - Dough/base still sucks... :(
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 07:37:44 PM »
Eddie,

I took the liberty of using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html to convert your recipe to a baker's percent format so that I could better see what your recipe is and what it does. In doing this conversion, I assumed that you were using instant dry yeast (IDY) and regular salt, not Kosher. Based on my conversion, I got the following:

Flour (100%):
Water (73.5294%):
IDY (1.77187%):
Salt (3.28318%):
Sugar (1.17256%):
Total (179.75701%):
170 g  |  6 oz | 0.37 lbs
125 g  |  4.41 oz | 0.28 lbs
3.01 g | 0.11 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.33 tbsp
5.58 g | 0.2 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.33 tbsp
1.99 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
305.59 g | 10.78 oz | 0.67 lbs | TF = N/A

There are several things that jump out at me when I look at the above table. First is the hydration (the weight of water divided by the weight of flour). At about 73.5%, it is very high. If I had to guess, you perhaps found it necessary to add a fair amount of bench flour in order to get a dough that you could work with and be able to shape and stretch it into a skin. Second, assuming that you used IDY, the amount you used is certainly high enough to be able to raise a dough and use it in about two hours. This would be true even if you used active dry yeast (ADY). Third, your salt level is too high. A more typical value would be 1.75%. Salt at high levels suppresses the fermentation process by which the yeast acts to produce carbon dioxide gas to cause the dough to rise and alcohol to get converted to compounds that develop flavors and the aroma of the finished crust.

The above recipe you used is known in the pizza trade as a short-time or emergency dough because it is intended to be make and used within a few hours. As such, it is very common to get a finished crust that is lacking in color. The reason is that there is not enough sugar in the dough at the time of baking to produce good crust color. The sugar for that purpose comes not only from the sugar that is added to the dough, as you did, but also natural sugars that are released from the flour by the action of enzymes in the flour and in the yeast. Unfortunately, it can take several hours to develop enough sugar to create good crust color. Hence, with a two hour dough, you end up with a crust that has little color. If you used an ordinary all-purpose flour, that will also penalize final crust color because of its relatively low protein content.

Based on my assumptions and analysis, your recipe yields about 305.59 grams of dough, or about 10.78 ounces. You didn't indicate what size pizza you made with your dough, but I suspect that it was not all that large and perhaps also on the thin side. If so, and you baked the pizza until it started to develop color, you could easily end up with a dry, hard, cracker-like crust. This condition might have been alleviated if you had added a fair amount of oil to the dough but I see that oil is not in your recipe. 

I think the better course for you at this point, particularly if you are really after a NY style pizza, is to abandon your recipe and use a better one for your purposes. I frequently suggest that new pizza makers interested in the NY style pizza read the following thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.0.html. That thread pretty much covers all aspects of making a NY style dough and pizza and contains a lot of helpful tips. If after reading that thread you feel that you would like to give that style a try, let me know and I think I should be abe to come up with a customized recipe for you to use. What I would need to know is what kind and brand of flour, yeast and salt you have available to you, what kind of pizza making gear you have, whether you have a digital scale, and some details about your oven. I would also want to know what pizza size and numbers of pizzas you would like to make. If you plan to use the pizza stone, which is the preferred and recommended method, you should keep in mind that, unless you have a pizza screen to use, the size of your pizzas will be limited by the dimensions of your stone.

Finally, if you are outside of the U.S., please so indicate. That is often a major consideration because of different ingredients, equipment and ovens.

Peter



« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 07:45:09 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline notoriouseddie

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Re: 2nd attempt - Dough/base still sucks... :(
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2009, 09:21:24 AM »
Peter,

Thank you very much for your detailed response - just to confirm I am based in the UK.

I made an attempt to make your pizza based on your pappa john clone recipe and once again I messed it up.

I followed the recipe as best as I could using my parents really old fashioned (and not particularly good) analogue scales. I decided to try out the cold fermentation option and popped the dough into my refrigerator for 3 days - after which there was no obvious expansion. When I cooked the pizza it look brown and golden but I was really disappointed to find that the dough was extremely heavy, yeasty and not crispy. I believe that the reason for this is that I have either not left the dough long enough in my fridge, or the fridge itself was too cold. Is there anywhere else I could've gone wrong?

Question: Rather than 3 days cold fermentation, will I get good results if let the dough rise in a warm place immediately after making it then refrigerating it overnight?

I've taken some photos on my mobile phone which will hopefully give you a better idea of things. I've not lost hope yet!

eddie




Offline notoriouseddie

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Re: 2nd attempt - Dough/base still sucks... :(
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2009, 09:22:24 AM »
more pics

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: 2nd attempt - Dough/base still sucks... :(
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2009, 10:55:23 AM »
Eddie,

Since you didn't specify which of the several cold fermented versions of the Papa John's clone doughs I described (at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.0.html) was the one you used, I am hard pressed to analyse where you may have gone wrong. However, since you are in the UK, your outside temperatures are similar to what they usually are in Dallas, Texas this time of year (although today it has gotten a lot colder). So, using the correct water temperature is an important factor in achieving the proper finished dough temperature for a dough that is to be fermented in the refrigerator for a few days or more. Unless you used the poppy seed method to measure dough expansion, it is hard to know whether your dough actually rose or not. It is not always possible to tell simply from visual inspection because the dough will frequently slouch and spread from its initial round ball shape into a flatter profile. But, even then, if you let the dough warm up sufficiently (at room temperature) when time comes to use it, there should be a noticeable expansion of the dough. This time of year, in my kitchen the room temperature is around 65-70 degrees F (18.3-21.1 degrees C). At that temperature, it can take a couple or hours or more for the dough to warm up to the point where the dough noticeably expands in volume and is soft to the touch. I frequently use the poppy seed at this stage also, to tell me how much the dough has expanded so that I can relate to others in my posts the extent of that expansion.

If your refrigerator was in the 35-40 degrees F range (1.7-4.4 degrees C), that would have been normal. I do not believe that your analog scale was at fault if you got reasonably close to the weights I specified in the dough formulation you used. It is possible that in your case your dough would have benefited from a period of room temperature warming before placing the dough in the refrigerator, especially if you did not adjust the water temperature to achieve the desired finished dough temperature and provided that your room temperature was high enough to actually allow the dough to warm up. If the dough had a finished dough temperature above your room temperature, it would have actually cooled down at the lower room temperature.

If you can provide additional information on which PJ clone formulation you used, I may be able to comment further. It would also help to know how you baked the pizza, that is, whether you used a pizza screen (sometimes called a "whire mesh" in the UK) or a pizza stone or pan.

Peter


 

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