Author Topic: Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)  (Read 17638 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« on: December 16, 2006, 07:07:02 PM »
Note: Split from Randy's Harvest King Flour thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4284.msg35772.html#msg35772

To member giotto,

The photo you posted of your pizza at the abovereferenced thread is a fine looking pie. I have reposted the photo below.

Looking at the photo, it looks like your pizza rim has a lot of blistering. Or maybe it is sesame seeds or something like that. Members often ask how to get a lot of blistering intentionally and I have not been able to tell them how to do it. I know that you don't let your dough warm up beyond about 1/2 hour before using, and also that you prefer to pre-bake your dough skin before finishing. Do you think that either, or possibly both, of those events is responsible for what appears to be blistering? Or maybe it's something else.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 20, 2009, 01:31:15 PM by Pete-zza »


Offline giotto

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2006, 07:41:14 PM »
Hey Pete-zza:

Thanks. It has a lot to do with water. Artisan breads often have blistering. It's a deady giveaway that the baker ferments his dough in the refrigerator. I once had a baker tell me he didn't ferment his breads in the refrigerator. But blistering was evident. I knew he used a preferment, and he then agreed that his preferment was refrigerated.

Artisan breads also use steam when they are made. My oven smokes with steam because like you said, my dough is a bit colder than most from the refrigerator. Sometimes, I even spray water in my oven when I put the pizza in the oven. I do this with bread as well. For the pizza above, I didn't spray though.

With my Pizza Hut version below (this one was a predecessor to the one under the Pizza Hut track), the water gets trapped at the bottom and blisters form big ol' holes like their pizza (Pizza Huts that I spoke to refrigerate overnight). When I make bread, I use parchment paper and soak the bottom-- same result.

Hope this helps.

 :)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2006, 10:58:19 PM by giotto »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2006, 07:53:43 PM »
giotto,

Thanks.

Recently, after failing to intentionally create a blistered crust (cold, underfermented, high hydration doughs, high oven temperature, etc.), I did some online research on artisan bread doughs because it seemed to me that I often saw artisan breads that had highly blistered crusts. In some cases, the blistering was considered a defect to be eliminated. Steam was listed as one of the possible causes, along with overfermentation. I have found that I am more likely to get blistering when the dough is in a late stage of fermentation, shortly before heading south. I may try steaming the oven, as I do when I make bread.

Peter

Offline November

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2006, 12:29:43 AM »
I only get blistering when I let the dough go too long.  I don't think hydration makes much of a difference.  I've been up and down the entire spectrum of hydration and it's never influenced crust appearance in that way.  I believe it is a byproduct of dead yeast colonies where in the final stages of fermentation before death, the yeast pump out incredible amounts of waste.

- red.november

Offline dinks

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2006, 03:30:11 PM »
PETER:
  Good sunday afternoon to you. By now you should be back from Sunday services in time to read my info on pizza crust blistering.

   COMES NOW:

Simply put, blistering is caused by gas escaping from the crust while the dough mass is in the refridgerator being in retard mode.

  You see my friend, gas is lost more quickly in cool dough because cooling increases the solubility of carbon dioxide in water.  Upon baking the pie, the water that has accumulated in the small cells that are remaining form the blisters.
  Some customers think having those are sexy.  I do not pay any attention to those things. My moment with you has come to an end my learned friend. I hope this helps. I look forward to reading your postings from time to time. Good day sir.

  ~SMARTY PANTZ.

Offline November

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2006, 03:48:38 PM »
dinks,

I'm not sure how you arrived at that conclusion.  The solubility of CO2 in water does indeed increase inversely with temperature, but with that being the case, less gas will escape during cold fermentation, not more.  Those blisters are in fact filled with water, alcohol, and liquid waste products from the yeast; so beginning with your explanation of what happens in the oven, you are correct, but cold fermentation doesn't have anything to do with it.  I've acquired those blisters on a very predictable basis, and I rarely cold ferment my dough.

- red.november

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2006, 12:40:21 PM »
I've acquired those blisters on a very predictable basis, and I rarely cold ferment my dough.

What part of your process do you think is most responsible for the blistering? Or is it not that simple?

I have been doing a 2 hour proof, overnight ferment in the cooler, then 1 hour proof in bags and I NEVER see blistering like that. I have also tried cooking it right out of the cooler, still no blistering.  :'(

The pizza in the photo, is that pickles on the top? Green tomatoes?

And finally, RANDY!! That recipe rocks! Thank you so much for sharing. I figured it must be something special because not a lot of members can say they have a recipe named after them on these boards.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2009, 01:38:20 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline November

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 01:40:38 PM »
What part of your process do you think is most responsible for the blistering?

I think there may be at least two roads one can take to reach the same destination on this, but for me, the road is exactly as I mentioned: over-fermentation.  My doughs rise at exactly 68 F on the bench (declining from 86 F from the start), covered with oil, and then covered with a container (upside-down).  With the amount of yeast I currently use, I get population overruns if I leave the dough out for more than 6 hours and the colonies near the surface where the oil has ben absorbed into the skin die out sooner as a result of habitation strain.  As an FYI, habitation/environmental strain can also happen because the surface of the dough is too cold; so this may be the source of the cold fermentation theory, but if kept properly, cold fermentation should not be a cause for blistering.

- red.november

Offline giotto

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2006, 02:19:33 PM »
Personally, since bubbles have not impacted taste, it's not really important to me. But for the sake of accuracy on my picture above, the dough was definitely not anywhere near at the end of its fermentation. I produce bubbles with short fermentation times, zero growth in the refrigerator and plenty of spring in the oven with a flour that is made for, and has shown a propensity to sustain, many more days of fermentation (as discussed in the link, http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/pizza-crust-color.html, that's embedded with the writeup for the picture). I've found the same to be true with bakeries that produce great color, spring, bubbles, etc., with their bagels and breads, using short fermentation times, no use of a preferment, and with flours that also can sustain longer fermentation times.

I have to admit, I try lots of variations in toppings; but not quite pickles (although I used cucumber before). My "sauce" was: fresh tomatoes cut up, zucchini (the green stuff), red onion, green olives and a little basalmic vinegar with salt & herbs.

EDIT by Pete-zza (1/22/15): I believe that the following Wayback Machine link is the same or equivalent to the inoperative link above: http://web.archive.org/web/20120209002605/http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/pizza-crust-color.html


Offline November

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2006, 02:49:58 PM »
zero growth in the refrigerator

If you are getting zero growth in the refrigerator, the temperature is low enough to completely inactivate the yeast near the surface of your dough.  This is one of the several reasons I rarely cold ferment my dough: my refrigerator is too cold.  I typically get zero growth and the yeast near the surface dies.  Of course the main mass of the dough always springs back after bringing it up to room temperature again, but the damage to the surface is already done.

- red.november

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2006, 02:53:52 PM »
giotto,

Turn your dough ball inside-out when you form the crust to see if you still get the blisters.

Offline giotto

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2006, 02:54:35 PM »
I get zero growth initially because I use so little yeast or because I use cold water. Over time, the dough can grow. Yeast does NOT die at low temps-- it becomes inactive as you suggest. My dough will not spring if I use too little yeast, or when I kill the yeast... I've done this before. My refrigerator is not that cold. My dough is not at freezing temps where crystals or other problems will occur.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 02:59:55 PM by giotto »

Offline Randy

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2006, 02:59:16 PM »
I am not sure what you are talking about when you write of blisters

Offline giotto

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2006, 03:07:07 PM »
Randy:

It's the stuff you often see on bagels and breads at various bakeries; The outer crust looks like it is blistering. We seem to get them under different circumstances. It may be because moisture or dead yeast sitting on the surface, which apparently can occur under different circumstances. My focus in the past has been more on color for presentation and taste.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 03:13:46 PM by giotto »

Offline November

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2006, 03:13:36 PM »
I get zero growth initially because I use so little yeast or because I use cold water. Over time, the dough can grow.

Then that wouldn't be zero growth, would it?  All yeast starts at zero fermentation initially.

Yeast does NOT die at low temps-- it becomes inactive as you suggest.

Inactive generally means not able to continue fermentation, as in dead.  You're thinking of the term dormant.  It is quite possible for yeast to die at refrigerator temperatures given extenuating circumstances.  The simple shock of the temperature dropping can kill as much 1-3% of the yeast, regardless of how low the temperature gets.

I would say the blistering is a result of capillary action, but I haven't observed any pattern related to that theory.

Randy,

Where the white spots appear on the crust's rim.  What's known for sure is that these are vacuoles of liquid that prevent browning at the same rate as the rest of the rim, and at the same time swell due to liquid expansion from heat.

- red.november

Offline giotto

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2006, 03:14:47 PM »
I said zero growth because when I removed the dough, it was zero growth. This was not to suggest that it would never grow because I have witnessed otherwise with much longer fermentation times. And as I suggested, I am not at extenuating circumstances with low temp or shocking situations. And as I mentioned, I have yet to see spring with little use of yeast that dies.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 03:20:45 PM by giotto »

Offline November

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2006, 03:18:00 PM »
I said zero growth because when I removed the dough, it was zero growth. I didn't say that it would never grow.

Did it, or did it not grow while in the refrigerator?


Offline giotto

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2006, 03:23:51 PM »
Please note the words... "it can grow" as used in the one quote you referred to vs. "when I removed the dough it was zero growth." So it did not grow on this last short fermentation, at least not noticeably where my eyes noted it. I merely delayed the fermentation period. Hence, if I had let the dough go longer, I would suspect that it would have grown over longer periods of time since yeast can still multiply at cooler temps... Just not to the degree at warmer temps.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 03:40:37 PM by giotto »

Offline November

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2006, 03:41:06 PM »
giotto,

I noted both.  That's the reason I asked for clarification.  All I wanted to know is if the dough expanded (grew) while in the refrigerator.  For the purposes of my explanation, I wasn't concerned with growth anywhere else, and here's why:  If there is zero fermentation while in the refrigerator, then there isn't an internal source of heat to keep the yeast at the surface from experiencing inordinate amount of thermal shock.  Zero growth means zero thermal byproduct from fermentation.  If you're getting at least some growth in the refrigerator, the chances of surface yeast survival increase.

Ethanol also increases the entropy of activation, so if enough ethanol has a chance to build up around the surface yeast (via capillary action), it only takes temperatures as low as 50-60 F to deactivate the yeast.  This is why, in my opinion, if someone wants to cold ferment their dough, they should have sufficient oil in the dough to impede capillary action.  Also, without an oil layer on the dough itself, evaporation will occur and cool the surface even more as a result.

- red.november

Offline giotto

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2006, 04:21:00 PM »
I used 1 TBL oil per 10 oz flour. I split them after making the dough, with plenty of oil on the outside of one dough, and minimal on the other (I was making 2 different styles of crust). Both got bubbles.  Regarding zero fermentation, the wording suggests that my eyes noted insignificant growth; but it's difficult to say if there was zero fermentation actually occurring chemically. I suspect the fermentation is significantly slowed down.

The weird thing is that Pete-zza and others have mentioned extreme cold conditions, and have not been able to achieve bubbles. I'm curious as to what their eyes noticed in growth beforehand.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 04:38:36 PM by giotto »

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2006, 04:47:39 PM »
I didn't go back to check to see if your recipe (if posted) included oil.  I was just speaking in general.  Most people use oil (myself included), and therefore won't experience capillary action within their dough, which is why I ruled it out in the general case.  In the specific case of no oil, it is definitely a possible vector.

EDIT:

Ah, that's right, you're using non-rehydrated ADY and cool water, rather than warm water.  That means you have clumps of dead yeast cells surrounding a minority of live ones.  The live cells very near the surface have the disadvantage of having moisture face them from just the bottom, rather than from the top and bottom.  Any cell membrane fissures that don't become fully hydrated risk experiencing a full rupture during thermal changes.  Your mixing and kneading process may only be enough to break apart the cell clumps, but not long enough to offer full contact between water and yeast before settling in their resting place.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 05:07:32 PM by November »

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2006, 05:28:07 PM »
giotto,

Like you, I often make cold fermented doughs that use cold water and small amounts of yeast and, to be honest, I often can't tell whether the dough has grown, or by how much, while in the refrigerator. In my case, the inability to detect the growth may be due to the containers I typically use to store my dough balls. I use fairly oversized metal or plastic lidded containers. When the dough balls go into the containers, they are round and elastic and hard to flatten but over time they spread and slump to fill the spaces in the container around the dough, making it problematic to detect the extent of dough growth. This has never been a problem from a performance standpoint so I haven't concerned myself that I couldn't always detect or accurately measure growth of the dough. I suppose I would have to use a tall straight-sided container with a much smaller diameter than I now use to accentuate the growth dimension of the dough to confirm that there is actual growth. I suspect that there is growth in my case but it isn't easily visually discernible in many, if not most, cases where I am using cold water and small amounts of yeast.

I would estimate that over ninety percent of what I have read on the subject of bubbling in pizza crusts has centered on cold dough or underfermentation or too much yeast or excessive oven heat as the most frequent causes of most bubbling. You might recall that in an earlier post I noted that you do not let your dough balls warm up all that much (about one-half hour) before shaping. Also, you frequently (almost always?) use a pre-bake. In your recent post in which you presented the Harvest King dough formulation, at Reply 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4284.msg36146.html#msg36146, you indicated a pre-bake temperature of 530 degrees F. I wondered whether the combination of the cold dough and the high-temperature "naked" pre-bake were the cause of the blistering or major contributors thereto. This begs the question of whether you have ever used the Harvest King (or other) dough formulation to make a fully dressed pizza before baking and, if so, whether you got the blistering.

I might add that one of our members, in a PM to me a few months ago, indicated that he had tried well over 100 pizzas in an effort to intentionally provoke bubbling in his finished crusts. He was more interested in the big bubbles rather than small blisters. He varied just about everything that could be varied but was unsuccessful. I believe he was using the Lehmann dough formulation, which led me to wonder whether some dough formulations are more, or less, prone to bubbling and blistering than others. I had read something somewhere to that effect so I was prepared to accept the possibility until I could find the answer on my own. As noted previously, my efforts to intentionally provoke bubbling and blistering by doing all of the things that are said to contribute to bubbling and blistering did not succeed. Like November, I have tended to get the blistering from doughs at the tail end of fermentation, just as I did recently with a 12+-day old dough.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 09:01:47 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline November

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2006, 06:30:13 PM »
Peter,

Just as a point of delineation, I think the causes of bubbling as you described, and blistering are not the same.  To understand the difference, consider that for blistering the condition is a pre-forming phenomenon, while bubbling is largely a forming phenomenon; meaning that what causes the blistering starts before the dough is formed into the crust, and what causes the bubbling is more likely a result of the forming itself.  Imagine there is a liquid vacuole structure just beneath the very top macromolecular layer of dough, formed in the event of protoplasmic evacuation or over-accumulation of byproducts.  It's radii and inter-distances are determined by cell colony population at the surface.  The inter-distances are not much greater than the thickness of the layer holding the liquid in place, so in effect, if you were to examine the dough using magnetic resonance imaging, you would notice tiny liquid-filled cells in a network similar to a very thick-walled honeycomb.  Once you stretch the dough, the radii and inter-distances increase causing the blisters to form approximately a few millimeters apart during baking.

Bubbling on the other hand seems to occur based more on how the dough is formed into the final shape.  Not to mention there is a need for a large, open gluten structure to accomplish this.  I hope we're talking about the same surface effect here.

- red.november

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2006, 07:02:36 PM »
November,

Thanks for clarifying the distinction. I was originally referring to the blistering effect as you described it and as shown in giotto's photo in Reply 16. Often what I have read on the subject has tended to lump blistering and bubbling together, possibly because pizza operators often use those terms interchangeably to describe their problems. Since the answers often used the same terms, I assumed that the causes of both conditions were pretty much the same. I don't recall a distinction between bubbles and blisters in the sense of blisters that we have been discussing.

Based on what you now know about giotto's dough formulation and dough processing, can you venture an opinion on what is behind the blistering, that is, is it the use of non-rehydrated ADY and cool water and the effects they create?

Peter

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Re: Blistering in a Pizza Crust (Split Topic)
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2006, 07:29:22 PM »
Peter,

After taking another look at the recipe and seeing the differences between Randy and giotto's processes, I'm almost positive it has to do with using cold water with non-rehydrated ADY.  It's the one difference that sticks out that could conceivably create the conditions for blistering.  A yeast cell's chances of making it through thermal shock are much greater if it's had a chance to mend any membrane fissures.  Warm rehydration helps to ensure this happens.

- red.november

EDIT:

If it were a volume phenomenon versus a surface phenomenon, the condition would still manifest itself if giotto were to turn the dough inside-out before forming the crust.  That's why I brought it up earlier.  If he does that, and still observes the blistering, it's a result of something else.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 07:33:40 PM by November »