Author Topic: Crunchy/tough dough  (Read 1212 times)

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Offline mjrugg2003

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Crunchy/tough dough
« on: March 22, 2009, 11:23:44 PM »
I made my first pie in ages today, trying to recreate a Pizza Margherita from Naples. I was very pleased with the taste of the dough, however, it was extremely crunchy and tough and I think it may have to do with the heat of my oven???

Here are the ingredients, quantities and technique.

4 1/2 cups  Molino di Borgo Dalmazzo flour (from Italy) tipo 00
1 3/4 cups water (heated to about 100-110 degrees)
1 3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp yeast

I dissolved the yeast in the 100-110 degree water. Then mixed in the salt. I then created a pool in flour and poured water in. I may have started with too much water in pool of flour as some seeped through (possibly 1/8 cup) that I lost out the sides as I scrambled to soak up with the flour. I then kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes by hand. I would push the dough forward, then turn sideways, fold over, and repeat.

I then put in bowl, covered with saran wrap and let rise for 2 hours on counter. At end of this point dough was quite smooth and elastic. when I pushed in dough, it would spring back to shape. I lightly pushed air out with 1 knead and cut dough into 3 equal portions. I then covered the 3 balls of dough and let sit for another 30 minutes.

Then  I worked 1 round of dough into 10-12 inch pizza. Dough spread quite nicely and evenly. I then covered in fresh tomato sauce (made of hand crushed San Marizano DOP tomatoes, olive oil, fresh ground salt, fresh ground pepper and oregano) and topped with fresh basil leaves and topped off with fresh mozzarella.

My ovens top setting is 550, so I preheated oven and also preheated pizza stone. I had the oven rack close to the top of the oven. I then cooked for 15 - 20 minutes until charring started and cheese bubbled.

As I mentioned, the flavor of the crust, sauce etc was very good, but the dough was quite crunchy and a workout.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Crunchy/tough dough
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2009, 10:52:54 AM »

Since you are using volume measurements, it is difficult to get a good mathematical fix on your recipe without knowing the actual weights of flour and water that you measured out from which to calculate the hydration of your dough, which is calculated by dividing the weight of the water by the weight of the flour. However, there are several comments that I think apply to what you did.

First, it is important for you to know that 00 flours, including the one you used, are not particularly well suited to standard-grade home ovens because their temperatures don't get high enough. For optimal results, you need an oven that can deliver temperatures above 800 degrees F. At temperatures at that value and above, a pizza can bake within a couple of minutes and even faster in some cases. In Naples, such ovens are typically wood-fired ovens of special design.

Second, the recipe you used is what is called a "short-time" or "short term" or "emergency" dough in the trade. Such a dough is intended to be made and used within about 1-4 hours. By contrast, an authentic Neapolitan dough using 00 flour is made by fermenting the dough at room temperature for around 7-8 hours and, in some cases, considerably longer, particularly if natural starters are used in lieu of commercial yeast. However, if an emergency dough is your objective, the way to achieve it is to use an above average amount of yeast and very warm water. In your case, I estimate that you would need at least 50% more yeast (I assume that you are using ADY because of the rehydration step you mentioned) and water for the bulk of the formula water that is close to 120-130 degrees F. The objective is to get the dough as warm as possible to allow it to ferment faster. I described how to do this in the context of a 00 dough at Reply 12 at,2250.msg19793.html#msg19793. Admittedly, the example given in that post is an extreme one, but it does demonstrate the principles that are involved in making an emergency type dough.

Third, 00 flours in general are not malted flours and they have low levels of starch damage compared to our domestic flours in the U.S. This means that there is less opportunity for the enzymes in the flour and yeast to convert damaged starch to natural sugars to use to feed the yeast and to be available at the time of baking to contribute to crust coloration. Also, it takes a lot longer than just a few hours for this conversion to take place. That means that your crust will have a very light--almost white or light tan--color. The fact that 00 flours are low in protein content also means that you can't rely on that protein content to contribute in a meaningful way to crust coloration. One member suggested supplementing 00 flour (Caputo) with bread flour, vital wheat gluten and dry milk powder as a way of getting more crust color, as is described at,6120.msg52537.html#msg52537. I haven't tried the dough formulation given there but it is an option to consider. 

Fourth, based on my estimate, the hydration of your dough may be too high. I can't say for sure without having actual weights of the flour and water you used, but I estimate that the hydration of your dough is between 58% and 69%. The lower value assumes that you have a "light" hand in measuring out the flour (the standard "textbook" method recommended by sellers of the flour); the larger value assumes that you have a "heavy" hand in measuring out the flour. The rated absorption value of typical 00 flours is around 55-58%. If your hydration was above the 55-58% range, and especially if it was closer to the upper value mentioned above, what often happens is that the pizza is baked too long in an effort to brown the crust that you end up with a finished crust that is chewy/crunchy or even cracker-like, and sometimes a combination of both. To avoid this result in a typical home oven setting, you need to use a hydration that is commensurate with the rated absorption value of the particular brand of 00 flour you are using and also to use some oil in the dough. You will also want to use a dough thickness that will not be so thin as to result in a cracker-like crust. Unless you modify the dough formulation along the lines referenced above, you will also have to get used to the fact that the finished crust will have a light color. There are also methods that can be used to get better performance out of a standard unmodified home oven, such as using multiple stones and "mini ovens" assembled within the oven.

In your case, I think you should decide on what kind of dough you want to make with your 00 flour, that is, one that can be made and used within a couple to a few hours, or over the course of several hours at room temperature, or even one that is made and held in the refrigerator to ferment over a course of one or more days. For optimal results, each dough will have its own formulation and dough preparation and management procedures. You can't use one dough formulation as a "one-size-fits-all" for all of the above applications.

Some time ago, in response to a request from a member, I collected and organized several dough formulations based on using Caputo 00 flours, in this thread:,3673.msg30851.html#msg30851, with particular reference to Reply 3 at,3673.msg30921.html#msg30921 and later posts in the same thread. The principles discussed in the abovereferenced thread should also apply to the brand of 00 flour that you used.

« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 04:06:24 PM by Pete-zza »