Author Topic: Water  (Read 3987 times)

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Offline friz78

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Water
« on: February 07, 2005, 10:22:42 PM »
Who has thoughts/opinions on the importance of water quality in making good pizza?  When I lived in NY they always claimed the diffence in the pizza was "in the water."  I find that hard to believe.  Has anyone experimented with using tap water vs. bottled water vs. filtered water in making their pizza and, if so, what were your findings.  I certainly understand the importance of water temperature, but I still don't know about the importance of water quality.
Friz


Offline Crusty

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Re: Water
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2005, 10:47:41 PM »
Friz, my experience shows no diff between spring water vs my tap water.  My goal is to achevie a true NY Style NY Street Pizza and I have achieved my goal using tap water. 

Crusty

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Water
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2005, 11:22:30 PM »
Friz,

I've tried most forms of water, from tap water, spring water, bottled water (non-carbonated and carbonated, domestic and imported), to cheap processed jug water, and have not been able to tell the difference. Of course, the water has to be potable and if it is off from a pH standpoint, it may need adjustment. I finally settled on the cheap jug water only because I don't like the way my municipal water tastes. I just couldn't bear to use it in my pizza dough.

Tom Lehmann gets the water question a lot. In fact, he got the question again today. See http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi/read/16589. See also a follow-up at http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi/read/16637. If you use the search feature at this forum you will find a lot more about water quality with respect to pizza dough. Some pizza operators like to hype their water quality--it appears to be an effective marketing tool even if there isn't solid technical evidence behind the claims.

Peter

« Last Edit: February 08, 2005, 02:46:42 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Water
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2005, 01:13:34 PM »
Friz,

Further to my last post on this topic, you may also want to take a look at http://forum.pizzamaking.com/index.php?topic=571.msg5913#msg5913, starting with Reply #16.

Peter

Offline canadave

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Re: Water
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2005, 04:01:45 PM »
I just finished reading the articles (both here and on PMQ) on how the water's pH affects the dough.  I have some questions:

Quote
pH--a measure of the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a solution--is important to dough-making because it affects the chemical and biological reactions, most notably the conversion of starch to sugar (maltose) to feed the yeast and make the dough rise.  The optimum pH for pizza dough is considered to be around 5.0 (or slightly acidic).  This pH level is best achieved by using water that has a pH in the range of 6.5-8.0, with a pH of 7.0 (neutral) being the optimum.  If the pH is too low (high acidity), it can inhibit fermentation activity.  In Naples, where the water is filtered through volcanic deposits, the pH is 6.7. 

This quote is from Pete's post on pH.  Pete, you said "the optimum pH for pizza dough is 5.0 (slightly acidic)."  Isn't 5.0 VERY acidic?

Also, this may sound like a stupid question, but how acidic would the pH have to be to be unsafe to eat?

For what it's worth, I just tested my home tap water, and I get a pH of 8.5.  Wow!  I guess I'm going to have to acidify it...Tom Lehmann mentioned the idea of using household white vinegar (at 1% of dough weight) to lower the acidity...I'm just wondering how adding the vinegar will affect the taste of the dough??.....*looking over at Pete again* ;)

I guess my last question is: I see how acidity can affect fermentation.  But I can't help but wonder, how much can getting my water's acidity to a proper level affect the dough's taste?

Dave
« Last Edit: February 08, 2005, 04:06:41 PM by canadave »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Water
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2005, 06:04:19 PM »
Dave,

I'm not a food chemist, but I think the answer to your questions is that any normal water you choose to use in a pizza dough will not have a level of acidity (low pH) that will adversely affect the fermentation process or the taste of a crust made from the dough--or your health. A pH of 5 is not high. A pH of 0 would be. Remember that acids are always being produced in a dough during fermentation as long as there is sufficient residual sugar to keep the fermentation process going. That process produces acidic by-products (carbonic, lactic, acetic, propionic, etc.) which are a major factor in lowering the pH in the dough. Doughs formed by using natural starters (e.g., sourdough starters) are loaded with acids--far higher than with normal doughs. Even at that, they are unlikely to ever approach a pH of 0 because of the buffering provided by the flour and other added ingredients.  At the 0 level, if you could ever get there, I suspect the product would be so unpalatable as to be inedible.

Your water has a pH that is alkaline, and one way to lower the pH is to add an acid. White vinegar is one way of doing this. Using white vinegar in a baking product is fairly common, a good example of this being pie crust dough. Having done this myself, I could not detect the presence of the vinegar in the finished crust. Sometimes a bit of lemon juice, also an acidic product, is used in pie crust doughs.

The following excerpt, taken from a yeast website, might help explain this topic better than I:

"Dough pH
The pH of doughs or preferments has little effect on yeast fermentation, unless it drops below 4.0. In general, data shows that yeast activity is fairly constant over a pH range of 4-6, which represents a 100-fold change in acidity. At the onset of fermentation, dough pH is approximately 5.5-5.8. However, during the course of fermentation, it decreases to 4.9-5.1, due to the production of carbonic acid (carbon-dioxide dissolved in water) and other organic acids. This pH drop is resisted by the buffering action of several dough ingredients. Both flour and milk are excellent buffers and help to maintain the pH range for optimum fermentation. Bakeries that use water brews add chemical buffers, such as calcium carbonate, to maintain a pH range of 4-6 during fermentation.

The reason why yeast is tolerant within the broad dough-pH range, is that the pH within the yeast cell remains quite constant at about 5.8, regardless of the pH variations in the dough. Since the various enzymes involved in yeast metabolism of sugars are located within the yeast cell, the gassing activity is relatively unaffected by external changes in pH."

The topic of dough pH is covered even more completely in this article: http://www.theartisan.net/The_Artisan_Yeast_Treatise_Section_Two.htm.

Peter
 



« Last Edit: February 08, 2005, 07:58:06 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline canadave

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Re: Water
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2005, 06:19:43 PM »
Thanks for the detailed answer and the links, Pete, that's all quite helpful.  I'll experiment with lemon juice I think, and see what effect it has, if any.

Dave

Offline D.C. Pizza Master

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Re: Water
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2005, 11:19:16 PM »
whats better for your body?

tap water or bottled natural water?

same thing goes with the pizza...even if its almost unoticable


Offline canadave

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Re: Water
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2005, 01:11:42 AM »
D.C.,

From your question, I assume you're making the point that one is better than the other.  I don't know that that's necessarily true.  NYC tap water, for instance, is rigorously treated and is about as clean and good for you as municipal water gets.  Some water bottling companies, on the other hand, are semi-fraudulent in their claims about the "purity" of their water.

Dave

Offline wayno

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Re: Water
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2005, 08:45:07 AM »
I saw a clip for this San Diego pizzeria (called Bronx Pizza) on the travel channel.  The clip showed he was distilling water on site (like health food stores did in the late 70's) to avoid using the tap water.

Now he is using bottled water.  see following text from his website:

"We have tried our best by using bottled water for the dough. We only use the richest cheese. (Whole milk mozzarella) For the sauce, we hand grind the best whole plum tomatoes. Then we add fresh ingredients from Nick's 30 year old recipe. It may be more time consuming, but without a doubt, our sauce is in a higher league. Baking in a brick oven adds the final touch to the process. The brick oven seems to be turning into a dinosaur as the big pizza chains strive for production through the conveyor belt- assembly line type ovens."

Wayno
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Offline D.C. Pizza Master

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Re: Water
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2005, 11:32:22 AM »
D.C.,

From your question, I assume you're making the point that one is better than the other.  I don't know that that's necessarily true.  NYC tap water, for instance, is rigorously treated and is about as clean and good for you as municipal water gets.  Some water bottling companies, on the other hand, are semi-fraudulent in their claims about the "purity" of their water.

Dave

those are some good points.......but here in D.C. though...their tap water isnt very good...thats why i use San Beneddeto for the pizza and the results are better

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Water
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2005, 11:39:02 AM »
Wayno mentions a pizzeria using distilled water. Usually distilled water is not a good choice because it lack minerals. The minerals are good for the yeast and the fermentation process and, without them, the dough can get soft and sticky. To compensate, one has to reduce the amount of water in the dough recipe.

Peter

Offline canadave

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Re: Water
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2005, 12:02:11 PM »
Quote
those are some good points.......but here in D.C. though...their tap water isnt very good...thats why i use San Beneddeto for the pizza and the results are better


Fair enough...but I just want to caution that it's misleading to make a blanket statement about using bottled water instead of tap water, that everyone should follow, when it's not necessarily the case for everyone.

I didn't know Washington's water supply was so poor--THAT might explain a few things ;)  I know a few people on this forum have mentioned that South Florida tap water, too, is very poor, and they have to use bottled water.

Dave


 

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