Author Topic: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes  (Read 4067 times)

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Offline artigiano

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high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« on: July 26, 2009, 10:30:49 PM »
        I find my pizzas turn out better keeping the hydration closer to the 60 percent range using Caputo in a woodfired oven at around 900 degrees. I cant figure out why the high hydration is so worth it and why it is often recommended here??  I always find the pizza to be heavier and more dense when I go up to 65% and not as light, soft and crisp as I prefer.

        I also don't think that using salt as  something to control your rise time makes sense as your pizza would be saltier or more bland than you would prefer.  I am a home baker but just wondering why lowering salt levels would be used to compensate for the quicker rise in the summer due to the temperature.  Why not just change the amount of time the dough rises for?

        Another quick mention is the stress on DOP tomatoes.  I have tried the Strianese and also Italissima D.O.P available in Canada and they are good, howevor, for a great pizza I prefer a brand called San Remo.. they are just as sweet, if not sweeter and they are a little thicker so there isnt any excess moisture on the pizza.  I know I am starting to sound opinionated and maybe a little to bold sounding but I sometimes think that a lot of us are trying to conform a little too much to what is the standard for a perfect pie. 

        I personally think that the "raquel thread" and the guys out there that challenge the conventional can be interesting and I am sure they make a great pie!  I am thankful to P.F. for a phone conversation in which I told him I was adding a little sugar to my tomatoes, and I had the feeling he was shaking his head on the other side of the line.  I took his advice and cut out the sugar and found a sweeter tomato, and the result..just great!  I do love a tradional neapolitan, I have been to a couple certified restaurants in Seattle and they are truly great.. but do I believe my tomatoes do not need to say D.O.P to be in the same class of tomatoes as the VPN approved tomatoes as I have done a few different trials.  All of this said.. I am still always learning and having fun doing so and I definately listen and look forward to people's advice and when they tell me their thoughts. 

Alessandro
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 12:38:53 AM by artigiano »


Offline pazzonoah

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2009, 12:34:50 AM »
good post. There are several ways to control summer dough rise, and salt is only one - temperature and length of time are the others - play around with these three and you'll find your sweet spot. Experience is everything - best way that I learn is from just doing it and learning from mistakes. I did want to comment on your note about tomatoes and hydration. I am happiest with 62% and caputo and WFO at 900. I tried strianese and lots of other DOPs and found fairly inconsistant (some cans were absolute junk) results and came to the conclusion that there are lots of better alternatives. I have recently been happy with Delallo non-DOP Italian whole peeled or Cento italian (not the"style") 35 oz cans. These are both great and I am probably over the never ending search for the best canned tomatoes - for me Delallo is the one (but I've said that before and made the switch countless times). On another note I've got some massive San marzano, opalka and golden paste tomato plants that should be ready in a few more weeks - can't beat home grown...cheers.

Offline scpizza

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2009, 09:32:31 AM »
        I also don't think that using salt as  something to control your rise time makes sense as your pizza would be saltier or more bland than you would prefer.  I am a home baker but just wondering why lowering salt levels would be used to compensate for the quicker rise in the summer due to the temperature.  Why not just change the amount of time the dough rises for?

Seems logical in the abstract but dough doesn't behave so simplistically.  Else we could make brilliant pizza dough in 1 hour just by upping the temperature.

Dough maturation is a complex journey.  Temperature, time, salt, and hydration all impact distinct sets of chemical and biochemical processes with different ranges of viability and rates of action for each variable.  The sum of all those individual processes delivers a certain crust texture and flavor.

Short answer to your question is upping the salt concentration usually produces fewer undesirable consequences than reducing the dough rise time.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 10:25:13 AM »
I also don't think that using salt as  something to control your rise time makes sense as your pizza would be saltier or more bland than you would prefer.  I am a home baker but just wondering why lowering salt levels would be used to compensate for the quicker rise in the summer due to the temperature.  Why not just change the amount of time the dough rises for?

Al,

Actually, I think you have the salt statement backwards. To slow down the fermentation of the dough in summer due to the warmer room temperature, yet keep the dough preparation/management within the desired (fixed) window, which you would want to have if you are a commercial operator, you would increase the amount of salt, not lower it. That slows down the fermentation process. Another method to combat higher room temperature and to slow down the fermentation is to reduce the hydration. This is typically done by increasing the amount of flour relative to the water, which, as I understand it, is held constant. When you read of hydrations of around 67%, that is often the winter value.

Peter


Offline shango

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2009, 10:37:35 AM »
It's a pretty subjective question.  Do what you do to get the best results for your personal tastes and needs, and use the products that you like.  Seems simple enough.  Nobody is telling you how you have to make your pizza or what products to use..

Personally, I like a very wet dough, and I love San Marzano tomato, (DOP no less).

pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline artigiano

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2009, 07:18:15 PM »
Hey guys,

I notice my mistake about the salt level and I apologize, I did mean higher.  The change in rise time wouldn't be so drastic, it might be going from a 24 hour to an 18 hour but I am not subject to such a drastic change in temp. in the basement of the house in order to tweak salt levels in my opinion, but I do lower the amount of starter I use to compensate.  As far as the D.O.P. goes... of course they are great, but why think everything else doesn't stand a chance or may even be better?  I will try tomatoes until i find the best tomatoes.. no less ;), D.O.P or not D.O.P.  Marketing certainly does work but I would rather rely on my taste and I like my San Remo Italian tomatoes.  I do think the VPN is a good thing as people can rely on what they are getting in a restaurant with that certification but I wouldn't close my eyes to certain brands just because they don't have a certain stamp on it.  Personally, I think if you were in Italy your focus wouldn't be on if it is stamped D.O.P or D.O.C.or D.O.C.G as far as wine goes, my cousin made wine on his own which he was selling for 20 Euros a bottle privately because it was good and it didn't have a D.O.C or D.O.C.G. stamp... but imagine it did...  and they sent it out of the country.

Al
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 07:08:12 PM by artigiano »

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2009, 09:32:13 PM »
Guys, I haven't been very active here, but I've been making my own pizzas for years.  I use a no-knead method to make all my dough by hand, and use an 80% hydration (can't do that with a machine or you'd have a batter).  Is the reluctance to use higher hydration manageability or some other issue?

Here's one of mine from this past weekend...

(http://gallery.me.com/unconundrum/100054/P1040147/web.jpg)

Online Pete-zza

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2009, 10:06:15 PM »
UnConundrum,

For convenience, this is the link to your photo: http://gallery.me.com/unconundrum/100054/P1040147/web.jpg.

Member artigiano raised the issue of high hydration in the opening post in the context of using the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour, for Neapolitan style pizzas. The Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour has a rated absoption value of 55-57%. However, there are some members who prefer to use higher hydration values. They only rarely get above about 63%, although pizzanapoletana (Marco) and a few other members have developed the skills necessary to work with slightly higher hydration values. I am unaware of anyone on this forum who is using anything like 80% hydration with that flour for a Neapolitan style pizza, or any other style for that matter. That leads me to believe that your comment is with respect to some other flour. Whether that is so or not, I would say that the issue that most people have with very high hydration doughs is one of manageability, especially if the pizzas are assembled on peels where the risk of the dough sticking to the peel is high. I have made many different types of pizza doughs with very high hydrations, including high hydration doughs advocated by Jim Lahey, Peter Reinhart and Jeffrey Steingarten, and found it necessary in many cases to use parchment paper to safely get the pizzas (dressed on peels) into the oven. In my case, I did not use large amounts of bench flour to compensate for the wetness of the doughs. I think pizza size is another limitation with high hydration doughs. It is not easy to make pizzas larger than 10"-12" with the same skin thickness, and the amounts and types of toppings are somewhat limited.

BTW, it is possible to use a machine to prepare a very high hydration dough. See, for example, the rustic ciabatta pizza dough discussed at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8539.msg73858.html#msg73858. In that case, a stand mixer was used and the hydration was around 95%. The original recipe can be found at http://hollosyt.googlepages.com/quickrusticciabattapizza.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 10:29:55 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline scpizza

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2009, 10:50:13 PM »
I use a no-knead method to make all my dough by hand, and use an 80% hydration (can't do that with a machine or you'd have a batter).  Is the reluctance to use higher hydration manageability or some other issue?

I've found hand adds 5 percentage points to hydration.  You've added 15.  Either your hand technique is something special you must share with all of us or you are using one strange flour and you are using it in Arizona.

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2009, 07:53:32 AM »
Guilty on the different flour.  I use KA all purpose (Galahad I believe).  I have some Caputo on order and will report back.  Location is PA, recipe is HERE and how I make and handle the dough is HERE .  The biggest bread dough I've done this way is probably about 20#, but frequently do 5-6# doughs for pizza.  Size is limited only by the size of the container I use.

I live in a rural area, and really good pizza isn't available to me.  I have nothing to compare to, so I've been really happy with the results.  While I've noticed different absorption in different grains (rye, whole wheat) I didn't think it would vary with protein level.  I'll pick up some hi gluten (KA Lancelot) today and report back.  BTW, the process I use was demonstrated by James MacGuire at a class at King Arthur as a result of his research into how a single baker served a small town in the middle ages without mixers.  I loved the results and hardly ever use my Hobart anymore.  Not only is handling the dough easy, but there is also less oxidation and the dough isn't heated up by the friction of the machine....


Offline scpizza

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2009, 09:11:44 AM »
Thanks for sharing, good stuff, and your crumb looks fantastic.

I believe those KA flours will indeed absorb more water.  Plus, there is often real variation in flour moisture levels from bag to bag depending on storage history.  Finally, I'd say the rest of the gap might also be explained by the ample use of bench flour incorporated over the course of kneading.  For your recipe it would take a total of .2lbs more flour to bring the 80% hydration down to 70% and the pictures show a good amount being added.

In any case, agree with you that hand mixing eliminates a lot of problems introduced by a mixer.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 09:46:56 PM by scpizza »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2009, 09:58:04 AM »
UnConundrum,

I also thank you for sharing your methods. The photos are great.

What you have been doing is applying bread making principles, especially the multiple folds, to pizza dough making. At one time, I believe that A16, the well known restaurant in the San Francisco area, also used similar or equivalent methods to make its dough for its version of the Neapolitan style, but the dough was reworked while it was in their coolers. I do not believe that A16 does that anymore. It is also unlikely that you will see the stretch and fold method used as a common method by Neapolitan pizza makers in Naples, although they may use an occasional rest period and a final riposo. I believe that Brian Spangler, a former bread maker and the owner of Apizza Scholls, uses the stretch and fold method for his pizza dough. Having recently attempted a Brian Spangler dough clone at Reply 17 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7225.msg76431.html#msg76431, I found that the multiple rest periods helped with the hydration of the flour (I was using 74% hydration and minimal bench flour), and that the multiple stretch and folds strengthened the gluten structure and helped minimize the bench flour and sticking to the peel. I believe these techniques are necessary in Brian's case because his pizzas (they are not Neapolitan) are 18", the only size pizza he makes. Working at that size with a wet dough would be a real challenge. I might add that Brian at one time kneaded his doughs by hand. But, not long ago, he went to a mixer.

Interestingly, when I use hand kneading this time of year where I am in Texas, I find that the finished dough temperature after kneading by hand quickly reaches about room temperature (around 80 degrees F) no matter how cold the water is. I actually have to use ice cold water to be able to get a finished dough temperature between 75-80 degrees F. I stand a better chance of hitting that target using my KitchenAid mixer because of the reduced total knead time. Sometime you might want to measure the finished dough temperature of your dough balls in relation to room temperature to see if you achieve similar results.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 10:22:47 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2009, 06:37:39 PM »
Interesting.  I never considered the bench flour in hydration calculations, so my test today has 2 queries to resolve.  I started two doughs, one with KA Galahad and one with KA Lancelot (I don't have Caputo yet).  I took pictures, but they're over 128K and seems like "[img]" tags don't work here.  Anyway, I went through the first folding and sure enough, the Lancelot (including the plastic box) now weighs 6.85# and was 6.8# before folding.  So, as of this point, I now have 2.05 pounds of flour and 1.6 pounds of water, or a new hydration of .78%.  I'd expect subsequent foldings will add more flour, but less than the first, and the third should be less than the second.  Even if we add .05# per folding, we're still at .744.  I know you guys say you try to use minimal bench flour, which you can with dryer doughs.  Has anyone measured what weight is added?

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2009, 08:30:38 PM »
2nd and 3rd foldings added .03# each, so the result is .11# added for a total of 2.11 pounds.  1.6/2.11 is just under 76% hydration.  Also, I saw no difference in the absorption rates of the two flours.  Both doughs have the same texture, and about the same weight.  Whenever my Caputo order comes in, I'll repeat the test and see how that functions at 80% hydration.

BTW, the hydration measurement is a tool for formula reproduction, and not an analysis of a final product.  For example, a ciabatta formula does not take into consideration the flour used to handle the dough. 

Offline scpizza

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2009, 09:45:39 PM »
Interesting data.  I have some KASL so will try to duplicate your recipe and technique to get more insight. 

Hydration measurement is for formula reproduction...and comparison.  When I talk about making and successfully handling a 65% dough using a fork mixer (70% using hand mixing) I use no bench flour except on the exterior during the final skin formation.  Because additional flour is fully incorporated into the dough during your kneading process, I'd say the 76% is a better figure to use for comparison purposes.

76% is still wetter than 70%, getting back to your original question of why are we all not doing super-hydrated dough.  The primary answer for me is as you suggest - manageability - not struggling to make coherent dough balls and pizza skins from goop.

I'd also be interested to compare how much bench flour is required for skin formation and handling.  I'd suspect noticeably more flour is required to keep the wetter skin from sticking to the counter or the peel.  The more surface flour, the more bitterness.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 09:49:58 PM by scpizza »

Offline artigiano

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2009, 10:04:16 PM »
Hey guys,

Well there are so many people backing the wetter doughs.. maybe I am not doing something right as i feel it becomes denser once it is up to around 65%.  Maybe it my kneading routine that needs attention. I also find that after its been in the fridge after being cooked it is really chewy, definately too chewy with a higher hydration.

al

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2009, 10:09:12 PM »
I'm anxious to hear how you make out.  One thing not mentioned there, when I'm making pizza dough, I do the several folds, but then I preshape and make the balls right away.  I store the balls in individual plastic bags and put in the fridge for 12 or more hours instead of leaving the dough ferment in the box for 2.5 hours (unless I plan on using the dough the same day).  While I do use flour in shaping my final pie, I've never had a sticking problem and coating of flour on the bottom.  

Al, I don't knead my dough at all (unless you consider making the dough ball kneading).  There's a link to my procedure above.

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2009, 09:05:34 PM »
My Caputo arrived today, so I made a dough.  My first fold added .05# in bench flour.  2nd and 3rd added .02# each, so the numbers above are similar.  That said, the Caputo seems much softer at the 80% hydration. 

On another note, made some pizza out of my test doughs last night and compared the Galahad to the Lancelot.  Everyone liked the Lancelot better, so thanks for pointing me in that direction.

Offline scpizza

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2009, 11:06:27 PM »
I tried your recipe and technique.  I also found the Caputo handles wetter than the KASL, about 2% hydration worth, so that part of the 6% difference is confirmed.

I still find the KASL dough too wet to handle comfortably.  Balls won't hold shape and sticking is excessive.  I can only speculate that your flour has a lower moisture content due to its storage history and conditions that accounts for the remaining 4%.  That is about the max I've seen moisture swings be in the same brand of flour, but it's feasible.

Offline s00da

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Re: high hydration, salt levels and dop tomatoes
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2009, 08:39:39 PM »
Hey guys,

Well there are so many people backing the wetter doughs.. maybe I am not doing something right as i feel it becomes denser once it is up to around 65%.  Maybe it my kneading routine that needs attention. I also find that after its been in the fridge after being cooked it is really chewy, definately too chewy with a higher hydration.

al

al, I would recommend that you increase the kneading time of your 65% hydration dough. The reason behind it is because it's hard for a mixer to develop gluten where the hydration is higher as the mixed ingredients mass isn't showing much resistance against the mixer. This will make the ingredients move around more than getting well mixed and kneaded. Consider UnConundrum's 80% hydration dough, he said that using a machine will only end up to a batter which means the lack of gluten development. As a result he finds it easier to work the gluten in such wet environment by hand because of better control. When gluten is not well developed, the dough will have a hard time trapping the gas developed during fermentation and you will get less rise and thus the gluten will not be as extensible resulting in a dense and chewier crust.

By the way this is only a theory based on some reading I've done in the past couple of days and haven't tried it yet so don't hold me accountable for the results  :-D

Saad


 

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