Author Topic: Help with air pockets.  (Read 3195 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Help with air pockets.
« on: October 05, 2009, 03:36:32 PM »
I make a thin style pizza in 16" steel pizza pans.  I've been doing it for years and I've perfected the recipe, but to this day, I still get random air pockets under the crust during cooking.

I line the pans with olive oil to help brown the crust and give the pizza crust a great flavor.  I don't know if the air pockets are from steam getting trapped or what.  I press the dough in to the pan as much as I can.  I lay it in to try and avoid air pockets.  Most of the time, it's fine, but I don't know what causes them.  Please note, these are pockets under the crust, not in the crust from lack of docking...

Any tips, advice to help avoid this?

Thanks

« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 04:12:03 PM by turner »


Offline canadianbacon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1041
  • Age: 49
  • DoughBoy
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2009, 04:16:25 PM »
The trick is very simple.  It's called a dough docker.  Use this device once, and you'll be a believer.  The holes prevent air pockets from being created.  It stops them
from happening. 

Don't worry that making holes in your dough will let your sauce go through to the bottom of your dough, it never happens.  The next time you bake a pizza, use a fork and stab your dough
a hundred times, and you'll see it works.  The dough docker puts hundreds of holes in your dough in 5 seconds.

The place where I volunteer uses this, because they use a conveyor belt pizza oven, and if they didn't dock the dough, the large air pockets would stick to the top of the oven
as it went through, creating a huge mess.  It's a must for them to use, and they never forget. 

Many places use them.  Just before you put the sauce on your dough, this simple roller is rolled all over the dough, and puts tons and tons of holes in it.  Think of it as an
aerator for your dough, just like the aerators for your lawn that you see companies coming around your neighbourhood with in the springtime, which promotes growth of your lawn.

This is the one I have, cost me about $35, ( in the States they are about $18 )  however you can get plastic ones that do exactly the same thing for $4  They are worth every penny.

Here's a page full of them..... every sort of dough docker you can imagine:
http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/pizza-supplies/dough-dockers/c2033.aspx

Here's one for $4.70 :
http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/american-metalcraft/dd5701/p382701.aspx

« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 04:28:14 PM by canadianbacon »
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22128
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2009, 04:41:34 PM »
I make a thin style pizza in 16" steel pizza pans.  I've been doing it for years and I've perfected the recipe, but to this day, I still get random air pockets under the crust during cooking.

turner,

Is your thin style pizza a cracker style and, if so, are you prebaking the crust? Since you mentioned docking, are you using a dough docker?

Peter

Offline canadianbacon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1041
  • Age: 49
  • DoughBoy
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2009, 04:48:37 PM »
oops, didn't realize he docked, I just re-read that and caught that at the end, feel free to delete my post Peter.
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22128
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2009, 05:16:03 PM »
oops, didn't realize he docked, I just re-read that and caught that at the end, feel free to delete my post Peter.

Mark,

I don't see any reason to delete your post. It contains a lot of useful information that might be helpful to others. To what you posted, I would also add that the advantage of using a commercial dough docker is that the pins are designed so that they do not completely penetrate the dough, as an ordinary kitchen fork might. So, for those who have a frequent need for dough docking, I would advise getting a dough docker. The dough docker I have is like the one shown in the photo you posted. It is a very handy tool to have on hand when docking is needed or desirable.

Peter

Offline canadianbacon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1041
  • Age: 49
  • DoughBoy
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2009, 05:23:47 PM »
Hi Peter,

ah ok sounds good, I'm glad I posted something useful to others, good stuff  :chef:
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2009, 07:30:56 PM »
Yes, I dock.  I have a docker just like that.

The crust doesn't get bubbles inside of it.  It's like a bubble under all of the crust lifts the whole pizza off of the pan.  I catch them early and poke them down, but I don't understand why sometimes, I make a perfect pizza, and other times, I have trouble with them.

I have not tried pre-baking the crust before...

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22128
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2009, 07:41:43 PM »
turner,

What type or style of pizza are you making?

Peter

Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2009, 08:27:12 PM »
It is a variation on the thin and crispy recipe.  I've changed the flour and water ratio's a tad and given it a touch of inspiration from Home Run Inn.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22128
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2009, 08:44:15 PM »
turner,

Based on what you have reported thus far, I don't have an answer for you. It would help to see a slice in cross section that shows the large bubbles on the bottom of the pizza. For example, if you look at some of the photos at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg48991.html#msg48991, you will see several examples of large bubbles in the crust that are different than many of the bubbles often seen in pizza crusts.

BTW, that is a good looking pizza. Maybe you can post your recipe and methods in one of the pizza making boards on the forum.

Peter


Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2009, 10:45:22 PM »
turner,

Based on what you have reported thus far, I don't have an answer for you. It would help to see a slice in cross section that shows the large bubbles on the bottom of the pizza. For example, if you look at some of the photos at (newbie can't have links), you will see several examples of large bubbles in the crust that are different than many of the bubbles often seen in pizza crusts.

BTW, that is a good looking pizza. Maybe you can post your recipe and methods in one of the pizza making boards on the forum.

Peter

I'll have to wait till I make another pizza for those pictures, and wait till I get a random bubble.

As for the recipe, I have it in a file and I think it's two pages long.  :)  That includes sauce and instructions.  As I'm sure everyone knows, it takes way more then a recipe.  My brother tries making it and it's not nearly as good.  In fact, it taste totally different.  I don't know what he does that is so different.

I think I've been doing this for about 4 years.  I went from SUCK to everyone telling me I need to open my own restaurant.  I keep that on the back burner, but if I ever did, I'd have to at least figure out how to prevent random bubbles.  Small ones are okay, but sometimes, they just get too big.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22128
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2009, 11:05:15 PM »
turner,

Not long ago, a poster at the PMQ Think Tank asked Tom Lehmann, of the American Institute of Baking, about craters at the bottom of Sicilian crusts. In his reply, at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=49630#49630, Tom discussed both the cause of craters and also air pockets, which he attributes to the use of oil in the pan (as opposed to a solid fat like shortening). I realize that you are already using oil but I wonder if using too little can cause the crust to develop the air pockets.

Peter

Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2009, 11:15:25 PM »
^^^^  That is a great link.  Thank you very much.  I've been trying to just use enough to brown the bottom of the crust and make it golden.  I'll try to add more next time.


Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2009, 05:54:23 PM »
I used more oil and got really bad pockets under the crust.    ???

Sorry for the blurry pics.  Anyway, the large bubbles cause the crust to not brown.


Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22128
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2009, 06:53:11 PM »
turner,

That is interesting. I suppose that the best way to test whether the oil in the pan is a cause of the "pockets" is to make a pizza the same way as the last one and omit the oil on the pan.

Can you tell us a bit more about your steel pizza pan? For example, is it tin plated, stainless, anodized or with some other coating, is it perforated or nonperforated, is it seasoned? Also, who is the manufacturer or seller of the pan?

Peter

Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2009, 12:04:40 AM »

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22128
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2009, 02:54:30 PM »
turner,

I was hoping to find more information on the pizza pan you are using but it appears that it may have been discontinued. However, from the Amazon.com description, it appears that your pan is made of aluminum, not steel, and it is anodized. I thought that perhaps your pan was a thin, inexpensive one prone to buckling or warping, but that would not appear to be the case (in fact, a reviewer at Amazon said that there was no warping after several uses of the pan).

I don't see anything from your dough formulation or preparation methods to explain the problem you have been experiencing. You would perhaps have to use a pizza stone to rule out the pan as the source of the problem, but that would mean having to get a large stone to handle the 16" pizza size or else make a smaller size pizza if you have a smaller pizza stone.

Out of curiosity, I went to the pizzatools.com website to see if they have a pan that most closely mimics your pan and the closest I could find is a 17" dark, anodized cutter pan, at http://www.pizzatools.com/SearchByCategory.aspx?CategoryCode=052000.  As noted in the description for the cutter pans, they are designed to be used for medium to thick crusts. Your crust, with a thickness factor of about 0.10 (my best calculation), is either a thin crust or on the cusp of a medium thickness crust. However, I have made thin crusted pizzas before using my cutter pan without incident. But, to get a more expert opinion, I called pizzatools and spoke with a customer service rep about your problem. She consulted with one of their engineers who said that it sounded like steam was being trapped under the dough and was causing the air pockets. The engineer suggested using a perforated cutter pan or a perforated disk, either of which would distribute the heat more uniformly across the bottom of the pizza. In either case, the oil could be applied sparingly or an oil spray could be used. The perforated dark, anodized pizzatools.com cutter pans are shown at http://www.pizzatools.com/SearchByCategory.aspx?CategoryCode=051000. The disks are shown at http://www.pizzatools.com/SearchByCategory.aspx?CategoryCode=056000.

I might add that pizzatools is not the only source of dark anodized pans and disks. I think that they are one of the best companies for pizza items (I have several of their products), but American MetalCraft is another solid manufacturer of dark, anodized pizza pans/products. Unlike pizzatools (or its affiliate Lloyd Pans), AM does not sell directly to the public. But their products are sold by most restaurant supply companies, both online and brick and mortar.

I can't say whether the perforated cutter pans or disks are the answer to your problem. I am always reluctant to suggest that someone spend money on something and not have it work. But at least you have additional information to take into consideration.

Peter

Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2009, 06:03:30 PM »
I was surprised to read that the pans were aluminum.  They are the heaviest aluminum item I've ever picked up.  I guess I'll try very little to no oil and I do have access to a thinner aluminum pan with holes in it.  I can give that a try too.  I'll keep trying a few things before I go and buy more pans.  My brother also has one that has little dips in it.  Maybe they help steam escape just a little.  An example of what he got.  http://www.amazon.com/Oneida-Commerical-Inch-Pizza-Pan/dp/B000P9TQEM/?tag=pizzamaking-20

I never really learned the skill of working sliding the pizza on a stone that well.  At the moment, I don't have the extra time for pre-heat the stone.  I know it would make a better pizza, but I went with the pan because I like making large pizzas (I've created a bit of a demand market in my family) and I didn't want to commit to all that stone pre-heat time.

Thank you for all your research.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22128
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2009, 01:47:46 PM »
turner,

I personally avoid pans with non-stick coatings such as used on the Oneida pan you referenced because they are not rated for high oven temperatures. With respect to the 16" Oneida pizza pan that your brother has been using, I called the company that makes that pan for Oneida (Bradshaw International) and spoke with a customer service rep who told me that the coating on that pan is oven safe up to 450 degrees F, which is below the oven temperature you have been using (475 degrees F) to bake your pizzas. She couldn't tell me what would happen if a higher temperature were to be used, but usually the concerns are with coatings breaking down and possibly emitting noxious fumes. I know that some people break in non-stick coated pans over time and then find them usable at temperatures above the rated temperatures, but that has not been my practice.

Peter

Offline turner

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 23
Re: Help with air pockets.
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2009, 01:36:07 PM »
I'll be sure to mention the 450 max temp to him.  That is strange that it didn't come with a warning.  I thought Teflon started to break down at 500 or more.  It can be way more dangerous if it is scratched.  I actually played around with the temperature and cooking time a lot as well.  The 475 seems to be what it takes to get good browning and a little crisp on the crust.  In the past, I tried 450 too, and nothing bad happens, so I'll just tell him to back off, just to be safe.  He does have pets, so...

As to who the fumes can be dangerous too, it's hard to say.  I know they can kill small birds and they probably aren't safe for babies and small children.


 

pizzapan