Author Topic: Crust never turns out right.  (Read 4125 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Crust never turns out right.
« on: October 14, 2009, 01:52:37 PM »
Ive been trying (unsuccessfully) to make my own pizza now for several months.

Every time I make the dough, it turns out WAAAAAY too sticky.  I am unable to mold it properly.

Each time, I will take flour, differing levels of water and yeast, mix it, let it rise, mix it again, then put it in the fridge for a day.  When I pull it out, it has risen, but still super sticky.

Every time, the crust turns out to be very dense, and although it tastes pretty good, does not taste right for pizza, more like bread.

I bake at 550 in my electric oven.

I don't even know how people are able to get their dough to be able to throw it in the air.

Any tips?


Offline pacoast

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 236
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2009, 02:43:02 PM »
It's hard to say what is causing you problems without any details. If you tell us what recipe you are using & how you mix the ingredients someone here can probably offer useful suggestions.

.

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2009, 03:19:18 PM »
Usually a 3-1 ratio of flour to water, though i have done 2-1 as well.  I always use 1 packet of yeast.

I usually use around 6 cups of flour, enough to make several dough balls.  I also use a little bit of salt.

Offline pacoast

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 236
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2009, 03:44:50 PM »
Thanks. Still not enough information to understand how you make your pizzas though. If you want, I can could just give you a recipe that I think would work better. If you look around this site, there are lots of examples. But it's better if we can figure out what you are doing already & discern which part is going wrong.

Quote
3-1 ratio of flour to water
So that would mean 6 cups of flour to 2 cups of water?

What kind of flour are you using?
What temperature is the water? Or if you've never measured it, is it ice cold, cold, room temp, lukewarm?
How much salt?
How are you mixing the dough? By hand, with a Kitchen aid mixer or ?
How long are you mixing it?
Are you using a pizza stone?
Or do you use a pizza pan? Is it perforated?
Dough goes in the fridge for 24 hours.
And a package of yeast. So I assume that is 1/4 oz (7g) of instant type yeast (IDY)

What type of pizza are you making? NY style or ?

.

« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 03:48:28 PM by pacoast »

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2009, 05:25:48 PM »
Thanks. Still not enough information to understand how you make your pizzas though. If you want, I can could just give you a recipe that I think would work better. If you look around this site, there are lots of examples. But it's better if we can figure out what you are doing already & discern which part is going wrong.
So that would mean 6 cups of flour to 2 cups of water?

What kind of flour are you using?
What temperature is the water? Or if you've never measured it, is it ice cold, cold, room temp, lukewarm?
How much salt?
How are you mixing the dough? By hand, with a Kitchen aid mixer or ?
How long are you mixing it?
Are you using a pizza stone?
Or do you use a pizza pan? Is it perforated?
Dough goes in the fridge for 24 hours.
And a package of yeast. So I assume that is 1/4 oz (7g) of instant type yeast (IDY)

What type of pizza are you making? NY style or ?

.



Thanks for your help.  Sorry for not giving enough info.

I have used regular AP and "better for bread" flour.

Water temperature is very warm, probably 100 degrees or so.

6 cups of flour, 2 cups of water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Mix by hand for about 5 minutes.

Not using a pizza stone, I use a perforated pizza pan made from aluminum

yes, 1/4 oz of yeast packet.

I am making NYC style.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 05:36:58 PM by tronester »

Offline pacoast

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 236
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2009, 08:33:20 PM »
Okay, thanks for answering so many questions. If your dough is too sticky, it probably means that the dough has not been mixed enough or there is too much water in the recipe. The latter depends on the brand of flour a bit as some brands can hydrate or accept more water than others. For instance King Arthur rates their flours as being able to absorb 61% +/- 2% (all purpose flour) or 63% +/- 2% (for their high protein flour).

The reason I asked so many questions was to try & figure out exactly how much water (%) was in your recipe & whether that amount was likely to work. It's hard to get an exact number with cup measurements though because depending on how much the flour is packed when you scoop it, etc the amounts can vary by 15% or so. That's enough error to make a difference. But anyway, assuming that you use what is called the "textbook" method of flour measurement & Gold medal A.P. flour.. it appears that you have 63.5% water in your recipe.

Here's your recipe converted to baker's percentages
100% flour
 63.5% water
 0.97% salt
 0.94% IDY

Quite a few recipes on this site use about 63%, but it is definitely on the high end, the upper limit of what some flours can handle. Most commercial pizzarias use something closer to 58%. Still it should be doable if your kneading is efficient, so let's look at the rest of it first.

The amount of salt looks low to me and the amount of yeast & water temperature is on the high side. I would suggest trying a dough with more salt, less yeast & room temperature water. This should put you close to a sweet spot where the only real variable is the kneading, so you can concentrate on that. The higher protein (better for bread) flour should give you superior results. Not only should it be able to handle a few more percent of water, it will result in a chewier product that is usually considered desirable for NY style pizza.

I would suggest trying something along the lines of
100% bread flour
 63.5% water
 1.9% salt
 0.47% IDY

In cups that should be approximately
6 cups flour
2 cups water, room temperature
2.5 tsp salt
1/2 package yeast (1/8 oz)

You will probably need to knead the dough by hand for 5 - 10 minutes. It takes a little time for the flour to absorb all of the water, so even if it is still a little sticky at the start it should be fine, just slightly tacky when you are finished kneading. Then put it in the fridge immediately after you finish kneading. And when you go to use it, allow it to warm up at least 2 hours before using it.

And let us know how it turns out. I think that this will give you good results. If you still have problems I think we would have to look closer at how you are measuring the flour & water. And your kneading technique. The difference between 58% & 63.5% is only about one ounce. So you can see that if you don't measure the water or flour carefully you could end up in the 70% range which will guarantee a wet, sticky dough.

.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22323
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2009, 09:26:09 PM »
tronester,

I agree with everything that pacoast has said. I would only add that I think you will get better results if you use a pizza stone for the NY style. If your aluminum pan is a shiny aluminum pan, or even a light gray one, it will reflect heat rather than absorb it and you will end up with a pizza with a poor bake, including a rim that is small in size and possibly dense. With a pizza stone, the heat is imparted immediately to the unbaked pizza. With a pan, you have to wait for the pan to get up to the proper temperature before the pizza can bake. You didn't indicate whether your pan is anodized or has a nonstick coating, but if it is the latter you might want to consider another pan that can withstand a 550 degrees F oven temperature without breaking down. Most nonstick coatings for low- to moderately-priced retail cookware are only oven safe to about 450 degrees F. If you are going to stick with a pan, I would consider a dark anodized one. I think a stone is still better, but that is your choice.

Peter

Offline pacoast

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 236
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 04:45:46 PM »
Two other quick things. If you have a flour sifter, you should use it. This removes any tiny lumps in the flour & allows it to absorb the maximum possible amount of water. And second, if you have any difficulty in measuring the water, err on the side of using less. You should still have a quality dough if you have an ounce less of water, but an ounce too much will probably give you a sticky dough.

.

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2009, 12:16:29 PM »
Thanks for the info guys.  I will try that new recipe next time and see if I have better luck.  The pan I have is anodized, I do have a pizza stone though, so I will try the stone out again next time.

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2009, 03:56:49 PM »
Well I made the crust recipe, i used 3 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1.25 teaspoons of salt.  However, the dough was WAAAY too dry, so I added a couple tablespoons extra of water.  This dough is much easier to work with than the water balls I made in the past.

Unfortunately I need it tonight, I hope 3 hours in the fridge, then 2 out on the counter are going to be enough.


Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2009, 08:40:34 PM »
Well I made the pizza, and it turned out very good! ;D

One small problem though...

The crust was nice and tasty, but it was very thin and cracker style thin crust.  Except oddly, one corner.

I am thinking maybe my technique needs work?

I rolled the dough out nice and thin, perhaps too thin?

It cooked at 550 for 8 minutes which actually might have been a minute too long.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2009, 08:43:38 PM by tronester »

Offline pacoast

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 236
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2009, 08:52:43 PM »
I rolled the dough out nice and thin, perhaps too thin?

Glad to hear that your pizza is getting better!

As for the crust, does "rolled out" mean that you used a rolling pin? You shouldn't use a rolling pin for a NY style pizza because it does tend to make the crust too thin & cracker like. You should shape the dough by hand to preserve the tiny gas bubbles that are created in the dough while it ferments or proofs.

.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2009, 09:41:45 PM by pacoast »

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2009, 08:58:31 PM »
Glad to hear that your pizza is getting better!

As for the crust, does "rolled out" mean that you used a rolling pin? You should use a rolling pin for a NY style pizza because it does tend to make the crust too thin & cracker like. You should shape the dough by hand to preserve the tiny gas bubbles that are created in the dough while it ferments or proofs.

.



Ok, that was probably my problem then.  I did roll it quite a bit with a rolling pin.  And it was a bit overcooked I think.

I just wish I could have an oven that did 800 degrees without modification!

I meant to take pictures, but I ate it too fast, it was really good!  ;D

Offline pacoast

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 236
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2009, 09:43:03 PM »
I think you caught my typo there.. but that should have read you shouldn't use a rolling pin for NY-style pizza. It's better to form it into a disc with your hands.

.

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2010, 05:29:02 PM »
I made a batch of dough a couple of days ago and tried it out today.

Pretty much every time I make pizza, it turns out good, but not great.

One thing I noticed is that the dough doesnt windowpane much at all.  Getting it stretched out is a major chore, and it usually rips and I have to mend it.

I would suspect that would mean that the dough doesnt have enough gluten?

I used my bread machine to knead the dough, I had it knead it for about 15-20 minutes, is this not long enough?

Also, could it mean I am using too much or too little water?

It's hard to describe what the finished crust tastes like, its almost like a breadstick you would get at a restaurant.

brayshaw

  • Guest
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2010, 11:29:49 AM »
Hi, I am by no means an expert and I am sure other members with a lot more knowledge than me will help you out, but a few things I would like to know.. do you  know what % water your dough has in it?
What flour are you using?
Do you try the windowpane test straight after mixing?

Personally, I used to mix for a long time, my latest mixes have been around the 5-6minute mark and I have been using a 3day cold ferment, I feel my dough is super elastic and it's very hard to make it rip.

Paul
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 11:47:08 AM by brayshaw »

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2010, 08:36:40 PM »
I am using Pillsbury Bread Flour.

I tried the windowpane test after the dough had been in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Offline sear

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 366
  • Age: 31
  • Location: ny
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2010, 09:31:37 AM »
did you get a stone yet ? (20$)

you could be over kneading and or over fermenting.

weighing your ingredients also helps alot. (scale - 10-20$)

gotta pay to play, thankfully pizza making is a relatively cheap sport....

Offline tronester

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2012, 11:28:08 AM »
I am making pacoasts recipe again today.  I added a teaspoon and a half of olive oil and 4 so of wheat gluten.  After thinking about it, that may not have been the best idea.  It's very tacky this time.

Offline patdakat345

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 58
Re: Crust never turns out right.
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2012, 05:37:27 AM »
I get the feeling that your measurements are still volume rather than by weight. I would recommend the on-line calculator so that proportionally you can vary the ingredients.
That way you will be consistent from pizza to pizza once you find what works for you.

pat


 

pizzapan