Author Topic: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right  (Read 5354 times)

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Offline a pizza cu a Pumarola

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Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« on: October 15, 2009, 01:05:34 PM »
I am turning to this forum for some help. This is my recipe for making Neapolitan pizzas:

1kg of Caputo 00 flour (100%)
4 grams of fresh brewers yeast (0.4%)
20 grams of salt (2%)
580 grams of water (58%)

I tried some with higher hydration and it did not seem right to me since it was very sticky but please correct the recipe if your think it needs fine tuning.

I hand knead the dough. I start by warming the full quantity of water to luke warm (I do this just by feel - should I be using a thermometer to get it to a specific temperature?) and then proceed to use a small amount of this luke warm water to dissolve my fresh brewers yeast. I also use a small quantity of luke warm water to dissolve the salt separately.
I now begin by adding the dissolved yeast to the flour and then slowly start to introduce more water and flour a bit at a time. Throughout this process I add the dissolved salt as well. Once all the water, salt, and yeast has been added I continue to hand knead the dough until it's smooth and silky.
At this point I let it bulk rise at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes but I never can get it to double in size.
After the 60 to 90 minute bulk rise I form individual dough balls weighing approximately 250 grams each. Once completed I put the dough balls into a plastic container and seal it with a lid and put them into the fridge for 48 to 72 hours.
Once ready to bake, I remove the dough balls from the fridge 1 to 2 hours prior and let them come to room temperature.

The above is my recipe and dough making method. Now for my questions:

1) The bulk dough ball does not "double" in size during the room temperature rise period. Can my yeast quantity be too low or am I adding the salt at the wrong time? Or possibly my water temperature is too cold?
2) The refrigerated 250 gram dough balls do not rise at all even after 72 hours in the fridge. The dough ball does tend to flatten and spread out after 48 hours. Is this normal or correct that it does not rise but rather becomes flat?
3) Removing the dough ball is difficult as it sticks to the plastic container. After fighting to pry it off the dough ball deflates. Should I be putting some flour in my plastic container prior to placing the dough balls in it?
4) Once I finally get the sticky dough balls out of the plastic container I am very unsuccessful at making a round dough disk. The dough is somewhat sticky and difficult to stretch out. I tried using more flour but it did not help. How do the pros in the YouTube videos get the dough to become a perfect round in seconds without it sticking and shrinking?

I have no problem getting it to spring in the oven but I relate the good oven spring to my high bake temperature (700F - 900F)

These are my problems - any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated since I have tried many things with no success.

Thanks for your time in reading my lengthy post.

Robert


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 01:45:48 PM »
Do you really mean "brewers yeast". I've always though of that for making beer and as a nutritional supplement and not for baking:

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/brewers-yeast-000288.htm

I understand yeast goes by different names in different countries. Can you clarify exactly what you are using? Photo of the package? Thanks.


Offline a pizza cu a Pumarola

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 02:31:59 PM »
That's what they write on the label but then again the label is made in house by them - it's just a little sticker they put on. I buy it from a local bread shop and my understanding is that this is the yeast they use to make their bread which comes in fairly large bricks. The bread shop then cuts it into smaller pieces and sells it to their customers. The cost is very low - I believe the last time I bought about 50 grams it cost 75 cents.
Other local Italian shops around here do the same thing, they sell the same yeast and label it Brewers Yeast but you are correct I am not sure that it is indeed brewers yeast.
Would it make a difference if it's brewers yeast or bakers yeast for the type of Pizza I am trying to obtain, namely Neapolitan style? Is there a particular yeast that must be used to make Neapolitan style pizza?

Thanks
Robert

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2009, 03:06:45 PM »

Would it make a difference if it's brewers yeast or bakers yeast for the type of Pizza I am trying to obtain, namely Neapolitan style? Is there a particular yeast that must be used to make Neapolitan style pizza?



According to marco:

Quote
There is no arguement that a properly fermented pizza dough with wild yeast (crisceto) would be superior to the equivalent made with commercial yeats (by the way S. Cervisae in Italy is called beer yeast, it does not mean is the one used in beer production).


A number us of here use the Italian starters from sourdo.com

Offline a pizza cu a Pumarola

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 07:36:30 PM »
Are you refering to the Italian culture on that site for $16.00? If this is the best we can get outside of Naples I am ready to place my order and try it out.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 07:55:02 PM »
Depending on your skill level, you might want to consider mastering a dough that consists solely of flour, water, salt, and commercial yeast before making the leap to doughs with starters. 

Yes, the 2 Italian cultures you cite might not only be the best outside of Naples, in the right hands, they might be the best anywhere. Marco (the guy who provided the Italian cultures to sourdo.com) has mentioned a secret culture he is reserving for his own use that could be better. And pftaylor has captured a culture off the coast of Tampa that might be killer. So who knows what the "best" is, but 95% of all cultures are better than 99% of all pizza makers.  :D


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 08:00:30 PM »
Robert,

I have some thoughts on your dough formulation and technique but before expressing them can you tell me where you got the recipe you posted?

Peter

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 09:58:33 PM »
percentages look good to me? yes , I had the same concern originally with the flatness.
I was up to 68% a few time but took it down to 58% this weekend after reading several posts and I was very happy with the way the dough performed .I also did a 24 hr room temp 10 hrs at 65 then 10 hrs Garage at about 50 degrees the 5 more at room temp for the first time. I used to let sit out for 1-2 hrs then into fridge for 24. never again! and as you mentioned very little rise definitely not double! I will go room temp from now on
john
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Offline a pizza cu a Pumarola

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2009, 10:12:58 PM »
Robert,

I have some thoughts on your dough formulation and technique but before expressing them can you tell me where you got the recipe you posted?

Peter

Peter - I actually came up with it from looking at a series of internet posts. I reserched Neapolitan dough recipes online and then took an average of them to come up with the one I posted. I had the oportunity to work in a pizzeria in Naples for a day this summer since my cousin in Italy has a friend that owns a pizzeria in Naples but my little guy fell ill and I lost the chance.

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2009, 09:07:20 AM »
Robert,

The reason why I asked you where you got your dough recipe is that I am not aware of any reason why the dough should double in 60-90 minutes at room temperature. However, if that is your objective, and assuming that your yeast is fresh yeast, also known as cake, wet or compressed yeast, I don't believe that you can do it using only 0.40% fresh yeast. You would perhaps need many multiples of that and it will also depend on your water temperature (which you don't want to get too high above 105 degrees F when using fresh yeast) and also on the room temperature where you live. However, if you increase the amount of yeast, that can have the effect of shortening the overall fermentation time, including the time the dough spends in the refrigerator. That may mean having to use the dough sooner than you would like.

If you read what others have done on the forum with the Neapolitan style, you will see that there are many fermentation options. These include fermenting the dough entirely and completely at room temperature, which is the classic method used by professionals in Naples; cold fermenting the dough, which is popular among many professional pizza operators in the U.S.; or a combination of room temperature fermentation and cold fermentation, which is also a popular method used by professionals in the U.S. However, ideally, in each case, you want to select the amount of yeast and control temperatures to yield the optimum results. You may also have to adjust the warm-up time before using the dough to be consistent and compatible with the fermentation methods and times used. You can't really average several recipes. I have seen some "one size fits all" dough recipes that purport to allow one to use the same recipe for either room temperature fermentation or cold fermentation, or possibly some combination of both, but I don't personally subscribe to such recipes because they require very close monitoring of the dough to be sure that it ferments properly and is usable at the desired time. Skilled pizza dough makers know how to deal with this problem but novices or casual pizza makers who do not fully understand the biochemistry and physics of dough often end up with poor outcomes.

I'd like to suggest that you read a series of posts starting at Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8104.msg69772.html#msg69772. In that series of posts, you will see examples of cold fermented Neapolitan doughs and results, and you will find many links (see Reply 13, for example) to related topics that you might find helpful in your case, even if only to give you an idea as to the options available to you and some of the theoretical underpinnings of the Neapolitan style dough.

I have also reviewed your kneading method. You use the bench method. I personally prefer the bowl method, which I think saves steps over the bench method. For example, the way I would hand knead the dough using your recipe, I would start by warming the water to about 105 degrees F and place it into a bowl. I use a thermometer to measure the water temperature, and suggest that you do the same, even if you decide to stick with your current method. I would then add the salt to the bowl and stir to completely dissolve (about 30-60 seconds). You don't want to add the fresh yeast until the salt is completely dissolved. Once the salt is dissolved, you can crumble the fresh yeast into the bowl and stir to dissolve. Up to this point, that is the method that is typically used by professionals in Naples. As soon as the yeast is hydrated in the bowl, I would then add the flour gradually until it is no longer easy to incorporate more flour using a whisk or sturdy wooden spoon. At that point, I would empty the contents of the bowl onto a lightly-floured work surface and continue to add and knead in the remaining flour. I should add at this point that if it is desired to extend the fermentation time, the water can be used cool or cold. However, I would not add the yeast to water that is cold because it does not like to be shocked. In this case, I would crumble the yeast into the flour.

If I were to use the bench method, as you have been using with your dough recipe, I would compact some of the steps by adding the entire amount of water (warm or cold) to a bowl, adding the salt and stirring to dissolve, and crumbling the fresh yeast into the flour (to avoid having the yeast exposed to the brine too long). The rest of the steps are as you have been using.

With respect to your specific questions that have not already been addressed above, yes, it is quite common for dough balls to flatten out during fermentation. That flattening often disguises the fact that the dough is actually rising. All else being equal, the flattening or slumping of dough balls will increase with increases in hydration. You will also get the same effect if the dough has overfermented. As to the dough balls sticking to your plastic storage containers, different people have different solutions to that problem. Some dust the container and dough balls and some lightly oil the container and dough balls. For some techniques for the preparation and handling of Neapolitan-style pizza dough, you might want to take a look at the Anthony Mangieri video at http://www.divisionofsafety.com/NATURALLYRISEN/. In that video, Anthony uses natural leavening and only room temperature fermentation, but the dough handling procedures are essentially the same using commercial yeast.

Peter





Offline a pizza cu a Pumarola

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2009, 04:03:11 PM »
Peter - thanks for taking the time to be so elaborate and providing such well explained information. I have tried fermenting the dough entirely at room temperature where the first step was to let the bulk dough ball ferment for 60 to 90 minutes at 74F and then I made the individual dough balls and I let those ferment for 12 to 14 hours at 68F. This method yielded dough that was difficult to stretch and overly elastic.
I then tried the same bulk rise temperature and time as above but once I made the dough balls I immediately placed them in the fridge for 48-72 hours. I found that this helped the elasticity problem a little but still not enough.
In both instances (room temperature and cold ferment) I did not alter the recipe and thus I am not sure what would be the ratio or percentage of yeast to be used for both fermentations.
If I may ask a few more questions; What are the recommended yeast percentages for cold ferment and room temperature ferment? Will getting the correct yeast percentage make my dough more workable and less elastic? What contributes to difficulties in forming a dough disk that shrinks repeatedly when formed?

I realize that I should not work the dough before shaping as the gluten will reactive and thus the dough will become one big elastic but I am very gentle in handling the dough ball except for the fighting that goes on when I am trying to un-stick it from the plastic tray.

I will be making another batch either tonight or tomorrow and I will start to use your recommendations. Please advise if you think my hydration is too low at 58%.

Once again thanks for your time and input and I will be sure to read the links you posted when I get home this evening.

Robert

Offline pizzaboyfan

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2009, 04:38:01 PM »
I use a Misto with cannola oil to put a VERY light coating, to prevent the balls from sticking.
Any small amount of residual oil, if any, will wind up on the top of the pie (under the sauce and toppings when the balls are inverted to make the pie, so crust burning is not a problem.
To make my life easy, I use these plastic drawers from Lowes to hold the dough balls while fermenting.

Perry

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2009, 05:15:03 PM »
Robert,

I'm not sure why the dough that you fermented entirely at room temperature exhibited excessive elasticity, even with the small amount of yeast you used that can sometimes lead to an underfermented dough with poor handling qualities. Also, your salt level is not so high as to slow down the fermentation process and lead to an increase in elasticity, and you said that you handled the dough gently so as not to disturb the gluten structure. Your hydration value for the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour is quite normal, as you will note from Reply 17 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2951.msg25328/topicseen.html#msg25328. Usually, Neapolitan style doughs have longer bulk ferments and shorter individual dough ball ferments, both at ambient room temperature. You might try that approach for a future room temperature dough. I think that you can also increase the hydration by a few percent to see if that helps produce a finished dough that is less elastic than you have experienced.

It is hard to generalize about yeast levels in relation to fermentation temperatures and times but it is admittedly easier to do with a dough, like yours, that doesn't have to contend with the effects of sugar or oil or excessive salt levels. In your case, if you want to have the dough double within an hour or two at a room temperature of around 68-74 degrees F, I think you would need about 2% fresh yeast and a water temperature that will yield a finished dough temperature of around 85-90 degrees F. In my opinion, it is a more difficult case when you are talking about a cold fermentation Neapolitan dough application because the dough may benefit from higher yeast levels than normal (but not as high as for the room temperature fermentation application) and the dough may also benefit from a period of room temperature fermentation before refrigerating. On this score, you may want to take a look at the links and posts I earlier referenced that discuss such applications.

I neglected to ask you earlier, but I estimate that the dough recipe you posted makes 1604 grams of dough, or around 56.58 ounces (about 3.54 pounds). Can you tell me how long you kneaded such a dough batch by hand?

Peter

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2009, 07:48:38 PM »
  it may take more than two hours for your dough to warm up. i put dough out at 3:pm and used it at 8:pm and it was still a little cold . the room temp was about 70 degrees. search this section there are a lot of demonstrations on stretching that will help you.also .if you get the dough close to round once you top it and put it on your peel it will be easier to pull on the sides to round it. i have seen a lot of the pros do it this way.

Offline a pizza cu a Pumarola

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2009, 06:15:48 PM »
Peter - I just made another batch of dough and closely followed your kneading suggestions. With the recipe I posted above I ended up with a bulk dough ball weight of 1578 grams and the temperature of the dough was taken immediately after kneeding and was 80 degrees F.
I will now allow it to ferment at room temperature (70F-75F) for 60 to 90 minutes and then proceed to make my individual dough balls. I will let those ferment for approximately 18 hours at around 68 to 70 degrees F. I will be sure to flour the plastic container prior to putting the dough balls in to avoid sticking as in the past.

Hopefully I will have success at a dough that is nonelastic as this is always my most difficult task.

I'll keep you posted and include pictures if things turn out.

Thanks
Robert

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2009, 06:49:50 PM »
Robert,

Can you tell me how long you hand kneaded the most recent dough batch, and the last one as well?

Peter

Offline a pizza cu a Pumarola

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2009, 09:26:43 PM »
Peter - I did not time my second to last batch but the total knead time for my last batch which I made tonight was 40 to 45 min but this was from start to finish. In other words it was from when I began first putting the flour into the water. I went ahead and started in a bowl as suggested and when it was difficult to work the dough I transfered it to a table where I continued to add the remainder of the flour.
When you state knead time to you actually mean after the flour is fully incorporated?

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2009, 09:41:00 PM »
When you state knead time to you actually mean after the flour is fully incorporated?

Robert,

Generally, yes. I usually draw a distinction between mixing, where there is not a lot of gluten development, if any, and kneading, during which all or the bulk of the gluten development occurs.

Peter

Offline a pizza cu a Pumarola

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2009, 09:47:51 PM »
Peter - I did not verify the actual kneading time but if I were to guess I would say 8 to 10 minuits. What is the recommended time and what happens when that ideal time is shortened?

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Re: Neapolitan Dough - just can't seem to get it right
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2009, 10:42:47 PM »
I did not verify the actual kneading time but if I were to guess I would say 8 to 10 minuits. What is the recommended time and what happens when that ideal time is shortened?


Robert,

The Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour is a relatively low protein flour with less gluten development characteristics than most pizza flours. That means that it will usually take a longer knead time to fully develop the gluten. In fact, if you look at the VPN guidelines document at http://www.fornobravo.com/vera_pizza_napoletana/VPN_spec.html, you will see that that document suggests a mixing time of 10 minutes and a knead time of 20 minutes. That is for a dough batch that is around 6 1/4 pounds and kneaded in an Italian mixer at low speed. Italian mixers, such as the diving arm or fork mixers, are gentler on the dough than planetary mixers that are most commonly used in the U.S. Even using an Italian mixer, the knead times can vary, as noted by pizzanapoletana (Marco) at Reply 164 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg13809/topicseen.html#msg13809.

Since I don't work with large dough batch sizes, I can't tell you how to translate the VPN suggested knead times, or Marco's recommendations, to hand knead times for your particular dough batch size. There are also differences of opinion on what underkneading a dough (or overkneading it) will have on the finished product. You will see what I mean if you take a look at this thread devoted to that topic: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9027.0.html. What I believe helps you in your case is that you have a high temperature heat source to bake your pizzas. That aspect is also discussed in the last thread referenced.

Peter


 

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