Author Topic: Airy crust  (Read 1602 times)

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brayshaw

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Airy crust
« on: December 09, 2009, 11:05:10 AM »
Hi guys and girls,

I was wondering if there if anyone would be able to give me advice on how to get more air into my crusts? This is my dough method: flour 100%, tap-cold water 61%, sea salt 2% and IDY 0.50%. I then mix using the Varasano method and cold rise for 24hours, I then get it out of the fridge 3-4hours before going into the oven on a pizza stone(240 degrees C for about 8minutes then a minute or so under a hot grill) but I feel that my crust is always too dense and would love your advice on how I can possibly get more air into it?

Many thanks in advance.

Brayshaw


Offline s00da

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 11:28:12 AM »
Hi Brashyaw,

Could you also describe the following:
 1- How much dough expansion do you get after the 24 hours cold rise?
 2- How easy is it to open the dough to a skin? elasticity/extensibility. Do you see bubbles when it's open?
 3- Do you open the dough by hand or using a pin?
 4- oven spring? how much rise do you get in the rim of the pizza?
 5- crust coloring.
 6- crust texture. too chewy? or normal?

As a side note, I notice that you don't use oil in your dough and your baking temperature is too low for such formula. You might want to consider oil. It will help your final product become more tender and enhances flavor.

Saad

Offline ThunderStik

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 11:30:33 AM »
Brayshaw, I have played around with this quite a bit and have figured out that it comes down to just a few things. Some may disagree but I have done experiments strictly to see the effects.

I have used many different recipes, flours,ingredients,mix methods, fermentation times and bake temperatures, and it seems a few things hold true.

1) A properly fermented dough. What I mean by this is make sure your dough has been fermented long enough. With your yeast% I would probably drag that out to at 2-3 days, pending your fridge temps.

2) Letting your dough come up to a good temp before using. I dont have a set temp or time but usually its around 3 hours. You should see the dough start to rise. This gets the yeast active again and produces that good gas that you want in the dough.

3) Handling technique.  Ball your dough before you put it in the fridge and DO NOT re-knead the dough before shaping the skin. This mangles the developed dough structure and will ruin the texture that you are looking for.


I will pull a quote from another post I made on the subject.

"First the time in which you let the dough warm up can have a large effect on the finished crust.

When you start to form the skin if you just start pressing it flat you will evenly distribute the gasses through the skin. If you start working the very center of the ball first and work from the center out you force all the built up gasses to the outer edges, which become the rim. Once you can get all that gas evenly to the rim your golden. Just add the hot stone.

I work from the center out pressing lightly with my knuckles until I can get it big enough to fly it a bit. But what I dont do is disturb the rim... at all.

If a person uses a rolling pin you will get a flatter less puffy rim.

The same with lower/higher temps. In my opinion you are fighting the time it takes for the very outside skin of the rim to become hard/crusty and non-elastic with how fast you heat up the gasses inside the skin.

The faster you can heat up those gasses, the faster they will expand. If they expand faster than the skin of the crust can solidify you will get a bubble or a pocket.

If you can heat up the gasses really fast you get alot of expansion before the outside can solidify and you get nice big holes.  

At least thats my theory for now. Either way it seems to work for me."

4) A screamin hot stone that is properly pre-heated. At 240C your stone is not near hot enough to attain the results your looking for. I have done tests with the same exact dough and only changed the oven temps. The results are eye opening, in a home environment "the hotter the better". Crank that oven up all the way and pay close attention. You will see a difference.


Do these things and you will see a good improvement in the "airiness" of your crusts. Try it out and report your results. This of course is just my opinion, but it works for me.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 11:08:49 AM by ThunderStik »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 12:16:09 PM »
brayshaw,

In addition to the other information requested, please indicate at which rack position of your oven you are placing your pizza stone and also how long you are preheating your pizza stone.

Peter

Offline pizzaboyfan

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 02:15:29 PM »
<,When you start to form the skin if you just start pressing it flat you will evenly distribute the gasses through the skin. If you start working the very center of the ball first and work from the center out you force all the built up gasses to the outer edges, which become the rim. Once you can get all that gas evenly to the rim your golden. >

Thanks for that !

brayshaw

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 05:55:30 AM »
Thanks for all your replys and very helpful as usual! :-)

Sooda here are the answers to the questions you asked me:




 1- How much dough expansion do you get after the 24 hours cold rise?
It has risen a bit when I take it from the fridge, maybe 20-30% thats just a guess.

 2- How easy is it to open the dough to a skin? elasticity/extensibility. Do you see bubbles when it's open?
It is very easy to handle and I do see bubbles.

 3- Do you open the dough by hand or using a pin?
I open the dough by hand and i never touch the crust area.

 4- oven spring? how much rise do you get in the rim of the pizza?
I would guess at about 50%.
 5- crust coloring.
The crust gets very little color, i usually have to finish the pizza off under the grill to crisp up the crust and get some color on there.

 6- crust texture. too chewy? or normal?
It is a bit too chewy for my liking.



Thunderstik:
Thankyou for the advice, my problem is that 240 degrees is the max temp i can get from my oven...is it worth me using my seperate grill to get the stone screaming hot before putting it back in the oven and putting the pizza on it? could the stone crack under the grill?



Pete-zza:
I pre-heat my oven for about 90mins before baking a pizza and I put the stone directly on the oven floor.


Pizzaboyfan:
I am at least doing that right! thanks for the advice buddy and thats what i'm doing at the moment.

Once again, thanks for all the advice from you all... it's very appreciated!

Thanks,

Brayshaw

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 09:49:12 AM »
brayshaw,

I know from what you have said in another thread that you are in the UK and that you have been using one of the Sainsbury flours. Can you tell me which of the Sainsbury flours you are using?

As you have noted, I think one of your problems is the low maximum oven temperature, 240 degrees C (464 degrees F). That alone will limit the oven spring. It has also perhaps induced you to use the grill (broiler) to get more color. However, that can sometimes dry out the rim of the pizza too much and make it chewier and crispier than normal. Have you tried just raising the pizza in the oven toward the end of the bake without the grill being on? Unless your flour is a weak flour (low protein), there should be plenty of heat at the top of the oven to brown the crust without using the grill.

Pending information on your specific flour, I think that Saad's suggestion to use some oil in the dough makes sense. The oil helps keep the moisture in the dough from escaping during the bake and should result in a fairly soft crust and crumb. I think I would consider using about 2-3% oil if you can't find another solution. Ultimately, we may also want to take another look at your hydration once we know more about your flour.

Peter

brayshaw

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2009, 10:03:46 AM »
brayshaw,

I know from what you have said in another thread that you are in the UK and that you have been using one of the Sainsbury flours. Can you tell me which of the Sainsbury flours you are using?

As you have noted, I think one of your problems is the low maximum oven temperature, 240 degrees C (464 degrees F). That alone will limit the oven spring. It has also perhaps induced you to use the grill (broiler) to get more color. However, that can sometimes dry out the rim of the pizza too much and make it chewier and crispier than normal. Have you tried just raising the pizza in the oven toward the end of the bake without the grill being on? Unless your flour is a weak flour (low protein), there should be plenty of heat at the top of the oven to brown the crust without using the grill.

Pending information on your specific flour, I think that Saad's suggestion to use some oil in the dough makes sense. The oil helps keep the moisture in the dough from escaping during the bake and should result in a fairly soft crust and crumb. I think I would consider using about 2-3% oil if you can't find another solution. Ultimately, we may also want to take another look at your hydration once we know more about your flour.

Peter

Thanks for the reply Pete-zza, this is the flour I but from Sainsburys:
http://www.allinsonflour.co.uk/products/strong-white-bread-flour.html
I will add the oil to my recipe next time I make dough.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2009, 10:13:02 AM »
brayshaw,

Another possibility is to try this flour if you can locate some: http://www.allinsonflour.co.uk/products/premium-white-very-strong-bread-flour.html. With that flour, you can increase the hydration by a few percent, to about 63%. That should give you a more open and airy crust and crumb and more crust color as well. You can still use some oil if you'd like.

Please keep us informed of your progress.

Peter

Offline ThunderStik

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2009, 11:04:55 AM »
brayshaw,

               Another thing you might try and this is just a theory (also a pain in the butt but it might be worth a shot). I dont know if your using a screen but if you are try forming your skin and letting it set for a while. This should allow the dough to continue to rise for a while. I know once the skin is up to temp it will start to rise at a good rate. At that point you can throw it in the oven.

THis should get you a good head start on the gasses expanding in the dough. You can do this with a peel also you just have to make sure it doesnt stick.

As said before, the oil is also a good idea.
I KNOW MORE ABOUT PIZZA THAN ANYBODY!!!!!!!

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Offline s00da

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Re: Airy crust
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2009, 12:48:04 PM »
1- How much dough expansion do you get after the 24 hours cold rise?
It has risen a bit when I take it from the fridge, maybe 20-30% thats just a guess.

 2- How easy is it to open the dough to a skin? elasticity/extensibility. Do you see bubbles when it's open?
It is very easy to handle and I do see bubbles.

 3- Do you open the dough by hand or using a pin?
I open the dough by hand and i never touch the crust area.

 4- oven spring? how much rise do you get in the rim of the pizza?
I would guess at about 50%.
 5- crust coloring.
The crust gets very little color, i usually have to finish the pizza off under the grill to crisp up the crust and get some color on there.

 6- crust texture. too chewy? or normal?
It is a bit too chewy for my liking.

The set of questions were to identify if you had any fermentation problems which apparently is not the case. The expansion, dough-handling properties and bubbling are all good signs of a well fermented dough. You dough opening technique is also appropriate that it preserves the gas inside the dough before baking.

Comparing the properties of the dough you provided to the oven-spring and coloring your getting; it seems, and like Pete suggested to be caused by the low bake temperature. Of course ThunderStik already explained it in details:

The same with lower/higher temps. In my opinion you are fighting the time it takes for the very outside skin of the rim to become hard/crusty and non-elastic with how fast you heat up the gasses inside the skin.

The faster you can heat up those gasses, the faster they will expand. If they expand faster than the skin of the crust can solidify you will get a bubble or a pocket.

If you can heat up the gasses really fast you get alot of expansion before the outside can solidify and you get nice big holes.  

At least thats my theory for now. Either way it seems to work for me."

4) A screamin hot stone that is properly pre-heated. At 240C your stone is not near hot enough to attain the results your looking for. I have done tests with the same exact dough and only changed the oven temps. The results are eye opening, in a home environment "the hotter the better". Crank that oven up all the way and pay close attention. You will see a difference.

If you cannot get more heat out of your oven like Thunder recommended then your current practical option is increasing dough hydration and adding oil as Pete recommended. Hydration will open up the crumb and oil will make a softer pizza.

Saad