Author Topic: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!  (Read 3227 times)

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Offline maetz

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First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« on: January 02, 2010, 10:12:34 PM »
Just wanted to drop a post and thank everyone who has contributed to this forum.  I've longed for quite some time to make a cracker crust pizza at home, but have previously failed at my own attempts.  My previous attempts have revolved around a pizza stone and a higher hydration dough.  I was a complete amateur, not allowing my dough long enough to develop, let alone even rise.  I hadn't tried in quite some time and then a few weeks ago I came across this forum and it gave me a new inspiration to try again, using the low hydration dough's that have been discussed.  I want to specifically thank Pete-zza as your posts have been incredibly informative and I have specifically followed your modified DKM recipe at Reply #16 at a topic it won't allow me to link to :(

In preparation, I purchased two pre-seasoned 15" cutter pans from pizzatools.com.  This company seems really nice.  I spoke to them via email about shipping and they were very helpful.

I also purchased a kitchen scale, the My Weigh KD-7000 from Amazon.com for $37.48.  I've never owned a kitchen scale, but so far this seems to work great.

I haven't ordered a dough docker, I'll see how my attempts at the recipe go.  If all goes well, maybe I'll pick up a dough docker from pizzatools.com, in general, dockers seem kinda of pricey at $35.  If anyone has any recommendations in this area, I'm open to it.

Following the bakers percentages from the above mentioned modified DKM recipe, yielding two 16" dough balls at .06 thickness factor resulted in the following weights per dough ball:

Flour (100%):
Water (36%):
IDY (1%):
Salt (1.75%):
Oil (3.5%):
Sugar (1.2%):
Total (143.45%):
238.42 g  |  8.41 oz | 0.53 lbs
85.83 g  |  3.03 oz | 0.19 lbs
2.38 g | 0.08 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.79 tsp | 0.26 tbsp
4.17 g | 0.15 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.87 tsp | 0.29 tbsp
8.34 g | 0.29 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.85 tsp | 0.62 tbsp
2.86 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.72 tsp | 0.24 tbsp
342.01 g | 12.06 oz | 0.75 lbs | TF = 0.06

I made two dough balls and after cutting the skin, resulted in one dough ball at 7.37 ounces and the other at 7.94 ounces.  If I've understood the thickness factor calculation, that results in .042 and .045 respectively.  I'm somewhat concerns that either A) I've done the calculation wrong or B) I have too thin of pizza skin.  Either way, I guess I'll see how it goes.

I don't have a proofer, so I let my dough rise over night at room temperature.  I don't feel that it doubled in size, so I'm also somewhat concerned about what impact this will have on the end result.  Before trying to roll out the dough, I put the dough in a 120 degree oven for about 20 minutes to make it more workable.  This seemed to work really well.  I rolled out the skins and then folded them into quarters and put them into the refrigerator.  I will be baking the pizzas tomorrow night. 

I plan to lightly oil the cutter pans and par-bake before topping. I'm going to make two different pizzas.  The first will be a BBQ Chicken Pizza and the second will be a Capicola Ham pizza, both with regular low-moisture mozz.

I'll see if I can come up with some pictures to do you all proud!

Wish me luck!



Online Pete-zza

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 11:00:03 AM »
maetz,

I believe the post you were trying to link to is Reply 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49138.html#msg49138. Once you reach five posts, you should be able to post links in future posts.

With respect to the thickness factor calculations, can you tell me what pizza sizes you used with the 7.37 and 7.94 ounce dough balls?

Until you decide whether to get a dough docker you can use a kitchen fork to "dock" the skins. A commercial dough docker is a better tool to use because it does not completely pierce the skins. If you do a Google search using the terms "dough docker", you will find a ton of places that sell them. My dough docker looks like the one shown at http://www.webstaurantstore.com/dough-docker-heavy-duty/124DD5704.html. It is a solid and very durable docker. However, there are many other types and versions that should also work well. Prices vary quite widely from one seller to another, so you might do some price comparisons to find the best price overall, including shipping. 

I look forward to your results. With your digital scale and cutter pans, I think you are now well equipped to make some good cracker type pizzas.

Peter

Offline maetz

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 04:55:27 PM »
Hi Peter,

Thanks for the reply.

I cut the skin to the size of the 15" cutter pan, so should be right about 15".  I weight the dough after I cut them to size.

My calculation was TF = 7.37 / (3.1415 * 7.5 * 7.5).

Also, thanks for the info on the dough docker, that's definitely interesting to know, I didn't realize that they don't dock completely through the dough.

We'll see how the fork works...

Any thoughts on the fact that my dough didn't rise to double?  In fact, although I didn't take a picture first, it was hard to tell any noticeable rise.  I added the yeast to the dry ingredients and then used 130 degree water when  making the dough.  Maybe I should have added the yeast to the water and sugar to get it started?

Maybe room temperature is not warm enough to get a decent rise with such a low hydration dough?

Thanks again!

About 3 more hours until pizza time!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 05:27:30 PM »
maetz,

You used the correct expression to calculate the thickness factor. However, when I use the expanded dough calculating tool (at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html) with a particular thickness factor for a cracker-style pizza, I usually enter a pizza size in the tool that is one inch more than the desired final skin size. For example, if I want to make a 15" pizza size, I use 16" in the tool. Maybe that is what you did also. But I then use most of the dough to form the skin, with maybe an inch or so as scrap. It looks like you ended up with more scrap. That is why your thickness factor ended up less than 0.06.

Once I started using the proofing box to warm up the dough, I paid less attention to the degree of rise of the dough. The reason is that I was going to roll out the dough anyway and, in so doing, I would force out most of the gasses in the dough, leaving me with a flat and rather dense skin. I was relying on the high amount of yeast more so for crust flavor purposes than for dough expansion purposes. If you did not apply heat to your dough, you would be relying more on room temperature. If it is cool where you live, that would restrain dough expansion, as would the relatively low hydration of the dough. If you added the 130 degrees F water after you added the IDY to the flour, you should have been OK (that is, you would not have harmed the yeast or its performance). There would be no need to rehydrate the IDY but if you chose to do so, you would have to use a much lower water temperature for rehydration purposes.

If you did everything correctly, I wouldn't worry too much about the degree of rise of the dough. You may end up with a thinner crust because of the amount of dough you used to make your skins but that is something that can be corrected next time if you find that the finished crusts are too thin and crispy. Who knows? You may even like the thinner, crispier crust.

Peter

Offline maetz

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2010, 11:24:29 PM »
Wow, I have to say I'm very excited by the results of my first attempt. 

Here's a summary of what I thought of the results:

PROS:
1) The "well done" crust and cheese is EXACTLY how my wife and I like our pizza.  We love our cheese to be nice and well done.
2) Each cut and bite was nice and crispy.
3) I felt the crust had very good flavor
4) I felt the crust was done nicely on the bottom, although could possibly be done a tad more (maybe more pre-oil? I used a fine rubbed layer of olive oil)

CONS:
1) I think my crust was a tad too thin (although my wife actually thinks she prefers it that way)
2) I think the thinner crust resulted in less "cracker" layers, you know those little bubbles that form with a thin crust on each side

Next time I'll try a bit thicker crust (ie .06 thickness factor as opposed to my resultant .04 TF)

My next post contains the photos.

Offline maetz

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2010, 12:02:39 AM »
Here are the pictures:

Offline maetz

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2010, 12:03:29 AM »
After Baking:

Offline maetz

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2010, 12:03:59 AM »
I also did a Capicola Ham:

Online Pete-zza

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2010, 10:28:18 AM »
maetz,

It looks like you are well on your way. Congratulations and keep the photos coming.

You might sometime also try covering the entire pizza with cheese and toppings, right to the outer edge. The cutter pan lets you do this.

Peter

Offline BTB

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2010, 10:31:05 AM »
Maetz,

Beautiful pictures and many hoorays on your cracker crust creations.  Pizzas looked great.   I think use of a cutter pan is the best way to make a thin cracker crust pizzas like you did.  I'm glad you stayed with the salt addition at 1.75%.  That -- surprisingly -- gives much more flavor to this crust that some consider bland and not very tasty without it.  And for cracker crust, the 1% range for yeast is about right, and some might even suggest less.

How were you able to roll the dough out so thin?  That is the hardest part to making a thin crust with so very little hydration.  But your pictures looked so perfect.

As an aside, I'm seeing cracker crust recipes now that use baking powder instead of yeast and even adding a little cornstarch in lieu of some of the flour. 

Like Peter said, congratulations and keep the photos coming. 
                                                                         :D      --BTB


Offline maetz

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 07:59:48 PM »
Hey BTB, thanks for the reply and compliments on the pics.

As far as getting the crust so thin, I just used a rolling pin, nothing too specific really.  I did warm the dough in a 120 degree oven for about 20 minutes or so.

I had warmed both crusts at the same time, the first was definitely easier to roll out.  I'm guessing that was the key, the warm dough.

I'll be anxious to try again and NOT roll it out so thin :)

Talk to you soon!

-Jason

Offline maetz

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Re: First Cracker Attempt - Thanks for the Great Forum!
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2010, 10:10:34 PM »
2nd attempt on it's way...just made the dough tonight.

Hoping to make pies on Saturday.

Now I need to decide on what toppings...

Ideas?

Previously I used a standard low-moisture mozz...any other recommendations?

I'll do some reading to see what I can find and will keep you posted on what I decide.


 

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