Author Topic: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?  (Read 4051 times)

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Offline wizziebaldwin

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Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« on: January 05, 2010, 03:45:48 PM »
Hi all,

Yes, if you are wondering, the Moron is me.

For some reason (and it may be for lack of O2 in the brain) I can't make a decent N.Y. Style Pizza dough. I've been cooking for more than 50 years. I can make fruit/pudding pie crusts, Turkey's that are so moist you'd swear that they are under cooked, even when the temp is 10 degrees higher than the recommend level, cakes, smoked meats, meat balls ... all sorts of things. But, an excellent pizza dough still eludes me. That wonderful, bubbly, pillowy, stretchy dough just seems to be out of reach.

I grew up in Bloomfield, NJ with my Mom and stayed part time with my Dad in West Orange and was in the City almost every Friday. Then, in my 20's I moved to the barren Mid West; I lived out West and now I am out of country.

It's not like I have not tried about 20 recipes and watched about 30 videos and many other things.

In the end I wind up with something that is a closer to a Saltine Cracker than a good dough.

I found this site recently, so now I am going to ask the professionals.

What I am looking for is a step by step (for dummies) approach to making this dough.

I have a scale and I can weigh things in grams or ounces. I understand the principle behind baker percentages method where flour is 100% (I did say principle, I have no practical experience with it). I know that the word hydration means, I just don't know what effect more or less liquid has on the finished product. I understand the physical technique of kneading dough. I don't have a practical experience (the feel) that tells me when to stop. Can dough be over kneaded?

I have several handicaps.
1) The only electrical "gadget" I have is a 25 year old Sunbeam Le Chef Food processor with a well used blade.
2) I do not live in the USA anymore. This hampers my ability to get many ingredients.

Here's what I do have available to me.

INGREDIENTS:
I have three flours available to use: (Portion size is 100g)

SELECTA
Protein   9g
Fat   1g
Total Carbohydrate   76g
Dietary Fiber   1g
Sugar   1g
Salt   0g
Iron   20%
Folic Acid   100%

EL ROSAL
Protein   11g
Fat   1g
Total Carbohydrate   65g
Dietary Fiber   2g
Sugar   0g
Salt   0g
Iron   20%
Folic Acid   100%

MAX SELECT
Protein   9g
Fat   1g
Total Carbohydrate   76g
Dietary Fiber   1g
Sugar   1g
Salt   0g
Iron   20%
Folic Acid   100%

Here's a crazy question. If these flours are too low in protein can I go to a store that sells protein powder (for athletes training) and add some of that for extra protein? Is protein what is necessary to make gluten?

Extra virgin olive oil
Instant Yeast
Sugar
Salt

EQUIPMENT:
Stainless Steel Mixing bowls, wooden spoons, assorted pots and pans.

Alrighty then, is there anyone up for the challenge of teaching this dummy with the parts list I have just included?

I can mix the flours in any ratio if that will help.

What I am hoping for is a somewhat fool proof method that has the amounts (weights) and the precise procedure mixing and kneading.

I would like to master this before I die.

It has been a long time since I have had a good pizza.

So, from the bottom of my heart I thank anyone in advance that tries to help.

PS
A simple tangy pizza sauce would be nice too.


Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2010, 04:13:09 PM »
Where do you live now?

Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2010, 04:31:07 PM »
Thanks for the reply.

I live way south of the border where it is very warm and sunny today.

The ingredients that I have listed are the only ingredients I have available.

It is prohibitively expensive to have anything imported.


Online TXCraig1

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2010, 04:43:18 PM »
The 9% flours seem better suited to tortillas, but I would think you could coax a decent pie out of the El Rosal. Two questions:

What will you use to cook the pies and how long until you die?
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2010, 04:54:20 PM »
wizziebaldwin,

And what is the capacity of your food processor? Also, can you get vital wheat gluten where your are?

Peter

Offline Essen1

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2010, 05:00:06 PM »
Quote
What will you use to cook the pies and how long until you die?

How the hell is wizziebaldwin suppose to answer that question, TXCraig? Do you know when you're going to die?

Well, I hope no one's going to die soon, though.

Back to the subject...

Wizziebaldwin, I'd go with the flour that has the highest protein content and as Peter already hinted, add some VWG to it. The protein powder you mentioned won't be of any use, trust me.

You might want to check out this thread here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.0.html

It's a good start.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2010, 05:12:51 PM »
Actually I can answer the question to some extent.

I was in the Emergency room last November in the mid west. I had steadily gotten to the point where I simply could not catch my breath. I would get up from my chair to get a drink of water and I was breathing like I ran the 1000 Kilo race.

I went in to the ER said I was having trouble breathing and within seconds they had me all hooked up.

Long story short (that day) they diagnosed me with a)pneumonia b) congestive heart failure and c) Pulmonary Fibrosis (Not much is known other than once diagnosed a person generally lasts from 2 to 5 years)

Yeah, all in all it was not a good day. I don't have pneumonia anymore but i can tell you that just walking up a flight of stairs or a small hill has me heaving like a long distance runner.

Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2010, 05:17:52 PM »
Food processor is about 1.5 quarts (that's kinda pushing it)

as far as "vital wheat gluten" LOL ... hmmmmm ... let's see ... Well, folks, I'm gonna guess that that will be a stretch. I can look,  but I am not going to hold my breath.

I figure if I can't find Ricotta cheese anywhere in any store then gluten stuff is probably a no go.

I think I remember seeing some (and, yes the lack of 02, is not a joke) protein powder, but honestly i can't remember if that was here or in the USA.


Offline Essen1

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2010, 05:23:56 PM »
Actually I can answer the question to some extent.

I was in the Emergency room last November in the mid west. I had steadily gotten to the point where I simply could not catch my breath. I would get up from my chair to get a drink of water and I was breathing like I ran the 1000 Kilo race.

I went in to the ER said I was having trouble breathing and within seconds they had me all hooked up.

Long story short (that day) they diagnosed me with a)pneumonia b) congestive heart failure and c) Pulmonary Fibrosis (Not much is known other than once diagnosed a person generally lasts from 2 to 5 years)

Yeah, all in all it was not a good day. I don't have pneumonia anymore but i can tell you that just walking up a flight of stairs or a small hill has me heaving like a long distance runner.


Holy cow! I hope things will get better for you in the new year!

I don't know if you have family in the U.S. but if that's the case, they can always ship some VWG to you.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2010, 05:28:05 PM »
wizziebaldwin,

I think a better starting point for you may be this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.0.html. Whether your wish can be answered will depend on whether you have ingredients that will work, or can be made to work, and whether you have the right oven, food processor, and other related items, like a pizza stone. It would also help to know what pizza size you are after, and whether you prefer the thin "elite" NY style or the thicker NY "street" style.

I have had some experience with Mexican flours and they are not the best for the NY style. They have to be modified to have a fighting chance. I was in Mexico recently and I do not recall seeing vital wheat gluten in the supermarkets. I did see the Selecta flour, which I previously discussed at Reply 12 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5054.msg42928/topicseen.html#msg42928.

Peter

Offline Essen1

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2010, 05:54:12 PM »
Quote
I think a better starting point for you may be this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.0.html.

Peter,

I didn't even know that that thread existed  :-[

It is indeed a better starting point.
Mike

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scott123

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2010, 06:02:15 PM »
Quote
the barren Mid West

;D I'm from Morristown (and about a decade in Manhattan) but I went to school out in southern Illinois.  I know exactly what you're talking about.  There was one barely tolerable pizza place in downtown St. Louis (across the river), but other than that, forget about it.

How about Chinese take out? I went through serious Chinese take out withdrawals during my time in Illinois.

Regarding your quest for the NY style slice of your youth... I think I can help with that. I pattern my pies after the pizzeria of my youth (Suvios in Morristown) and John's pizzeria in the village (Carmine st.). I know that you seem pretty hung up on getting the right flour and there's lots of folks here who believe pretty strongly that the right flour is vital, but, let me tell you, from a guy who's typing this about 20 minutes away from your childhood home, it's not really about the flour. Just the other day, I made dough from a 5 lb. bag of pathmark flour that was on sale for 99 cents and the results, imo, rivaled some of the best pizzerias in the state.

What is critical to great pizza, though, is the right oven setup/the right stone. It's about matching, as much as possible, the thermal mass of traditional deck ovens. It took me about a decade to grasp the concept, but when you bake a pizza, the electrical element (or gas burner) in your oven is playing no role. You can turn the oven off completely and your pizza would still could beautifully.  The element pre-heats the stone and the stone is what cooks your pie.  The bigger the stone, the more heat it contains, the faster the pie cooks, the better the oven spring, the puffier the crust.

I've been watching my local pizzerias like a hawk for 2 decades- anything longer than a 5 minute bake time doesn't do justice to a NY style pie- at least not for those that grew up and appreciated the best that NY and NJ had to offer.

Thermal mass isn't rocket science, it doesn't have to put you in the poor house and the materials can be found south of the border.  This post is already a little long- I don't want to tax your O2 deprived brain too much by writing a book.  If you're interested, I'll continue.  

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2010, 06:31:34 PM »
If you're interested, I'll continue.  

scott,

If your offer is open ended, I'm interested. Please continue.

Peter

Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2010, 06:34:11 PM »
Thanks all for the offer to ship the ingredients. I want to try to make work using local products I can find here.

If I can successfully get a decent tasting product I can start selling them here at the house.

After looking at the threads, there's some wonderful information there, my handicap is staring me in the face.

When I moved here, I moved in a 1991 Honda and my cat. Cats take much more room than dogs. Dogs you simply let out of the car periodically. Cats, need their box. So, I kick myself repeatedly for not taking more time to arrange the space to bring my GE Microwave Convection Grilling Oven (useful for warming coffee and softening butter) and my Kitchenaid mixer and my Dyson Vacuum cleaner (plus about 10 very high quality pots and pans.)

To be honest the way I felt at the time, I really didn't think I'd be around much longer.

What I am trying to say is that all that wonderful information is mostly done with the mixer.

I need some help with the procedure for doing it by hand.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2010, 06:43:40 PM »
I need some help with the procedure for doing it by hand.

wizziebaldwin,

There are several different methods that can be used to knead dough by hand, and there are several YouTube videos on the subject, but the way I do it is described in the thread I earlier referenced, specifically, at Reply 65 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg63786.html#msg63786.

Peter

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2010, 07:11:53 PM »
Scott123 why does everyone single one of your posts sound like you are trying to offend someone. Everyone time I read your posts it makes me think you are talking down to people. Like you are the Pizza Master of the Universe and what you say is right and everyone else is wrong.

Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2010, 07:25:58 PM »
Not to worry about length.  The O2 in the brain, or lack of,  is hit and miss. I can still write a reasonably complex program and then not remember to put the coffee cup under the hot water coming from the coffee maker sometimes, but you take the good with the bad. Length does not bother me. I speed read. I am probably the more prolific, in a wordy sense, poster I know. I usually can't say what I want to say in less than 500 words.

I just have to say it was really a great wonderful warm day today.

Currently, I have limited financial resources. I suffered some serious financial losses that were beyond my control. A stolen car that cost 1,200 to fix after I got it back and several other calamities has left me in a precarious situation. Things will work out, they always do.

So, the pizza stone is out for the moment.

I agree completely with your assessment regarding the stones and oven. I've spent about 100 hours doing internet research on oven design and the thermal characteristics of different materials. You are absolutely correct that the oven, when operating correctly, does not have to be on.

If I can turn my finances around, significantly, then first thing I want to build is a dome style adobe wood burning oven. It's inexpensive. There are thousands and thousands of these smooth oval granite rocks ranging in size from a golf ball to a soccer ball. These rocks, when mixed with clay, would make a fantastic dome. They have incredible heat retention.  A few firebricks or an 8" bed of sand with unfinished ceramic tiles could make the floor of the oven. I use them all the time to keep the oven stabilized when I am making cheesecake.

I've studied some designs and I think I can incorporate some forced air venting (think speaker enclosure wave guides) using computer fans to act like bellows to bring the temp up to nearly 1,100 degrees. When the oven cooled down to just below 900 is when I'd get a pretty good Neapolitan Pizza out of the deal. That's providing I can ever get the dough right.

If I could afford actual firebricks I would build a cocoon to slide the pie into.

Currently I do have about 10 granite stones placed in the oven at the extreme sides of the bottom rack in the middle (above where the product is) on the top rack.

I have a Frigidaire Classic Self Cleaning Oven. The broiler is at the top of the oven (not below the oven)

I heat the oven to 550F for about 45 minutes and then I turn on the broiler to further heat up the top rocks. I can only do that for a little while the broiler is malfunctioning and burning something between it and the top of the stove. I've considered the Self Cleaning Option several times because you can get temps well above 550, but the locking mechanism won't let you open the door until it cools down. If I can defeat the locking mechanism without ruining the oven (I am very good at breaking things when I take things apart to "fix" them) I might give that a try.

I've made several pizzas. Aside from the really crappy dough, the toppings came out great! Who needs crust when you can have cheese?



Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2010, 07:32:07 PM »
I am grateful for all of the replies.

I am familiar with the technique of kneading as far as the hand movement, I am just a little vague on how long and can you over knead.

the last time I tried this instead of the dough getting more "elastic" it got, I am searching for the words, still can't find it, so i'll describe it.

If you have a large chunk of wooden fiberboard that's old and has been in the rain, when you bend it kind of crumbles. My last attempt, the dough was going in the opposite direction of smooth and elastic. Yet it was not overly dry.

I can't tell you by feel how hydrated it was but it was not stiff (and with congestive heart failure not being "stiff" if you know what I mean is ... Ahem.... well ... we'll skip that topic) by any means.


Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2010, 07:48:48 PM »
OK, so here we are at the point I tried to start with.

I want to make one 14" pizza with the ingredients, consider the flour, I have listed in the first post.

How much of each ingredient do i need? how do i mix it? Do I slow ferment this in the fridge? How long do I let it set, how long do I knead it?

If I can get the dough the right consistency, soft and supple, I think I can cook it with the oven I've got.

Alrighty, don't everybody jump in at once ;)

I appreciate you all!

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2010, 11:31:05 AM »
How the hell is wizziebaldwin suppose to answer that question, TXCraig? Do you know when you're going to die?

It was just a joking reference to his original post that read "I would like to master this before I die." Obviously I didn't know about his health problems and would not have written that if I did. I hope no offence was taken as certainly none was intended.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2010, 01:45:15 PM »
wizziebaldwin,

Can you get whole wheat flour where you are south of the border? I think it is called Integral. I have seen it many times on the shelves of Mexican supermarkets. I have augmented weak flours before with vital wheat gluten, including cake flour, but it is hard to get much in the way of crust color even when the amount of VWG is fairly substantial. Using some Integral flour (which I suspect may have a protein content of around 14%) with the Selectra all-purpose flour (nominally 9% protein) might be a better option than using VWG if you can't find VWG where you live. I would look to raise the protein content of the Selectra flour to around 12.5-13%, which would be equivalent protein-wise to a good bread flour. As a starting point, I am thinking of an 85/15 or 75/25 Selectra/Integral blend.

Peter

Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2010, 04:08:35 PM »
It was just a joking reference to his original post that read "I would like to master this before I die." Obviously I didn't know about his health problems and would not have written that if I did. I hope no offence was taken as certainly none was intended.

Of course I don't take offense. How would you know?

But even if I was in great health and could live another 40 years I would still want to know how to do this.

I think i still need help with amounts. I need just one small success in this area. I already know that with an oven that only goes to 550 that it will never be spectacular. Most pizza places use those ovens with the skinny doors that only go up to 500. I've had good pizza at some of those places.


Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2010, 05:12:20 PM »

If you have a large chunk of wooden fiberboard that's old and has been in the rain, when you bend it kind of crumbles.

Crumbly dough is a prime index of underhydration and/or undermixing. I wouldn't worry about over-kneading by hand a dough made with AP flour that's rated at 9% protein. Your comments about your pies turning out like crackers seem to make this an open-and-shut case of underhydration (although, on the other hand, I don't know whether or not you're leaving them in the oven too long- you really need to provide this sort of info).

If you're kneading by hand and adding ingredients entirely by feel, then the only reasonably intersubjective way I can think of to describe how to know when it's hydrated and kneaded enough is to say that the dough mass should be about as firm as a mass of human body fat (e.g. a female breast, a male beer-gut, etc.) (and it should not be crumbly in any sense of the word). Of course, this isn't exactly rigorous in its precision, but will at the very least provide you with a point of reference, to wit, if it doesn't get you where you want to go with respect to the end result, then you can tweak your formula and procedure accordingly from there.

If your pies are still cracker-like, oil and sugar are your friends.

-JLP
Scarsu d'ogghiu, e riccu di provolazzu ::)

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2010, 11:42:19 AM »
I think you might be able to get it done with the El Rosal flour after some experimentation. You might try a kneading process like this one that worked for me when all I could get was really inferior flour: mix all your ingredients together into a shaggy dough and let it sit undisturbed for 20 minutes. Knead it by hand until it is generally of a consistent texture with no lumps of flour (20-30 kneads or so). Let it rest for ~7-10 minutes then knead it again until the surface gets torn up looking it probably wont take that long 8 or 10 kneads or so. Let it rest again for ~7-10 minutes, knead, and then repeat the rest and knead a third time and a fourth if necessary. Youll notice that each time it will get softer, smoother, and you will be able to work it a little longer before the surface get all rough and torn up looking. After 3-4 total rests and kneads you should have a nice smooth and soft dough that should be easy to work after rising.

I would start with the following formulation. You will have to experiment with the hydration, oil, and maybe the yeast to figure out what works best for you. I indicated in brackets the ranges I would experiment in as a start. I would not do any bulk rise all in balls. Id look for about 1.75X rise. Youll have to experiment to find the right rise time.

400g flour
240g water (60%) [+/- 3%]
10g salt (2.5%)
4g olive oil (1%) [+/- 1%]
tsp instant dry yeast (1/16 tsp/100g flour)

(2) 315g dough balls

CL: Edited to correct a typo and clarify.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 11:51:40 AM by TXCraig1 »
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Offline wizziebaldwin

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Re: Can anyone help this poor Moron out?
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2010, 01:03:15 PM »
Ok great ... that is fantastic information.

Thanks so much!

Now, I just a little more of a chemistry lesson. I understand just from basic background knowledge that hydration has something to do with water and a substance. In regards to pizza dough, I am assuming how much water has been absorbed by the flour and as I have seen, it is expressed in a percentage.

Currently, my oven tops out at 550F.

I have absolutely no practical knowledge (in other words, the look and feel from many trial and errors) that tells me what effect hydration has on the finished product.

I know from the few times that I have kneaded dough it can be very wet, almost pudding like; a gloppy and sticky mass of ooze. On the other side of the spectrum ait can be stiffer than super dense memory foam.

When baking at low temperatures (550F) for pizza is there a recommended wetness or dryness that you want to strive for? I have the concept of how humidity effects measurements. Where I live the humidity can vary. Most of the time it is low. Today it is 68%. For those of you familiar with west coast weather it can get as low as single digits when the winds shift from the Ocean to inland.

On those days clothes dry in minutes and I am sure flour loses it's moisture quickly too. Does this mean you have to keep adding water as your are mixing or kneading?

Remember I am, at this point, doing all of this by hand.

So that brings up a second set of questions about the process of fermenting the dough if it is in a sealed plastic container will that be enough to keep the relative humidity necessary?

So to try and consolidate the ramblings.

Hydration has what effect on dough in an N degrees Fahrenheit oven.

Relative humidity plays a significant role in what stages of pizza creation. Initial mixing, kneading, fermenting, baking (I would assume that a 550F has little humidity, so I am guessing at the time you are going into the oven outside humidity does not have much of an effect)

Thanks again all.


 

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