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  • #1 by Bbqguy on 03 May 2021
  • I found a basic recipe for a Neapolitan pizza I want to try with the following ingredients:
    390 g 00 Pizza Flour (100%)
    230 g Water, Cold (59%)
    1 g Yeast, Instant (0.3%)
    6 g Salt, Kosher (1.5%)
    My question is concerning the salt. 1.5% seems low to me based on what Iíve read here on the forums. I was under the impression that somewhere between 2-3% would be more in line. Am I correct? Is that 1.5% to low?
  • #2 by Pete-zza on 03 May 2021
  • I found a basic recipe for a Neapolitan pizza I want to try with the following ingredients:
    390 g 00 Pizza Flour (100%)
    230 g Water, Cold (59%)
    1 g Yeast, Instant (0.3%)
    6 g Salt, Kosher (1.5%)
    My question is concerning the salt. 1.5% seems low to me based on what Iíve read here on the forums. I was under the impression that somewhere between 2-3% would be more in line. Am I correct? Is that 1.5% to low?
    Bbqguy,

    In Naples, it is common practice to specify the baker's percents with respect to the weight of water, not the flour. So, if your recipe is one such recipe, 6 grams of salt is 6/230 = 2.4%. Also, some Neapolitan pizza makers sometimes use more salt than called for in a given recipe to slow down the fermentation of the dough, for example, in summer when it is very hot.

    Peter
  • #3 by Bbqguy on 03 May 2021
  • Bbqguy,

    In Naples, it is common practice to specify the baker's percents with respect to the weight of water, not the flour. So, if your recipe is one such recipe, 6 grams of salt is 6/230 = 2.4%. Also, some Neapolitan pizza makers sometimes use more salt than called for in a given recipe to slow down the fermentation of the dough, for example, in summer when it is very hot.

    Peter

    I was not aware of that Pete. Thatís very good to know. Thank you sir.
  • #4 by ARenko on 03 May 2021
  • Bbqguy,

    In Naples, it is common practice to specify the baker's percents with respect to the weight of water, not the flour. So, if your recipe is one such recipe, 6 grams of salt is 6/230 = 2.4%. Also, some Neapolitan pizza makers sometimes use more salt than called for in a given recipe to slow down the fermentation of the dough, for example, in summer when it is very hot.

    Peter
    But the recipe as written is based on 100% flour.  I'd say the salt is low.  Most recipes I've seen from Neapolitan pizzaiolo's are based on 1 liter of water and around 1.5 kg of flour with 40-50 g of salt, which would be around 2.5% - 3% salt (based on 100% flour).   If you base it on the water it would be closer to 5%.
  • #5 by HansB on 03 May 2021
  • Bbqguy,

    In Naples, it is common practice to specify the baker's percents with respect to the weight of water, not the flour. So, if your recipe is one such recipe, 6 grams of salt is 6/230 = 2.4%. Also, some Neapolitan pizza makers sometimes use more salt than called for in a given recipe to slow down the fermentation of the dough, for example, in summer when it is very hot.

    Peter

    Peter, you divided by the water, not flour. It really is 1.5%

    That said, 2.8% or 10.92g would work perfectly in the above formula.
  • #6 by Pete-zza on 03 May 2021
  • Thanks, guys. You may well be right.

    I would like to see the original recipe, and also its source since sometimes people convert recipes from the Neapolitan format to the U S. format, and in both cases the flour usually is at the top of the recipe. Typically, in Naples the flour is weighed at the outset but not all of it is necessarily used. They start out with a fixed amount of water (such as a liter) and add flour just until the desired condition of the dough is achieved. And they note that amount. And that amount changes seasonally. Marco (pizzanapoletana) discusses some of these points at Reply 11 at:

    https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=10507.msg93074;topicseen#msg93074

    Peter
  • #7 by Pete-zza on 03 May 2021
  • After I posted, I did a search of the recipe that Bbqguy posted and found it at:

    https://stellaculinary.com/recipes/baking-pastry/baking/bread/neapolitan-pizza-dough

    So, it looks like the recipe is based on the amount of flour, not water.

    To the above, I would note that the recipe cited above calls for using Morton's Kosher salt. A teaspoon of that salt weighs less than a teaspoon of regular table salt. It is about 0.86 times the weight of regular table salt. So if my math is correct, one would use about 6.84 grams of table salt and that would translate into about 1.754%, which falls in the range of about 1.80-2% typically recommended by folks like King Arthur (see https://web.archive.org/web/20051027064437/http://www.kingarthurflour.com/stuff/contentmgr/files/4a1eb4311b0be08b2b590b39ac3f2c77/download/KAF-04-009%20Salt.pdf).

    Peter

  • #8 by Bbqguy on 03 May 2021
  • After I posted, I did a search of the recipe that Bbqguy posted and found it at:

    https://stellaculinary.com/recipes/baking-pastry/baking/bread/neapolitan-pizza-dough

    So, it looks like the recipe is based on the amount of flour, not water.

    Peter

    Hey I apologize Pete. I should have posted the link for the source of that formula. Would you recommend bumping the salt level up?
  • #9 by Pete-zza on 03 May 2021
  • Hey I apologize Pete. I should have posted the link for the source of that formula. Would you recommend bumping the salt level up?
    Bbqguy,

    No need to apologize. Salt can be tricky because it does a lot more that just provide taste. It controls the rate of fermentation through its affect on yeast and also strengthens the gluten matrix. It can also affect enzymes and indirectly affect crust coloration. As I mentioned earlier, in Naples, salt is very often used to control fermentation, which invariably is at room temperature that can vary over the course of the year. Some of our members have used up to 3% salt, and sometimes even more, for their Neapolitan styles without realizing how salt is commonly used in Naples. Here in the U.S., salt is used differently, and typically in the range of about 1.5% (as in the recipe you cited) and 2%. Member pizzanapoletana (Marco) has addressed the salt issue in the past, for example, in Reply 7 at:

    https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1085.msg9700;topicseen#msg9700

    Marco also indicated that the VPN recommends about 3% salt, but I believe that is with respect to the formula water. Taken as a percent of flour actually used to make a given dough, that number would be lower.

    In your case, I believe that you can increase the amount of salt as called for in the recipe you plan to use but I would be inclined not to go over 2%.

    Peter
  • #10 by Bbqguy on 03 May 2021
  • Thanks Pete. I was just reading an article on the wayback about the role of salt. I appreciate the input.
  • #11 by ARenko on 03 May 2021


  • Marco also indicated that the VPN recommends about 3% salt, but I believe that is with respect to the formula water. Taken as a percent of flour actually used to make a given dough, that number would be lower.



    Peter
    For 1 liter of water AVPN recommends 40-60 g of salt (https://www.pizzanapoletana.org/public/pdf/disciplinare%202008%20UK.pdf).  So based on water % that averages to 5%.  They recommend 1.7 kg avg flour, so that equates to average 2.94% salt (based on flour).  I agree with HansB - 2.8% (based on flour) would be a good amount.  I typically do 2.75% - 3%. 
  • #12 by Pete-zza on 03 May 2021
  • Marco was not a big fan of the AVPN and the Disciplinare, including the way the flour is used, as can be seen from his posts at:

    Reply 1 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1235.msg11084#msg11084,

    Reply 164 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1298.msg13809;topicseen#msg13809,

    Reply 116 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1298.msg13378#msg13378, and

    Reply 3 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1235.msg11119;topicseen#msg11119

    Different strokes for different folks ;D.

    Peter

  • #13 by sk on 03 May 2021
  • I have been following this discussion and reading the points Peter indicated would add additional information.  It was pointed out a few times salt is used to control fermentation.  My question is in what way?  Less salt does what?  More salt does what to the fermentation process?

    I ask in that I prefer to use as little salt as possible and still produce a quality product.  I currently use 1.75%-2.0%. 

    Thanks!

    Scott
  • #14 by Pete-zza on 03 May 2021
  • I have been following this discussion and reading the points Peter indicated would add additional information.  It was pointed out a few times salt is used to control fermentation.  My question is in what way?  Less salt does what?  More salt does what to the fermentation process?

    I ask in that I prefer to use as little salt as possible and still produce a quality product.  I currently use 1.75%-2.0%. 

    Thanks!

    Scott
    Scott,

    At certain values, salt affects the fermentation process by inhibiting yeast performance. And it doesn't take a lot of salt to do this, as is noted under Osmotic Pressure in the theartican.net article at:

    http://www.theartisan.net/dough_development.htm

    You might also want to read this BakingBusiness.com article on salt at:

    https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8764.msg75936/topicseen.html#msg75936

    And another good article on salt by King Arthur is at:

    https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/pro/reference/salt

    And here is a PMQ article on salt by the late Tom Lehmann:

    https://www.pmq.com/tom-the-dough-doctor-lehmann-explains-how-salt-sugar-and-oil-affect-your-pizza-dough

    And here is an article on salt by Cargill at:

    https://www.cargill.com/salt-in-perspective/salt-in-bread-dough

    As one might reasonably conclude, one way to get around the inhibitory effects of salt on yeast is to simply use more yeast.

    Peter
  • #15 by ARenko on 03 May 2021
  • Marco was not a big fan of the AVPN and the Disciplinare, including the way the flour is used, as can be seen from his posts at:

    Peter
    I'm not suggesting AVPN is gospel - just pointing out the 3% is based on flour at 100%. 
  • #16 by jsaras on 03 May 2021
  • Salt is a topic that intrigues me.  Marc Vetri says that he likes his salt level to be 1.5% in relation to everything else in the dough.  This seems to make sense if youíre aiming to get a uniform saltiness across varying dough formulations.  2% salt (of flour weight) in a dough with 57% hydration should taste more salty than a dough that has 70% hydration as the salinity of the solution is greater.

    I also have a suspicion that fermentation has something to do with how salty something tastes.  I may be mistaken, but think that doughs with shorter fermentations will taste saltier than the same dough that has fermented longer.
  • #17 by HansB on 03 May 2021
  • I believe that Brian Spangler also uses 1.5% of flour+water weight.

    For a 62% hydrated dough, 1.5% would be 24.3g, using 2.8% of the flour weight the salt would be 28g. It would make a difference with large swings in hydration...
  • #18 by Papa T on 04 May 2021
  • Salt is salt. The grind determines what its weight is in grams versus its volume measurement.

    From the nutrition label of Morton table salt, a serving, 1/4 tsp, weighs 1.5 g. If you need 6 grams of salt, then you'd need 4 quarter teaspoons of Morton table salt (6g/1.5g). Morton Kosher salt is 1.2 g per 1/4 tsp, so for 6 grams of salt, you'd need 5 quarter teaspoons of it (6g/1.2g).

    For these minuscule amount of salt or yeast, I just use the nutrition label serving size for my calculations, as it always lists it in grams for weight and teaspoons for volume. From that I calculate what I need and spoon it out accordingly. The math is quicker and easier for me that way. I use the same method for calculating yeast. No need to buy a jewelers scale for fractional grams, or do more than basic math to figure it out.

    Salt gram weights per 1/4 teaspoon:
    Morton Kosher, 1.2 g
    Diamond Crystal Kosher, 0.7 g
    Alessi Kosher. 0.8 g
    Haddar Kosher, 1 g
    Morton Mediterranean sea salt, 1.4 g
    Morton table salt, 1.5 g

    Bbqguy,

    No need to apologize. Salt can be tricky because it does a lot more that just provide taste. It controls the rate of fermentation through its affect on yeast and also strengthens the gluten matrix. It can also affect enzymes and indirectly affect crust coloration. As I mentioned earlier, in Naples, salt is very often used to control fermentation, which invariably is at room temperature that can vary over the course of the year. Some of our members have used up to 3% salt, and sometimes even more, for their Neapolitan styles without realizing how salt is commonly used in Naples. Here in the U.S., salt is used differently, and typically in the range of about 1.5% (as in the recipe you cited) and 2%. Member pizzanapoletana (Marco) has addressed the salt issue in the past, for example, in Reply 7 at:

    https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1085.msg9700;topicseen#msg9700

    Marco also indicated that the VPN recommends about 3% salt, but I believe that is with respect to the formula water. Taken as a percent of flour actually used to make a given dough, that number would be lower.

    In your case, I believe that you can increase the amount of salt as called for in the recipe you plan to use but I would be inclined not to go over 2%.

    Peter
  • #19 by amolapizza on 04 May 2021
  • FWIW, I have not seen Italians specifying salt as a percentage calculated on the amount of water (maybe I misunderstand).  They mostly specify grams per litre of water, normally around 50g per litre for Neapolitan dough.  I think this probably is related to the practice of starting with one litre of water, adding salt and yeast, and finally adding enough flour to reach the point of pasta.  I'm not sure it makes a meaningful difference when making dough, but think it's rather just another way of describing a recipe.

    But yes of course it changes things when you change hydration...

    I'm personally happy with 50g/l for Neapolitan dough.  I've made dough for Tonda Romana with 30g/l but find it a bit tasteless, so lately I upped that to 45g/l and I like the taste a lot better.   But keep in mind that I'm a smoker and apparently we use more salt than non smokers.

    Also it doesn't only change taste, it does have an effect on the rheological properties of the dough.  I've also been told that Neapolitan pizzaioli might even go as high as 60g/l in the hot summer months.

  • #20 by sk on 04 May 2021
  • Scott,

    At certain values, salt affects the fermentation process by inhibiting yeast performance. And it doesn't take a lot of salt to do this, as is noted under Osmotic Pressure in the theartican.net article at:


    Peter:  Thank you for the comprehensive review.

    Scott

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