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Author Topic: Dough breaks apart when balling  (Read 444 times)

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Offline kwonster

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Dough breaks apart when balling
« on: October 20, 2021, 09:46:39 PM »
Why does my dough fall apart when I ball? Dough formula below. Mix all the ingredients except for the EVOO, rest 30 mins, continue to knead until EVOO incorporated. 3 sets of stretch and folds every 30 mins and then cold ferment for 12 hrs, one set of stretch and folds, and another 12 hours of bulk ferment before balling. This is where I run into issues...some of my dough balls turn our smooth with good surface tension. However, few of them end up breaking apart (see pic) to the point where it gets so sticky with no structure.

Any help??

100% BF (All trumps full strength)
70% H20
2% EVOO
0.1% IDY
1.5% Sugar
2.5% Salt



« Last Edit: October 21, 2021, 09:04:50 PM by kwonster »

Offline Rolls

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2021, 07:38:59 AM »
Even with a strong flour, a dough made at 70% hydration can often be hard to handle, so I would begin by lowering the hydration to 60% and then make incremental adjustments from there, if necessary.


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Offline drainaps

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2021, 09:39:35 AM »
Well, it looks like gluten is not sufficiently developed. I'd suggest the following checklist.  Answers on these would help us help you:

  • Flour type / Brand (BF is way too generic ;-))
  • Do you mix your dough by hand or mixer
  • Are you using cold / warm temperature water to mix your dough
  • Are your S+Fs every 3 minutes as you write or every 30 minutes as they should probably be? :chef:
  • Dough temperature during bulk (while you do your S+Fs)
  • Do you test your gluten strength (windowpane) before and after the S+Fs?

Friendly advice, if you're not familiar with high-hydration doughs, as mentioned by Rolls, start with 55% hydration first, get familiar with managing dough and shaping pizza, then take it from there. 70% dough should not be your training wheels dough, it will be a very steep learning curve.

If you're already familiar with high hydration, I'd first use only part of the water (around 55-60% hydration) to develop gluten, make sure you have a decent windowpane, then add the remaining water little by little all the way up to 70%.  This, called bassinage by the French, is a technique that should work in your case.

If you're using a mixer, we can take it from here once you share with us the specifics.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2021, 10:07:27 AM by drainaps »

Offline Yael

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2021, 07:27:08 PM »
kwonster,

Apart from lowering your hydration, I'd also suggest to simplify your fermentation management, that would be: just CF overnight and then the next day take the dough out, ball, and RTF during the time needed (0.1% IDY, which RT? FYI, it can be as short as 4-5H if RT is around 25-30°C, and as long as 7-10H if the RT is 15-20°C).
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” - Pablo Picasso

Offline kwonster

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2021, 09:03:31 PM »
Well, it looks like gluten is not sufficiently developed. I'd suggest the following checklist.  Answers on these would help us help you:

  • Flour type / Brand (BF is way too generic ;-))
  • Do you mix your dough by hand or mixer
  • Are you using cold / warm temperature water to mix your dough
  • Are your S+Fs every 3 minutes as you write or every 30 minutes as they should probably be? :chef:
  • Dough temperature during bulk (while you do your S+Fs)
  • Do you test your gluten strength (windowpane) before and after the S+Fs?

Friendly advice, if you're not familiar with high-hydration doughs, as mentioned by Rolls, start with 55% hydration first, get familiar with managing dough and shaping pizza, then take it from there. 70% dough should not be your training wheels dough, it will be a very steep learning curve.

If you're already familiar with high hydration, I'd first use only part of the water (around 55-60% hydration) to develop gluten, make sure you have a decent windowpane, then add the remaining water little by little all the way up to 70%.  This, called bassinage by the French, is a technique that should work in your case.

If you're using a mixer, we can take it from here once you share with us the specifics.

Hope this helps.

Oh yes, I meant every 30 mins! This is all trumps full strength flour (I will edit these in the original post). I've never heard of that technique...usually it's the other way around (eg add 50% of the flour to the water to fully hydrate before adding in the rest of the flour). I just found it strange how some of the dough balls are very easy to handle and form a smooth ball vs. the one in the picture where it just becomes a blob the more I try to create surface tension.

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Offline amolapizza

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2021, 09:11:28 AM »
My guess is that you've made too many S/F for such a dough..  It's strange because supposedly it's very hard to do when mixing by hand.  To me it really looks that the gluten web is tearing and releasing water again.  If that happens at 70% hydration you're in trouble..

Also keep in mind that pizza in general doesn't need the level of gluten formation that you might use for bread, and the gluten does develop all by itself while the dough is maturing/fermenting.  Though at 70% you probably have to develop it a lot more that at say 60%.  You need for it to have a skin and become dry on the outside.  When I make 80% dough it kind of feels like a balloon filled with water.

Edit: If the problem is a new one and didn't occur before, it could also be the flour..

Second edit:  In fact if you ever see the outside skin tearing while your folding the dough, stop immediately because if you persist you'll just be left with a gooey mess.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2021, 09:18:34 AM by amolapizza »
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Offline kwonster

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2021, 11:31:15 AM »
My guess is that you've made too many S/F for such a dough..  It's strange because supposedly it's very hard to do when mixing by hand.  To me it really looks that the gluten web is tearing and releasing water again.  If that happens at 70% hydration you're in trouble..

Also keep in mind that pizza in general doesn't need the level of gluten formation that you might use for bread, and the gluten does develop all by itself while the dough is maturing/fermenting.  Though at 70% you probably have to develop it a lot more that at say 60%.  You need for it to have a skin and become dry on the outside.  When I make 80% dough it kind of feels like a balloon filled with water.

Edit: If the problem is a new one and didn't occur before, it could also be the flour..

Second edit:  In fact if you ever see the outside skin tearing while your folding the dough, stop immediately because if you persist you'll just be left with a gooey mess.

I have heard that’s very hard to overknead dough by hand, but like you mention, the result kind of looks like that. If it was the case for all 4 dough balls I would consider it the method/ingredients but find it so strange that it really only impacted 1-2 dough balls.

 Thanks for the tip about the skin tearing. I did try to push past this thinking it might eventually become smooth.

Offline specialmonkey

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2021, 04:23:51 PM »
It's hard to see how 3 balls could look good (on the sheet) and one looks like the one on the counter?

I've had problems balling when the dough over fermented (or had too much yeast) or if I'm too rough with it in stretching, but it was clear for each ball, not just one or two, etc.

You mentioned All Trumps Full Strength, I think those are two different flours, both General Mills Gold Medal.

I love a bit of glistening char on the crust! I'm using a Roccbox for the most part.

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2021, 05:14:27 PM »
Above answers right on target I think..at 70, you're working pretty close to the edge. Great results possible,  but also possible to fall off..water balloon analogy is good. Before balling,  maybe fridge the bulk for 20-30 minutes to ease handling..or put small amount of flour on hands and shape quickly and decisively:)

Offline artaxares

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2021, 08:20:10 AM »
Honestly this just looks like too much dough handling while balling. Some balls lose surface tension so moist interior gets exposed and it's sticky. Also depending on how you divide your dough some parts can be stickier if surface tension isn't kept (that's why youll see pizzaiolos grabbing a dough like a snake and keeping that tension while folding and cutting just a "head"). You want to handle your dough as little as possible at that point, just fold it into a ball, no kneading, too much folding, touching etc. If this happens I'd just leave it couple of minutes, lightly flour, turn upside down and just fold over itself into a ball.

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Offline kwonster

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2021, 10:39:04 AM »
Honestly this just looks like too much dough handling while balling. Some balls lose surface tension so moist interior gets exposed and it's sticky. Also depending on how you divide your dough some parts can be stickier if surface tension isn't kept (that's why youll see pizzaiolos grabbing a dough like a snake and keeping that tension while folding and cutting just a "head"). You want to handle your dough as little as possible at that point, just fold it into a ball, no kneading, too much folding, touching etc. If this happens I'd just leave it couple of minutes, lightly flour, turn upside down and just fold over itself into a ball.

Thanks all! Just for my understanding, once the interior is exposed, isn’t it possible to regain surface tensions then?

Offline amolapizza

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2021, 01:26:15 PM »
IME, if the surface tears, stop at once..  Next time knead/fold/handle less.

I've only had this happen with high hydration dough, don't know if a lower hydration dough can take more manipulation.

What was explained to me is that when the gluten web tears the water making the bond between the two proteins gets released, that why it gets wetter.  It's probably not just the surface but the entire dough, so if you persist you risk your entire dough disintegrating.

Edit: To answer your question I don't know, but I think the only way to save it is to just leave it alone, any more manipulation will only increase the problem.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 01:28:30 PM by amolapizza »
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Offline Yael

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Re: Dough breaks apart when balling
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2021, 10:55:36 PM »
IME, if the surface tears, stop at once..  Next time knead/fold/handle less.

I've only had this happen with high hydration dough, don't know if a lower hydration dough can take more manipulation.

What was explained to me is that when the gluten web tears the water making the bond between the two proteins gets released, that why it gets wetter.  It's probably not just the surface but the entire dough, so if you persist you risk your entire dough disintegrating.

Edit: To answer your question I don't know, but I think the only way to save it is to just leave it alone, any more manipulation will only increase the problem.

 ^^^
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