• #41 by scott123 on 23 May 2010
  • I'm on to the next project which is revisiting my perfect pizza.  Lower temps and longer bake times.  I have a notion that either high amounts of yeast and/or longer ferment times (basically taking a dough to near exhaustion) to take advantage of the dough softening effects of the protease enzymes (and any others) will give me that light and airey texture I like.   Does this sound doable? or another hairbrained idea?

    Also tell me if my hydration rates sound unlikely?  I think it's rather high but yet whether I bake at lower temps (650F) or higher temps (850F), most of my pies come out a little on the dry side.  Is it overkneading perhaps that causes a chewier texture which leads to the perception of a dry crust? At 75-80% hydration I would think it should give me a moist enough crust but my crust is mostly air and the texture for some reason always seems a bit dry.   ???

    If dry crusts are an issue, then I think longer lower temps/longer bake times are going to be counterproductive. Overkneading could be the culprit.  I find that extensive gluten formation gives me a bit of a leathery texture. This video here was a game changer in my approach toward kneading:

    If I knead less than 2 minutes, my skins form like this. Not only do the skins form this easily, but the baked crust has a beautiful tenderness.  If I knead more than 2 minutes I get tough leathery crusts. I should add that I use bromated all trumps, which basically forms gluten when you breath on it :) When I make the move to a lower protein flour, I might be a little less knead phobic, but, as long as I do a cold fermentation (possibly forever?) I don't think I'll ever go much more than 2 minutes. I also no longer mess around with autolyses or folds. I'm really careful not to manipulate the gluten at all between the time the balls are formed and the skins are opened.

    Have you tried adding oil to dough yet? That can go a long way in aiding the perceived moisture in bread.
  • #42 by Jackie Tran on 24 May 2010
  • Scott your the sh*t, and I mean that in a good way.  You're absolutely on the money.  I recently started using HG bromated and bleach flour and that's the problem with my crust.  It's leathery.  I didn't know how to describe it but that's it.  Over kneading is my issue then so I will experiment with that.

    I haven't seriously played with oil just a little here and there, but after Pete's post about oil in the ultra thin pizza thread, I got to thinking that I would explore that next.  I have a lot of homework to do yet.  Thanks for the help. 

    That video is a eye opener for me as well.  My caputo pie opened that easily but was too leathery as well.  You can see when Jimmy Kimmel goes to take a bite of the slice how easily it gives way.  Thanks for the video.

    Also 2 min knead?  Are you using a mixer or by hand?
  • #43 by scott123 on 24 May 2010
  • Thanks for the kind words  :)

    Try 2% oil. I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised. Some oil is pretty standard for NY style.

    I knead by hand.  And that's 2 minutes max- lately it's closer to a minute.  I do knead fairly aggressively, though.
  • #44 by Jackie Tran on 24 May 2010
  • okay Scott, just mixed up an experimental dough with minimal kneading.  Will bake on Tues night and let you know.

    Goal is around 150gm dough ball about 75% hydration
    HG BF 80gm
    Water 58gm
    Starter 14gm
    Salt 1/2 tsp
    oil 1 tsp

    Rehydrated yeast for 2 min.  Mixed in salt, starter, oil and flour.  Spent about a little more than 1 min to mix all together well.

    Dough is resting now.  Will rest for 5min and fold a few times.  Will repeat this several times to try and get a familiar "feeling" and then it will go into deep sleep.  No autolyse really and no long bulk rise times.

  • #45 by scott123 on 24 May 2010
  • If you get this in time, try it without the fold. If not, try it next time.

    Folding = kneading. In fact it develops even more gluten because gluten takes time to hydrate and kneading usually occurs while the flour is relatively unhydrated while folding is done after the dough has hydrated a bit.

    Btw, if tenderness is your goal, you don't want to rest the dough at all.  Mix, ball, chill, wait, warm, open.
  • #46 by Jackie Tran on 24 May 2010
  • If you get this in time, try it without the fold. If not, try it next time.

    Folding = kneading. In fact it develops even more gluten because gluten takes time to hydrate and kneading usually occurs while the flour is relatively unhydrated while folding is done after the dough has hydrated a bit.

    Btw, if tenderness is your goal, you don't want to rest the dough at all.  Mix, ball, chill, wait, warm, open.

    Ok i didn't get it in time but that's what i did.  After the 1min or so mix, I let it rest for 5 min and then folded maybe 5x, then balled.  So this is the least amount of work I have ever done for dough and to be honest with you, it has a great feel to it like my other dough usually feels.  You are the craziest pizza maker if this [email protected] actually works Scotty.  :-D

    I just did some % calculations and got. 

    flour 100%
    water 73% with starter 75%
    Starter 17.5%
    ADY 0.6%
    Salt 2.5%
    oil ~3% based on 1 tsp being equivalent to 5gm? 

    Anyways I did let it sit out under a lamp for 10m just to kick start the yeast but it's going to sleep now.  For anyone following this, I know it's a lot of yeast.  I'm doing a different side experiment with yeast as well.  Sorry I couldn't help it.  ;)
  • #47 by Pete-zza on 24 May 2010
  • The only thing I could add is that when I was using the GMs better for bread is that I was surprise to find out it is approximately 10% protein if memory serves me correctly. I also faintly recall that you posted that protein levels from the label is not an accurate measurement.


    I have not been able to find the General Mills specs for the Better for Bread flour. However, for a while, GM changed the name of that flour to Harvest King, for which specs do exist, at As you can see from that spec, the protein content is around 12%. I might add that GM has switched back to the Better for Bread name. For a while, perhaps during the transition stage, I saw some bags of flour that carried both names.

    It is because of rounding factors that you can't get accurate protein data from labels.


  • #48 by Jackie Tran on 25 May 2010
  • OK Scott, feeling confident about your technique, I went ahead and made up 2 more doughballs tonight, a caputo and an AP.  I have lowered my hydration ratio drastically and noted that the dough is quite a bit wetter than I have been previously working with.   I am really refraining hard from kneading the dough much as it is my inclination to knead pass this wet feeling.  I may just need to lower the hydration ratio further. 

    As it stands, the AP HR is at 70% and the Caputo at 60%.  the caputo doesn't feel quite as sticky as the AP flour but I went ahead and balled them as best  I could and put them to sleep.  I plan to bake tomorrow night and will update you. 

    Will also be trying a new Primo oven setup using Hog's idea of putting coals on a pan as a ceiling for my mini oven.  Hope to not have a disasterous bake.  >:D
  • #49 by Jackie Tran on 26 May 2010
  • Ok Scott, just wanted to update you on my results.  The pies I made last night had very tender crusts, almost too tender.   They were excellent, especially the caputo pie.  It gave me a new appreciation for the flour.

    The tenderness I got was definitely due to the high amount of oil I used (at least 3%) and the minimal kneading technique.  For the future I will leave out the oil and just minimally knead to see the difference between the 2.   I prefer a bit more chew than I got but at least the pies were not leathery like some of my previous pies.   So I may incorporate a bit more kneading or a few stretch and folds. 

    Either way though, I was very pleasantly surprised with the new softer texture.   I also noted that the dough stretched out very easily and exhibited minimal pull back after placing the stretched skin on the peel.  Every dough was easy to handle despite the reduction in hydration ratios.

    Now I know how some of you guys can make pizzas with such low hydration rates (60's) and still get a moist crumb. 

    I will say that with this technique (and perhaps the added oil), the dough felt a lot more elastic than I normally get and may be hard for some to handle. 

  • #50 by sear on 26 May 2010
  • does the crust have any crunch to it usually ?
    all my high temp short cook time pies were all soft
  • #51 by scott123 on 26 May 2010
  • Tranman, looking very good.

    As you discovered, you will want to fine tune the knead time/oil content to adjust for desired tenderness. Just because my 'magic' threshold is 2 minutes, doesn't mean yours has to be.  In fact, I'm sure you'll want different knead times for different flours. I just wanted you to gain an understanding of the kneading 'equivalence' of cold fermentation and the toughening aspects of overkneading. Which, I think you did :)
  • #52 by Jackie Tran on 26 May 2010
  • Scott, though I didn't mention it earlier, you did just elevate my pizza making to the next level. Just when I thought I had it worked out, I get to go back to square one and start all over again, so thanks for that. ;)

    Sear, depends on the type of flour I use and hydration rates. BF/HG flour I get a definite (and desired) crunch, AP/caputo not so much. If the hydration is rather high, the rim will be crunchy when it first comes out of the oven, but after sitting for about 5 min on the rack, the rim becomes soft again. 
  • #53 by Jackie Tran on 29 May 2010
  • OK while fooling around with another minimal kneading technique today, I caught a 2nd break using Caputo.  I did not overknead today and left out the oil as well and  I made one of my best tasting pies yet.  I would have to say it is definitely my 2nd best and close to my "perfect" pie I have mentioned before.

    The crazy thing about this pie was that it was just an experimental last minute idea.  Being less than satisfied with last night's bake, I decided to bake again this afternoon.  I was already baking 2 NY'ers and experimenting with ADY, so I decide why not and give Caputo plus minimal kneading another whirl.

    This dough was an emergency dough and was baked only 2 hours after it was prepared.  This pie was made with 100% Caputo Pizzeria flour with 50%+ starter, and a hydration ratio of about 68%.  90% of the flour was mixed in and the dough was rush proofed covered out in the sunlight (100F) for 1 hour.  It was then kneaded for another 2 mins or so with a bit more flour added until it felt "right".  I balled it and covered again and it sat in a semi shaded area covered to finish proofing for another hour.  If I had to guess the temp was around 90F+.  The doughball probably rose about 50%+ during the short proof.

    It opened easily and baked in the home oven on firebricks at 800F for about 1 min and 30s.  Then rimmed against the broiler to finish.  The texture and taste was fantastic. 

    It blew away the 2 NY pies that I made just minutes before using ADY.
  • #54 by Jackie Tran on 29 May 2010
  • Sorry for the dirty finger shot!  >:D  Oh yeah I forgot.  The crust had a nice slight crunch to it and the inside was soft and tender with a slight chew to it.

    A few more pics.
  • #55 by Jackie Tran on 29 May 2010
  • does the crust have any crunch to it usually ?
    all my high temp short cook time pies were all soft

    Sear to try and answer your question again, this caputo pie had a crunch to the rim even after resting on a rack for 5 min.  The hydration rate was 67%

    Minutes earlier I made 2 NY pies with a HR of 67% using HG BR.  All 3 were same day pies.  The NY'ers were baked at a temp of 770-780 for the same amount of time and "rimmed" against the broiler in the same fashion.

    Being HG BF, I would have bet money the NY'er would have had more of a crunch.  They did initially when first out of the oven, but then softened within 5 mins.  The caputo pie did not.

    The caputo pie was made using yet another different experimental technique and yielded better results.  Plus the caputo had 50% starter whereas the NY'ers had about 1% ADY.  It was possibly the starter and or the kneading technique that gave me a better pie with the caputo. 

    I'm gonna have to eat my words about saying I didn't notice much of a difference with caputo flour last week. I'm beginning to see the difference.   :-[
  • #56 by brayshaw on 29 May 2010
  • Very, very nice Tranman!
    • brayshaw
  • #57 by Jackie Tran on 29 May 2010
  • Very, very nice Tranman!

    Thanks Brady!
  • #58 by artigiano on 02 Jun 2010
  • Scott, I feel the same on some respects with Reinhardt.  I love the bread bakers apprentice for its information and photos but I dont know how Reinhardt expects and evenly cooked loaf of bread in 25 or 30 mins at 400 -500 degrees.. we are not talking about pizza which its thin.. its a loaf of bread.  I have had to tweak a lot of his recipes so I dont think I would look to him for any pizza advice, but thats just me.  I Made some pizzas in the home oven with Caputo tonite too with nice results.. but I agree nothing majorally different that our American flours.  I really think that its best suited for a high temperature application, but I use it in the house since I have a 55 lb. bag and I think its a healthier flour since not bromated and milled using old world techniques.

    * sorry I jumped into that part of the conversation late.


  • #59 by Jackie Tran on 02 Jun 2010
  • Perhaps  because of my inexperience with Caputo, I wax and wane in my opinion of it.  Somedays, I make pizzas with caputo and it blows away the NY'ers made with HG bromate flours.  And then there are other days like this past weekend where I made 1 pie with caputo and another with bleached AP flour and the taste and texture were nearly identical.

    Both good pies made using the same recipes and hand kneading techniques.  The AP flour pie came out with a higher hydration ratio, but you get the point.   So is it technique or is it the flour??   ???

    First pie (pepperoni) is made using 100% AP flour and 2nd pie is 100% Caputo Pizzeria 00.  Third pic shows the crumb of AP (top) and Caputo (bottom).

  • #60 by artigiano on 02 Jun 2010
  • Tranman, both look great to me!  I agree with you in that there is not a huge difference between the two flours in a home setting.  If I am using the WFO then I can definately see that the Caputo holds up much better with 900 degree heat.