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Offline Sapp

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Consistency, hydration and oven temp
« on: September 14, 2020, 10:22:56 AM »
My apologies for asking such a long question as a newcomer. Iím having trouble achieving consistent outcomes with my wood fired pizza oven. I typically will make three types of doughs for a pizza night. A Neopolitan with caputo 00 blue bag or Molino Marino 00 soffriato with Levain as the yeast sometimes adding saison beer yeast.
The other is a Gemignani NY style recipe with 48 hour ferment in my 55 degree wine cellar. I have experimented with flour blends and settled on one with 100% Molino Marino Burrato and the other is 20% Farro Integrale (spelt), 40% 00 and 40% Giustoís organic high protein. I have autolysed and not autolysed, used Biga and Poolish. This variations donít seem to be effecting my desired outcome. Frozen doughs have worked just as well as fresh.

Iím trying to get a crisp but flavorful crust, with light crumb and a thin but supple interior but not so soft that it is floppy. SOMETIMES, I get all of that including my whole grain doughs. My pizza can vary from the first to the last over a two hour cook despite trying to manage temperature. It also varies batch to batch. Iíve tried playing with hydration levels (55-67) and oven temp of low 700ís to 900 but I canít find rhyme or reason to consistently hit the sweet spot. Counter intuitively (to me) the higher hydration recipes meant for a 500 degree home oven have sometimes produced a better outcome albeit a harder dough to work with due to tearing.

Any advice for this energetic novice?

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Consistency, hydration and oven temp
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2020, 11:44:59 AM »
Boy! It would sure be nice to be able to see your dough formulation as well as your dough management procedure on this one, inconsistency with the dough is really hard to nail down without knowing exactly what you are doing. Remember, T.M.I. is not an issue so be sure to include all times and temperatures when outlining your dough management procedure.
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Offline Sapp

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Re: Consistency, hydration and oven temp
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2020, 02:27:39 PM »
Thank you for the reply. The good news is that none of the pizzas were bad, just different between batches and sometimes within the same batch leading me to believe my handling of the dough e.g. leaving them all at room temperature through the whole evening of cooking and/or my oven temp management and/or my skin shaping skills are part of the problem too.

Some details about three different batches since you said no such thing as TMI.
June batch was a white dough that was 100% Giustoís High Performer and a 100% Burrato dough plus some frozen 60% spelt/40% 00 from Mulino Marino. The white was just ok texture the whole grain pizzas were my best yet. All were made as follows:
80% hydration Biga with same flour and using fresh as final dough fermented overnight... 180 grams
906 grams flour and 420 grams of ice water from reverse osmosis tap autolysed for 30-60 minutes
4.4 grams of ADY in 140 grams of 85 degree water was added to the flour and water mixed for a minute, add Biga and mix for a minute then 20 grams of salt, mix and finally 10 grams of EVOO. Knead for 3 minutes, rest covered for 20-30 minutes. I make 400 gram balls of this type of dough which I put in stackable proofing trays so covered by the next tray and place in my 55 degree wine cellar for 48 hours. I take them out 1-2 hours before use to warm up to room temp.

The frozen dough followed the same recipe but was taken out of freezer much earlier. The white doughs were made earlier in the cook and were ok but the whole grain were later and I was shocked by how perfect the texture was with the exception that the 60 spelt were very stretchy but wet and tore easily. So I was guessing this additional time out was the factor since I had followed the same recipe many other times other than experimenting between Biga and poolish made with ADY. All had no discernible difference.

Next batch I dropped the water to 404 for a 20% spelt, 40/40AP and 00 Caputo Blue. I tried 396 grams of water for the 100% Burrato doughs and used 7.33 grams of fresh yeast in the dough. All other amounts and times were same as above. The doughs all tasted great but I could not shape and cook the pizza to get as thin as prior batch. More perplexing is that the later doughs were the thickest... the opposite of the June experience. I may not have autolysed as my notes are not specific enough.

The latest batch I reverted back to fresh yeast in Biga,ADY in dough, 420 grams of water and I did autolysed. The dough was just way to sticky and I had to add an additional 1.5 cups (not weighed) until the dough felt right. I just finished the 48 hours in the wine cellar and the dough balls had flattened out more than usual and felt a little sticky. Will cook a couple tonight. The rest are frozen for future use.

My Neopolitan journey was a little different.

I followed both Marc Vetriís 57% hydration old school Neapolitan dough and Tony Gemignaniís recipe. Both were ok but boring white bread taste. So I tried a true experiment with my most discerning family members:
1. Strict Napolitano rules with fresh yeast following Gemignani recipe
2. Sourdough only Neopolitan. Refreshed my starter overnight made the dough in the AM. Three hours of bulk fermentation followed by 5 hours of second fermentation 90-95 degree water, 750 grams of flour, 500 grams of Levain, 28 g of salt. Mix and rest for 20 then lightly need prior to bulk fermentation. I have since played with water as low as 275 g up to 450.
3. Same day dough at 60% hydration using .3 grams IDY and then randomly mixed additional flour and 11.5 grams of saison beer yeast with approx 60% hydration.
4. Same as 2 but with saved remnants of prior dough.

#2 was voted best flavor of any of my prior 200 pizzas. #4 had the best texture and most lightness but not complex flavor. The Levain version though has failed to produce a light airy crust regardless of hydration level. So I tried mixing the techniques of 2 and 4. The doughs taste great but donít quite achieve that soft thin pliability of the center with the light airy crust.

I have further played with super hot oven temp of 900+ but the first pizza sometimes comes out like the first pancake , maintaining 700-750 throughout a cook, pausing to move coals back over the floor, etc. I do not think I have been as good at maintaining consistent temp as I could despite the laser thermometer

Thank you so much,
ďSappĒ ... childhood nickname. Even the grandkids call me that.


Offline Sapp

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Re: Consistency, hydration and oven temp
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 07:30:27 PM »
The good news is that all my sample/test pizzas came out tasting fantastic. The Neopolitan I did as a margherita and another with aged Asiago and potato. You could taste the sourdough, the dough was tender, flavor great but would have liked an airier cornicione. The 20% spelt pie was also great and ironically a little poofier crust. The 100% Burrato was the airiness crust both in the cornicione and the balance of the slice. Naturally an ever so slightly heavier flavored crust given the nature of the flour. I like the tast and texture of my whole grain doughs way more than any others I have tried.

The bad news was that the doughs were all very sticky and tricky to work with although stretched nicely... no rebound effect. You have to be careful not to tear the dough.

Offline Yael

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Re: Consistency, hydration and oven temp
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2020, 07:57:10 PM »
A quick reply here, for a suggestion, that I also often make to myself: if you're a beginner and you want to spot the difference, make one test at a time, and make it a couple times, so you're familiar with its result, IMO only then you'll notice any change. There are too many variables even within one very same dough formula & procedure to spot it in one shot.
ďLearn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artistĒ - Pablo Picasso

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Offline Sapp

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Re: Consistency, hydration and oven temp
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2020, 08:58:11 PM »
You are absolutely right. I was more disciplined in my experiments with flour types and brands and less so with dough making techniques. I also need to isolate the post prep dough handling details i.e. dough temperatures sitting out for two hours while making pies and oven temp.

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