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Author Topic: Struggling with tough crusts  (Read 770 times)

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Offline pizzaiolo12

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Struggling with tough crusts
« on: September 18, 2019, 12:57:40 AM »
Hey all, I've tried a few different dough recipes while making a basic margherita pizza but always end up with a crust/base that's slightly tough and chewy. Here's the recipe I'm currently using, from Ken Forkish's Elements of Pizza. Following his recommended cooking method as well. My dough ball is about 285g.

100% AP or 00 flour (tried both)
70% water
2.6% salt
0.3% Instant yeast

2 hour bulk ferment followed by 24 hour cold ferment. Let dough warm up for ~90 minutes before cooking. Preheat steel in home oven at 550 for ~1hr.  Heat up broiler 10 min before baking.  Form crust, top with sauce, switch oven back to bake and bake pie ~4 minutes.  Add fresh mozz, switch back to broil, back in oven for ~2 minutes until cheese is just melted.

The crust is very lightly browned and bottom is fairly well browned.  The slice stays fairly flat like a piece of cardboard and only "droops" a little when held up.  The crust rises very well and I get a nice airy and (mostly) tender cornicione. But the result isn't quite as delicate as I'd like and I have to chew a tad too much to get through a slice.
 
Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong and how I can improve would be greatly appreciated!

Offline foreplease

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Re: Struggling with tough crusts
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2019, 09:17:19 AM »
6 minutes on your steel may be too much. It may be worthwhile experimenting with placing it on a screen, if you have one, when you pull it to add the fresh mozzarella. Or finishing the last 2 minutes of the bake on one of your oven’s wire racks placed one level above the steel. I think that is your easiest first thing to try.


Pictures would be helpful. Welcome to the forum.
-Tony

Offline pizzaiolo12

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Re: Struggling with tough crusts
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2019, 10:46:06 AM »
Thanks for the tip Tony! I had a feeling the steel was the culprit as I'd never run into this issue when using a regular pan.  Will definitely give that a try next time.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Struggling with tough crusts
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2019, 12:06:03 PM »
Also, as I've said so many times before, oil/fat is a "tenderizer" as such it contributes greatly to a more tender eating characteristic of the finished pizza. If you want to see this first hand just buy two packages of tortillas, one a regular tortilla and the other a fat free tortilla, eat one of each and you will see how it influences the texture of the tortilla. It does the same thing in pizza crusts too.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline pizzaiolo12

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Re: Struggling with tough crusts
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2019, 11:40:09 PM »
To Tom's point, I have also tried a recipe with oil (Roberta's pizza dough from the NYT) and while the result was more tender, I still experienced the same "type" of toughness as with other doughs.

I tried Tony's tip and moved the pie to a separate rack beneath the broiler after the initial 4 minutes on the steel, but still struggled with toughness in the crust.  See pictures attached. Anything else I could be doing wrong?


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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Struggling with tough crusts
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2019, 01:32:27 AM »
Gluten is what makes the finished crust tough/chewy and fermentation degrades the gluten (sufficient fermentation will turn a dough into soup as it destroys the protein/gluten) so a longer fermentation time will naturally give rise to a more tender eating crust. Actually, 24-hours is a pretty short fermentation time even with the short bulk fermentation time (which is really just fermenting the dough in ball form unless your total dough weight is more than about 18-ounces). My suggestion is to keep the IDY at the same 0.3% level, adjust the water temperature to give you a finished dough temperature in the 75 to 80F range ball immediately after mixing and CF for at least 48-hours. Bench mark from there to find the fermentation time that works best for you.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline Yael

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Re: Struggling with tough crusts
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2019, 01:49:20 AM »
Pushing the CF to 48H-72H is also what I would have suggested!
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” - Pablo Picasso

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