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Online mrs1986

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Help making my dough better for my oven
« on: February 28, 2021, 08:31:03 PM »
Hi!

I’m new to the forums, been making pizzas for a long time and I always get some compliments, but now I kinda want to make the best pizza, like, I don’t want to eat other pizza anymore pizza.

So I embrace in a search and got to the neapolitan pizza and this is what I really like, a crunchy and soft pizza, with simple ingredients.

Found a guy in youtube, called Vito Iacopelli that posted a recipe for making pizza at home.

It involves a Poolish (never heard of that before) and I must say, the end result is nice, but not vito iacopelli nice hehe.

I have some problemas that I will enumerate:
1- The dough is sticky, never end up looking like a “well knitted” dough, on his video it kinda looks the same but I think there must be differences...
2- The fermentation times are all over the place, some times the poolish doesn’t double it sizes, and seems that nothing happened, and other times it grows more than double and then collapses in itself...
3- The flour that you get here are not the best, I would say are quite bland they seem, just 10% protein (I’m still not sure if this is the correct value). I found now an Italian flour, “5 stagioni” and the results were more or less the same, maybe a liiitle bit better to work with but not great, now, the smell of the pizza is better but not the “structure” of the dough...
4- The oven I cook on is not hot enough and for a long shot I must say... 400F or less so what I end up is a pizza that looks white, crunchuy but “hard” with a firm dough, as it was cooked for too long (obviously). On the oven department I tried some things, like a couple of stones, making the cooking part smaller with them, and the same wit thin foil, cooking in the bottom part and then in the top part and the results are always the same...

I know that getting a good oven is the best answer, and even then maybe my dough is just awful. Another thing is that is not that easy, there are not many options to get an oven here, and I live in an apartment so that makes it harder too...

This is the recipe I use, with the amounts I usually do.

Poolish
170grs flour
170ml water
2grs yeast (dry don’t know if active or inactive it doesn’t say anything)
2-3grs honey

Dough
All the poolish
391ml water
710grs flour
22grs salt

I usually make the poolish the day before so it can ferment close to 24hs, then make the dough that takes something like 1-1.30hs between resting and making it, then make the small balls (290grs each) and let it rest for two hours. Here it happens that sometimes they grow and sometimes they do not, sometimes they are like if they didn’t have any time to rest and it’s hard to stretch them...

I must say, the pizza is tasty, but I want more, and need some help to make better pizzas in my current oven till I can get a better one.

Thank you!!!

Offline sal951

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 12:49:00 AM »
I understand the limiting factors. Just in case, here are some ideas to check in on:

  • Does your oven have a broiler? If so, does it run hotter via the broiler than typical baking?
  • Have you tried a pizza steel instead of a pizza stone in your oven? They transfer heat more efficiently and will crisp the crust faster than a stone (which of course is better than just the normal oven)
  • Have you tried, after using your poolish starter letting the dough itself rest for a period longer than 1.5-2 hours? Part of why your crust may be a bit dense and hard could be not allowing enough time on your completed dough for fermentation
  • Are you sure your dough balls are the proper hydration formula? I'm not sure what the final product works out to, but if the dough is difficult to hand stretch I'd usually say it's either a bit too dry, or it's underfermented

I doubt you've made a mistake to be honest, it's probably getting a bit dense and over-dry with the long bake time you're stuck with because of the low maximum temperature of your oven.

Online mrs1986

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2021, 07:47:19 AM »
Hi, thanks a lot for your answer!

My oven does not have a broiler, that could have been a good option!
I do get a crunchy crust, but I don't get any color at all, and the cooking time is like too long and I think that may be drying the dough.
About the fermentation time after poolish I will give it a try, but usually I do it like this:
  • Make the dough knead it for a couple of minutes (super sticky here) and let it rest for 15-20 minutes
  • After the rest period, I would "ball" it, like folding it on itself, this probably has a name but I'm not a native english speaker, sorry
  • Let it rest for 45min-1 hour, while the dough will not rise in size, it will get super soft to handle (never did a "gluten" test)
  • After this period I make the balls and then let them rest for 1-1.5 hours before stretching them

I attached a picture of one of my pizzas (this one has some other ingredientes but is to show the "white palid" result).

Thanks a lot!

Edit: Sorry for the mess on the picture!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2021, 07:49:16 AM by mrs1986 »

Offline sal951

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2021, 11:07:30 PM »
That's a pretty big cornicione! Typically when I see a pizza that makes it to crispiness but is still so pale on the crust, the culprit is the cook time as you've mentioned. I'd say it's still worth a test letting it ferment for longer (maybe for example, make the dough balls and let them sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours just to see if there is any appreciable difference in stiffness when you go to stretch it out), but there isn't a great replacement for simply needing a hotter oven besides finding a hotter oven. If you have any friends or family who have maybe higher quality ovens and may be willing to let you experiment, I'd consider trying to do a bake in a different one and seeing if you notice a difference in quality, that might help give you peace of mind that it's not you, it's the equipment. When I was finally getting serious with my pizzas a while back I determined my electric oven just wasn't as good as it could be, and tried baking at my parents' house on their gas oven with convection settings and a nice even gas broiler - made a major difference in the bake quality for me.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2021, 11:13:33 PM by sal951 »

Online mrs1986

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2021, 07:55:18 AM »
That's a pretty big cornicione! Typically when I see a pizza that makes it to crispiness but is still so pale on the crust, the culprit is the cook time as you've mentioned. I'd say it's still worth a test letting it ferment for longer (maybe for example, make the dough balls and let them sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours just to see if there is any appreciable difference in stiffness when you go to stretch it out), but there isn't a great replacement for simply needing a hotter oven besides finding a hotter oven. If you have any friends or family who have maybe higher quality ovens and may be willing to let you experiment, I'd consider trying to do a bake in a different one and seeing if you notice a difference in quality, that might help give you peace of mind that it's not you, it's the equipment. When I was finally getting serious with my pizzas a while back I determined my electric oven just wasn't as good as it could be, and tried baking at my parents' house on their gas oven with convection settings and a nice even gas broiler - made a major difference in the bake quality for me.
Thank you!

I'm trying to get a little oven, something like a ooni but made in brazil I think, those brands don't make into my country... This oven is supposed to get to 450C or something like that, let's see, I'm waiting on availability later this month to check them out, I'm afraid they are too small, but will see...

About trying on somebody oven, my oven is a gas oven, but no broiler and is really weak, it gets barely to 200C and as soon as you open the door the temp drops to 190 most of the times...

Anyway, made some more research, and I'm probably starting to add sugar and oil to make some test, lets see how that goes.

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Online mrs1986

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2021, 11:18:07 AM »
Well!

I found out some new things.

1- My yeast was bad and that was that it took too long or they didn't even grow some times.
2- Got to make the "direct" dough and got so much better results with a new yeast, 24hs+ fermentation at room temperature with something like half tea spoon of yeast.

Now TODAY is a BIG day! I'm going to get a new outdoor oven, it's supposed to get to 450-500 Celcius, so I'm very exited to see what comes out of it BUT made my dough yesterday and it's a complete disaster haha, it got flat during the fermentation, the dough still looks "ok" and I will be using it, but had that problem... I changed the flour I use regulary, and got an Italian one, W250 rating "Molini Pizzuti", so something may need to be adjusted with that flour (have some more still to make more pizza).

I attached some pics, the flat ones were made with the italian flour, same recipe, the other ones, that are good looking where made before with a normal "000" flour, and the pizza is result from the good looking balls :D

I will show photos of the oven later!!

Online mrs1986

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2021, 01:37:21 PM »
OK!!

This is my new oven, I will try it tonight with my defective dough xD

Hope to get good results out of it!

Offline 02ebz06

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2021, 02:21:57 PM »
Looks like a nice oven!
Is that wood fired ?
If it is I don't think it would be a good idea using it indoors.
I think you should find a bigger table for it, would be a terrible thing if it got knocked on the floor.
Also, I don't know hot the legs will get, but they could possible melt the Styrofoam you have under them, and oven could tip.

Bruce here... My cooking toys --> FGM 800-B Pizza Oven, Pellet Grill, Pellet Smoker, Propane Griddle, Propane Grill

Offline sal951

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2021, 02:23:02 PM »
Wow, that looks great! Can't wait to see the results - might take an attempt or two to dial in bake times, position, when to turn (if needed) and all of that, but I'm jealous of that oven.

Also, I don't think your dough is defective. Honestly, it looks like it's just a fairly high hydration percentage undergoing a normal ferment. Assuming it gets some good fermentation, this should actually work in your advantage since an oven as hot as yours will be will still get a good crisp on a wet dough like that. A lot of Neapolitan fans I know go with 65-70% hydration and their dough looks a lot like yours.

If it is I don't think it would be a good idea using it indoors.

They said in the post above from earlier this morning that it was an outdoor oven. Yeah, running a 900F oven indoors on a small table supported by some styrofoam would be a pretty terrible idea  :-D
« Last Edit: April 23, 2021, 02:25:35 PM by sal951 »

Online mrs1986

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2021, 05:59:36 PM »
Hahaha thanks a lot for the comments, I placed it there just because couldn't wait to assemble it  :-D

Let's see how it goes tonight, hope that some of them turn out good!

Edit: It does work with wood and pellets too.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2021, 06:01:11 PM by mrs1986 »

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Offline 02ebz06

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2021, 06:09:06 PM »
Hahaha thanks a lot for the comments, I placed it there just because couldn't wait to assemble it  :-D

Let's see how it goes tonight, hope that some of them turn out good!

Edit: It does work with wood and pellets too.

OK, that makes me feel better.  ;D
Bruce here... My cooking toys --> FGM 800-B Pizza Oven, Pellet Grill, Pellet Smoker, Propane Griddle, Propane Grill

Online mrs1986

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2021, 11:26:24 PM »
Well, just finished my pizza night and the results were all over the place, the dough didn’t help, as it was almost impossible to shape, just taking it out of the container would make it as large as the pizza peel...
Anyway, the worst part was the oven, I need a few times to get the hang of it, is was very difficult to keep it up in temperature, but did a much better job than my gas oven...

Some pics below.

Thanks a lot guys!

Offline sal951

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2021, 02:46:56 PM »
I think the results look very promising - the char you have on one side is something you just couldn't get in your regular oven. The rest is probably figuring how much of a cornicione you want, and the timing for rotating the pizza while baking as well as how/when to stoke the flames with wood or pellets to keep it going. Still, good results for the first try.

Online mrs1986

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Re: Help making my dough better for my oven
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2021, 03:41:31 PM »
I think the results look very promising - the char you have on one side is something you just couldn't get in your regular oven. The rest is probably figuring how much of a cornicione you want, and the timing for rotating the pizza while baking as well as how/when to stoke the flames with wood or pellets to keep it going. Still, good results for the first try.
Thanks sal,

That first pizza was kinda dough cornicione hehe, because I re balled and the dough of course got difficult to stretch.

Later this week I'm going to try another batch of dough and see how that goes.

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