Pizza Making Forum

Reference, Questions and Help => Dough Clinic => Topic started by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 12:02:48 AM

Title: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 12:02:48 AM
Recipe:
King Arthur Bread Flour
67% Water
0.2% IDY
2% Salt
3% EVOO
2% Honey

I start by making a poolish using 20% of the flour, an equal weight of water, and some of the IDY (0.2%, relative to weight of the poolish flour).
I let that ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.
Then I mix in the remaining ingredients and knead for 5 minutes by dough machine.
Then I let it cold ferment in the fridge for 24 hours.
Then on the day of baking I ball it and let it rest at room temp for 4 to 6 hours.
I bake in my 500 degree oven on a baking steel for about 8 minutes.

How should I adjust my recipe to achieve a crust that is still crispy on the outside, but does not tire out my jaw from chewing?
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 01:56:49 AM
I'm not sure there's a clear answer to your question. "Easy to chew" is incredibly subjective, and can be measured in different ways. It doesn't appear you have a dry dough, so either gluten formation or density could be your avenues of investigation and experimentation. Less gluten would mean a softer crust, one that easily tears. Less density would mean an airy crust, one that has large voids.

Possible alterations for less gluten formation:

1) Use all-purpose flour
2) Less salt (if flavor is of no concern)
3) Less kneading

Possible alterations for less density:

1) Higher baking temperature
2) Less EVOO
3) Less honey

It's also unclear what style you're attempting to produce. It could be as simple as your skin being too thick, or how you stretch your skin. Nothing about your dough formula suggests "excessively chewy," so the problem is likely in the interpretation of "chewy," or how you manage and shape the dough.

What is the style, American, NY? How much dough are you using for a pizza? What is your room temperature? What is the diameter of your pizza? How are you stretching the skin, by hand, rolling pin? How long are you preheating the steel?
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 02:15:19 AM
What is the style, American, NY? How much dough are you using for a pizza? What is your room temperature? What is the diameter of your pizza? How are you stretching the skin, by hand, rolling pin? How long are you preheating the steel?

I'm not trying too hard to imitate a certain style, but it's pretty close to new york I'd say. Sounds like my issue is probably a density thing. So I can try reducing the EVOO and honey. My oven temp is already maxed out.

I'm using 220g of flour for a 14inch diameter pizza. So quite thin. I stretch by hand. Steel preheats for 1 to 2 hours.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 02:43:40 AM
Sounds like my issue is probably a density thing. So I can try reducing the EVOO and honey. My oven temp is already maxed out.

Lipids are usually the culprit in doughs perceived to be too dense. Reduce the oil to 1.5% without any other changes. That will give you more oven spring. Consider reducing the honey only if reducing the oil isn't enough.

I'm using 220g of flour for a 14inch diameter pizza. So quite thin. I stretch by hand. Steel preheats for 1 to 2 hours.

That comes to 383.24 g of dough and a thickness factor of 0.0878171, so you're definitely in NY territory. How much does your dough expand during the cold fermentation and final room temperature stages? I assume you're not reballing it after it comes out of the refrigerator.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 02:53:01 AM
How much does your dough expand during the cold fermentation and final room temperature stages? I assume you're not reballing it after it comes out of the refrigerator.

During the cold fermentation I don't see much activity. Maybe a 30% increase in size? During the final room temp stage I wait until its at least tripled in size.

And I do ball it after it comes out of the fridge. I guess that would be re-balling cause I also form it into a ball before I put it in the fridge.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 10:35:33 AM
During the cold fermentation I don't see much activity. Maybe a 30% increase in size? During the final room temp stage I wait until its at least tripled in size.

And I do ball it after it comes out of the fridge. I guess that would be re-balling cause I also form it into a ball before I put it in the fridge.

What you described would be more or less correct under the following conditions:

Cold fermentation (after first balling) at 41F for 38 hours. Room temperature fermentation (after second balling) at 77F for 4 hours.

You didn't mention what your room temperature was, so if it's different from what I used in the calculation, you can provide an update. I think most people have a difficult time judging how much their dough has risen without a special aid. It may not be that it's 30% and 300%. In any case, overfermentation is a concern when you get around 300%. If your dough becomes overfermented, the gluten matrix will weaken and your crust will have less oven spring.

You might want to try less yeast, less time at room temperature, or reball the dough a third time about an hour before shaping the skin.

Finally, how close to the broiler element is the steel placed in your oven, and are you using the broiler during baking?

Edit: Corrected 48 hours to 38 hours.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 10:52:03 AM
What you described would be more or less correct under the following conditions:

Cold fermentation (after first balling) at 41F for 48 hours. Room temperature fermentation (after second balling) at 77F for 4 hours.

You didn't mention what your room temperature was, so if it's different from what I used in the calculation, you can provide an update. I think most people have a difficult time judging how much their dough has risen without a special aid. It may not be that it's 30% and 300%. In any case, overfermentation is a concern when you get around 300%. If your dough becomes overfermented, the gluten matrix will weaken and your crust will have less oven spring.

You might want to try less yeast, less time at room temperature, or reball the dough a third time about an hour before shaping the skin.

Finally, how close to the broiler element is the steel placed in your oven, and are you using the broiler during baking?

I probably am mis-judging the size. It might only rise about 10% in the fridge. Its not very much, it's hard to tell.

My room temp is on average maybe 72 or 73F.

I originally thought under-proofing was the culprit for my dense dough. Because I was only letting it sit out at room temp for about 2 hours and it felt pretty dense when I went to stretch it. Then I experimented with letting it sit longer, and it started feeling softer and more airy. After baking there was a little bit of an improvement, but not as much as I had hoped.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 02:36:27 PM
I probably am mis-judging the size. It might only rise about 10% in the fridge. Its not very much, it's hard to tell.

My room temp is on average maybe 72 or 73F.

A calculation with a room temperature of 22.5C (72.5F) and threefold expansion actually matches your estimates quite closely at 28% for the refrigerator. This is admittedly academic though. As long as you're aware of what your dough is doing, that's all that matters.

I originally thought under-proofing was the culprit for my dense dough.

With a 4-hour room fermentation and that much yeast, underfermentation is not a concern. Just be sure your dough isn't slack. As previously mentioned, you can mitigate that by reballing it about an hour before you use it.

I haven't seen any images, so I don't know how the top of your pizza looks, but if you're not already using the broiler during the bake, that's something else to consider. Also, in some cases you can use it to raise the temperature of your steel by blasting it just before loading your pizza. This requires having the steel relatively near the element.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 04:19:54 PM
I haven't seen any images, so I don't know how the top of your pizza looks, but if you're not already using the broiler during the bake, that's something else to consider. Also, in some cases you can use it to raise the temperature of your steel by blasting it just before loading your pizza. This requires having the steel relatively near the element.

Sorry I forgot to answer that part of the question. I don't use the broiler. Steel is on the bottom rack.

I used to use convection bake mode. The pizza would bake fast but my toppings would always be burnt by the time the crust had the amount of color I wanted. Now I'm using the normal bake mode, and it takes longer but my toppings aren't burnt. If anything I'm having the opposite problem now--the bottom of the pizza is cooking too fast.

But maybe I'm drying out the dough too much with the longer bake?

I think ill try reducing the oil to 1.5% and try shorter bake times. And what do you think of maybe replacing the honey with normal sugar, and also increasing the hydration?

I attached an image.

Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 05:09:20 PM
Obviously the steel preheats faster on the bottom if you're using the bake setting, but with the amount of time you're preheating the steel, it won't matter much which rack you have it on. Every part of your oven will easily reach thermal equilibrium in 2 hours.

My advice is to change one thing at a time. Change the oil. If the result is not what you want, change the quantity of honey. I don't see a reason to change it to granulated sugar (sucrose). You're not going to see a dramatic difference in the density by doing so, especially the longer you ferment your dough. Next, reduce the time you preheat the steel if you're bottom is burning.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 05:16:42 PM
My advice is to change one thing at a time. Change the oil. If the result is not what you want, change the quantity of honey. I don't see a reason to change it to granulated sugar (sucrose). You're not going to see a dramatic difference in the density by doing so, especially the longer you ferment your dough. Next, reduce the time you preheat the steel if you're bottom is burning.

Thanks for your help. Do you think increasing dough hydration would be something to try as well?
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 05:21:54 PM
I attached an image.

That, by the way, is not a bad looking pie. I know several people who would appreciate that coloration. However, if I had to guess as to why it might be too chewy, it would be that the crust isn't getting much oven spring. It appears to be a bit contracted.

After reducing the oil, I suspect you will want to reduce the honey and the room temperature fermentation time (or reball it within an hour of using).
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 05:30:38 PM
Thanks for your help. Do you think increasing dough hydration would be something to try as well?

I meant to comment on the hydration earlier. I don't know how much moisture you might be losing in the poolish stage of fermentation. If you aren't losing any moisture, then no, don't change that aspect.

Take careful measurements before and after the poolish stage to be sure its close. Of course a lot happens during fermentation, like losing weight from escaping CO2, and gaining moisture from organic acids and alcohol. The difference in weight before and after would need to be stark before considering a remedy though.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 05:51:12 PM
That, by the way, is not a bad looking pie. I know several people who would appreciate that coloration. However, if I had to guess as to why it might be too chewy, it would be that the crust isn't getting much oven spring. It appears to be a bit contracted.

After reducing the oil, I suspect you will want to reduce the honey and the room temperature fermentation time (or reball it within an hour of using).

Is it sugar in general that inhibits oven spring or is it specifically honey? If its specifically honey then that's why I thought maybe I could just replace it with normal granulated sugar. That way I still retain the browning properties of the 2% sugar.

Also I should probably mention that I dock the dough. I do it because I don't like those massive bubbles that push all the toppings out of the way and dry up. Should I stop docking? Is there a better way to avoid the large bubbles?
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 07:00:47 PM
Is it sugar in general that inhibits oven spring or is it specifically honey? If its specifically honey then that's why I thought maybe I could just replace it with normal granulated sugar. That way I still retain the browning properties of the 2% sugar.

All sugars are hygroscopic, so they pull water away from their surroundings, in this case away from gluten. Use less of any sugar if you want more gluten formation or less browning.

The combination of free fructose and glucose, the main sugars in honey, is about 23% more hygroscopic than sucrose. If you feel the hydration is a problem, you could switch to sucrose. Again, I don't see a need to. If you're truly maintaining that 67% of water in your dough, you shouldn't worry about honey versus sucrose.

Also I should probably mention that I dock the dough. I do it because I don't like those massive bubbles that push all the toppings out of the way and dry up. Should I stop docking? Is there a better way to avoid the large bubbles?

I thought I noticed some holes. I would only dock dough if I were making a cracker crust. You were probably getting large bubbles because of letting the dough triple in size. Once more, cut back on the room temperature rise time or reball the dough as mentioned.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: yelloworange on March 30, 2022, 07:27:53 PM
All sugars are hygroscopic, so they pull water away from their surroundings, in this case away from gluten. Use less of any sugar if you want more gluten formation or less browning.

The combination of free fructose and glucose, the main sugars in honey, is about 23% more hygroscopic than sucrose. If you feel the hydration is a problem, you could switch to sucrose. Again, I don't see a need to. If you're truly maintaining that 67% of water in your dough, you shouldn't worry about honey versus sucrose.

I thought I noticed some holes. I would only dock dough if I were making a cracker crust. You were probably getting large bubbles because of letting the dough triple in size. Once more, cut back on the room temperature rise time or reball the dough as mentioned.

Great tips. Thanks so much for your help.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: Yael on March 30, 2022, 07:51:46 PM
Recipe:
King Arthur Bread Flour
67% Water
0.2% IDY
2% Salt
3% EVOO
2% Honey

I start by making a poolish using 20% of the flour, an equal weight of water, and some of the IDY (0.2%, relative to weight of the poolish flour).
I let that ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.
Then I mix in the remaining ingredients and knead for 5 minutes by dough machine.
Then I let it cold ferment in the fridge for 24 hours.
Then on the day of baking I ball it and let it rest at room temp for 4 to 6 hours.
I bake in my 500 degree oven on a baking steel for about 8 minutes.

How should I adjust my recipe to achieve a crust that is still crispy on the outside, but does not tire out my jaw from chewing?

FoodSim already shared very good insight, however I'd try a different approach: I'd say it's normal that your crust is chewy when baking such a long time in such low temperature (think about French bread, if you remove most of the soft crumb and just keep 5mm under the crust, there's a big chance it will be chewy).
The only thing I don't agree with FoodSim is about reducing the amount of oil: in the contrary, I would even add more (up to 5%) so it keeps moisture so it's not too chewy, and maybe bring more crispiness.
But maybe it's all about personal appreciation of this chewiness indeed ^^
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: FoodSim on March 30, 2022, 08:41:42 PM
FoodSim already shared very good insight, however I'd try a different approach: I'd say it's normal that your crust is chewy when baking such a long time in such low temperature (think about French bread, if you remove most of the soft crumb and just keep 5mm under the crust, there's a big chance it will be chewy).

yelloworange is baking on a steel. It isn't only about temperature, which isn't drastically low to begin with. It's also about heat capacity and thermal conductivity. It's a (possibly) overfermented, high-hydration dough that's trying to overcome a lack of gluten structure.

I would even add more (up to 5%) so it keeps moisture so it's not too chewy, and maybe bring more crispiness.

More oil will just impede gluten formation. Less gluten will of course lead to less chewyness. That was outlined in my first reply. However, this discussion in its totality revealed that density appears to be the issue. Reducing gluten formation will not improve oven spring, and increasing moisture will not improve crispiness.

3% oil might actually be fine if other measures are taken, like with fermentation changes, balling, or not docking. 5% is wholly unnecessary.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: QwertyJuan on March 31, 2022, 09:01:31 PM
In my experience? Overfermented dough is tough dough. 3% oil is perfectly acceptable. My guess is that your dough is overfermented, making it tough and chewy. Just a thought.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: Yael on April 01, 2022, 05:41:04 AM
[...]
More oil will just impede gluten formation. Less gluten will of course lead to less chewyness. That was outlined in my first reply. However, this discussion in its totality revealed that density appears to be the issue. Reducing gluten formation will not improve oven spring, and increasing moisture will not improve crispiness.
[...]

I understand when you say that oil impedes gluten formation, but doesn't it depend on quantity and on which kind of fat? Oil lubricates the gluten network making it more extensible, this should play a positive part during baking whereas butter wouldn't (butter being a hard fat, melting around 32C and stuff). It just seems counterintuitive to me to reduce the oil amount when baking at low(er) temperatures  ;D
AFAIK, oil should also help the outer layer of crust being crispier, while keeping moisture within the crumb.
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: texmex on April 01, 2022, 08:31:08 AM

King Arthur Bread Flour (this is why I don't like bread flour in my pizza crust. Too chewy, and tough on the reheat.  Other bread flour may not be as bad, so I would try a different brand. I mix King Arthur with all purpose). It doesn't matter whether I am baking in my home oven on a stone, or hotter temps in the Blackstone.


 https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=11233.msg101657#msg101657 (https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=11233.msg101657#msg101657)


Oil Percentage in Dough:
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=73028.msg697724#msg697724 (https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=73028.msg697724#msg697724)

Chewy Crust "Newbie":
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=71734.msg686494#msg686494 (https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=71734.msg686494#msg686494)
Title: Re: How do I make my pizza easier to chew?
Post by: benny8 on May 05, 2022, 04:38:55 AM
 ^^^Try swithching to KA All Purpose flour. I found their bread flour to make a rather dense pizza dough.