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Author Topic: Water Quality  (Read 2745 times)

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Offline Pete-zza

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Water Quality
« on: December 20, 2020, 10:50:07 AM »
From time to time, members will raise questions about water quality in the context of pizza or other doughs. Recently, a member asked me privately for information on water quality, and having done a lot of searching, I came up with a fairly long list. I thought that revealing the list and making the list a sticky might be helpful. There are actually more posts and threads on the forum dealing with water quality but in my opinion they do not add materially to the list I created. I should also mention that links to the PMQ Think Tank forum, which is primarily visited by professionals, will not work. That is because PMQ went to new system software. But if one registers with the PMQ Think Tank, its archived material may be searched. With all this said, here is the list (in no particular order):

https://www.pmq.com/in-lehmanns-terms-bread-and-water/

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=853.msg7747#msg7747,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=1795.msg15897#msg15897,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=11587.msg106301#msg106301,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12296.msg116469#msg116469,

Reply 13 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=4517.msg38039#msg38039,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=57183.msg573982#msg573982,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=31666.msg314447#msg314447,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=32225.msg318770#msg318770,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=5526.msg46748#msg46748,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=9472.msg81984#msg81984,

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=31584.msg313741#msg313741, and

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=14927.msg148084#msg148084.

If I come across other materials on the subject of water quality that I think may be of interest to our members, I plan to add them to the above list. In the meantime, if someone asks a question about water quality, I (or others) can refer them to this sticky.

Peter


Offline Ryan R

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2021, 01:24:54 PM »
I have always used Costco brand (Kirkland) brand bottled purified water. It has minerals added for taste.

Ingredients:
   Purified Water, Potassium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Calcium Citrate, Sodium Chloride and Magnesium Oxide.

I just bough the Kirkland brand Filtered Water Pitcher and began using it for my SD Starter that I began 14 days ago.

My question is: By using this filter, am I negatively/positively impacting the qualities of the water and its impact on the starter (and later for use in the actual Dough)?

I don't mind the extra step, as I enjoy the journey and even minute improvements. I searched, but couldn't find enough data to see how those ingredients could help/hurt.

Any feedback would be appreciate with the knowledge that this is just a small detail.
Ryan

Offline texmex

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2021, 01:51:15 PM »
I have always used Costco brand (Kirkland) brand bottled purified water. It has minerals added for taste.

Ingredients:
   Purified Water, Potassium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Calcium Citrate, Sodium Chloride and Magnesium Oxide.

I just bough the Kirkland brand Filtered Water Pitcher and began using it for my SD Starter that I began 14 days ago.

My question is: By using this filter, am I negatively/positively impacting the qualities of the water and its impact on the starter (and later for use in the actual Dough)?

I don't mind the extra step, as I enjoy the journey and even minute improvements. I searched, but couldn't find enough data to see how those ingredients could help/hurt.

Any feedback would be appreciate with the knowledge that this is just a small detail.


"The idea is simple: minerals dissolved in water (mostly magnesium and calcium) can help proteins in the flour bond together more tightly, forming a stronger gluten structure, the network of interconnected proteins that give dough its strength and elasticity. So the higher the mineral content of water (measured in parts per million, or ppm), the stronger and chewier the dough. In theory, it makes sense, and is easily provable in a laboratory. The more interesting question to me is, are the effects of the minerals in the water (referred to as Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS) significant enough to be detected by a normal eater in real-world situation?"  -- J. Kenji López-Alt



https://slice.seriouseats.com/2010/01/does-nyc-water-make-a-difference-in-pizza-quality.html
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Online foreplease

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2021, 12:09:48 AM »
And if they are significant enough to be discernible, is stronger and chewier the direction you want your own idea of your target (or ideal) pizza crust to take? Many of us are interested in several styles, methods, etc.


Years ago, I tried several bottled waters in pizza and bread dough as well as for all soups.I thought I detected an improvement for soup but not for bread or pizza. What I found out is that I still had a lot to learn about using low levels of yeast, hydrating various flours, and managing fermentation whether room temperature or cold. And that water temperature probably has a bigger impact on the baked pizza or bread than water quality (within reason). Our municipal water is pretty good as-is is what I concluded.

-Tony

Offline Ryan R

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2021, 09:55:17 PM »
Tony - If I could get my dough to levitate...that's how light I would like it. Haha. I am going for Neapolitan-ish style.
Ryan

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Offline DorisJ

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2022, 03:38:24 PM »
I've always used room temperature purified water. Approx 65% hydration give or take a percent depending on the weather. https://www.breadstoneovens.com/blogs/news/16538557-home-made-pizza-dough?_pos=1&_sid=87a325f84&_ss=r

Offline creggers

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2022, 10:13:50 AM »
any thoughts on "New York City" water ?   Many say the secret to the amazing dough for bagels & Pizza is the NYC tap water.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2022, 10:52:33 AM »
any thoughts on "New York City" water ?   Many say the secret to the amazing dough for bagels & Pizza is the NYC tap water.

A great urban legend for sure, but complete BS in reality.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Offline HansB

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2022, 11:51:07 AM »
A great urban legend for sure, but complete BS in reality.

^^^

I have eaten a lot of pizza in NYC, there is plenty of mediocre pizza made there with NYC water.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 01:27:45 PM by HansB »
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"The most important element of pizza is the dough. Pizza is bread after all. Bread with toppings." -Brian Spangler

"Ultimately, pizza is a variety of condiments on top of bread. If I wanted to evolve, I figured out that I had to understand bread and first make the best bread I possibly could. Only then could my pizza evolve as well." Dan Richer

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2022, 12:56:47 PM »
Pizzeria Bianco does the full opposite of hard NYC water. He uses reverse osmosis filtration to purify the water.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

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Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2022, 01:22:19 PM »
any thoughts on "New York City" water ?   Many say the secret to the amazing dough for bagels & Pizza is the NYC tap water.

The guy in charge of the water in NYC says that while he's very proud of the quality of water the system delivers, the idea that it is a secret ingredient is preposterous because NYC actually has several discrete water systems that draw from over 100 point sources, each with their own distinct characteristics, so there is no real consistency from one block to the next.

I suspect that in most regions there is not one uniform water quality.

If I recall correctly, about 64% of municipal water in the US is sterilized with chlorine, and that may affect yeast performance, and would certainly interfere with sourdough starters, but there are ways to mitigate that.

Personally, I grew up in a house in a neighborhood that used to be an orchard, with water that comes from a spring in limestone up the canyon. The water that comes out of the taps at that house is superior in flavor to most bottled water brands.

The water in my 2nd apartment, 3 miles from where I grew up, tasted like road tar.

Where I live now, on land that was a farm 120 years ago, the water is pumped from a well about 150 yards from my house, and the city states that it is untreated, because it exceeds quality requirements without treatment.

But it does taste better in the winter.
Pepperoni is just American chorizo.
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Offline parallei

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2022, 06:53:37 PM »

..............If I recall correctly, about 64% of municipal water in the US is sterilized with chlorine, and that may affect yeast performance, and would certainly interfere with sourdough starters, but there are ways to mitigate that.


The water is not sterilized, but the residual free chlorine out there in the system does prevent regrowth. Years ago, I mentioned here that chlorine will react almost instantly with any organics (read flour) and will not just target commercial yeasts or the yeasts/bacteria associated with sourdough starters. Once, I thought about performing an experiment looking into how different chlorine concentrations effect doughs. Bleach is cheap, the chemistry is simple, but the equipment needed to produce low chlorine concentrations in small ammounts of water was cost prohibitive. 

Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2022, 07:18:54 PM »
The water is not sterilized, but the residual free chlorine out there in the system does prevent regrowth. Years ago, I mentioned here that chlorine will react almost instantly with any organics (read flour) and will not just target commercial yeasts or the yeasts/bacteria associated with sourdough starters. Once, I thought about performing an experiment looking into how different chlorine concentrations effect doughs. Bleach is cheap, the chemistry is simple, but the equipment needed to produce low chlorine concentrations in small ammounts of water was cost prohibitive.

Sure, perhaps sterilize was the wrong word.

Most of the water in this town that is treated is treated by pumping it into large tanks and adding aluminum sulfate as a flocculant, waiting a while for particulates to fall out, and pumping it back out. It stands to reason that this might alter the ph. but i haven't looked into it.

If someone is concerned that chlorine or chloramine in their city water may be altering the yeast performance, they can just leave water in a container on the counter overnight and it should come out of solution. Leave it in a filter pitcher or dispenser if you want to be doubly sure.

In beer homebrewing, it's not uncommon for a brewer who has poor home water quality to figure out if there is a public park or another nearby public establishment that has high-quality spring water and collect it in 5 gallon containers. Usually there is even a provision in the law for this sort of thing.

In most of Utah the water is pretty good, and in parts of it, the water is great. I had some culture shock when i visited relatives in California who simply don't drink tap water because the tap water is nasty.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 07:22:14 PM by Timpanogos Slim »
Pepperoni is just American chorizo.
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Online Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2022, 07:57:11 PM »
The point of using Chloramine is that it doesn't leave the water just by sitting. You have to actively filter it out with certain water filters or use a chemical reaction. Chlorine will go just by sitting. Used to use Campden tablet when brewing to remove either chemical.

Online Timpanogos Slim

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Re: Water Quality
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2022, 09:34:21 PM »
The point of using Chloramine is that it doesn't leave the water just by sitting. You have to actively filter it out with certain water filters or use a chemical reaction. Chlorine will go just by sitting. Used to use Campden tablet when brewing to remove either chemical.

Ah, good point. I gave up homebrewing almost 10 years ago, I forgot about that tidbit. I think the only time I used a Campden tablet, I was clearing stabilizers of some sort from commercial cider.

Anyway. I suspect that unless your tap water tastes and smells bad, it's in the last 3% of your dough quality struggle. And if it does, running through a filter pitcher a few times may do the job.

If there's not a source of high-quality spring water that you can collect yourself, you can check grocery stores for dispensed drinking water. Not uncommon here even though the tap water is generally pretty good. Flag down a supervisor and ask how frequently they change the filters and the UV-C tubes. And you should specify tubes. Only UV-C will kill microbes, and UV-C LED emitters with enough output to make an impact are prohibitively expensive. If they are using UV LEDs, they aint doin' much. And in UV-C fluorescent tubes, unless the glass is quartz (expensive), the glass will 'solarize' over time and limit the output.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 09:42:11 PM by Timpanogos Slim »
Pepperoni is just American chorizo.
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