Pizza Making Forum

Pizza Making => General Pizza Making => Topic started by: Shanksworthy on September 13, 2021, 09:51:02 PM

Title: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 13, 2021, 09:51:02 PM
Iím hoping someone can help me solve this the mystery of why the top/edges of my rim are completely white and soft, while the cheese and bottom crust are nicely browned.

I bake in a gas oven, on a 16Ē round 3/8Ē thick steel slab. The steel heats on the top rack for an hour at 550F. Then I bake for 3 mins, turn it 180 degrees, then broil for another 3 mins. By that time, the cheese and bottom crust are nicely browned

I canít broil it any longer, otherwise the cheese would burn. Iím already pushing it. Itís a reasonably high-fat/low-moisture cheese (Saputo Mozzarellissima), which I grate myself, and I use quite a bit óapprox 500g, for a 16Ē pie. Similarly, Iím afraid the bottom will burn if I put it on a lower rack, because it gets just the right amount leopard spotting on the top rack at that 6-min mark.

Iím using a high-protein flour (a 14% no-name bread flour I get at Walmart in Canada), I use ~71% filtered tap water, 3% salt, 2% sugar, 1.1% olive oil, and .3% IDY.

I canít understand how the toppings could get that brown, while the adjacent crust remains ghostly white. Canít imagine itís the process, more likely something about the ingredients?? I recently ran out of my normal brand of Robin Hood flour, and had to settle for this no-name Walmart brand in a pinch. I wonder if this could be the problem. Also note that I didnít have this problem when I used to use a much thinner steel, on the middle rack, with no broil. But that was an 8-9 min bake, which I found yielded a dry-ish dough. The new steel cuts the time by 3 mins and produces a nicer crust, with the exception of this weird anomaly.

Any help would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Jersey Pie Boy on September 13, 2021, 11:55:20 PM
So...a lot of baking science guys here for you..I'm not one of them Lol...but if the results were good before and the only change made is the flour, then I think the issue is at least related to the flour. That is quite a high hydration but shouldn't be responsible.
Can you grab a similar but different flour to experiment with and compare?
Also...is there any chance it's organic and has no
Malt? I think at home oven temps, that might be your issue.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on September 14, 2021, 12:10:29 AM
What are the ingredients of your Walmart flour? Compare to Robinhood - Wheat flour, Amylase, Xylanase, Ascorbic acid, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine mononitrate, Riboflavin, L-Cysteine, Folic acid.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: jkb on September 14, 2021, 12:45:20 AM
The cheese and sauce look overdone.  That doesn't make sense looking at the crust.  Try a different flour.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Jackitup on September 14, 2021, 12:57:03 AM
Why did you add the broil time when your previous pies were fine without the broil? I would go back to your first cooking method. See if that works out.....
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: jkb on September 14, 2021, 04:04:51 AM
Why did you add the broil time when your previous pies were fine without the broil? I would go back to your first cooking method. See if that works out.....

I don't use the broiler, but the broiler takes time to heat up.  To me, it would make more sense to start with the broiler.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 14, 2021, 09:58:54 AM
To clarify my post for people who were wondering why I changed what was apparently working: the reason I moved my bake to the top rack instead of the middle, was mainly because I got a new steel slab that was much thicker than the old one, and I was worried that the bottom would cook faster than the top. So I figured that moving it up and away from the bottom element would slow that a bit, and give the top a chance to cook at the same rate. I was mostly right, but I do seem to need to hit it with the broiler in order for the toppings to keep up with the base.

The reason I upgraded my steel, was because the old one was only 13.5Ē and I wanted to be able to bake a larger family size pie. It was just a bonus that the new steel also happened to be much thicker as well. But additionally, I wanted to cut the bake time; with the old thinner steel, even though the middle rack provided an even bake, it took 8 or 9 mins, so the crust would come out tasting a bit dry. Not terribly so, but enough that Iíd need to chase a slice with a tall glass of water. The new thicker steel cuts that time by 2-3 mins, and it makes a huge difference.

But yeah, the thicker steel gets a lot hotter, and if I were to move it down to the middle rack, I think the bottom would be burnt by the time the top had cooked. Iím basing this on previous experimentation with my old steel, where the very bottom rack would burn the base, but moving it upwards was the fix.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 14, 2021, 10:27:44 AM
What are the ingredients of your Walmart flour? Compare to Robinhood - Wheat flour, Amylase, Xylanase, Ascorbic acid, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine mononitrate, Riboflavin, L-Cysteine, Folic acid.
Ah, the Walmart brand is missing the Xylanase and L-Cysteine. I wonder if that makes the difference? Either way, I will most definitely pick up some more Robin Hood next chance I get. They were out of it when I went to replenish my stock, and I just got desperate ó figured it was probably re-packaged Robin Hood anyway, but that was a wild guess. :-)

My next bake wonít be for a few weeks, but if I get a chance before then Iíll pick up more Robin Hood, and will post back with the results. If it doesnít work, then weíll know itís somehow related to my updated baking method, but I canít imagine what that would be, if the toppings are clearly getting enough heat. Maybe itís incorrect to assume that the rim would bake at the same rate as the toppings under the broiler, and the missing element here is just time.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 15, 2021, 06:17:59 PM
One other thing to consider: Iím doing a cold 72 hr fermentation, and I notice that it puffs up to 3x or 4x itís original size in the fridge. Then I let it sit at room temp for 4 hrs prior to baking, and I notice it is VERY relaxed and has very little elasticity when stretching it. When I pick it up, if I stop spinning it for > 2 seconds it will tear under its own weight. So I wonder if Iím inadvertently over-proofing it, to a point where all the sugar has been consumed?

I didnít consider this initially, because my yeast amounts seemed correct, and I was using cool enough water, so I figured the quadruple sized proof was probably normal. But I also recall reading somewhere that the place I live (Calgary) is considered a high-altitude baking region, which affects yeast behavior and can cause it to be more active at times.

Does anyone think that quadrupling in size in my fridge, and being extra slack, is a sign that it has over-proofed? If so, then whatís the better fix ó colder water, or less yeast?
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Jersey Pie Boy on September 15, 2021, 06:42:45 PM
Good possibility it's over..I'd try cutting IDY and give that a shot

Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 15, 2021, 09:58:18 PM
Good possibility it's over..I'd try cutting IDY and give that a shot
Iíll try reducing IDY to .2%, and maybe increasing the oil slightly.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Jersey Pie Boy on September 16, 2021, 12:02:54 AM
Probably best to only make one change at a time..oil amount change might complicate results.

Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: amolapizza on September 16, 2021, 03:34:39 AM
I have no idea what kind of effect altitude has on fermentation, but yes it sounds like you are over fermenting.  I look for just a doubling or even slightly less.  IMO, the fact that the dough is lacking elasticity and tears all by itself from gravity and also the whiteness of the crust all indicate an over fermented dough.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 16, 2021, 10:31:05 AM
Probably best to only make one change at a time..oil amount change might complicate results.
Good point. Ok Iíll start with changing only the IDY then. In my search for answers, I looked at several other cold-fermentation recipes and noticed they typically only use .2% IDY ó not .3%. Not sure how I had landed on the latter amount, but even taking elevation out of the equation I was apparently using too much.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 16, 2021, 10:45:06 AM
I have no idea what kind of effect altitude has on fermentation, but yes it sounds like you are over fermenting.  I look for just a doubling or even slightly less.  IMO, the fact that the dough is lacking elasticity and tears all by itself from gravity and also the whiteness of the crust all indicate an over fermented dough.
I can stretch it out quite a bit before it starts to tear, but yeah, I gather that level of slackness still isnít ideal. LOL TBH Iíve been dabbling for a year now, and always thought that was normal. In fact, I used to try to push the hydration level, and there were times when using 76% hydration where it would just fall apart instantly after a few turns. I have a lot to learn!

Iím going to make another one this weekend with reduced IDY, and will report back.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: BeanAnimal on September 16, 2021, 11:47:51 AM
The cheese and sauce look overdone.

Hrmm - looks perfect to me!  I really enjoy a well done Pizza where the cheese begins to caramelize.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: TXCraig1 on September 16, 2021, 12:56:58 PM
If you are happy with everything other than the light cornicione. Another option is to finish the cornicione post-bake with a searzall.

https://www.amazon.com/SEARZALL-Stainless-Steel-Culinary-Restaurants/dp/B00L2P0KNO
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 16, 2021, 05:22:52 PM
Hrmm - looks perfect to me!  I really enjoy a well done Pizza where the cheese begins to caramelize.
Haha Thank you! I prefer some dark bits on the cheese as well, and Saputo brand mozzarella lends itself well to that. The pizza was quite tasty as well, other than the rim being not crispy enough. That one had gyros meat under the cheese. First time trying that, and everyone loved it.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 17, 2021, 10:24:10 PM
If you are happy with everything other than the light cornicione. Another option is to finish the cornicione post-bake with a searzall.

https://www.amazon.com/SEARZALL-Stainless-Steel-Culinary-Restaurants/dp/B00L2P0KNO
What an interesting product! Feels like a bit of a cheat in a way though. 🙂
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Jersey Pie Boy on September 18, 2021, 01:37:01 AM
https://youtu.be/qMx-Lv_eZ3s (https://youtu.be/qMx-Lv_eZ3s). >:D :-D
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 18, 2021, 01:28:54 PM
I guess crispy isnít an absolute requirement for me, as long as itís chewy, tasty, and thoroughly cooked. But it would be a bonus to see some natural browning, as it would be an indicator that my dough is healthy.🙂

Weíll see if my IDY reduction will do the trick. Iíve had a new batch in the fridge for the past 48 hrs, using .2% IDY which is 2/3 my usual amount. The dough is now approx 1.5x its original size, vs the 3x size increase it would normally exhibit by this time. So, erÖ I guess this is how itís supposed to be? Iíll bake it tomorrow and will post the results.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: TXCraig1 on September 18, 2021, 01:47:24 PM
What an interesting product! Feels like a bit of a cheat in a way though. 🙂

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=57336.0
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 18, 2021, 11:10:44 PM
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=57336.0
Oh, you werenít kidding! LOL do you have a video of yourself making blowtorch pizza? That would get a lot of YouTube views. It sure came out looking great too.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Jackitup on September 19, 2021, 01:23:57 AM
They are VERY popular in the sous vide crowd!!!

Craig, did they come down in price from when they first came out or were they always $75??
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 19, 2021, 12:27:25 PM
They are VERY popular in the sous vide crowd!!!

Craig, did they come down in price from when they first came out or were they always $75??
Haha, yeah I can picture that. When my cousin got into sous vide, we went a little nuts and tried sous videíing every damned thing in the fridge, and it was delicious! If I canít sous-vide a pizza, then maybe this is the next best thing.👍
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 20, 2021, 02:11:13 AM
Today I baked one with only .2% IDY instead of .3%. The dough more-than doubled in the fridge, but did not quite reach the 3x (or more) size that it would normally have grown to at .3% IDY. It was still pretty slack after leaving it at room temp for 4 hrs though, so I might try reducing hydration a couple %. The end result after baking was improved, but still not perfect. By the time I remembered to snap a pic, it was mostly eaten. 😁 But the 2 remaining slices are representative. What do you guys thinkÖ does that look ok, or is there room for improvement?
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: BeanAnimal on September 20, 2021, 03:03:58 AM
Looks okay to me
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: amolapizza on September 20, 2021, 03:52:27 AM
Normally there is always place for improvement.. :D

That said, your pizza looks pretty good to me!
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: TXCraig1 on September 20, 2021, 10:04:31 AM
They are VERY popular in the sous vide crowd!!!

Craig, did they come down in price from when they first came out or were they always $75??

I think that's what I paid.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: BeanAnimal on September 20, 2021, 12:31:14 PM
They are VERY popular in the sous vide crowd!!!

Craig, did they come down in price from when they first came out or were they always $75??

IMHO they are really not well made and tend to not last very long.  We do a good bit of sous-vide and I am not really a fan of the torch (with or without the fixture) - can't explain exactly why. I prefer to sear on super hot cast iron with some clarified butter.  Note - that I have certainly used a torch in odd situation to cook hot dogs, quickly fry bologna, toast bread, caramelize cheese on an undercooked delivery pizza, make s'mores, etc.   But mostly I use it to light the weber and solder copper pipes ;)
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on September 20, 2021, 12:55:57 PM
Ok so hereís an interesting article I found, written by Kenji, that takes a controlled scientific approach to testing out various cold-fermentation durations. https://www.seriouseats.com/the-pizza-lab-how-long-should-i-let-my-dough-cold-ferment

In a nutshell, he bulk-ferments his dough in the fridge, and bakes some of it each day. On day 1, he notes that the rim is a ďuniform brownĒ, which he characterizes as being less desirable or interesting than the contrast of colours you get after longer fermentations. On day 3, you can clearly see in his photos that the dough is much more pale in spots, with charred spots wherever there are bubbles. His day-3 dough looks very similar in color to my latest! While he doesnít seem to have made the correlation between the pallor of his dough and the amount of time that yeast has had to consume more of the sugars, at least this is a good indication that Iím in the ballpark for 3-day fermentation period.

Going forward, I think Iíll stick with .2% IDY, Iíll try increasing oil slightly to 1.5% (after all, Iím baking it in my kitchen oven, not a pizza oven), and Iíll also reduce water to maybe 68.5% in hopes of making the dough less slack and easier to handle.

Thanks all for weighing in and getting me thinking in the right direction!
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: peetzabone on September 29, 2021, 12:10:12 PM
To clarify my post for people who were wondering why I changed what was apparently working: the reason I moved my bake to the top rack instead of the middle, was mainly because I got a new steel slab that was much thicker than the old one, and I was worried that the bottom would cook faster than the top. So I figured that moving it up and away from the bottom element would slow that a bit, and give the top a chance to cook at the same rate. I was mostly right, but I do seem to need to hit it with the broiler in order for the toppings to keep up with the base.

Shank- Something for you to consider:

Like you I got a massive steel plate for making pizza. It's 1/2" and after preheating for 90 minutes retains heat really well for multiple pizza bakes. I use the steel on the bottom rack and about 4" above that I place the second rack with a thick, standard cordierite stone on it. The radiant heat from the top stone helps start cooking the top while the steel does it trick w/ direct heat from the bottom of the crust up.  At the 3 minute mark I rotate the bottom pizza up to the top stone to finish for another 3.5 minutes. I put a new pizza on the bottom steel and then lather/rinse/ repeat.

I would use the steel then finish under a hot broiler but because I do so many pizzas (usually 7-10) that I'm worried that if I go broiler only my steel will lose too much heat.

Why do I do so many pizzas? I have trained my family and friends that they "get to make their own". It would make more sense for me to make 3 16" pies instead of 8 8" pies but I don't think I can convince them to "share". They love topping their own stuff.

I'm *pretty* happy with results this way. Might help you too if you want more flexibility.
Title: Re: Help ó Top of rim comes out white, while everything else is properly browned
Post by: Shanksworthy on October 04, 2021, 10:38:48 AM
Shank- Something for you to consider:

Like you I got a massive steel plate for making pizza. It's 1/2" and after preheating for 90 minutes retains heat really well for multiple pizza bakes. I use the steel on the bottom rack and about 4" above that I place the second rack with a thick, standard cordierite stone on it. The radiant heat from the top stone helps start cooking the top while the steel does it trick w/ direct heat from the bottom of the crust up.  At the 3 minute mark I rotate the bottom pizza up to the top stone to finish for another 3.5 minutes. I put a new pizza on the bottom steel and then lather/rinse/ repeat.

I would use the steel then finish under a hot broiler but because I do so many pizzas (usually 7-10) that I'm worried that if I go broiler only my steel will lose too much heat.

Why do I do so many pizzas? I have trained my family and friends that they "get to make their own". It would make more sense for me to make 3 16" pies instead of 8 8" pies but I don't think I can convince them to "share". They love topping their own stuff.

I'm *pretty* happy with results this way. Might help you too if you want more flexibility.
Sounds like an excellent workflow. Iíve also enlisted my family and friends as guinea pigs in my pizza experiments, although Iím really still just getting the basics down. But I have an extra steel slab, a 3/16Ē thick one that I just replaced with the 3/8Ē one, and I suppose I could try using it in a similar manner ó although since itís only 14Ē, a great deal of my 16Ē pizza would be hanging over the edge. But maybe thatís not such a big deal once the crust has already baked enough to have some rigidity.

Do you find when baking on the bottom rack, that the bottom gets a little TOO blackened sometimes? Because for me, even though I only preheat for 60 mins on the top rack and my steel is 1/8Ē thinner than yours, my crust becomes adequately singed after 5-mins. So I worry that any more heat would be too much.