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### Author Topic: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?  (Read 8715 times)

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#### nahu123

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##### Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« on: October 16, 2005, 02:04:16 PM »
I'm new to this site and could use a little help with this one; although I know that the answer is already somewhere here, I'm just having difficulty finding it.  I'm preparing to make a dough using preferment, but am having trouble deciding on the ratios.  My plan is as follows:

1000g 00 flour (100%)
19.2 oz water (60%)
200g preferment (20%)
18g salt (2%)

It's the salt and preferment that I question - too little, too much?

I'll be baking this in my pizza oven at about 700 degrees.

Any help would be appreciated.

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2005, 03:34:45 PM »
nahu123,

I don't believe it is possible to answer your questions properly based on the information you provided.

To begin with, you indicate that the water is 19.2 ounces. That is equal to 544.32 grams (19.2 x 28.35). On a percentage basis, 544.32 grams is 54.4% (544.32/1000), not 60%. You also do not indicate the nature of your preferment, that is, whether it is liquid, dry, or something in between (which might account for part of the total hydration), and how you propose to use the preferment. I assume that you intend a room-temperature fermentation, but you don't specify a planned fermentation time or procedure. Room-temperature fermented doughs, and particularly those that use a natural preferment, require a proper balance between the ingredients (particularly the preferment), time (fermentation and ripening times) and temperature (especially room temperature).

Your use of preferment at 20% by weight of flour should work if you have properly defined all the parameters of what you propose to do. I have many times used 15-20% preferment, as a percent of the weight of flour. I have also used 1-5% preferment, by weight of water (not flour), when I have experimented with fellow member Marco's (pizzanapoletana) 00 dough recipe. You will find many of the details on those experiments, as well as others using the Caputo 00 flour and preferments, at the Caputo 00 pizza/Caputo 00 biga thread.

I think it is safe to say that you perhaps can tolerate using more salt. I think you can use 2.4-2.75% (by weight of flour) under normal circumstances without any difficulty. This is a common range for a room-temperature fermented (and even cold fermented) Caputo 00 dough. The amount of salt can also be used to slow down or speed up the fermentation process (by using more salt or less salt, respectively).

Perhaps Marco can comment on your planned formulation. He is the expert on this subject.

Peter

#### nahu123

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2005, 04:24:21 PM »
Thanks Peter, at least I began my question with the "I'm new to this site" part.  I've been educating myself through this forum, and hope to have a better handle on the ratios and verbage, so bear with me if I cause too much confusion.  In any case, I'll follow-up with better info.  My preferment is a 14 year old starter that I have been feeding and using for bread making.  I allowed it to ferment as a wetter batch, vice the normal consistency that I would use for bread.  I did this in order to get a wetter dough without having to rely on too much water.  The ball formed up nicely and is sitting for it's initial room temp proofing.  Typically, for bread I will allow a 1 to 2 hour room temp rise, punch down and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours - I intend to bake tomorrow evening, which will fit (I'll pull it out two hours prior to shaping the pies.  Depending on how active I have been with my starter, I will add a pinch or two of IDY to help.  I chose not to add this to allow for a smaller rise.

I submitted a second posting to my equipment post "Earthstone Gas Fired Pizza Oven", which shows the initial days with the new oven.  As I improve, I'll keep adding - this is defiantly a work in progress, both understanding the intricacies of the dough and the oven.

Kevin

#### piroshok

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2005, 08:23:56 PM »
Pete
I am interested in your cross conversion since I always have problems translating liquid to weight measurement ratios
Thanks

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2005, 09:16:49 PM »
Ricardo,

Water is easy because the density of water is equal to 1, which means that 1 milliliter of water weighs 1 gram. So, 1 liter = 1000 milliliters = 1000 grams. I also use 1 c. = 8.33 oz. (avoirdupois, not fluid volume) as a conversion factor. It's more accurate than eyeballing water in a cup and measuring it.

Other liquids have different densities, so you either have to (1) weigh specified volumes, say, 1 cup, and convert to something more useful, such as teaspoons or tablespoons (e.g., dividing the 1-cup weight by 48 for teaspoons or 16 for tablespoons), or (2) use conversion factors recited on the labels of bottles and other packaging. For example, bottles of many domestic oils give volume to weight conversions, such as 1 tablespoon = 14 grams (which can then be converted to ounces, for example, 1 T. = 0.4938271 oz., or 1 t. = 0.164609 oz.), However, most bottles of imported oils often use 1 tablespoon = 14 or 15 ml. I use the former and sometimes I use the conversion that Steve came up with through the method described in (1) above (the differences are negligible) . Some other conversion factors I use for liquids (or semi-solids) are as follows:

Honey, 1 t. = 0.2466666 oz.
Barley malt syrup, 1 t. = 0.2469135 oz.
Shortening (Crisco), 1 t. = 0.140934 oz.

Mind you, these are precise values which no normal scale can measure. In practice, I round out the numbers to two places. To save myself a lot of work, and to minimize mistakes, I have created a spreadsheet for converting ounces to volumes, such as teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, quarts and gallons, for over a couple dozen ingredients that can be conceivably used in pizza doughs. So, whenever I get weights in ounces from using baker's percents, I can easily convert to volumes. It is these calculations that I give in recipes for the benefit of those who do not have scales. It's not perfect, but it is the best I can do under the circumstances. In many cases, the precision is wiped out simply by the inability to measure out oddball quantities (e.g., how do you measure out 1.17 t.?)

Peter

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#### piroshok

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2005, 07:26:05 AM »

#### Bill/SFNM

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2005, 09:14:03 AM »

My preferment is a 14 year old starter that I have been feeding and using for bread making.

Kevin,

When making pizza, I end up using about 5% starter while I use about 10% when making bread.

Bill/SFNM

#### nahu123

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2005, 09:47:49 AM »
Bill/Peter,

Thanks, great stuff.  I will follow your lead, Pete, and create a similar spread sheet for conversion.  I'll be baking tonight and let you know how the first attempt goes.  If I can figure the picture posting out, I'll include a couple shots.

Thanks to all,
Kevin

#### nahu123

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2005, 10:08:50 AM »
OK, first preferment bake is complete - although I failed miserably on the picture front.  Having a house full of eager pizza eaters at each baking is limiting my attempts at being the next great food stylist.

The pies turned out well, though not great.  I reduced the salt as a last minute adjustment fearing that I would have too much rise retardation otherwise.  This was a mistake, the dough seemed a little bland.  They did come out with a nice texture, crisp with a chewy crumb.  The real failure was in my proofing timeline, I missed that perfect window and allowed the dough to sit too long - I'll need to rethink my organizational skills.

I'm going to try again this weekend using Bill's 5% for pizza, vice 10% for bread.  This will be a major drop in percentage so I'm wondering if I should add a pinch of IDY?

This trial and error is fun stuff.

Kevin

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2005, 12:16:40 PM »
Kevin,

With the oven you have, I would personally use only the preferment, without the commercial yeast, with the objective being to try to replicate the authentic Neapolitan style. You can always decide later to add commercial yeast if you are not satisfied with the results.

What I think is more important at the moment is to develop a strategy for what you want to do and try to execute on that strategy. By that, I mean determine whether you want to make a classic, authentic Neapolitan style dough based only on a room temperature fermentation, or a modification of same, using either a retarded (refrigerated) dough or a combination of both a room-temperature fermentation and cold fermentation. The classic Neapolitan approach is to use only room-temperature fermentation, typically at between 64.4-68 degrees F. That is the approach basically advocated by Marco, who comes from Naples and is an expert on Neapolitan pizzas. Places like A16 in San Francisco use a retarded dough. My recollection is that Bill/SFNM uses a combination of room-temperature fermentation and cold fermentation, often for reasons of personal scheduling and convenience. There is no reason why you can't try all of these approaches, but I think it might be better to select one approach at a time until you understand all the competing considerations.

The three other factors I think you should address in advance are the hydration level, the amount of preferment to use, and the amount of salt to use. Together with the room temperature you use for fermentation purposes, these factors will govern the outcome of your dough and pizzas. Since you have a high-temperature oven, I would recommend using a hydration of around 60%, just as you specified in your original formulation at the opening post in this thread. If you use 1000 grams of Caputo 00 flour, the amount of water you would use comes to 600 ml of water, or 600 grams (a bit over 21 ounces). A dough at the 60% level will be a very wet dough (for a 00 flour) and difficult to handle, but if you can manage that, you should get a very good pizza out of it. The dough at that hydration level will also ferment faster than if you use a lower hydration simply because a high hydration dough ferments faster than a lower hydration dough.

For the preferment, you might want to use up to 5% by weight of water (not flour). Alternatively, if you'd like, you can use up to 20% by weight of flour. However, that might be more leavening than you want, especially if you plan to ferment the dough at room temperature for a prolonged period of time, say, above 12 hours. All other things being equal, the less preferment, the longer your dough will ferment at room temperature and vice versa. It's not much different than commercial yeast in that respect. Once you establish how long you want the dough to ferment, which is often governed by personal scheduling considerations, then you select the amount of preferment to use to fit within that "window". Ideally, you want the window to be long enough to let the enzymes do their job and produce a dough that will have the fermentation byproducts (acids, esters, etc.) that are responsible for the great flavors that are possible using a natural preferment.

For the salt, I would use anywhere from 2.3-2.75%, and maybe even a bit higher. Salt levels can be used to control, or regulate, the rate and degree of fermentation. But it should be done in concert with the other factors, especially the amount of preferment and the room temperature you use for fermentation purposes. For your original formulation, the salt can be up to 28 grams or so (at 2.75%).

So, to summarize, the factors that will govern the outcome of your 00 doughs/pizzas are 1) the hydration level, 2) the amount of preferment (either as a percent of water or flour), 3) the amount of salt, 4) the temperature during fermentation, and 5) oven temperature and management. It is the balance between these factors that you want to master and learn to control to increase the likelihood of producing consistently good results. If you can do this, you will become a true pizzaiolo.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 25, 2005, 02:13:08 PM by Pete-zza »

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#### nahu123

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2005, 02:20:51 PM »
Thanks Peter; as always, lots of great info for me to digest.  I'll follow your advise and pick a standard method - allowing for a single item change at a time until I'm seeing the results that I'm looking for.

Kevin

#### scott r

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2005, 11:30:14 PM »
Kevin,

With the oven you have, I would personally use only the preferment, without the commercial yeast, with the objective being to try to replicate the authentic Neapolitan style. You can always decide later to add commercial yeast if you are not satisfied with the results.

For the preferment, you might want to use up to 5% by weight of water (not flour). Alternatively, if you'd like, you can use up to 20% by weight of flour.

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2005, 03:35:41 PM »
Kevin,

In my last post, I mentioned the possibility of using up to 5% preferment by weight of water of up to 20% preferment by weight of flour. I made several Caputo-based doughs in which I found that I preferred the use of up to 5% by weight of water. I used the 20% approach with Lehmann NY style doughs and found that that approach worked very well overall for the higher gluten flours used in the Lehmann doughs.

If you would like to see the trials and tribulations I went through to make Caputo 00 doughs/pizzas using both natural and commercial preferments, you might want to go to this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,986.0.html. You will have to do a fair amount of reading, but I think you will at least see the kinds of issues you will be dealing with as you try to make Caputo pies in your oven.

The other suggestion I would like to offer, one that I have availed myself on more than one occasion, is to read all of pizzanpoletana's posts on this subject. Everytime I do this, I learn something new. You can access the posts by going to pizzanapoletana's profile and using the link provided there for this purpose. In due course, when pizzanapoletana's book is published, I am sure we will learn a lot more on the subject.

Peter

#### nahu123

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##### Re: Use of a preferment with 00 flour?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2005, 08:14:05 PM »
Peter,

You're quickly becoming my mentor - thanks.  I'll settle in for some reading.  I posted a start to some common unit conversions under the resources postings - once again, kudos to you for all the help.

Kevin

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