Author Topic: Really need help with bottom crust issues  (Read 868 times)

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Offline caltheide

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Really need help with bottom crust issues
« on: September 23, 2013, 12:20:19 PM »
All things being equal which, if any, sugar product (table sugar, honey, agave, etc) will promote a crust with the most browning?  Also what is the highest percentage you can use before giving the dough a too sweet taste?  I just cannot get my crust to brown on the bottom/too doughy.  I use either AP flour, bread flour or KASL flour.  Iíve used the top, middle and bottom rack of my oven.  I do use a preheated stone in a home electric oven set on 500/broil for an hour.  Would cooking the crust without toppings for a few minutes help?  Iíve used the upper most sugar percentage from the pizza calculator, 2%, but Iím wondering how far that can be pushed without an unpleasant sweet taste or if more will even help.  Thanks for any information, Cindy

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Really need help with bottom crust issues
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2013, 01:13:22 PM »
Fist things first Cindy, check your oven with a reliable oven thermometer to see that you are achieving the temps you think you are??? Most problems start there. How thick is your stone, 3/4" is usually a thickness that will hold the heat the best without cooling too fast when the dough hits the stone, and what type of stone is it. Electric home ovens are notorious for running cool in my experience, especially the older models. If 500 isn't doing it go 550 again, checking temps. I'm sure some others like Scott will chime in with some thoughts too.

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Offline mkevenson

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Re: Really need help with bottom crust issues
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2013, 02:38:46 PM »
Cindy, can you check the stone temp with an IR temp gun? I would suggest running the oven at the highest temp possible and after one hour check the stone temp. I know that sugar does promote browning but don't know what the limit is as far as taste. Best to experiment if you really want that data. I don't have an electric oven but where is the heating element? If on th bottom of the oven perhaps getting your stone as close as possible would help.
You mention that your crust is doughy, what is your hydration %?
Also what is your normal bake time? Have you tried baking longer, until you get the color you want?
With all the experience on this site, you will get the answers you need.
Welcome, and thanks for asking. :D
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Offline pythonic

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Re: Really need help with bottom crust issues
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2013, 02:42:58 PM »
Try it without broil.  Just set your oven to 500 and put your stone on the bottom rack for an hour.
If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Really need help with bottom crust issues
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2013, 03:54:17 PM »
If your pizza skin is too thin, or doesn't exhibit any/sufficient oven spring characteristics during the early stages of baking the heat that is applied to the bottom of the dough is conducted right on through the dough into the toppings where it is dissipated as steam during baking, leaving the bottom of the dough/crust without sufficient heat to develop the desired color. Reasons for this can be forming the pizza skin too thin, or insufficient dough absorption which inhibits expansion of the dough during baking resulting in a thin, leathery finished crust. The best sugar to add to get browning without flavor (sweetness) is lactose. Lactose is a reducing sugar so it will readily participate in the browning reaction and it also has the lowest sweetness value of all the sugars, only about 10% of that of sucrose. Dairy whey is about 73% lactose so the addition of whey to the dough formula can be a good way to achieve pronounced browning without the unwanted sweet taste.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline caltheide

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Re: Really need help with bottom crust issues
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 06:01:08 PM »
Thank you all for your help.  I use a stone bought at Lowe's Home Improvement, it is just an unglazed Mexican paver stone, 1/2" thick.  I do preheat the oven/broil to 500 for an hour which is the highest temp my oven goes.  I do need to get a oven thermometer so I can check out the actual temp.  At some point I should probably get a IR temp gun, I don't know anyone who has one.  I have been experimenting constantly since finding this site but my recent hydration levels have been around 60 - 63%.  My oven has elements both top and bottom that's why I used every rack in the oven to see if one does better than the other.  I had always cooked closest to the top element but found the bottom does well too but neither gets the bottom of my crust any darker.  I normally bake around 9 - 10 minutes.  If I go much longer the top gets to dark, again without the bottom browing I am looking for.  Maybe I should lower the heat so I can bake longer?  I do think by bottom crust may be too thin because it does just flop down after cutting, that's the doughy part, and I don't like that.  Oven spring is definitely another one of my big concerns.  I am always looking for ways to better oven spring.  Dough Doctor, what causes insufficient  dough absorption?  How do I prevent or fix that problem?  Again, thank you for all your help.