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Offline Arne_Jervell

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The Doughs of My Life
« on: May 26, 2018, 05:06:59 AM »
Upon returning from a four-day trip to Naples (Italy) this spring, I came home with a very clear idea of what my ideal pizza dough is. In one word: Sorbillo.  :drool:

I visited a lot of excellent pizzerias, and I ate a lot of excellent Margherita. They all had something special to them, but Sorbillo's dough was so so good, I was close to tears. In a nutshell, the crust is so soft, delicate and flavourful that it takes almost no effort to bite through the puffy cornicione. That's what I want.

How to get there?  ???

Here are some factors that I believe can be manipulated in order to achieve my goal:

Mixing process
I am currently using Craig's process as he has described it in detail in his sticky. I get good results, yet perhaps there are things I could do to get a softer, lighter crumb? Icelandr recently reminded me of capturing air through stretch and folds. What other factors might I consider focusing on?

Maturation time
I started out making 48 hour RT doughs but have more or less standardized on 24 hour doughs for the past year. Seeming to remember that my cornicione of the past was fluffier, I have made som 48 hour batches recently in order to compare. Not sure that I see much of a difference, to be hones. Something else must give, or?

Type of yeast
Will a SD based dough produce a more tender crust than one made with IDY? It could be just in my head, but I remember a couple of years ago when I first started using the Ischia culture, the tenderness improved dramatically. This year, the culture appears to have weakened and is behaving unpredictably, so I have gone back to IDY for a couple of batches. Suddenly the crust was less tender than before. Is this a thing, or all in my head?

Hydration percentage
I admin it: I'm chasing the high of hydration percentages. From starting out with Craig's 62.5%, I have been pushing it gradually up to about 67% now (Caputo Pizzeria BTW). In my mind, this has made for softer and more delicate crust, which is the direction I want (unfortunately, more difficult to handle dough goes with the territory I guess). Drooling over Sauzer's pizzas has confirmed this to me. However, I have started to wonder... Craig's pies look amazing, and from what I have gathered, even at Sorbillo they use relatively low hydration (in the high 50s or possibly low 60s is what I think I have been told). Having seen the pizzaioli at Sorbillo handle the dough though, I just cannot for the life of be believe that they use such low hydrations. I'm at a loss here.

Baking time
Shorter bake time, more soft crust. This seems to be a simple truth, or...?

Dough handling
I have understood from many posts on this forum that handling the dough with grace is important to prevent toughening up the crust. I do believe this, but I am puzzled when I see Napoli pizzaioli pressing down with force, turning, twisting, slapping the dough around. Event pressing down on the cornicione area seems to be common. I understand that these guys are in a different league altogether, but still I wonder about this seeming contradiction.

Other factors
What other factors could help me tune my dough and process toward the my golden standard?

Arne
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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2018, 09:59:35 AM »
Very interesting post.  Do you know what flour Sorbillo uses? I'd use that flour, naturally leavened, with the lightest touch possible, and RT fermentation.  In other words, what you are already doing for the most part! 

Also read Omid's treatise here on PM.com,  A Philosophy of Neapolitan Pizza.  That helps with the right frame of mind to get to perfection. 

Good luck, and keep posting.  It's good reading!

Offline Heikjo

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2018, 10:26:56 AM »
I like the way you think, Arne. The dough can make a huge difference in a pizza. The best pies I've made has had incredibly tasteful dough. My experience with sourdough is that 48 hour taste better than 24 hour, but that might also be for other reasons, like timing of fermentation.

Here's a video I found about Sorbillo, but it's from 2013, so I don't know if they do it the same way today. I'll keep an eye on this thread.

-Heine. Mostly Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in an electric Effeuno P134H.

Offline jsaras

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2018, 10:45:11 AM »
Upon returning from a four-day trip to Naples (Italy) this spring, I came home with a very clear idea of what my ideal pizza dough is. In one word: Sorbillo.  :drool:

I visited a lot of excellent pizzerias, and I ate a lot of excellent Margherita. They all had something special to them, but Sorbillo's dough was so so good, I was close to tears. In a nutshell, the crust is so soft, delicate and flavourful that it takes almost no effort to bite through the puffy cornicione. That's what I want.

How to get there?  ???

Here are some factors that I believe can be manipulated in order to achieve my goal:

Mixing process
I am currently using Craig's process as he has described it in detail in his sticky. I get good results, yet perhaps there are things I could do to get a softer, lighter crumb? Icelandr recently reminded me of capturing air through stretch and folds. What other factors might I consider focusing on?

Maturation time
I started out making 48 hour RT doughs but have more or less standardized on 24 hour doughs for the past year. Seeming to remember that my cornicione of the past was fluffier, I have made som 48 hour batches recently in order to compare. Not sure that I see much of a difference, to be hones. Something else must give, or?

Type of yeast
Will a SD based dough produce a more tender crust than one made with IDY? It could be just in my head, but I remember a couple of years ago when I first started using the Ischia culture, the tenderness improved dramatically. This year, the culture appears to have weakened and is behaving unpredictably, so I have gone back to IDY for a couple of batches. Suddenly the crust was less tender than before. Is this a thing, or all in my head?

Hydration percentage
I admin it: I'm chasing the high of hydration percentages. From starting out with Craig's 62.5%, I have been pushing it gradually up to about 67% now (Caputo Pizzeria BTW). In my mind, this has made for softer and more delicate crust, which is the direction I want (unfortunately, more difficult to handle dough goes with the territory I guess). Drooling over Sauzer's pizzas has confirmed this to me. However, I have started to wonder... Craig's pies look amazing, and from what I have gathered, even at Sorbillo they use relatively low hydration (in the high 50s or possibly low 60s is what I think I have been told). Having seen the pizzaioli at Sorbillo handle the dough though, I just cannot for the life of be believe that they use such low hydrations. I'm at a loss here.

Baking time
Shorter bake time, more soft crust. This seems to be a simple truth, or...?

Dough handling
I have understood from many posts on this forum that handling the dough with grace is important to prevent toughening up the crust. I do believe this, but I am puzzled when I see Napoli pizzaioli pressing down with force, turning, twisting, slapping the dough around. Event pressing down on the cornicione area seems to be common. I understand that these guys are in a different league altogether, but still I wonder about this seeming contradiction.

Other factors
What other factors could help me tune my dough and process toward the my golden standard?

Arne
 :pizza:

I'll only have a day in Naples next month.  Other than Sorbillo's what were your other favorites? 
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2018, 02:14:27 PM »
Maturation time
I started out making 48 hour RT doughs but have more or less standardized on 24 hour doughs for the past year. Seeming to remember that my cornicione of the past was fluffier, I have made som 48 hour batches recently in order to compare. Not sure that I see much of a difference, to be hones. Something else must give, or?

Baking time
Shorter bake time, more soft crust. This seems to be a simple truth, or...?

IMO, these are the big two - not so much the amount of time, but that the dough is properly fermented. Notwithstanding, by far the most important factor is bake temp/time. My best pies are 45-55 seconds.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2018, 02:50:34 PM »
I'll only have a day in Naples next month.  Other than Sorbillo's what were your other favorites?

Hey Iíll acually be in Naples for a day next month too. Any chance you will be there June 8th?

Offline Arne_Jervell

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2018, 03:30:14 PM »
Do you know what flour Sorbillo uses?

No, not sure about that one.

Also read Omid's treatise here on PM.com,  A Philosophy of Neapolitan Pizza.  That helps with the right frame of mind to get to perfection. 

Thanks, yes I agree that is a great thread. I've read it through once before and I am actually re-reading it this year. It takes a lot of time, but it is jam packed with great information and lots of inspiration.

Offline Arne_Jervell

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2018, 03:30:51 PM »
I like the way you think, Arne. The dough can make a huge difference in a pizza. The best pies I've made has had incredibly tasteful dough. My experience with sourdough is that 48 hour taste better than 24 hour, but that might also be for other reasons, like timing of fermentation.

Here's a video I found about Sorbillo, but it's from 2013, so I don't know if they do it the same way today. I'll keep an eye on this thread.



Thank's for the video!

Offline Arne_Jervell

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2018, 03:41:43 PM »
I'll only have a day in Naples next month.  Other than Sorbillo's what were your other favorites?

A quick rundown of the places I visited:

  • Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba: Pizza a portafoglio, it was nice but I believe I'd have been better of dining in.
  • Trianon da Ciro: Tasty margherita, but pales compared to the next places.
  • Sorbillo: Pizza perfection!
  • Da Michele: Having received mixed reviews, I was delighted to be served a fragrant, soft, and completely delicious margherita. Best tomato sauce of the bunch this trip.
  • Pepe in Grani: Great pizzas, I had three. The margherita was a looker (and yes, it was great tasting). The Scarpetta was to die for! (I've since attempted my own interpretation back home with some success). I can't remember the third.
  • Carlo Sammarco Pizzeria 2.0: Carlo and his staff were so welcomming, this visit was one to remember. Excellent pies, the Dan Antonio was amazing-
  • 50 KalÚ: Ciro Salvo is one of my personal heroes, and he served up a great margherita. Maybe I was a bit in pizza-coma, but I remember that I had wished for more...
  • Dal Presidente: It was ok.

Offline Arne_Jervell

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2018, 03:43:51 PM »
IMO, these are the big two - not so much the amount of time, but that the dough is properly fermented. Notwithstanding, by far the most important factor is bake temp/time. My best pies are 45-55 seconds.

Since one of your earlier comments about the 45 second bake, I've noticed this too. The crust really toughens up when I reach the "golden 90 second standard" at my temps.

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Offline jsaras

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2018, 03:47:25 PM »
Hey Iíll acually be in Naples for a day next month too. Any chance you will be there June 8th?

No.  Late June into early July.
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2018, 09:40:59 PM »
A quick rundown of the places I visited:

  • Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba: Pizza a portafoglio, it was nice but I believe I'd have been better of dining in.
  • Trianon da Ciro: Tasty margherita, but pales compared to the next places.
  • Sorbillo: Pizza perfection!
  • Da Michele: Having received mixed reviews, I was delighted to be served a fragrant, soft, and completely delicious margherita. Best tomato sauce of the bunch this trip.
  • Pepe in Grani: Great pizzas, I had three. The margherita was a looker (and yes, it was great tasting). The Scarpetta was to die for! (I've since attempted my own interpretation back home with some success). I can't remember the third.
  • Carlo Sammarco Pizzeria 2.0: Carlo and his staff were so welcomming, this visit was one to remember. Excellent pies, the Dan Antonio was amazing-
  • 50 KalÚ: Ciro Salvo is one of my personal heroes, and he served up a great margherita. Maybe I was a bit in pizza-coma, but I remember that I had wished for more...
  • Dal Presidente: It was ok.

Those places are really all over. How did you get around to those places?

Offline pizzadaheim

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2018, 01:16:17 AM »

I admin it: I'm chasing the high of hydration percentages. From starting out with Craig's 62.5%, I have been pushing it gradually up to about 67% now (Caputo Pizzeria BTW). In my mind, this has made for softer and more delicate crust, which is the direction I want (unfortunately, more difficult to handle dough goes with the territory I guess). Drooling over Sauzer's pizzas has confirmed this to me. However, I have started to wonder... Craig's pies look amazing, and from what I have gathered, even at Sorbillo they use relatively low hydration (in the high 50s or possibly low 60s is what I think I have been told). Having seen the pizzaioli at Sorbillo handle the dough though, I just cannot for the life of be believe that they use such low hydrations. I'm at a loss here.

Baking time
Shorter bake time, more soft crust. This seems to be a simple truth, or...?

Dough handling
I have understood from many posts on this forum that handling the dough with grace is important to prevent toughening up the crust. I do believe this, but I am puzzled when I see Napoli pizzaioli pressing down with force, turning, twisting, slapping the dough around. Event pressing down on the cornicione area seems to be common. I understand that these guys are in a different league altogether, but still I wonder about this seeming contradiction.

Other factors
What other factors could help me tune my dough and process toward the my golden standard?

Arne
 :pizza:

I ate at Sorbillo as well. He uses " Tipo 0 biologica and integrale bio"

I dont think he uses low hydro. His dough is very soft. Its cause of he uses high hydro and very hot oven. My opinion is %68/70

He makes 800/1000 pizza daily which means he has not much time for fermentation and preparing the dough for the next days work. I think he uses just 16/24 hours fermentation time at RT

I saw how his pizzaiolos handling the dough. In my opinion there is only one way to handle the high hydro dough like this ; they keep long bulk fermentation and keep second fermentation short. 3/5 hours. I tested it in my pizzeria too. Even with very well fermented %70hydro panetti i can slap and push hard cause they are not too relaxed.


Offline Arne_Jervell

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2018, 03:26:55 AM »
Those places are really all over. How did you get around to those places?

We lived just aound the corder from Duomo di Napoli (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta), so most of the places we visited were in walking distance from here. But you are right: There was also some "serious travelling" involved.  :-D

We took the metro to 50 KalÚ, this was quick and easy. It's not that far.

We took the train to Caiazzo to visit Pepe in Grani. The train journey was smooth, though a bit lengthy. I think about 1,5-2 hours. The bigger problem was getting back after dinner, as there was no train service from Caiazzo to Naples after about 7 o'clock in the evening. Also, there are not taxies there. We were at a loss for a while. But with the kind assistance of Pepe's crew, we secured private transportation to Caserta where the trains still operated. Next time, I will rent a car or stay for lunch instead of dinner.

We had planned our trip to Carlo Sammarco Pizzeria 2.0 by bus. This is a long and (in retrospect) funny story, but the short of it includes heavy rain, hours of waiting at an abandoned bus-stop, plenty of transfers, three soaking wet pizza-tourists and a final bus transfer that never came and nobody seemed to even have heard of. In the end, we caved and ordered a taxi to take us there and back. A bad start, but completely worth it after the hospitality, friendliness and generosity at Sammarco. Salvatore, the taxi driver, was also a really nice and chatty guy that made the final stretch a blast (we fed him pizza and coffee while he waited outside) :chef:

Offline Arne_Jervell

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2018, 03:32:30 AM »
I ate at Sorbillo as well. He uses " Tipo 0 biologica and integrale bio"

I dont think he uses low hydro. His dough is very soft. Its cause of he uses high hydro and very hot oven. My opinion is %68/70

He makes 800/1000 pizza daily which means he has not much time for fermentation and preparing the dough for the next days work. I think he uses just 16/24 hours fermentation time at RT

I saw how his pizzaiolos handling the dough. In my opinion there is only one way to handle the high hydro dough like this ; they keep long bulk fermentation and keep second fermentation short. 3/5 hours. I tested it in my pizzeria too. Even with very well fermented %70hydro panetti i can slap and push hard cause they are not too relaxed.

Wow! This is excellent insight, than you so much for sharing.  :chef:

I am both happy and completely horrified to see my suspicions about high hydration confirmed. Now I know I "must" keep pushing the hydration limits.

You tip about shorter time in balls seems solid to me. It just makes sense, now that you said it. I will definitely try this soon!

I am all gitty now!  :-D

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Offline Heikjo

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2018, 06:51:34 AM »
When chasing higher hydration, keep in mind that different flours can handle different hydration rates. Even if you get the same brand as Sorbillo uses, your bag might have higher hydration in the bag and handle less added water.

When handling high HR doughs, you might find it advantageous to ferment the doughs on wood and to open the skins at a lower temperature than RT (24C). It's at least by experience that a cooler dough handled easier. Another factor is when you ball or reball during fermentation.

What temperatures do you need to achieve a 45 second bake time?
-Heine. Mostly Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in an electric Effeuno P134H.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2018, 07:41:56 AM »
What temperatures do you need to achieve a 45 second bake time?

It depends on your oven itself, how well it's preheated, the fire, and how you measure the temperature. In my Acunto, the deck will be ~ 875F and the walls farthest from the fire will be 975F.  In my Pizza Party, the deck is around 915F.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Offline Arne_Jervell

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2018, 08:50:40 AM »
When chasing higher hydration, keep in mind that different flours can handle different hydration rates. Even if you get the same brand as Sorbillo uses, your bag might have higher hydration in the bag and handle less added water.

When handling high HR doughs, you might find it advantageous to ferment the doughs on wood and to open the skins at a lower temperature than RT (24C). It's at least by experience that a cooler dough handled easier. Another factor is when you ball or reball during fermentation.

What temperatures do you need to achieve a 45 second bake time?

Good point. I've been using Caputo pizzeria more or less exclusively for a few years, and to keep track of what variables affect what I am planning on sticking to this for now. Though I would be excited to try other flours further down the road.

I started out fermenting in plastic containers but last year I switched to wooden boxes. It does help with high hydration doughs as the bottom dries out slightly. As for the opening temperature, I have little control as I always make pizza outside. :-)

Today I am going to make a two small test batches, both with 68% hydration (pushing 1 past my current maximum). I'll ferment them both for 24 hours, but one with my regular 12+12 regime and the other one I'll do 20+4. This should be fun.

Offline Heikjo

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2018, 08:54:49 AM »
I started out fermenting in plastic containers but last year I switched to wooden boxes. It does help with high hydration doughs as the bottom dries out slightly. As for the opening temperature, I have little control as I always make pizza outside. :-)

Today I am going to make a two small test batches, both with 68% hydration (pushing 1 past my current maximum). I'll ferment them both for 24 hours, but one with my regular 12+12 regime and the other one I'll do 20+4. This should be fun.
I didn't mean the ambient temperature, but the temperature of the doughs when you open them.

I've had some trouble with doughs being too relaxed when opening them, and my recent doughs seem to indicate that a dough around 15C opened better and even with a pretty well fermented dough (possibly overfermented), a balling 12 hours before baking makes it handle better than 48 hours straight in balls.

Looking forward to see the results from your test. What oven do you have and at what temperature?
« Last Edit: May 27, 2018, 09:01:26 AM by Heikjo »
-Heine. Mostly Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in an electric Effeuno P134H.

Offline Arne_Jervell

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Re: The Doughs of My Life
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2018, 08:55:11 AM »
It depends on your oven itself, how well it's preheated, the fire, and how you measure the temperature. In my Acunto, the deck will be ~ 875F and the walls farthest from the fire will be 975F.  In my Pizza Party, the deck is around 915F.

Nice, seem I'm in the same ballpark in my WFO, possibly slightly cooler. I've noticed I like the results best when I boost the fire quite a bit just before the pizza goes in. I guess I should up my overall temperature slightly.

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