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Author Topic: How do you know a dough recipe wil be good?  (Read 415 times)

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Offline stevenfstein

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How do you know a dough recipe wil be good?
« on: December 07, 2019, 01:21:07 PM »
I've learned quite a bit in the past year or two from the forums but not sure if I've seen this answer. Tom, you have a recipe for an extremely good dough. I've seen people say they tweaked it to add more of this or less of that. They CF for x times vs. y times. They bulk ferment vs. balling right away. My very naive question is why. Is it a matter of taste or science? I know in regular cooking all bets are off if I double a particular ingredient - I like garlic so I'll put in 10 cloves vs. the recipe of 5. But baking is more scientific. What effect does 2 grams of salt vs. 2.5 grams of salt have. Why would I add/subtract times/ingredients and how would I know before hand why I'm doing it and the possible result?

Best... Steve

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: How do you know a dough recipe wil be good?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2019, 02:13:04 PM »
Steve;
Much of what you are asking can be found in the function of ingredients located in another section of this web site. As you have probably already noticed we don't like to deal with "recipes" more than we have to since a recipe is based on volumetric portions and as such are rather imprecise, whereas "formulas" are based on weight measures and are very precise and repeatable, additionally formulas are usually expressed in "bakers percent" where flour is always expressed as 100% and each ingredient is expressed as a percent of the flour weight. This allows for easy checking of the formula to determine if it is in correct balance and to see if any ingredient might be sufficiently high to impact the dough, dough handling or any of the finished product quality characteristics. Bakers percent also allows for very simple manipulation of the size of the dough while keeping all of the ingredients in correct proportion to the flour weight.
As to why we "tweak" formulas, it can be for a number of reasons such as, to better fit into our specific dough management procedure, to achieve a specific end product (crust) characteristic, to allow the dough to be better opened by a particular method, or to be better baked in a specific type of oven or specific oven conditions.
When I was teaching pizza classes I always told my students that knowing the function of ingredients allows you to effectively steer the dough or finished pizza to the characteristics that you are looking for. Take salt, for example, if the amount shown in bakers percent is less than 1.5% and the complaint is that the pizza crust has a bland or starchy taste the first action to take would be to increase the salt to at least 1.75% and probably not more than 2.5% (this is the normal range for salt addition in a pizza dough). On the other hand, if the yeast level is low and the salt level is high (3 to 3.5%) and the complaint is that the dough is difficult to open (too elastic) the problem is most likely due to the high salt level slowing the rate of fermentation so in the end the dough is not getting sufficient fermentation to properly condition the dough/gluten for easy opening into skins. It's just like steering a car, you know that turning the steering wheel changes the direction of travel we do the same thing with our doughs only in this case our knowledge of the function of ingredients is the steering wheel while the dough and finished crust characteristics are the direction of travel.
If I remember correctly, I believe it was Pizza Today Magazine in which I wrote an entire article devoted to the function of ingredients, maybe Peter can find it in the Way Back Machine?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Online Pete-zza

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Re: How do you know a dough recipe wil be good?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2019, 03:46:22 PM »
If I remember correctly, I believe it was Pizza Today Magazine in which I wrote an entire article devoted to the function of ingredients, maybe Peter can find it in the Way Back Machine?
I am not sure if I found the article that Tom mentioned but a while back I put together the following post to capture a lot of Tom's articles, and also posts, both on this forum and the PMQ Think Tank, that discuss what various pizza ingredients do:

Reply 4 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=48803.msg490049#msg490049

To add to what Tom said in his post today, I would mention that we have had members who have registered on this forum from 135 different countries by my latest count:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=26828.msg271346#msg271346

And what we have seen is that the ingredients, dough recipes, dough preparation equipment and ovens vary considerably over the world. This makes it extremely challenging to make all of these things work harmoniously to produce high quality pizzas. But some of our forum's best members come from outside of the US and have contributed greatly to the forum.

I would also add that we have some extremely smart, and talented and creative members on the forum. And they do things that you will rarely or never see on the professional side of the pizza business. Our members will use sourdough starters, various kinds of preferments, combinations of cold and room temperature fermentations, extremely long fermentation times (measured in weeks in some cases), and so on. You name it, and someone on the forum has done it. And they are not constrained in ways that professionals are. But the diversity has been staggering and as a result it is often difficult for new members to adapt and learn. Pizza making is really a science and math based exercise and that can pose challenges to our members who are used to recipes that one usually finds in cookbooks and are based on volume measurement of ingredients, not in baker's percents as Tom noted. And you will see a lot of that science and math reflected in the forum's Pizza Glossary at https://www.pizzamaking.com/glossary.html. Unfortunately, it is the science and math that makes it possible for this forum to exist and to modify existing recipes and to create new things.

Peter





Offline stevenfstein

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Re: How do you know a dough recipe wil be good?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2019, 04:12:55 PM »
Peter and Tom, as always, thank you for all the help. Luckily I'm retired now so I can read through all these posts. I love the journey and can see how my pies have vastly improved, thanks to everyone on this board.

Best... Steve

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