Author Topic: A few questions from an amateur..  (Read 3607 times)

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Pizza Tycoon ruled

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A few questions from an amateur..
« on: December 26, 2004, 10:42:51 PM »
I've been reading this forum for a while now.. and its been very very very helpful in helping my pizza to progress.  however, i have seem to hit a wall in how good my pizzas are getting.  I have a crust-browning problem.  I'm not getting that browned and hard on he outside, soft and chewy in the inside.. i'm getting a bready result, and a very homemade pizza type taste.  i mean, its good.. but i want it to cross the line between homemade and NY goodness.  
      High-gluten flour, 11.80 oz. (about 2 1/2 c.)
      Water, 7.70 oz. (about 1 c.)
      IDY, 0.20 oz. (1 1/2 t.)
      Salt, 0.20 oz. (3/4 t.)
      Olive oil (light), 0.12 oz. (3/4 t.)

that is the recipe i'm using.. i used it last night, and the resulting dough was so soft and elastic.. it was great.  so easy to work with.. i had high hopes.  and it was a little bette rthan i've had before.  but the crust still wasn't browning.  i'm using pizza screens and an oven temp of 500.. the max my oven will go.  
actually.. i didn't use high-gluten flour... beause i can't FIND the stupid crap.  i've looked in all the major grocery stores... and cannot find it.  do you have to go to some specialty store to buy it or what?  where do you guys get a hold of it?  that would be extremely helpful.  
would adding sugar help?  and if so... how much for this recipe.   and also.. using this recipe.. if you could be so kind.. tell me how much sugar i should add.. and also, the proofing process i should use.  i never know what process i should use.  so any help regarding these three things would be GREAT.
1. Where to find these specialty ingredients
2. How much sugar to the recipe, and/or any modifications you could suggest to make it better.
3. Proofing process.

thanks a lot ya'll...this forum rules.

Offline Trinity

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Re:A few questions from an amateur..
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2004, 05:18:31 AM »
Goto any bakery. (or call ahead). They should have it. ;)

We have it where I work. General mills 'ALL TRUMPS'.

Hmmm, Should I get a few 100#s and start shipping to you guy's...  ;D
It's an Earth food. They are called Swedish meatballs. It's a strange thing, but every sentient race has its own version of these Swedish meatballs! I suspect it's one of those great universal mysteries which will either never be explained, or which would drive you mad if you ever learned the truth.

Offline Giovanni

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Re:A few questions from an amateur..
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2004, 09:51:39 AM »
For the best high gluten flour go here:

Do a search for 'lancelot' and it will bring up the 5 lb bags of King Aurthor Flour's Sir Lancelot which is what a lot of people around here use. You most likely will not find anything like it locally unless you ask a bakery to sell you some.

For your browning issue i would first recommend that you ad some sort of sugar to your recipe. It can be regular sugar, honey, or even Non-fat dry milk. For your recipe i would try 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of sugar which should get you a really good browning. If you cook it on a stone you will get more bottom browinging and a better crispness than with a screen. If you are retarding your dough make sure it isnt overrising and consuming all the sugars.

Offline Steve

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Re:A few questions from an amateur..
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2004, 10:32:35 AM »
As mentioned before, use the General Mills' "All Trumps" high gluten flour if you can find it, otherwise use the King Arthur "Sir Lancelot" brand flour available from the Baker's Catalogue at the link above. Actually, I personally feel that the Sir Lancelot flour is the best flour out there, but I hesitate to pay such a premium for my flour (shipping costs really drive the price up) and that's why I'm using the All Trumps flour.

Also, I have been using the suggestion of a fellow forum member who suggested adding 1 tablespoon of Carnation Malted Milk Powder to the dough. I've found that it adds just a hint of sweetness to the finished crust which adds to the overall flavor of the final product.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2004, 10:33:13 AM by Steve »

Offline Lars

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Re:A few questions from an amateur..
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2004, 05:13:06 PM »
I bought Vital Wheat Gluten at the local health food store, and you only need very small amounts of that to make your flour into high gluten.  You can buy it on line from this site.  I also get a better crust using a stone, even if I use a screen and a stone.  You can also make the outer crust crisper by spritzing it with water half-way through or by putting a pan of water in the bottom of the oven, although that is more traditional for French bread than for pizza.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re:A few questions from an amateur..
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2004, 09:57:08 PM »
I'm away from my home base but I'm fairly certain that the recipe you are using is based on the Tom Lehmann recipe for NY style dough and produces a dough ball having a weight sufficient to make a 16-inch pizza.  

You can substitute bread flour in the recipe, as you have done, but it won't produce results as good as high-gluten flour, even if you add vital wheat gluten to increase the protein content.  However, should you choose to go that route, for the above recipe you would need about a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten (I use the Arrowhead brand) to increase the protein level of the bread flour to approximate high-gluten flour.  It would be a miracle if you could find high-gluten flour at the retail level.  Only passionate home pizza makers and professional bakers are interested in high-gluten flour and the professionals can do much better pricewise buying in 50 pound bags from millers or wholesalers rather than 5-pound bags at the retail level.   I have tried several brands of high-gluten flour and believe, like many others at this forum, that the King Arthur Sir Lancelot brand is quite possibly the best (but burdened with high shipping costs).

The high-gluten flour will give you slightly more browning than bread flour because of the higher protein level (about 1.5% higher for the KASL brand).  As has been suggested, using a stone or tiles (with enough surface area to accommodate a 16-inch pizza) may do a better job of browning than a pizza screen alone.   Or you can combine use of a screen and a pizza stone or tiles (e.g., you can bake the pizza on the screen for the most part and slide the pizza onto a stone or tiles for the last couple of minutes or so to get additional bottom browning.)

The Lehmann recipe does not call for added sugar.  But if you plan to keep the dough for more than a day or two before using, or if you want additional browning, then Tom L. recommends a level of sugar equal to 1% to 3% by weight of flour.  For the above recipe, this would come to 0.12 to 0.35 oz., or about 1 teaspoon to about 1 tablespoon of sugar.  The higher amount might produce a sweeter dough and will be detectible if you have a sensitive palate to sugar.  I would tend to start with the lower amount (or even lower, as Giovanni recommends) and work up from there based on your results.   Or you can follow Steve's recommendation to use the Carnation Original malted milk.  I am curious about whether the malted mill will improve upon the Lehmann recipe.

If you propose to use dry milk, unless it is a high heat or baker's grade of dry milk, you may want to first reconstitute it in the water, heat it to scalding and let it cool down before using.  (There are things in ordinary dry milk that are said to interfere with the fermentation process).

As for your question about proofing the yeast, no proofing is required if you use the IDY as set forth in the recipe you are using.  The IDY should be mixed directly into the flour.  If you use ADY, or fresh cake yeast, and make the necessary quantitative conversions from IDY to ADY or cake yeast, I recommend that you proof the ADY or cake yeast in a small amount of the water (warm), and combine with the remaining water after the proofing is complete (about 8-10 minutes).  If you are temperature adjusting the water to achieve a desired finished dough temperature, the temperature adjusting would be with respect to the remaining water.

Good luck and let us know whether you get better results.


pizza tycoon ruled

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Re:A few questions from an amateur..
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2004, 03:49:50 PM »
wow thanks a lot youu guys.  i bought wheat gluten from the store a while back but never used it because i didn't know how much to use, or when to add it when i'm mixing the dough.  so i'm gonna try that.. along with adding some sugar to the recipe.  when do i add these two things?  does it even matter?   will the adding of the wheat gluten produce results close to buying the lancelot high gluten flour?  because if its close.. that'd be great...

also... you said using IDY yeast there is no proofing required?  did i read that right?  so i can throw out a pizza right after i mix it or what?  no need to let it rest or anything?  thanks a lot guys.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re:A few questions from an amateur..
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2004, 06:21:44 PM »
The vital wheat gluten should be added directly to the flour so that it doesn't pill up, which it would if you add it to the water.  The sugar can be added to the flour or it can be dissolved in the water if the water is warm.

Because of the way vital wheat gluten is produced, it is unlikely that adding it to bread flour will be the same as using high-gluten flour at the outset.  I have never done a side by side test to determine the differences, but it may be worth an experiment one of these days.  

As for IDY, you read it right.  You just mix it in with the flour.  There's no need to let the IDY rest or anything like that.  If you'd like, you can combine all the dry ingredients, add the water and then follow the basic steps for kneading.  It is generally recommended that the oil be added after the other ingredients have been combined and kneaded so that the starch molecules in the flour better absorb the water.