Recently, at another thread (see Reply 38 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,567.msg76369.html#msg76369
), member bicster requested that I post a dough formulation that I experimented with recently to make a clone of a dough such as one possibly used by Brian Spangler at his well-known pizzeria Apizza Scholls. My interest in Brian’s dough was heightened recently by a favorable review at Reply 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6335.msg76050.html#msg76050
. I had read about Brian Spangler’s work on several prior occasions but did not consider trying to clone his dough because I do not have the proper oven (Apizza Scholls uses a Baker's Pride oven) to bake a pizza made from such a dough even if I were able to come up with a credible clone. However, in light of the work that I had done before with long (20-24 hours) room-temperature fermented doughs, of which Brian’s dough is an example, I thought that it would be interesting, and fun, to attempt a Spangler clone dough and to post my results here with the rest of my 20-24 hour room-temperature experiments.
In preparation for creating a Spangler dough clone to experiment with, I did a fair amount of researching and searching of the Internet to learn as much as possible about Brian’s dough. Here are the places where I found most of the information on his doughs:http://www.portlandfood.org/index.php?s=efe41319cb561d2d1cb15c7f3fa3696c&showtopic=988&st=0
(the Apizza Scholls website);http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8632543/;http://www.wpr.org/search/index.cfm?searchbox=reinhart&x=14&y=12
(PBS interview); andhttp://wweek.com/editorial/3037/5300/
(this is an old article that was a precursor to Brian’s most recent work at Apizza Scholls).
Based on the information from the above sources, I decided to use the General Mills Better for Bread flour (previously the Harvest King flour). Brian is said to use a low-gluten winter wheat flour. The Better for Bread flour is a relatively low-protein flour for a bread flour (12% +/- 0.3%) and is milled from winter wheat. I was unable to find anything on the specifics of the flour actually used by Brian. The only other ingredients in the dough would be water, yeast and salt. No oil and no sugar since neither is used in the Spangler doughs.
The clone dough would be based on a 14-16 hour poolish, with a total prefermentation/fermentation time of at least 24 hours, as noted at the Apizza Scholls website. Since Apizza Scholls opens its pizzeria for business at 5 PM daily (4 PM on Sundays), I decided to start the 14-16 hour poolish about 24 hours earlier, at 5 PM on the day before I planned to use the dough. Based on Brian’s comments at one of the Portland food.org links referenced above, 25% of the formula flour would be used for the poolish preferment. For hydration, I decided to use 74%, which, from the msnbc article referenced above, reportedly is the highest hydration value that Brian has used for his doughs. I speculated that, at 74% hydration, the dough and finished crust would be airy and puffy. Following the final mix (described below), and consistent with Brian’s stated practice, I would use at least five “stretch and folds” at 45-minute intervals. Based on Brian’s favorable comments during the PBS interview referenced above on the merits of using instant dry yeast (IDY) over other forms of yeast, I elected to use IDY, which I suspect Brian does also. Brian indicated that the yeast would be a “minimum amount”, so, for test purposes, I elected to use the IDY at 0.025% of the total formula flour. A part of the IDY would be used for the poolish. Because of Brian’s prior experience as a bread maker, I interpreted his “poolish” to be, and mean, a classic poolish of equal parts of water and flour, by weight. So that is what I decided to use also. For salt, I simply decided on 1.75%, which is my standard value for salt. The dough I would make would be sufficient to make a thin 18” pizza, the only size pizza that Apizza Scholls offers (although solo patrons at the bar can get 12" pizzas). For this purpose, I decided to use a thickness factor of 0.09. Since I would be kneading the dough entirely by hand, as Brian did before he decided to go with a commercial mixer, I opted to use a bowl residue compensation in the dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html
of 2.5%. That value turned out to be almost perfect.
The final dough formulation I ended up with was quite simple, as follows:Total Dough Formulation
|378.61 g | 13.36 oz | 0.83 lbs|
280.17 g | 9.88 oz | 0.62 lbs
0.09 g | 0 oz | 0 lbs | 0.03 tsp | 0.01 tbsp
6.63 g | 0.23 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.19 tsp | 0.4 tbsp
665.51 g | 23.47 oz | 1.47 lbs | TF = 0.09225
Note: Dough for a single 18” pizza; nominal thickness factor = 0.09; bowl residue compensation = 2.5%
The preparation of the dough started with the preparation of the poolish preferment. The preparation of the poolish is pure science. That is, the amount of yeast, the poolish water temperature, and the room temperature at which the poolish is to preferment have to be just right in order to have the poolish ready to use, that is, at the “break point” or shortly thereafter, by the desired time, in this case, 14 hours. To achieve this objective, I used 0.03% of the poolish flour as IDY for the poolish, along with a water temperature of 65 degrees F and a room temperature of 80-82 degrees F. This is essentially the combination of factors recommended by Didier Rosata, formerly of the San Francisco Baking Institute (with which Brian Spangler has a close relationship), to make a 12-15 hour poolish. The precise poolish protocol I followed can be summarized as follows:Poolish
Poolish Flour, at 25% of the total formula flour = 94.65 grams (3.34 ounces)
Poolish Water, at 65 degrees F = 94.65 grams (3.34 ounces)
IDY (0.03% of the Poolish Flour) = 0.032 grams (0.0011 ounces)
Poolish weight = 189.34 grams (6.68 ounces)
Estimated prefermentation time to reach the “break point” = 12-15 hours
The amount of IDY in the poolish is extremely small and comes to about two thirds of a 1/64-teaspoon measuring spoon. Such a measuring spoon is shown as “drop” in the photo at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5583.msg47264.html#msg47264
and also in the photo at Reply 39 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,567.msg76371.html#msg76371
. To monitor the development and rise of the poolish, I used member November’s poppy seed trick as described at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6914.0.html
. To the best of my knowledge, that trick was not specifically developed for use with a poolish or other preferment, but I have tested it on several occasions with preferments and it appears to work. Based on my monitoring of the poolish using the poppy seed trick, the poolish expanded by about 380% over a 14-hour period. That seemed right even by my visual estimation of the rise of the poolish. At about 14 hours, the poolish achieved the break point, which was a signal that the poolish should be used at that time, or shortly thereafter. The first photo below shows the poolish after 14 hours. If one looks closely, the two black poppy seeds can be seen at the center of the poolish.
I decided to use the poolish as part of the Final Mix when it reached the break point, at which time the poolish would be combined with the rest of the formula flour, formula water and formula IDY, and the salt. The Final Mix as I accomplished it can be summarized as follows:Final Mix
Poolish: 189.34 grams (6.68 ounces)
Remaining Formula Flour = 283.96 grams (10.02 ounces)
Remaining Formula Water = 185.52 grams (6.54 ounces)
Remaining Formula IDY = 0.095 grams (0.032 ounces), or about 1 1/3 of a 1/64-teaspoon “drop” measuring spoon
Formula Salt = 0.63 grams (0.23 ounces), or 1.19 t.
Total dough weight= approximately 648 grams (22.86 ounces)
Once the final dough was prepared, it was allowed to ferment at room temperature (around 80-82 degrees F) for about 10 hours, to equal a total of 24 hours with the 14-hour prefermentation period. I performed a total of five “stretch and fold” operations on the dough, at 45-minute intervals. The dough was initially quite sticky but became less so with each added stretch and fold. I used only enough bench flour, along with the use of a plastic bench knife, to be able to lift the dough with my hands and conduct the stretch and folds. The second photo below shows the final dough at this stage. After the last stretch and fold, I placed the dough into a container to ferment for the rest of the 24-hour period. I used a glass container to hold the dough because of its tendency to spread quite quickly because of its high hydration but wondered how Brian stores his dough balls, for example, in banetton type bowls or equivalent plastic versions. Maybe he even keeps the dough in bulk and cuts pieces from it without disturbing the dough balls so that they don't deflate too much. Possibly one of our members knows the answer to this question and can provide some insights.
The dough at the end of the 24-hour fermentation period was quite soft, billowy and extensible, with a lot of bubbles, but I was able to open the dough ball up to form an 18” skin with little difficulty and to place it onto my 18” pizza screen. The use of the 18” pizza screen was out of necessity since the largest pizza I can make on my pizza stone is 14”. I used the pizza screen together with two pizza stones that I had placed on separate racks and preheated for about an hour at around 525-550 degrees F. I had planned to use a longer preheat time to raise the stone temperatures even higher, but my kitchen was already very warm (it was about 104 degrees F outside) and I did not want to make it even warmer.
Procedurally, after dressing the pizza (I elected to make a white New York style pizza as described at the Apizza Scholls website), I placed the screen with the pizza on it on the lowest oven rack position until the pizza set up, at which time I slid the pizza off of the screen directly onto the bottom stone and removed the screen from the oven. When the bottom crust achieved the desired color, after about 7 minutes, I moved the pizza onto the top stone to get more top crust coloration, for about another two minutes. This protocol was not exactly the best one and yielded a somewhat overdone top bake (I was also too sparing with the cheeses and toppings) but, for the first try at the Spangler clone dough, I was more interested in how the crust would turn out. Clearly, my arrangement is not a satisfactory one from a temperature standpoint (the Apizza Scholls website says that a temperature of 650-900 degrees F makes the best pizzas).
The photos in the next post show the finished pizza. The crust was quite chewy and crispy, with a lot of bubbles in the finished crust and with firm slices that did not droop. The crust flavor was quite pleasing but not with the same degree of intensity that I have achieved before using a poolish with much more yeast. The biggest revelation was that the finished crust tasted more like an artisan bread than a pizza crust. Since I have never had an Apizza Scholls pizza, I don’t know if that is a characteristic of a typical Apizza Scholls crust. However, I have noted before that when I have used bread dough techniques, the results were more characteristic of bread crusts than pizza crusts. Since Brian Spangler was an artisan bread maker before he ventured full time into pizzas, maybe the artisan quality of his pizza crusts is intentional. It is also possible that Brian had made changes to his dough formulation since the time of the reference sources mentioned above.
I have provided a lot of detail and calculations with the hope that others, especially those familiar with the Apizza Scholls pizzas and who have the proper ovens, will attempt to make their own clone doughs and report back on their results. If I were to make another clone dough, I would be inclined to use less IDY as part of the final mix (I would stick with the same amount of IDY for the poolish) and possibly a lower hydration, perhaps around 70%. I thought the finished crust tasted a bit salty, so I would perhaps reduce the salt to something between 1.50-1.75%.
Edit (9/26/10): According to post #433, by Brian Spangler's wife, Kim, at http://portlandfood.org/index.php?/topic/2791-apizza-scholls/page__st__420
, the flour used by Apizza Scholls as of 11/07 was the GM Harvest King flour; see, also, post #484 by Brian Spangler, at http://portlandfood.org/index.php?/topic/2791-apizza-scholls/page__st__480
: for a SeriousEats writeup on Apizza Scholls, see http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2008/07/apizza-scholls-pizza-portland-oregon-or.html
Edit (1/22/11): The actual hydration value is 72-74%. The actual salt content appears to be 2%. The Hobart mixer now used at Apizza Scholls is a 1935 Hobart planetary mixer. Four stretch and folds are used at 45-minute intervals. The final dough ball weight for an 18" pizza is around 22-23 ounces, although the pizza size in actual practice can reach 18"-20". The oven that Brian Spangler uses is the Baker's Pride 5736 Series (E-P-28), as described at http://www.bakerspride.com/specs/SDECK-5736-01-07.pdf
. The flues are closed so as to develop steam in the oven, which essentially emulates the moist bake environment of a gas-fired deck oven. Pizzas are baked when the hearth is reading about 700 degrees F, with an average bake time of about 6 minutes. For additional information, see the threads at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11994.msg111975.html#msg111975
and at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12783.msg123496.html#msg123496
EDIT (10/7/15): As a replacement for the above inoperative Apizza Scholls link, see the FAQ section at http://apizzascholls.com/FAQ/index.html