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mroybal

Pizza Dough

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Here's the recipe that I've been using. It requires kneading, but very little, and can be done by hand, mixer, or food processor. The autolyse and wet mixing stage are more important to the gluten development than the length or type of mechanical kneading.

Fermentation is retarded in the fridge for one to several days; final rising happens at room temp in a few hours before baking the pies.

There's salt in the dough. There are enough toppingless bites in a pizza that I feel this is important.

Like Sam's recipe, this one is 70% hydration. Actually a bit higher. This is important not just for gluten and flavor development, but for keeping the crust from drying and toughening in the long baking times required by a home oven. My oven only goes to 550 degrees; many only go to 500. A wood-fired pizza oven hits its stride above 800 degrees and bakes the pies in less than half the time, so there's less tendency for the crust to dry out.


Notes from the underbelly

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I have Pizza stones, but I only use 'em for baking bread,

I do pizza on a 1/4" thick steel plate...I set the oven for the usual(max) 550º, with it on the bottom rack.(closest to the heating element) I load the pizza just after the oven reaches 550º...At that moment the plate is close to 700º..

The heat transfer from steel is much, much greater than stone, so I get very crisp crust in a short time.and the top layer is just getting brown...

Bud

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The heat transfer from steel is  much, much greater than stone, so I get very crisp crust in a short time.and the top layer is just getting brown...

i've thought about trying something like that ... maybe a huge cast iron griddle. makes a lot of sense.


Notes from the underbelly

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The heat transfer from steel is  much, much greater than stone, so I get very crisp crust in a short time.and the top layer is just getting brown...

i've thought about trying something like that ... maybe a huge cast iron griddle. makes a lot of sense.

That would also probably work fine..There are industrial supply companies that will cut you a suitable size chunk for your oven for not a lot of money...

Bud

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Heston Blumenthal bakes his on an inverted cast iron pan under the grill - an interesting idea that I've yet to try, but it looks like it works well.

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Heston Blumenthal bakes his on an inverted cast iron pan under the grill - an interesting idea that I've yet to try, but it looks like it works well.

I have tried that method, it works extremely well. My pizza cooks within 90 seconds when placed on the top shelf of the oven.


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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slkinsey I don't know where you got that tidbit about salt "not being traditional" it absolutely is. Assuming by "traditional" you mean Neapolitan. Otherwise, I don't know what tradition you speak.

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ok... so I need help... what am I doing wrong?

My first attempt used King Arthur "Italian style" flour - http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/...tyle-flour-3-lb

I mixed about 2 cups of dry flour with about a half teaspoon of SAF instant yeast, then mixed with water for a 70% hydration by weight, but it looked a little dry, so I added a bit more water so it would all come together so probably a 72-73% hydration... This was mixed in a large stainless steel bowl, covered with plastic wrap and fermented at room temp overnight for probably about 15 hours or so...

Then, I poured the extremely wet and sticky dough into a ziplock bag (poured is not exactly accurate - more like scooped handfuls of dough and slopped into the bag) and let sit in the refrigerator (about 37F) for 7 days....

On the day of baking, I put a large terracotta saucer upside down in my cold oven - then set the temp of my oven to about 250 to gently preheat the stone... then cranked the heat to 500-550F and let it sit for over an hour.... My oven thermometer which has a max of 500 was reading way off the scale...

I took the dough out of the refrigerator probably about 2 hours before use... and when I had my mise complete (first trial was filetti style - cherry tomatoes, buffala mozzerella, basil, EVO, salt) put a crapload of AP flour on my work board.... scooped out a large handful of extremely wet/sticky dough (which stuck to the bag, my forearms, seemingly everywhere) and put on the pile of flour - I then dusted the top of the blob with a generous dusting of AP flour and gave the dough a couple of folds before I nudged/stretched it with my fingertips... For King Arthur to claim their flour makes an extensible dough is an understatement - if I would have sneezed, the dough would have ripped apart... Then quickly throwing on the toppings and slid it onto my stone with great difficulty - I'll definitely try the parchment paper trick next time!!! But, to my surprise, I did not find a soft pillowy crust as a result... instead, the outside of the crust was hard like a crusty breadstick, while the inside was soft-ish... Baking time was approx. 7 minutes....

What did I do wrong? Help!!!!!

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Didn't you add more flour and water after the initial sit in the fridge?

When I make Neapolitan-style pizza dough, I start like you did, then after an overnight, I add more flour and water. Then it sits overnight again in the fridge (or more or less than overnight, depending on when I want to eat it).

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Could be that all that bench flour stuck on the bottom of the crust and hardened.

Anyway, congrats on managing to slide dough that wet into the oven at all. Especially on your first attempt.

The parchment trick would let you get away without any bench flour.

I also suspect you hydrated the dough more than you wanted to, because it didn't seem adequately hydrated when you first mixed it. An autolyse step can take care of this, and also allow you to get away with less mixing.

The idea is to throw the dough together just enough to make a shaggy mass, and then let it sit covered in the fridge for 30 to 40 minutes. This gives the flour time to hydrate. Afterwards, you can finish mixing it, and you'll get to the texture you want with little work.


Notes from the underbelly

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It wasn't just the bottom that was hard - the entire untopped portion of crust was uniformly hard - even the top which had very little excess flour.... also, most of the excess bench flour stayed on the bench... I made two small pizzas out of my dough experiment... the first one was ridiculous beginner's luck because it just slid off my peel (an upside down 1/4 sheet pan) onto my stone... the second one was more of a mess but it did make it off, miraculously... the second one convinced me to do the parchment paper trick the next time...

For an autolysed dough - would I just mix the total volume of flour and water together first, and put in the fridge... then after 30 min. take out and add yeast and mix a bit more? How can the yeast be evenly distributed?

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ok... so I need help... what am I doing wrong?

My first attempt used King Arthur "Italian style" flour - http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/...tyle-flour-3-lb

I mixed about 2 cups of dry flour with about a half teaspoon of SAF instant yeast, then mixed with water for a 70% hydration by weight, but it looked a little dry, so I added a bit more water so it would all come together so probably a 72-73% hydration... This was mixed in a large stainless steel bowl, covered with plastic wrap and fermented at room temp overnight for probably about 15 hours or so...

Then, I poured the extremely wet and sticky dough into a ziplock bag (poured is not exactly accurate - more like scooped handfuls of dough and slopped into the bag) and let sit in the refrigerator (about 37F) for 7 days....

On the day of baking, I put a large terracotta saucer upside down in my cold oven - then set the temp of my oven to about 250 to gently preheat the stone... then cranked the heat to 500-550F and let it sit for over an hour....  My oven thermometer which has a max of 500 was reading way off the scale...

I took the dough out of the refrigerator probably about 2 hours before use... and when I had my mise complete (first trial was filetti style - cherry tomatoes, buffala mozzerella, basil, EVO, salt) put a crapload of AP flour on my work board.... scooped out a large handful of extremely wet/sticky dough (which stuck to the bag, my forearms, seemingly everywhere) and put on the pile of flour - I then dusted the top of the blob with a generous  dusting of AP flour and gave the dough a couple of folds before I nudged/stretched it with my fingertips...  For King Arthur to claim their flour makes an extensible dough is an understatement - if I would have sneezed, the dough would have ripped apart...  Then quickly throwing on the toppings and slid it onto my stone with great difficulty - I'll definitely try the parchment paper trick next time!!!   But, to my surprise, I did not find a soft pillowy crust as a result... instead, the outside of the crust was hard like a crusty breadstick, while the inside was soft-ish...  Baking time was approx. 7 minutes....

What did I do wrong?  Help!!!!!

A couple of thoughts. Compared to Sam Kinsey's recipe upthread (which I have tried successfully) you have a lot of yeast relative to flour for a 7 day fermentation. He uses half a teaspoon for 1000 grams of flour. You're using the same amount of yeast for about 260g of flour. It's possible it was overproofed.

I think the hydration was too high

Finally (more in the line of speculation) I've used the King Arthur Italian flour and it seems lower gluten than the regular AP flour. I wonder if it breaks down with the long fermentation?


Edited by rickster (log)

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For an autolysed dough - would I just mix the total volume of flour and water together first, and put in the fridge... then after 30 min. take out and add yeast and mix a bit more? How can the yeast be evenly distributed?

I've found that with this high hydration and a long retardation, you don't need to mix the dough all that well, just mix the water flour and yeast together and mix briefly. It will look too dry at first, but don't worry.

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I've found that with this high hydration and a long retardation, you don't need to mix the dough all that well, just mix the water flour  and yeast together and mix briefly. It will look too dry at first, but don't worry.

There's some controversy around the importance of mixing. According to one school, any method that distributes the ingredients and allows enough gluten form is as good as any other. According to another, the amount and type of mechanical mixing will affect how the dough handles, even if it's high hydration and has days to ferment.

I find myself leaning toward the former with regular bread and the latter with pizza. The best pizza doughs I've made have been with mixing methods similar to Jeff Varasano's, which include autolyse, wet mixing (at about 100% hydration), and enough final mixing after the rest of the flour is added to produce a smooth and springy dough. Long retardation follows.

My comparisons of mixing methods are hardly scientific, but in general I've gotten much better results with the intensive methods than with the more minimalist ones I use for bread baking.


Notes from the underbelly

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I find myself leaning toward the former with regular bread and the latter with pizza. The best pizza doughs I've made have been with mixing methods similar to Jeff Varasano's, which include autolyse, wet mixing (at about 100% hydration), and enough final mixing after the rest of the flour is added to produce a smooth and springy dough. Long retardation follows.

Interesting - so is that to say that you will mix a 1:1 ratio of flour:water and then let sit in the fridge for 30-40 minutes, then add flour+yeast to bring the flour:water ratio to 100:70 (for 70% hydration)? Then you ferment after that - overnight?

Sorry for all the questions - I'm very inexperienced when it comes to anything baking.... but I'm learning...

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Interesting - so is that to say that you will mix a 1:1 ratio of flour:water and then let sit in the fridge for 30-40 minutes, then add flour+yeast to bring the flour:water ratio to 100:70 (for 70% hydration)?  Then you ferment after that - overnight?

What I find easiest is to measure and mix all the dry ingredients together, and then scoop out 1/4 of them and set that pile aside. Then add all the water, roughly mix, and autolyse in the fridge for 40 minutes or so.

Then, mix this very wet dough for a few minutes. This is gluten development on steroids because there's so much water. Then add the dry ingredients you scooped and mix briefly, to bring the hydration level down to where you want it.

Here's Jeff Varasano's description.

Here's my version (uses commercial yeast instead of starter; is a few thousand words shorter than Jeff's)


Notes from the underbelly

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Up a few posts rickster comments that KennethT's hydration might have been too high, which I think is interesting. I've been playing around with making a dough that works well in my feeble oven, and right now I'm doing a no-knead 77% hydration dough, retarded for a week in the fridge (give or take a day or two, depending on when I feel like eating pizza). I'm very happy with the final texture when stretched very thin and minimally topped. I feel like the very high hydration helps combat the fact that it takes almost five minutes to cook, but I could just be on crack here.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I realize that high hydration doughs are very popular, but for pizza I usually stick to 66-68% depending on the weather. I get a crispy crust with a light crumb and its easy enough to handle. There's a lot more to the picture than hydration though.

KennethT's dough does sound overproofed to me too which affects both crust and crumb. With doughs that get retarded, especially that long, it's important to use very little yeast. If I'm going to retard my pizza dough, I usually use a half a teaspoon (or a couple of tablespoons of starter) for 600g of flour. I also don't let it go beyond a day or two.


nunc est bibendum...

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What's your thinking behind only going a day or two? I keep this dough for both bread and pizza, and I think that it is far better flavor after a week, and still makes great loaves after two weeks.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I realize that high hydration doughs are very popular, but for pizza I usually stick to 66-68% depending on the weather. I get a crispy crust with a light crumb and its easy enough to handle. There's a lot more to the picture than hydration though.

What temp is your oven?


Notes from the underbelly

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I usually use a half a teaspoon (or a couple of tablespoons of starter) for 600g of flour. I also don't let it go beyond a day or two.

For what it's worth, I do 1/4 tsp yeast to 500g AP flour and retard for 5-7 days in the fridge, with no overproofing issues.


 

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What's your thinking behind only going a day or two? I keep this dough for both bread and pizza, and I think that it is far better flavor after a week, and still makes great loaves after two weeks.

I don't usually think that far ahead I guess. Plus, I'm happy with the results I get from one or two days. I keep on trying to simplify bread making to isolate what really works for me as efficiently as possible and cutting back on hydration and working on things like shaping for instance have made it much easier to handle the dough and get good results.

I realize that high hydration doughs are very popular, but for pizza I usually stick to 66-68% depending on the weather. I get a crispy crust with a light crumb and its easy enough to handle. There's a lot more to the picture than hydration though.

What temp is your oven?

I could get my old oven to 650F but my new one only goes to about 600. It's fast enough for decent pizza I think.

I usually use a half a teaspoon (or a couple of tablespoons of starter) for 600g of flour. I also don't let it go beyond a day or two.

For what it's worth, I do 1/4 tsp yeast to 500g AP flour and retard for 5-7 days in the fridge, with no overproofing issues.

Yeah I think that the longer you're going to let it go, the less yeast you can use initially. If you play you're cards right, it'll all be the same in the end if you hit the sweet spot between giving the yeast enough to feed on and getting enough activity going. I have nothing against super long fermentation or high hydration, they're just two techniques among many. It's common though to put one element of the rich tapestry that is bread making above others (I certainly have and probably continue to). Ultimately though, the result's the thing and there are many ways to get there.


nunc est bibendum...

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The parchment trick would let you get away without any bench flour.

I've read this thread from the beginning and don't see the parchment trick explained. :wacko:

Would you kindly do that or tell me where it is?

Thanks


edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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It's described in Paul's method (linked below). Basically just shaping the dough on a piece of parchment, which makes the pie easier to transfer from peel to stone when the dough is on the wet side.

Here's my version (uses commercial yeast instead of starter; is a few thousand words shorter than Jeff's)


 

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Appreciate it Vice !


edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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