Softer Pizza Crust

Discussion in 'Savory' started by Debbborra, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    I've been trying pizza and I have two issues.
    First let me say this: I am from Brooklyn. Growing up pizza was a simple disc with sauce and cheese. Not extra cheese, just cheese. The crust under the sauce and cheese was crisp, crunchy, almost flaky crust. The ends were pillowy, soft, smooshy bready and yummy.

    Fast forward (ahem) years and I try to make pizza. The part under the sauce and cheese comes out great. But the ends are like crackers. Does anyone know how to get it right?

    My other issue is this, I put enough flour that it moves on the peel. But then it had like an eighth of an inch of flour stuck to it. That was kinda icky.

    The recipes I used were similar if not identical. The first time used the instructions that came with my friend's new baking stone. The second time, genius kitchen basic pizza dough. (Essentially, water, yeast, bread flour, [it just said flour, and I assumed bread flour] salt and oilve oil. - the recipe said you cannot over knead so I just kept going till it felt smooth)
     
    Debbborra, Jan 17, 2018
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  2. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hey Debbborra, I was just thinking about making pizza dough. I have to babysit my niece, and she loves when I make her pizza. She will sit in front of the oven to watch it bake.

    There’s three different types of pizza doughs. What separates New York style pizza from Neapolitan is the addition of oil and sugar. These additions create that softer crust with the fluffy edges. It’s it contains oil and sugar, New York style pizza has to be baked at a slightly lower temperature and longer than a Neapolitan pizza dough.

    But too high a temperature is usually not an issue for home bakers since home ovens max out at 550°. The cracker like texture is more likely caused by not creating a thick enough edge and over baking.

    The correct ratio of flour to oil and sugar is really important in how the New York pizza bakes. The oil and sugar keeps the crust from drying out like a cracker.

    These are the ratios for New York style pizza. You can compare it to the two recipes you used, or you can play around with the ratios to create your own recipe.
    • High gluten flour 100% (use a flour with 13% protein or higher)
    • Water: 64% - 67%
    • Sugar 2%
    • Salt 1.5%
    • Instant yeast 1.5 % OR Active dry yeast 1.65%
    • Olive oil 5%

    Since different brands of flour will absorb water at different rates you have to play around to determine the exact amount of water for the brand flour you use.

    To make your own recipe, use about 18 grams of flour per inch of pizza.

    For a 12” pizza: 18 x 12 = 216. So I would round up to 220.
    Then multiply the amount of flour by the percentage of each ingredient.
    • High gluten flour 220g 1.00
    • Water 220 x 0.64 = 140 ml
    • Sugar 220 x 0.02 = 4 g
    • Salt 220 x 0.015 = 3 g
    • Instant yeast 220 x 0.015 = 3 g
    • Olive oil 220 x .05 = 11

    The NY Times article has a video on shaping pizza (link below) . Although they’re making Neapolitan pizza, you would use the same process, just make the edge thinner.

    Insofar as kneading the dough every baker out there has an opinion. Tom Lehmann, who is known as the “dough doctor” advocates for a short knead. Others like Peter Reinhart, Alton Brown, and Kenji Lopez-Alt insist the dough should be kneaded to the windowpane stage.

    I use the method I was taught. I mix my dough by hand. When it comes together I form a ball. I then rest it for 25 - 30 minutes. I then knead for about 5 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic, but not stiff. Then I divide and ball it.

    The dough temperature after it has been mixed is important. If the temperature of the dough is too high after mixing, it will cause over fermentation. The ideal dough temperature after mixing is 80°. If you use active dry yeast, which must be rehydrated, make sure the water is no warmer than 95°. Also chill your flour for about 15.minutes in the refrigerator before mixing.

    https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016230-robertas-pizza-dough

    The easiest way to launch a pizza from the peel to the baking stone is to use parchment paper under the pizza. I just place a sheet of parchment paper on the peel larger than the pizza. Stretch the dough and place it on the parchment paper. Add the toppings, then slide the pizza with the parchment underneath it onto the baking surface. The pizza dough will set in 45 to 60 seconds. Once the dough is set, I use a pair of long tongs to yank the parchment paper out from beneath the pizza. It slides right out. I prefer this method because I don’t like to use cornmeal or extra flour under the pizza. Oh, the paper does burn around the edges.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jan 18, 2018
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  3. Debbborra

    Debbborra Active Member

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    Thank you! I'm going to try all of this. Also, I'm going to leave the dough in the fridge for a few days as I've heard that makes for a good dough.

    Does your niece get to help with assembly?
     
    Debbborra, Jan 18, 2018
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  4. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes my niece loves to bake. The minute she sees me preparing for a bake, she grabs a step stool and pushes it up to the counter to join me. I let her do all the mixing, When I bake cookies and pizza, she will sit in on the floor in front of the oven to watch the bake. She’ll holler out, “I think it’s done! I think it’s done now!”

    Longer fermentation does develop flavor. I’ve been told it will also increase color but I don’t see a marked difference in color. If you plan on a cold fermentation of more than 12 hours, it’s best to use active dry yeast and reduce the water to about 62% - 63% and the oil to 3.5% - 3.7%.

    Instant yeast activates 50% faster than active dry yeast. It will plow through its food sources very quickly. So an overnight fermentation results in a slacker dough.

    With the addition of oil and sugar, the dough is best used within 24 hrs as both contribute to a softer dough.

    if you want a longer fermentation then it’s best to use a Neapolitan dough. Absent the oil and sugar, Neapolitan can ferment up to 72 hrs. I usually ferment my dough between 24 - 48 hrs. I’ve taken it to 72 hrs on a few occasions, but no one was able to detect a marked difference in the longer ferment. If you make a large batch, you could test the dough at 24, 48, and 72 hrs to gage the amount of fermentation you prefer.



    Dough fermented 24 hrs. Not a lot of browning on top. Definitely no blackened blisters. Baked 500° on a baking steel approximately 6 minutes. But dough I’ve fermented longer doesn’t brown much darker either. So I’m not sure how to achieve the blackened blistering so coveted on Neapolitan pizza. I’ve never managed to create them:(
    25F7096A-3F3C-4433-AF92-CF7880A27C0A.jpeg 7FB9E23D-6E83-4ECF-A61C-14C74F5B9C3E.jpeg
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jan 18, 2018
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  5. Debbborra

    JustJoel Member

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    I’m a novice myself, so I really don’t know if this is off the mark; when I make a flat bread on the stove top, like naan, I’ve noticed that a higher water content creates bubbly dough - as the water rapidly turns to steam in the hot oven environment evaporates, it forms bubbles in the dough. Where the bubbles are is where you should get that nice blistering effect. Jim Lahey makes his Dutch oven bread with very high hydration for that very reason. But I could be completely mistaken!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
    JustJoel, Feb 2, 2018
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  6. Debbborra

    JustJoel Member

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    If you have a recipe for basic bread that you want to fortify or enrich, how do you compensate for those in the formula? If you use two eggs, do you subtract 112 grams from the hydration to compensate (assuming 56 grams per egg). Is there some secret sub-formula like “for each 100 grams of butter, reduce the hydration by 10 grams” that is passed in secret from from grandma to little Archie when he’s old enough, or communicated by archaic code between boulangeries? How do you know how much sugar to add? Is there a sugar/flour ratio? The more I learn, the less I know, lol!
     
    JustJoel, Feb 2, 2018
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  7. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Yes and no.

    Yes hydration plays a role in the number of holes.

    But no, hydration does not create the the holes.

    Air holes are created when the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by the yeast becomes trapped in the gluten network.

    When sugar and oxygen is available, yeast generates C02 through aerobic respiration. In breadmaking we refer to this is as fermentation process.

    Flour contains two protein molecules: gliadin and glutenin. They are separate molecules. The gluten network is created when the water molecules surround the gliadins and glutenins, allowing them to move freely and bond with each other. Kneading helps to move these molecules around, increasing the number of bonds.

    Steam does not create the holes. Steam helps to create expansion in the dough. But the amount of the expansion depends on the strength of gluten matrix. A weak matrix results in low expansion as it collapses. Too strong a matrix also results in a low rise as it inhibits expansion.

    The expansion allows the CO2 bubbles to move around in the gluten matrix.

    Expansion stops around 130°F as the yeast dies and CO2 production ceases.

    The expansion also stops when the starch gelatinization occurs. Starch gelatinization fixes the crumb structure. The temperature of which starch gelatinization occurs depends on the amount of water. With ideal hydration, starch gelatinization will occur about 170°F. Too much water delays starch gelatinization and results in a weak dough.

    The baking process to create the holes happens when

    Hydration and kneading create a gluten matrix
    Yeast create CO2
    Water creates steam for dough expansion
    Heat of oven increases yeast C02 output (oven spring)
    CO2 is trapped in the gluten matrix
    Heat kills yeast; CO2 production creases (end of oven spring)
    Flour starch gelatinization occurs, stops dough expansion and fixes the crumb structure (end of oven spring)

    Oven spring happens in the first 10 minutes of baking.

    But too much hydration will in fact weaken the gluten structure. As too many hydrogen molecules come between the gliadin and glutenin molecule, the number of bonds are reduced. So too much hydration results in less dough expansion. So there’s low rise and fewer holes in the crumb as the CO2 movement is inhibited.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 2, 2018
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  8. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Not knowing what you want to make, I cannot offer any thoughts on converting a bread dough to make an enriched dough.


    Enrich dough simply mean a dough with added fats and sugar.

    Amount of fat and sugar to add depends on what you’re trying to make.

    For example, challah and brioche are both enriched dough. Both contain egg. But challah will never contain dairy. Brioche on the other hand is full of dairy, containing a considerable amount of both butter and milk. Challah contains vegetable oil, but brioche never contains vegetable oil.

    Sugar feeds yeast. But too much sugar will also inhibits yeast development. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water from its environment. Yeast needs water to reproduce. If a lot of sugar is present it takes water from the yeast. With less water available, yeast development slows down substantially.

    It’s not just the amount of sugar, but when to add the sugar. When to add sugar depends on what you are making and the mixing process. Even then, it is always a debate among bakers.

    And the type of yeast is also important.

    Home bakers are familiar with three types of yeast:
    • Active dry yeast
    • instant or Rapid rise yeast
    • Bread machine yeast

    But there’s a lot of other yeasts used in baking.

    As I mentioned above, sugar can inhibit the development of yeast. So it’s difficult to achieve good rise and stability in doughs with a sugar content of 5% or higher.

    So when you have a lot of sugar you either have to increase the amount of instant yeast by about 20% – 25%, or use osmotolerant yeast.

    Osmotolerant yeast is a strain of yeast that thrives in low water environments. It’s manufactured by SAF as SAF Gold. It is for sweet doughs, but not regular yeast breads.

    https://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/saf-gold-instant-yeast-16-oz
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 2, 2018
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  9. Debbborra

    Becky Administrator

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    @Norcalbaker59 you are a font of knowledge. I always find your posts so informative and interesting! :)
     
    Becky, Feb 3, 2018
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  10. Debbborra

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Pleased to hear you find them interesting. I frequently worry I provide to much information. But then again bakers are seeking information to advance their skills and knowledge of baking. I love to learn. And I enjoy sharing my knowledge.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Feb 3, 2018
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  11. Debbborra

    Becky Administrator

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    It's what we're all here for :) Plus I could look at pictures of tasty things all day, haha :D
     
    Becky, Feb 4, 2018
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