1/ - for the last 5 days my pizzas are coming out of the oven not as crispy as I’d like…too floppy. I guess the dough is too wet although when I make it it seems fine…only been making Pizza’s for a year so I’m new to the game and not much of an expert on the whole science involved yet. Unlike most restaurants I mix dough by hand so there the dough can change from day to day…but for month before the problem my dough had been better than ever. I’m wondering what are all the possible causes. Could an oven in need of a clean affect cooking ? I’m pretty sure water temp is fairly constant…and sugar/salt amounts are pretty constant too … what else should I be looking at ?
2/ At the moment I make dough at 3pm to start rolling out at 5:20pm - but after reading American Pie I’m considering making my dough earlier in the day ( 10am) or the day before …how much do I need to decrease my yeast ?
example of current measurements : 7650gm flour ( high gluten), 4.5 litres h20 , 100gm yeast ,90gms salt , 80 gms sugar.
…thanks in advance for any help anyone can give me
Actually, mixing the dough by hand makes for a pretty decent quality pizza, but the short fermentation time that you are giving the dough isn’t sufficient to fully condition the dough for making pizza. Your yeast level works out to 1.3%of the flour weight so i’m assuming that you are using compressed yeast as opposed to active dry or instant dry yeast, which would be used at lower levels. This said, I would stay at your present yeast level (assuming compressed yeast), check the finished (mixed/blended) dough temperature to confirm that it is in the 80 to 85F range, then allow the dough to rest inm the mixing bowl for 90-minutes after mixing. This will allow the dough to better/more fully hydrate, then turn the dough out onto the bench and scale it into desired weight pieces, form each piece into a ball and place into dough boxes (wipe the top of each dough ball with salad oil) or place into individual plastic bags and immediately take to the cooler. Cross stack the dough boxes to improve cooling of the dough (2.5-hours) then cover the boxes to prevent drying. If the dough is placed in plastic bags, store them on open sheet pans to allow for improved cooling of the dough balls. Remove the dough from the cooler on the following day and allow to temper AT room temperature for about 60-minutes, then flour and begin shaping into dough skins as needed. The dough balls can remain at room temperature for up to 3-hours after you begin opening them into skins. Yuo say your oven may need cleaning? What kind of oven do you have? If you are using a deck oven, it should be regularly scraped and broomed to clean the deck surface. Most pizzas are baked right on the deck surface using an oven temperature of 500 to 525F.
By the way, your dough absorption works out at 58%, which should produce a slightly soft dough. This slightly softer dough consistency is what really contributes to a crispier baked crust. Reducing the water in the dough can result in a less crispy crust.
Your salt level is just a little over 1%, so you could double it and still be within an acceptable salt level. The higher salt level will help to improve the overall flavor of the baked crust too.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Wow…that sounds like a lot of work each day…covering dough…wiping with oil etc. for the record we make great pizza & dough. Every day customers go out of their way to tell me personally rather than waitress that the pizzas are great…best in Sydney etc etc… I’m really pretty happy with the general dough and taste…just concerned about current softness …I’m often confused as to why people assume 2 hour fermentation dough is not up to scratch. To be honest i just wanted to try making it early in the morning as Chris Bianco does…but not after the whole 2/3 day in the fridge thing…don’t have enough fridge space anyways
Thanks for the advice Tom…will play around with salt levels and water levels…it’s strange that reducing the water makes dough less crispy…the wonders of dough huh.
I use a conveyer by the way - and yes compressed yeast.
Dough absorption is the water that is added to the dough. If it is said that the dough absorption was 58%, that would mean that the total amount of water added to the dough was equal to 58% of the total wheat flour weight. There are two main reasons why most people gravitate around two hours as the minimum fermentation time. The first is that extensive research has shown that with most dough formulations, blistering and bubbling of the dough during baking are reduced as the total fermentation time/age of the dough approached 2.5-hours. The other reason has to do with crust flavor. The more fermentation that the dough receives prior to baking, the better the flavor, the lighter the texture, and to some extent it will posess a greater potential for developing crispiness during baking. This is due to the dough’s improved expansion (oven spring) properties with longer fermentation time. This is also why a higher dough absorption (within reason) produces a crispier crust; the dough is softer, and it has the capacity to expand more during baking, thus reducing the heat transfer properties from the bottom of the pizza into the center of the pizza. This allows the bottom to reach a higher temperature, faster during baking which, creates a crispier bottom. Physics 101.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
…thanx again for the advice Tom…I’ve been mixing the dough 4 hours earlier and adding more salt and it’s been working out great ( apart from 1 day…wish i knew what i did wrong that day) …I have some more questions for you:
1/ forgot to mention I put canola oil around mixing tub to prevent dough sticking to bowl…and pour a little in bowl…what effect if any would this have…could too much oil make a difference somehow
2/ what are causes of air pockets…knocking back dough ???
3/ If I left out sugar what would occur…I thought sugar activated yeast…but people mention sugar not being necessary
4/ What would happen if I put in too much or too little salt ?
5/ Many people recommend dusting work bench with semolina…what benefit over flough does this have?
Just don’t go pouring a lot of oil down around the dough in the bowl, I normally only add about an ounce as this is all that is needed. I add the oil while mixing the dough at low speed just before I remove the dough from the mixer. Then the dough is super easy to remove from the bowl.
The causes of the air pockets can be any of a number of things. Warn dough temperature, too much yeast, no or insufficient salt, and doughs made with more water tend to exhibit more and larger air pockets.
No, sugar doesn’t activate the yeast, in fact, the yeast doesn’t need to have any sugar added to the dough, it can make enough sugar from the starch in the flour to support 4 to 6-hours of fermentation time at room temperture. This would translate to something like two days in the cooler.
Salt helps to regulate the rate of fermentation, strengthen the dough and contributes to the flavor of the baked crust. Too much salt can slow down the rate of fermentation resulting in a tough dough that exhibits excessive memory during forming (has too much snap-back), insufficient salt can allow for too much fermentation which could result in a blown dough, or one that is extremely sensitive to temperature changes (especially warmer temperatures). The resulting baked crust will have a starchy taste, and the finished dough might feel sticky or tacky.
Some people like the color that is had on the finished crust when semolina flour is used as a dusting flour on the bench. My own personal favorite dusting flour is made from equal parts of regular flour, semolina flour and corn meal. It is just a personal preference.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor