Reasons for Black Specs, Underperforming Dough??

Don’t like to say “nothing has changed” but obviously something has or I wouldn’t be having this problem.

The conditions change a little bit as we go right now, but it started with underperforming dough, then black specs, and now we are having issues with a lot of pies sticking to the screens. This tells “me” we have a yeast issue as I’m confident our storage procedures are good. We are not having a problem with dough overblowing prematurely.

Last time we got the black specs I found we had a broken thermometer and the water was too hot for the ADY. Not the case this time. Is it possible to get similar results with the water not being warm enough? In my experience, this shouldn’t be the cause.

I am planning to cut back the salt by a third tomorrow and see what happens.

Anyone have any other thoughts or suggestions?

had the same problem. We had to mix our yeast with warm water to activate it, then put it in the mixer before the flour. This is only after mixing the salt, oil, water, and other ingredients for 4 minutes first. If you put the yeast in too soon, the salt will kill it and prevent your dough from rising properly. If you try this method, I will bet money it works.

Wait, what? You mix the salt, oil and water for four minutes with or without the yeast? When do you put the yeast in? Do you keep some of the water separate with the yeast? This post makes no sense to me. What does waiting to put the flour in have to do with killing the yeast.

The only thing that can kill yeast is temperature and salt, why would the flour have to be put in last?

I guess Tom will chime in here shortly, but until he does, a couple of thoughts:

  1. If your dough recipe produced consistent dough in the past, the problem is not your recipe. Look at your proceedure instead.

  2. Spots are generally characteristic of old dough and caused by bran oxidation. They do not have an impact on flavor and dissapear during baking. So… not really something to worry about a lot.

I googled pizza dough trouble shooting and found this link which is pretty interesting: … c533730478

I have never heard of all this mixing in advance of all ingredients being in that is mentioned above… and in my experience water is best as cold as possible.

We stir our water and yeast together before putting in the mixer, but other than that, all the ingredients go in together.

Actually, there are several things that can cause those black spots.

  1. Bran oxidation (very common).
  2. Oxidation of the iron in the flour that is part of the flour enrichment blend (enriched flour).
  3. Failure to thoroughly hydrate the yeast. This can happen with both ADY as well as IDY.
    Since #3 can affect many aspects of dough performance, lets address this one first. If using ADY make sure the water temperature that you are hydrating the ADY in is at 100 to 105F. Allow the yeast to hydrate for 10-minutes, stir well, then add it to the water in the mix bowl, followed by the flour, then the salt and sugar. Mix the dough for about 2-minutes, then add the oil, and mix in your normal manner. If using IDY, add ti directly to the flour, no need to prehydrate it.
    If the problem is due to oxidation of the bran or the iron, don’t worry about it. It doesn’t appear on the baked crust, and it has no deleterious affects upon the dough. As mentioned, it can show up on dough that is over fermented (too old), and in this case, the dough might become somewhat softer and more sticky than normal, causing it to begin sticking to the screens if that is what you’re baking on. Typically, when this happens, if you look at the bottom of the crust you wiil see a pronounces screen pattern, this is due to the softer dough flowing into the screen more than normal, and this is what causes the sticking.
    Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Makes perfect sense and perfect dough. I tend to not overmix my dough to get the perfect balance of crunch and chew. The point of my post and process is that the original poster was probably killing his yeast with salt that was not dissolved. Or as the dough doctor explained, the yeast was not hydrated properly at right temp. I only put my flour in last again because I don’t mix that long and yeast needs to go in first to activate properly. I will never ever ever claim to know more than Tom Lehman, I was simply stating that I had this exact same problem and researched the dough doctors available research, simplified and modified it minorly. I have been producing dough perfectly ever since.

Never know as much as the Dough Doctor? I sure hope you’re getting pretty close, or all of my ramblings over the past many years have fallen of deaf ears. Due to the actions of myself, and others, including Big Dave, John Correll, and a host of others, (fellow Think Tankers included, our industry is becoming one of the best educated, and open/free to share, I’ve ever had the honor to serve. When someone answers a question today it is based on solid fact, but 20-years ago, it was based on a bit less than fact. Well, your dough might be too soft because of the weather, and all of the rain that we have bben having lately. Now you’re answering those questions in terms of fermentation, dough temperature, or dough management varaitions. As one of my more memorable professors used to say to his class “You are becoming a box of pretty smart cookies”.
My hat is off to each and every one of you.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I don’t understand your third point here. You said a failure to thoroughly hydrate the yeast happen with both ADY and IDY, yet you followed up with “no need to prehydrate it.”

I’m having the issue with both ADY and IDY, btw.

ADY must be pre-hydrated prior to addition to the dough. If this is not done, you can get similar black spots due to yeast agglomerates. The same thing can happen with IDY if the dough is not given sufficient (minimum of 4-minutes) mixing time after the yeast is added. This is why we pre-hydrate the IDY when making the Chicago cracker style crust, or when mixing doughs in the VCM.
Tom Lehmann/the Dough Doctor

You pre-hydrate the IDY because the cracker crust is only mixed for 4 minutes?

No, we only mix the cracker crust for 1.5-minutes.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

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