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pizza dough questions

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I am new but determined to do this right, or at least right for me. 

 

What I am after is a fairly thin pizza crust, a little crispy. I have heard it suggested to ferment the yeast with sugar cuz it will carmelize and make the crust crispier, havne't tried that yet though. 

 

Questions: 

1. Which flour should I use for this? The choices I have available here are all purp or bead flour. 

 

2. My baking tends towards real floury or dry products. I am assuming that this is because I am new, and usually need a few times to shape and throw, in the case of pizza. I just baked some dough that I shaped five times. I know. I just want to make that this what I'm doing wrong, not something else. I hate that floury taste. 

 

3. I use a roller on pizza dough. I figure: I'm new at this, and that roller does what my hands cannot yet do. 

 

I used to work at Papa John's and Domino's and I remember how the dough was when they took it out (I was a driver, not a line guy). It was moist and tacky. Is it ideal that you take the dough out, shape it, through it, and bake it? Is it this incessant practicing causing me these probs? 

 

Thanks!

Sal. 

post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

A little update. 

 

Just after I did that last pos, I went to get my next crust out of the oven. It was a practice one, yes, heavy flour, lots of kneading, lots of screwing up. Finally, I used the roller, and rolled out a beautiful flat circle. I thought: this will be the one!

 

I opened the oven and it looked like a dough balloon. It had blown up like pita bread, making a pocket. It's not that there were bubbles: it's that it was one big bubble!

 

Thoughts? 

 

Thanks, 

Sal. 

post #3 of 14

One big bubble? LOL

 

I think you have a great naan recipe, and should try to cook them in a skillet, or on an open flame.

 

Just kidding,

 

Are you trying to use this dough the same day you make it? If so, your result will be "breadier" than if you let it sit for several hours, or overnight in the fridge. Increasing the oil content will help make it crispier without making it too dry as well.

 

The local weather (in the kitchen), air quality, PH of your water all come into play as well.

 


Edited by Quelper - 8/25/10 at 7:48am
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post #4 of 14

Here's what I do at work:

 

Bloom 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of yeast in 1/4 cup of water, temperature between 105-115 F, with 1 tablespoon of honey(substitute any sugar if you like).

 

3cups flour, 1tsp salt, mix this together.  Mix the dry with the bloomed yeast, 3/4 cup more of water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil(more if you want a richer, crispier crust)  I use a kitchen aid with the dough hook attachment and let it mix for about 5-7 minutes.  If it's not coming together after about 3-4 minutes then I add a little more water.  After this take it out and knead it into a ball, set it in a greased bowl covered with a damp towel and let it proof.  It has too proof in an area of your kitchen that is about 70-80F.  This recipe makes about 27-28oz of dough. Divide it how you want, I roll it then put it on a greased pizza tray then press it out further.  I don't go for the perfect round pizza, I like the imperfect look.  At the restaurant we top our with pesto, and roasted portobello, red pepper, onion, zuchini and eggplant as well as mozza, cheddar and feta.  We used to top it with smoked gouda but that became too expensive.  Good luck on your thin crust pizza!  

 

P.S.  My favorite pizza topping is crumbly white goat cheese, tomato and fresh basil leaves, along with a finishing drizzle of very good olive oil, try it out!

 

post #5 of 14

Sounds like you have lots going on and without the details of your recipe it's hard to know for sure but here is my best guess.

  -First use unbleached flour, it will give you the best results.

  -Second are you using active dry yeast if so always "proof" your yeast by disolving it in 1/2 cup warm water w/ 1 tsp sugar until it foams.

  -Third make sure you are letting your dough rise enough, at least 1-2 cycles rise beat down, sepparate let rise again.

  -Fourth how are you cooking your pizza? What temp is your oven? What pan are you using? Best results I find are using a baking stone, preheat oven w/ stone in the oven to 500 degress F for 45min to 1 hr. Then stretch out your dough on a peel cutting board or stone large enough. Put on your toppings then transfer from the cutting board or peel to the hot stone. Cook maybe 15 min. Watch closely it will cook fast in a 500 degree oven.

I use corn meal as a "lubricant" to slide the pizza over.

If you want cripier crust brush it with olive oil before baking.

 

Keep in mind the flavor of the dough is a result of primarily the yeast. The longer it rises the more flavor. Just don't let it grow beer.

PS  I want your Pita bread recipe, been looking for a good one for some time :)

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post #6 of 14

Follow this video series on youtube, it has worked pretty well for me before:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcJtAwwZUqc&feature=related

 

 

On a side note, even with a pizza stone, I've always found it very difficult to get the crispiness you are looking for in a typical convection home oven.  Normal ovens simply don't get hot enough to be able to replicate the pizza you get from a pizza store or restaurant.  Don't be too upset if you crust doesn't come out like you are normally used to. 

post #7 of 14

Hi Sal,

 

You wrote,

I opened the oven and it looked like a dough balloon. It had blown up like pita bread, making a pocket. It's not that there were bubbles: it's that it was one big bubble!   Thoughts?

 

Without getting into an entire recipe and technique, your particular problem resulted from dough which was rolled out too evenly.  In the future, knead your dough a couple of times before rolling it out.  After it's rolled out, stretch it with your hands using your fingers (h/t brisket); finally, poke it all over with your finger tips to make dents in it -- much like as you would "dock" a pastry dough.

 

BDL

 

post #8 of 14

Salmichaels

couple things I didn't think of at the time of my previous post.

 

It can sometimes be difficult to strike the perfect balance of elasticity (ability to stretch) and plasticity (ability to maintain stretch) when dealing in pizza dough. One think that helps me is a gluten flour additive. I know the dreaded gluten word but unless you have an allergy or a genetic malady such as celiac disease  (in which case you shouldn't be eating pizza made with wheat flour at all) it shouldn't be an issue. The gluten helps the dough stick to itself and help prevent the dough from tearing, which if I am guessing correctly part of why you have to use a rolling pin. Try pressing and stretching the dough out instead in a (very) little olive oil  no flour under it you kinda want it to stick just a little. Press and stretch, press and stretch with your hands. Then let it stand a minute or so. then lift the dough 1/2 at a time and sprinkle the corn meal under it. That way it slides off your peel, cookie sheet, or whatever your using.

   Good resource I found was pizzatherapy.com.

Make sure if you use the baking stone method you are preheating the stone in the oven for a good 45 min at least.

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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

thank you everyone for your replies. I have some things to add, but I'm busy this week so I need a couple more days!

 

Sal. 

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ok, well...

 

I tried again the next day using a rolling pin. I live in a country where there are no ovens, so I have a stand alone oven, known in the west as a toaster oven, but it does fine - everything has to be smaller though. So I made a small pesto pizza. 

 

So this time before I put the pizza crust in the oven, I poked it with a fork all over. That seemed to solve the problem. 

 

So, bread dough or all-purpose? 

 

thanks, 

Sal. 

post #11 of 14

Wow pizza in a toaster oven, color me impressed. As far as flour goes the question of quality is not so much bread flour to all purpose but rather bleached or unbleached. White flour doesn't start out white, but yellow. It turns white if properly aged, or if it is bleached. Properly aged flour has a higher gluten content. The designation bread flour indicates it is not bleached (at least in America).  All-purpose flour can be either. If the all-purpose flour is bleached by all means use the bread flour, which is likely more expensive. If the all-purpose flour is unbleached it should serve the purpose of pizza dough just fine, and is likely cheaper.

   On a side note, if you find pizza in a toaster oven limiting (Lord knows I would) Try grilling it. Here is a thread regarding just that, and I'm sure it's not the only one.

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post #12 of 14

Interesting, and all this time I though "bread flour" was higher in protein than all-purpose, I didn't realize it had anything to do with "bleached" or "unbleached", I guess one learns something every day.

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post #13 of 14

Bread flour IS higher protein than AP flour.  However, there are no hard and fast national standards.  A few APs (notably King Arthur) would be considered "bread" where local AP flour (the South) is relatively low in protein.  The particular type of proteins we're talkin' about in wheat flour ARE glutens. 

 

Bleached bread flour is not uncommon.  The most common bleaching and maturing agent, benozyl peroxide, is frequently used in bread flour.  Another maturing agent, potassium bromate, is becoming increasingly less common.

 

You don't need bread flour to make great pizza dough.  AP is fine.  For that matter, AP is fine for "artisanal bread" as well. 

 

Bread flour shines in commercial size batches, mixed and kneaded with commercial type machines; for home bakers it's also a pretty good way to get some structure in soft, spongy, loaf-pan type breads -- especially if the baker is using a powerful machine for mixing and kneading, kneads by timer rather than test, and runs the risk of overhandling the dough.  In fact, Americans tend to overuse "Bread Flour," aka "High Gluten" -- maybe because of the names.

 

Everything has an "other hand" when it comes to baking, and this is no different in that it's a rough rule of thumb which is applicable to most of North America, maybe just as true and maybe less so in other places.  Different regions -- and even different millers within them -- grade flours differently, and it's up to you to find out whether the actual percentage of protein is appropriate to what you're baking. 

 

At this stage of the game, it's much more about handling techniques than flour types.  What you did with the fork is called "docking."  Pressing indentations with your finger tips is enough to prevent huge blisters, you really don't need the fork.  But if you're happy using it -- why the heck not?

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

post #14 of 14
Sorry if this is dumb!!! I am new...is it important to proof pizza dough for 48 hours???IT IS A HIGH GLUTEN FLOUR, MALT RECIPE. I have to ask.....I have to check opinions on this topic?? Anyone....THANK YOU!!
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