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Old 06-27-2011, 03:53 PM   #1
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My knowledge of pizza dough

After many experiments I think I have figured out a good way to make light and bubbly on the edge, crisp in the center pizza dough. This might not be the kind of pizza dough you are looking for, but it's how the neapolitan pizza is supposed to be like. The resulting product will be like this:

How does my pizza look?

Starting with the type of flour, I tried the "fine grind low protein" flour similar to the Italian Caputo 00 flour, they do taste good and are light and airy but the low amount of gluten makes shaping very difficult. So I stick to the good old american bread flour.

Then we talk about hydration. To make bubbly crust you'll need high hydration. The bubbles (called ovenspring) are result of water vapor expanding the little holes made by the yeast, so more water gives you bigger bubbles. However too much water weakens the structure which is not good either. So I stick to 65% 66% hydration (which means the ratio of weight of water to weight of flour is 0.66:1)

How you mix the ingredients together is also important. Salt and oil both get in the way of gluten development. So I first mix about 75% of the flour with water and yeast into a batter, stir to develop gluten, let the yeast wake up in this mixture before adding oil, salt and the rest of the flour.

Next is fermentation. Contrary to popular belief, it is not true that bigger=better. overproofing the dough also weakens the gluten structure causing bubbles to deflate. So before you put a dough in the oven, it should be in the middle of the rising process, and at this stage the gluten structure is strong and the bubbles will expand upon water vapor like balloons. I achieve this by fermenting the dough in the fridge for days to develop flavor. The yeast will not make the dough rise very big while in a cold environment, but after you take it out and let it rise to room temperature (it's important to have it at room temperature before shaping, because otherwise the dough will shrink back on you), it'll be ready to bake. I found that if you put too much yeast then the dough will actually overproof while still in the fridge, so for the cold fermentation method you only need just a little bit of yeast, like less than 1 tsp for 2-3 cups of flour.

Finally the hardest part is shaping the dough into pizza. After letting the cold dough return to room temperature, you need to shape it into a pizza (no rolling pin, please) with your hands as gently as possible (think making biscuits). Watch the following youtube video and that's how it's supposed to be done.


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Old 06-27-2011, 06:25 PM   #2
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Please note: this post is completely subject view and may contain many errors. Please read with discretion. I am no expert in baking and I simply experiment and learn on my own.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
Please note: this post is completely subject view and may contain many errors. Please read with discretion. I am no expert in baking and I simply experiment and learn on my own.
your view is pretty consistent with my experience except I find it easier to shape the dough before it warms to room temperature.
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by justplainbill View Post
your view is pretty consistent with my experience except I find it easier to shape the dough before it warms to room temperature.
yea that's a good idea too, I did this exclusively before without good results, I believe it's because my dough already overproofed while in the fridge since I put too much yeast in it.
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