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Dough questions for the experts - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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Dough questions for the experts

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  • Dough questions for the experts

    I use a local fresh type 00 flour, Fleischmann's Instant Dry Yeast, and water to create 67% hydration. I proofed for 2.5 hours & the dough was too elastic & easily ripped. I proofed for 1.5 hours and the dough was not elastic enough. I also noticed in both cases that the dough balls did not maintain their shape. They did spread to some degree. Is that because of the yeast or the hydration level being too high? Also, do I need to ajust anything based on the weather in Sacramento, CA? THANK YOU!!!

  • #2
    Re: Dough questions for the experts

    How long did you knead the dough? 67% is not an exceedingly high hydration for pizza dough.


    • #3
      Re: Dough questions for the experts

      SO after I complete the mix process, I cold ferment in bulk on Thursday eve, take bulk out Sat AM, make dough balls, proof for 2 hours at room temp, place balls in frig, make pizza Sat eve with minimal kneading done at any time.


      • #4
        Re: Dough questions for the experts

        Sorry pizzafun but you provide inadequate information to give a meaningful response. You obviously haven't read extensively on dough on this site. There are plenty of threads that describe GOOD dough procedures. Your process was too short and WAY too low in water and you used a "local, fresh 00" flour which is IMO &%##($ in California.

        My suggestion is simple. Buy Reinhart's book American Pie. Make his Neopolitan dough using KA AP until you can make it consistently at 70% hydration. And make his NeoNeopolitanb dough using KA BF. Why KA? Because they are consistent and you can learn from them while making great pizzas. When you understand those flours and processes you should have enough background to not have to ask questions. When you get results you don't like you will know why!


        • #5
          Re: Dough questions for the experts

          Having a bad day Jay or is it just that time of month. oops, woman's reasoning :-)


          • #6
            Re: Dough questions for the experts

            Originally posted by Faith In Virginia View Post
            Having a bad day Jay or is it just that time of month. oops, woman's reasoning :-)

            Be nice...........please.


            • #7
              Re: Dough questions for the experts

              I'll try

              another night with no sleep...Yikes
              Last edited by Faith In Virginia; 06-29-2013, 02:07 AM. Reason: because


              • #8
                Re: Dough questions for the experts


                I really like it, it was a quick bit of wit. I was just funning you, sleep less you're doing fine. I'm looking for someone to have my back and after that, you're my number 1 candidate, are you interested????


                • #9
                  Re: Dough questions for the experts

                  Honestly ...I'm so tired I have no idea what your asking. Sun is coming up and I wanted to bake today...starters going...oven pre heated...I'm a mess.

                  I'll look at this after some z's and give you an answer...LOL 435,678,560 # of sheep counted so far.


                  • #10
                    Re: Dough questions for the experts

                    sorry everyone.
                    I am a beginner & I couldn't find anything an any thread doing exactly what I was doing. I did spend the time looking.
                    Trying to get to the holy grail a little sooner.


                    • #11
                      Re: Dough questions for the experts

                      no worries pizzafun, let's start again, tell me what your looking for and the problems your having. Be as specific as you can because one little detail can have a huge effect on your dough.

                      It's not my time of month so you are safe for now. ;-)


                      • #12
                        Re: Dough questions for the experts

                        Hi pizzafun!

                        I apologize if my earlier response seemed harsh but the dough attempt you described gave no evidence you had made any serious attempt to make a good dough other than that you used what was probably an expensive flour. Your time seemed to be about 4 1/2 hours as I recall (far too short), your hydration was rather low, and you complained about the dough sagging (which it should). You told us very little that we need to know to give you useful feedback. I acknowledge I didn't take that very well.

                        I begin by standing by my recommendations though for I do not believe there are any shortcuts to great dough (for pizza or bread). And there is no substitute for experience, repetition, and refinement. Having someone to show you what great dough feels like and looks like is an immense help but only you know what you want and can ultimately decide when it is right. I strongly believe Reinhart's book is a great place to start and encourage you to avoid the newbie tendency to experiment a lot. Start with a good recipe and make it perform - consistently. If you can be consistent you can't learn when you make changes. And that is really important if you want to improve your results.

                        As Faith indicated, there are about a zillion things that contribute to final results and changing any one can have significant impacts on the results.

                        Some basic facts:
                        - great dough needs time for the enzymes and yeast to do there thing. There is no great quick fast approach. The basic minimum is about 24 hours. Six to eight is "okay" maybe but four hour doughs have verly little character (unless they rely on additives for flavor).
                        - different flours do best with different methods
                        - different toppings and combinations work better with different doughs.
                        - dough extensibility is a function of dough hydration, flour, salt level, and additives (milk, oil, eggs, chemicals, etc.) Even water from differnt locations/hardnesses etc. can have an effect.
                        - different ovens work best with different doughs

                        The recipes in American Pie are for 24 hour doughs. Yes they can be used the same day (not as good) or up to about two to two and a half days after mixing with good results.

                        Gimmick (and this is repeated from prior threads), mixing the dough tightens the glutens which is what makes it stretchy and rubbery. Given time it will relax. Given time, enzymes will also break down the starches and gluten and reduce the elasticity also. For his Neopolitan dough Reinhart uses an AP flour. He bulk ferments and forms the balls about two hours before use and then lets them finish. That works well for moderate and lower gluten AP flours (and Italian 00) (actually for KA Italian also) but not so well for KA AP which has higher gluten than most APs. The KA AP dough will still be too tight two hours after balling and will fight you when you try to spread them.

                        For his Neoneopolitan, Reinhart uses bread flour (BF) with OLIVE OIL to improve the extensibility of the dough. He has you ball that immediately and proof it for a full 24 hours or so before using (yes he discusses how to proof it for use the same day but again one loses flavor relative to the longer times). After 24 hours that dough made with KA BF will be reasonably extensible. If you follow the Neopolitan dough schedule with the Neo formula and bulk proof/ball late it will be quite rubbery and will NOT COOPERATE. It will be very difficult to spread.

                        This is part of why I went ballistic over the local fresh 00 flour. First of all you don't want fresh flour. Flour needs to be oxidized and it should be at least two to three weeks from milling. Second, you are in California and there is no meaningful 00 standard in the US. Even IF I assume this means it passes the 00 sieve process, it tells me nothing about the wheat, protein, gluten, ash, or additives used to give it whatever properties the purveyor ascribes to "00 flour". So what you are telling me is you made dough with a flour that no one (except the purveyor) has any idea what is or how it should behave or anything else. As a result it is virtually meaningless for me or anyone else to suggest how you should work with that flour. Without a LOT more info on the flour I cannot say anything meaningfully specific about that flour other than based on your comments it needed higher hydration.

                        The way you describe the dough suggests to me the flour is based on a wheat appropriate for bread flour. But this interpretation is complicated by the relatively low 62% hydration you indicate you used. A low hydration AP dough will be relatively rubbery too.

                        Your complaint that your dough spread a bit is IMO totally misplaced. While you may not want your boules to spread, you want your pizza dough to be loose enough that it will spread. It has to be able to for it to be extensible enough to be spread into a proper pizza.

                        To help answer what pizza dough should feel like, try to find a good WFO pizza place (I assume you are WFO oriented) and ask them to give you or sell you a ball or blob of dough. Play with it, handle it. It may not be great dough but it almost certainly won't feel like the 62% hydration dough you wrote about.

                        And therein lies an important point. Dough that isn't right won't make pies or bread that is right. That doesn't mean I can't make a good pizza from a 62% hydration dough made with your 00 flour. If forced to I would roll it out with a rolling pin and as repugnant as that is to some on this thread, if it is great dough you should still get a cornicione. But I would have never been there in the first place for I would have added more water so it had reasonable feel and extensibility when I mixed it.

                        This brings us back to my mantra on this thread, "There is no substitute for experience". Some people get lucky and do great quickly and learn quickly what works and doesn't work. Others take longer. The main thing is to start with a reliably good recipe/method and to keep repeating until you are consistent. Then begin making changes one thing at a time to refine the method and recipe to what you want.

                        Good Luck!


                        • #13
                          Re: Dough questions for the experts

                          Awesome post Elmer! :-)


                          • #14
                            Re: Dough questions for the experts

                            Did I miss the OP asking about Neo-neapolitan doughs? The advice given is of zero help to anyone trying to make real Neapolitan pizza, which is what it seems they were after. If you are indeed after Neapolitan pizza start simple.

                            100% Caputo Flour
                            60% Hydration
                            3% Salt
                            Enough fresh cake yeast to allow for 24 hours fermentation in your environment(something like 0.1% as a jumping off point)

                            Weigh out the water
                            Completely mix in the salt
                            Completely mix in the yeast
                            Slowly add the flour until incorporated
                            Allow to rest a half hour
                            Lightly knead or do a few stretch and fold's
                            ball the dough and ferment for 24 hours at room temperature

                            Once you get this basic but fairly traditional workflow down you can branch out into more advanced dough that incorporate things like your local flour, bulk fermentation and starter cultures in place of yeast.


                            • #15
                              Re: Dough questions for the experts

                              Hi Shuboye!

                              The original question was not about recipes but about overly elastic dough. NeoNeopolitan is appropriate because the flour they used appears to be BREAD FLOUR and needs helpt to be elastic. I pointed them in a direction that will build the knowledge and experience to not have to rely on others for their opinions.

                              IF they want to make more standard Neopolitan dough I have not problems with your recipe but that is NOT what the original post states AND we have NO evidence yet that pizzafun is actually making dough for a WFO vs a conventional oven. Without more information I think your suggestion is unnecessarily presumptive and your criticism of my surfacing NeoNeopolitan is inappropriate.

                              You are welcome to your opinions but all you had to do was start by saying "If you want ot make a Neopolitan dough I would suggest..." and not suggesting that my mentioning NeoNeopolian is inapprorpriate when you haven't read the original message and addressed the information in that message and the question it posed!

                              I am out of here for a while!