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How to get bigger cornicione puff? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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How to get bigger cornicione puff?

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  • How to get bigger cornicione puff?

    I searched through the forum and it seems most people have the opposite problem I'm having. I'm looking for a bigger puff that I'm currently getting, something similar to the picture of the pizza on the Caputo Rosso Tipo 00 red bag.

    Here's what I'm doing:

    1) Following the FB recipe to the T (or so I believe)
    2) Using 100% 00 flour (Caputo red bag)
    3) I take the dough out of the refrigerator 60-90 minutes before baking
    4) I'm not deflating the dough with a rolling pin; I'm not touching the edge at all when I'm forming the dough
    5) I'm leaving 1" - 1.5" of space at the edge when I add the sauce
    6) I'm cooking the pizzas when the hearth is 750-800 degrees (using my IR thermometer)

    I am getting some puff, perhaps 60% of what I'd like, but I have a ways to go.

    Any ideas?


  • #2
    Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

    Hi Stephen!

    To get really super puff on the dough your timing needs to be right. Too short and you won't have enough gas buildup in the dough...too long and it will be flat. There are LOTS of variables so diagnosing it is tricky.

    A first question would be hydration. Wetter dough gives bigger bubbles - all other things equal. And this in turn raises the question of how the flour is and has been stored. Given you are in Maryland I would assume your flour is reasonably humid so hydration is not likely a real problem (i.e. the flour is dry and needs more water). Still, increasing the hydration a bit, say 2% of the flour weight, would likely help.

    Second question is how "proofed" is the dough. Your 60 to 90 minutes out of the fridge feels short. I think 2 hours is better from my experience. Still, it can be enough. How long are you leaving it out before it goes in the fridge and how long is it in the fridge? I like overnight, but.... (We will assume your yeast is fully vigorous???)

    How are you storing your dough balls in the fridge and while they warm? If the skin dries any that can hurt the oven spring.

    My bet would be increasing the hydration will solve your problem but the others need to be considered as well.

    Good Luck!


    • #3
      Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

      Jay - thanks for your response and recommendations.

      To answer your questions, after the dough is finished kneading, I let the bowl sit 15 minutes (covered), then I form dough balls, then I let them sit another 15 minutes before putting them in the fridge overnight.

      I had a batch already mixed up which I baked last night. I let them proof 2 hours, and there was definitely improved puff, so clearly I was under-proofing them. The fifth pizza I made (at about the 2:30 mark) was the best I've done to date; it puffed up much better (it was also cool yesterday, but I think I know what I'm looking for now so will adapt in warmer/cooler conditions).

      So I think I'm 80% there now, and for the next batch I'll bump up the hydration to see if that gets me to what I'm aiming for. I've been doing 65% hydration, so will bump it up a few percentage points.

      One other detail: I've been storing my flour in the freezer in a sealed container. Do you think this is a good idea?



      • #4
        Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

        Ir's easy to underproof the dough to the point where it isn't as puffy as it should be, especially with minimal yeast (and if the yeast is a bit slow). As it gets puffy it also relaxes and gets more interesting to the touch - but delicate as well.

        No problem with freezing flour. However, you want the dough to be in the 76-78 oF range when finished mixing/kneading. IF you use cold dough (or cold water) the dough will be cold and won't rise as much and will need more time to achieve the proper proof level. IF the dough is really cold (say 60 or 65) you might want to give it twice as long before putting it in the fridge. OR pull it a bit earlier so it has longer to proof before baking.

        Adding water will take you the rest of your way. If you REALLY want to learn to do puffy dough I would suggest learning to make ciabatta and foccacia at 80 percent hydration. Best way is to simply take a class from Peter Reinhart at some cooking school but his new book Artisanal Breads Every Day is a decent second choice. The dough is essentially high hydration pizza dough. Learning to handle and work with that glop will help you with your pizza dough and help you understand your options. About a year ago (on this site somewhere) I wrote about doing a 100% hydration foccacia. It can be done but the 80% is better and easier to do (the 100% is almost too wet to support itself with ANYTHING on top of it.

        Sounds like you will get there with some more water! Don't be afraid to try up to 70-72% hydration IF you can handle the dough (secret use lots of water on your hands to when kneading and USE LOTS OF FLOUR when handling!). If you can't handle the dough gracefully, you will degas it too much and lose the benefit!

        Good Luck!


        • #5
          Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

          Great, thanks again, Jay! I'll try for ~70-72% and report back.


          • #6
            Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

            If the 70-72 % gives you problems, just add flour until you can deal with it. 70 to 72% can be a bitch to deal with until you get the touch. And be careful handling it after the retard/rise. It will be STICKY. Use lots of flour. But it should puff like crazy if you don't overly degas it.


            • #7
              Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

              The single "trick" to high hydration baking is in folding/stretching the dough during its initial fermentation. I'd second the suggestion to make some ciabatta at around 80% hydration to get a feel for dough folds. After that, a 70% dough should be easy.



              • #8
                Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

                Since reading your suggestions, I've made two more batches. The first was at 70% hydration, and it was a definite improvement from the 65% hydration I was doing previously (more puff, light crust), but still not quite there. The next batch I bumped up to 73%, and that seemed to be the magic number. I got a really nice puff and the best overall texture to date. I'm really happy with the results.

                The remaining issues I'm having are more with prep, not so much with the final product:

                1) How do I form tight dough balls with such wet dough? I rounded them on the counter with my palm (using only a very light dusting of flour), but when I transferred them to the dough tray, they were so sticky that they basically looked lumpy and uneven.

                2) I lightly oiled the dough tray, but when the dough is proofed, the balls stick to the tray. I used a bench scraper to gently remove them, but I can't help but think that I'm deflating them more than necessary. Should I use more oil or is there another trick to keep them from sticking to the tray?

                3) The dough was really delicate and had to be handled very gently. Is there something I can do to make the dough a little easier to work with without changing the end product (which I was otherwise happy with)?

                Thanks again for all your help.



                • #9
                  Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

                  It's been several months since I posted this question and I thought I'd update it now that I've found a formula that produces the kind of crust I was after. To summarize the issue, I was having trouble getting consistently puffy cornicione. I like a really puffy crust (like that pictured on the red Caputo 00 bag) and assumed it would be easy to achieve once I started cooking in my WFO. For many it is, but for me it proved elusive.

                  Here are the factors that have worked for me. I follow the FB recipe with the following changes:

                  1) 50/50 mix of Caputo 00/KAF Bread Flour -- I had been using 100% Caputo dough for months, then one night we ran out and I tried 100% bread flour. To my surprise, I got much much more puff than with Caputo, but the 100% bread flour crust burned on the bottom (even when I let my oven cool to the mid 600s). Blending gives me the benefits of both flours. I also get great leoparding, something I never got with 100% Caputo (I could frankly care less about the leoparding, just thought I'd mention this since this is important to some).

                  2) Shaping -- I use the method demonstrated in this YouTube video (the pizza in the video wayyy overdoes the puff in my opinion, but I like the shaping technique). I never press the dough onto the counter. I make a 12" pizza with 240g dough balls. Once I'm done shaping the pizza, the bubbles are clearly visible in the dough.

                  3) Hydration -- I was using a much higher percentage dough and was getting decent puff, but it was really difficult to work with (forming dough balls, shaping pies and keeping the pizzas from sticking to the peel, etc), so I went back to 65-67% and I still got good puff (when using the other techniques listed here) and it's *so* much easier to work with. I now think hydration plays a smaller role than other factors.

                  4) Mixing -- using my KA mixer, I mix on the lowest speed for about 7 minutes, then increase it to level 2 for 1 more minute. I add the remaining 20% of the flour during the last 2-3 minutes of mixing (I don't know if this helps at all; I started doing this after reading Jeff Varasano's recipe and got in the habit of "wet mixing.") I then cover the bowl for 15 minutes, do two sets of stretch and folds in the bowl, rest another 15 minutes followed by another two sets of stretch and folds in the bowl, then immediately form dough balls and put them in the refrigerator overnight. (Each set is made up of four stretch and folds, so I do a total of 16 for each recipe; I move the bowl 1/4 turns after each S&F). I find that this makes the dough stronger and easier to work with and possibly contributes to more bubbles.

                  5) Baking -- I find that 750-800 is the sweet spot for my dough/oven. I keep one or two really small logs (1.5" diameter or smaller) burning to keep an active fire licking the top of the dome. Once the pizza bakes for about 30 seconds, I turn them pretty frequently to get even baking/coloring.

                  Anyhow, I hope this helps anyone who's after a similar goal.

                  Last edited by sjmeff; 03-08-2010, 06:43 AM. Reason: clarification


                  • #10
                    Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

                    Thanks for your input. I've only done pizza a few times and am getting better with each try. My last patch was a 4 hour start to bake and it turned out the best with good puff, but the middle of the pie wasn't crispy. I only put a light covering of sauce, moz, and basil. The oven floor was 600 to 650. You mentioned 750-800, is that the dome or floor? I'm assuming it is the dome as that is pretty hot for the floor.

                    Thanks again,
                    Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America


                    • #11
                      Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

                      Hey Tom - I only ever check the temp of the floor *not* the dome. I fire my oven for about 90 minutes, then push the coals to the side and throw on some logs to get a small fire going. I let the oven cool for ~10 minutes. With a small fire going on the side, my floor stays in the 750-800 range.



                      • #12
                        Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

                        is this kind of what you're looking for?

                        i find my cornicione is too puffy and i think it is from not stretching my dough enough when i'm shaping it..


                        • #13
                          Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

                          Hi Joey!

                          That looks pretty good. You can get good cornicione rise even from rolled doughs if the proof is right on. Your shape on this looks pretty good. Following up on my other comment on thinness...you can almost certainly work on the edge some more to create a larger pie with no significan loss of quality. Great puff! (too much?)



                          • #14
                            Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?

                            Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack this thread. I've moved my post to the "Common Mistakes... " thread.
                            Last edited by JoeyVelderrain; 03-13-2010, 04:54 PM.


                            • #15
                              Re: How to get bigger cornicione puff?


                              With soft dough it is almost impossible to stretch the center too little - until you get the hang of it. I had many paper thin pizzas too before I settled on my technique. But I also spent a lot of time watching the guys at Dough Pizzaria here in SA shaping pies. Dough just got a 28 for food from Zagats and that puts them in the world of seriously high ratings. There are little subtle things that can't be put in words that really make a difference in the result.

                              Nice Work! Looks like you made a step breakthrough!