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woods witch 10-05-2010 11:51 AM

Dough isn't crispy
I stopped at a pizza place in Harrisburg, Pa. and really liked the thin and crispy crust they had. The extremely kind man there offered to order an extra 50lb bag for me. The brand name is Assoluti, distributed by Roma Foods. It is a high gluten flour, of course. Well, we tried it this weekend and although the flavor was good and the spring was good, the bottom of the pizzas would not get crispy. Oven was thoroughly saturated and hot. Hydration was in the 67% range. Any suggestions? This bag of flour was a great deal at $16 and of course we have ALOT of it so I would really love to get it down to a perfect recipe for pizza! I am going to be trying my hand at bread with it soon and have high hopes!

josephl 10-05-2010 05:06 PM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
Here is a good receipe for the high gluten flour. You need to measure by weight. I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought a digital scale for $20.00
The receipe is 500 grams of high gluten flour, 325 grams of water. Mix water and flour together and mix until dough forms into a ball. Let sit for 20 minutes. The dough should look wet and tacky. Then add in 3 grams of dry instant yeast and 10 grams of salt. Mix for another 5 to 10 minutes. This will make 2 or 3 14 inch pies. I usually double the receipe and get 4. This dough is light, crispy and air bubbly. I tried alot of receipes and this one is the best so far. Also, when I make pizza in the wood oven it does not come out as crispy as in a regular oven. Also, when I use my wood oven I heat it up for 2 or 2 1/2 hours and get it nice and hot, then I push the coals to the back and let sit for about half hour until the floor gets about 550 degrees.
If the pizza is cooking to fast on top, I put two bricks in front of the coal to block the heat. Try this method and I am sure you will like it.


texassourdough 10-06-2010 04:10 AM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
Hi WW!

It is virtually impossible to comment meaningfully on a question like yours without photos. WITH photos I can read between the lines and make educated stabs. Wtihout, all I can do is guess. Recipe, pie forming, and cooking time/temp are the most obvious potential culprits but... you give us no information about any of those other than saying your oven is "thoroughly saturated and hot" which is not not enough info to give me full confidence it is valid. You don't even specify whether you did it in a WFO or a kitchen oven. I can guess kitchen but... we need to know a lot more to really help you!

woods witch 10-06-2010 06:20 AM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
thanks for the input. I guess I should have been more specific! sorry! Yes, we are cooking in our WFO.(My avatar is a picture of our oven) It had been fired for every bit of 5 hours and was very hot. Possibly a little too hot when we got started. Our infra red thermometer is on the blink but I would guess the floor was at least 700 degrees. Roof was completely white and a fire was burning in the back. We used our digital scale, 1000 grams flour, 6 grams yeast, 670 grams water, 15 grams salt. Was hoping higher hydration would be a good thing...and the dough was formed on the day we cooked. I usually like to start the night before. I let it rise until doubled and formed it into 8 balls. At that point it did stay on the counter probably longer than it should have because more than doubled in size (I was out longer than expected). I am wondering if it is possible to have the pizza cook too quickly? Nice char on the bottom without burning, and the crust did also have char. Sorry I didn't take pictures. We have been cooking in our oven for about 2 years and have had alot of successes but I am just not thrilled with pizza crust! I am hoping for a crust that is light, slightly chewy but firm and crispy on the bottom. We have no problem getting the dough thin enough,and this dough stretched quite nicely. I am going to be using this flour this weekend to bake my first batch of bread. I have downloaded the bread book here and am currently trying to catch a wild sourdough starter on my counter! (wish me luck Jay!) I really appreciate any advice! I also want to mention that the bag of flour did not specify protein percentage. It is just promoted as an Italian bread flour.

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Tscarborough 10-06-2010 07:35 AM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
2 Attachment(s)
I use 20% (of the flour component) of semolina and it gives a very nice crunchy consistency. My normal (meaning the last one I did, it changes a little every time) was:

590g KABF
205g semolina
690g water
1 Teaspoon sea salt
1 Teaspoon of turbino sugar
28g ADY

edit- I guess I should tell you the prep:

I mix the ADY in one cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of turbino sugar for around 20 minutes.

I dry mix everything else, then add the yeast-water, then add more water until it is the consistency I like (690G TOTAL including the yeast water in this instance). I stir vigorously in the bowl with a wood spoon for around 3 minutes, then let it double for a couple hours.

After doubling, I fold it around 8 times on a well floured counter, then form a big ball which I cut into 4 equal size pieces which I ball and place in lightly oiled tupperware for use the next day (or 3rd or 4th day). Each ball makes a 14" pie at the thickness shown.

woods witch 10-06-2010 09:48 AM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
Thanks so much for the recipe! I will try it and let you know how it comes out.:)

texassourdough 10-06-2010 10:21 AM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
Hi WW!

Your description is a big help! Toppings are also important. It is really hard to make a crisp, thin crust with wet toppings - they soak the crust too fast. So a little oil can be beneficial to help keep the dough "dry" (try misting the dough with oil or putting oil on the pizza first as an alternative or augmentation to) putting oil in the dough). I would like to see a photo of the pie too (top and bottom) if possible next time for that would tell me a lot. Your description leads me to suspect toppings are an issue. try making a Caramelized onion, blue cheese, walnut pizza (Reinhart, American Pie). That should be really crisp (or can be). If you can't make the crust you want with that pizza, then lots of things need to be considered. If it is great, then it may well be more about the toppings. I personally also find that bread flour gives me a reliably more crispy crust than AP.

I am intrigued that the pie you had at the pizzaria is so different from the one you make from the same flour....

The proofing is NOT the problem.

You will get sourdough starter. But it will probably come from the flour and not the air. You will probably have major activity on day 2 or 3 and will think it is good and it is bacteria. They will drop the pH of the starter until the acid stops them (about a day) and then your starter will appear dead until the yeast you want multiplies enough to take over (up to a week or more into the process). Just feed it at least once a day or so until it starts showing activity the second time. Then move to twice a day until it seems healthy and vigorous. You shouldn't expect to bake with it for at least two weeks. And keep it on the counter until then! Once it is vigorous and doubling every 8 to twelve hours you can safely begin refrigerating it.

Good luck isn't really necessary. Perseverence is. You will get there! It is amazing how many people throw the starter out on day 4 or 5 thinking it is dead and it is just getting going! Using pineapple juice doesn't really accelerate the process much but it does avoid the initial blast of bacterial growth.

So...Hang in there! It WILL happen!

splatgirl 10-06-2010 09:42 PM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
IME, all other things the same, a cooler oven floor and a longer bake time will make more of a crackery crust. You could also try lowering the dough hydration, kneading the dough more, or both. Back when I first started, I could get crispy and crunchy without even trying. What I did then would be what I would call overkneading and overhandling now.

As Jay says, rest assured you will get a sourdough starter going with patience and persistence. Putting a raisin in the flour/water slurry was the trick that worked for me.

texassourdough 10-07-2010 04:12 AM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
Good comments, splatgirl!

It is really easy to get in the habit of baking pies in one spot in the oven but ovens definitely have cooler and warmer areas and it can be smart to take advantage of that! I do it a lot when doing appetizers but I don't think about it so much with pizza (usually to lift the pizza into the dome for a final burst of heat to caramelize the crust/toppings some more). I hadn't thought about pulling a pizza into the mouth of the oven to prolong slower cooking for a crisper crust but that's a good idea. (If not heavily heat loaded my bottom insulated oven varies more in temp than the top insulated ones seem to so I know the effect, just hadn't used the variation to advantage!

Good thoughts!

Dutchoven 10-07-2010 07:12 PM

Re: Dough isn't crispy
Hi everyone! Just coming back to the forum after quite a long hiatus and happened on this thread. Woodswitch...if you want crispy but chewy I would recommend using a more mature dough...say perhaps 2 or 3 days matured in the fridge if you can. In our restaurant we use a dough that has similar hydration to yours and cook them at very high at lunch I baked a 14 inch pizza in about 90 seconds... and I have used the assoluti flour although I am currently using Occident flour from Conagra mills...during the maturation enzymes break down many of the starches into simple sugars and it seems to me leads to a crisper crust with still a bit of chew...I can hear the crispness when I cut the pies...
Hope this helps!

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