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brokencookie 05-03-2008 11:01 AM

Help - tough dough
While I am waiting to start my WFO, I decided to practice my pizza making skills. I am having a heck of a time achieving the results I am looking for.
I am using the FB recipe with about 63% hydration. Here is the method I am using.

About 1/2 the flour and all the water mix and let sit for 2 hrs
add remaining floor, salt yeast etc ( red star IDY)
Run the dough machine ( about 10 minutes) and let it rise
Remove from the dough machine, divide and put in the refer for 24 hrs
Pull from the refer, let sit at room temp for 4 hrs, form and cook

I am currently using a blend of 75% KA bread flour and 25% cake flour.

My dough is very elastic but when you try to shape it it springs back to it's original shape. In addition, it's a little tough after cooking. I know that I will not get exactly what I am looking for without the WFO but I am hoping someone can help me solve the tough dough problem.



Dutchoven 05-03-2008 04:28 PM

Re: Help - tough dough
Three suggestions... might allow the dough to go a bit longer in the dough machineto more fully develop the gluten...if need be you can use cooler water so as to not overheat the dough...looking for mid 70's when it is done...cooler OK hotter no good
Next...upon dividing allow the dough balls to rest for about 20 minutes on the counter covered with a towel...bakers call it benching, allows the gluten to relax...then you can reround them, without kneading, to give the surface a bit of tension... really isn't necessary to allow them to be out quite that long...we usually pull ours out of the fridge 1 to 1 1/2 hours prior to using...

These steps should help...if they are still a bit resistant when shaping the pizza you can stretch them a bit then allow them to rest a few minutes and re-stretch them...
All the best!

james 05-03-2008 04:58 PM

Re: Help - tough dough
I can think of a couple of things to try.

Give 50/50 a try on the flour. Bread flour can be a little tough for pizza. Also, you might want to try shaping the dough balls as little boules, where you stretch the dough to make a "skin" around the ball, and then roll it on the counter without flour to stretch, stretch the skin to make a tight, outer layer.

That will give the dough a little more structure, which should help it extend, without snaping back.

Last, try to get your dough ball shaped as quickly and gently as possible. It is handling that makes the final product tough.

Good luck.

krosskraft 05-03-2008 06:07 PM

Re: Help - tough dough
I also have trouble with bread flour, and prefer the 50-50 flour. You might try a very gentle coaxing the dough coming up underneath it and gently spreading you hands as you turn it to keep it round. I try never to pat down the ball into a flat disc, but rather pick it up and work from the side or underneath, and let gravity help with the shaping. Hope this helps

james 05-03-2008 06:15 PM

Re: Help - tough dough
Or you can buy Caputo pizza flour from this company called Forno Bravo. It's a tad pricey, but it's really good. :-)


Ed_ 05-03-2008 07:01 PM

Re: Help - tough dough
I've had pretty good luck using KA all-purpose. I don't know how the gluten content compares to your mixture, but it might be worth a shot. Another approach might be to add a tablespoon or so (might take some experimentation) of olive oil to your dough. The oil interferes somewhat with the gluten development and might help make it less tough.

I'm also doing pizza in my kitchen as we haven't started on the WFO yet (still looking for recycled brick!) and it comes out quite well. In fact, I've just got the oven heated for a batch tonight!

I'm sure James has the best solution with the Caputo though. :)

gjbingham 05-03-2008 08:52 PM

Re: Help - tough dough
All good suggestions. I used straight bread flour for my last pizzas - just two so I didn't want to break out the caputo. I used the hydration percentages from the recipe in the e-book, which ended up with a too-dry dough. I added water until it looked right - amount unknown.

The dough should be really sticky though, almost runny. You should need to scrape it from the bowl when it is correct. If you throw a bit of flour over the top (on a floured surface) you can handle it without it sticking to you. Leaving it sit for any length of time will cause it to stick to any surface, floured or not. (my take on it). It's just a simple learning curve. Get it right once, try to repeat that performance and remember what the dough felt like, looked like, etc.

I was very very happy with the dough I improvised from bread flour. Nice spring and texture out of the oven too.

I think Dutch has the answer you're looking for. 60 - 90 minutes out of the 'fridge to warm the dough. Form a disk out of the balls, let them sit a bit, try to stretch them as much as possible. If they resist your efforts and are too elastic, cover them with a towel or plastic wrap and try again in 5 or so minutes.

brokencookie 05-03-2008 09:19 PM

Re: Help - tough dough
Great !!!!
Thanks for all the replies. I can use all the help I can get :o
Pizza night is Friday night this week. I'll give these suggestions a try and report back a stunning success (I hope)

You are obsolutely right that Caputo is the answer to all my problems. However, my oven and skills are not worthy of such an exalted flour.

I had the same problem when learning to BBQ. I started with the cheap cuts and moved to the good stuff when I could cook without ruining it. I figure if I can make a pretty darn good pizza with average ingredients, they will be awesome when I graduate to the "good" stuff.


Dutchoven 05-04-2008 05:18 AM

Re: Help - tough dough
Presently our pizza recipe uses 100% bread flour...and the suggestions I gave are exactly the procedure we use...except that we simply combine all the dry ingredients and place them in the mixer bowl on top of the wet(reserving a couple of ounces just in case)...they go in our 20 quart mixer for anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes...outside of that it is virtually "idiot proof" which is what I need sometimes...
All the best!

phill 05-04-2008 05:34 AM

Re: Help - tough dough
Hi Bruce, I've had my oven now for over 5 yrs, its taken me a long time to understand flour/dough. Before you get it right you'll go through a lot of wastage and be disapointed and you might not touch the oven for weeks after that. Now I can make 20-25 in one nite for a party very easy, you will get to that trust me. What you need to understand is that once you mix flour/water and yeast it becomes a living thing. So remember the more you push, roll or flatten you kill the yeast. Everyones given great tips so if I repeat somethings sorry. You dont need to make the dough the nite before nor do you need to make 2 batches. If you allow 3-4 hours thats plenty.If you live in a hot climate retard the fermenation by placing in the fridge for a while.Use as little oil as you can, its only for flavour, extra virgin or cold press is best. From my experience 2tbsp per kilo is enough. If using instant dry yeast, mix that with the flour first before adding water or salt. The salt kills the yeast on first contact. If mixing by hand, I prefer this method as I get a good feel of what I'm looking for, use luke warm water, if using a mixer cold water is better, the mixer will overheat the dough. What you need to achieve, as mentioned on previous post, is soft dough. You should finish up with dough that feels like, sorry dont want to be rude or vulgar, saggy soft breasts ( sorry ). The dough will keep sticking to your hands so you might think its too wet, so you tend to add more flour, try not to do this. Best way to check this, is to scrape the wet dough of your hands and dip them in flour then continue mixing this will give you a better idea. Let the dough sit in a warm place till doubled. Scarpe the dough onto a bench and CUT pieces that will make your dough balls. If you find the dough sticky, dip them in bowl of flour, this will help you shape the dough. Remenber be gentle, you dont want to squash air out of the dough. Let the dough sit covered for about an hour. Shape the dough into disks using both hands throwing from side to side and letting gravity stretch the dough to size you like. Size of you pizza peel is good. I use semolina flour on the peel, it slides better. If the dough is not stretching in this methid, it might be too dry. If so dont let it go to waste, use the rolling pin. I,ve read a really good book called The Bread Bible, did 16 loaves of ciabatta and olive bread from the recipe, magic. GOOD LUCK and cheers

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