Pizza Ball Quality Control
I finally got around to weighing my dough balls, and have to laugh.
I made a 1kg batch (65% hydrated, with no olive oil), then as usual, I cut the large dough into two "halves", then each half into four "equal" pieces. To the naked eye, I was relatively successful at making eight equal size dough balls. Wrong.
The smallest ball was 170g and the biggest was over 250g. Too funny.
I've said before that I am a no recipe cook, but the more I bake bread and make pizza, I am becoming convinced that it is worth being accurate.
Jim, what do you think?
I have ended up buying some digital scales and weighing to, for pretty much the same reasons :)
One thing I do find that makes the manual dividing of dough much easier: I stretch my dough into a fairly long, pretty uniform sausage and then cut that half.
And then repeat as required...
BTW. the Caputo flour arrived OK. Thanks for your help.
I am now using only Caputo flour and natural leavening instead of yeast... The results are excellent!
Like you, I began by eyeballing dough divisions and was puzzled by my varying and various results, including unpredictable bake times. Lo and behold, when the various authors of the books I acquired finally thumped it into my thick Irish skull that accurate weights were vital, my results suddenly and dramatically improved. I'm not at the stage where every batch is exactly the same as the previous one (way too many variables with wood heat), but now at least I can eliminate one of them.
I'd have to say that for consistency and repeatablility, accurate weights, both in dough division and ingredients' measurement, cannot be ignored.
Digital scale is used throughout the dough making process
When i make dough, I weigh the flour, water, yeast, salt, and oil with a digital scale, according to a spreadsheet recipe for Tom Lehmann's NY-style dough. I leave the scale out as I'm mixing; and when I'm done mixing, I use the scale again to weigh out the dough balls so that each of them is within about 4 grams of each other. Only then do I form them into balls for retarding in the fridge.
Caputo flour in New Zealand
Nice to hear from you. I am so pleased your flour arrived in good shape. It seems like when we shipped the 25Kg bag it was cold and raining here, and now it's over 110F (44C) in Healdsburg. What is winter like in New Zealand?
I think you can debate whether brick ovens are more fun in the summer vs. the winter. I baked a lot of bread this winter, and made a lot of casseroles, but I am finding it harder to consistently bake in the summer heat. But, we have more parties in the summer, with more pizza and appetizers. Still, I hate buying bad bread. I guess everything is a trade off.
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