#21  
Old 05-20-2010, 01:15 AM
Peasant
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 31
Default Re: Sourdough crust

Couple more thoughts/questions (and a little bolster to my post count, so I can get over the hump and post with links):

Splatgirl, you said you've transitioned to portioning your dough balls before refrigerating, as it makes everything easier. I've gone in exactly the opposite direction. I used to portion all the doughs early, and then fill my fridge with 8 or 10 tubs with beautiful individual doughs. (Cheapskate Tip: Dollar Tree stores stock a size of reusable/disposable rubbermaid plastic tub that is probably the ideal size for 230g of risen dough, 2/$1). But I found that when I dumped them out to shape them, unless I'd really aggressively oiled the bowl, they'd be such a mess I would have to tighten them up on the counter to get a sort of "gluten cloak" (a term from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day that I really like), and that seemed like more work than just portioning and shaping them all into balls at once, after the rise. Is that not an issue for you? Maybe if I just dumped into a bowl of flour it would eliminate the problem.

texassourdough, I'm interested in your mention of the spiral mixers to form a more cohesive high hydration dough. I watched a hypnotic youtube video of a spiral dough hook on a kitchenaid the other day, but wasn't quite sure what the big difference was from my standard dough hook. My model of kitchenaid will take the spiral hook, I think, but I can't quite see the point. A quick googling suggests that there's an entirely different type of mixer, but... what's different about the action as to make it so much better? Nothing that can be mimicked at home? (I've done no research here, sorry; this is just a passing curiosity.)

I wonder if this is one of the missing pieces to getting ridiculously large, irregular holes in my boules -- I know I need high hydration, but, gentle though I may be, I can't seem to get from the counter to the oven without losing all that structure, and I always end up with something a bit more ciabatta-shaped than I'd like.
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  #22  
Old 05-20-2010, 06:40 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Hi Mako!

A couple of comments.

RE: Starter. There is no benefit to starting a starter with yeast and you may be setting yourself back in getting a starter going. There is accumulating evidence that wild yeast spores must reach a very acidic level to activate and begin growth. The normal pattern for new starters is that they are bubbly early (bad bacteria with bad flavor) and stop after about 4 days. Evidence suggests that the good (lactobaccili) are in low numbers in the flour and take that long to drop the pH of the starter enough to stop the lactobaccili. In your "hybrid" starter you will have both bad bacteria and yeast working and if the development of lactobaccili is delayed will simply prolong the generation of bad flavors and compounds. You probably wouldn't want to use the starter after the first few days anyway! After about 4 to 7 days the lactobaccili will elevate the acidity (drop the pH to the point where both the commercial yeast and bad bacteria will die. At that point your starter will appear dead. It will be several days until the acidity actually gets low enough to activate the wild yeast spores and for the wild yeast to begin growing. The only thing adding pineapple juice accomplishes is that it initiates the starter at a point where it is so acidic the bad bacteria never grow - so it skips that phase - and it means the lactobaccili won't take as long to reach the low pH to start the wild yeast. There is a competition between the lactobaccili and the yeast such that the final pH of the starter will be less acidic than the pH needed to activate th wild yeast. I don't see how putting commercial yeast in can do anything but prolong the process.

RE: balling dough. IMO the proper timing for forming balls is a function of the dough. I usually ball AP based doughs late - about 2 hours before use - but I ball bread flour and Caputo doughs shortly after mixing to give them more time to relax. I do this because I find that the latter doughs are tough and harder to work with if balled late.

RE: spiral mixers. My only experience with a spiral mixer is one that does 100 pounds. I understand from owners that the SP5 sprial (8 pounds) from Italy gives equivalent results. I have no credible reports that the KA spiral hook accomplishes anything. Not surprising for the bowl and action of a spiral are quite different from that of a KA. My friendly competition with the owner of the big mixer has led me to techniques that have me close to his spiral but the spiral is certainly easier.

RE: wet doughs. First I would suggest you look at my Happy Yeast pictures. That is 70% hydration dough and it is not a ciabatta and it has pretty good crumb. While there are lots of variables here, if you think you are being careful, I will suggest that you are probably suffering from a combination of underdeveloped dough and overproofing. Wet doughs are almost impossible to overwork so underdevelopment is easy. But it is not as easy as more mixing. I do minimal handling of my dough - just form a ball and fold it at thirty minute intervals over an hour and a half. And it is well developed. The most immediate suggestion is to cut your proofing time by an hour (or at least a half hour). You don't want to wait for the dough to double - only about 70%. An "underproofed" dough can go flat and still have enormous oven spring. If your dough is staying flat it has lost its gas.

Good Luck!
Jay
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  #23  
Old 05-20-2010, 05:22 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 31
Default Re: Sourdough crust

Thanks, Jay -- lots of great info there. Glad my intuition lines up with yours on the KA spiral hook.

As far as the starter goes -- I'll keep an eye out, and expect it to start getting weird soon. I'll just keep it down in the 20gm range rather than building it up to 200-400gm and using it. As I said, it's an experiment; if it works, I'll be happy -- if it doesn't, I won't be sad. I've made starters from flakes shipped to me from people who claim they're of a direct lineage from san francisco, 1849... from just water and flour... using the pineapple juice solution... About 5 years ago, everything worked fine... since then, they just get weird, bubble less impressively, and smell a bit like nail polish remover. Though that may be a change in my nose rather than in the starters.

The ideas about when to ball dough are interesting to me -- honestly, I just do whatever seems to be the most convenient. Since I favor long refrigerations, I just ball them on cooking day. For pizza, at least, as long as I give enough time for the dough to come up to temp, I have few problems.

Any tips on determining if dough is underdeveloped? Since moving to retarding overnight, I really haven't worried or thought about that at all. Considering some of the best looking (though not tasting) crumb I've ever gotten was from the Jim Lahey No Knead bread, I figured the time and enzymatic development was going to be sufficient regardless.

The happy yeast pics are lovely. I've gotten a crumb like that, and a crust like that... but I don't think I've ever gotten both at the same time. Lately I've rigged up a steam injection system that's definitely improved my crusts... but we're going pretty far astray here, and that's for another post. (or thread.) (or forum. It's pretty much the opposite of wood-fired. Electric tools and metal covers.)
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  #24  
Old 05-20-2010, 08:00 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

As a rule you don't want to retard sourdough overnight. Most wild yeasts really slow down at temps below 65. Commercial yeast slows down but keeps building gas. Sourdough is much slower and that lets gas ooze out of the dough so you need to get it up to temp next day to build up the gas. Personally I don't think I get as much life (bubbles, feel) in sourdough that is retarded so I don't do it.

Underdeveloped shows up in weird ways. The dough is stickier than it could be. It doesn't look/feel quite right - especially when you are tightening the outside skin in forming. If you take a slack 70 % dough and do a couple of folds you will feel the development. A mixer makes it rubbery over time (which can lead to overdevelopment). By hand it just gets more substance. It's touch more than anything else. Underdevelopment results in the gluten not being well organized so the gas escapes and you don't get as good a crumb and expansion.
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  #25  
Old 05-20-2010, 08:22 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 31
Default Re: Sourdough crust

Yeah, I'm talking commercial yeast here, since I've made 2 loaves of sourdough bread in the last, say, 2 years.

OK, I know underdeveloped on lower hydration doughs. More tearing, sticky instead of plastic. I guess it's just harder to tell on high hydration doughs, which are less likely to tear and kind of sticky even when well-worked.
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  #26  
Old 05-21-2010, 06:09 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

I think you said it really well. High hydration dough is sort of a pain - at best. Learning to deal with it is....a journey.

One humorous Reinhart story. Most of us, me included, use flour to control the dough, thinking that if it is already sticky more water will make it worse. Peter baked for 20 years before he went (and this is intended to be a humorous paraphrase, not literal), "Duh, dough won't stick to wet hands!" and began wetting his hands before working with wet doughs. Yes, it is messy and yes, you can't get the whole thing really wet or you can't form boules and get surface tension, but in the stretch and fold work, wet hands are the way to go. By the time you get to forming the dough should be more manageable and you can better get away with flour, but...the good news is you didn't give up the high hydration you started with by working in a bunch of flour and you didn't screw up your crumb by working a bunch of flour all through the dough (this may not be valid, but I seem to get much finer crumb when I use flour instead of wet hands during the s&f).

Same is true sourdough or commercial yeast. If you are using commercial the retard is a good way to go.

Give wet hands a try!
Jay
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  #27  
Old 05-21-2010, 10:43 AM
Peasant
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 31
Default Re: Sourdough crust

Agreed. Wet hands, a wet dough scraper, and even a wet countertop have really helped me out with the stretch and fold. Things seem like they're getting wetter and messier, but on the whole, everything works out better.
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  #28  
Old 05-24-2010, 10:41 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 31
Default Re: Sourdough crust

Well, I gave the super-high-hydration sourdough method a try tonight, cooked under the broiler in my oven on a 650-700 degree stone. (I'm not yet in possession of a better heat source )

I didn't have enough starter (or foresight), so I only used 10% starter (500gm KA bread flour, 400gm water, 50gm starter, 10gm yeast). I had nice bubbling in the rounds when I pulled them out today, and they seemed to be near doubled in size (this is always hard for me to tell), but they may have been underproofed, as they only had about 4.5 hours total rise time before going into the fridge.

Dumped them directly into a bowl of flour, as you said, and found them not much harder to work with than my typical 70% hydration dough (though so extensible that they were prone to getting too thin and tearing if I wasn't careful).

Flavor was great, but they were a little doughy under the edges, and the oven spring was only average. I'm going to chalk this all up to underproofing -- I left one round in the fridge, and will try it in a day or two, when it's had more time to work.

My other rounds (made with my standard recipe) worked better overall, but lacked the depth of flavor, so I'll definitely be trying this again, attempting to get it more dialed in.

Thanks again for the recipe -- still a work in progress here.
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  #29  
Old 05-25-2010, 04:00 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Sourdough crust

80% is challengingly high hydration that puts you in the "very delicate" dough category. Thin spots are a real challenge and you can't slap them around enough to knock off the excess flour. Which is part of why I don't go that high! I don't like a lot of excess flour.

The doughiness is almost certainly related to the use of bread flour vs. AP. Bread flour doughs (even when high hydration) show their high protein by being tougher than AP. If you want tender dough from bread flour it helps to use some olive oil (about 1.5 T to 2 T for 500 grams flour) in the dough. (It will still be tougher).

Hang in there!
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  #30  
Old 05-28-2010, 08:23 AM
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Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Location: Northridge, CA
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Default Re: Sourdough crust

Quote:
Originally Posted by texassourdough View Post
As a rule you don't want to retard sourdough overnight. Most wild yeasts really slow down at temps below 65. Commercial yeast slows down but keeps building gas. Sourdough is much slower and that lets gas ooze out of the dough so you need to get it up to temp next day to build up the gas. Personally I don't think I get as much life (bubbles, feel) in sourdough that is retarded so I don't do it.
Hi Jay, do you think adding a small percentage of my starter (20-25%) to the basic IDY/caputo FB pizza dough recipe AND retard overnight as individual balls is more counter productive and I should leave out the starter?

I haven't made pizza for 4 months (stone facade/stucco on the wfo more work and weekend consuming than I thought) so I'm having a MemDay pizza party. I think I'll play it safe and go straight IDY. Next week I'll try Splatgirls Sourdough only crust and see if I can get the same results.

Thanks, Dino
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