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DimTex 09-15-2009 08:25 PM

Yeast Confusion..what can one say?
I have two conflicting pizza dough recipes for Caputo Flour. The first, the pdf from Forno Bravo says 1/2 tsp of yeast. The second came with the flour and says 2 tsp of yeast. Can someone tell me which is right?

Also, anyone have suggestions for a good proofing temperature? I did it in my electric oven set on "proof" and the dough came out with a kind of leathery skin on top even though it had saran wrap on it...


texassourdough 09-16-2009 07:04 AM

Re: Yeast Confusion..what can one say?
First, let's start with the type of yeast. Use Instant yeast not the regular dried stuff which has only a fraction of the live yeast. It may well be that Caputo assumes the latter. 2 t. is a LOT. Way too much IMO but it will probably rise in an hour. But there are other factors. The 1/2 t. is on the light side, especially for a quick dough.

You will get better tasting dough if you retard it overnight in the fridge. IMO ALL pizza dough should be retarded for at least a few (4-6) hours. It makes a big diff in flavor.

1/2 t. to 1 t. of yeast is a good amount for 4 to 5 cups of flour IF it is retarded overnight. For quick pizza dough (to use without retarding) 1/2 t. seems light.

Proofing - There is no reason to use elevated temps to proof unless you are in a big hurry. Flavor will not be improved by elevated temps. If you absolutely feel you have to proof at high temps and rush things you need to humidify the proofing box/oven. Put a pan of hottish water in the oven with the dough.

IF you retard the dough overnight, bring it out appx. two hours before you want to cook and leave it at room temp. It will be soft and lively and ready to go if you used live yeast. IMO 00 should be formed into balls WHEN THE DOUGH IS MADE (well within a half hour or so) and then put immediately in trays or on sheet pans, covered, and put in the fridge. If you wait to form balls until you take it out of the refrigerator the dough will be tougher than if you do it early.

There are no shortcuts to great pizza dough that I know of. It takes time!

Gromit 09-16-2009 07:05 AM

Re: Yeast Confusion..what can one say?
There is no right answer to how much yeast. It all depends on how long you want your dough to ferment/proof. In general, a longer fermentation/proof will result in more flavor and better dough extensibility. I have a 500g batch going right now with 1/64th tsp of yeast; I'm hoping to let it go for 24 hours.

Unless you are in a HUGE hurry, there is no need to proof in the oven. You could probably get a gentle moist heat by never turning the oven on at all, but putting in a pan of boiling water on a lower rack.

Use fresh IDY/Instant/RapidRise/Bread Machine yeast and you can't go wrong.

CanuckJim 09-16-2009 07:54 AM

Re: Yeast Confusion..what can one say?

Jay and David are spot on. Just a few observations: I use 2/3 tsp Instant Dry Yeast (SAF) for 500 grams Caputo, but, then again, I always retard the shaped dough overnight. The flavor gain from the active enzymes is just too pronounced to miss. Second, the optimum temperature for bulk fermentation is 75 degrees F. Long and slow always beats short and fast.


texassourdough 09-16-2009 08:10 AM

Re: Yeast Confusion..what can one say?
Hey, David!

Are you retarding the dough or at room temp? 1/64 t. seems way light for 24 hours if it is retarded most of the time and probably about right if you leave it out (or have an extended period at room temp). What are you doing over there in Houston?


Gromit 09-16-2009 08:47 AM

Re: Yeast Confusion..what can one say?

I am just in the experimentation stage at the moment. I would like to work out a method that gets me a 24 hour room temperature ferment & proof. Earlier in the week, I let a batch with 1/32 tsp yeast bulk ferment at 76F-78F overnight. It was not quite doubled ten hours later, but I judged that it would be overflowing its container by the time I arrived home from work, so I made balls and put them in the fridge.

The current batch with 1/64 tsp yeast rose 10-20% in bulk ferment overnight over about 10 hours. I balled them this morning and left one ball at room temperature, put one in the fridge, and put one in the oven with a bucket of ice.

I'm getting 1/64 tsp by dumping 1/4 tsp on a cutting board and using my dough knife to divide it 4 times. I think it is reasonably accurate.

texassourdough 09-16-2009 10:21 AM

Re: Yeast Confusion..what can one say?
Hi David!

You should at least be able to find some combo of retard/room temp that will work for you. At worst, retard overnight and then put out at room temp in the morn. I would think 1/64 t. would be about right for that schedule. There are some interesting things going on that may trip you up tho. The enzymes in the flour are breaking the starch into sugars and that process is not slowed as much by temp as the yeast is (as I understand it) so you tend to accumulate sugar while retarding. Then when you put it out, there is "extra" sugar so the yeast can multiply rapidly and you probably get a faster rise than if there were no retard to that point.

Keep in mind also that yeast is rather salt sensative so increasing or decreasing the salt can impact on the rate of dough expansion.

Let us know what you learn!


Gromit 09-16-2009 01:44 PM

Re: Yeast Confusion..what can one say?

The 1/64 tsp was WAY TOO MUCH for a 24 hr room temp rise @ 76F. The ball that was held at 70F had doubled after 8 hrs (following a 10 hr bulk rise); it was too elastic for me to get a really good base. The ball left at 76F was VERY nice and extensible but had gone well beyond doubling in size. I will try again with 1/128 tsp.

Once, I tried mixing the dough, water, & salt and holding that in the fridge for 4 days to let the enzymes do their work. I pulled the dough out of the fridge, added yeast, re-kneaded and immediately divided into balls. Those pizzas were too evenly browned on the rim for my tastes.

tomtom 09-16-2009 08:08 PM

Re: Yeast Confusion..what can one say?
There is no substitution for a 24hr fermentation in the fridge. Slow rise in the refrigerator builds dough flavor and elasticity. Forget the proofing the punching down and letting it rise again. To much time and not necessary. I have done experiment after experiment. What works for me. I follow the the pizza dough recipe posted here (except I use a high gluten flour). Ice cold water, active dry yeast and sea salt. Perfect mix time with a Kitchenaid mixer after dough is blended ------- run on 2 for 6 minutes, on 4 for 2 minutes, and on 2 again for 2 minutes. Shape into balls put in a container (no oil). Dough is creamy smooth. Fridge for 24 hrs. I have used dough that has fermented for 4 days in the fridge but 24 hrs seems optimum. Take out of fridge 2 hrs before needed. I have been making decent dough for awhile now but since I have kept it in the mixer a few minutes longer it has made a huge difference.


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