pizza dough

pretty girl

Why does my pizza dough sometimes come out tasting like cardboard? Most of the time it tastes great- cripsy and airy. However, on occasions it tastes awful! I know weather temperature can affect baking, but this happens during all kind of weather,i.e. humide, dry etc.. I use the same recipe all the time. If this helps:I use dried yeast. Help!

badge posted by: pretty girl on May 16, 2012 at 11:48 am in Q & A
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reply by: Mike Nolan on May 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm
Mike Nolan

For a start, what recipe are you using?

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on May 17, 2012 at 8:15 am
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

yup, as Mike says, we need to know the recipe to help you, and also whether or not you are weighing your ingredients.

reply by: placebo on May 18, 2012 at 5:39 am
placebo

If I had to bet, I'd suspect you forgot to add the salt.

reply by: pretty girl on May 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm
pretty girl

I use dry yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil, eggs, high gluten four and water. I use the same recipe everytime (measure ingredients). The crust comes out great almost every time. the bad stuff has happened only a few times. Also, how would the crust change if I added a little more olive oil? Thanks.

reply by: GinaG on May 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm
GinaG

If you add more olive oil, the crust would brown and crisp more.

In terms of your description, it would be interesting to note your hydration level. If you measure by volume, your results will indeed vary, so I'd place my bet there!

If you don't have a scale, there's something you can do, I'll get to that in a second.

For flavor, there are a couple of things you can do. Use at least half as much beer in place of water and/or do a slow rise in the fridge.

About measuring, this is how KAF recommends you do it:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes2008/measuring-flour.html

Even though it's only happened a few times, it is frustrating! We can all empathize. When you have an opportunity, do get yourself a scale and you will be a believer!

reply by: mfjubinsky on May 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm
mfjubinsky

My suggestion is to use a pizza dough with a preferment, like a poolish. The pro baker section use this technique to maximize flavor and overall quality. We have been using a pizza dough for classes for several years and posted a copy on our website. You can see it at: http://www.stoneturtlebaking.com/webdocs/Apizza_Dough.pdf.

Good luck

reply by: Mike Nolan on May 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm
Mike Nolan

More oil will make the crust chewier. (I think it makes it harder to get a crisp outer crust, but that's also a function of oven temperatures.)

Weighing ingredients helps you be more consistent, but you may need to adjust each batch of dough a bit, anyway, because flour isn't always the same (even if it came from the same bag), eggs aren't always the same size, etc. Even water tastes different to me from one day to another. (Many New Yorkers claim that their water is the secret ingredient to New York pizza.)

Oven temperature can also affect the results. Have you checked your oven settings?

I second the suggestion of using a pre-ferment or letting your dough age longer, my favorite pizzerias all age their dough for at least a day.

reply by: GinaG on May 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm
GinaG

Mike, I think she's talking about adding the oil to the dough as opposed to brushing it on, which would keep the crust soft and would prevent it from crisping up.

Of course as you so aptly pointed out, oven temperature also plays a role. As would the *kind* of olive oil!

reply by: GinaG on May 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm
GinaG

Mfjubinsky,

You raise a very key point: A preferment will always add more flavor AND improve texture.

reply by: Mike Nolan on May 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm
Mike Nolan

In general, adding fat to a dough makes it chewier.

Personally, I don't use olive oil in pizza dough crust, in part because I'm not fond of the taste of olive oil, and also because a good friend of ours is allergic to olive oil, so we seldom use it, as she is a frequent dinner guest.

reply by: GinaG on May 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm
GinaG

Are we talking about in or on it?

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on May 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

The actual recipe would be most helpful, including the amounts and your process. Otherwise it can be hard to tell what's going on.

One thing I noticed, you say you use high gluten flour and eggs; I've been told that high gluten flour can be toughened by eggs in a pizza dough. Also that whole eggs can cause premature browning, hence you get a brown crust but it doesn't have time to get crispy.

How "high gluten" is the flour? Do you know the protein content, or can you tell us which brand and type you are using?

The recipe I use for my dough is:

16 oz bread flour (around 12% protein)
9 oz (by weight) of water
1 T olive oil
1 tsp yeast (I use ADY)
3/4 tsp salt

I add the yeast and the water to the pan of my bread machine, let it hydrate for 15 mins. Then I add the olive oil. Then, the flour, and finally I sprinkle the salt over the top of the flour, let it knead for 15 mins and then rise for about an hour. Punch it down, roll/stretch it out, let it rise a bit before topping, then top, it takes about 12 mins to bake a fully loaded pizza on a preheated pizza stone.

reply by: Mike Nolan on May 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm
Mike Nolan

I'm talking about oil in the dough. In general, a fat in bread dough makes it chewier.

Brushing oil on the top of the dough would have a different effect, I think it is mostly done to keep the sauce from soaking in.

I don't think I've ever seen a recommendation about brushing oil on the bottom, I think that would tend to lead to a more fried-like bottom crust, which doesn't sound like a good idea to me.