dough--down to basics


(Newbie) A few weeks ago I did an experiment with four flours to get an idea about flavor, workability, whatever: King Arthur Bread flour, Caputo 00 Red, Central Milling High Mountain High Gluten, and Central Milling Tony's Artisan. The only variable that time was the flour. The first thing that I noticed was that the KA Bread flour maintained its shape the most of the four--the other three were more disc-like than balls at 48 hours. All were difficult for me to shape, mainly because I don't know what I am doing, although as the doughs sprung back, I was gradually able to coax them into irregular 13" shapes that did makes decent platforms for the toppings. I used diastatic malt. I had followed the recipe to a T, as they say, with ice cold water, 83 degree water for the yeast, and I used the mixer as little as possible because of Tony's admonition that the most common mistake is mixing the dough too much. All of the doughs were sticky and did not look like Tony's in the photo that I will post below. I have since watched all of his videos on youtube as well as others, and their dough is not as sticky as mine. I should add that all ingredients less than 20 grams were weighed on a palm scale to tenths of a gram; heavier items, like the flour and water, were weighed with a scale that measures in grams up to 11 kilos. The water is Crystal Geyser spring water with about 150 PPM of "hardness" from magnesium and calcium.

The lessons that we learned that night were as follows: 1, the flavor of both Central Milling flours was extremely appealing to us, as was the texture. The texture of the Caputo 00 Red and the KA pizzas was better than anything we have in our central California coast town, but there was a noticeable difference between the two "groups". 2, the texture of the doughs was divided into a more study feel of the KA and a wonderfully supple, soft, hedonistic feel of the other three doughs. 3, we really liked margherita pizza the most---the simpler the better with the excellent dough flavor. And 4, the KA dough was very elastic and recoiled incessantly--less so after resting, and the other three were so soft that I could not do much except gently tease them into round-ish shapes. That having been said, we had discovered two flours whose flavor we liked. (Caputo 00 Blue arrived two days later) I should probably mention that I am using the master recipe without preferment and baking at 550 with a 3/8" baking steel.

Today, I had some time so I thought I would make some dough with which to practice. I used the Caputo 00 Red, and, again, I have followed Tony's recipe to a T, same as above. Here are some photos of the process. The last one is a series of photos from The Pizza Bible and shows a dough that is much less sticky than all of mine, I must say (and cleaner hands..):
(One other comment: I made a second dough later on and used the dough hook for an additional 6 minutes, wondering if that would help to develop gluten more than the "minimalist " instructions in the Bible. I want to see just how chewy chewy is....)

Medium 1 dough after mixing

Medium 2 dough onto marble

Medium 3 before kneading

Medium 4 while kneading

Medium 5  before kneading

Medium 6 while kneading

Medium 7 during kneading

Medium 8 into bowl for rest

Medium 9 after kneading

Medium 10  looks different from the boss

Ken K.
posted over 2 years ago

Save 0

Most of this is a matter of practice. I can tell from the detail of your post that you will get better real quick. It sounds like you were pretty precise, but just to confirm, did you use a scale that measures in grams? In terms hydration, even being off by a little can make a difference when making smaller batches of dough.

That said, don't be afraid to use more bench flour, and a dried dough (add a little more flour than called for during the mix). It'll be easier to work with when you're starting out.

As you had mentioned, both flour and water are great ways to keep the dough from sticking. I prefer flour, just because it'll make the dough a bit easier to work with in addition to keeping the dough from sticking to your hand.

I've noticed the images rotate on iPhones. Were you using an iPhone? I'll manually rotate these tonight.

Raj

Thumb raji
Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 2 years ago


Ken, a few more thoughts (in random order) regarding your post:

It sounds like you were super precise with measurements, so I'm guessing there were no accidents and you're working with dough that's at a proper 65%, especially since you've made multiple batches and ended up with the same consistency.

When I look at the first pic, the mixing bowl looks pretty clean which is a good sign. It means that most of the dough has been incorporated into the ball. This tends to happen less with very wet doughs.

I think one of the easiest things you can do to immediately make it easier to handle the dough is to sprinkle some flour on your marble slab. Then, using a plastic dough scraper, get the dough out of the mixing bowl. It'll keep all that dough from sticking to your hands. After that, sprinkle a little more flour on top of the ball which is resting on the slab.

At this point, it will be a lot easier to work. If the dough is sticking, you can use the scraper to separate it from the slab. This will keep your hands clean and keep the ball from becoming mangled.

When you're cutting your balls into smaller size, use a metal dough scraper (works better than the plastic one). This will make a cleaner cut and make it easier to keep the dough off your hands.

Also, water and mix times are fine. I used the exact same water in my doughs many times. The mix time will affect the crumb structure, but not necessarily the end texture.

Hope this helps!

Thumb raji
Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 2 years ago


I took your advice and made a 60% dough tonight to see the difference. I am rather amazed, as the difference is only about 30 cc of water, but the dough is much more like a pie dough than what I was working with with the other doughs. I am looking forward to seeing the difference at 24 hours.

I will use flour for the doughs if they stick , as you suggest.

Ken K.
posted over 2 years ago


This may be a dumb question but did you subtract the 70 grams of water for the yeast from the total amount of water asked for in the formula?

I'm asking because it's an easy mistake to make....I speak from experience. ;)

Furthermore, keep in mind that different flours have different absorption rates. I'd do a one-hour bench rest right after the dough comes out of the mixers to let it all settle. It does make a difference, imho.

Thumb t1
Mike K.
posted over 2 years ago


The way I read the recipe, the 70 gm (cc) of lukewarm water for the yeast is additive to the 225 gm of ice water for a total of 295 gm of water, or 65% of the weight of 453 gm of flour, not including the 9 gm of diastolic malt. To make the 60% dough, I used 202 gm (cc) of ice water plus 70 cc (gm) lukewarm water to the 453 gm of flour not including the weight of 9 gm of diastolic malt. I also did not include the weight of the salt. I think the percentage of ingredients is based on flour as 100%. Is that not correct?.

Ken K.
posted over 2 years ago


Ken,

Sounds like you did everything by the book, literally. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to insult your intelligence when I asked. I would try the one-hour bench rest. It helps bring it all together and I noticed that the dough comes together nice and smoothly.

Thumb t1
Mike K.
posted over 2 years ago


Ken, you interpreted the recipe properly. The total amount of water for the Master Dough w/o starter is 295 grams (225+70), yielding a 65% hydration.

When using bakers percentages, the dominant ingredient (flour) is 100% and everything else is a percentage of that.

Mike's tip for a 1 hour bench rest is huge. I do a 30 minutes. Even that will make a difference when handling your dough. You'll notice it will be very smooth and stretch nicely.

Thumb raji
Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 2 years ago


Mike: No, no. I didn't take it negatively at all. I was just recounting my thinking to be sure it was not flawed.

Mike and Raj: WRT to the bench rest, I do do the 60 minute rest after kneading that Tony suggests for the non-preferment recipe before putting it in the refrigerator. Is your suggestion that I let the dough rest before doing the kneading prior to placing it in the refrigerator? Just to be clear, that would be mix the dough, let it rest for 30-60 minutes, knead the dough, let the dough rest for 60 minutes in the vessel that will be used for refrigerating, then refrigerate for 24 hours. Is that correct? It is certainly no big issue to do that extra rest if that would be helpful.

Raj: WRT the difference between the 60% dough and the 65% dough that I just finished degassing and balling, the 60% had a greater tendency for the surface to delaminate/tear in small areas, presumably because it was not as moist as the 60%. Another observation is that perhaps because of the cold temperature of the doughs while balling, neither stuck to much to my hands.

Ken K.
posted over 2 years ago


I used Caputo "00" Pizzeria" (25 kg blue bag) and those could have been my pictures. I had to use the dough scraper to 'knead' the dough, because it was too wet to handle. I measured by weight on a iBalance i2600 scale, accurate to 1/10th gram. Altitude here is 168 ft above sea level.

Doug E.
posted about 2 years ago


I too have the issue with dough sticking to my hands. Thx for the tips

Gil W.
posted about 2 years ago


Sign In to reply to this post