in the following, I would like to share my experiences and findings also regarding claims such as
"It's all about great typo 00 Italian flour if you want great handling dough and Pizzas that taste great (Neapolitana/Classic Italian)"
bc In my experience, it is not.
A couple months ago, I bought the Pizza Bible bc I believed there was a secret for great tasting pizzas and easily handling doughs out there somewhere which I had not yet discovered. It had to be bc I was not satsified with the stress involved in opening a Pizza and getting it into the oven fully loaded without the pie sticking to the peel or taking too much dusting flour-semolina mix into the oven and, in the process, activating all of our Smog detectors.
So, I used Tony's excellent book to dive into the subject and watched all of his Videos I could find on YouTube. There it was: a dough ball, so silky soft but still taut in shape. A dough ball that one could easily lift without it disappearing through ones fingers and that opened without hassles PLUS did not stick to the peel once the sauce was on it.
I set my goal to producing this kind of dough myself.
What did I find out?
1) as Tony points out over and over, use a high protein flour bc the gluten network enables you to create thin pies without tearing.
2) Follow the instructions in the recipe with regards to which ingredient comes when (there's a reason why oil comes last and salt and yeast should not be added together)
3) Do your stretch and folds because this aligns your gluten molecules and helps building a stronger Matrix
4) Give your dough some time to build flavor (over night cold fermentation at least)
5) Watch the temperature of your dough balls when attempting to open the dough (I found that once your temp goes above 70°F, it becomes much stickier and harder to tame)
..., I headed out and started to do my experimentation with local flour that has 14% Protein.
I did manage to find out above key Points led to an easier to handle dough which also tasted great (I'm using an oven at 752 top heat and 572 degrees bottom heat, btime 2-3 minutes).
Last week, I received 25kg of Caputo Blue flour and made a new Batch of master dough right away (36h bulk cold ferm. and 12h balled cold fermentation). I baked it at 752 d top and bottom heat and was flat out disappointed:
- the taste was nowhere near my previous pies - no structure or simply put, hardly any taste at all
- the texture was chewy
- balling the dough was much harder due to dough remnants sticking to my Hands (which was no longer the case with my local flour)
--> however, the dough came out much silkier after the initial mixing process - but this might have to do with the fact that Italian typo 00 flour is their finest milled flour.
Conclusion (at this Point):
It is not so much about special brand flours but much more about the technique carried out when making the dough while sticking to some basic rules.
So, learn the basic rules, practice them and then start experimenting and adjust to you own taste :)
I will, however, give Caputo flour another chance (of size 24.6kg :p)
Do you guys agree with my findings and if not, what did you find out?
I'd be curious to know more :)