Monday, April 02, 2007

Beth: Pizza crust 2

Just a quick note to talk about the 'wetness' of my crust. I've talked with a few folks about their experience and have come to a couple of conclusions.

First, I underestimated you all and I apologize for that. I had this really wet dough and thought I'd adjust it a bit for sane people. So I reduced the water from 1 3/4 cups to 1 1/2, tweaked the rest a bit and published it.

What a fool I am.

You all clearly are not sane! Anyone who doubts that can go read the comment thread on my first pizza post, down towards the end where the subject turns to pickles on pizza and sandwiches. Grilled pineapple sandwiches. That was just the beginning.

Also, I know my dough is wetter than what people describe, even with the decreased amount of water. I made several batches and it was pretty darned wet. Then I was talking to one of our breadies and it dawned on me.
I live in a fog valley at the edge of a rain forest.

Seriously, we get 120 inches of rain a year here in evenTinierTown. That's ten feet. Ten feet!

Why would this matter? Well, flour is absorbent and my air is wet. I'm guessing that this means my flour, thus my dough, is just wetter than most people's, even given the same measurements.

So for those of you who live in a drier climate - meaning everyone except Ariel the mermaid - feel free to add a bit of extra water (1/4 cup | 2 ounces | 56 grams) to get that fog valley effect. You may want to add a smidge of extra salt or swap olive oil instead of some of the additional water.

Then again, you may want pickles on your pizza...can't help you with that.

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Blogger Kevin said...

Another point, I weighed 2 cups of my bread flour (King Arthur) and it 272 grams, not 250. I wonder how the density of flour measures up against water, is moist flour heavier by volume of lighter?

4/02/2007 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dough for this pizza was drier than Kevin's pizza dough, but I have to say, it handled beautifully and made a good pizza. I will try it again with more water and maybe a little more olive oil, just to see the difference. I would like to try the whole wheat also because I like the nutty taste of the grain in combo with maybe the pesto and some cheese and olives.

Talking about the moist flour, wouldn't using flour that had been stored in the freezer, or put in the freezer to chill, make a difference? Looking forward to this weeks adventure in the kitchen. What's it going to be? Inquiring minds are anxious to be getting their supplies together. Or maybe some of us just want to get a head start. ha judyinktown

4/02/2007 5:39 PM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

Kevin, you're probably right about how moisture changes flour weight - since water weighs almost twice as much as flour (cup of water = 8 ounces, flour = 4.5-5 ounces)I'd think that a cup of wetter flour weighs more than a cup of drier flour.

Judy, as you can see, baking is eternally a work in progress. Being able to eat your experiments makes it fun. There's a whole wheat recipe here somewhere but it's not quite ready yet - and now I am tempted to give it to a beta tester. Wanna test it? Drop me a note and I'll send you an approximation...then we can balance my wet flour and your dry flour...

Not sure exactly what Susan is doing for her pizza, but at the moment she's out with the adorable lambs. (Have you seen her lambs? OMG are they ever cute! Kevin's been trying to get a "lambs love bread too" section here so we could have pictures!)

In theory this is all scientific but I say there's as much magic involved as anything else!

4/02/2007 6:16 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Actually I think I said something about lamb sandwiches.

4/02/2007 6:31 PM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

Yeah Kevin, but if you talk about making them into lunch, the little critters won't come play!

4/02/2007 6:39 PM  
Blogger oopsydeb said...

I'll add additional water when we make more dough up for the pizza tasting in a couple of weeks. This dough was a bit moister for us than Kevin's dough, but I added extra water the first time around, too. I should say that this dough felt wonderful under my hands. I don't know if it's because I'm new to this bread thing, but I still get amazed and excited about the feel of the yeasty dough. This one in particular had me all smiles while I was shaping it.

4/02/2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I made your dough Sunday. I measured by weight (not volume) and like several others ended up with a shaggy, dry dough -- not a slack dough. It's a good thing I did it by weight, though, because as I noted if I'd used volume I would have had even more flour in it. The lesson being -- never add all the flour at once. Work up to it.

Last night I made the pizza. I got a slight rise in the fridge, as expected.

The dough does handle nicely, although it took me about 30 minutes to get it stretched to size. However, mine usually takes about 15 minutes, so not a big deal.

Instead of sauce, I brushed the dough with olive oil, then added shredded fresh basil, sliced Nature Sweet tomatoes, caramelized onions, Kalimari olives, marinated artichoke hearts, and goat cheese. The pizza went in a 500F oven for 12 minutes.

Delicious. The dough has a lovely flavor and rose nicely in the oven. However, the base of the pizza had a hard cracker-like consistency, topped by bread. I'd anticipated this (and it probably would have been even more cracker-like if the dough had been moister), but I prefer a less-agressive bottom crust.

Nevertheless, for those who like a really crisp crust (and those who want to make pizza quickly) I highly recommend your dough.

4/03/2007 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and it's gorgeous! A little painful to look at too since I can't bake until next week. :) I'll definitely be back.

Ari (Baking and Books)

4/04/2007 11:54 AM  
Blogger Aarwenn said...

kitchenMage, I live in Seattle, and I know (almost) right where you are--and believe me, people, it is WET. It occurs to me that this crust, as your recipe stands, would have been perfect to make this winter--as November was Seattle's rainiest month EVER ON RECORD--but now that it's spring time, I'll have to add a lot more water! (Thank God I'm not in Sequim--I think I'd need more water than flour!)

Also, what is it about this area that draws out the pagan in people? Is it the weather? The mountains? The trees that are older than God?

4/05/2007 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I made the dough following the recipe exactly. The pizza was one of the best I've ever made. I'm glad I didn't make it until the water measurement was tweaked, because the dough was still kind of wet. Now all I have to do is get myself a pizza oven that goes up to 800 degrees and I'll be making perfect pizza. I'm thinking I'll try the pizza stone on the grill this summer.


4/05/2007 9:15 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Someone recently did an experiment with pizza doughs (I just looked, but can't find it) and found that a dough that's perfect in a 450F oven and one that is perfect in an 800F oven are different.

Not surprising. More isn;t always better. Sometimes different is.

4/05/2007 10:01 PM  
Blogger KitchenKiki said...

My dough was moist, but not wet. I added a little more water since I had seen this ahead of time.

Toppings for pizza 1 were caramelized onions & shallots, basil, asparagus & mixed Italian cheese.

Toppings for Pizza 2 were caramelized onions (Hubby loved them) & mushrooms with fresh mozzarella, basil & mixed Italian Cheese.

Both were yummy, it was too cold to grill so I didn't try that fiasco. I promise I will though.

Notes & pics will be on Kitchen Kiki shortly (hopefully tonight)

4/10/2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger KitchenKiki said...

PS to Beth
Does the refrigerator rise work for most bread recipes? How much have you experimented with it?

4/10/2007 8:45 PM  
Blogger chickaboom said...

I have been making pizza regularly for a while and was searching for that perfect dough. An old friend turned me on to this site when she heard about my quest. I'm a bit like Kevin - I try different things but forget to take notes or when i do, I lose them. I also vary the flour, sometimes used stone-milled organic, other times all-purpose or combination of the two. I have made two batches of dough for one meal (I have found that doubling dough recipes often doesn't work, so I make them separately) but not taken notes on what I do. I guess you can call me inconsistent but I kind of see it as winging it. I'm trying to learn how to improvise when conditions aren't perfect - that may mean not having the exact ingredients called for in the recipe or enough time- because that is the reality of my life.
Yesterday, after reading through Susan's, Beth's and Kevin's recipes, I decided to go with Kevin's dough. I like olive oil in my dough and like the balance offered by the honey/sugar. All the recipes called for instant yeast but i have the "traditional". I figured I'd proof the yeast, then add the honey and oil.
I also used half org. whole wheat bread flour and half org. a.p. flour. I mixed that up in a food processor (cuz that's all i got) added the liquid ingredients and then mixed a bit and added the sugar (thinking about Kevin's warning that salt kills yeast.) I kneaded that in the processor for a few minutes and followed the rest of the recipe (ok, except for rising time - i shortened it to about an hour). I used the parchment paper tip - duh, why did i never figure that one out - for one pizza and cooked that on my stone. True to my inconsistent ways , I cooked my second pizza on my gorgeous handmade (by me) ceramic pizza pan that i forgot to heat in the oven and that I greased with some olive oil to season and sprinkled cornmeal on. So I guess you can say I had two techniques at work.
The results? I have never had such a gorgeous pizza as the one I slid on the hot pizza stone with parchment paper. The taste was nutty with a hint of sweetness and it was crunchy on the outside and toothy on the inside. The bottom crust was beautiful since I cooked it on the bottom shelf of my oven, something that I never knew to do before (why hadn't I figured that out?!)
The pizza that I made in my pan was a hit but needed a little help. The crust was browning on top but the cheese wasn't browned. I took that one out and let it cook a bit and slid it back in for a few minutes on a lower temp (450 rather than 500). The results were amazing.
I have to share the photos of these pizzas - they truly are something.
I'll figure that out later.
Thanks to all of you for your recipes and info. I'm finally beginning to understand the chemistry behind making dough. My next challenge is to make a cornmeal crust. Any interest in doing some testing?

4/28/2007 8:26 AM  

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