The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Low hydration whole wheat pizza dough

BreadBiff's picture
BreadBiff

Low hydration whole wheat pizza dough

I need some help here.


I have a yeasted, whole grain pizza dough that is now in the bulk ferment (overnight in the fridge) and even after a few stretch and folds and some intial slap and fold (Bertinet's method) the dough seems to want to tear and is not strecthing well. (I added vital wheat gluten that has vitamn c) My question is: can add hydration tot he dough at this point? Also, will it help at this point?


The recipe is adapted from FloydM's pizza primer post.


Who knows? Maybe the pizza will actually come out just fine. The yeast action seems to be going just fine.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.


BiffBread

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

If you try to add water at this point, you will wind up destroying the structure of the dough.  When it comes time for shaping, handle the dough gently.  Stretch it as far as it will go without tearing, cover with a moist towel for 5-10 minutes to let the dough relax, then stretch to the desired size.  You may need to give it a second relaxation if it is still resistant to shaping.


Or, maybe you could make bagels with it, instead of pizza!


For the next batch, leave the vital wheat gluten out and bump up the hydration.  You want a pizza dough to accept stretching and shaping (bakers use the word extensible), rather than snapping back like a rubber band.  The additional gluten intensifies the rubber band characteristic.  If the dough seems a bit tight after mixing and the first kneading, you can work in additional water at that point; maybe a tablespoon at a time.  It will be messy to get the water thoroughly distributed in the dough but it will eventually come together.  Once the dough is a supple as you wish, then start the bulk fermentation.


Enjoy your pizzas!


Paul

BreadBiff's picture
BreadBiff

I actually did leave it alone and after the overnight ferment in the fridge, the dough was somewhat extensible (not too bad considering that it seemed pretty tough to begin with). I guess the ferment broke things down a bit.


As for the pizza - all I can say is: WOW!!!! My family and I loved it!!! This is an awsome recipe! The bottom was crunchy (I used a prehaeted stone) and the inside was a chewy/soft and the crumb was awsome!(nice bubbles and big ones too and this was for whole wheat flour!)


In general, I presume that you would not reccomend using vital wheat gluten for whole wheat due to the rubbe band effect that you mentioned - correct? If so, is there a way to use lower hydration and still get good gluten development? I had trouble last week with a high hydration dough in trying to score the boules before they went in to the oven....


Best regards.


BreadBiff

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

and now I wonder why.  Don't get me wrong, if all a baker has is very weak flours, some VWG can be a god-send.  That's especially true if when trying to make something like bagels and no high-gluten flour is available.  Similarly, if s/he wants a high-percentage rye dough to exhibit some wheat-dough characteristics, VWG can be a useful thing.  


For most breads, additional gluten isn't really necessary.  To maximize gluten development in a dough, there are several techniques a baker can use.  One of those is autolyse, in which the most of the flour is mixed with the liquid and allowed to stand for some period of time; typically in the 30-60 minute range although there's nothing sacred about that timespan.  Another is the use of stretch and folds during the bulk fermentation.  Both of those have been discussed extensively here, so I'll let you use the Search tool for those topics.  You'll find those and a lot more as you go looking.


Shaping technique has a lot to do with a dough's ability to hold its final form.  A well-shaped dough will spread less (notice I didn't say that it won't spread some) than a poorly-shaped dough because a good shaping technique stretches the outer skin of the loaf and that provides structure.  You can also let the shaped loaves rise with support (bannetons, brotforms, couches, etc.) which will help them to maintain their shape during the final fermentation.


Finally, slashing technique is important, as is a sharp blade.  Sounds hard to believe, but the slashes can actually direct the bread's final shape during baking.


Do some searches on shaping and slashing.  You'll get a wealth of information.  There are also some very helpful videos that will demonstrate some of the techniques that I have mentioned.  And don't forget to read the handbook (click the link at the top of the page) for rafts of information on these and other topics.


Paul

BreadBiff's picture
BreadBiff

Paul!


I have been using those techniques and I will do more searching - I have read extensivley (on this site) about all of what you have mentioned. (This site is a tremendous resource and most of all extremely civil!!)


Thanks for all of your help - Ireally appreciate it!


BiffBread