The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bland pizza dough -- what gives?

Urchina's picture
Urchina

Bland pizza dough -- what gives?

Tonight's dinner was homemade pizza. I put my regular dough recipe away in favor of trying an overnight, slow-fermented pizza dough. We ended up with a pizza dough that was crispy on the bottom, chewy and pillowy up top, but so unbelievably bland. This was even more surprising considering the long, cold ferentation (24 hours in the fridge). The recipe is as follows: 


 


20 oz KAF Bread flour


~ 2 cups water


4 t active dry yeast


2 T olive oil


3.5 t salt


The flour and 1.5 c water are mixed and autolyzed for 20 minutes while the yeast is dissolved in the rest of the water. After the autolyse, the yeast, oil and salt are mixed in and the dough is kneaded (KA mixer 2) for 5-6 minutes. The very wet, sticky dough is then put in a large oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and popped in the fridge for 24 hours. 


To make the pizza, the dough is set at room temp for an hour or so, then turned out, divided into two, and stretched into a 14" round. Topped, then baked at 450 for 15 minutes. 


 


The flavor of the crust was less bread-y than the quicker crusts I make on the same day, although the texture was better. Any ideas for boosting flavor in this type of dough? Thanks!


 

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

560g of flour, and you're using 4t of yeast?  Usually with an overnight fermentation you would use far less yeast, say maybe 1t or 1.5t.  


 


Search for Peter Reinharts Breadbakers Apprentice recipe, it is very good and employs an overnight fermentation.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

i use an imported tipo 00 flour for my pizzas and the miller recommends a *minimum* of 7.5 hours of fermentation. generally, i ferment in my wine cooler at least overnight, and more often somewhere around 20-24 hours, using the equivalent of 1/4% of instant yeast.

also, 80% hydration, plus oil, is excessively slack. the official regulations for Pizza Napoletana specify 55-60% water and no oil. i used to hydrate 65% with another 10% of extra-virgin olive oil thrown in. i've since lowered my hydration to 58% and cut out the oil entirely.

my daughter, who just got back from 14 months in Milan, told me that my crust is the equal of anything she ate in Italy.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

staho88's picture
staho88

Stan,


Do you bake your pizza (with the tipo) in a high heat or wood fired oven?  I have heard that tipo flour won't get that nice browned crust in the typical oven of a home baker (which tends to top out at 500-550 degrees fahrenheit), though I have never tried it myself.


Dave.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

hi Dave,

i bake mine in a 15 year old GE Profile electric wall oven with two 5/8" thick cordierite stones -- lowermost and uppermost shelves. i preheat at 550 for around 90 minutes and then turn the broiler on high for 10-15 minutes to heat the top stone more, since it's further from the bake (lower) element. first pizza goes on top shelf, second one (after the first has baked) on bottom. bake time is usually 5-7 minutes, with one turn at 3-4 min.

i get really nice browning of both the bottom and edge; in fact, i gauge the pizza's doneness by its edge color, which needs to show mid to dark brown in spots.

i think the trick here is to recognize that home ovens lose heat at a horrendously fast rate -- 30-40 degrees every time the door opens -- and that home oven thermostats often don't reset to show actual temp. to remedy that, i turn off the oven and restart it every time i open the door, which gives me the reheating i need to maintain temp.

Stan

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

I use a temp gun to determine the temperatues of my stone before baking. 


I'm unsure if you really need 90 minutes of preheating really.  Using the temp gun makes it much easier for me to decide when to throw in the pizza.  Also I can use it when I build my wood fired oven in the backyard.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Reinhart's Neo-neopolitan pizza dough from Artisan Breads Every Day has 0.44% yeast, i.e. 1 tsp per 24 oz flour for an overnight dough. The OP's amount is more than quadruple this. Perhaps the huge amount of yeast means the sugars are too depleted, resulting in poor browning and poor flavor?  Why not try again with only 1 t yeast?

Urchina's picture
Urchina

I just picked a random recipe out of Cooking Light (I know, I know, when there are so many excellent ones here, why? the answer is, i was hungry and it looked good). I can easily try another recipe. But I was more curious as to why the crust was so incredibly bland. Was it because I used bread flour instead of AP flour? Was it due (as Dragonbones suggested) to the large amount of yeast using up the available sugar in the dough? I was particularly surprised because in my experience the overnight fermentation makes for a more flavorful bread, not usually a less-flavorful one. But in this case....  


 


Any other ideas on the bread chemistry would be welcome. Thanks!

rayel's picture
rayel

I like Dragonbones explanation, But i feel the flavor also might have been


drowned out by the yeast's overbearing presence.   Ray