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Pizza dough trouble, best bet to salvage?

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mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

Pizza dough trouble, best bet to salvage?

So late last night before bed, I threw together Floyd's pizza dough http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/pizza, using 00 pizza flour.  Had initially planned to do Forkish's IY dough from FWSY (weight based) but realized too late that I should have started that schedule after dinner instead of just before bed, so switched to Floyd's because that's what fit my schedule now. 

Followed Floyd's directions as written (other than halving the recipe), using room temp water and mixed with a Danish dough whisk in a bowl.  Kept a little of the water in reserve for adjustments, but did end up using it all (1 cup for 2.5 cup flour).  Dough came together nicely initially, good ball staying together and coming away from side of bowl.  If anything I thought it might be a little dry, while a little sticky you probably could have kneaded it by hand.  Fine by me if it's a little easier to handle... 

So for initial mix, 5 min rest, and first 3 min of second mix (all by hand with dough whisk) everything seemed fine.  Good shaggy dough ball staying together, good gluten stretch and resistance.  Really didn't seem too wet.  Should have quit there.  At about 4 min the dough suddenly started to lose its shape and strength and turn into a slack gluey blob.  Crap.  Stopped mixing, briefly debated adding flour but decided against it, thinking the hydration had seemed okay so it was probably something else going on with the gluten development.  With some difficulty divided it in two and managed to get it into oiled bags and into the fridge.  Definitely more blob at this point than dough "ball", lol. 

This morning, no evidence of any rise in the fridge overnight at all.  Now, per Floyd's instructions the yeast really doesn't have a ton of chance to get going before it's put in the fridge, so maybe all the action is intended for the proof when it comes out of the fridge later anyway, I don't know.   Doesn't seem to have much fermentation going on to develop flavour right now though. 

I will probably give it at least a good two hours to warm up and proof before attempting to make pizza tonight, and coat the blob well with flour for attempted shaping, and use parchment for transfer.  Wondering if there's anything else I should try at this point to give it more strength or get fermentation going.  Let it warm up a bit now and pop it back in the fridge later?  Take it out and let it ferment at room temp for the day?  Try some S&F to strengthen up the gluten?   It's been in the fridge ~9 hours at this point and I would hope to have pizza going in the oven about 8 hours from now. 

Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated!

 

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

You are working the dough by hand, not in a machine? It's really hard to overwork dough by hand, so I'm hesitant to believe you've mixed it to overdevelopment with less than 10 minutes of kneading, even with a little rest in between, unless your flour has some really weird properties...oh. Have you used flour from this exact bag before? If so, how has it behaved?

Can you tell me more about the current texture of your dough? If you tug on a piece of it, does it stretch and break a bunch? Does it snap back easily, or stay stretched out (elasticity vs. extensibility)? Can you windowpane it, or get close?

When you poke it, does it spring back quickly and easily or hold a fingerprint at all? It's likely there hasn't been a lot of yeast action, but it seems unlikely there'd be none.

You may want to dissolve a little yeast into some water and work it into the dough (and then maybe a little extra flour, too). A little time on a counter might be a good idea to help the yeast, although with pizza dough, I think the gluten is more important that the leavening.

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

No machine, mixed with a Danish dough whisk by hand.   I too had a hard time believing it would be overdone in such a short time. 

I have not used this bag or type of flour before.  It's imported Italian 00 pizza flour I picked up for the first time last week to try.  It's Molino Soncini Cesare brand, the bag is labelled pizza and says 'flour type 00 of soft wheat'.  Nutrition info indicates 5 g protein/30g flour (16%?? - can that be right with soft wheat?).   It has a production date of July 2013 and listed expiry date of May 2014 (now) which I posted to ask about last week (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/38329/pizza-flour-00-too-old) - maybe it's age is the problem?  

Since I first posted, I took it out of the fridge (there was no spring after a poke then) and put it in a cool room (~14C) for an hour - got some bubbles showing up and have now put it back in the fridge.   Just before I put it back in, a poke sprang back quickly - now that it's cooled off a bit again a poke holds the fingerprint.  Right now it stretches but does not break easily, and snaps back slowly, so I would say good extensibility and middling elasticity.  Not keen to take it out of the bag to try windowpane.  When I first took it out of the fridge earlier, there was a little blob of drier dough on top that I had scraped from the bowl and thrown on top in the bag last night that hadn't been swallowed up, so I pinched it into the dough - the pinch has stayed visible.  I think the gluten is probably there and the short warm up seems to have woken up the yeast - to me it seems like a high hydration dough that could use some S&F to tighten it up if it were a bread dough now, so maybe it's just a hydration issue after all?   Main dilemma now is do I do some S&F and try to shape into a ball now with some flour before proofing later or just leave it be for now and try to shape with some flour either before or after proofing later?.

Thanks for your help!

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

So in the absence of other advice, left this in the fridge as a blob in oiled bag until taking it out two hours before baking.  Let it proof at room temp in its oiled bag.  Turned it out into pile of the 00 flour to coat both sides, shaped into a round.  It was SUPER extensible but not very elastic at this point, stretched like crazy (too easily) and simply from trying to lift the (not sticking) dough to transfer it to parchment, it ended up twice as long as wide (and VERY thin), so I doubled it over while placing it on the parchment to return it to a reasonable size, and re-shaped the crust a bit.  Topped it lightly as you would for thin crust, and slid the topped pizza on parchment onto preheated (550F) stone on bottom shelf in oven.  Slipped out the parchment after 2 or 3 min, and baked at 550F for a total of 7 min.  Surprisingly, it turned out fantastic!   Great thin crust bottom, perfect amount of patchy browning on the bottom.  Thin and crisp with the perfect amount of chew, supported the toppings well.  No apparent adverse effect on the bottom from having doubled over the stretched dough (I was afraid it would split into two layers, but it didn't).  Only adverse effect was the cornicone ended up with a more close crumb because of the doubling and extra crust shaping to bring it back together.  Some big holes in the cornicone though, and great pizzeria crust taste, soft and a little chewy on the inside and just crisp enough on the outside. 

A lucky break, and overall, not a bad first experiment.  If I had it to do again I would quit the second mix a little earlier, hopefully before it turned into the blob! 

Curious if anyone has thoughts on what happened?  Ultimately, I really don't think it was too wet, given the initial dough consistency, but I could be wrong.  Starch degradation/excess amylase activity due to the old flour?  What would that look like?  Did I overproof it in the end by having it out 2 hours before baking?  Should I have given it some folds to strengthen the dough, which I had pondered but never did do?    Any ideas?

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Sorry I didn't catch your response earlier! But I'm glad to hear it worked out for you. :)

Seems as though you've got an interesting flour on your hands. Sounds like you just baked the one piece of dough - I'm curious about how a second one would've turned out without the doubling over.

If it were excessive starch damage and amylase activity, I think there would've been a faster fermentation from all the extra sugar, and maybe a stickier dough (also a darker coloring, from all that sugar, but we don't have a control group for this). So I wouldn't put that at the top of the list, but it might be some part of the problem.

Truth be told, I don't think we'll be able to determine exactly what's going on with this flour without sending it to a lab. But now we still know more about it than before, and we can try to use what we do know to make even better pizza next time.

Trust your instinct on when to stop kneading; if it really is a soft wheat, it will need less kneading, especially with the longer fermentation. Maybe less intensive mixing and a couple of gentle folds would be better.

You could even consider adding a small amount of higher protein flour to improve the elasticity, maybe 10-25% of some bread flour or KAF's all purpose (which is nearly bread flour).

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

Your earlier advice was much appreciated :-)   Perhaps it's just a softer wheat than I'm used to.

Definitely not fast fermentation, and not any extra browning.

I did bake both pizzas - after the first stretched sooo much I was much more conservative in initial stretching of the second, hoping to end with a single dough layer, but it still stretched so much when I lifted it to transfer to parchment that it had to be doubled over like the first.  The whole thing was a windowpane, lol.  Even doubled it made a nice thin crust.

Will try Forkish's recipe with a longer initial room temp bulk rise and a few folds before going in the fridge next time and see if it behaves any better.  If not then I'll try subbing some stronger flour.    

It was yummy anyway!    Thanks for helping :-)