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Problems using starter to make pizza dough with 00 flour

Slaterbet's picture
Slaterbet

Problems using starter to make pizza dough with 00 flour

Hello, I'm new to this forum, I hope someone can help. I've been making bread few times a week using my starter for several years. The loaf I make is roughly 80/20 white bread flour/wholemeal+rye, about 67% hydration I think. I broadly follow the Tartine Bakery 'country loaf' technique ie no proper kneading but folding the dough every 30-40 minutes over 4 hours, shape and prove in fridge overnight, then bake in a dutch oven - and I get pretty good results (despite having a pretty cold kitchen for the initial proof).

I've recently tried using my starter to make pizza dough with 00 flour, and this is much more problematic. I've tried various approaches ie kneading in a machine vs folding as above, and hydration btn 70% and 80%.  But whatever I do the dough looks flat and lacking structure after bulk fermentation - having been left for various periods btn around 8 and 24hours. I've then tried shaping this and cold proofing for btn 24 and 48 hrs in the fridge, but the resulting pizza dough 'balls' are invariably flat and produce an edible, but pretty underwhelming, flat pizza. 

I'd welcome any thoughts on what I might be getting wrong. A friend makes great pizza using a starter I gave her - and her pizza is perfect IMHO - produces a bubbly, chewey, tasty neopolitan pizza. I have tried replicating her exact steps eg same flour/hydration/kneading technique, but to no avail (and we use the same pizza oven). The main difference is temperature ie my kitchen is much cooler than hers (currently about 16degrees c - in June... sheesh!). I'm assuming the problem is insufficient gluten development - but I'm not sure what I need to change to address this... maybe needs even longer for bulk fermentation that I"m assuming for a cold kitchen (even if this isn't a problem when using strong bread flour...?)

(apologies for the lengthy post)

Tom

tpassin's picture
tpassin

A few years ago Milk Street magazine (Chris Kimble's most recent cooking endeavor) ran an article that might apply.  They were getting lackluster pizzas too.  One of their staffers found that if they made sure the dough was at or above 75 deg F when they made the pizza, they got excellent results - good rising, good cavities, the whole works.

You say your kitchen is cool, so maybe this is the answer.

TomP

fredsbread's picture
fredsbread

There is some controversy on the nature of 00 flour, so I could be mistaken in my understanding, but I don't think traditional Neapolitan pizza is supposed to be made with such high hydration. For example, Caputo's recipes for pizza dough list hydrations between 63% and 65%.

tpassin's picture
tpassin

The thing is that the OP is using the same recipe and (apparently) the same techniques as the friend but getting different results.  So the flour, 00 or otherwise, seems not the be the crux of the matter.

fredsbread's picture
fredsbread

That may be the case, but the symptoms start with the dough being very slack at the end of bulk fermentation, which would not be expected from a colder room temperature (apparently the only difference in technique). If your dough is slack and lacks structure, and you're using 70-80% hydration with 00 flour, my first recommendation would be to reduce the hydration to 60-65%, regardless of the friend's success with that hydration.

tpassin's picture
tpassin

Here is a link to an old but very informative (and very long) post on making pizza.  The poster has spent many years mastering the process and seems to have learned what is important and what is not.  Although it's oriented to pizzas cooked very quickly in a very hot oven, I think there is a lot to learn from it:

https://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

Here's something he says about flour:

If you use Caputo or any 00 flour, you may find that it takes a lot more flour for the given amount of water. Probably a baker's % of 60% or so. One reason I like to feel the dough rather than strictly measure the percent hydration is that with feel you don't have to worry about the type of flour so much. A Caputo and a Bread will feel the same when they are done, even though one might have 60% water and the other 65%. It's the feel that I shoot for, not the number.  I vary wetness based on my heat - higher the oven temp, the wetter I want the dough.

 

TwistingSister's picture
TwistingSister

This is another thing he says (in the article):
"The 00 has a finer mill and also it will absorb much less water than the other flours. The 00 flour really is quite different than the others. If you are baking at under 750F, you should really not use 00. It will never brown and you'll have much more luck with another flour."

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

You must also be on the wet coast, it's been a *cold* spring.  Try putting your dough to proof in the oven with the light on.  It will be slightly warmer. I gave up on 00 flour for pizza, it doesn't seem to add anything to the party for me, and working with AP flour seems to work better.  Ken Forkish's book Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast has a really good sourdough pizza crust recipe that works great for me every time if you want to try something different. Happy Baking!