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Pizza dough hydration levels

noboundaries

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Pizza is probably on a par with smoking for obsession and chasing perfection. I've been making homemade pizzas for decades, and STILL chase perfection.

I love a sourdough tasting crust, but don't use a sourdough starter. Biga (50% water by weight to flour weight) and poolish (1 to 1 water to flour by weight) fermented on the counter overnight gives me the flavor start I enjoy. Adding the rest of the ingredients and cold fermenting in the fridge for 2-5 days completes the process.

Now I'm experimenting with total hydration. Some folks believe a dough between 60-70% hydration is best. I'm in the 80% range. Gives a crisp bottom, nice crust rise, and a tender crust interior.

I learned that most AP flours in the US are ground to 00 level, but the type of wheat used makes a HUGE difference in elasticity. 00 Caputo, the gold standard for pizza dough, runs 12 to 12.5% protein. Most AP flours run 8.5 to 10%. King ARTHUR AP runs 11.7%. Their bread flour runs 12.7%. I've been mixing 1 part KA bread flour to 2 parts KA AP and have been VERY happy with the results. 1 to 1 works well, too, as long as it isn't kneaded too long (it gets tough).

I finally got my hands on some semolina flour for final prep of the dough and the peel. First pizza tonight got a little stuck on the peel because I forgot to dust the peel with semolina before sliding the rounded dough on it. I called that pizza my Cosmic Comet pizza.

The second one slipped right off perfectly. I have finally learned how to use my peel!

BTW, I brushed the Comet pizza crust with EVOO after a 5 minute parbake. I did not brush the second one to see what difference it made. The EVOO brushed crust was browner and crispier.

The Cosmic Comet pizza.
20201219_152557.jpg


The Peel Slider Pizza!
20201219_152631.jpg
 

chopsaw

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Looks great . I'm addicted to it myself .
I learned that most AP flours in the US are ground to 00 level,
That's interesting . I'm not disagreeing with you , and only comment because I made pasta last week with a 50 / 50 mix of KA 00 and KA AP . Even after whisking together I could still see the difference in texture between the 2 . Maybe there is something I don't understand .
 

noboundaries

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My latest pizza dough recipe.

Makes enough for two pizzas.

80% Hydration Poolish Fermented Pizza Dough

I created this recipe by modifying my biga pizza dough. A biga is a 1 to .5 flour to water, kinda dryish fermented starter. A poolish is a 1 to 1 flour to water fermented starter.

1st result: Fantastic! Crisp outside, tender inside. KA flour is the ONLY flour to use. Great taste even with only 2 days cold fermentation. Difficulty in peeling the dough is due to excessive hydration and wrong transport flour (need semolina).

Ingredients
295 gr (1 ¼ cups) room temp water, divided.
2 gr (½ tsp) active dry yeast
2 gr (½ tsp) granulated sugar
1 ½ cups (180 gr) King Arthur bread flour.
1 ½ cups (180gr) King Arthur AP flour.
12 gr (1 ½ tsp) fine sea salt
Olive oil or spray oil to coat when fermenting.

Directions
About 7-10 PM, dissolve yeast and sugar in 120-125 gr. room temp water.
Add to 1 cup AP flour (120 gr) in a bowl and stir to mix. Will form a soupy dough, and this is the poolish. Cover with cling wrap and rest overnight on the counter.
The next morning add the remaining ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon to form a ragged dough.
Turn out onto a board and knead with wet hands until a smooth and supple ball forms. Add flour as necessary, but do not over-flour.
Divide in half, coat with olive oil, place in a covered container, and let ferment for 1 to 5 days in the refrigerator. (Gets funky beyond 7 days).
Remove from fridge 1-2 hours before needed.
Note: Can accelerate the cold fermentation to 36-48 hours by fermenting in a 45-50F area.
 
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noboundaries

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Looks great . I'm addicted to it myself .

That's interesting . I'm not disagreeing with you , and only comment because I made pasta last week with a 50 / 50 mix of KA 00 and KA AP . Even after whisking together I could still see the difference in texture between the 2 . Maybe there is something I don't understand .
You're right, Chop. It was something I read while researching flours. Could be the difference in the wheat used. Caputo 00 used red wheat. Most AP flours in the US use durum wheat. I can't find the KA 00 in my area. Hate going to Wally World this time of year. They might carry it.
 

chopsaw

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Yeah . I should have added it showed up after whisking then sitting a bit . Gonna look over your dough recipe thanks .
 

Jimbo9414

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I’ve found lots of great recipes and advice on a forum called pizzamaking,com...check it out. I agree, on your flour choice, KA has the best flour in the US. When I built my wood burning oven I tried some imported 00 flour with awesome results, but you need to have high temps when working with 00 so I’ve been told.....your pizza looks awesome, enjoy!
 

noboundaries

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Thanks Jimbo. KA uses hard red wheat like the Caputo 00. Has great elasticity.

I do the majority of my pizzas on a ceramic stone in my 550F kitchen oven. 8-10 minute bake time. Tried par baking the dough with just the sauce tonight for 4 minutes, then adding the cheese, onions, and sausage. That worked nicely.

I have a Weber Kettle pizza oven attachment and a cast iron stone for the grill. The Weber will hit 700+F. The peel has been my nemesis, though. Always ended up with calzones. Had to cheat with parchment paper. Semolina as a transport only flour changed that tonight (dropped the fermented dough ball in a bowl of semolina, coated both sides. Then shape and stretch. Splash a little semolina on the peel. Load the pizza dough).

Will probably fire up the Weber for pizza around New Years.
 
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forktender

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"I learned that most AP flours in the US are ground to 00 level " Not true.
Central Milling Company makes custom blends of flour that blow away Caputo's flours. The whole Italian imported is better than we produce in custom mills is complete nonsense. The same goes for imported tomatoes and olive oils ours are just as good or better.
 

chef jimmyj

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The pizza and Dough Recipe, look and sound great...

The same goes for imported tomatoes and olive oils ours are just as good or better.
I have to agree here. I love the flavor of Cento San Marsano Tomatoes. But AMERICAN Red Pack Tomatoes, are just as good and half the price. Hit some Pizza Shops in South Philly. There are cans of Red Pack Tomato Puree, lining the selves...JJ
 

noboundaries

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Yep, it's pretty sticky. I've tried the 60 to 70% level fermented dough, but they lacked the flavor I like. The only special handling was the semolina treatment I mentioned above. I also did not scrape the cold fermented dough out of their containers. I just took the top off the container, turned it upside down in the bowl with the semolina, and let it drop free. Took less than a minute. Flipped the dough in the semolina a couple of times, then worked with my fingertips to shape and hands to stretch.

The crust brushed with the olive oil was smoother than the one not brushed. The one not brushed had a bit of a sandy feel to it.

I'll have to find the 00 treatment reference. It was the Internet, after all.
 

noboundaries

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I have to agree here. I love the flavor of Cento San Marsano Tomatoes. But AMERICAN Red Pack Tomatoes, are just as good and half the price. Hit some Pizza Shops in South Philly. There are cans of Red Pack Tomato Puree, lining the selves...JJ
Sauce is a WHOLE 'nuther thread. Pizza dough is contentious enough, but sauce? That's like who has the best bbq discussion. I've tried all kinds of canned tomatoes from true San Marsano to cheap store brands. I like a cooked, seasoned, and garlic-forward sauce, rested overnight in the fridge, which is verboten in purist sauce circles.
 

chef jimmyj

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I think a good Dough sets the stage for the performance to come. Beyond that? It's your taste, your choice. I've used Francesca Rinaldi, right from the Jar. Well balanced seasoning, a little on the sweet side. I've used Red Pack Tomato Puree, with just a touch of S & P, Granulated Garlic and a little Oregano. That also was a good sauce. Probably the most heretical, I topped Pizza with leftover Pork Sauce, a thick ,meat heavy sauce of shredded Pork Butt in a long cook Red Gravy. My family Loved that one!

I'm not big on following some, measured to the Gram Pizza Sauce, a bunch of Guys on a Pizza Forum INSIST is the Only way to go or you are an Idiot and Not Making a Proper Pizza!
I grew up in NJ, where Italian Immigrants, moving from NYC to the Suburbs, post WWII, often opened Pizza Shops. There were 6 in my town and 5 in the next town over, where my Wife grew up. Border to border, 11 Pizza Shops in 15 Square Miles! Every One had a slightly different Sauce and Crust. All good, some Awesome! However, they All used the Same Cheese, from ROMA FOODS, the (Allegedly, Mob owned😉😉) distributor of Fine Italian Ingredients...JJ
 

Brokenhandle

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Your pizzas look amazing! No matter what shape or form they're in. Thanks for sharing this info and explaining it. I never see KA flour around here, at least not close. Looks like I need to make more pizzas!

Ryan
 

noboundaries

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I hear you , JJ. I grew up on my Italian grandmother's square pizzas made in baking sheets. She used her bread dough and Sunday sauce thickened with little tomato paste. Garlic, onions, cheese, anchovies, and homemade sausage were the toppings. Never cared for the anchovies, but the rest are still my favorite toppings. .

There were no measurements in her recipes except a 5 lb bag of flour. The yeast, salt, and water were eyeball and hand calibrated. No machines, either.
 

chef jimmyj

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There were no measurements in her recipes except a 5 lb bag of flour. The yeast, salt, and water were eyeball and hand calibrated. No machines, either.
Lol. My Grandma, was 5 feet tall, 200 lbs, and had such STRONG Hands and Arms from Kneading Bread and Pasta Dough, that she could knock this Chubby, 100 lb 10 year old, to the Floor with a quick Backhand...
Learned that lesson being Sassy in '72...JJ😆
 

noboundaries

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Mine and yours must have been sisters. My grandma was a an inch shorter, built like a fire hydrant, and she knew how to clear kids from the kitchen. She had false teeth. When you were in the way, she'd raise monster hands, bend over and push out her false teeth while fiercely growling. Screaming kids SHOT out of the kitchen.
 

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