Dough Doctor: Dough balling, yeast and crust color

dough rounding, dough balls, dough management

Q: What is the best way to determine if my dough has been correctly mixed?

A: While I don’t think there is a level of dough/ gluten development that is correct for all pizza doughs, I do think that for the vast majority of pizzeria operators mixing the dough just until it takes on a smooth, satiny appearance is sufficient. Mixing longer than this can make for a dough consistency that is more difficult to round/ball, and at the same time is harder on your mixer too. Some of the more notable exceptions to this are when frozen dough –– or emergency doughs –– is made. Frozen doughs exhibit improved tolerance to freezing and frozen shelf life if given complete gluten development in the mixing bowl. Emergency doughs, on the other hand, are mixed and used all within a very short period of time, as opposed to our regular doughs. They will typically exhibit improved performance characteristics (form easier, rise in the oven better, and exhibit reduced bubbling during baking) if mixed to about 75 percent of full gluten development. Another way to look at achieving this level of gluten development is to mix these doughs about 50 percent longer than you mix your regular pizza doughs, assuming you’re using a refrigerated dough management procedure. or, just mix the dough until it has a smooth, satiny appearance and refrigerated dough management process. package directions, it will get thoroughly distributed throughout the entire dough then mix it about 50-percent more. This will get you reasonably close to where you want to be. The reason why these doughs are given more development in the mixer than other doughs is because they will not be exposed to the normal

Q: I’ve heard that I shouldn’t dissolve instant dry yeast in the water before I add it to the dough, but does it really get mixed in if I don’t?

A: I know old habits are hard to break, mass and it will be properly hydrated for peak performance so long as your total dough mixing time is five minutes or longer. by prehydrating the yeast, you may actually be doing it more harm than good. This is because the yeast has biochemical gluten development that we but rest assured, by adding the instant dry been specifically engineered to beadded get with doughs that are subjected to the yeast (IDY) to the flour as directed in the in this manner. When added directly to the water there is a probability that some of the vital amino acids within the yeast cells will be flushed out, resulting in lessened yeast activity and possible inconsistencies in dough feel due to the presence of glutathione, one of the amino acids flushed out of the yeast cells. glutathione acts essentially the same way that L-cysteine (the active ingredient in PZ-44) does, so doughs may become softer, and not hold up as well during long-term refrigerated storage. If you’re looking for this type of effect, like L-cysteine, it’s available in a commercial form sold as “dead yeast.”

Q: We like the quality of bake that we get on our pizzas, but we would like to get a little more crust color without affecting the bake or flavor of the finished crust.

A: The typical reaction to getting what you want to achieve –– either a longer bake, or a hotter bake, or adding sugar to the dough formulation –– will potentially influence either the textural properties or the flavor of the finished crust, so we will assume that some other action must be taken. In this case, we have a couple of options. one is to simply brush the edges of the crust with oil. This will improve the edge color, but it will not influence the bottom crust color. If the edge color is what you’re looking for, this is a good way to get the improvement you’re looking for. The other way is to add dried, bakery- grade sweet dairy whey to the dough formulation. Whey is about 70 percent lactose (milk sugar), so it has a very low sweetness rating, so it will impart essentially no sweetness to the finished crust. Lactose is also reducing sugar so it aids in the Maillard browning reaction during baking, thus enhancing crust color development. As a side benefit, it is also nonfermentable by the yeast, so it will still be present even after much fermentation time, or days in the cooler. because the whey is added to the dough, it will influence the crust color on both the top and bottom of the crust. The amount of whey normally used to impact crust color starts out at two or three percent of the total flour weight and goes up from there until the desired effect on crust color is achieved. While whey is in a dry, powder form, it has very little influence on dough absorption properties, so when starting out using whey, don’t add any additional water with the whey powder unless you feel that it is absolutely necessary.

Tom Lehmann is a director at the American Institute of baking in Manhattan, Kansas.