Pizza-dough; what kind of flour do you use?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chrisbelgium, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Let me start by saying that I'm not an experienced pizza maker at all. I can count the pizzas I made on one hand!

    Not all that long ago, I was watching one of our chefs, from Sicilian origin, visiting a flour mill in his birth region in Sicily, making semola di grano duro rimacinata or in short semola rimacinata. He said that Sicilians use it for almost anything; pasta, cakes but also for pizza. I did a bit of research and found out that most pizzas are made with semola di grano tenero typo "00" and in many cases both flours are mixed, especially for making pasta.

    Both flours are very hard to find in my country, but, on a website I learned that semola di grano duro rimacinata is sold in Turkish and Moroccan shops under several names; semoule de Normandie, semoule de blé dur, Irmik... Anyway, it mostly says "semolina" and "Fine". I never knew it was available in such large quantities; I found 5 kilogram paper bags in Moroccan shops, which is way too much for us. But then I found this 500 gram pack from TRS. I happen to buy dozens of spices packed by this company for many years now, also only available in etnic shops.

    So, I gave this semolina fine a try for a pizza-dough made with 300 grams of fine semolina or semoule fine in french, 20 grams fresh bakers yeast which was a left-over that I still had in my freezer, 1 tsp of salt, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 50 grams of lukewarm water to dissolve the yeast in and nearly 170 ml of cold water (the recipe recommends 80-100 ml). The fine semolina absorbed the water very quickly but in the end gave me a very sticky wet dough. The yeast did a good job: it doubled the dough in size in 1 hours at room temperature.

    Impossible to roll out, I simply flattened it by hand on an oven-tray, put homemade tomato sauce on, ham, parmezan and oregano. Baked at 240°C for 15 minutes. It came out fantastic! The dough perfectly golden at the bottom, nice crust but thousands of tiny bubbles in the dough and very pleasant to eat.

    So, what kind of flour do you use/recommend? Any comment on my experiment?

    I will certainly try this semoule fine for pasta too!

     
     
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I like to use a combination of mostly allpurpose white flour (King Arthur) with a bit of 00 semolina flour that I buy from a local bakery.  I don't measure any ingredients, I just throw it all in a bowl and mix mix mix (flour, semolina, yeast, sugar, water, olive oil, salt and sometimes sumac), and let it rise.  I quite like it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  3. maryb

    maryb

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    Home ground and sifted organic wheat flour. Extra fine grind.
     
  4. ordo

    ordo

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    Flour classification in my country is different from European classification. For instance 000 flour is a more coarse flour. Some of my Italian friends use variable % of semolina for pastas and pizzas. This is also variable according to which style of pizza do you want.

    However, what changed my perspective of pizza dough was cold ferment 48-72 hours in the fridge, a phenomenon i thought impossible. That prolonged period and cold temperature change the structure of the dough (don't ask me chemical details) and enhances flavor and texture.

    Also, I found that my oven (like yours, Chris) reaches a low temperature in comparison with wood ovens, so I usually pre-bake to avoid a soggy pizza.
     
  5. dillbert

    dillbert Banned

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    why do I suspect that every "successful" / "well known pizzeria" in any town in any country on any continent has "the one true way" to make a pizza dough?

    which poses an even bigger question:  "What is the perfect pizza dough/crust?"

    to which the answer is "The One You Like"

    then, sigh, there is the issue of "technique" and how it affects the crust.  doing a pizza on a stone floor at 700-750'F / 372-399'C makes for vastly different results than a home oven.  add to the mix:  in a home done with an oven stone, on a rack, done on a cookie sheet . . . .

    you can get "the best pizza crust recipe in the world" and when done in a home oven on a solid cookie sheet, turns out gooey on the  bottom.....

    >>long low temp rising
    any bread baker will likely agree a yeast based dough with long slow rising "improves" the taste / flavor.

    the problem of course is:  when I get the "we want pizza" order, I've got about 4-5 hours.  if "the best dough" requires overnight in the fridge to develop the flavor, 4-5 hours notice is not sufficient; 24 hours notice is better.....

    bottom line:  it's a combination of the recipe and the technique.

    I use Jamie Oliver's pizza dough recipe - a mix of "hard flour" (aka breads flour aka high gluten flour) with "semolina" in a home oven set to 500'F / 260'C on a preheated pizza stone.  works for me, may not work for you.
     
  6. teamfat

    teamfat

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    I use King Arthur bread flour for my crusts.  Should make a batch tonight, time for a fresh tomato pizza!

    mjb.
     
  7. ordo

    ordo

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    Also, do not forget:

     
  8. french fries

    french fries

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    I use whatever I have, most often All Purpose unbleached flour. 

     
  9. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've been reaching for bread flour the last few years.  Because of how flour is rated here in the US, the difference between AP and bread flour isn't as large as would be ideal, but I think bread flour gives the dough more of what I'm looking from from the crust.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  10. dillbert

    dillbert Banned

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    >>Because of how flour is rated here in the US,

    not to grind a fine point into atoms, however comma but - so far as I've been able to determine there is no "how flour is rated" in USA - any miller / brand / private label can put any description on any type/kind/grind/protein content/gluten content/ash content they choose.

    there are "generally accepted" guidelines published by everybody from whacko's to respectable industry groups as to the protein / gluten content of (insert descriptor here) flour - but none is legally binding.

    or?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    It's true, no standard exists for rating the flour in the US. But you used to be able to infer it from the protein percentage on the nutritional analysis for 1 cup of flour.

    But then they changed the serving size to 1/4 cup. And with the rounding allowed, all types of flour can rate at 3 grams protien and most do. Though the actual % range within that measurement could be from 9-14% protien.

    This is a little bit helpful. http://www.theartisan.net/ProteinComparisons.htm   A chart from one of Shirley Corriher's books, probably Bakewise.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  12. soesje

    soesje

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    I use a bread flour (after all, pizza originated from leftover bread dough!) , with a protein percentage of 13%.

    usually I make mine with my sourdough starter, much more flavor..... 

    sometimes I mix in one third fine polenta flour to give extra crunch!

    if you need any help , since I am not that far from you just send PM. 

    you can do tipo 00 but a good high protein bread flour will do the trick aside from good yeast, long proof, etc...

    hmmm.

    I am making things more complicated I believe, for you ;) but offer stands.
     
  13. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Thanks for the kind offer, Soesje. Does the flour you use have an identification, I mean like type 55 or type 80 or any other?

    After reading the responses here and a little more on the internet, many suggest to use a strong flour designated for bread making. By strong flour, they mean high gluten I presume, but as mentioned here a few times, the protein content seems to be important too. Anyway, the stuff I used has a high gluten content too.

    I found a website (in dutch) that says translated in english;
    One thing I haven't mentioned about semola rimacinata is that incredible nice smell, somewhat sour, almost like fresh baker's yeast. Many may recognize the same smell from store bought "artisanal" fresh pasta. The last sentence in the quote may be the most relevant, namely mixing it with another flour to get the crust crunchier. That's probably why FF's pizza looks so incredible?

    I never tried sourdough yeast, but I'm very intrigued. Thanks Ordo for that link, making sourdough yeast looks much easier than I thought.

    Also, in my previous pizza attempt months ago, I let the dough prove for about four hours in my cool cellar. Most spectacular result was that we had zero digestion problems, something we always have when eating pizza, even with this last one made from semola rimacinata. Next time, it's back to a long proving.
     
  14. french fries

    french fries

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    As far as I understand it, gluten = protein, and the more gluten (or protein), the more the flour is going to be labeled "bread", the less gluten, the more the flour is going to be labeled "cake". And the difference between bread and cake is that bread has big chewy holes while cake has soft tiny holes.

    So I understand that the more elasticity you want, the more gluten you'll need.

    The reason I'm fine with using AP is that I'm happy with my results and I don't feel like my dough should be more bread-like, or more chewy, or with bigger holes. I'd like to try bread flour though to see the difference. Maybe with bread flour I'd have less difficulty stretching the dough and I could make larger, thinner pizzas?

    I don't let the dough rise for that long, and I try to let the dough rise in a warm, damp environment, not a cool one. I make a dough ball, oil it, and put it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and wait for it to double (that typically takes about 1/2 an hour). Then I punch it down, form a new ball, and again let it double (about another 1/2 an hour). Then I punch it down again and make my pizza.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  15. soesje

    soesje

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    chris, I use Soezie boerenwit, from Aveve. Dunno if thats still available in belgium, from where it originates.

    use that for almost everything I bake.

    FrenchFries is right in his description of gluten/ protein.

    there is, by the way, no such thing as sourdough YEAST :) 

    its either sourdough, OR yeast.

    sourdough is water and flour, and in it live the wild yeasts, which are in the air that surround us.

    its entirely different.... 

    as for the long proof traject, thats a good step.

    next time, use HALF the yeast (preferably FRESH yeast that comes in cakes from the shop/ baker as it gives much better flavor than dried) as you normally would.

    let proof for say half an hour / 45 minutes. 

    place in fridge, covered with plastic wrap and just let it proof for half a day or so (12 hours) then proceed with the recipe.

    this process is called retarding, you retard (slow down) the yeast beasties, more flavor develops.

    I am interested in your flour...your description sounded like something I'd like to try. which site did you get the info from?
     
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  16. french fries

    french fries

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    I had no idea, thank you for sharing that information Soesje!
     
  17. soesje

    soesje

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    its also a technique used by bakers to develop more flavor in their bread. so if you are baking your own by hand you could try this.

    I used to do a overnight retarding, making dough in evening, first proof, then deflate and shape, do a partial proof, put in fridge covered (or in a banneton/ basket etc like french do) 

    in morning take out, uncover, meanwhile heat oven. 

    bake as usual.

    I have to add that these days I mainly do this with sourdough bread depending on my work schedule but I have used it with yeast too.
     
  18. french fries

    french fries

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    Soesje, is it ok to let the dough in the fridge for more than 12 hours? The only times I can be in the kitchen is in the evening, can I make my dough one evening, leave it in the fridge for 24 hours and bake the next evening? 
     
  19. soesje

    soesje

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    you can try that. I have done so with sourdough ....delayed it a day because I was busy.....

    depends on your yeast too. but if you don't use the full amount I don't see a problem ....

    try it. :) what have you got to lose? nothing......just a bit of dough...its how you develop as a cook, by experimenting! 
     
  20. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    FrenchFries, yeast grows and multiplies. If you start with less yeast, it will simply take longer to grow, thus delaying the proofing.
     
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