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Pizza Crust Hydration?

Sooner EggSooner Egg Posts: 578
edited 8:01AM in EggHead Forum
We don't do many home made crusts, usually we get a Papa Murphy's take and bake....my question is this: when you see a recipe that states "60%"(just a number I threw in there) hydration, what exactly does it mean? Does it mean that the the water is 60% of the dry ingredients...seems if that were the case it would make for a very sticky hard to manage dough....any thoughts on the subject are appreciated....thanks in advance for your response :)

Comments

  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    It is the weight of water in recipe divided by the weight of flour in the recipe.

    So for a 50% hydration dough you would use 200g flour and 100g water. A 60% hydration dough would use 120g of water to 200g flour.

    It is always by weight and always the ratio of water to flour only - not all dry ingredients. If you happen to use a sourdough starter or poolish in your recipe then count half of the weight of the starter as flour and half as water since it should be roughly 100% hydration.

    When you see any dough recipe expressed in percentages it is the percentage of each ingredient as a ratio to the flour.
  • That is correct. So if you were to use a pound of flour, you'd add about nine and a half ounces of water.

    Pizza dough is often very wet and slack. Wet doughs can withstand higher-temperature baking, as with pizzas, and yield tender, airy bread with big bubbles.
  • Sooner EggSooner Egg Posts: 578
    thx for your reply....sounds like I need to buy a scale
  • lowercasebilllowercasebill Posts: 5,218
    you want a scale that does bakers percentage,, i.e. it does the math for you.. put the bowl on >>> hit 'tare' >>> add flour and hit % that registers as 100% empty bowl and add each ingredient in turn to the percentage you want. kd 8000

    http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/search.aspx?find=kd-8000
  • Aw, now I have scale envy. Mine doesn't have a percentage button. Guess I'll be trading up soon.
  • Sooner EggSooner Egg Posts: 578
    thanks for the link, looks like a great scale....I think I'll order one
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,235
    Yes, get a gram accurate scale. Being a novice baker, having a scale on hand has improved my bread 100%.

    As mentioned, pizza doughs tend to be pretty wet. Look up Varasano's pizza recipe for a good description of how to make a classic Neapolitan pie. He mentions that the rise isn't so much from the yeast as it is from the steam.

    If the dough is kept overnight in the fridge, it becomes a lot easier to handle, and more flavorful.
  • Sooner EggSooner Egg Posts: 578
    the dough I have done in the past have been refirgereated for at 24 prior to using.....I'm thinking I'm not getting the proper hydration to get the nice airy bubbly crust that I see so many others achieve
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Hydration most likely isn't your problem. Sounds like you are either not developing proper protein chains or you are over working the dough. Both will lead to a flat or dense crust.

    Are you autolyzing your flour before you knead?

    Another issue can be allowing your dough to rise too much before you cook it. If the dough rises too much before you use it then it can actually fall as it cooks instead of expanding. Somewhere I read uses the analogy of blowing a bubble with bubble gum. You want to cook the pie while the bubbles are still increasing. If you allow the bubbles to slightly decrease they are not nearly as elastic or durable, and they will pop instead of rising and stretching.

    This is more art than science trying to catch it at the right point.
  • Another thing to consider is over-handling the dough. Unless you're using high-gluten flour (which will stand up to tossing & rolling), you want to be gentle with the dough....don't try to roll it out. Instead, stretch and pull.
  • SuperDaveSuperDave Posts: 319
    I can see this thread costing me a lot of money! First the $60.00 bag of Caputo 00 flour, then the $50.00 scale, then the $3800.00 Forno Bravio wood fired brick oven, then the $35000.00 Patio and outdoor kitchen.... better get started!

    Not that the egg doesn't do a fine pizza... but I've had real brick oven pizza and it's much more authentic and practical to use the brick oven....

    Oh, boy! Now I've opened a can of worms...!
  • Authentic, perhaps, but more practical? Do tell...
  • Sooner EggSooner Egg Posts: 578
    define autolyzing....I'm headed to my online dictionary right now
  • Properly handled, the Egg can turn out a pizza every bit as good as a wood-fired oven. IMHO, the Egg is way more practical, as it burns more efficiently and has much more precise temp control. I looked at FB's primavera oven and bought an egg instead.

    Regarding flour, I think technique is more important than flour. You can get great results from AP flour.
  • Not to mention firing time. They take a couple to bring up to temp, don't they?

    The big plus I would see from the brick oven would be the long cooking time. You could turn out pie after pie after pie if you were throwing a party. On the egg, if I'm cooking really hot, I can have the egg pretty well loaded, cook three pizzas, and by the time the egg cools, there isn't a whole lot of lump left.
  • Well ... we sell all the things mentioned on this post so I've had a chance to try / play with etc. all of them. (Including various models of the aforementioned Forno Bravo ovens and all the different ceramic cookers)

    Bottom line is that the Egg does a fine job ... a little finicky since the fire is UNDER the pizza basically ... you will see mentions here of burnt crust syndrome ... I have been experimenting for a year or more on perfecting a foolproof setup / technique for using the egg and am now getting pretty consistent results ..
    By the way ...the secret to the puffy crust is DON'T USE A ROLLING PIN...that is for thin crust since you push all the air out of the dough ... just "push" the air to the edge and leave a "border" there of dough ... one of these days, I'm going to do a series of videos on this whole process... I do have a pretty cool vid on my webite called "Pizza on Egg" .. no demonstration ..just pizza's being baked on a super firey/nuclear/way hot LARGE BGE ... it's a cool one to watch if you like flames (and who doesn't?)
    If you want me to send you a link to that vid, email me off list etc. or just go to the video section of our website ..

    OK..Happy Pizza Eggin!
    FB/SGP
    FREDWPIZZA.jpg
    SGP with a Neopolitan Pie at Tony Gemignani's International School of Pizza
    Fred A. Bernardo , owner of Tasty Licks BBQ Supply in Shillington, Pa. 
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Sorry.....

    Add about 75-80% of the flour to your mixer bowl and all the water. Spin it just enough to combine. It should be more like a thick batter than a dough. Cover and let it sit for 20-25 minutes. Then begin to knead and slowly add in the remaining flour. Knead for 5-6 minutes, let rest 20 minutes, then roll into a loose ball then put it in an oiled container and into the fridge for a day or three.

    That first rest period is when the flour absorbs all the water and the proteins relax. This allows them to form the long chains during the kneading process that are needed for a successful pizza dough.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 10,009
    I'm about to call Pizza Hut. :lol:

    Rod, I assume you are kneading with a KA or similar. What speed setting do you like for kneading? 2-3?

    I really gotta stop buying dough from the grocery store! :blush:


    I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded... dead.

                                                      Woody Allen

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    I knead on low or 2.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 10,009
    Thanks. I have a KA, I have 2-3 kinds of flour and I have a couple of Reinhart books. And I STILL keep buying dough. I really need to get one of those round tuits!


    I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded... dead.

                                                      Woody Allen

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

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