There are so many variables that go into making a PIZZA. The hydration of the dough, flour, yeast and many more.. Amounts of any kind of yeast in a pizza can make a big difference. Most recipes posted on the web, use too much yeast in their recipes. What I have found out so far, is either bulk fermenting the dough or cold fermenting the dough will give a better flavor in the crust. I am still experimenting to find different flavors in the crust of pies. In my opinion pizza is all about the best flavor you can achieve in a crust. I still am on the journey about flavors in the crust. Even differences in temperatures in you home or times of the year can influence how much yeast to use. If you want a pizza to develop flavors in the crust, there are many ways to go about achieving this.


Preferment for Lehmann Dough Pizzas

Crust of Pizza

Crust of Pizza
Rim of Preferment Lehmann Formula

Adventure in Pizza Making

There are many ways to go about trying to make any kind of pizzas you want to create. PIZZA making is fun and also you get to eat your finished product. I learned to make all my pizza on http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php If you look on pizzamaking.com you can see all the beautiful creations of pizzas members make on this site. Members and moderators help members and guests achieve almost any kind of pizzas they want to create. Since joining this site, my pizza making skills have gone from non-existent to something much better. I invite you to take a look at this site.

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Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian Pizza
Sicilian Pizza with Preferment for Lehmann Dough

At my mom's home getting ready to bake in her gas oven

At my mom's home getting ready to bake in her gas oven
click on picture to go to post

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fairmount Bagel into a Pizza Dough with Milk Kefir

The weather in our area is really getting colder.  There were a few snow flurries this morning.  I don't like when it gets colder in our area, but this is one thing everyone needs to get used to if they live around Pa.

I decided to try a formula for bagels I had tried before.  I really liked the bagels.  They were the best bagels I have ever eaten.  This time I decided to use the formula to make pizza dough.  I will see if the eggs added to the formula will help the crust of this bagel dough pizza brown.  I would think it would, especially since there is also honey added to this dough and malt powder.  I will wait to post the formula until I see if this pizza is successful or not.  I also used a milk kefir poolish in this bagel pizza dough to leaven the dough.  This dough was very sticky.  I  have no idea it I will be able to open this dough.

I will post if this formula does or doesn't work out.


ADY or Active Dry Yeast

ADY is a dried yeast that is used in warm water or other liquids and left to proof in the warmer water or liquid.  Usually ADY can be activated in warm water around the temperatures of 105-115 degrees F.

Some advantages of using ADY is a dry yeast that can be store in your refrigerator or even in your freezer if it is stored in an airtight container.  This and more information and more detailed information can be found in the pizza glossary at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html

What some ADY's look like if someone want to purchase some.  This is a sample of what different Active Dry Yeasts look like.  Active Dry Yeast can be purchased in most supermarkets.


Usually in supermarkets ADY can be purchased in three packs that are together.


Vital Wheat Gluten-a little explanation and one formula

VWG is Vital Wheat Gluten that can be added to regular bread flour to make the flour act more  high-gluten flour that pizza operators use.  These are some places that vital wheat gluten or VWG can be found.  VWG can be found in some supermarkets or grocery stores, too.  There are other places on the web that VWG can be purchased.  I am giving some examples where it can be found.


This is one formula using VWG to increase the protein of King Arthur Bread Flour.  This formula and others are posted on pizzamaking.com.  This formula was posted by Peter (Pete-zza)  This is a Lehmann dough.

14" Pizza

KABF/VWG Blend* (100%):
Water (62%):
IDY (0.375%):
Salt (1.75%):
Olive Oil (1%):
Total (165.125%):
241.43 g  |  8.52 oz | 0.53 lbs
149.69 g  |  5.28 oz | 0.33 lbs
0.91 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.3 tsp | 0.1 tbsp
4.23 g | 0.15 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.76 tsp | 0.25 tbsp
2.41 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.54 tsp | 0.18 tbsp
398.66 g | 14.06 oz | 0.88 lbs | TF = 0.09135

* The KABF/VWG Blend comprises 234.71 grams (8.28 ounces) King Arthur bread flour and 6.72 grams (0.24 ounces) Hodgson Mill vital wheat gluten (about 1 ½ t.)

The closest arrangement that I could find that seemed to meet my requirements is the one that member Pete Waldman described at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6585.msg56478.html#msg56478. In the Waldman arrangement, the pizza stone is placed at the top-third of the oven and preheated at an oven setting of 550 degrees F for about 45 minutes, followed by turning on the broiler element for about 10 minutes. The oven setting is then turned back to 550 degrees F

Peter was trying to find an oven arrangement to make a better looking pizza, in a home oven.  There are many ways to try to make a home oven bake a better pizza.  I will post about that later.
Peter’s pizza did turn out very artisan looking with using this oven configuration.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Good Discussions of What Happens in Pizza Dough for Oven Spring

Jackie Tran (Chau a great pizza experimenter and pizza maker on pizzamaking.com) and I were discussing how open spring might develop and what all goes into creating oven spring on my thread about the Preferment Lehmann dough I use at market.  It had always intriqued me what all goes into oven spring and what causes the greatest oven spring.  I have been trying to study all the doughs I have made and have been watching what happens when the pizza is put into the oven.  When I first started making pizzas, I sure didn’t have much oven spring (holes in the crumb of a pizza) in the crumb or rim of a pizza.  I have learned over the time I have been making pizzas to develop more oven spring.  I still don’t have the oven spring that some members on pizzamaking.com do, but I am still learning.  

After Chau and I were discussing oven spring, Peter (Pete-zza) had commented as can be seen below.  If you want to read more you can go to pizzamaking.com and look under Preferment for the Lehmann dough.  Below is where Peter talks about rise in the dough or oven spring.

Re: Preferment for Lehmann NY Style Pizza Reply #515


Your recent discussions with Jackie Chan prompted me to think about the types of factors that appear to govern or to be implicated in oven spring and, in general, an overall rise in a dough skin. I don’t know that I can distinguish on a technical basis the difference between oven spring and an overall rise in a dough skin other than to note that oven spring tends to be more often associated and discussed in relation to the rim of a pizza.

These are the factors that come to mind that appear to be involved in oven spring or dough rise in general in respect of a typical home oven setting, although most of the factors apply to many other oven types also:

1. The type/brand of flour, including its protein content and gluten formation characteristics, and whether the flour is bromated or not.
2. The moisture content (hydration) of the dough.
3. The amount and type of yeast used (Note: Cook’s Illustrated says that fresh yeast produces the most gas during fermentation).
4. Other ingredients added to the dough that can affect its volume expansion, including oil, vital wheat gluten (see, for example, http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/vital-wheat-gluten-16-oz) and dry milk powder (e.g., see http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/bakers-special-dry-milk-16-oz). (Note: There are other additives and conditioners that are used by professional/commercial bakers to accomplish similar functions but these are outside the purview of this list).
5. Water quality (mainly mineral content/hardness).
6. Mixing and kneading and related methods (including autolyse), whether by machine or by hand, that can affect the viscosity and density of the dough, including the capacity of the dough to capture and retain gases of fermentation (for a discussion of these latter factors, see the section “Fermentation Control” at http://www.theartisan.net/The_Artisan_Yeast_Treatise_Section_Two.htm).
7. The type of pizza stone/tiles/firebricks or other carrier used to bake the pizza, including pizza screen, pan or disk (perforated or nonperforated), and the material (including any coating) of such carrier.
8. The oven configuration, including the type of oven (e.g., electric or gas, and with or without a convection feature) and the oven rack position used during baking.
9. Other devices used in the oven during baking, such as secondary pizza stones/tiles/firebricks or metal pans/skillets or their equivalent.
10. Oven temperature as related to the temperature of the pizza stone or other carrier and any other devices under paragraph 9.
11. Fermentation condition of the dough at the time of use (e.g., from underfermented to overfermented/overproofed).
12. Dough temper factors, including temper time and temperature (this can be considered an extension of paragraph 11).
13. Dough shaping methods, including the way the rim is formed and gases are distributed in the skin.
14. Whether a formed skin is allowed to proof/rise before dressing and baking.
15. The size of the skin, its thickness, and the number, types and amounts of sauce, cheese and toppings.
16. The relationship and balance between dough pH and residual sugar at the time of baking (see the Calvel discussion at Reply 136 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5851.msg86732/topicseen.html#msg86732). (Note: This factor is likely to be influenced by whether a starter/preferment--natural or based on commercial yeast--is used.)

Arguably, one can optimize the above factors in any given case, or, more likely, one might try to optimize a subset of the above factors based on the materials and equipment on hand, and make a sufficient number of doughs/pizzas under essentially identical conditions (or as similar as possible) to confirm the factors that produced the desired oven spring and related results. It would be nice to test each of the above factors one at a time, changing only one variable at a time, but that would be impractical in a nonscientific home setting that is subject to many variables. It would also consume an inordinate amount of time to conduct all the tests.

In your case with the Lehmann preferment dough, obviously not all of the above enumerated factors apply nor have you necessarily attempted to optimize those that did apply although what you have done strikes me as being quite normal and reasonable. However, while I believe that trying to optimize the factors that do apply is a reasonable thing to do, if I were to single out a few of the factors that I think are most dominant, I would pick oven temperature and, more particularly, an oven temperature that achieves a combination of top heat and bottom heat sufficient to create good oven spring but without burning anything. I believe you get that inherently at market with your commercial deck oven--with good heat retention characteristics of your oven stone and a small overhead space--and I believe you achieved similar conditions with your grill setup, with a small, rather confined space and sometimes at higher temperatures than you use at market.

Although you have noted the limitations of your home oven, I believe other members have achieved good oven spring in a home oven setting, as noted by the links referenced in Reply 4 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10122.msg88410.html#msg88410. Note, in particular, the long knead times that ThunderStik uses, without any apparent ill effects on oven spring. Obviously, other factors have to complement the oven conditions, such as having a properly prepared and managed dough (preferably using a high-protein flour and a moisture content conducive to ample steam creation during baking), but in your case you have demonstrated that you are able to manage the various factors involved and to achieve the proper balance between them to achieve very good end results.


I believe this is a great list of things that can all have to do with oven spring.  I want to study all of this more in my experiments.  I also want to try fresh yeast at some point to try and make pizza dough.  I can buy it from my distributor that sells flour, but I would have to purchase it in 24 1 lb. blocks. Fresh yeast isn’t that expensive, but I will see if I can purchase some to experiment with from a local bakery first.  Since fresh yeast is supposed to create the most gas during fermentation, I would think, the pizza crusts would taste better, but I don’t know at this point. Fresh yeast only lasts about two weeks.  My distributor told me today that some customers freeze cake yeast, but they don’t recommend it.


My Flours I have tried..lol

I have tried many kinds of flours to make pizzas.  These flours pictured on my kitchen table are some of the flours I have tried in pizzas. I do have other flours I have tried in the cupboard.  I even tried to make gluten-free pizza at one time.  I will post the pictures and what I did to make that pizza at a future date. I use KASL flour at market and do prefer unlbleached and unbromated flours.  Bromated flours are banned in some countries and California even needs labeling if you use bromated flours to make any baked goods.  I was sent a special flour from England by my friend Paul.  He is going to open a pizza business in England.  The flour is something special to me, because I have never received anything from England before.  It was even stamped with "Royal Mail".  I am trying to decide how to use that flour to make a special pizza in honor of Paul. The flour is Manitoba flour.  I might purchase some commercial cake yeast.  I talked to my flour distributor today and they do sell commercial cake yeast, but you need to purchase it in 24 1 lb. blocks.  It is only $22.00, but it only lasts 2 weeks.  I think, but don't know that many pizzeria that make special pizzas, do use commercial cake yeast.  I really don't know how commercial cake yeast compares to regular cake yeast I can purchase at the grocery store, but right now thing it must be different. I think Keste's in NY uses commercial cake yeast, but I am not sure.  I sure would like to be able to make a pizza something like Keste's pizza.  I had wanted to bring home water from NY to use with Paul's flour, but the people my daughter knows weren't home, when it was time for us to come home from NY.  I didn't want to lug water jugs around all day, while we were visiting NY.  If I get the chance to visit NY in the next few weeks, I will try to get some NY water.  I really don't think NY water makes a difference in pizza, and have tried NY water in pizza dough, but I want to try NY water again, to see if my results are any different.

I had tried Pillsbury Balancer when I first started making pizza.  Pillsbury Balancer, All Trumps, and Kyrol all do make good pizzas, but they are all bromated, which in my opinion isn't good.  Most independent pizza places in NY do use bromated flours.  Even most pizzerias in my area use bromated flours in their pizza doughs.  Higher end pizzerias use Caputo flour or others flour, but a flour like Caputo needs higher temperatures to bake a decent pizza.  It is because the protein level is lower.  I will post more about flours in future posts, and what kinds I have used in different pizzas.  I am lucky, because I can used KASL in different  experiments, because I can buy flour wholesale from a distributor.  KASL is a high-gluten flour.  So are the ones that are bromated.  I make the choice to buy a flour that is unbleached and unbromated because I wanted to try to make the best pizzas at market with the highest ends ingredients I could afford.


Learning Knowledge to Make Pizza: How Milk Kefir Looks-This is what I am experimenti...

Learning Knowledge to Make Pizza: How Milk Kefir Looks-This is what I am experimenti...: "These are some pictures of how milk kefir looks. I am experimenting with different ways to leaven bread, bagels and pizza doughs, using the..."

How Milk Kefir Looks-This is what I am experimenting with to leaven pizza dough

These are some pictures of how milk kefir looks.  I am experimenting with different ways to leaven bread, bagels and pizza doughs, using the milk kefir.  Milk kefir is interesting to me, because it seems to ferment the dough slower than commercial or starters in dough.  At least that is my opinion up to this date.

These little milk kefir grains were sent to me on 10/23/10. I purchased them, to experiment with in pizza dough. I first fed them raw milk, but found out I can now feed them regular whole milk.  They are interesting to me because you can also drink the milk kefir in various ways or even raw.  I like to mix the milk kefir into a smoothie.  I milk kefir is almost like yogurt.  Milk kefir is supposed to have many friendly bacteria.  I couldn't believe I could let the milk kefir in the same milk for a week and still be able to drink it, without getting sick.  The friendly bacteria must have something to do with that.  From what I understand these milk kefir grains are very ancient.

So far my results with using milk kefir in pizza dough, does show some interesting results. I have added the milk kefir directly to pizza dough and now am using a poolish with milk kefir to leaven doughs for pizzas.  I don't know why some of these pictures are sideways.  I did flip them.  Sorry if anyone is interested how the pictures are sideways. :(


Monthly Challenge "Harvest" November 2009

My submission for the "Fall Harvest" on November 17, 2009 on pizzamkaking.com was a Lehmann dough using KASL.  I baked 3 kinds of squash, (spaghetti, butternut, and acorn).  I used my basic pizza sauce, cheeses and then added the baked squash.  The spaghetti squash was really interesting.  I topped with a little fresh basil and parsley.  The Fall Harvest Pie turned out well and tasted good.  It sure was colorful.  Since squash really doesn't have a lot of flavor it went well with the pizza.

Milk Kefir Pizza, two more attempts

Two more attempts were made with using a milk kefir poolish in the pizza dough.  The milk kefir poolish does leaven pizza dough, but it is slower in my opinion that either commercial yeasts or other starter.  The one milk kefir poolish dough was made the Friday before and the other milk kefir poolish dough was made 11 days before I used the dough ball to make the second set of pictures of pizzas.  Both of these dough balls were baked into a pizza on 11/23/10.