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Project Breadway: Pizza Chemistry Experimentation

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The Great Pizza Work continues.

So last night I had some constraints: I wanted to make pizza, but didn't have 24 hours for a full-on cold ferment of the dough in the fridge. My normal dough uses high-gluten bread flour that slow ferments for a long time and develops into a chewy, occasionally tough dough that you can roll thin as paper without it tearing. The down side to that is it can be a little… tough. I like my crust chewy, but there's a limit.

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The other variable is moisture. I have in the past tended towards a fairly dry dough, and I think that's increased the toughness of the final product. Better mixologists than I have suggested that a higher moisture content will lead to a lighter crust.

So I tossed my Peter Reinhardt recipes out the window and flew blind, with only dead reckoning to guide me, using a half-half mix of bread flour and all-purpose flour, with a much wetter, stickier dough. This was the basic recipe:

1 cup bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoons salt

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Illustration for article titled Project Breadway: Pizza Chemistry Experimentation

The dough turned out very wet and sticky, and was hard to knead. I floured it up a bit, kneaded it, then added a little more water back again before I set it down for the first rise.

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Two and a half hours of rising later, it was very happy and fluffy.

Illustration for article titled Project Breadway: Pizza Chemistry Experimentation
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Rolling it out was another issue. Rolled as thin as I like it, the AP-BF mix tended to tear, leaving holes that I pinched back together. So I was obliged by circumstances to make a slightly thicker-crust version than is my norm.

Illustration for article titled Project Breadway: Pizza Chemistry Experimentation
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Laid on the sawrce and chiz.

Illustration for article titled Project Breadway: Pizza Chemistry Experimentation
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Added toppings, let rest for fifteen minutes. Into oven!

Illustration for article titled Project Breadway: Pizza Chemistry Experimentation
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Finished product.

Illustration for article titled Project Breadway: Pizza Chemistry Experimentation
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So the result was really good. Chewy, honestly lighter than previous efforts, maybe just a bit more "bready" than I prefer, though. I may skip that last fifteen-minute rest next time, and just pop it into the oven.

What do our local bakers think about flour mixes and moisture in pizza crust?

ETA: this looked nicely formatted in the Kinja edit window, but then it just stacked up all the photos on the left when I posted it. KINJAAAAA!!!!

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ETA2: looks fine on my phone, messed up on my computer.

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