Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dough Days

Feeding The Washed Starter
Ah ha, making dough!  For the next couple of days I'll take you through the process.  There will be lots of pictures so you can see the beautiful yeasts developing.  This recipe is always a work in progress because yeast is such a living thing.  Everything effects it, probably even my mood, which was good today so I'm hoping for awesome dough.  I'm having my new chef and some other chef friends over for pizza next week so I hope for a great batch of dough.  I always experiment a little.

Freshly Mixed
Here is my 4 day process:  I start with a sour dough yeast that is a combination of 2 yeast strains, one from Sicily and one from the Naples region of Italy.  I keep it in the fridge and revive it when I'm going to make dough.  So on Monday I gave it a good washing (added half again water, gave it a good stir & poured out all but 1 cup), then I proceeded to start feeding it.  1/3 cup of rye flour, 1/3 cup 00 Caputo flour & 2/3 cup water.  Thereafter, until today, I fed it every morning the same way, pouring off all but 1 cup of starter, and adding the flour mix & water in equal amounts. You can always substitute fresh yeast like you buy in the store, which is best.  Use about a 1/4 cake for this amount of dough.

2 Hours
Today, Thursday, I made the dough.  You start by measuring out 3lbs 12oz of Caputo 00 flour in a mixing bowl.  Then get 1 liter of 79 degree water.  Today I mixed into the water 3/4 cup of the natural, sour dough yeast with 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast because I couldn't get any fresh yeast at the store.  I prefer just a pinch of fresh yeast to give the dough a more yeasty taste and it also gives the dough reliability that the sometimes unpredictable sour dough lacks.  I love the sour dough flavor, but too much can mask the yeasty flavor of the Neapolitan style pizza dough I've fallen in love with.  So I've settled on this 50/50 combination.

4 Hours - Ready To Use!
Putting the water & yeast combination in the bowl of a mixer, add 1/2 the flour and mix on the lowest setting for 5 minutes.  It helps to hand mix it some at first if you're using an electric mixer.  Then add the salt and the rest of the flour.  It's always good to hold back a cup or so of flour to see how wet the mixture is.  You can always add more flour but you can't take it back.  Too much flour or too much mixing will make your dough tough, hard to handle, and chewy.  Not good, the wetter you can work it the better.  Mix it again for 10 minutes at the lowest speed.  Today my mixer overloaded after 5 minutes so I just took it out of the mixer and hand kneaded it for another 5 minutes.  You just want the gluten to start forming but not over work it.  The magic happens over the 4 days where the flavor and gluten continue to develope! 

Water and Yeast
So then it goes into the large container you see here and is left out at room temperature, which today was 71 degrees.  You can see how much it grew in 5 hours.  This proofing time is a changing target, what you want is for it to at least double in size and the time it takes to do so will depend on temperature, humidity, yeast type and freshness, so get a personal relationship with your dough! 

Off it went into the fridge, and off I went to choir rehearsal!  Singing to your dough may or may not help.  Like plants and pets, its controversial, but for me its therapy, and all life goes better with songs and praise!

To be continued.......

5 Minutes Mixed

Hand Kneaded

Done, Ready To Proof

Ready To Rise

5 Hours Doubled - Into Fridge

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