Wild Flour Blends – PMQ Pizza Journal
By Tom Lehmann
Editor’s notice: The late Tom “The Dough Physician” Lehmann was the dough making sage of the pizza business and fortunately shared his knowledge with PMQ’s readers for greater than 20 years. We imagine Tom would nonetheless write for us in pizza heaven if he might, so we’re reprinting this (barely edited) article he penned in 2008. It’s each timeless and, in mild of present inflationary costs, as well timed as ever.
I’m certain that almost all of you might be questioning if the value of flour will ever come again down once more. For a lot of, it will probably’t come down quick sufficient. With the excessive prices of cheese, meats and different substances, our backside strains aren’t simply hurting; they’re in deep trouble. Some pizzeria operators is perhaps trying to sidestep flour prices through the use of another kind of flour. Sadly, you possibly can’t mix different kinds of flour into your wheat flour to provide you with a lower-cost various. However you possibly can mix several types of flours into your wheat flour to make some really distinctive pizza crusts with completely different taste and textural properties and cost extra for them.
When making a blended flour crust, you possibly can add any of the nonwheat flours at alternative ranges of as much as 25% of the whole wheat flour.
Contemplating the Options
First, you could have a full understanding of the flour that you just presently use. Wheat flour consists of a number of completely different teams of proteins, two of which—glutenin and gliadin—are important to pizza making. When hydrated with water and combined, they produce the structure-forming materials that we name gluten in our dough. Gluten holds dough collectively, permitting it to be sheeted, pressed, stretched and tossed with out coming aside. It additionally contributes to the chunk, or chewiness, of the baked pizza.
Different grains comprise these particular gluten-forming proteins however in such a low amount that forming and shaping dough turns into problematic. These embody rye, barley and triticale, a wheat-rye cross. Whereas rye flour can be utilized to make pizza, rye dough is sticky and weak, making it troublesome to deal with or form.
Semolina flour has gluten-forming proteins, too, however the kind of gluten derived from durum flour is extraordinarily tight, not very elastic or stretchable. That makes for dough that’s troublesome to form properly and has plenty of reminiscence. Additionally, after baking, this flour can impart excessive toughness to the completed crust.
With a wheat and nonwheat mix, the dough shall be considerably weaker than a traditional white-flour dough, in all probability requiring much less mixing time.
Barley flour incorporates gluten-forming proteins, however, once more, the extent of gluten-forming protein is so low that the doughs are weak and sticky, plus they’re costlier than wheat flours.
Another nonwheat flours embody buckwheat, corn flour, rice flour, quinoa and amaranth. Others that may be included into the dough formulation—offering uniquely flavored crusts or crusts with a “wholesome” or exotic-sounding attraction—embody flaxseed meal, soy flour, sorghum flour, oat flour and spelt flour.
Doing the Math
When making a blended flour crust, you possibly can add any of the above-mentioned nonwheat flours at alternative ranges of as much as 25% of the whole wheat flour. So should you use 50 kilos of wheat flour, you possibly can exchange as much as 12.5 kilos of it with a number of of those different flour sorts to provide a uniquely flavored crust.
One thing to bear in mind when working with nonwheat blends: They’ll exhibit an affinity for water in a lot the identical method the wheat flour does; in lots of instances, it might really be larger than that of flour. To find out how a lot water must be added to the dough, place a identified amount, equivalent to 10 ounces, of the nonwheat flour materials right into a small bowl, then add 5 ounces of water and stir till the water is combined into the fabric. If the ensuing paste is simply too thick and/or too dry, stir in one other ounce of water. Proceed doing this till the fabric seems to be well-hydrated and permit the combination to hydrate for 60 minutes. Then test it once more for consistency and add extra water if essential. For those who add extra water, keep in mind to permit the fabric to hydrate once more for one more hour earlier than checking it for proper hydration.
When the fabric has the consistency of very thick oatmeal, it’s correctly hydrated. You’ll be able to calculate the absorption % by dividing the load of water added by the load of the nonwheat flour used, then multiplying by 100. For instance, should you began with 10 ounces of nonwheat materials and ended up including 7 ounces of water earlier than it was absolutely hydrated, you’ll divide 7 by 10 and multiply by 100—on this case, 70% absorption.
To make use of this in calculating your dough absorption, multiply the white flour weight by 0.56 to seek out the proper absorption for that portion of the flour mix, after which multiply the nonwheat flour weight by 0.70 to seek out the proper absorption for that portion of the flour mix. Add up the 2 weights and also you’ll have the correct quantity of water so as to add to the dough with that flour mix.
Do Some Experimenting
When utilizing nonwheat flours, you’ll need to experiment a bit on smaller dough batches to find out what modifications are wanted to enhance the nonwheat flour. A rise in sweetness may assist. On this case, the kind of sweetener used, equivalent to honey, white sugar, brown sugar, molasses or malt syrup, might be an essential consideration, as it will probably affect the flavour of the crust, the perceived sweetness, or the notion of “healthful” or “pure” to the buyer.
Using butter, margarine or butter-flavored oil (as an alternative of olive oil) may have a big impression on crust taste, particularly when flaxseed meal, oat flour, barley flour or soy flour is used.
With a wheat and nonwheat mix, the dough shall be considerably weaker than a traditional white-flour dough, in all probability requiring much less mixing time. Remember to combine the dough simply till a easy dough look is achieved, after which take the dough on to the bench for scaling and balling.
To make use of the dough on the identical day, put it into plastic dough bins and calmly oil the tops of the dough balls, then stack and nest the bins and allow them to set at room temperature for 90 minutes earlier than forming the dough balls into pizza skins.
For those who refrigerate and retailer the dough in a single day, cross-stack the dough bins within the cooler for 90 minutes, after which down-stack and nest the bins to forestall drying. Permit the dough to stay within the cooler for 18 to 24 hours. To make use of the dough, take away a amount adequate for a three-hour interval and place at room temperature to mood for 2 hours. Then start shaping into dough skins. The dough will stay good to make use of over the subsequent three hours. Any unused dough could also be opened into skins, positioned onto screens and held within the cooler for a number of hours till wanted for making pizzas. Because of the weak spot of those doughs, they shouldn’t be held within the cooler for greater than in the future.
[Nonwheat blends] will exhibit an affinity for water in a lot the identical method the wheat flour does; in lots of instances, it might really be larger than that of flour.
When making a pizza with any of those crusts, you might also must experiment with the baking time. Since these crusts shall be extra dense than your common white-flour crusts, they need to be allowed to bake for a barely longer time, ideally at a decrease temperature (450° to 500°F), assuming you’re utilizing a deck oven. However, typically, for sensible functions, you’ll need to preserve the oven settings the identical as you employ to your common pizza manufacturing. In that case, contemplate baking these particular pizzas on a display or a baking disk in your deck oven, which can enable for an extended baking time with out burning the pizza. Then “deck” the pizza for the final 45 to 60 seconds of baking. (“Decking” includes eradicating the pizza from the display or disk and putting it straight on the oven fireside to additional crisp it.)
None of those approaches will scale back your flour prices, however they could enable you to to develop some new or completely different choices that may command a greater worth, thus boosting your backside line. Moreover, the appropriate mixture may attraction to a special group of consumers that you just didn’t beforehand appeal to, thus increasing your buyer base. In these making an attempt instances, we’d like all the assistance we are able to get with these bottom-line numbers.
The late Tom “The Dough Physician” Lehmann was a longtime columnist for PMQ and served as director of bakery help for the American Institute of Baking (AIB).