Albert: Albert Grande here from pizzatherapy.com legends pizza.com/blog I have cornered my old friend Tim Huff master baker at General Mills, and I wanted you to talk a little bit about the hydration of flour and in particular Pizza Dough Hydration. That’s something that’s come up a lot in my video, I did a previous interview with you. Could you address that Tim?
Tim Huff: You bet. When it comes hydration it’s the amount of water that goes into formulation and when we look at that we compare that to flour weight so it’s in Baker’s percent
In these days I see a significant influence from the artisan baking industry we’re used to higher hydration doughs and so a lot of the folks that are baking Neapolitan style pizzas these days I see ranges from 60 may be close to 70% hydration so that be 60 to 70 pounds of water to hundred pounds of flour.
If you’re talking kind of traditional New York style crust a lot of the folks I talked to they may be around 55% absorption but I think they’re leaving money on the table by not hydrating the high gluten flours to the extent they could be. Pushing up to 60% is certainly very doable.
In a lot of ways, I think it actually makes the crust bake out better. The more you hydrate a dough the softer that dough is. It actually expands quicker in the oven and bakes more efficiently. So a lot of the folks that have a soggy dough or say hey I have a gum line I can’t figure it out. I keep taking away water and keeps getting worse and that’s why it’s getting worse cause as her take water away it makes the dough stiffer, the dough doesn’t expand when it hits the oven.
If a dough has higher hydration, it’s a little bit looser it pops quicker on the deck when you put it in the oven actually bakes more efficiently so pushing the hydration on those is something I think a lot of pizza operators could do.
Albert: So I’ve also heard Tim that using a higher hydration will make your pizza crisper? Is that true?
Tim Huff: Exactly and that’s the reason that it is crisper because it is baking more efficiently and it seems counterintuitive if I add more moisture to something how could it be crisper? The reason it is, is because it’s opening up the cell structure of that dough as it hits the oven it expands quicker when you have that expansion you’re essentially developing more little air cells, the bubbles there. It’s easier to bake something that’s airier versus baking something that’s dense.
And so it bakes more efficiently therefore gives it a crisper crust
Albert: Okay great and what are some of the flours that you recommend from General Mills
Tim Huff: Sure sure I mean when I think of the quintessential New York style pizza I think of All Trumps. All Trumps is a 14% spring wheat high gluten flour that’s predominately used in the New York market.
Right now with the advent of a lot of the Neapolitan style pizza as we came out with a flour a couple years ago called Gold Medal Neapolitan it’s a 12% winter wheat protein. It’s actually what I call and they can flour we have no treatment on it so it’s no bleach, no brominated but it also has no malted barley flour.
With some of these high heat applications what they’re wanting is a something that reduces a little bit of that browning because the oven does such a great job with the browning so we took away the malt so that you don’t get those additional residual sugars in there. So those two are some of the big ones right now.
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