The epoxy method pizza dough
Flour, 600 g ( 21 oz ) 60%
Whole wheat flour, 400 g ( 14 oz ) 40%
Water, 800 g ( 28 oz ) 80%
Yeast, 2 packs (instant)
Salt, 20 g ( 2/3 oz ) 2%
Materials and Methods
Working with Baker’s Percentages
From a physicist point of view a baker’s world is a very odd one percentage wise.
It is a place where a recipe can be made with 70% of this plus 50% of that and 120% of another that; and all seems normal. But there’s a trick to it: Bakers bake; More to the point bakers bake flour with stuff.
All comes down to flour in a baker centric view. In any recipe the weight of the other ingredients must be comparable to the amount of flour. So for the sake of sanity someone decided that total weight of flour is always 100%.
A regular bread is 100% flour, 60 to 70% water, 2% salt and some yeast(yeast is a cheater). Do that with 1kg of flour or 10kg the ratio keeps the same.
This dough is somewhat wet. we are doing 60% bread flour, 40% whole wheat flour (hence the 100%) and 80% water (which normally would be a lot), 2% salt and 2 doses or packs of instant yeast.
The Epoxy Method
It all came from a TED talk by Peter Reinhart where he talks about a whole wheat bread that is not heavy and hard.
He does not goes into specifics but he calls “The Epoxy Method” and give some very good hints. After a little reverse engineering and testing I came up of this idea of using his method with pizza dough.
The method is basically create 2 goos, one is the Soaker the other is the Biga let the enzymes work over a long period and them mix them together just like epoxy.
So in the morning where you plan to do pizza in the evening get started.
In one bowl mix the whole wheat flour with the same weight of water (let’s say 400g/14oz of each). This is the Soaker. It has no yeast and will not grow. Cover and reserve.
In a large bowl mix the rest of the water and the same weight of bread flour (again 400g/14oz of each) and one pack of instant yeast. This is the Biga (the same as we’ve made with the Tuscan Bread). Leave it to grow covered in a warm place.
A couple of hours before pizza time
In a small bowl add the rest of the flour(20%), all the salt and an extra packet of instant yeast. Mix them well.
In a large working surface, mix the Biga and the Soaker together until they are uniform. It will be sticky so if mixing by hand use one one hand otherwise your kitchen might look like Peter Parker’s place after an hard party.
Slowly add the dry mix to the epoxy until it is all absorbed. Knead for about 5 minutes.
Keep in mind that the bubbles in the dough are not only caused by yeast.. the bubbles are placed there by the baker, the yeast only fills them.
So kneading is the act of spreading and trapping pockets of air for the yeast.
After kneading divide into reasonable sized balls cover with flour and let it rest in a warm place that is not drafty.(if it is cover with a tea towel)
This is the final raise that will give taste and texture for your dough. Let it rest for the one hour at least before shaping.
Toppings and Sauce
Now is a good time to contemplate them. My tomato sauce for pizza is a raw one. In the food processor just pulse some fresh tomatoes, garlic and some one can of tomati pelati. Do not liquefy them, I like them to the chunky side, salt a little.
For the cheese my new mania is buffalo mozzarella. I found a brand (Levitare) that is creamy inside and not rubbery at all, also weird as it seems to Brazil, it has been presenting very constant taste and texture.
Shaping the disks
Remember all those lovely bubbles that you worked so hard to instil into the dough? Why do you want to kill them? WHY? WHY? What have they ever done to you or to your family, besides providing texture for your food?
So GET THAT ROLLING PIN AWAY FROM THE DOUGH
Make a mound of flour and move one ball on top of the mound. Very carefully shape the disk paying attention to not flat what will be the crust.
Add your toppings, and place the pizza in the oven on high.
Here it is up to you. Some people double bake the pizzas, some don’t. Helps if you have a pizza stone, which I don’t. I have a unfinished pizza oven.. so I can’t use it because it is not ready yet, nor I can rationalize the expense of buying a pizza stone.
I just bake in the oven and get good results :)
BTW have more dough balls than you need, you can bake them with the tomato sauce and freeze them. Just thaw them before using.
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