Sunday, May 13, 2012

The “repeatable” dough.


When I talk of repeatability in a measurement process, I mean the variation in measurements taken by a single person or instrument on the same item and under the same conditions.

Thinking about how many times I made the same dough and, during the passed years, how many times I didn't achieved the same result, I have developed a simple theory that helped me to make my doughs the more possible repeatable.
It certainly isn't a revolutionary theory. Rather, I would say that it is the result of what I have learned from more experienced people, with the addition of my personal experience.
A conclusive kneading factor, is especially for doughs for bread, pizza and focaccia; the room temperature. Obviously, an higher room temperature need a shorter rise time or less amount of yeast in the dough. In some situations I had to decrease both the elements.
Another factor to consider is the quality of the ingredients. In nutritional terms, it's easy use products belonging to the same quality but with nutritional characteristics. Thinking for example the main ingredient for every dough: the flour.
How many times you have used the same kind of flour as before, obtaining a different dough, despite you have surely maintained the identical quantities of all the ingredients?
As you will certainly have noticed, if you ever happened to read the chart of the nutritional values (when available) on the wrapping of the flours, for the same type of flour (00, 0, 1, 2 or whole wheat) the percentage of proteins and other components contained, can also vary in significant way.
In the same way, for these differences, also the rheological characteristics of the dough will vary (for rheological characteristics here are intended its strength and extensibility of the dough).
Moreover, if we want to consider also another more technical factor, also the water temperature (or any other liquid used for kneading), has a relevant part to achieve a result similar to the previously obtained.
There are also many other factors that must be considered in order to obtain a “repeatable” dough: time of kneading, room relative humidity, flour humidity, temperature of the dough, etc.
But for the moment I stop here, to avoid to complicate a simple thing, at least in appearance!

 Sweet loaf for breakfast