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Flour types

I keep getting mixed information on this.
Does anybody know the best flour to use, when making New England Greek style pizza crust? I've attempted twice with all purpose, and while the pizza came out good, it certainly wasn't the style I was aiming for.
The technique I've been using is no-knead dough, 16 hour rise period, cooking on a pan with a high smoke point oil at 500 degrees until the edges are starting to brown a bit.

Also, does anyone know if there is any type of flour that helps give cookies a softer, chewier texture?
I've pretty much nailed the flavor I'm looking for, but the texture is always off. If I do manage to keep them soft, they have a pancake-ish texture, otherwise, they're coming out soft and chewy when they're still warm, but they don't stay that way for longer than a day, no matter how I store them.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

:)

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  1. Sorry I don't have anything to offer on the pizza crust, but for cookies Alton Brown did an episode on his Food Network show demonstrating how to make Chocolate Chip Cookies in three different variations: chewy & soft, puffy, thin & crispy. Here's the link http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/good.... To make these different varieties you have alter the flour, sugar and fat. This was his Good Eats series and the episode title was "Three Chips for Sister Marsha". If you can find a copy of the full episode on the web you he goes into the chemistry behind it. Of course the fundamentals can be extrapolated to most any similar type of cookie.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kmcarr

      Thanks, very much! I'll check that out :)

    2. "...no matter how I store them."

      are you making them ahead of time then 'filling' to make pizza?

      in big broad terms, softer doughs contain egg and / or fats - that's what makes them 'tender'

      no-knead type bread doughs I'm familiar with have no egg/fat - flour yeast salt water

      flour with higher gluten makes for stretchy/elastic - this usually translates to 'bubbled up crust' for pizzas altho the stretchy part is advantageous for tossing....

      not sure the flour / technique is the issue - perhaps add (increasing amounts of) olive oil to your current dough until it satisfies?

      3 Replies
      1. re: PSRaT

        The storage issue, was in reference to homemade cookies. I was saying that, no matter how I store the cookies, they're almost never very soft/chewy the day after I bake them and put the leftovers away.

        As for the pizza dough.
        From what I understand, part of how the New England style, Greek owned pizza places make their crust taste the way it does, is to make a no-knead dough, and cook in a mix of olive oil, and some type of high-smoke-point-saturated-fat-heavy oil or shortening at 500 degrees.

        I just feel like I'm missing a step. Perhaps your suggestion of more olive oil in the dough will help.

        Thank you :)

        1. re: gej213

          ...it's the cookies... oops. my boo-boo.

          the type of fat in cookies - butter - solid shortening - oil - etc does make a difference especially as to "spread when baked" and as cited sugar tends to 'hold' moisture. it's a balance of those that make the cookies hard/soft/chewy.

          do keep in mind, many billions of cookie recipes were written for the ole' transfat Crisco type shortenings, and bakers all over the world have noted the 'new&improved' Crisco does not produce the same results.

          1. re: PSRaT

            Also, the "new & improved" Crisco still has artificial transfats - they've only lowered the level just to the point where they can round the "per serving" amount down the zero.

            Regardless, it's a crap fat that brings nothing to the party.

      2. Regarding the first question on pizza, I would try bread flour (my favorite for a sourdough normal pizza is half bread flour and half white whole wheat. I didn't have a clue on what "New England Greek Pizza" was... So a google search found this... http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...
        Probably more than you ever wanted to know!

        Regarding the second question on cookies.. AP flour should give you the best results. When I make cookies, I always pull out of the oven when they still seem under done, the tops should be just firm but not brown, other wise they will turn into hard things. Also, I cut back on how much sugar is called for.. Just don't like them too sweet but I think this also affects how fast they brown. America's test kitchen has also done a test on this, they rec melted brown butter and big cookie size.. Here is a link to the recipe http://www.food.com/recipe/perfect-ch..... But I haven't tried.

        3 Replies
        1. re: firecooked

          I can't speak to the pizza question, but re: cookies I agree with firecooked about pulling them out of the oven about a minute before you think you should if you want soft cookies. Also, for chocolate chip and such I almost always freeze mine if I'm not going to serve them same day. Even 24 hours at room temperature changes the texture for the worse (unless we're talking about a type that benefits from "aging" like a gingerbread)

          1. re: cookie monster

            Cool, thanks, i'll definitely toss them in the freezer next time.

            I sometimes forget, it's sort of impossible to keep homemade stuff at room temp, and keep the same quality and consistency. No preservatives has upsides and downsides, I guess.

          2. re: firecooked

            Great links (especially the pizza one, wow!)
            Thanks!

          3. Shirley Corriher's "Cookwise" has a thorough chapter on tweaking cookie recipes for texture, thickness, brownness, etc., from which Brown cribbed for Good Eats. It's my understanding that her follow-up book, Bakewise, essentially repeats the baking info from Cookwise.

            1. Sort of in the same vein, but I have always been told that making pasta requires durum wheat flour.
              Couldn't find it in my store, but they had 00 Italian flour. Is that the same thing? It says on the packet that it is especially for pasta.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cronker

                durum wheat is a strain / variety of wheat that is especially "hard" - i.e. high protein high gluten. semolina is made from durum wheat

                the Italian designations 1, 0, 00 refer to the fineness of grind, not to the type of wheat itself.

                I use bread flour to make pasta - but fresh pasta is like fine wines, everybody has an opinion what is 'best'

              2. Here is a good article about that style of pizza with a link to a recipe at the end.

                http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                His dough formula is no-knead, but uses bread flour instead of all purpose.