A classic pizza dough is made from lake, water, salt and yeast. However, using yeast has two drawbacks: on the one hand, it makes the dough unsuitable for people who are allergic to yeast, and on the other, little yeast needs to be used in a dough that is allowed to rise slowly, ideally overnight, when the dough does not ferment. is going to taste. Pietro Renato Avallone, a PhD student at the Federico II University of Naples, has had a yeast allergy since he was 25. In response to this, the pizza fan has now developed a process for pizza dough that does not require yeast.
Old idea in a new edition
The method could not only help people with a yeast allergy, but also develop completely new, industrially produced bakery products.
Strictly speaking, the idea itself is not really new. As early as 1862, British chemist John Dauglish succeeded in developing a process to replace yeast in bread baking. The process involved stirring carbonated water into the dough at high speed. This also eliminated the need for manual kneading of the dough. Dauglish founded the Aereated Bread Company, whose factories baked bread in three hours instead of the previous 10, which of course also resulted in significant cost savings. However, the process developed by Dauglish was later replaced by other baking methods.
Pressure instead of yeast
The new process is also one that is more suitable for industrial production than for baking pizzas in the home kitchen. The process is inspired by a new method for manufacturing PU foam. In this case, the reaction mixture is replaced under pressure with a physical blowing agent. A large number of bubbles form due to a rapid pressure drop. A slow pressure drop is then used to cure the foam.
Avalone and his colleagues took a very similar approach. After the production of the classic pizza dough, which was made without yeast, they put it in an autoclave – a pressure vessel that can be closed gas-tight. They then pumped in air, helium or carbon dioxide. They then reduced the pressure thus built up by constantly supplying heat.
† The pivot of the new process is the imposed pressure history, which must be based on both the dissolution process and the curing kinetics (baking in the case of bread or pizza).The team found the necessary parameters by measuring the mechanical properties of the pizza dough. According to the scientists, dough is a soft solid that can be seen as a filled elastomeric network of hard starch particles. Thanks to the yeast, CO2 is then released. free in this network, leading to the change in volume.
Data makes exact recipe possible
Using the data obtained through their measurements and tests, the researchers were able to optimize the process they developed. The pressure increase in the autoclave took place linearly over a period of 30 seconds, with the pressure increasing to 6 bar. This pressure was then held for 70 seconds, after which it was reduced linearly to ambient pressure over 10 minutes. The temperature was 150 degrees and carbon dioxide was used as the blowing agent.
So far, however, the researchers have only been able to process small amounts of dough. However, they have already ordered an autoclave that can make a complete pizza.