Dissolving gas in dough at high pressure can create ideal leavening without yeast

In typical breads, yeast produces bubbles via a biochemical process, causing the dough to rise and develop into light, airy and flavorful treats. Without this yeast, it is difficult to make bites with the same characteristic taste and texture. The perfect yeast-free pizza, as such, presents a significant challenge for yeast-intolerant bakers and crust-lovers around the world.

In Fluid Physicsby AIP Publishing, researchers from the University of Naples Federico II have developed a method for raising pizza dough without yeast.

The team, which included its own professional pizza maker/graduate student, prepared the dough by mixing water, flour and salt and placing it in a hot autoclave, an industrial device designed to increase the temperature and the pressure.

From there, the process is similar to that used to produce the carbonation of soda. The gas is dissolved in the dough at high pressure and bubbles form in the dough when the pressure is released during baking. In comparison to other scientific experiments, the pressures involved were light. They can be obtained by a typical household coffee maker.

However, scientists-turned-bakers had to be careful with releasing the pressure. Compared to soda, pizza dough does not respond as well to a sudden change in pressure.

“The key to the process is to design the rate of pressure release so as not to stress the dough, which likes to expand gently,” said author Ernesto Di Maio.

The authors evaluated their paste with rheology, which measures the flow and deformation of a material. Fine-tuning the pressure release through rheological analysis allowed the bubbles to gently inflate to the desired extent.

“We mainly studied the behavior of dough with and without yeast. How sweetness changes with rising and how dough reacts to a temperature program during baking,” said author Rossana Pasquino. “It was fundamental to designing the pressure protocol for yeast-free dough.”

After extensive unofficial taste testing, the researchers purchase a larger food-grade autoclave that will make full-size pizzas in future experiments. They hope to see their idea used in pizzerias.

“We had a lot of fun applying things we know well to delicious polymers, instead of our typical and sometimes boring smelly plastics,” Pasquino said. “The idea of ​​approaching food samples with the same technologies and knowledge used for thermoplastic polymers has been surprisingly successful!”

As someone with a yeast allergy, Di Maio is also excited about applications for other sourdough products like bread, cakes and snacks.

“This new technology can lead to the development of new products, new dough formulations and specific recipes for food intolerance, hopefully helping people enjoy healthy and tasty food,” he said. -he declares.

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Material provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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