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While Flour Girl's away

Editor's note: Baking issues still arise.

Readers are always teaching us new things. For example, in yesterday's Free Range chat, a reader wondered what to make of Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast, bought by accident at the grocery store.


(www.pizzacrustyeast.com)

The yeast packet "says that there’s no need to let the yeast proof or the dough rise, and there’s a specific dough recipe on the back," the chatter wrote. "Any experience with this? I have my own whole-wheat crust recipe that I usually use, and I’m wondering if it would work. It would save some time."

We didn't answer the question, because we couldn't. I make my pizza crust with sourdough, so I have to admit right off the bat that I haven't used the product, and I won't have time to hit the store and try it out for a couple of days. But since the question came in, I spent time crawling around the Web and finding info, pro and con.

It looks like Fleischmann's introduced the yeast late last year. The product info says that you just mix the dough and use it immediately -- no rising needed -- and that it won't shrink or pull back, like a lot of doughs do. I frequently have to wrestle my pizza dough into a disk, only to have it stubbornly return to whatever shape it darn pleases, so that quality interests me right away.

What makes it so obedient? "Dough relaxers," or enzymes, are the secret. They relax the gluten in the flour that normally would make the dough springy.

Like I said, I haven't used it. That's my disclaimer. Those who have report mixed results, but they're generally positive. Purists say there's a sacrifice of taste and texture in dough that hasn't had the benefit of a long, slow rise. Others say that the assembly takes getting used to (you can waste a couple of packets during the learning process) but that, in general, it's worth it for the time-saving abilities.

The reader specifically asked about a whole-wheat crust. The Fleischmann's Web site seems to discourage using all whole-wheat flour; it says you can substitute half of the flour in its house recipe with whole-wheat. (You don't have to use the Fleischmann's recipe, but I think that guideline is instructive.)

In this case, as in most cases, my instinct is: What the heck; if you've already bought it, try it. It'll be an interesting experiment regardless of what happens. And then you can write back and let me know how it went.

-- Jane Touzalin

By Jane Touzalin  |  April 22, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl  | Tags: Flour Girl, Jane Touzalin, baking, pizza  
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