Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dough overflow

This supposedly happened at a Papa John's.

I assume that somebody made too much dough and they threw it out before it had risen.  I have a couple of dough-making stories from my days of working at a pizza place.

Once we ran out of our "yeast mixture."  Mr. Gatti's had (I guess they still do, if any still exist) a specific yeast mixture that was used in making their dough.  It was mostly yeast and some spices mixed in.  I don't know how it happened because I wasn't responsible for ordering stuff.  But anyway, we ran out.  So our manager got on the horn and got a substitute recipe that we could put together ourselves.  But it required a lot of yeast.  This was back before H.E.B. came to town, and when we needed to buy stuff off the shelf from a local store, we just walked down the sidewalk to the nearest "supermarket," which was a place called Mayfield's.  So our manager went down there and bought a big box of Fleischmann's yeast.  It had, I don't know, a couple dozen of those little yeast envelopes in it.  He put together several plastic baggies of yeast mixture according to the recipe he'd been given and that night I made dough with it.

The dough did not rise.  The next day we had to make do with decidedly sub-standard pizza dough.  It was like making pizza with unleavened bread, because that's pretty much in fact what it was.  So while everyone was standing around scratching their heads and wondering what had happened, I went in the back and checked the box.  The expiration date on it was for a date more than a year in the past.  "Hey, Joe," I asked the manager, "Can yeast die?  Because check out the expiration date."

It was a relief to figure out what had gone wrong, but he was still pretty miffed that the store had been stocking yeast that had died long ago.  He got it exchanged for a fresh box and the next day we were back to normal.

Story number two:  we always had some dough left over that had to be thrown out.  It was made at night, then left to rise until morning when it was made into crusts.  The unused dough would keep rising, and would usually completely fill one of the huge plastic buckets that we kept it in (I'd guess it was at least a 50-gallon bucket).  We would keep it for a while, just in case we had a rush of business and ran out of crusts, so we could make some emergency crusts to finish out the night if we needed to.  But at some point, it would become obvious that we wouldn't need it, so the guy who made the dough (often myself) would haul it outside and throw it into the dumpster.  It was always pretty heavy.  One night I guess I was throwing about 60-70 pounds of it out.  It heaved the bucket up onto the lip of the dumpster and tipped it up to spill the dough out.  About that time a homeless guy who was scavenging in the dumpster popped up and said, "Oh, hey there!"  Scared the crap out of me.  "Dude," I told him, "you need to be careful.  I nearly dumped this on your head.  It would've snapped your neck like a twig."  He actually apologized and then asked if I could just leave it out there so he could take it.  So I left the bucket out there and he took the dough, leaving the bucket.  I have no idea how he could haul off all that dough without taking the bucket, but he did it.  When I went outside later, the empty bucket was still there and the man and all the dough was gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment