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Pizza - More of a ritual than a recipe

Pizza - More of a ritual than a recipe
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  • Pizza - More of a ritual than a recipe

    Post #1 - March 20th, 2009, 12:08 pm
    Post #1 - March 20th, 2009, 12:08 pm Post #1 - March 20th, 2009, 12:08 pm
    We made tacos de carnitas yesterday and had plenty of leftovers and deicded to use them to enter the monthly challenge over at pizzmaking.com since the theme this month is "leftovers".

    Image

    Image

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #2 - March 23rd, 2009, 7:38 am
    Post #2 - March 23rd, 2009, 7:38 am Post #2 - March 23rd, 2009, 7:38 am
    All three of the last shots are great. Deep fried chili, a twisted, brilliant mind came up with that.

    Bill your pizza crust looks amazing. Would you be willing to share the recipe?
  • Post #3 - March 23rd, 2009, 9:04 am
    Post #3 - March 23rd, 2009, 9:04 am Post #3 - March 23rd, 2009, 9:04 am
    brandon_w wrote:Bill your pizza crust looks amazing. Would you be willing to share the recipe?


    Thank you, Brandon. It is more of a ritual than a recipe, but here is the short version. Feel free to PM me or, even better, visit the Neapolitan board over at pizzmaking.com where this type of dough is covered in obsessive detail:

    For 6 pies (240g of dough per 10"-12"pie)

    870g Caputo "00" Pizzeria Flour
    527g water
    91g natural starter, activated - I use the Ischia starter from sourdo.com
    26g salt

    2 day room temp bulk fermentation
    5 hour proof
    shape, top, bake @ 900F for 45 seconds

    You can see me making this dough in this video andothers.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #4 - March 23rd, 2009, 11:36 am
    Post #4 - March 23rd, 2009, 11:36 am Post #4 - March 23rd, 2009, 11:36 am
    Bill/SFNM wrote:
    brandon_w wrote:Bill your pizza crust looks amazing. Would you be willing to share the recipe?


    Thank you, Brandon. It is more of a ritual than a recipe, but here is the short version. Feel free to PM me or, even better, visit the Neapolitan board over at pizzmaking.com where this type of dough is covered in obsessive detail:

    For 6 pies (240g of dough per 10"-12"pie)

    870g Caputo "00" Pizzeria Flour
    527g water
    91g natural starter, activated - I use the Ischia starter from sourdo.com
    26g salt

    2 day room temp bulk fermentation
    5 hour proof
    shape, top, bake @ 900F for 45 seconds

    You can see me making this dough in this video andothers.

    Bill/SFNM


    Invaluable contribution, Bill (both the pic and the recipe). Worthy of its own thread. Thank you.

    The second video, particularly, is lovely. Forget the equipment which I'll never have, it just demonstrates the love and the practiced hand and someone who respects the food as much as the process.
  • Post #5 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:02 pm
    Post #5 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:02 pm Post #5 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:02 pm
    Bill,

    Thank you for the links. I watched your video, and you are right it is a bit of a ritual. I have never used starters before when doing any sort of dough. The machine you use (thermo/cooling thing), without that, is it possible to get a starter going, or to activate it properly, or does the controlled temperature just help to speed things up.

    I checked out the pizzamaking.com website and you weren't kidding, there is a lot of very in depth pizza talk there. I am quite interested in the 2stone grill top pizza cooking device but currently don't have the funds for such a purchase, but it is surely something to think about.

    Currently the only way I could possibly come close to 900 would be on my grill, as I am not willing to try and rig my apartment stove. On the pizzamaking board I read a few mentions of FibraMent stones. Would this be the way to go? I have also read that you can use untreated patio/landscaping stones, and that they are just as good and cheaper than "cooking" specific stones. Do you have any opinions on that?

    Thank you for your information and help,
    Brandon



    Bill/SFNM wrote:
    brandon_w wrote:Bill your pizza crust looks amazing. Would you be willing to share the recipe?


    Thank you, Brandon. It is more of a ritual than a recipe, but here is the short version. Feel free to PM me or, even better, visit the Neapolitan board over at pizzmaking.com where this type of dough is covered in obsessive detail:

    For 6 pies (240g of dough per 10"-12"pie)

    870g Caputo "00" Pizzeria Flour
    527g water
    91g natural starter, activated - I use the Ischia starter from sourdo.com
    26g salt

    2 day room temp bulk fermentation
    5 hour proof
    shape, top, bake @ 900F for 45 seconds

    You can see me making this dough in this video andothers.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #6 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:14 pm
    Post #6 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:14 pm Post #6 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:14 pm
    Brandon,

    I'd love to answer your very valid questions, but don't want to hijack this thread. Perhaps a friendly moderator could split this out into a new topic?

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #7 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:35 pm
    Post #7 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:35 pm Post #7 - March 23rd, 2009, 12:35 pm
    Shoot. Meant for that to be a PM. Wasn't paying enough attention. I'll PM it to you than a moderator can delete these last few posts.
  • Post #8 - March 23rd, 2009, 3:01 pm
    Post #8 - March 23rd, 2009, 3:01 pm Post #8 - March 23rd, 2009, 3:01 pm
    brandon_w wrote:Shoot. Meant for that to be a PM. Wasn't paying enough attention. I'll PM it to you than a moderator can delete these last few posts.

    Better yet, I moved the posts as this is of general interest.

    Terrific looking pizza Bill, innovative and delicious.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - March 23rd, 2009, 3:24 pm
    Post #9 - March 23rd, 2009, 3:24 pm Post #9 - March 23rd, 2009, 3:24 pm
    Wow. That's a work of art. Such a beautiful crust.
  • Post #10 - March 24th, 2009, 2:26 am
    Post #10 - March 24th, 2009, 2:26 am Post #10 - March 24th, 2009, 2:26 am
    Excellent!!! Someone has finally roped Bill into an entire thread devoted to his magic.

    Bill - please take this post as a place where you can dump any and all information, photos and footage of your pizza art. The ten minutes I devoted yesterday to watching your youtube videos was (sadly?) the most satisifying 10 minutes of my work day.

    For someone that has just begun experimenting with sourdough, watching your uber-culture spontanously scream through billions of life-cycles in your 900-degree oven is mesmerizing.

    Where do I start?

    Equipment:
    - How long have you had and used your oven? Is your usage considered extreme (temperature-wise)? Have you noticed any wear or tear on it?
    - What is the make and model of your mixer? Where did you find it?
    - Tell us a little about your proofer/fermenter/time machine? If a fly gets caught inside will the dough turn into a hybrid pizza-fly?
    - What wood are you burning?
    - Do you fire up your oven solely for pizzas or do you end up baking in it with the residual heat, too?

    Recipe:
    - I notice very, very exact measurements in reply to brandon_w but seem to see a more human measurement in your video. How exact (I'd need an eye-dropper to get 527 grams) does one need to be?
    - Do the cultures you use come from the website dried or wet? I've looked but can't seem to see any information.
    - Is Caputo 00 considered hard or soft flour? I believe I've seen it listed as soft but that goes against the little I know/use when baking sourdough bread (I actively look for hard flours). What gives?

    As your biggest fan, I've got a million more questions. Please don't let my curiosity and excitement scare you off!
  • Post #11 - March 24th, 2009, 6:44 am
    Post #11 - March 24th, 2009, 6:44 am Post #11 - March 24th, 2009, 6:44 am
    I went ahead and ordered the Italian Culture from sourdo.com. Next I will probably call the Italian Markets/Delis around here to see if they carry 00 flour, otherwise I might have to look into ordering that online too. For now I'm going to check and see how cheap an untreated stone is at a hardware store before sinking the money into a Fibarment stone.

    This will be the first culture I have ever tried to start, hopefully I don't screw up.

    A two day bulk fermentation, is just for the dough correct?

    Is the five hour proof another rise for the dough after they are formed into individual dough balls?

    So much to learn...
  • Post #12 - March 24th, 2009, 7:15 am
    Post #12 - March 24th, 2009, 7:15 am Post #12 - March 24th, 2009, 7:15 am
    :oops: :oops: :oops:
    Thanks to everyone for the praise. It is nice to know others share my passion for cooking with fire.

    watching your uber-culture spontanously scream through billions of life-cycles in your 900-degree oven is mesmerizing


    For a long time I held this belief that "oven spring" was the last gasp of the yeast in response to the high temps. It now seems more reasonable to me that the poor little critters are immediately killed - without even a few moments to put their affairs in order and enjoy a final meal. I'm convinced that almost all of the volume increase in the oven is the result of rapid expansion of all the little gas pockets that have been created by the yeast during fermentation and proofing. The steam created from the dough's moisture assists in this expansion. This is why I am careful when handling the dough to avoid damaging the delicate structure that traps all of these essential gas bubbles.

    I only have time to answer one more question. I'll try to get the rest later today:

    Do you fire up your oven solely for pizzas or do you end up baking in it with the residual heat, too?


    I try to get several meals out of each firing, using the oven for all kinds of breads, meats, vegetables, etc. Typically, I'll fire it up early in the morning so that it is ready for pizzas for lunch. When the heat has dropped to around 650F-700F, I will often roast a chicken - makes great chicken salad sandwiches for the next day. When the heat has dropped to around 500F-550F, I'll bake bread for the chicken salad sandwiches. This is also a good temp for roasting vegetables. At around 400F-500F, I can roast a nice big joint of beef or lamb. The oven can also be used for low/slow cooking of pork butts, briskets, ribs, etc., but my offset smoker does a much better job.

    More later.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #13 - March 24th, 2009, 7:34 am
    Post #13 - March 24th, 2009, 7:34 am Post #13 - March 24th, 2009, 7:34 am
    brandon_w wrote:I went ahead and ordered the Italian Culture from sourdo.com. Next I will probably call the Italian Markets/Delis around here to see if they carry 00 flour, otherwise I might have to look into ordering that online too. For now I'm going to check and see how cheap an untreated stone is at a hardware store before sinking the money into a Fibarment stone.

    This will be the first culture I have ever tried to start, hopefully I don't screw up.

    A two day bulk fermentation, is just for the dough correct?

    Is the five hour proof another rise for the dough after they are formed into individual dough balls?

    So much to learn...


    Brandon,

    There are many varieties of "00" flour. Some are more suitable for pasta than for pizza. You can order small bags of Caputo Pizzeria flour from http://www.pennmac.com.

    Typically, those flours milled for Neapolitan-style pizzas do not produce great results at temperatures below say 800F. (Enhancements such as sugar, milk, oil, etc. are often needed when baking at lower temps.) I would take it one step at a time, first getting a stone and figuring out how to manage your grill to get a high-temp that is balanced so that the crust is done at the same time as the toppings. I would stick with commercial yeast until you get a handle on this.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #14 - March 24th, 2009, 1:00 pm
    Post #14 - March 24th, 2009, 1:00 pm Post #14 - March 24th, 2009, 1:00 pm
    Thanks. I will go look for a stone after work tonight. Possibly looking to make some standard grilled pizzas on Friday night, so I can check the things you mentioned, even distribution of heat, and how hot I can get my grill.
  • Post #15 - March 24th, 2009, 1:21 pm
    Post #15 - March 24th, 2009, 1:21 pm Post #15 - March 24th, 2009, 1:21 pm
    Here is a little video from this project. I'll get better, I promise.

    http://vimeo.com/3837906
  • Post #16 - March 24th, 2009, 2:02 pm
    Post #16 - March 24th, 2009, 2:02 pm Post #16 - March 24th, 2009, 2:02 pm
    brandon_w wrote:Bill,

    I checked out the pizzamaking.com website and you weren't kidding, there is a lot of very in depth pizza talk there. I am quite interested in the 2stone grill top pizza cooking device but currently don't have the funds for such a purchase, but it is surely something to think about.

    Bill/SFNM
    [/quote]

    I bought one of the 2stone ovens last summer. Got LOTS of use out of it on my gas grill. Bought a Weber charcoal grill over the winter that I can't wait to try it on this year! If you can scrape together the funds I don't think you would regret purchasing one.
  • Post #17 - March 24th, 2009, 2:30 pm
    Post #17 - March 24th, 2009, 2:30 pm Post #17 - March 24th, 2009, 2:30 pm
    A "hack" I've found that works well enough for those of us who don't have access to a wood burning oven is to heat up a cast-iron pan REAL hot on the stove, plop down a disk of dough and cook until the bottom starts to char (about 1 - 1.5 minutes). Remove, top, finish in the oven on another cooking surface, either under the broiler or just bake. The problem with this method is the charring depends on the evenness of the heat conduction of your cooking surface. (This method is prone to hot spots on the pan.) The plus is, you get some of that wonderful flecking on the underside of the dough and, if you decide to put it under the broiler, on the top edges of your dough, too. That's the best I've been able to get at home without resorting to methods that require you to jury-rig your oven's self-cleaning cycle. I've tried it on the grill, but I could never get my stone hot enough. Maybe I'm just not patient enough. I would leave the stone in there for a good hour, but it still took about 10 minutes or more to finish it, and I never could get that char.
  • Post #18 - March 24th, 2009, 3:46 pm
    Post #18 - March 24th, 2009, 3:46 pm Post #18 - March 24th, 2009, 3:46 pm
    Some folks have found the Little Black Egg to be an inexpensive and effective grill modification.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #19 - March 24th, 2009, 5:07 pm
    Post #19 - March 24th, 2009, 5:07 pm Post #19 - March 24th, 2009, 5:07 pm
    Thanks for that link! I think I've found my summer project.
  • Post #20 - March 24th, 2009, 6:58 pm
    Post #20 - March 24th, 2009, 6:58 pm Post #20 - March 24th, 2009, 6:58 pm
    Hi guys!

    Bill is truly a demigod over at pizzamaking.com. Personally, I've learned so much from his posts as I have a Wood Fired Oven. Before the appearance of my WFO, I had to console myself with the excellent offerings from other members who made wonderful pizzas using their home ovens and techniques. So, for a couple of years, I had to contend with wonderful Chicago deep dish (there is one in there that I swear is a replica of Gino's East 25 years ago) and the perfectly wonderful Jeff Varasano styings of NY pizza. All those wonderful posts and recipes are there for the reading and research.
    I guess what I'm saying is consider your equipment at hand and exploit it to the best of your ability. You will be amazed! Great pizza is in your immediate future. I promise.
  • Post #21 - March 25th, 2009, 1:26 am
    Post #21 - March 25th, 2009, 1:26 am Post #21 - March 25th, 2009, 1:26 am
    More answers to Bridgestone's questions:

    - How long have you had and used your oven? Is your usage considered extreme (temperature-wise)? Have you noticed any wear or tear on it?


    Almost 9 years. I don't know if it is considered "extreme" by the manufacturer of the bricks. I see no wear & tear, but I did overbuild it.

    - What is the make and model of your mixer? Where did you find it?


    The mixer is a French-made Santos 18N Fork Mixer. Love it!

    - Tell us a little about your proofer/fermenter/time machine? If a fly gets caught inside will the dough turn into a hybrid pizza-fly?

    It is a ThermoCool MR-138, now discontinued and replaced with the larger Koolatron C18.

    - What wood are you burning?


    Mix of oak and pecan

    - I notice very, very exact measurements in reply to brandon_w but seem to see a more human measurement in your video. How exact (I'd need an eye-dropper to get 527 grams) does one need to be?


    I use a pretty accurate scale, but make minor adjustments based on the current conditions to get the desired "feel".

    - Do the cultures you use come from the website dried or wet? I've looked but can't seem to see any information.


    They come dried and you then have to go through a careful rehydration/activation process. They are very hardy cultures, but until they are fully revived, contamination is an issue.

    - Is Caputo 00 considered hard or soft flour? I believe I've seen it listed as soft but that goes against the little I know/use when baking sourdough bread (I actively look for hard flours). What gives?


    Soft. Pizza, especially the Neapolitan-style isn't bread. Once I was able to grok that distinction, my efforts improved greatly.

    Hope this helps.

    Bill
  • Post #22 - March 25th, 2009, 4:12 am
    Post #22 - March 25th, 2009, 4:12 am Post #22 - March 25th, 2009, 4:12 am
    Thanks Bill!

    I didn't mean to overload you as much as express awe and open up for any information you may have and be willing/able to provide.

    You are obviously close-to-unique in this area and watching and learning from you is fascinating and inspirational.

    I sincerely appreciate your detailed answers as well as your posts and will always be looking forward to more.

    I'll take a step back now and simply let you do your stuff!
  • Post #23 - March 25th, 2009, 8:48 am
    Post #23 - March 25th, 2009, 8:48 am Post #23 - March 25th, 2009, 8:48 am
    Glad this thread is here - I'm a very novice baker and tried my first hand at a crust last night.

    3 cups flour, cup of water, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, teaspoon of salt, teaspoon of sugar, package of yeast. Put it together in the mixer for 10 minutes, let it rise for like 2 hours - probably longer than necessary.

    Punch down, parbake in a 450-500 degree oven for a few minutes (I believe I had it in there for 9), top and back into the oven for about another 8-10.

    It came out super-crackery with zero pliability. Any thoughts on what I can do to get a little more softness to it? I probably won't par-bake the other half of the dough I made, but other than that, anything I can do in the future?
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #24 - March 25th, 2009, 8:57 am
    Post #24 - March 25th, 2009, 8:57 am Post #24 - March 25th, 2009, 8:57 am
    Glad this thread is here - I'm a very novice baker and tried my first hand at a crust last night.

    3 cups flour, cup of water, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, teaspoon of salt, teaspoon of sugar, package of yeast. Put it together in the mixer for 10 minutes, let it rise for like 2 hours - probably longer than necessary.

    Punch down, parbake in a 450-500 degree oven for a few minutes (I believe I had it in there for 9), top and back into the oven for about another 8-10.

    It came out super-crackery with zero pliability. Any thoughts on what I can do to get a little more softness to it? I probably won't par-bake the other half of the dough I made, but other than that, anything I can do in the future?


    This recipe is very close to one I used to use which did not turn out crackery at all. I think the difference is in the parbaking. Are you using a stone? I used to bake the pie on either parchment or a pizza screen directly on the stone at about 500 degrees until it looked done. This was probably 8-10 minutes total baking, rather than 17-19 in your technique.

    Edited to add - I mean I do not parbake at all.
    Last edited by rickster on March 25th, 2009, 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #25 - March 25th, 2009, 9:38 am
    Post #25 - March 25th, 2009, 9:38 am Post #25 - March 25th, 2009, 9:38 am
    whiskeybent wrote:It came out super-crackery with zero pliability. Any thoughts on what I can do to get a little more softness to it? I probably won't par-bake the other half of the dough I made, but other than that, anything I can do in the future?


    Some people really like crackery crust. I don't. Couple of observations:

    - If you are serious about improving your baking efforts, you really need to weigh out the ingredients. Measuring by volume, especially flour can be very inaccurate making it hard to reproduce results.

    - You should make a slight change to each batch, observing the results, and then making a slight change to the next batch. It is important to change only one variable at a time.

    - The first thing I would change is your proofing regimen. After the first rise, I would cut and shape into individual dough balls and allow those to proof again before shaping.

    - What kind of flour are you using? That can make a big difference.

    - Soft doughs are typically not baked so long. Cranking up the temp as high as you can and using a stone will allow the crust to be done much quicker. Also, visual cues of doneness can be misleading and cause you to overbake the pie. There are things you can add like milk which will give you a browned crust in much less time.

    - Once you get a handle on the above items and your crust is still too hard, I would slowly start to crank up the amount of water and see if that helps.

    Hope this helps a little.
  • Post #26 - March 25th, 2009, 9:51 am
    Post #26 - March 25th, 2009, 9:51 am Post #26 - March 25th, 2009, 9:51 am
    whiskeybent wrote:Glad this thread is here - I'm a very novice baker and tried my first hand at a crust last night.

    3 cups flour, cup of water, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, teaspoon of salt, teaspoon of sugar, package of yeast. Put it together in the mixer for 10 minutes, let it rise for like 2 hours - probably longer than necessary.

    Punch down, parbake in a 450-500 degree oven for a few minutes (I believe I had it in there for 9), top and back into the oven for about another 8-10.

    It came out super-crackery with zero pliability. Any thoughts on what I can do to get a little more softness to it? I probably won't par-bake the other half of the dough I made, but other than that, anything I can do in the future?


    Whiskeybent - I haven't read through this thread, so I apologize if this has already been covered. I don't parbake pizza crust (except when I make a deepdish crust).
  • Post #27 - March 25th, 2009, 9:07 pm
    Post #27 - March 25th, 2009, 9:07 pm Post #27 - March 25th, 2009, 9:07 pm
    I didn't parbake tonight and had much better results. The recipe I had called for parbaking which is why I gave it a shot last night (as a sort of baseline/control) but I'm glad I passed on it this time. I am using a stone and had the oven cranked to 500 degrees, and only had my pizza in there for about ten minutes.

    Still not perfect though: I look forward to implementing your suggestions, Bill, especially those in terms of weight, wetness and milk as well. For what it's worth, I'm just using generic AP flour. I have bread flour on hand as well - perhaps that's my next true experiment.
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #28 - April 11th, 2009, 12:34 pm
    Post #28 - April 11th, 2009, 12:34 pm Post #28 - April 11th, 2009, 12:34 pm
    Photos from today's lunch:

    Flammekuche:

    Image

    Classic Margherita:

    Image

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #29 - April 13th, 2009, 7:09 am
    Post #29 - April 13th, 2009, 7:09 am Post #29 - April 13th, 2009, 7:09 am
    I have made pizza's twice over the last couple weeks. These times I have used a different dough recipe than I have in the past, Alton Brown's, and now have stones for my grill. Alton's dough recipe is much better than the one I had been using, and not par-baking has led to a much better pizza, also a completely different style of pizza than the previous ones I had been making on the grill. During this process I have not been able to get my grill much over 500.

    Both times with the dough I did a 6 hour room temp rise, and over night rise, and then a 2 hour bench proof before working the the dough.

    Pictures from the first attempt:

    Uncooked (L-R): Classic Margherita, Ricotta with roasted garlic beat into it, canadian bacon (with too much cheese):
    Image

    Cooked shots:
    Image

    Image

    Image

    With the stones in the grill I am getting a great crisp crust on the bottom and it is cooking all the way through, however I am not getting enough heat on top to get any real browning on the sides of the crust or the cheese. Good flavor, nice pizza, just not exactly what I want. I also learned that being lazy and using a rolling pin vs hand tossing can really kill the dough and stop it from puffing up as nicely when it cooks. So I will be working on my hand tossing skills.

    For the second attempt I changed a few things. The first change was an accident, I was reading the measurements for salt but measuring sugar. I wasn't sure how this would effect things but I just went with it. I liked the results, the yeast fed like crazy, the dough had two great rises and really "poofed" when cooking.

    The second change was lining my warming rack in the grill with aluminum foil and putting coals on top of that. It didn't change things as much as I would have hoped. I put a few hot coals up there and added some fresh ones, thinking the fresh ones would catch up in the 1.5 hours that I let the grill and stones heat, they did not really start to burn well until about 2.5 hours in when I was done cooking.

    Pictures from the second time:
    Image

    Image

    Image

    Image

    I might try heating the oven to 550 and seeing how they turn out versus using the grill. However I might also try rigging a blow dry to my grill like Alton Brown does to see how that works for a heat increase.

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