The Fresh Loaf

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Peter Reinhart's new Neopolitan Pizza Dough Recipe Problem

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rsherr's picture
rsherr

Peter Reinhart's new Neopolitan Pizza Dough Recipe Problem

The Neopolitan Pizza dough recipe in Peter Reinhart's new books makes fabulous pizza but I'm having trouble shaping it using his tossing method without it's quickly getting so thin it tears.  It's a very wet dough. Anyone else having this problem? Wonder if adding a bit more flour and making it a bit drier would help. Or using the stretch and fold technique on it.  I can't believe the photo in his earlier book where he's tossing a foot in the air could be done with this dough.


Richard

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Sorry to say I too have had some frustrating results with Reinhart's recipes of late, including this very same pizza dough.  Mine held together OK, but it didn't have the crisp crust and the nice air pockets in the outer crust that the book promised.  I used the recipe from his American Pie, so it's possible he could have amended the process since then, or of course it could be that my technique is still lacking. I'm certainly not trying to blame him for my shortcomings, but I am still searching for the "perfect" pizza dough. 


Joe Va, didn't you say you were still tweaking yours?  I'm eager to see it when you're done!

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

I've gotten good results with this dough, but I knew it was too wet to toss it, so I didn't even try.  He suggests an alternate method of hanging the round off the edge of the counter and letting it stretch itself out with its own weight.  This works pretty well for me.  I place the dough round on a sheet of parchment first, then drape it over the counter, and shift it a bit around along the edge of the dough until the thing has stretched out to an acceptable size.  It's never round, LOL!  But it works.


I have since started making the Neo-neapolitan recipe from American Pie, and I like it even better.  It is easier to work with.  I stretch it out onto parchment and cover with plastic, then roll it out evenly with a rolling pin.  Can't get much easier than that.

logdrum's picture
logdrum

I haven't used the recipe in question, but my pizza dough is fairly slack at 65-67% hydration. I always place the dough in a 10" round cake pan filled w/ flour, dredge both sides, make a rim (up against the wall of the cake pan) with my fingertips & gently stretch the dough over the backs of my hands. If the dough is fairly cool, I can toss it, otherwise I just stretch & put it on my peel.


 


-d

Janwa's picture
Janwa

I recently attended a pizza class and our Italian instructor suggested using a rolling pin at the beginning stages in order to ensure a round pizza.  He taught us to roll the dough through an upwards and downwards (maintaining only one direction) motion while making a quarter turn each time.  Once the dough has reached a certain diameter such as 8 inches or bigger that's when the stretching is done.  He recommended just stretching while turn the dough to get an even stretch and even did the stretching through hanging the dough over the counter which I haven't mastered.  I love this technique coz it's pretty much fool proof and is much more suited for novice bakers such as myself!

logdrum's picture
logdrum

My $.02: While rolling dough out w/ a pin may accomplish your size needs, I find that the resulting crust is far too brittle.


 


-d 

rsherr's picture
rsherr

I would agree that rolling pins although much easier don't make anywhere near as good a crust.  The crusts I've been getting by tossing (with difficulty) are far better than any I could get before by rolling even allowing for having to patch the holes that tear in the crust.  I will try hanging it off the counter next time, but I think there must be some differences in the dough in the photos of Peter tossing it a foot or more in the air. 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I'm a fan of Reinhart's bread books, but his pizza dough is similar to many, many such recipes, and in terms of flavour is nothing special IMO.


I used to make my dough more or less as per Reinhart's, and after much tweaking and experimenting, I thought I'd developed my pizzas to a stage that would be hard to improve on without a wood-fired oven...then I discovered sourdough pizzas!  To my taste, SD pizza dough retarded in the fridge over 3 days is superior in flavour to any dry yeast version I've come across.


Further, the mix I use is too wet to contemplate tossing it. After it has warmed up from its time in the fridge I simply dump it out of its oiled container on to a floured bench , then stretch it out slowly and gently from the middle to the outside, taking care to keep the base evenly spread, and leaving a slight rim around the outside. If you've developed the gluten properly when making the dough (before transferring it to the fridge for slow fermentation) it will not tear, and will be relaxed and easy to work to a lovely thin base - or thicker, if you prefer.


The only slightly difficult part is transferring the stretched out dough to the semolina-sprinkled peel prior to putting the toppings on and bunging it into the oven. I find it best to get my partner to lift one side while I lift the other. This can stretch it pretty thin and distort the roundness, but once on the peel, it's easily re-shaped. If you're short of someone to help get it on the peel, edging a flour-coated stiff card or similar gradually under one side and lifting the other side of the base in your hand gets the job done.


I'd strongly recommend giving SD a try in your next pizza dough. What you lose in theatrical effect with the tossing you more than make up for in the flavour of the finished product! Of course, domestic ovens are never going to provide the sort of heat you need to get that gorgeously light pizza base that a 2 minute bake at ideally high heat will give, but I find 8 minutes on a pizza stone pre-heated for 45 minutes on max (250C) in my domestic oven does a pretty damned fine job.


Cheers
Ross

AOJ's picture
AOJ

Would you be willing to share your technique and formula for sourdough pizza crust? I have tried several, with minimal success. I keep going back to my yeast version, but I really want a good sourdough pizza.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Sure, AOJ. Will post it as a blog as soon as I have the time. Will notify you on this thread when it's up.


Cheers
Ross

rsherr's picture
rsherr

Ross, I have no doubt that your sourdough dough is superior and Peter Reinhart, I believe, recommends that too, but I find sourdough so difficult to get to the right stage and keep at the right stage unless you're ready to bake everyday and I'm not home to bake everyday unfortunately.  Nevertheless I will definitely look at your recipe when you post it.


Regards,


Richard

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hi AOJ and Richard.


Just to let you know, I've posted my SD pizza recipe - see here.


 


Cheers!
Ross

farina22's picture
farina22

I just did a blind test using my standard pizza dough recipe and wood-fired oven. The only variable was the type of flour. For one batch, I used Giusto's 00 flour. Batch#2 was King Arthur Unbleached White. Batch #3 was KA Bread Flour. I even set the mixer timer so the times were all the same. I did not tell the tasters/testers what they were looking for or what the test was about so as not to influence the outcome.


Much to my surprise, all 4 people selected Batch#2. They agreed that the crust was more crisp, the air pockets bigger, the flavor a little wheatier. I was so surprised that the unbleached white outperformed the 00, especially since I had previously done a similar test comparing Caputo's 00 and Giusto's 00.


Surprising to me. Oh, the pizza dough recipe was as follows:


500 gm flour


350 gm water


4 tsp kosher salt


1/2 scant tsp. instant dry yeast


It has an autolyse, shaping and then overnight retarding.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Sounds interesting, simple and delicious.


Do you think the results would be significantly different with a bulk overnight ferment, then; resting, shaping, resting and topping?


I tend to make a batch of dough and make smaller pies over 2 or 3 days.


Thanks.

farina22's picture
farina22

I think it should work as you describe. Maybe one of the experts here can give us their opinions.


However, there are times when the rounds have remained in the fridge for 2-3 days, instead of 1, so I'd be more likely to shape the dough first. That way, it just needs to come down to room temp, stretch, top and bake.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Thank you.

dantortorici's picture
dantortorici

How did the previous test of Giusto vs Caputo go?


How are you cooking these, oven or wood fired oven?


I've been using Caputo, but as you know its a bit pricey.


thx


dan


 

farina22's picture
farina22

I had been religiously using the Caputo flour until I tested it against the Giusto's. The Giusto's came out ahead. The differences weren't huge, but people seemed to agree that the Giusto's had more flavor. It was ever so slightly less extensible than the Caputo, but not enough to really make a difference, so I switched to Giusto's. My other concern about the Caputo is that they use a lot of North American wheat that they import from us (US & Canada), ship it to Italy, mill it there, ship it back to us. That's a lot of travel for a bag of flour.


I bake in a wood-fired oven at about 850-950 degrees. Each pizza takes about 90 seconds.