The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Pizza Revelation

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Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

My Pizza Revelation

I read the posts and blog entries on this forum pretty regularly, and I freely admit that there are far more sophisticated bakers posting here than I am. Many of the photos of breads, pizzas, and pastries I see look better; far better, and more appetizing than the products I see at local bakeries and restaurants.

That being said, I occasionally have a moment where I get something right.in my bumbling sort of way. I believe I've been having some of those moments recently with pizza. I seem to have hit upon a few simple tricks which have dramatically improved the crust on the weekly pizza I bake for my family.

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Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

I know it's a bad place to end, but I'll finish my thought soon.

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

So anyway,  here's what I found and how it happened. I was reading a post on the website, "The Italian Dish." It was her take on no knead bread in a post titled: Amazing Artisan Bread for 40 Cents a Loaf - No Kneading, No Fussing, No Kidding

It's a basic flour, water, yeast, salt recipe which is mixed then allowed to ferment for anytime from a few hours to a couple of weeks. The first couple of times I used the dough was for pizza, which turned out great. I modified the proportions of water to flour over the next couple weeks, but the pizza never suffered.

It occurred to me that the key principal here was no shortening in the dough, combined with allowing the it to raise for a minimum of 15 hours. . I'd always used olive oil in the dough as called for in most recipes, but my pizza was much better with the most basic of ingredients combined with a long slow ferment!

I do use plenty of olive oil when making the pies, both to grease the pan and on top, but never in the dough.

I am curious to hear of other peoples experiences here.

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

much effect on the flavor, Larry, but the extended cold fermentation most definitely did.  When the fermentation is retarded by cold temperatures, the enzymes in the flour have time to break down the starches into sugars.  That, and other changes, help boost the flavor.

Use the Search box at the upper right corner of the page to search for "retard" (the quotation marks aren't needed) or "retarded".  You'll find a lot of material about the technique and its effects.

Paul

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

I grew up in Cleveland Heights during the 1950's.  It was then a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. My aunt and uncle owned and operated a small delicatessen on Coventry Rd. where they sold freshly cooked corned beef and tongue as well as smoked fish, lox, and other delicacies which were actually affordable back then! There were, at various times, as many as five Jewish bakeries in a three block area of that street, and the rye bread each of them made was as good as any I've tasted in the 50+ years since.

With that in mind I decided to bake George Greenstein's deli rye, or, perhaps, one of the rye loaves in "Inside The Jewish Bakery."

I went to the Natural Food Co-op near where I now live, and bought some organic rye flour from the bulk bin (unmarked as to whether it was light, medium, or dark rye). I mixed a slurry using spring water. I used 1/4 cup of the water to an equal amount of flour. No commercial yeast. By the end of the first day the mixture was already bubbling. By the third day, after two feedings of water and flour it actually overflowed the jar I'd started it in.

At that point I wanted to increase  the consistency to something more dough like, as per George Greenstein's instructions. I used all the flour I had left and bought a sack of Bob's Red Mill Organic whole grain rye flour. I increased the proportion of flour to water.

The sour seems to be O.K. It smells really good and sour and has a nice tang on the tongue, but it's not raising any more, though there are still bubbles. I just fed it and covered it with a layer of dry flour as per the instructions. I'm hoping it will raise.

Did I do something wrong or does it just need more time?