The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza

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andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Pizza

Hi. I'm trying to make pizza with a thin, crisp base. Any advice / recipes very welcome. One big problem is my electric oven - max temperature is 220° Centigrade. Is this high enough - with a stone - to achieve a crisp base, or I am permanently doomed to produce biscuit like crusts??!!

 

I will be using fresh yeast initially, though am happy to use my sourdough if that will be better. What flours are best, hydration, to add oil to the dough or not to add oil -  all pointers and advice will be listened to!

 

Thanks,

 

Andrew 

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

I can get to 500F in my oven and that is barely acceptable even if I heat my stone up for an hour or more. 220C is only about 425F.  I too am after a neopolitan type pizza. If your oven is a self-cleaning type, you might try to disable the door lock and set it on "clean". This is a standard trick used by home pizza bakers which can take the temp up to about 600F but it invalidates your warrenty, you may get burnt  and it may cause fires if your oven is not properly insulated from the wall. I'm just passing this along, not recommending it. Good luck. 

 

Paul Kobulnicky

Baking in Ohio

mike721's picture
mike721

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the biggest improvement in my pizza came when I realized that I needed to get it hotter than the 450F I was baking at. Now I preheat to 550F for an hour to make sure the stones get really hot, and this makes a nice crust. So you may not be able to get yours hot enough since 550F is about 290C. But try anyway.

I use a very simple formula for my pizza dough, Peter Reinhardts 'Pain la Ancienne' , which is a cold mixed, delayed fermentation dough, made with 4 exotic ingredients..flour, water, yeast, and salt. It works great for me, kept on the low end of the recommended hydration for that formula, which is still a very wet dough though.  I found this formula posted on the net here, saves me the trouble copying it from the "bread Bakers Apprentice" to this post.  http://www.shaboomskitchen.com/archives/bread/painlancienne.html

 I use bread flour, but not the super duper high gluten stuff, I guess mine is medium high gluten, the really high protein stuff is too elastic to stretch out well for me. My current favorite flour is 'Harvest King' from General Mills, I found King Arthur bread flour was too elastic and fought me too much. But your brands might be different anyway, so experimentation is in order.

I am an avid sourdough baker and I have made sourdough pizzas quite a few times, but I prefer the yeasted version currently. Sometimes if I have too much sourdough starter sitting around I dump it into the pizza dough I'm making, it doesn't change the rising time too much since the yeast is faster anyway but adds a bit of flavor so if you have it you can try that too.

 I make my pizza on parchment paper, peel them into the oven on the paper, then remove the paper after 2 minutes leaving the pizza on the oven tiles. At 550F it takes a total of 8 minutes to bake 2 1 pount 15 inch pizzas. Heavily loaded pizzas like the red onion, mushroom, olive, 3 cheese one I made yesterday get a minute or so more to make sure they are done all the way.

Edit...I might as well post some pics of mine, I baked these yesterday for dinner. 

http://photo.mike721.com/gallery/baking/1P1010434

http://photo.mike721.com/gallery/baking/1P1010428

Mike in New Jersey

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

It's not necessarily a thin crust, crisp pizza, but the pizza dough and method from Dan Leader's Local Breads from Antico Forno in Rome is pretty amazing.  Fun, and a good learning experience.  Surprisingly high hydration, and a very long beating in a Kitchen Aid.  I strongly recommend it.  the Pizza "Rosso" has become a favorite at my house.  Since making that, I haven't make other pizzas anymore.  I haven't made it yet, but isn't there a Neopolitan pizzeria in Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer?  Maybe someone has experience with that one and could comment.

 

I'm another proponent of the 550F pizza also. 

 

Does your oven have self clean, could you use that to get the temp up?  ROFLMAO... see how crazy we all are in pursuit of good bread... that was my husband's suggestion mocking me that maybe if I used the self clean, it could be a Tandoor oven for me...  Then to me it's -- lightbulb -- what a good idea.  Although I found my oven locks you out once the temperature goes up, so you can't open the oven door.  Blushes, so you see she's actually tried it too!  I'm not saying get it all the way up to self clean temperature, which will produce very toxic stuff, but could that help you get it to 550F? 

 

 

 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== Does your oven have self clean, could you use that to get the temp up? ROFLMAO... see how crazy we all are in pursuit of good bread... that was my husband's suggestion mocking me that maybe if I used the self clean, it could be a Tandoor oven for me... Then to me it's -- lightbulb -- what a good idea. Although I found my oven locks you out once the temperature goes up, so you can't open the oven door. Blushes, so you see she's actually tried it too! I'm not saying get it all the way up to self clean temperature, which will produce very toxic stuff, but could that help you get it to 550F? ===


semi-LOL! The toxic stuff is the dirt burning off the inside; if you run a cleaning cycle with the fan on it shouldn't be anywhere near as smelly the next time.

I will not give any details since I don't want any liability lawyers breathing down my neck, but a quick google should get you the information you need. Just be aware that what you will end up with is more of an industrial environment. Speaking as one who has worked in industrial environments they are dangerous but not necessarily _unsafe_ as long as you use your head and take responsibility.

Standard US ovens go to 550 deg.F on the baking cycle in my experience; no mods needed for that.

sPh

ehanner's picture
ehanner

It sound like you guys are ready for the real deal in home pizza the NY way. Check out The Little Black Egg at
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.0.html
The guy who started this is ronbro, who later changed his moniker to Villa Roma. He is developing an inexpensive, portable pizza oven that gets up to 650-750 F on propane. I have been working on my own design but in the end it's very close to VR's. This is a very nice setup and produces authentic NY style pizza. If you look at the thread up to today you will find some dedicated pizza dudes and you can't deny the pies are incredible.

If you are serious enough to consider modifying your oven clean cycle, I urge you to not do that and look at this option. It's safer and hotter plus you can take it with you tailgating or to the in-laws for a pizza party. Oh yea!

Eric
Margarita Pizza baked in 3 minutes 
Margarita Pizza baked in 3 minutes

mike721's picture
mike721

I have to try that outdoor pizza cooker, that looks like so much fun at a backyard pizza party. I was thinking about just putting tiles in my gas grill but I don't think I will be able to reach the 800F mark with it the way that little black egg did.  Looks like I have a fun project for the next slow weekend I get!

 

Mike in New Jersey

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

It sounds like I can't do "real" pizza then - but I'll experiment and find a way of getting closer. My current thinking is to heat the oven to it's max (220C),  bake the dough for 5 - 10 minutes, remove from oven and add topping, then return to oven. I'll do a run of experiments!

 

Andrew