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Pizza for dinner - Good enough to eat, but a work in progress.

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Pizza for dinner - Good enough to eat, but a work in progress.

Pizza Margherita with mushrooms

Pizza Margherita with mushrooms

Pizza with Mushroom and Leek

Pizza with Mushroom and Leek

 Pizza with Mushroom and Leek Slice

Pizza with Mushroom and Leek Slice

 I want to make really good pizza crust. So, this is a first step on a journey. I've read lots of recipes, but I have a lot to learn and a long way to go. 

I made the dough yesterday. I basically followed the recipe in Reinhart's BBS, except I didn't. I autolysed the dough for 15 minutes before adding the yeast and salt. I used KAF's Perfect Pizza flour, which is a blend that includes some semolina. After kneading, I refrigerated the dough overnight.

 I stretched the dough by hand (no rolling) quite thin. I've made pizza 3 or 4 times before, and this was the nicest handling pizza dough ever. I was able to get it to window pane over the whole surface (if I'd wanted to). 

 After topping the pizzas, I baked immediately at 500F with convection on a pre-heated stone. I baked the mushroom-leek pizza bianco for 6-3/4 minutes. The margherita baked for 8 minutes.

 I think they look pretty good, but the bottom crust was not crisp enough for me, and the outside crust was too chewy.

 *sigh*

I think I need to try other flours. Maybe I over-stretched the dough. Maybe ... Maybe.

I wish I had a real pizza oven!

Any suggestions from ace pizza makers would be appreciated.

David 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

While I would consider myself more of a "joker" rather than an "ace" pizza maker, I can't resist when someone asks for suggestions.  The first thing you must ask yourself is, "What type of pizza would I like to make?"  Assuming a thin crust pizza, if you are looking to get the light and airy crust of a true Neapolitan pizza, Italian tipo 00 flour and high oven temperatures (in excess of 700 degrees F) are de rigueur.  If you are shooting for something more in line with the crisp and chewy crust of a New York style pizza, a high gluten flour, such as King Arthur Sir Lancelot, will get you there.

Some great pizza resources include the Pizza Making Forum and the obsessive Jeff Varasano's pizza site.  I have a post on my blog on New York style pizza as well.

Have fun on your journey!   

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I prefer a thin-crusted pizza, but I want to be able to make more than one style. Thanks for your suggestions.

I've read Jeff Varasano's web site several times. I did the autolyse because he said it was key. Interestingly, he says the flour you use makes little difference, but I think he knows his dough so intimately he adjusts for the flour almost unconsciously.

I used KAF's Italian Style Flour once for pizza. The dough was so extensible it was amazing, but I think, in hindsight, I didn't develop the gluten well enough, and it tended to tear. I'll have to give it another try.

Do you think tipo 00 flour can make a "light and airy crust" if my oven won't go over 500F?


David

SteveB's picture
SteveB

David, although I've never tried it, most of the pizza mavens on the Pizza Making Forum insist that the light and airy crust of a Neapolitan pizza cannot be produced in a home oven at 500F.  I think their reasoning is that because the tipo 00 flour has a relatively low protein content, the flour cannot absorb as much water as a typical AP or high gluten flour.  Therefore, in the "long" time (6-7 minutes) it would take to bake the pizza in a standard home oven, the crust would dry out and take on the characteristics of cardboard.  But I was never one to follow conventional wisdom.  I say, "Go for it!" and let us know how it turns out.  

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Well, SteveB, what the pizzabaking folks say jibes with my limited experience. I did say I wanted to master different pizza styles. Cardboard-style was not what I had in mind. ;-)

Time to read some more and plan my next trial. I do have 2 more meals worth of dough in the freezer from this batch. I'm going to try a thicker crust next time. Then go for another flour.

Hmmmm ... I wonder if the frozen pizza dough work work for foccacia. After it's thawed, of course.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

 Your pizza looks wonderful...you did a great job...as far as the crust...I like a chewy crispy crust...your rim bubbled up very nicely.

I still have a whole lot to learn about pizza...to me there's only one way..just keep making them...practice, practice, and a lot of room for experimenting.

I have a pizza oven and everytime I make pizza I try something new with the crust.  Some with O.Oil some without the oil in the crust, handling "oh if I could only flip it in the air." and then there is the oven it's self...that's another story. 

The way you 'handle the dough' will make a lot of difference in it's texture.  Try it without the Semolina next time and it will be a little less chewier....I like the semolina..but everyone's taste is different..but then I like just about everything when it comes to pizza especially first on the crust EVOO and topped at finish with EVOO...

If you would like the real 'Caputo' Italian flour from Italy you can order it from http://fornobravo.com. all about pizza here.   I've tried it and for the price...K.A. flour...AP..or Bread works just great...AP for more tender..Bread for crispier, cruchy crust...

A great little New York Style pizza deli....here in San Diego....they use AP flour..for a thin..1/8" crust.  When a slice is held folds in your hand and the crust is crispy...they have been to my daughter's home a couple of times and made pizza's in her woodfired oven for 40+ people and the whole pizza crust is formed in less than a minute...topped just as quick and fires up ready in a minute+...what a variety they make...the shrimp,garlic and white sauce with a bit of pesto is my favorite.

I think making a great pizza dough is the same as making a great Baguette and just as much involved...I've made the baguette's, really liked the french bread, the italian was good...now I'm back to pizza dough again! 

You can make fantastic pizza's in a regular oven...but nothing beats that woodfired flavor and heat for the very best pizza and talk about some bubbles in the crust..there's a special tool to pop them if you want too...and yes I still even make it in my kitchen oven and my counter top oven that I got from Wolfgang Puck's line for pizza making ect.

Sorry I can't give you any real good advice...because around here pizza is always another experiment!  There are so many different ways to do pizza...pick what you like and go for it...

Funny, I'm making pizza today.  New formula I'm trying with very little yeast .  Sylvia

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

  I forgot to mention...one thing you might like to try is using an outdoor grill for making pizza...there is all different approaches to this and some have very pleasing results.  Lot's of pictures, results online using different types of grills...very interesting and you can get some real heat on your stone and smoke flavor.   http://bbqpitboys.com have an interesting grill set up with the firebrick stones in the grill. Sylvia

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

opps

Pablo's picture
Pablo

David, pizza has been in the air around here and your photos have pushed us over the edge.  They look WONDERFUL!!!  We've got a two week trip scheduled for two weeks from now, so I can't really start on that journey yet, I'll stay with the baguettes until then.  But, oh my, that looks good!

:-Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Welcome aboard!

You have already had the insight that each kind of bread requires new learning. I can make many breads now with confidence, even baguettes. Pizza is a whole new trip, as I am discovering. But then, great pizza is worth the journey!

Glad to have your company.


David

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi David.

Can you tell me what the weight of each dough was before you stretched it into pizza? As this will affect the baking time.

What rack was your baking stone on? Top, middle or bottom.

I too seem to be playing with oven temperatures and pizza dough types at the moment, however, nothing yet to offer as far as help or advice. Sorry. Just more questions. :)

Rudy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Rudy.

I didn't weigh the dough, but the pizzas were about 10 inches.

I had the stone in the middle of the oven. I used convection so the position should have made less difference.


David