Author Topic: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie  (Read 29742 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« on: April 25, 2010, 12:20:01 PM »
Has anyone made a "perfect" pizza and have yet to duplicate it?

My dilemma is that I made a "perfect" crust 2 months ago before finding this forum and have yet been able to duplicate it.

Up to that time, I only had JV's recipe and instructions to go by and had made many pies using the same formula.  I had made many pies prior to that and some after that but none have measured up.  Without the aid of this forum, I was experimenting with different hand kneading techniques, different flours,  different ovens, and baking temps.

The crust was just perfect.  it was crispy on the outside and bottom, but yet the inside was soft moist with a slight chew.   My memory is foggy but I didn't use all the premeasure flour, so hydration rate was well into the 70% range.  It was hand kneaded, and folded prior to a 2 day cold ferment.  It was also taken out of the fridge after 1 day and reballed again.   I know this sounds unusual but I was experimenting at the time.  The pie was baked lower in my oven (so at a lower stone temp than what i do now) and baked around 8 minutes? 

The unusual thing about this pie, is that leftovers the next day, and 3rd day were as good as the original.  The crust was just phenomenal!

Anyways, I am trying to duplicate that today.  Here are some photos.  Any ideas or stories of that perfect elusive pie?

« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 12:23:21 PM by Tranman »


Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22171
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2010, 01:19:51 PM »
Has anyone made a "perfect" pizza and have yet to duplicate it?

My dilemma is that I made a "perfect" crust 2 months ago before finding this forum and have yet been able to duplicate it.



Tran,

I can't say I have made the "perfect pizza", but with all the things that go into making what each person thinks might be the "perfect pizza"... even a small variable can change the finished pizza.  Room temperature, final dough temperature, time spent mixing the dough, ingredients, water temperature, oven bake time, oven temperature etc, etc all come into play, when trying to duplicate what you think might be the "perfect pizza". 

It is still always confusing to me if I am doing the right things,,to be able to achieve about the same pizza with the same dough.  In my opinion you just need to change one variable at a time or not too many and see what happens. I am continuing to learn with each pizza I make. Pizzas are like fingerprints..each one is a little different.

It is all in the mystery and magic of pizza making.  :)

I wish you the best of luck in obtaining your goals,

Norma
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 07:29:35 AM by norma427 »
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2010, 02:05:56 PM »
Thanks for the well wishes Norma. I agree with you that there are just too many variables to get right to get the perfect pizza. And as everyones tastebuds and pizza eating experience vary, perfect becomes rather subjective. I should have perhaps titled this the perfect crust.
  It was just so friggin good I completey forgot about the sauce or cheese. Those two things just heightened the experience of this pie. I have made a number of pies since I started and have always considered them mediocre until this guy came along. For some reason, it just blew everything I've made thus far put of the water.  The interesting is that I had made a a 2nd doughball at the time that wasn't even anything like the  perfect one.  The only difference being that the perfect one was pulled out the fridge after one day and reballed. The other was not. Other than that both balls received nearly identical treament.  Weird huh??

I have also considered that my experience of this pie was at a time when I was much newer at pizza making so perfect then may not be perfect now. Regardless it's the only pie I recall with fond memories of all the pies I've made. The feeling is something akin to fond childhood memories of pizza. When revisiting those same pizza joints, it's no longer the same.

Just wondering if anyone else has made a perfect pie?
 
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 07:57:16 AM by Tranman »

Offline gorbachevguy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 15
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 12:23:47 AM »
I know what you mean, my friend.  We make pizzas about once a week and for the last 6 months I've been really pleased with our results...however, a few weeks ago we made pies one night and had one leftover ball.  I figured I'd toss it back in the fridge and maybe use it for lunch the next day for myself.  Now, i didn't expect much from that ball.  It had already gone through a 2 day cold ferment and then proofed for a good 5 hours before I threw it back in the fridge.  I expected a crust that didn't brown well with little oven spring...I was wrong.  I pulled the ball out about an hour before I wanted lunch and started my hour long oven preheat.  When things were ready I topped the pizza-to-be and slid her into the oven.  What came out was a masterpiece.  The crust, oh that crust.  It was glorious.  Pimpled and blistered, it was crisp on the outside with such a magnificent light and airy open crumb.  A great taste with a slight chew, but those elusive pimples were better than I'd ever seen them.  Even though the cheese and toppings were the same from just 16-18 hours earlier the crust is what brought this pie of mine to new heights.  For 25 minutes on a thursday afternoon I was in heaven.  Unfortunately, I was the only person to experience this bliss.  My poor wife was at work and as much as this pizza delighted me, I don't think the neighbors would have shared in my enthusiasm if I would have come knocking on their doors and upon opening them they would have found me grinning from ear to ear saying "try this!"

Since then I've been trying to recreate that pie.  I've done the exact same things as that day, but I haven't gotten the exact same result.  Now, they are always great, but never that "perfect" pie like that one afternoon. 

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 12:57:03 AM »
For 25 minutes on a thursday afternoon I was in heaven.   Unfortunately, I was the only person to experience this bliss.  My poor wife was at work and as much as this pizza delighted me, I don't think the neighbors would have shared in my enthusiasm if I would have come knocking on their doors and upon opening them they would have found me grinning from ear to ear saying "try this!"

Since then I've been trying to recreate that pie.  I've done the exact same things as that day, but I haven't gotten the exact same result.  Now, they are always great, but never that "perfect" pie like that one afternoon. 

Yes, that is exactly how I felt that day.  Your post reminded me of a post I made about that evening on another forum.   Here's what I said that night....

"After months of experimenting and mediocre results, I have finally achieved NY style pizza success. It has not been an easy road, but I am finally happy with my pizza result. I'm on cloud 9 at the moment and the crust taste oh so good"

Like you I was in heaven for about 30min.  Unfortunately my wife did not share my enthusiasm.  It went completely over her head.  She thought it was good but nothing out of the ordinary.  BTW, this is also the same lady that thought my raisen SD project was a bowl of beans.  :-D

Also unfortunately and true to character for me, I spoke too soon!!  I thought I had it in the pocket.  I thought I had this pizza making thing down.  Since then I have been steadily improving but nothing like that night....so far.  Will keep you posted about tomorrows bake.   

I just found old cell phone pics of the crumb structure of that "perfect" pie.   Sorry it's blurry, but you get the idea.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 01:05:19 AM by Tranman »

brayshaw

  • Guest
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 07:17:45 AM »
Tranman, those last 3 'perfect pie' pictures look amazing!! very, very tasty!

Offline zestiovens

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Perth Western Australia
  • zesti Z1100
    • Zesti Woodfired Ovens
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 01:24:25 PM »
Hey Tranman how about this for a perfect pizza!

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 02:09:32 PM »
Thx Bradyshaw, the crust was fantastic.  Crumb looks similar to a J. Varasano pie.

Zesti, that pie looks fabulous. Did it taste as good as it looks? Sometimes I get pies that look great but taste and texture is so so.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 02:13:02 PM by Tranman »

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2010, 12:17:14 PM »
Here's the result of Monday nights pies in search of that elusive "perfect" pie.  Did I find him?  No, but I was close.  They were still really good pies.


Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2010, 12:19:44 PM »
Here's #2, I was shooting for a nearlypolitan but got a thick NY'er.   :-D


Offline TONY

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 87
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2010, 12:49:42 PM »
Tranman,

As Guy Fieri would say: "That crumb is MONEY"!!!!

Tony

Offline sear

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 366
  • Age: 31
  • Location: ny
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2010, 12:52:01 PM »
some good looking pies there  :)

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22171
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2010, 01:24:56 PM »
Tran,

Looks fantastic!   :) Keep the pictures coming. 

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2010, 01:36:47 AM »
Thx guys and gal.  You all are way too kind.  :P I've got so much more to improve on before I get there....someday.  I guess I'll keep practicing.   ;D

Offline Essen1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3294
  • Location: SF Bay Area
    • The Hobby Cook
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2010, 02:15:26 AM »
TM,

I really admire your devotion to the quest of finding the perfect pie.

It's not easy, as many of our members can attest to that. Especially Norma since she's going through lots of projects right now. Her findings, though, might be helpful to you sine she's devoted to her work!

But all of this brings up the question...What is the perfect pie?

Nobody knows and nobody can specify it. But I can let you in on one secret regarding the perfect pie...

The perfect pie is what YOU consider it to be. Once you are satisfied with your work and have achieved the crust you were after, that's when you can say: "I've done it".

The thing is, though, I'm afraid you'll never be able to say it...

I have yet to see one member on here who can say in all honesty that he/she has found the perfect crust.

Or can you guys?  ;)

« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 02:18:08 AM by Essen1 »
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22171
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2010, 07:29:15 AM »
Mike and Tran,

I also admire Tran’s devotion to trying out new ideas and looking for the perfect pie, also.  I agree with you that the perfect pie is something like the “elusive butterfly of love”.    There is also something else I look at that kinda reminds me of what is happening and remembering what has happened in our lives, that also can relate to pizza making in my opinion.  That is something called “chronos” (which is how our lives are in minutes, hours, and days-like a stopwatch most of us live by) and then there is “kairos” (which is an event centered memorable time in our lives, where moment that stand still-when you are fully experiencing life-times that stay freeze-framed in your mind).

I agree with the thinking of the perfect pie is something that most of us will search for, but most of us will never find it.

Thank you Mike for the kind words, but I have always been a person that likes to experiment.  I also like to see why things happen.  I really don’t believe I will ever find the “perfect pie” either.  You have gone though many experiments also, just like other members of this forum and I enjoy watching what other people are doing and experimenting with looking for the one great pie.

I also wonder if other members of this forum have found the “perfect pie”.  ::)

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2010, 10:08:58 AM »
I would have to agree Mike and Norma.  I'm not quite sure there is a "perfect" anything for imperfect beings.  Our tastes, ideas, opinions, knowledge, being, etc changes all the time so what we perceive as perfection may very well be ever changing. 

BUT as with other foods or experiences we can sometimes have that "aha" or "wow" moment.  That's what I'm really looking to recreate in the crust.  Forget about the sauce and cheese right now, I'm not even there yet.  So no perfect pie here, just looking for a great crust.  A great anything will have many devoted followers and converts.  Will have ppl lining up for 2 hours just for a pie.  That is greatness.  I'd love to be able to consistently recreate a dang good crust.  That requires much experience and knowledge.  I realize in saying that, that is a huge understatment in itself. 
  A true pizza master would be able to bring about the most of any given flour, water, salt, or yeast (commercial or starter in varying amounts).  Just like a master chef can create a fabulous meal out of any situation and ingredients thrown at him/her.   That I'm afraid is a lifetime of learning. 
  Like Norma, I too enjoy experimenting and will probably always do so.  Perhaps with not as much vigor once I start making bigger strides. 

I'm really curious to know if some of the senior members have achieved a very satisfacotory crust and about how many pies they had to bake before getting there.  I know its a tough question b/c it depends on many factors including quality of ingredients and perhaps a WFO.  I want to achieve this using ordinary ingredients in a home oven.  I have done it once and hope to achieve it again someday. 

Offline sear

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 366
  • Age: 31
  • Location: ny
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2010, 10:53:54 AM »
Just like a master chef can create a fabulous meal out of any situation and ingredients thrown at him/her.   That I'm afraid is a lifetime of learning. 
  Like Norma, I too enjoy experimenting and will probably always do so.  Perhaps with not as much vigor once I start making bigger strides. 

i think im a pretty good cook until i watch "chopped" and think ive never even used half of the stuff they usually get to make a meal with

Offline PizzaHog

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 542
  • Location: Clinton Township, MI
  • Heat matters!
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2010, 06:32:42 PM »
Great post and I must agree with Tran, Essen and Norma, and can appreciate what
Tran is striving for.  There are many on this forum I'm sure traveling that same road whether stated or not, myself included.
Tran you really hit me on the head with the "wow" moment reference.  I now realize that is what drives me:  Anxiously awaiting the next wow moment while being motivated by the last. 
In no way am I a senior member (except age wise) but I have achieved a very satisfactory crust.  More than once.  But not now.  That is because, like perfection, satisfaction is relative and a moving target.  Each wow brings new knowledge and raises the experience and pizza up a level.
How many pizzas to reach a very satisfactory crust?  Maybe it's more like how many to reach a repeatable wow.  When I began chasing NY style I mixed up 4 diff batches of dough and baked 16 pizzas in a single week.  Still took 9 weeks and prob just south of 100 pies to hit that first wow.  I was thrilled beyond satisfied only it didn't last.  How could it?   Dang this forum and all the fantastic pies, recipes, theories and knowledge!  Now after over a year (not continuously) of working on a Det style I hit the wow.  Satisfied?  You better believe it.  But I already decided to walk away and start another project, which is my pattern, and now I now why.  To enjoy the results and savor the wow for as long as I can.  I will return to this style, and all others I have tried, which is also my pattern.  No prob, this leap frogging back and forth has always ended with a wow, more knowledge, and an improved pie.  So it's all good and at least I have a better understanding of my pizza psyche.   
Good journey on your quest Tran and as Red Green says, I'm rootin' for ya, we're all in this together.

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6988
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: That elusive yet "Perfect" pie
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2010, 08:27:27 PM »
Good post PH. Nice to know others are going through the same thing.  The problem with having a great anything is that you start judging everything else by that standard. I really try hard not to be too picky with food but if you've ever had a great say creme brûlée, it's hard to not judge others by that standard.
  It amazes me that a simple food such as pizza can have such a huge following and garner such detail and attention. It can be as simple as cheese and sauce on toast at one extreme or require caputo, SM tomatoes and a WFO with very specific kneading and baking instructions.
  Anyways I'm rambling. If I ever reach cloud 9 again I'll be sure to post up.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 08:29:41 PM by Tranman »