Author Topic: Technique is everything: cast iron, rice flour and warm/cold rises considered  (Read 2911 times)

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Offline Outatime

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Behold my latest creation, a simple pepperoni and olive pie with garlic, parmesan, black pepper ground fresh from the mill, whole-milk mozz and oil.   It has a wonderfully chewy crumb and is lightly crunchy on both bottom and corona.  It was average as my pies go lately, but I thought I would share a bit of technique for those here who might be interested in trying something different.

I own a nice 3/4-fibrament stone as well as this wonderful old Lodge cast-iron flat pan made specifically for pizza.  It has a great patina and resists sticking if a bit of cheese ends up going over the edge.  It cooks every bit as well as a thick stone, and can be lifted out easier for cleaning.  The best part is that total warmup time to 475-deg. is 15 minutes flat, compared to one-plus hour for most stones, even 1/2" stones.  I don't think I've ever seen anyone here using cast iron for baking pizza.

Another tip I want to offer is the use of rice flour to temper gluten and add crunch.  It has been long-known that using a bit of rice flour on the board when stretching a skin adds crunch to the final product.  I add a small amount (1-3 tbsp.) to the dough prior to mixing to achieve the same thing.  Keep in mind however that rice flour absorbs much less water than wheat flour, so cut the water a bit if adding in place of wheat flour, perhaps just a teaspoon or so.

My mixing technique is unusual as well, and you're welcome to try it.  I mix 2 mins, autolyse 20 mins, kneed 20 mins, rest 70 mins in a humid 85-90 degree environment.  (A slightly-warmed oven works fine.)  I then oil a bread bag with a few drops, and pop it into the 38-degree fridge for 2 days.

The recipe I use is simple: 

500g straight bread flour (includes 1 tbsp. rice flour)
1 tsp. ADY soaked in 350g 105-deg water (70%)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp. olive oil

I pull the dough one hour before balling x3 at about 300g per.  I bake at 475 using parchment.  (In fact, at 475, I am able to reuse the parchment dozens of times.)  Pull the parchment one minute into baking.

Hopefully I've given you some new ideas and direction here.  Technique is everything.  Enjoy!

« Last Edit: December 14, 2010, 09:23:29 PM by Outatime »


Offline Tscarborough

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OK, now see what you have done?  I have one more 4 day old dough in there, and now I have to go make a pepperoni and black olive pizza.

Thanks!

Just kidding, nice pie.

Offline Outatime

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OK, now see what you have done?  I have one more 4 day old dough in there, and now I have to go make a pepperoni and black olive pizza.

Thanks!

Just kidding, nice pie.

After posting this, I wish I had some dough to bake.   :(  I baked everything I had off on Sunday for my stepdaughter.  Okay, I'm off to make another batch for Thursday, although I'm going with a classic Verasano this time around:

Verasano:          Pureed pomodoro base
                        Sun-dried tomatoes   
                        Fresh chopped Rosemary   
                        Pepper freshly ground from the mill
                        Whole Milk Mozzerella   
                        Pepperoni
                        Chopped Roma tomatoes
                        Olive oil drizzle

Anyone besides me getting hungry?      :chef:

« Last Edit: December 14, 2010, 11:42:40 PM by Outatime »

Offline Pete-zza

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I don't think I've ever seen anyone here using cast iron for baking pizza.


Outatime,

There have been several members who have used cast iron skillets to make deep-dish pizzas. Also, when the Hestor Blumenthal pizza making approach was all the rage, several members used cast iron pans and the like to try to replicate Blumenthal's method. The pertinent Blumenthal thread is at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4223.0.html. At Reply 43 in that thread, I wondered whether certain cast iron pans designed specifically for pizza making, including a Lodge pan at https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefront/product1_new.asp?menu=prologic&idProduct=3984, were usable with the Blumenthal method.

Peter

Offline scott123

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JD, I'm a huge proponent of conductivity when it comes to baking stones, and, cast iron, at 55 W/mK is about 10 times the conductivity of soapstone.  What tends throw a wrench in the works, though, is thermal mass.  It seems like most cast iron bakeware is in the 1/8" thick realm, which, to me, is too thin to store that much heat.

I've been thinking about iron a lot lately. Soapstone is my stone of choice, and it's phenomenal for a 550 oven, but for ovens that peak at lower temps (500 and below) it's just not viable. It's highly conductive, but it's not that conductive.  Thick iron slab could be a better solution for anemic oven owners.

Anyway, I'm just sort of thinking aloud. Nice looking pie.  How long was the bake time?

Offline Outatime

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JD, I'm a huge proponent of conductivity when it comes to baking stones, and, cast iron, at 55 W/mK is about 10 times the conductivity of soapstone.  What tends throw a wrench in the works, though, is thermal mass.  It seems like most cast iron bakeware is in the 1/8" thick realm, which, to me, is too thin to store that much heat.

The Lodge iron pan I use is big enough to bake a 14" pie; it measures 1/3" thick at the base and weighs 9 lbs., 14 oz.   It conducts heat as well if not better than my 3/4" fibrament stone but heats up MUCH quicker.  The last time I baked, it went from 65 degrees to 475 degrees in 10 minutes flat.  Pretty astounding for cast iron.  It works well in  my crappy $50 gas oven, all things considered.

Quote
I've been thinking about iron a lot lately. Soapstone is my stone of choice, and it's phenomenal for a 550 oven, but for ovens that peak at lower temps (500 and below) it's just not viable. It's highly conductive, but it's not that conductive.  Thick iron slab could be a better solution for anemic oven owners.

Anyway, I'm just sort of thinking aloud. Nice looking pie.  How long was the bake time?

I can push mine to about 530 degrees, but I seem to get better results at 475 given the ingredients I use.  The bake time on this one was about 4 1/2 minutes or so from what I remember.  It sounds like I have many people considering heavy cast iron as an alternative to stone, esp. in a low-temp oven.   I ordered this one out of curiousity two years ago and it has worked out much better than I thought it would.

Offline PizzaHog

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Quote
I've been thinking about iron a lot lately.

We are a strange lot aren't we? 
Kidding aside, Scott I hope you do put some thought or experiments into cast iron.  Did I read you already have a big slab or something in a past post?  There could be some untapped applications for this material and I can attest to its connectivity.  I haven't posted on using it since these original tests but now tend to preheat even less than back then.   
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8552.msg74333.html#msg74333
If nothing else this makes baking in the hot summer months much more bearable.
Very tasty looking pies there Outatime!  Do you notice increased oven spring with the cast iron? 
Hog

buceriasdon

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Hi Scott and group. Scott, Seems to me one could easily "season" a slab of cold rolled steel as one would cast iron. Woks are formed from cold roll and season quite well. Hmmmm. May have to clean up a 1/4" slab I have laying around and give it a whirl. Just for fun >:D Outoftime. Great looking pies!
Don


JD, I'm a huge proponent of conductivity when it comes to baking stones, and, cast iron, at 55 W/mK is about 10 times the conductivity of soapstone.  What tends throw a wrench in the works, though, is thermal mass.  It seems like most cast iron bakeware is in the 1/8" thick realm, which, to me, is too thin to store that much heat.

I've been thinking about iron a lot lately. Soapstone is my stone of choice, and it's phenomenal for a 550 oven, but for ovens that peak at lower temps (500 and below) it's just not viable. It's highly conductive, but it's not that conductive.  Thick iron slab could be a better solution for anemic oven owners.

Anyway, I'm just sort of thinking aloud. Nice looking pie.  How long was the bake time?
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 06:45:11 PM by buceriasdon »

Offline Outatime

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If nothing else this makes baking in the hot summer months much more bearable.


This is true.  In the summertime, pre-heating an oven makes it unbearable inside.  Being able to pre-heat a cast-iron pizza pan in 10-15 mins and being able to have dinner on the cutting board in 20 makes life a little easier.

Quote
Very tasty looking pies there Outatime!  Do you notice increased oven spring with the cast iron? 


Many thanks for the compliment.  I didn't want to say anything lest I alone claim to have found the Holy Grail, but yes, oven spring is much better when using cast iron.  I'm not sure why, but I suspect that more moisture (steam) is retained in the dough, allowing the yeast to blow things up even bigger than usual.   I got a big "thumbs-up" from the wife, so it HAD to be good: she's picky.

Incidentally, for those who want to see what I'm talking about when I reference a "cast iron pizza pan", take a look at http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Cast-Iron-14-Inch-Pizza/dp/B0000E2V3X.  It comes pre-seasoned and is virtually non-stick, so long as it is cleaned and wiped down with oil after each use.  The only downside to this beast is that it is HEAVY at nearly 10 pounds.  Expect to leave it in the oven for the most part.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 10:23:12 PM by Outatime »

Offline Pizzamaster

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I am not sure why it is necessary to heat up the pan. I have cooked with cast iron from cold and it performs fine.