Author Topic: Pizza Raquel  (Read 195599 times)

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Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #280 on: December 04, 2006, 12:19:31 AM »

Another point I would like to investigate is something scott r mentioned to me some time ago. Perhaps he can clarify my memory but I seem to remember him stating that he began using the DLX only for the "messy" part of mixing dough. Once the dough came together he reverted to a hand kneading regimen which seemed to elevate his crumb. What I want to do is investigate that premise (if I remember it correctly) and combine it with multiple variations along the lines of what you are doing with the Bromwell's and ultimately with yeast.


Pete, you are right, I tend to start my mixing in the dlx, then finish by hand.  That initial adding of the flour to the water by hand is quite messy, and doing it with the DLX makes it move a bit quicker as well as allowing me to keep my hands clean.  When I started practicing this method I found it to be an improvement over the all DLX mixes, plus it allowed me to get a lower hydration than the DLX can handle.  This provided me with a slightly crispy outer layer to my crust because of the lower hydration, and a softer internal crumb thanks to the superiority of the hand knead.   I would imagine starting with a hand (cake style) mixer would yield similar, and possibly even superior results.

On another note I hit Luzzo's, UPN and Pepe's (new haven) this weekend and they were all huge dissipointments.  UPN was nothing like the old days.  I really think he may have switched to commercial yeast.  At first UPN had good texture and exceptional flavor.  The texture started to go down hill sometime last year, then the flavor just dissipeared in the past few months.  What a shame.  Still there was a huge line for his pizza.

Luzzo's had that amazing soft/crispy texture but had very bland crust and a very inferior brand of buffalo mozzarella.  If you are going to spend that kind of money on cheese you might as well taste test the brands and get a good one, right?   All texture, no flavor on those pies.  Once I salted them and added some olive oil at the table they were much better.

Pepe's was the worst of the bunch.  One of my friends actually got up and left the table because the signature clam pie made him feel sick.  All three pies we ordered were burned and it was like chewing shoe leather even though I asked for them "light baked".  The cheap dry mozzarella was all burned and dried out without any flavor.

The good news is that I picked up some alleva mozzarella in NYC and it is out of this world good.  I can't wait to make some pizza's with it.  I want to thank you so much for bringing that to our attention.  Does anybody know if any of the pizzerias in New York actually use the Alleva?




Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #281 on: December 04, 2006, 06:54:49 AM »
scott r,
I'm glad someone verified my findings at Una Pizza Napoletana. I couldn't believe how bad it was relative to all the positive press this guy has been receiving. I was beginning to think I was all alone in the wilderness. It wasn't in Pete-zza's genes to write a really bad review like I did or even agree with my basic premise because he has not been to Bianco's. Even so, Pete-zza mentioned the pizza was better the time before. So perhaps Anthony's outside interests have finally caught up with him. Objectively, UPN feels like a tourist trap to me along the lines of Lombardi's. But then UPN would have to be open more than four nights a week for that moniker to be accurate.

I also mentioned to Pete-zza that I felt Luzzo's had slipped a notch as well. From a price standpoint Luzzo's jacked up the prices a solid two bucks a pie since I had been there in March. Quite a price increase if you ask me. That pales in comparison to what Anthony did. A year ago his pies were sixteen bucks. When I went last week they were twenty-one. Yikes. Another Bianco comparison is in order; Bianco's Margherita was priced at a scant eleven bucks! So that makes UPN a buck shy of double the price for the best pizza I have ever eaten. Both establishments make a twelve inch pie so the sizes are the same. Frankly, size is the only trait UPN shares with Bianco's from what I can tell. 

Nothing really stood out at Luzzo's other than the wonderful texture and the complete lack of salt in the crust. The ironic part of all this is that two of the so-called better pizzerias in the city, which happen to be located right around the corner from each other, have salt problems. They are just at opposite ends of the spectrum. One uses too much, the other uses too little. Funny.

Thanks for confirming my memory of how you use the DLX and then hand knead. I will begin implementing the whisk method and then shift to hand kneading when the KA Professional begins to moan. Sort of sounds in line with how a Raquel should be made so I think I'll go for it. If you have any tips for hand kneading I'll take all the help I can get. I'm excited about employing a technique which gets me closer to the dough. That is another Bianco tenet which just happens to be in alignment with my pizza philosophy.

Regarding Alleva cheese. I would ask Robert next time you are there but I do know that Ron at Il Pizzaiolo has and/or still uses it.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 07:53:34 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #282 on: December 05, 2006, 12:59:32 PM »
Below is the revised Pizza Raquel formulary. The various updates I will be working on over the holidays are:

1) Incorporation of flour sifting with Bromwell's Guaranteed 5 Cup Sifter
2) Incorporation of dough whisk in lieu of dough hook
3) Incorporation of hand kneading technique when dough "comes together"
4) Slight adjustments to ingredient ratios to drive toward a less "bready" crumb

                                            Pizza Raquel - Everything You'd Want (TM Pending)         
 
Weight                            Description                                         Bakers Percent
20. Oz/567. Grams          High Gluten Flour                                       100% (KASL or equivalent)
12. Oz/340. Grams          Bottled Water                                              60%     
.01 Oz/.283 Grams          Instant Dry Yeast                                    Not much (Baker’s pinch)     
.40 Oz/9.10 Grams          Sicilian Sea Salt (fine cut)                               2%
1.0 Oz/28.4 Grams          Preferment (Varasano or sourdo Italian)       5% (Peak activated)
33.41Oz/947.16 Grams

Note: Produces three dough balls weighing approx 11Oz each. Enough for three 15" - 16" pizzas. Flour must be sifted to maximize absorption.

Preparation Steps
1 - Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Fit mixer with whisk attachment.
2 - Add approximately half the flour first, then the yeast. Mix 1 minute on stir to fully incorporate yeast.
3 - Add preferment. Mix 1 minute on stir to fully incorporate preferment.
4 - Allow soupy dough to rest for 20 minutes.
5 - Mix on stir speed. Rain the flour down slowly in the bowl until mixer groans.
6 - Remove dough from stand bowl and slowly incorporate remaining flour by hand kneading on bench. 
7 - Check dough temperature with digital thermometer; 80 degrees for a cold rise/75 for room temperature rise
8 - Rest dough for 15 minutes.
9 - Hand knead dough until it becomes springy. Typical time is approximately 1 minute.
10 Cut into 3 equal pieces, form into balls, place dough into bowls, cover with shower caps.
11 Place dough in refrigerator for 1+ day(s). Longer times (3 up to 6 days) equal more crust flavor.
12 On the following day(s), remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

Note: Do not punch down, reform balls, or do anything to the dough other than let it warm to room temperature.

Stretching Steps
1 - Place dough ball in flour bowl. Dust both sides well. Dust prep area with flour.
2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Keep well dusted.
3 - Press fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is 10 inches round. Keep well dusted.
4 - Place hands palm down inside rim and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round.
5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 16"+/-
6 - Place on floured peel and dress with favorite toppings.
7 - Peel dressed skin into preheated oven (1 hr+ at max temp) outfitted with unglazed quarry tiles.
8 - Bake until lightly or heavily charred (more flavor).
« Last Edit: December 05, 2006, 04:29:13 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #283 on: December 07, 2006, 12:29:38 PM »

So that I can clearly point to my crumb goal, the attached photograph from pizzanapoletana's friend, Ciro, serves as the reference standard (in my opinion). Now I just have to get there.

Peter,

The pizza in that picture is MINE, very much done my myself in US actually.

Off course these seams the same as Ciro's, but if you go back and check Ciro's you will see a different background/setting.

Ciao

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #284 on: December 09, 2006, 07:57:04 AM »
The following pictures for your reference (Ciro's and mine)

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #285 on: December 09, 2006, 04:37:09 PM »
I spent this week testing out the alleva cheese I picked up in NY.   Before I used this on my pies I thought that it might even taste better than buffalo mozzarella.  It was so fresh and tasty.  After making a bunch of pies I have come to the conclusion that it is far too dry to cook properly at high temps.

I noticed another cheese store about a block from Alleva.  They actually had much more traffic in the store, and also had what looked to be house made fresh mozzarella wrapped in plastic.  Does anybody know the name of the place, or if the cheese has a higher moisture content than the Alleva?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #286 on: December 09, 2006, 05:39:14 PM »
scott,

There are two Italian food stores near Alleva--Italian Food Center and DiPaolo's. The Italian Food Center is right across the street from Alleva, on the same side of Grande. DiPaolo's is also on Grande, I believe on the same side as the two other stores.

Peter

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #287 on: December 09, 2006, 05:45:15 PM »
Thanks Peter, the place I went into is Di Paolo's.  The balls of mozzarella were HUGE!  Has anybody tried them?

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #288 on: December 16, 2006, 09:45:27 AM »
pizzanapoletana,
Sorry for the erroneous assertion. The two crusts were visually so close to one another that they are difficult to tell apart.

Pete-zza,
I made a batch of dough this morning with the revised Pizza Raquel formulary. I have to laugh to myself for everytime I have an end-state in mind, Raquel seems to play hard-to-get. My assumption was that I would use the KA whisk and mix the soupy dough until it came together. Then as more flour was added I thought it would require the use of hand-kneading. Else the gears would be stripped or the motor would be strained beyond the point of reasonableness. The point I was trying to get to was a groan by the KA. That sound should have signaled the need for hand-kneading.

Only thing is, it never happened. Not a groan or a moan. In fact, the KA never had a problem mixing all the flour with the whisk. What was I to do? So I fumbled around in what I thought might be the proverbial ditch for a while counting the endless arrray of options.  Then I decided to hand-knead but only for only a minute or two. In the end, the dough came out extremely robust. It felt great and wasn't as sticky as when I used the spiral hook for the initial mixing.

Time will tell what the overall impact will be but my sense is the amount of whisk mixing time will have to be artificially truncated so that I can begin hand-kneading and get a feel for the proper dough point.

Do you have any suggestions?
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #289 on: December 16, 2006, 10:18:06 AM »
pft,

My suggestion is that you trade in your fancy and powerful Professional Series KitchenAid mixer for a cheap one like mine ;D. Then you will get the grunts and groans. Seriously, if your mixer was able to handle all of the dough using just the whisk attachment, then that might be a blessing in disguise. Based on your long experience with making Raquel doughs, I'm sure you will be able to tell if that helps or not. I recently made a batch of dough using just the whisk and the flat beater plus some hand kneading. I noticed that the dough looked very good as I was using the flat beater that I decided to forego the C-hook entirely and replace it with some hand kneading. I am beginning to think that it is possible to make a pretty decent dough, possibly even a Raquel dough, without using a KitchenAid or similar mixer at all. I am kicking around some thoughts on this and will report on the results if they pan out, for the benefit of those who do not have mixers and rely a lot on hand kneading.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 16, 2006, 10:25:42 AM by Pete-zza »


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #290 on: December 18, 2006, 05:55:35 AM »
Pizza is a wonderful thing. My family begged me to end my experiments early last night as they were hungry for pizza. So I'm sad to report that I still don't know how a three or four day rise will turn out with all the changes I've made. Call me crazy but the thought of making an immature batch of Pizza Raquel and having it turn out medicore at best didn't exactly excite me. So, I began to think of ways to change things up a bit.

Longing for the pizza of my youth I strolled into my library and just happened upon Evelyne Slomon's masterpiece entitled "The Pizza Book." Quickly turning to the New York Style Pizza section, my eyes immediately fixated upon the description of the original Lombardi formula. Now I must admit, Eveylene is very spend thrift with her words. She doesn't wax on and on to make a point. I found myself having to re-read the section to catch all of its intended meaning. So precise is her writing style that tiny sentences convey volumes of information when viewed in the proper light. Frankly, I find Evelyne's style as very engaging but it must be read like a hawk. It is only now that I am beginning to understand her book after owning it for years. A hidden gem that all members should pick up - especially if your pizza palette leans toward NY.

I have always reasoned that pizza is crust first and foremost. Pizza Raquel can have many different toppings but the one which is welded into my memory as the ultimate truth is just a plain cheese pie. Since childhood I have always been suspicious that fancy toppings, like those used on California style pies, were used to cover up for bad crust. Good crust, I reasoned, didn't need anything more than fresh tomatoes and cheese. Now that I've matured with my understanding of pizza a wee bit, I certainly know that isn't true but it sure seemed like that was the case growing up.   

Back to Pizza Raquel. I decided to faithfully recreate Evelyne's description of how Signore Gennaro Lombardi made his pies as a way of spicing things up (or perhaps covering up for bad crust). It was just what the doctor ordered. What I found was a taste reminiscent of my pizza childhood and boy was it good. Glorious in fact. Here is an excerpt of Evelyne's descrption:

"The cheese, freshly made mozzarella, is cut into thick chunks (never shredded!) and laid down on the dough before the tomatoes. The tomatoes, either fresh or canned, are then coarsely crushed right on top of the pie. Then comes the sprinkling of fresh chopped garlic, Sicilian oregano, grated Parmesan cheese, and imported Italian olive oil. The pie is then slipped into a searingly hot coal oven and baked to perfection: Its edges are puffed, crisped, and browned, its bottom has a charred bake and its topping is fused into a sizzling, heavenly scented whole."

Now I had never made pizza Raquel with an ingredient sequence exactly like that in the past. Shame on me. I had all the ingredients necessary to make the real thing but had somehow lost my way. So I went to my pizza garden and instead of picking Neapolitan basil I plucked fresh Sicilian oregano. This morning I can easily remember the taste profile of the fresh Sicilian oregano pinned underneath the olive oil and brought to a razor sharp point with the fresh garlic. The level of brightness it added to the tomatoes was blindingly apparent. The Parm somehow aided in things as well. It was a taste combination which had been missing from my previous efforts. I don't know why but all the pies I have made in the past couple of years all had basil on them. Oregano was a spice I relegated to the sauce from time to time and nothing more.

So, for once, I learned that pizza is not just crust. It is the whole of its ingredients. Thanks Evelyne for bringing this to my attention. It won't soon be forgotten. As far as pictures go, I managed to snap a couple of semi blurry ones to share.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 07:43:27 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline Carlton

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #291 on: December 18, 2006, 04:37:26 PM »
"The cheese, freshly made mozzarella, is cut into thick chunks (never shredded!) and laid down on the dough before the tomatoes. The tomatoes, either fresh or canned, are then coarsely crushed right on top of the pie. Then comes the sprinkling of fresh chopped garlic, Sicilian oregano, grated Parmesan cheese, and imported Italian olive oil. The pie is then slipped into a searingly hot coal oven and baked to perfection: Its edges are puffed, crisped, and browned, its bottom has a charred bake and its topping is fused into a sizzling, heavenly scented whole."

pftaylor,
De-lurking for a moment to say thank you sir. For those of us that have been searching for that particular flavor tasted so long ago but never forgotten, this is truly the golden paragraph... pure and simple.  :chef:

Again thanks,
Carlton

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #292 on: December 19, 2006, 10:21:57 PM »
Carlton,
Thanks for the kind words. I'm really gratified that you "got it." I was hopeful that this particular post would not go unnoticed for a couple of reasons.

First, all too often, I and perhaps others, have shared what we consider to be invaluable advancements in the understanding of pizza only to generate little to no interest on the part of the forum membership. The endless posts about how to recreate crummy chain pizza drowns out these important posts more than they should - in my opinion. So I thank you for you have just validated my entire reason for being here. I truly have no commercial interest in pizza whatsoever. It is my passion. I simply want to help others and along the way learn a thing or two for myself.

Second, I deserve no credit for the post in question. In this case, Eveylene Slomon deserves all the thanks as she originally did the research to bring these facts to light. The more I read Evelyne's book, the more I realize that she single-handedly uncovered a number of major breakthroughs that we now take for granted. Only thing is, she discovered them back in the early 80's. Things like unglazed quarry tiles for your home oven, high quality ingredients, and the skill of the pizzaiolo are all necessary for pizza at its best. When I first read her book, I frankly took those concepts for granted. I would be willing to bet that she was an original pizza thinker. Who knows where the home pizzamaker would be without her contributions?

Fast forward to now. To this forum. We have some of the leading minds in pizza who regularly and freely share thoughts and ideas about how to make better pizza. All kinds of pizza. No style is excluded from what I can tell. The collective knowledge about pizza making is astounding when viewed in that light. I know of no single place on the planet that can go toe-to-toe with our collective pizza knowledge. For that, I am grateful.

I'm just happy that you decided to join and become part of a very special place.

Welcome.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2006, 10:24:46 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline Carlton

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #293 on: December 22, 2006, 07:50:31 PM »
pftaylor,

I kinda' jumped the gun there in my posting. That little tid bit you were kind enough to point out, just scratched another itch I'd been trying to get at for quite some time now and that took care of that. I've read many of your posts and amongst them found a good read and many a gem (as with so many others here), so it just seemed like the opportune moment to step in and say so.

Before reading your post, I'd been thinking it was about time I chimed in to show my gratitude and say thanks to you and all the rest, for helping make me a better home pizza maker. The lessons learned here have been invaluable.

I have made quite a few, decent home pizzas in my lifetime, but there were always those little somethings that eluded me. In other words, “I made great sauces and added topping to cover up a lackluster crust.” That's all changed now. Since reading and implementing many of the techniques generously supplied here, my pizza making has improved ten fold. The complements, requests for recipes and tips have been a bit overwhelming to say the least.   

So again, I thank you and the others, who have so graciously shared your knowledge, time and patience with the rest of us. Yes, “a very special place,” indeed. For that, I too am deeply grateful. I think my friends and family are as well.

Carlton

Offline gschwim

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #294 on: December 22, 2006, 09:31:53 PM »
pf,

Amazon doesn't have The Pizza Book.  Apparently, it's out of print.  Could you post the "original Lombardi" recipe to which you referred?  After viewing your photos, I'm sure a lot of us would like to try it.

Thanks.

Gene

Offline David

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #295 on: December 23, 2006, 12:17:59 AM »
http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&qi=ABDVTIiQnA1n4csn7orsb8v8SCE_0097943433_1:1:4

Plenty of used copies of this book are available here.
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Offline gschwim

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #296 on: December 23, 2006, 08:18:03 AM »
Thanks, David.  Actually, it now turns out that Amazon.com has several used copies; I had spelled the author's name wrong.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #297 on: December 23, 2006, 10:14:42 AM »
gschwim,
I would love to know the exact Lombardi dough formula myself. While I have a very good idea what it might be, I cannot be 100% sure as the book never actually revealed it. To the best of my knowledge, there is only one member who knows the original Lombardi formula - Evelyne Slomon.

If it is okay, I would prefer to allow Evelyne to comment further or not.
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Offline SLICEofSLOMON

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #298 on: January 06, 2007, 03:02:53 PM »
Happy New Year Everyone,

I just came upon this thread...Thanks for the kudos regarding The Pizza Book. Please remember that I researched that book in the late 70's and early 80"s, well before anyone thought of pizza as anything other than junk food. Pizzeria pizza was in a sad state of affairs. Oh what a difference a decade or two makes. A good part of the reason that pizza has risen in its status and craft came from The Pizza Book and my subsequent 20 year stint at Pizza Today Magazine, hammerring in my mantra to the "industry" both in writing, teaching and seminars.

As for the Lombardi formula, you are right, I do know it, and Totonno's as well (they are both slightly different) In reality, they are both Lombardi's formulas. Totonno was still using the original formula and method from 1905 and the grandson, Gerry Lombardi was using a more modern version that his father used. Are we splitting hairs here? Why yes, of course we are, and that is why we are so fanatical about great pizza.

Let me add some points to the recipe in my book that my publisher didn't think the home cook needed to know.

Flour: use a medium gluten flour at around 12-13 percent. The flour should be a blend of hard winter wheats. Italian 00 flour is not suitable for this formula. Flour at the turn of the century was bleached, all of the old time pizza makers and most pizza makers in NYC (except for the artisan type) still favor bleached. The flours used for the actual 1905 Lombardi formula came from local millers from the Northeast, but during the depression and WW2 Lombardi told me they got flour from any source that they were able to. The flours also contained bromates and malt. I used those flours when I was first making pizza in NYC, but completely changed my formula when I moved to California and came into my mature pizza making style. Do you need bromated flour? No, but you are asking what was in the original formula.
The original formula has undergone a number of changes in the flour department over 100 years.

The hydration is high 65%, salt is at 1% and yeast is pretty minimal at about .25%

The recipe in the book is actually pretty darn close, except that I would change it to 1/4 to 1/8 of a teaspoon of yeast and I would use IDY.

You can see why my publisher wasn't interested in providing the commercial information behind the flour, because the average home cook was not intertested in those facts--just in the results.

By the late 80's, I entered my own as a pizza maker and altered the ingredients and the techniques I'd learned from the old masters. I became a purist and became obsessed with obtaining all of my crust flavor from the flour I was using and fermentation. My formula, while based upon the old, is quite different from the original.

Back to the recipe in The Pizza Book, if you follow my changes and give the dough a 2-4 hour room temp raise (at no higher than 72 degrees room temp) degass, and form and refrigerate for at least 12-24 hours before using, you will have a Lombardi style crust that is far better than what is currently being produced at the pizzeria. It saddens me to know how much Lombardi's has gone downhill.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that you want to bake it as hot as you can get your oven to go. But not as hot as Neapolitan. The optimum temperature is 750-850 and the pizza should bake for 4-5 minutes--yes, it cooks longer than Neapolitan pizza does too. The interior temperature of the dough should be at 205-210 degrees for this type of pizza to be properly cooked. The crust is not soft like Neapolitan pizza, it should be crispy and extremely light  and open-holed in the crumb. The coal oven does give it a nice char, but a wood-burning oven works just as well. The old timers all cooked their pizzas until they were really well-done--dark brown with some black. A well done crust has a different flavor than a lightly charred crust.

To me, this type of pizza is worlds away from authentic Neapolitan pizza--they are two different animals. I appreciate both for their respective qualities, flavors and textures, but they really are two very distinct styles.


Evelyne
Evelyne

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #299 on: January 07, 2007, 12:24:51 PM »
Evelyne,

According to the Lombardi's website, there are two sizes of pizzas offered, 14" and 18". In the early Lombardi days, even at the time you wrote your book, were those the sizes offered? In your book, The Pizza Book, you indicated that your NY dough recipe could make a pizza from 15"-18". Do you know what weight of dough ball would have been used in the early Lombardi days to make a particular size pizza? They perhaps weren't all that exact about those sorts of things, but I assume that they had some rough dough ball weight in mind. I played around with your Pizza Book recipe this morning, as you indicated that it should be modified (65% hydration, 1% salt and 0.25% IDY), and assuming that 3 1/2 cups of bread flour are used, I get something around 25 ounces for an 18" pizza and 15.3 ounces for a 14". Do those numbers sound right?  Thanks.

Peter

« Last Edit: January 07, 2007, 12:27:26 PM by Pete-zza »


 

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