Author Topic: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF  (Read 140879 times)

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Offline giotto

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #160 on: June 16, 2005, 11:38:29 PM »
I woke up this morning thinking about that comment regarding the similarity between Pita bread and Neapolitan crust.  Suddenly, it dawned on me.  The looks of this crust is not uncommon practice around here at all.  It's just uncommon in pizza establishments.

A friend of mine had taught me some time back how to properly char large unleavened tortillas over my gas range.  I happen to know that if you can place your hand over a flame for 3 seconds, it's 500F.  Well, the flame on my range is much HOTTER than this.

So what the hey.  No one ever said that Neapolitan could not be attained in a home appliance.  Just not in a typical home oven. 

Since this was only an experiment, I grabbed a 24 hour 14" dough that contained 2 tsp NON-Hydrogenated palm oil (veg oil).  This tends to come out fairly white.  I placed it on a screen and then on the bottom rack in my 550F oven for a couple of minutes.  This separates the skins, and simplifies handling for later charring.

I removed it.  At this point I probably could have worked with it by hand.  Instead, I left it on the screen, turned on 2 burners, and placed it on the edge of the burners, rotating it about 25 seconds each rotation.  This gave me nice char marks.  I turned it over onto my board.  It was a breeze to work with. I kept the toppings simple and put it back in the oven.  A few minutes later, I took it out. 

The overall color was actually lighter... more along the lines of the slice that follows, which had better lighting.  And the round char marks that I get with tortillas seem probable when charred by hand. 
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/stovewhole.JPG)

The slices were airy and light from the separation of skins, and properly done:
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/stove-slice.JPG)

YEP, things may be improbable; but NOT impossible.  The broiler has worked for others as well... BUT  I find the less time I expose toppings to high heat, the better.  In fact, as I look at the bottom of the pizza slice, I realize that the crust could be turned over after prepping it on a stone at the bottom of the oven.  Many permutations available.  YOU just gotta turn things over, while in the box. 
« Last Edit: June 17, 2005, 08:35:58 PM by giotto »


Offline giotto

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #161 on: June 18, 2005, 05:31:45 AM »
Scott R:

Acme bread is a great example of an underkneaded bread.  Yet it has a good pull to it.  I have certainly received comparable results with the chewy texture of different flours, whether under-kneading the dough, or giving it longer kneading times.

The Italian W factor of Caputo establishes its strength comparable to our bread flour.  If you were take a gas bubble, and try to push it through the Caputo dough, you'd see that it has plenty of strength.   Caputo does not require much kneading to develop its gluten.  So whether you give it a short knead or a long knead, you can get a well developed structure.  When we let it develop over 2 days of fermentation, and potentially punch it down or re-knead it, we continue to strengthen its structure. 

The main result that I visually witness from keading is in a airy structure (short knead) vs. denser structure (longer knead).
« Last Edit: June 18, 2005, 05:49:37 AM by giotto »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #162 on: June 18, 2005, 06:02:47 PM »
giotto,

I still haven't figured out the kneading ground rules for the Caputo 00 flour.

When I first started playing around with 00 flours a few years ago, I routinely kneaded the dough for about a total of 30 minutes. I understood that the reason for such a long knead time was to fully develop the gluten. That seemed logical since I was using Bel Aria 00 flour and I estimated that it had around 10% protein (or less). Since the pizzas turned out fine, I just assumed that long knead times were needed in order to make the pizzas.

When I was finally able to get some Caputo 00 flour, courtesy of the importer, the Caputo 00 dough recipe that I was given--from Molino Caputo, the Italian miller--said the following: The dough must be mixed for about 15 minutes (mix on speed 1 for 5 minutes, speed two for 5 minutes, then speed 1 again for last 5 minutes.) I read an article today--a translation of an Italian document about proper kneading of a 00 dough--and it said that the dough should be kneaded for a total of 30 minutes, an initial knead of 10 minutes to mix the flour and water, followed by another knead of 20 minutes.

I have seen instances, including at this thread on A16, where much shorter knead times have been used. I have seen at least one segment on the foodnetwork cable program where short knead times were used, including a segment you alluded to in an earlier post in which Tyler Florence visited a woman in Naples (Signora Raffone) who made a Caputo 00 dough entirely by hand with a fairly short knead time. Tyler liked the finished pizza so much that I decided to try out the recipe myself using the King Arthur 00 flour clone (remember, I didn't have the Caputo 00 flour at that time). The results were so poor that I ended up sending an email to King Arthur to complain about their flour and to tell them that my pizza was one of the worse I had ever made. At the time, I hadn't heard about the Caputo 00 flour (I was later told about it by the chief pizzaiolo at Naples 45 in NYC), but when I saw a rerun of the above segment I watched very carefully to see what kind of 00 flour was used and finally saw the bag of flour with the Caputo name on it.

I think where one of the disconnects is occurring is in relation to the machines used to knead the Caputo 00 dough. I believe in Naples the equipment used to knead 00 doughs employ spiral and other similar kneading techniques (with spiral arms and kneading bars) that do a better job of aerating the dough than other types of mixers (e.g., planetary) and apparently with far less heat buildup. Under these circumstances, a total knead time of 15-30 minutes might not be unreasonable. And it stands to reason that the better the aeration, the more oxygen is incorporated into the dough. This is important because yeast needs oxygen for cell reproduction, and the greater the cell reproduction, the greater the production of carbon dioxide and alcohol. And with good gluten development, you end up with a better overall dough.

Why Chef Christophe at A16 doesn't use an Italian mixer is an interesting question. Maybe he is trying to achieve equally good results, or even better results, but using a different approach. In Italy, a 00 dough intended for same day use (which is just about all 00 dough) is punched down maybe once before using (typically after the first rise). At A16, the Caputo 00 dough is retarded in a cooler, but it is subjected to two and maybe three punchdowns during its stay in the cooler. Most people perceive that the reason for punching down and rekneading the dough is to redistribute the yeast throughout the dough and expose the redistributed yeast to new sources of food (sugar) in the flour. That is true, but punching down the dough and rekneading it also expels "old" carbon dioxide from the dough (that's the "swooshing" sound you hear) and introduces a fresh source of air (oxygen) into the dough to be used by the yeast for continued cell reproduction and production of more carbon dioxide. This is important since oxygen is very rapidly used up by the yeast (the process actually becomes anaerobic at some point) and if there is too little of it, the reproduction cycle slows down. It's perhaps safe to say that the entire fermentation process is more uniform and otherwise benefits from the punchdowns.

Maybe Chef Christophe is banking on his approach to "replicate" the results achieved by Neapolitan pizzaioli with their same day, room temperature fermentation, but resorting more to hand kneading than machine kneading, different yeast management, the long retarded fermentation (for biochemical gluten development, etc.), the use of olive oil, and multiple punchdowns. I hope within a few days to answer some of my own questions. I have a Caputo 00 dough in process that is based on a slight modification of the "giotto" recipe, and using the restated processing steps recently set forth by Friz in a recent post. I look forward to comparing the results against all the other Caputo 00 crusts and pizzas I have made, and will, of course, report on the results.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 18, 2005, 09:48:03 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #163 on: June 18, 2005, 08:17:09 PM »
Pete-zza,
Your post above includes a number of fine points about Caputo flour. I seem to learn something from everyone of your posts. Thank you for sharing.

Regarding A16, it appears that we know just enough to be dangerous. We are still guessing in a number of areas though. My number one rule in business is to never guess. If you are going to base a decision on something it should be fact. Guessing should be left for the competition. With that in mind, and knowing Chef Christophe is so open about his pizza making, why don't we invite him to the forum as a celebrity guest? We may be surprised by his answer.

I think we could invite master pizzaioli, such as Chef Christophe, to participate in a series of pizza making discussions where they could share their love and passion. How could they resist if the invitation were pitched properly?

Any takers?
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #164 on: June 19, 2005, 08:00:25 AM »
--a translation of an Italian document about proper kneading of a 00 dough--and it said that the dough should be kneaded for a total of 30 minutes, an initial knead of 10 minutes to mix the flour and water, followed by another knead of 20 minutes.


Peter

Peter

I have already mentioned that the document doesn't explain the process properly.

Let's put it this way (and remember that these times are referred to a Fork mixer...):

What they mean by the first 10 minutes adding of the flour (according on what I have observed from some VPN members in Naples), is that as any other neapolitan dough, they add about 2/3 of the flour continuosly but slowly. After this first 10 minutes, the dough is more like a poolish, thus the gluten is not really formed.
In the next 20 minutes they add the flour a scoop at the time until the dough reach the right consistency. few second later they stop the mixer. That's it!

Now, applying the same technique with a Kitchen Aid or a different mixer, would not yeld the same results.


Ciao
« Last Edit: June 19, 2005, 08:04:31 AM by pizzanapoletana »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #165 on: June 19, 2005, 10:42:35 AM »
Marco,

I had your comments in mind (where you said so eloquently: "10 + 20 minutes", this is crap) when I made the comments in my recent post. I was referring to another document than the one you had mentioned. I am not Italian and was relying on a Google translation which is not always perfect, so it is possible that the two documents are related. I went back this morning to find the document, and it is this one (in Italian): http://www.pizza.it/lnk_eventi_fiere_lancio.asp?lnk=5.

The broad point I was trying to make is that different people use different machines and knead times and that the results can be different. The very first 00 dough I ever made was kneaded in my KitchenAid stand mixer for a total of 30 minutes. The instructions for the recipe did not say that my machine would be unsuitable. That is one of the reasons why many of us on the forum try to explain the conditions of a dough at different points rather than specifying exact times because we know that the results will differ on different machines.

As usual, thank you Marco for your comments. I always look forward to them since they help me clarify my own thinking and understanding on matters related to the Neapolitan experience.

Peter

Offline Les

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #166 on: June 19, 2005, 03:57:37 PM »
Regarding A16, it appears that we know just enough to be dangerous. We are still guessing in a number of areas though . . . and knowing Chef Christophe is so open about his pizza making, why don't we invite him to the forum as a celebrity guest? We may be surprised by his answer. . . . How could they resist if the invitation were pitched properly?

Well, I have a tiny idea.  My wife and I have reservations at A16 next Friday (6/24).  The reservations are midway between lunch and dinner, so possibly Chef Christophe won't be so busy and would entertain some questions.

I was thinking I could explain about this re-engineering thread.  And if someone would summarize the "guesses" everyone's made, I could hand him a printout, maybe even with boxes to check like a game (or verbally run it by him, whatever is best for him).  He might find it amusing and flattering to see what you guys have been up to and help out.

Of course, I am probably not the best emissary since I still have so much to learn; but if the questions were clear I think I could handle it if the chef is open.

If anyone has any other suggestions I am willing.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #167 on: June 19, 2005, 08:24:37 PM »
I can't speak for Friz, giotto and others who have been actively participating in the A16 reverse engineering project but, to be honest, I am personally reasonably comfortable for where we are and the progress we are making.

I believe we have a lot of factual data on which to base our experimentation. We may not fully understand the logic and rationale for everything that Chef Christophe and his staff do, but we do have a pretty good grasp of what they do and how they do it. More importantly, we know that what they do works. Friz, giotto, abardi, and possibly others (maybe pieguy), can personally attest to that. After having gone down many dead ends with 00 flours, and occasionally even with the Caputo 00 flour, I might personally like to know the why's of things more than others, but we don't need to know the answers so long as we can replicate what A16 actually does. If anything, we are trying to improve our pizzas to overcome the fact that most of us do not have high-temperature wood-fired ovens; and, that without such ovens, our crusts may be lighter in color than those that have the benefit of such ovens.

As far as questions I would like to ask Chef Christophe if I had a chance, I would be interested to explore why he chose to go to the retarded fermentation route with its multiple dough punchdowns rather than using the classical room-temperature route with maybe a single punchdown, as he no doubt learned about when he was in Italy. Also, why he chose to rely more on hand kneading when there are machines available (fork or spiral) that can do an effective job of kneading dough with good aeration (oxygen) and minimal heat buildup in the dough. Maybe it's the same reason that Chris Bianco at Pizzeria Bianco in Arizona is said to knead all his doughs by hand. Finally, since Chef Christophe has a high-temperature oven, I would be interested to know why he chose to use oil in the dough which, again, is atypical of classical Neapolitan practice. I’m fairly certain that his answers to these kinds of questions would give rise to even more questions, but for now I’d be satisfied with the answers to the questions posed above. Maybe after I have the results of the Caputo 00 dough now in my refrigerator I will have some additional questions.

As to pft's suggestion, I would personally be delighted to have Chef Christophe participate with us in some form of dialogue. However, I have read many such celebrity chef exchanges at eGullet.com and found that I learned very little from them. They are mostly friendly banter but, more importantly, the participants aren't trying to grill the celebrity chefs in order to get at what might be considered trade secrets. If I were such a celebrity chef, I would be very careful about revealing certain things in a public forum, and in print no less, that a real competitor might see. There is much less risk in a one-on-one discussion with an inquisitive passionate pizza customer, such as a Friz, a giotto, or a Les, who has stopped by to try out a pizza.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 19, 2005, 08:46:22 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #168 on: June 19, 2005, 10:27:55 PM »
Peter,

I will be in San Francisco in a month. I've never been to A16 so I will make it point to stop in for a pie and see what I can learn, if anything. When eating great pizza, I enter this altered state of consciousness and zone out  ;D, so I might not remember much.

Bill/SFNM

Offline pieguy

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #169 on: June 19, 2005, 11:40:25 PM »
A few reflections on the topics raised over the last several pages:

1. IDY and ADY should be rehydrated because they work better when used that way. Even fresh yeast works better when dissolved in water (and I've witnessed numerous professionals use it that way). Whichever the yeast of choice, the point is to disperse the microscopic critters as uniformly as possible. If your dough-making technique is to mix the liquid/yeast/salt, and then add the flour progressivley until the right texture is achieved (as described by pizzanapoletana), then there is no logical reason to rehydrate the yeast in only a small amount of water. If your technique involves more back-and-forth with water and flour (as I've seen some bread bakers do), then it would seem sensible to rehydrate the yeast in a smaller part of the water.

2. The quality of the cornice has nothing to do with peculiarities of Caputo or any other flour. It has everything to do with the shaping technique of the pizza-maker (at two stages: the rolling of the initial ball and then the stretching of the dough) coupled with the heat of the oven. In essence, the technique for shaping the pizza boils down to this: the majority of the dough is flattened by hand and stretched as uniformly as possible to a thickness that can hold the toppings while being agreeably thin; the cornice is defined by exclusion (the pizzaiolo carefully defines the cornice as one step of shaping and is then careful to keep it throughout the shaping). The heat of a pizza oven produces a very quick "oven-spring", whereby the cornice puffs visibly (because it is thicker and unsauced) and the rest of the pizza only slightly (under cover of the sauce).

3. To my knowledge, incorporating air is not an issue in the mixing of pizza dough. The yeast produces gas and leaves bubbles and then produces a final burst of gas when it hits the oven (see above). Oxygen mixed into the dough in the first mixing and subsequent kneadings plays, if anything, a minor role in the ultimate product.

4. High-quality (and very expensive) spiral bread mixers are desirable because they operate at slower speeds than the standard Hobart mixer, and have a hook shape and bowl configuration better suited for mixing bread doughs (whereas the Hobart/Kitchenaid design is more general purpose; you can't whip egg whites with a spiral mixer). The result of this design is that you can mix the dough longer without overheating it (better gluten development), while the spiral hook kneads the dough more thoroughly (better gluten development). This machine (or, obviously, hand kneading) justifies the mixing times quoted by pizzanapoletana.

5. You won't replicate the A16 (or any Neapolitan) pizza without a wood-burning oven fired at temperatures between 700-800 F. Someone above noted the dissatisfaction that many members had with their crunchy/crisp pizza doughs (as opposed to the tender/slightly crisp Neapolitan standard). While tweaking the dough may be able to nudge the pizza in the right direction, ultimately it is the cooking time that determines where the pizza is on the crunchy spectrum. The longer it is in the oven, the more water is removed and the crisper the crust becomes (think of naan, pita, and finally lavash). Perfectly made Neapolitan pizza dough, shaped and sauced according to the tradition, will not come out like textbook Neapolitan pizza if it's baked in a 500 F oven. That said, of course many other delicious and worthwhile pizzas will be created along the way. The pursuit is a noble one and I hope that everyone is proud of and enjoys their creations.


Offline Les

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #170 on: June 20, 2005, 12:45:28 AM »
I'll keep taking input until the last minute to see what distills out as questions (if any) most agree would be useful.  If nothing more, I could try to confirm what everyone seems fairly certain of in order to test the "re-engineering" process.

I guessed wrongly that I would hear one quesion some would want to know.  I might have misunderstood, or maybe you already decided this, but at one point wasn't an issue whether or not A16's chef used a starter for his dough? 

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #171 on: June 20, 2005, 10:06:16 AM »
Pieguy: Thanks for your many comments. The notion of aeration of the dough came from a few places including advertising materials of Impasti, an Italian manufacturer of spiral dough mixers, where Impasti says .." proper aeration, rotational speed and time are all crucial in making the perfect dough (emphasis added)". From what I read elsewhere, I understood aeration of the dough to be important to provide oxygen to the dough to allow the yeast to function and also to develop a good physical cellular structure in the dough once the oxygen is consumed and carbon dioxide starts to be produced. I understood that hand kneading later on in the process does the same thing but not in quite the same way or as efficiently as a machine can do it.

Sante Fe Bill: I would love to get your input on the A16 pizza if you are able to make it to A16. You are one of the few members who has a wood-fired oven and has made Caputo 00 pies longer than just about anyone on this forum, including some of the more recent ones using the natural sourdo.com preferment along the lines advocated by pizzanapoletana (Marco). You would be in a good postion to talk about the differences in crust texture, flavor, etc.

Les: It has been confirmed that A16 uses no starter.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 20, 2005, 10:14:30 AM by Pete-zza »

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #172 on: June 20, 2005, 08:51:47 PM »
Tonight, I made a Caputo 00 pie based on a modified version of the “giotto” A16 recipe. There were only two modifications of note. First, I used dry whey, and second, I kneaded the dough entirely by hand--starting with mixing ingredients in a bowl by use of a wooden spoon and finishing the rest of the kneading on a work surface. Rather than change the dough ball weight of 12.32 ounces or the diameter of the skin (13 inches), I chose to modify the quantities of the ingredients to accommodate 3% (by weight of flour) of the dry dairy whey. In all other respects, I followed everything that had been set forth in the way of procedure by giotto and Friz. The dough was handled as previously specified, including two punchdowns over a fermentation/retardation period of just shy of three days. The recipe I used is as follows:

100%, Caputo 00 pizzeria flour, 7.48 oz. (1 1/2 c. plus 3 T. plus 1 1/2 t.)
57.3%, Water (100 degrees F.), 4.28 oz. (1/2 c.)
2.4%, Sea salt, 0.18 oz. (between 7/8 and 1 t.)
1.79%, Extra-virgin olive oil, 0.13 oz. (between 3/4 and 7/8 t.)
0.30%, IDY, 0.02 oz. (a bit more than 1/5 t., or about 9 pinches between the thumb and forefinger)
3%, Dairy whey, 0.22 oz. (about 1 1/4 t.)
Dough weight = 12.32 oz. (for one 13-inch pizza)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.093
Finished dough temperature = 84 degrees F.


The dough produced from the recipe was easy to handle, although it exhibited a fair amount of elasticity as I tried to stretch and shape it into a skin. This was the fourth Caputo 00 dough I have made recently using dairy whey, and what I have observed each time is that the dough has had very good overall elasticity/extensibility characteristics—more so than the Caputo 00 doughs I have made before without the dairy whey. In fact, I felt that the dough could have remained even longer in the refrigerator without becoming overly extensible—possibly even another two days. While it is possible that dairy whey may play a role in all of this, maybe even a significant one, I won’t know until I repeat the recipe without the dairy whey.

One of the things I did notice about today’s dough that was markedly different from prior Caputo 00 doughs is that it had a lot of bubbling activity as I worked with to shape it into a skin. As I pressed down on the dough I could hear the “whooshing” sound of gas escaping from the dough. In addition, the rim remained fairly large throughout the entire shaping process without my having to coax it in that direction. In fact, I had to poke the rim with the sharp end of a knife to deflate it in several places. These were very minor issues. Overall, it was a good dough.

I dressed the dough in simple Margherita style and baked the pizza on a pizza stone that I had placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at 500-550 degrees F. It took 5 minutes for the pizza to bake. After about 4 minutes into the bake cycle, I turned on the broiler element with the intent of moving the pizza onto the top oven rack for an additional minute of broiler heat. However, this time it was unnecessary. The pizza browned up entirely on its own while on the pizza stone. This was the first time that I can recall that this has happened. I am now fairly convinced that dairy whey is the reason. I think also this time that the long period of refrigeration may have allowed enough residual sugar to be produced through enzymatic activity to also contribute to the browning. I can’t say this categorically, but in my past efforts at shorter fermentation periods with Caputo 00 doughs the browning was considerably less pronounced.

The pizza itself was excellent. It was light (in weight), soft and tender, chewy and crunchy at the rim (cornicione). If anything, I found the rim to be too large, too soft and more breadlike than I prefer. I suspect the gentle hand kneadings and multiple dough knockdowns and reshapings may have contributed to this effect, along with the use of a greater amount of commercial yeast than I have used in the past with Caputo 00 doughs. In a future effort, I may just leave the dough in the refrigerator for the entire duration without knocking down the dough at all. But all of this is a quibble. The pizza was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The crust had a nice, mild flavor of long fermentation--not as pronounced as the Caputo crusts based on using natural preferments and long room temperature fermentation, but still pleasant nonetheless. Overall I was quite pleased.

The photos below show the finished pizza.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 20, 2005, 08:54:32 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline scott r

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #173 on: June 21, 2005, 12:26:22 AM »
Peter, I know that in the past you have said that all of your pies end up looking very similar, and you are right.  This, however, is the best looking one I have seen!  Way to go.

I noticed you had the same exact issues with this dough that I did with my latest lehmann.  You said that you would try not punching down the dough during retardation next time.  Please get back to use and let us know what differences you notice.  This is an experiment I have been meaning to try for a while, but I just keep having other things to work on.

Offline friz78

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #174 on: June 21, 2005, 12:52:06 AM »
Peter,
Congratulations, your latest pizza looks fantastic. ;)  Can you give the specifics of the whey that you used, the exact brand and where we might be able to locate it for purchase?  I love the browning on  your pizza.  It sounds like the browning did not cause an excessive crisp to the bottom of the crust.  Is that correct?  Thanks also for your tremendous contributions to the A16 re-engineering conversation, as you have advanced this process exponentially by sharing your expertise and experience.  I also agree with Scott r that your latest pictures are very different than any of your others that I have seen.  I'm not sure if that is good or bad, but it is certainly different.
Best,
Friz

Les,
What you might want to do is just print out the entire A16 re-engineering thread and share it with Christophe.  Perhaps he won't have all the answers for you right away but he could sift through the dialogue and offer feedback on topics that he views as important or that he has particular knowledge and/or expertise.  Just a thought.
Friz
« Last Edit: June 21, 2005, 01:02:58 AM by friz78 »

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #175 on: June 21, 2005, 09:13:35 AM »
Thanks guys. Sometimes you just get lucky.

I bought the dairy whey (dried) some time ago at Whole Foods to use for something other than doughs. But when so many of us were having problems with the color of our Caputo 00 crusts, I decided just to give the dairy whey a try since I had read of its unique qualities of increasing crust browning while not adding sweetness to the crust. There's no doubt that it succeeds in these respects. I might point out that the coloration was not limited to the top of the crust although I would have been perfectly happy if that was the case. The bottom also browned more than usual but not dramatically so. I didn't take a photo of the bottom of a slice only because the flash from my camera makes the bottom crust look lighter than it really is. To Friz' question, I did not detect any increase in crispiness of the bottom of the crust.

I couldn't detect any negatives from using the dairy whey. As I mentioned previously, it may even help with the elasticity/extensibility of the dough, which is something I plan to monitor in future doughs where I am using dairy whey. While I haven't yet tried it with a Lehmann NY style dough, at some point I am sure I will do so. In fact, it may be a good idea to use some dairy whey in such a dough if the intention is to use it several days out (e.g., more than 3-4 days) where it is fairly common for the baked crust to be lighter because of the low residual sugar in the dough after such a long period. The dairy whey may even help reduce the extensibility of a Lehmann dough, which has high hydration to begin with in most cases. For the 500 g. dough ball scott has been making, I estimate that all he would need is a bit less than 2 teaspoons of the dairy whey. I would say that the outer limit is 4% of the dairy whey as a percent of flour, and for the "giotto" A16 recipe, I would say that 2-3% might be a suitable amount.

The dairy whey is really cheap. I did a Google search this morning and saw a couple of places where you can buy 2 pounds of the stuff for under $3 (plus shipping, I assume). One such place is at http://store.yahoo.com/valuenutritionstore/whswda2lbnow.html.

I still have a few more experiments in me along the lines of increasing the crust browning of Caputo 00 doughs. If they pan out, I will report back on the results.

Peter

Offline Les

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #176 on: June 21, 2005, 10:59:24 AM »
Les,
What you might want to do is just print out the entire A16 re-engineering thread and share it with Christophe.  Perhaps he won't have all the answers for you right away but he could sift through the dialogue and offer feedback on topics that he views as important or that he has particular knowledge and/or expertise.  Just a thought.

That sounds like a good idea, except a court case I'm involved in was continued to the exact time I have reservations at A16.  ??? :( >:( :-\ :'( :'( :'( :'(

Offline friz78

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #177 on: June 21, 2005, 11:06:13 AM »
Peter,
What are your thoughts on the hydration of the IDY or ADY?  My sense is that it does "activate" the yeast at a greater and faster rate than without using yeast hydration.  I suppose the ultimate question that I still have is "what caused the great spring in the rim?"  Was it the yeast hydration, hand kneading, or refrigeration/retardation/dough punch downs?  Or was it a little bit of everything?  I may have answered my own question, as my guess is that all of the aforementioned procedures contribute to a great texture and crisp to the Caputo 00 flour.

Offline Les

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #178 on: June 21, 2005, 11:10:51 AM »
I bought the dairy whey (dried) some time ago at Whole Foods to use for something other than doughs. But when so many of us were having problems with the color of our Caputo 00 crusts, I decided just to give the dairy whey a try since I had read of its unique qualities of increasing crust browning while not adding sweetness to the crust.

Peter, after reading several times here at PM that a Neapolitan type crust is impossible without a  700-800° oven, I wonder what your opinion is about that. 

 Also, do you have an idea of what the difference was temperature-wise between your stone and the air above the pizza?  I'm asking that because I've been thinking how to manipulate those factors in my oven (e.g., by say, heating the stone at 550°, then turning up my oven to 650° but shutting off my lower heating element).
« Last Edit: June 21, 2005, 11:14:03 AM by Les »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #179 on: June 21, 2005, 12:50:40 PM »
Friz: The fastest operating yeast would be baker's (fresh) yeast since it is a "wet" yeast and is already at least partially hydrated. ADY is a dry form of fresh yeast so in most cases it is hydrated in water to get it going. IDY is a more finely divided dry yeast (it's also a different strain) and, while it doesn't need hydration in water (or other liquid), it will act faster in the dough if it has been first hydrated in water, as pieguy has pointed out. Of course, doing this requires around 5-15 minutes of upfront rehydration time before you actually get down to preparing the dough. You save a part of this time when you use fresh yeast.

I suspect the huge rim of the Caputo pizza I made yesterday was attributable to the short initial knead time, the accompanying gentle kneading, the resting of the dough before it went into the refrigerator, and the two punchdowns and reshapings. As I thought about this after I saw how big the rim was and its bready character, it reminded me more of breadmaking steps--with a lot of human intervention--than pizza dough making. I have made many refrigerated/retarded doughs before, even a few using 00 flour, but I rarely punched them down. In most cases it wasn't necessary because the doughs went immediately into the refrigerator and did not rise much during refrigeration. I also thought at one point that the amount of yeast may have contributed to the large rim, but if you think about it, 0.30% is not really a lot of yeast. I'm more puzzled by the large amount of bubbling. Maybe the knockdowns and reshapings increased the amount of carbon dioxide or other gasses in the dough. In due course I plan to repeat the recipe but not punch down the dough, in order to gain better clarity on this matter.

Les: I think it true that you will not be able to get the same results with a Caputo 00 crust in a home oven than in a wood-fired oven. Most 00 flours tend to be weak flours with low protein and gluten levels and, hence, cannot absorb as much water (hydration) as stronger flours. The Caputo 00 pizzeria is a medium-strength flour with more protein and gluten than many other 00 flours, but, it too, is limited in the amount of water it can absorb in relation to higher protein flours. In a wood-fired oven, the bake time is so short that the pizza will be done and have the proper crust qualities within a minute or two without having the crust dry out. It will be soft and tender. I might add as an aside, but an important aside, is that everything else on the pizza will be subjected to a very short bake. The tomatoes will be cooked less and therefore retain their natural freshness, the cheeses will not burn or turn brown, and the olive oil will not deteriorate and lose its freshness. Even the basil in a simple Margherita pizza will retain some green.

In a home oven, to adequately bake the crust takes a lot longer than in a wood-fired oven and the crust will be drier and, in some cases, almost cracker-like. And the tomatoes and cheeses will have also cooked longer than optimum. It is for these reasons that it is often recommended that one add some olive oil to the dough to improve the finished crust texture when baked in a home oven. And, as pizzanapoletana (Marco) has pointed out, adding more water to the dough, to the extent it can be done, does not necessarily improve the crust and, can, in effect, make it even worse.

You might not be surprised that Peter Reinhart also understands all of these things, as he reminded me when he once responded to an email I had sent him about Neapolitan pizzas made in a home oven. He said, to wit, "With lower protein flours it is necessary to lower the hydration to get it to hold together. '00' flour needs very little water, but the negative trade off in a home oven is that it tends to dry out during the necessarily longer bake (7 minutes vs. 1 minute in Italian fornos!)"

As to your question about my oven and stone temperatures, I just turn my oven on to its highest operating temperature and let the stone preheat for an hour. I frequently turn on the broiler part way through the baking cycle to get added top crust browning, which has been effective. This seems analogous to what you propose to do with your Bakers Pride unit by turning off the bottom element and increasing the temperature above the pizza. Since the bottom stone will retain heat far longer than the air around it and will keep the pizza hot, I don't see any harm in trying what you propose.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 21, 2005, 01:07:55 PM by Pete-zza »


 

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