Author Topic: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF  (Read 144836 times)

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Offline abatardi

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #240 on: February 09, 2006, 04:20:34 PM »
aba,

I believe that the Caputo 00 flour that Forno Bravo is selling is the Extra Blue, which is lower in protein (9.5%) than the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour (11.5-12.5%). I haven't tried the Extra Blue but I believe it is like the Bel Aria 00 flour, which I have used and gotten pretty good results in a home oven. In any event, I am glad to hear that the flour you used worked well in the A16 clone recipe.

Peter

Yeah it is.  I tried the Caputo pizzeria flour before and got terrible results, though.  This seemed to do better for me, not sure why.   ???

Probably a different mix or something.

- Aaron
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!


Offline foodblogger

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #241 on: February 23, 2006, 03:53:34 PM »
I've just finished reading this thread.  I have to say, I was very intrigued by this post

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg12512.html#msg12512

and this post:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg12512.html#msg12512

Pieguy has a total of 7 posts to his credit, and at least these two seemed to come out of nowhere and as it turned out were SPOT ON to what was discovered later in the thread by people who had visited A16 and interviewed the chef.  I wonder if Pieguy maybe isn't a little closer to A16 than any of us realize.  I was so intrigued by the development of this thread that I did what I said I wouldn't do and I ordered some Caputo 00 from pennmac!  I just have to see what Pieguy's formula and methods will do in my oven, and how it compares to my bread flour 66% hydration dough.  I am also intrigued by the departure that A16 takes by using refridgeration in the dough protocol.  As was pointed out repeatedly, Caputo 00 is very well suited to room temp rises.  It makes me think that Caputo 00 was specifically engineered to perform well under the protocols typically used by pizzamakers in Naples.  I have to play around with this and see what happens.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #242 on: February 23, 2006, 04:11:52 PM »
foodblogger,

For those of us who labored for so long with the A16 effort, it was enlightening to say the least, and now that you have read the entire thread you should have a very good idea of the challenges in trying to make good Neapolitan pizzas in a home oven--even with all the right and best ingredients.

I noticed that the two links you provided are the same. I assume that that was unintended.

Peter

Offline foodblogger

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #243 on: February 23, 2006, 04:54:17 PM »
You're right.  The second link was supposed to be:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg12542.html#msg12542

Quote
For those of us who labored for so long with the A16 effort, it was enlightening to say the least, and now that you have read the entire thread you should have a very good idea of the challenges in trying to make good Neapolitan pizzas in a home oven--even with all the right and best ingredients.

No doubt.  I experimented a few years ago with Neapolitan style pizza and ran into similar problems.  In the end I came to the conclusion that Neapolitan style pizza is the way it is for a reason.  Neapolitan pizza evolved over hundreds of years to be a pizza that can be made by bakers in Naples.  It developed before the advent of electricity.  If you think about the challenge of getting acceptable and consistant results, and apply it to what they are dealing with, you begin to see that everything about Neapolitan pizza developed to be able to make good pizza, year round, day in and day out, IN ITALY.  That pizza has evolved to be consistant given variations in temperature experienced in Naples during the day and at different times of the year.  Also it has evolved for use in high temperature brick ovens.  When Neapolitan pizza was invented, there was no such thing as a gas or electric stove.  If one is looking to duplicate Neapolitan style pizza it is probably best to move to Naples.  If, like me, you are planted firmly in US soil, then I think the better part of valor is to come up with a delicious pizza that you can make in your house consistently.  I am interested particularly in the A16 pizza and this thread because I am sure that I can learn something from how the chef at A16 adapted Naples pizza to his own constraints/environment.  I am a little wary of Caputo flour for numerous reasons, not the least of which is that I believe it was developed for Naples style processing, which I can't duplicate at home.  At any rate I will give it a shot.  Who knows, maybe I will learn something that will make my pizza better.

Along those same lines - Lombardi's and Patsy's use coal ovens in NYC and everyone proclaims the virtues.  Do you think Lombardi tested a wood fired oven and compared it to a coal fired oven in 1905?  Pshaa.  The fact is, coal was THE heating source used in NYC at that time.  Have you ever tried buying a cord of firewood in NYC?  Coal on the other hand is cheap and readily available and at that time was already being used to heat the building.  That hints at the real reason Patsy's brick oven is in the basement, that is where the coal was delivered.  Anyway food for thought.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2006, 05:03:19 PM by foodblogger »

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #244 on: February 23, 2006, 05:23:22 PM »
Foodblogger,

I agree with most of your post, especially with the bit on coal ovens!!!

However, on one thing I have to disagree: Pizza Napoletana can be produced anywhere in the world as far as the person that makes is a Master Pizzamaker. It is extremely difficult to control the dough, the cooking etc, to make the real pizza napoletana. in Fact, all the pictures of my pizzas were made either in London-UK, or US.

Ciao

Offline foodblogger

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #245 on: February 23, 2006, 05:42:24 PM »
pizzanapoletana:
Quote
Pizza Napoletana can be produced anywhere in the world as far as the person that makes is a Master Pizzamaker. It is extremely difficult to control the dough, the cooking etc, to make the real pizza napoletana. in Fact, all the pictures of my pizzas were made either in London-UK, or US.

I could never claim to be a Master Pizzamaker.  One other ingredient that you have always pointed out as absolutely necessary for making Pizza Napoletana - a wood fired Neapolitan pizza oven.  I don't have one of those.  So on 2 counts I cannot make Neapolitan Pizza.  Eventually I plan to build one of those ovens and revisit the subject, but until then I unfortunately have to work towards something that I can make using the tools/ingredients available to me now.  I look forward to your book.

Offline foodblogger

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #246 on: February 27, 2006, 10:30:51 AM »
I paid a visit to a new Italian grocer and spied a bag of Colavita tipo 00 flour.  I bought it and decided to try a same day pizza.  The best recipe I could find to fit my particular needs was this one:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg13499.html#msg13499

I followed the instructions exactly.  I scaled the recipe to make a dough ball for a 14 inch pizza with the TF of .075.  I tried that thickness factor because I remember reading something about that TF in this A16 thread.  Here is a photo of the dough ball rising.

Offline foodblogger

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #247 on: February 27, 2006, 10:34:43 AM »
The dough rose but not a huge amount.  I had my heat cranked up for the day because the baby has a cold.  The ambient temperature in my kitchen was 69 degrees - much warmer than it is usually. 

Working with the dough at first was a little tough.  With the hydration % that low, the dough seemed very stiff to me.  I am used to working with my own formula which has a hydration level of 66% so my perception is skewed a bit. 

After the rise the dough seemed to have moistened a bit.  It was very easy to shape into a 14 inch skin.  There was never any fear of holes developing. 

Since I was making more than one pizza I decided to give this dough the benefit of being first on the stone.  I topped it as a pizza margherita.

Offline foodblogger

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #248 on: February 27, 2006, 10:35:27 AM »
Here is where things got a bit sketchy.

Offline foodblogger

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #249 on: February 27, 2006, 10:42:17 AM »
There was little or no oven spring.  The crust was good, but seemed more like a cracker-style crust to me.  I think this could be due to a number of factors.
1)  .075 may be too thin for this type of dough. 
2)  Hydration % combined with the high salt level made the yeast sluggish.  I am positive that the yeast was indeed active because I made danish dough using yeast from the same packet and it turned out just fine.
3)  Colavita flour isn't meant for use in this way, it may need a little more hydration or a different dough processing to achieve good results.
4)  Normal variability.  As they say s--- happens.  That is why I am making 20 to 30 pizzas with my ny formulation before I change anything. 

Because I used a different type of 00 flour, I don't think this result has bearing on the A16 experiment.  I plan to repeat a few of these experiments when my Cavuto flour arrives.  I know that this thread has been a little on the inactive side but I thought this would be a good place for me to start if I wanted to learn the characteristics of the Caputo flour. 


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #250 on: February 28, 2006, 10:26:20 AM »
It’s been a while since I have made a Neapolitan-style pizza, but when foodblogger became interested in this thread and started making Neapolitan-style pies, I decided to make a few Neapolitan-style pies myself. For this purpose, I decided to use the pieguy formulation that I had posted at Reply 62.

My initial intent was to make just a single pie based on the pieguy formulation, using the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour. But after preparing the dough in accordance with pieguy’s instructions, I saw that the dough did not rise noticeably after several hours at room temperature. I had recalled that member friz78 commented in one of his posts that his dough had doubled in a matter of a few hours, and I further recalled that pieguy himself remarked that in Naples it is common to increase the amount of yeast significantly when it is cold. Since I wasn’t quite sure whether my dough wasn’t rising because of too little yeast, too low a room temperature, or the instructions I was following, I decided to make two more dough balls with different ingredient sequencing to be able to later compare the results from using the three dough balls.

All three doughs were essentially identical but for the sequencing of ingredients. All three doughs were also kneaded entirely by hand and in all respects were handled essentially the same while under fermentation in the refrigerator. The three doughs had the following sequencing and staging of ingredients:
 
Pizza #1: Water (at 100 degrees F), yeast (IDY) and oil all together during proofing of the yeast, followed by the flour and salt (the salt was mixed in with the flour).
Pizza #2: Water (at 100 degrees F) and yeast (IDY) together during proofing of the yeast, followed by the flour and salt (the salt was mixed in with the flour), and, finally, the oil.
Pizza #3: Salt dissolved in water (at 100 degrees F), followed by flour and yeast (the IDY was mixed in with the flour) and, finally, the oil.

As it turned out, the dough ball for Pizza #1 was the hardest to make, followed by the dough ball for Pizza #2. Both were stiff and on the dry side and rather difficult to knead--which I attributed to their relatively low hydration levels. The dough ball for Pizza #3 was by far the easiest dough ball to make, even though it was the same from an ingredient and hydration standpoint. It was as I like it--soft and a bit tacky.

It took each dough ball about 14 hours at room temperature to better than double. Each dough ball was then put into the refrigerator for about 48 hours, and periodically subjected to punchdowns and folding along the lines described by pieguy. In all cases, the dough ball for Pizza #3 continued to handle better than the two other dough balls. All three dough balls were allowed to rise at room temperature (about 65 degrees F) for about 6 hours in preparation for forming into skins, also in accordance with pieguy’s instructions.

To bake the pizzas, I decided to use two stones, one on the lowest oven rack position and the other on the second oven rack from the top. I also placed several tiles over the second stone to cover the spaces at the sides and back of the second stone so that I would, in effect, make an oven within an oven (see first photo below). I also wanted to achieve the highest oven temperature possible so that the pies would bake as quickly as possible in my oven. In furtherance of this objective, I turned on the broiler for about ten minutes before baking the pies to get the top stone and tiles as hot as possible. From what I can tell, the temperature of the top stone/tiles reached over 550 degrees F.

All three pies were dressed, albeit somewhat differently, with the same basic ingredients--a combination of a pureed Cento San Marzano DOP tomato sauce, fresh sliced mozzarella cheese, Sicilian sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes, Sicilian dried oregano, and pepperoni slices.

Each of the dough balls for Pizza #1 and Pizza #2 was shaped into a 13-inch skin, and, after dressing, was baked on the lower stone for about 5 minutes. At about 3 or 4 minutes into the bake cycle, I turned on the broiler and moved the pie onto the top stone/tiles where it received direct heat from the broiler (plus heat from the top stone/tiles) for about another minute or two. The photos below show the finished Pizza #1 and Pizza #2. Both pizzas had good flavor and taste, but I found them to be too stiff, light (weight) and a bit cardboard-like. What I was hoping to achieve was a soft and tender crust with a rim and crumb with a nice hole structure.

The above results with Pizza #1 and Pizza #2 forced me to completely rethink what I was doing. So, for Pizza #3, I decided on the following strategy. First, instead of making a 13-inch skin, I elected to make it around 9 or 10 inches. Second, I used cheese, sauce and pepperoni slices that were cold right out of the refrigerator. Third, when the skin was formed, I rubbed a small amount of oil on the rim. Last, I decided that I would bake the pizza on the lower stone for about 3 or 4 minutes and, as I placed Pizza #3 on the lower stone, I would turn on the upper broiler element and later move the pizza from the lower stone onto the upper stone/tiles to finish baking under the broiler element (plus the heat from the top stone/tiles). This strategy was calculated to bake the pie faster, keep the crust soft and tender (by virtue of the increased dough thickness), keep the cheese and pepperoni slices from overcooking (by putting them on cold), and provide good top crust browning (because of oiling the rim and the broiler heat) and bottom crust browning (because of the superheated top stone/tiles).

This strategy worked just about perfectly. Pizza # 3 was baked on the lower stone for about 3-4 minutes and then moved on top of the second stone/tiles under the broiler that had been turned on when I placed the pizza onto the bottom stone. Pizza #3 was on the top stone/tiles for about a minute. The crust and crumb were soft and tender, there was very good oven spring (noticeably better than Pizza # 1 and Pizza #2), a nice and open and airy rim and crumb, and good top and bottom browning of the crust. This was without a doubt the best of the three pizzas. It was delicious and a pleasure to eat.

I concluded from the exercise that the sequencing of ingredients for Pizza #3 is the one I will use in the future for the pieguy formulation--although I will allow that it is possible that using the strategy I followed for Pizza #3 may well work if applied the same way to Pizza #1 and Pizza #2. In addition, I will use the 9-10” skin size and the baking protocol I used for Pizza #3. To make a larger size pizza, say, 13 inches as originally intended, I can simply use the thickness factor for Pizza #3 to do the scaling. I calculated a thickness factor of 0.117 (for 10-inch size).

Peter
« Last Edit: September 13, 2006, 12:09:01 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #251 on: February 28, 2006, 10:30:07 AM »
Pizza #1

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #252 on: February 28, 2006, 10:34:54 AM »
Pizza #2

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #253 on: February 28, 2006, 10:38:30 AM »
Pizza #3

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #254 on: February 28, 2006, 11:37:28 AM »
Pete-zza:
Great post and awesome looking pies!  My Caputo should be coming sometime this week.  I have a few questions.

Quote
The dough ball for Pizza #3 was by far the easiest dough ball to make, even though it was the same from an ingredient and hydration standpoint. It was as I like it--soft and a bit tacky.

Did you alter the hydration % for pie 3 or do you attribute the different feel to the mixing of salt/water and then adding flour and later oil?  Sorry if you already answered this and I missed it.

Quote
I further recalled that pieguy himself remarked that in Naples it is common to increase the amount of yeast significantly when it is cold. Since I wasn’t quite sure whether my dough wasn’t rising because of too little yeast, too low a room temperature, or the instructions I was following, I decided to make two more dough balls with different ingredient sequencing to be able to later compare the results from using the three dough balls.

The dough I made last weekend performed similarly to yours as I recall.  It rose but not very much.  I thought about the room being to cold when I was making my dough last weekend.  I usually keep my house at around 62 in the winter because heating is so expensive and I like to wear sweaters like Jimmy Carter.  On that day I turned the heat up to 69 just to make sure that the ambient temp wasn't too cold for the dough.  Did you find that pie #3 rose differently than the other pies?  I wonder what the ambient temperature is in the average pizza shop in Naples.  I bet the kitchens are very hot, what with the wood burning oven right there.

I wonder if adding the yeast right to the salt water might be a bit much to overcome if the temperature of your kitchen is lower.  Even 69 would probably be considered a cold kitchen in Naples.  I bet not a lot of those kitchens are air conditioned.  What do you think?

You mentioned that pies 1 &2 had different finishded crusts than #3.  Have you been able to attribute this to anything in particular?

Quote
To bake the pizzas, I decided to use two stones, one on the lowest oven rack position and the other on the second oven rack from the top. I also placed several tiles over the second stone to cover the spaces at the sides and back of the second stone so that I would, in effect, make an oven within an oven (see first photo below).

I've been doing this for a while in an attempt to recreate a Neapolitan oven but I never thought to slide the pizza onto the top rack and broil it briefly.  Nice innovation.  Did you find that the overall baking times were indeed shorter than you usually end up with?
Quote
I concluded from the exercise that the sequencing of ingredients for Pizza #3 is the one I will use in the future for the pieguy formulation--although I will allow that it is possible that using the strategy I followed for Pizza #3 may well work if applied the same way to Pizza #1 and Pizza #2.
I like that sequence as well.  It is very similar to the pftaylor dough protocol.  He adds the salt to the water and then half the flour and yeast for a modified autolyse.  I can't exactly explain why it works so much better, but it just does. 

Quote
I calculated a thickness factor of 0.11 (for 10-inch size).

After my pizzas last weekend I have been thinking of doing several dough balls from the same batch and stretching them to different thickness factors.  I would be willing to bet that the same dough would produce radically different crusts at 0.07, 0.09 and .11 thickness factors.  I wonder if the more desireable characteristic of your last pie was more due to the thickness factor and less to the initial processing.  I still can't explain why the dough was easier to work for pie #3 though.

I think I am figuring out what I want to be able to do with my Caputo flour.  It seems to me that the flour was engineered to be able to make a great pie with same day processing.  What I would like to do is wake up in the morning, start a dough, and have it be ready to go by dinner time.  Caputo flour should be perfect for that, except that I don't have a Neapolitan oven.  The other thing I would like to be able to do is produce a same-day pie that has a crust flavor that rivals my 72 hour pies.  Eventually that may entail adding a small amount of pre-ferment but I hate to do that.

Another way of increasing the flavor in these pies might be to add all of the water, yeast, salt and oil and half of the flour in the morning.  Then let it ferment on the counter all day.  I am not sure if that would be enough time for the yeast to start utilizing anaerobic metabolism but it might be worth a shot.  A few hours before you were planning on baking you could work the rest of the flour in and let it rise once more in its final form.  What do you think?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #255 on: February 28, 2006, 01:53:05 PM »
foodblogger,

I weighed the flour and water for all three dough balls, so the dough ball for Pizza #3 was made the same as the others but for the sequencing of ingredients. The sequencing for Pizza #3 was intentional, and I chose to use it to see if it was a material factor in the final results. The sequencing I used for Pizza #3 mirrors the basic approach used in Naples. The salt is first dissolved in the water without the yeast. Salt is hygroscopic and if added to the water along with the yeast it can suck out yeast fluids through osmosis and harm yeast performance. The way to get around this is to dissolve the salt in the water and let it absorb liquid from the water. Once it is "full", it is safe to add the yeast. In Naples, it is not as common to use oil in the dough but, when used, I follow Tom Lehmann's advice which is to add the oil last. Otherwise, the oil can impede the hydration of the flour. As you can see, I took a strict scientific approach with the dough for Pizza #3.

One of the things I might have done differently had I been more attentive would have been to add more yeast and increase the hydration a bit more. When pieguy posted his formulation, he indicated that the amount of flour was approximate. And when I checked back on the dates of pieguy's and friz78 posts, I saw that they were dated toward the end of May of last year when it was undoubtedly much warmer than current temperatures here in Texas. Starting all over again, I would do as they do in Naples and use more yeast, or make other compensatory moves (e.g., flour or salt adjustments). Since I don't have any idea of kitchen temperatures in Naples, at this time of year I would just increase the yeast by about 25% and see what happens.

The interesting thing about all three doughs is that they behaved identically both at room temperature and while in the refrigerator. I marked the start and end points on my containers and they were virtually identical. This told me that the formulation was basically sound, but the question of which sequencing protocol was the best of the three I used remained open. I'm not sure I still know--because of my departure with Pizza #3--but the dough for Pizza #3 did perform better. I would have to repeat the dough making protocols for Pizza #1 and Pizza #2 and process them as I did for Pizza #3 to see if anything changes.

I think it was the total protocol with Pizza #3 that was responsible for the better results, including the crust. Each thing I did was done purposefully to achieve a particular objective. However, if I had to pick the changes that were most material, I would say increasing the thickness of the dough and using the particular baking protocol I chose for Pizza #3. I theorized that not overbaking the pizza on the lower stone, as by leaving it there too long, and then baking the top of the pizza as quickly as possible and with as much heat as possible, both from the broiler and the superheated top stone/tiles, I would be able to bake the pizza faster (which it did) and have both top and bottom balanced from a bake standpoint. I made no particular effort to make a bigger rim for Pizza #3, but it came out bigger anyway, and with noticeably better porosity. The use of stone and broiler was not new to me, and I have used that approach on many occasions with the Lehmann doughs. Usually, however, I don't use two stones and tiles, and the same overall baking protocol as I did with the three pizzas, but I do have plans to do so at some point with the Lehmann doughs.

The lesson I learned from making the three pizzas is that just because a Neapolitan dough recipe recites a particular amount of dough in relation to a particular pizza size that you should slavishly follow it. pieguy had noted a 750 degree oven temperature for practicing his formulation, and that would work with a thin 13-inch pizza at that oven temperature. For a home oven operating at a lower temperature, it perhaps makes sense to use a thicker dough and larger thickness factor. I also agree with you that if you use materially different thickness factors, the results can have wide variations.

You are also correct that the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour is intended for room temperature fermentation. It can be started the same day or the dough can be made in the evening and allowed to ferment overnight for use the next day. I will double check the W number for the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour to refresh my memory and to let you know the typical fermentation time for the Capito Pizzeria flour.

Trying to increase the flavor of the Caputo crust on a same-day basis can be done, as by using a preferment as you mentioned. I have used natural preferments with the Caputo 00 flour and got exceptional flavor results. If this is of interest to you, you might read the thread I started on this subject (Caputo 00 Dough and 00 Biga). You can also use a poolish or biga or something similar, although I would be inclined to leave the salt and oil out and add them to the final dough along with the poolish/biga.

Another thing you may want to consider is to make a simple and cheap proofing box. It will be far cheaper over the long haul than jacking up the temperature where you live just to get a higher fermentation temperature. I have used the proofing box on many occasions and thought to use it when I made the three doughs but decided against it so that I would be faithful to the recipe and the way it was intended to be used.

Peter

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #256 on: February 28, 2006, 02:59:50 PM »
Quote
The sequencing I used for Pizza #3 mirrors the basic approach used in Naples. The salt is first dissolved in the water without the yeast.


The more I learn about Caputo flour, the more I think I should try to mimick the Naples processing with just a few alterations to make the result doable in my home oven.  Your latest experiments seem to confirm that.

Quote
Salt is hygroscopic and if added to the water along with the yeast it can suck out yeast fluids through osmosis and harm yeast performance. The way to get around this is to dissolve the salt in the water and let it absorb liquid from the water. Once it is "full", it is safe to add the yeast.


Coming from a biochemistry/microbiology background I might say this a little differently, using different terms but what you are saying is essentially correct.

Quote
In Naples, it is not as common to use oil in the dough but, when used, I follow Tom Lehmann's advice which is to add the oil last. Otherwise, the oil can impede the hydration of the flour.


I will definately add the oil last when my Caputo flour arrives.

Quote
As you can see, I took a strict scientific approach with the dough for Pizza #3.


I'd be interested to see if the experiment was reproduceable again and again by independant investigators.   ;) 

Quote
One of the things I might have done differently had I been more attentive would have been to add more yeast and increase the hydration a bit more.


If you were going to adapt pieguy's recipe to a sameday dough how much would you increase the hydration and would you change the salt % at all?  What would you do if you wanted to do a 6 hour poolish followed by an hour to an hour and a half rise after mixing in the remaining ingredients?

Quote
Since I don't have any idea of kitchen temperatures in Naples, at this time of year I would just increase the yeast by about 25% and see what happens.


This is where things could get interesting.  It would be cool to try to figure out a formula for various ambient temperatures.  If you could figure out an ideal amount of yeast or salt % for each temperature you could plot it on a curve and hopefully be able to predict what you should do for just about any given temperature within reason.

If you are looking to achieve more fermentation during a given time, I would think that you would be better off improving the living conditions for the yeast rather than doubling the amount of yeast which still have to live in an environment unsuitable for fermentation at the specified temp.  I would think that you would have more luck tweaking the hydration and salt % than doubling the amount of yeast.  The challenge would then become not changing the hydration so much that you end up with a different crust.  I guess this is what pizzanapoletana means when he says that Neapolitan dough requires a Master Pizza Maker.  There are a lot of factors to balance if you want to achieve consistant results regardless of ambient temp.

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The interesting thing about all three doughs is that they behaved identically both at room temperature and while in the refrigerator. I marked the start and end points on my containers and they were virtually identical. This told me that the formulation was basically sound, but the question of which sequencing protocol was the best of the three I used remained open.


To me this would suggest that the yeast in each dough ball was subjected to the exact same environment in terms of salt/water/available food/temperature.  The fact that all three balls rose the exact same amount tells me that adding salt to the water at the same time as the yeast has no effect on how well the yeast performs.

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I'm not sure I still know--because of my departure with Pizza #3--but the dough for Pizza #3 did perform better.  I would have to repeat the dough making protocols for Pizza #1 and Pizza #2 and process them as I did for Pizza #3 to see if anything changes.


The thing I can't explain is why dough #3 felt wetter and was easier to work.  If I were you I would repeat everything the exact same way you did it the first time to see if it was a fluke. 

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if I had to pick the changes that were most material, I would say increasing the thickness of the dough and using the particular baking protocol I chose for Pizza #3. I theorized that not overbaking the pizza on the lower stone, as by leaving it there too long, and then baking the top of the pizza as quickly as possible and with as much heat as possible, both from the broiler and the superheated top stone/tiles, I would be able to bake the pizza faster (which it did) and have both top and bottom balanced from a bake standpoint.

I've simply got to try that baking protocol.  How long did you leave the pie on the bottom stone?

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You are also correct that the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour is intended for room temperature fermentation. It can be started the same day or the dough can be made in the evening and allowed to ferment overnight for use the next day. I will double check the W number for the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour to refresh my memory and to let you know the typical fermentation time for the Capito Pizzeria flour.


That would be extremely helpful.

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Trying to increase the flavor of the Caputo crust on a same-day basis can be done, as by using a preferment as you mentioned. I have used natural preferments with the Caputo 00 flour and got exceptional flavor results. If this is of interest to you, you might read the thread I started on this subject (Caputo 00 Dough and 00 Biga). You can also use a poolish or biga or something similar, although I would be inclined to leave the salt and oil out and add them to the final dough along with the poolish/biga.

I am loathe to use a preferment for the Caputo dough.  I'd like to be able to make the pizza from start to finish in one day.  With that in mind I think I'll try the poolish and take your advice to add the oil and salt at the end.

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Another thing you may want to consider is to make a simple and cheap proofing box. It will be far cheaper over the long haul than jacking up the temperature where you live just to get a higher fermentation temperature.


I agree completely.  The problem is that my wife actually encourages me to turn the heat up for a few hours, but if I show up with a contraption that takes up space she'll be pissed.

Thanks a ton for all your advice.  I think we can figure out how to make a high-flavor same day caputo dough.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #257 on: February 28, 2006, 05:12:12 PM »
foodblogger,

I agree with you that it is hard to draw too many conclusions from a single experiment, especially in a home situation with few scientific-type controls, which is why I allowed for the possibility that I could have gotten better results with Pizza #1 and Pizza #2 had I used the same overall protocol as I used with Pizza #3. At some point I will repeat the dough making protocol for at least Pizza #1 to see whether it fares better with the overall protocol I used with Pizza #3.

Based on what I have read, in Naples it is common to make adjustments to flour/water, yeast, and salt to adjust for seasonal variations. In the summer, it appears to be common to increase the amount of flour (i.e., reduce the hydration) and increase the amount of salt. In the winter, you would do the opposite. The yeast of choice in Naples is usually fresh yeast, which is typically proofed at a lower water temperature than other forms of yeast. So, at this time of year, with cooler temperatures, if IDY is substituted for fresh yeast and it is combined with the flour, as I did for Pizza #3, then the water temperature could be increased to around 120 degrees F in lieu of increasing the amount of yeast. That would have the same effect of increasing the rate of fermentation and should allow you to do the dough on a same-day basis. If I were to increase the hydration levels, I would add only enough additional water--maybe 1-2 % more to start--to get the dough to a soft, smooth consistency where it holds well together withour tears and physical separations in the dough. As for the salt, it could be reduced a bit to allow for slightly faster fermentation. This would be easy to do since it is at a rather high percent to begin with (2.3%) and reducing it to say, 2%, shouldn't materially change things from what I can tell.

I haven't tried using a poolish leavened with commercial yeast with a Caputo dough along the lines you mentioned, so I don't know how much time you would knock off of the usual total fermentation time. From what I recall from pizzanapoletana's posts, he typically uses a 12-hour initial fermentation followed by at least another 3 hours after dividing the initial dough batch into separate dough balls. He also makes adjustments to compensate for seasonal variations and also his personal schedule--that is, he controls the variables to conform to when he wants to use the dough. Of course, he uses a natural preferment, although he has mentioned a commercial yeast version also. The Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour has a W value of 240-260, which suggests a medium strength flour that should tolerate a fermentation time of 8-12 hours and longer depending on the values of the many variables discussed above. 

Like you, more than once I have thought about how nice it would be to be able to plug a bunch of numbers into an equation and have it tell you how long to ferment the dough. It's hard enough to do it with two variables, like yeast and room temperature, so you can imagine how difficult it would be to add another one or two variables, like salt and water temperature, especially if you don't hold some variable constant, like the temperature variable you mentioned. This is one of those cases where experience trumps science, and I actually like it that way to give a human factor to what I am doing.

You asked how long Pizza # 3 was on the bottom stone. I would say that it was around 3-4 minutes, as I previously mentioned. I didn't want it to be there too long because I was prepared to give up some bottom crust browning to keep the crust soft. I also contemplated that the broiler and superheated top stone/tiles together would finish the pizza without crisping up the crust or overcooking the toppings, which I put on cold to minimize that possibility.

Peter

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #258 on: February 28, 2006, 05:21:46 PM »
Pete-zza:
Thanks a ton!  Your insights are very helpful.  I hope my Caputo gets here this week.  My curiosity is definately peaked.  Since they tend to use fresh yeast in Naples, maybe I will try using that.  I have a harder time getting ahold of fresh yeast, and when I have used it I find that the activity of the yeast varies from batch to batch, further complicating things.  That is probably the main reason I switched to IDY - the consistancy factor.

I remember reading somewhere in the Patsy's re-engineering thread that using fresh yeast gives you a different 'mouth feel'.  I haven't used fresh yeast in a pizza in a long time, so I'd be curious to run a few experiments using fresh/idy in similarly forumulated doughs.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF
« Reply #259 on: February 28, 2006, 06:08:32 PM »
foodblogger,

While all of this is fresh on my mind, I intend over the next day or so to actually try making a pieguy same-day version. I will follow pieguy's formulation for making the basic dough but alter several variables (sequencing of ingredients, hydration, water temperature, and salt) to see if I can get something that is worthy. I will use the thickness factor and baking protocol I used for Pizza #3. Now you can see how this pizza thing can become an addiction :).

Peter
« Last Edit: February 28, 2006, 06:10:24 PM by Pete-zza »