Author Topic: Problems with my own deep dish  (Read 2309 times)

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Offline ChiEE

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Problems with my own deep dish
« on: April 07, 2011, 02:42:27 AM »
Hi all,

Seeing as how I'm new to this community I'll just let you know that I'm a fairly inexperienced baker (as I'm sure will become apparent soon) but I have a passion for my home town pizza. That being said, lets get onto the problem.

I've started making deep dish recently (only attempted it about 4-5 times now) and it has gone from being a disaster to being sub-par. After each attempt I recorded what went wrong and what I thought I could do to fix the problem. Some of the earlier issues had to do with the dough being too thick, which I amended by removing some of the yeast in the recipe, or with the sauce being too liquidy when it was cooked with the pizza.

Well after a series of tries to correct the issue with the sauce, where I tried to remove a lot of the liquid from the tomatoes on one try and boiled the sauce on the stove for 30 minutes uncovered on another try, it was still Pizza Soup when it came out.

Ultimately I took the pizza out of the 450 degree oven after 25 minutes of baking and and tried taking some of the liquid out with a small spoon. After that I returned the pizza to the oven but this time at 350-400 for an additional 15 minutes.

The pizza was no longer a liquidy mess, but it just seems like I could avoid the whole problem straight from the get-go by doing something with the sauce.

Here's what I did:
Quote
To make Sauce:

Remove tomato skins by boiling them in water for 1 minute and shocking the in a bath of cold water. Chop tomatoes. Heat oil in a large sauce pan (larger than needed) add garlic, onion powder, salt, and tomatoes. Stir and add freshly chopped basil. Bring to a boil and add half a small can of tomato paste. Stir and boil for 30 minutes with top off.

Anyone have any ideas on what I'm doing wrong and what might make a better thicker sauce? 

P.S. I'm using fresh tomatoes not canned (trying really hard to make a lot of this without canned products.)


Offline Clive At Five

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2011, 10:00:59 AM »
Hi ChiEE,

I am by no means a sauce authority, but it sounds like you need to reduce quite a bit longer if you are going to be using it on a deep dish pizza. From what I can remember about the few times I've made sauce from scratch, 30 minutes feels very much on the shy end... even a thin spaghetti sauce. A good 2-4 hour simmer will start to get you into the realm of thickness for a pasta... and being that you're going for a deep dish sauce, you may want to go even longer than this.

My favorite mad scientist, Alton Brown, has a different perspective on tomato sauce:  He addresses the issue of moisture by _baking_ the tomatoes! :o What a radical! ;) @ 2:32.

In the interest of full disclosure - I use (and prefer) canned tomatoes. From the couple of times I've tried making sauce from scratch, I've found it to be too much hassle for too little reward. Are you open to trying some of the nicer canned tomatoes out there? The right kind of canned tomatoes can yeild great results. Brand preferences vary widely on these forums, although many vouch for 6-IN-1, which I've never tried. I have easy access to (amongst others) Muir Glenn organic tomatoes, which I really like.

I hope some of this is useful information; Please report back with your results!

Last but not least, welcome to the forums!

-Clive

Offline BTB

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2011, 11:35:42 AM »
CHiEE, welcome to the website.  I don't think I can add much to Clive's excellent advice to you.  I never make much sauce from scratch, as your heart seems to be set on, so many of us can't be of much help to you there, but maybe there would be more tips in the pizza sauce section.  From my many decades of deep dish pizza eating, if I walked into the kitchens of most of the classic deep dish pizzerias, I would find a lot of cans of some great fresh tomato products and most don't bother with a cooking process.  But I will admit, that many of the great old-fashioned thin crust mom and pop shops did cook and concoct some great tasting pizza sauces.

Unless you are dead set on only working with a homemade cooked sauce product, I would suggest trying for the first few times using some high grade tomato products that many have recommended here first.  And then work further afterwards on developing your ideal sauce from scratch (if you'll ever want to go back -- but some are irrevocably committed to natural . . . etc. . . I realize).

As to the excessive liquidity problem, I've written comments about that many times.  It is difficult, of course, to diagnose the dilemma from afar, but the two greatest sources of such in my experience has been . . . first the sauce.  It should be drained first -- at least all canned products -- for just a short while (est. 10 to 30 minutes max.).  Then the cheese . . . fresh mozzarella is great tasting BUT can easily lead to a soupy pizza.  Suggest use of a dryer mozzarella or cheese.  You hadn't mentioned anything in regard to the cheese you used.  The classic deep dish pizzerias do NOT use fresh mozzarella you realize (but I occasionally sneak some on).

The toppings can also be a contributor to the liquidity problem, esp. freshly washed vegetables.  Sometimes the sausage or pepperoni can have too much fat in their mixture, too.  But am kind of reaching out in the dark as I and others are just not seeing the whole picture and only hear the "sauce" issue from you. 

Among the best canned tomato products to use for deep dish pizzas in my experience has been Lou Malnati's tomato sauce, 6 in 1, Pastene's, Muir Glen, and a few others that I can't recall at the moment.  One of my favorites had been the combination of 6 in 1 with some small diced tomatoes from Muir Glen.

                                                                                          --BTB

Offline ChiEE

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2011, 10:34:28 PM »
Thanks Clive and BTB,

I think I will try out the canned tomatoes for a sauce the next time I do this. My roommates are already feeling the heavy results of my deep dish pizza so I'll hold on for a week or so before I make the next attempt.  :-D BTB I'm glad you brought up the cheese because I do use fresh mozzarella and I had speculated that it was a contributor to the moisture content but assumed that the majority of it came from the tomato. I had also just watched a video of someone making a deep dish pizza and noticed that they used deli sliced mozzarella and you essentially affirmed my concern with the cheese. :)

I guess I should add more about my ingredients and the like. haha....

I used ground pork for filling along with some fried onions and green and red peppers (all drained after cooking), fresh mozzarella and tomatoes cooked into a sauce (the latter two most likely contributing to the moisture).

I'll keep you all posted on my latest attempt when ever i get it done.  >:D

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2011, 05:16:12 PM »
I think BTB already said most of what I have to say, but I'll say it anyway.

It sounds like your major problem was too much water. It's easy to solve that problem by draining the tomatoes. Don't EVER cook tomato product! Cooking tomatoes is the easiest way to ruin what could have been a great pizza. Regardless of pizza style, cooking tomatoes is a surefire way to ruin everything. The tomato product cooks when the pizza's in the oven. That's all the cooking they'll ever need.

Offline AmsterdamPizza

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2011, 05:41:37 PM »
Since I cannot find low moisture mozzarella where I live I dry out my cheese in a glass casserole dish in the oven! -I use the lowest possible temperature with the convection setting on. Works like a charm.

I agree with what others said about the sauce. I'll also add that If you have a sieve, use it. Sieve that sauce to get the water out of it.

Don't pre-cook the vegetables or the meat... In fact try and keep the meat as cool as possible before putting into the pizza.

...if you have "before" and "after" photo's please share!



Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2011, 11:11:46 PM »
for low moisture sauce in deep dish i do a dirty trick to my usual sauces that i don't publish.   i mix part of my sauce with arrow root starch or cornstarch (industrial application: guar gum) to get it to 'gravy up' and thicken as it cooks.  par-bake the dough and cheese for 7-10 minutes, then top and sauce it afterwards.
Hotdogs kill more people than sharks do, yearly.

Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 11:12:35 PM »
picture related.  also parm/romano cheese helps wick up moisture.
Hotdogs kill more people than sharks do, yearly.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 11:22:32 PM »
c0mpl3x,

Another "industrial" thickener, like the guar gum, is xanthan gum. The Chef Boyardee pizza sauce uses xanthan gum as a thickener. Both of the gums are found where gluten- free products are sold.

Peter

Offline jcp1121

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2011, 05:31:15 PM »
One of my favorites had been the combination of 6 in 1 with some small diced tomatoes from Muir Glen.

                                                                                          --BTB

Do you just mix these and use directly? Or do you simmer/reduce and/or drain them?

Thanks,
jason


Offline BTB

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2011, 06:53:01 PM »
Jason, I use a sieve or strainer (for use with deep dish sauce only) and while draining (approx. 10 to 20 minutes max.), I generally add some of the diced tomatoes (amount is judgmental), but also then add some diced pieces onto the "dressed pizza," with the majority of the sauce already on it, to ensure an equal distribution throughout the pie.  I never simmer or cook sauce, esp. for deep dish pizza sauce.  Almost all of the classic Chicago deep dish pizzerias do not cook their tomatoes prior to the pizza bake.

In the event the 6 in 1's are hard to locate, a nice alternative IMO is the Pastene's brand.  They have "chunky" and regular style, which both are great, but if you can't get the chunky styles, use of the regular with some diced tomatoes should work nicely.  And there are some other good ones out there, too.  Good luck.

                                                                                                      --BTB

Offline jcp1121

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Re: Problems with my own deep dish
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2011, 06:56:34 PM »
Thanks again for your great and directly useful info! I suspected as much but always need to ask. This was one of the issues I had with the ATK/CI recipe. However, the first time I try a recipe, I do not deviate, just follow along and see what happens...there's plenty of time to tinker on subsequent tries  :D

Jason


 

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