Author Topic: Tonight, everything clicked  (Read 5151 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Tonight, everything clicked
« on: October 27, 2012, 03:44:52 AM »
I apologize if it's bad etiquette to start a new thread when I've got one going in the Starters forum but I just devoured the best pizza I've ever made and I felt obligated to show off a bit.  ;D Also, since my thread in the Starters forum is becoming less about starters specifically and more about my general pizza quest, perhaps it's best if I move over to General Pizza Making?

I took my home-grown raisin starter for its second test drive and it seems as though a few days in the fridge plus a couple more feedings did it a world of good. The dough handled better and held its tension more, the ball didn't flatten out during proofing like it did last week.  It was still very easy to stretch open but not overly so. As far as the pizza itself goes, it seems as though everything just came together more than it ever has in the past for me. The cornicione took on great colour and was light and puffy and the perfect balance between tender and chewy. The char on the upskirt was awesome. Bake time was very good, around 2:20.

Also, added to this was the topping combination which was the mozzarella di bufala, taleggio and chive with olive oil and sea salt originally posted by dellavecchia that's been making a bit of a stir lately.  As others have said, it is indeed sublime. I will be making this one again, for sure. And again, and again.

The whole time I was eating this I was just so impressed with the way everything turned out. The only specific criticism I would give it is that the olive oil I used is in a bottle that's a little hard to drizzle and I ended up being a little too heavy handed with it by accident. That and a purely aesthetic thing: The chives I had weren't very long so I couldn't give it the whole "grassy" presentation that dellavecchia originally intended with the toppings. Still looks nice though, I think? Other than those minor details, this pie was aces. Granted, it's pretty lousy compared to what most people around here pull out of their oven but at least I'm headed in the right direction, right?

Brendan

p.s. My computer wants to auto-correct "taleggio" to "felatio".   :-\
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 01:53:57 AM by I Have Feet »


Offline mkevenson

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2719
  • Age: 64
  • Location: Santa Rosa, Ca
  • Roos! Protector of Fowl
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2012, 09:49:47 AM »
Nice looking pie, great color and crumb. I'm jealous!

Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline Dpilaitis

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 11
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 01:58:15 PM »
Hi, your pie looks amazing.  No way that one could have been bad, great job.  How did you cook in the kitchen,WFO or grill?  I can never seem to grist the bottom of my pies to look like that and I guess it's because I don't have even heat.  Cooking in a preheated oven @ 550f. 

Thanks,
David

Offline dellavecchia

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2631
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 02:00:26 PM »
Outstanding job Brendan. I think eating a pizza you made that looks and tastes perfect is one on the great joys in life. Love the crumb and crust coloring.

John

Offline Aimless Ryan

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2386
  • Location: Grove City (Columbus), Ohio
    • Snarky
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 11:45:08 AM »
p.s. My computer wants to auto-correct "taleggio" to "felatio".   :-\

Awesome.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 15427
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2012, 05:39:43 PM »
Very nice all the way around.
Pizza is not bread. Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 02:35:22 AM »
Thanks everyone for the compliments!

David: I do my pizza in my home electric oven, under the broiler.  Getting good char on the undercarriage has been one of my biggest challenges, for sure.  My current routine is to use a Lodge cast iron pizza pan stacked on top of a standard pizza stone (Emily Henry brand) on the top rack of my oven, about 2" under the broiler.  The cast iron is far more conductive than the pizza stone so it really helps with both char and oven spring, but stacking it on top of the other stone further increases the thermal mass and ability to transfer heat.  The oven rack is lined with aluminum foil, which serves to contain and reflect the broiler heat in the top section of the oven.  I would like to install some reflective aluminum above the broiler element but I haven't yet figured out exactly how I'm going to do that.  I think when I get top reflection I might be able to get my back times to under 2:00.

John:  Thank you so much for the compliment, and thank you for the outstanding topping combination! Next week I am having a pizza night with a few friends and one of them is vegetarian so I will be doing all meatless pies.  This one is definitely going on the menu.


Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 02:44:44 AM »
I had a friend over for some Hallowe'en movies tonight and made pizza.  I'm really proud of the way this one came out, as well.  I love it when all of a sudden you seem to cross a mile stone at something you've been working on and everything just gets one notch better! :)  It makes me look forward to my next leap forward.  Maybe that will be next week? I discovered that a grocery store near my house sells 1 kilo bags of Caputo so I picked one up.  I'm going to try doing a 50/50 blend.  From what I've been reading around here, I figure now that my bake times are coming it to 2:15-2:30 I'm ready to start experimenting with this flour.  Anything I should know going in?  I'm guessing fermentation will be slightly slower due to the lack of malting, so maybe I should increase the starter % a bit?

Tonight's pie was Jim Lahey's "Bird's Nest" pizza.  Bake time was somewhere around 2:00 - 2:10, not counting the time it took to pull the pizza and put the quail eggs on.

Brendan

Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 02:38:40 AM »
More success tonight!  :D

I tried a 50/50 blend of AP flour and Caputo. Hydration was 64%, and I upped the starter to 6% to shoot for an 18 hour total ferment, to accommodate my work day.  It ended up being more like 20 hours.

I liked the results.  The Caputo definitely changed both the flavour and texture.  Not sure if it was better or worse, just different.

I'm very happy that I've found a method to consistently get good bottom char.

Brendan


Offline Jet_deck

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3045
  • Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2012, 09:41:39 AM »
Very nice!  What all is on the squash pies?
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2012, 01:49:04 PM »
The squash pie had marscapone, shaved butternut squash, shallots that were cooked slowly in butter until tender, and fresh thyme. It was a combo that I wanted to see if it'd be good enough to include on the menu for a 6 pie, all vegetarian menu for Sunday. It was good but I would definitely make some changes:

-I'd never tried marscapone on pizza before and I had expected it to become runnier as it melted. It did not, it just stayed in a few globs (as you can see). For Sunday I will blend marscapone with some cream to spread all over the skin.

-The centres of the shallot bulbs were nice and tender and sweet but the outer layers got crispy under the broiler, which wasn't what I was looking for. I think that after cooking I will separate the centres from the outer layers and blend up the outer layers with the marscapone cream, further enhancing the sauce.

-I will also infuse the cream with thyme, rather than just putting fresh leaves on top. I will probably still put some fresh stuff on top as well.

-the squash wasn't cooked at all before going on the pie as it was shaved so thin I figure it'd cook fine. It did work, but next time I will brine the shavings in salt water overnight, to both tenderize and season the squash.

What do you think of those ideas, Gene? I really appreciated your suggestion for my brussels sprouts recipe so I trust your advice. :)

Also, congratulations on the oven!

Brendan

Offline RobynB

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 656
  • Location: Scotts Valley, CA
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2012, 10:51:06 PM »
Maybe consider ricotta instead of mascarpone?  I love the way ricotta spreads and softens, and I like it's flavor, I find it more delicate than mascarpone, without that tang. 

I would brine the squash and then maybe toss it with olive oil before topping?  That's what I would do.   

The flavors sound great - I'd love that pizza!

Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 12:48:49 AM »
Hey, Thanks for the reply Robyn, and thank you for your suggestions  :)

I was considering ricotta as well but I'm putting it on another pie and I'm trying to not have too many redundant toppings.  I think the marscapone made into a cream sauce with the shallots and thyme will work well though.

The squash in on the pie in the photo were tossed with olive oil before topping, and I will definitely do that again.  The shavings are brining right now.

I hope to get photos of all six pies tomorrow night, without looking like a complete dork to my friends.  :-D

Brendan

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 23827
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2012, 07:20:30 AM »
Brendan,

Your pies look delicious!

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Tscarborough

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 3767
  • Location: Austin, TX
    • Pizza Anarchy
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2012, 10:10:04 PM »
Very nice!

Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2012, 12:56:09 PM »
Thank you Norma and Tscarborough! It's always nice to get a compliment from some of the masters. :)

Here are some pics from my pizza party last night. I didn't remember to take photos of every one but I did get a couple.  There were six pies in total:

1. Bufala, taleggio, chives, extra virgin, sea salt
2. Margherita (pictured)
3. Marscapone and pecorino cream (was DELICIOUS!), butternut squash, shallots, thyme (pictured)
4. Pecorino, fresh mozz, wine glazed portabella mushrooms, white truffle oil
5. Crushed tomatoes, oregano, zucchini strips (marinated with extra virgin, garlic, oregano and dried chili), spoonfuls of ricotta post bake, extra virgin
6. "Bird's Nest" parmigiano reggiano, taleggio, shaved asparagus, quail eggs, sea salt and cracked pepper, more reggiano post bake

Dough was another attempt at 50/50 AP/Caputo. Bake times were faster than I've experienced before.  Both pies pictured were sub 2:00!!  :chef:

Brendan
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 12:58:05 PM by I Have Feet »

Offline mkevenson

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2719
  • Age: 64
  • Location: Santa Rosa, Ca
  • Roos! Protector of Fowl
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2012, 01:07:45 PM »
Beautiful pies!!!!!!! Scrumdeliosus :pizza:

Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles


Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2012, 02:43:31 PM »
Beautiful pies!!!!!!! Scrumdeliosus :pizza:

Mark

Hehe, thanks Mark!  :)

Offline pizzaneer

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1476
  • Location: Nirvana
  • Pizza and zen more pizza
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2012, 03:36:20 PM »
Congratulations, Brendan!  You certainly deserve a big round of applause!  :)

The metal-on-top-of-stone stack is something we've been discussing here for a while.  I'm really, really glad to see it produced absolutely mouthwatering results like yours!  :chef:

Your toppings sound so interesting, I can't decide which one appeals to me the most.  What did your friends think?  Did they have any feedback, or were they too polite to talk with their mouths full?  Umm, argh... yes, it's... ummm! MMM!  Which ones did they like the most?
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 15427
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2012, 04:46:56 PM »
Those look really great Brendan. They are right up there with the best home-oven pies I've seen in this forum. You might consider starting a new thread documenting your formula, workflow, oven set-up, and baking procedure. I think a lot of people would be interested.

Craig
Pizza is not bread. Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline Jet_deck

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3045
  • Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2012, 04:58:25 PM »

What do you think of those ideas, Gene? I really appreciated your suggestion for my brussels sprouts recipe so I trust your advice. :)

Also, congratulations on the oven!

Brendan

Sorry, I just saw this. And thanks.

The second round of your pies look excellent and I wouldn't change a thing.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline I Have Feet

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 116
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2012, 12:56:03 PM »
Pizzaneer: Thank you so much for such generous praise.  :)  All the topping combos went over great, there was no one clear winner. One person declared the butternut squash pie his favourite, another the zucchini. The bird's nest pie was a big hit; I managed to get the quail eggs to have perfectly runny yolks. The Margherita was my personal favourite but that's because it always is.  ;)

Craig: Wow, what a huge compliment. Thank you. I had never really thought that I was at a point where I had anything to teach others but I will start a new thread where I document my trials and errors in more detail.

Gene: I'm glad you approved my thoughts on the marscapone cream sauce.  :-D It was really, really good. I added some pecorino to it as well.

Thank you everyone for the compliments and encouragement!

Brendan

Offline pizzaneer

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1476
  • Location: Nirvana
  • Pizza and zen more pizza
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2012, 01:06:46 PM »
This level of praise isn't hard to understand when you consider that making NP pizza in a home oven is one of the Holy Grails of pizza questing.  Getting to NP level the traditional way involves an outlay of serious dinero, and a whole lot of people just don't have that, or the space to put a WFO. 

Not saying that this method beats a WFO of course.  No way!  Just look at what John is doing in NJ with his; he's been helping his neighborhood cook their meals ever since the storm hit.  WFO's can do amazing things, and there is such a sense of satisfaction involved when you have mastered it.

But for someone browsing this forum who really, really wants to try making a NP pizza in a home oven with nothing more than a stone and big piece of metal to put on top of it, you have done some awesome groundbreaking.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline Jbravo

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 43
  • Location: Moscow, Russia
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2012, 12:57:13 PM »
 Brendan, I was really impressed by the pizzas you have baked. They look fantastic. Can you provide some details on the oven that you use, other than that it's an electric oven? What is its maximum temperature, how many heating elements does it have (and where are they located), etc. I understood that yo have not modified it, right? It would be great if you post a picture of the inside of your oven. I was surprised that you are able to bake in 2 minute or so. I also have an electric oven with a broiler (maximum temp being approx. 437 Fahrenheit) but it takes at least 8 minutes to bake a pizza in it  :(   

Offline slybarman

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: Maryland
Re: Tonight, everything clicked
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2012, 02:01:11 PM »
Brendan, I was really impressed by the pizzas you have baked. They look fantastic. Can you provide some details on the oven that you use, other than that it's an electric oven? What is its maximum temperature, how many heating elements does it have (and where are they located), etc. I understood that yo have not modified it, right? It would be great if you post a picture of the inside of your oven. I was surprised that you are able to bake in 2 minute or so. I also have an electric oven with a broiler (maximum temp being approx. 437 Fahrenheit) but it takes at least 8 minutes to bake a pizza in it  :(   

Ditto. Details please.