Author Topic: It's all about the oven. - My story of getting a pizza dough from the pizzeria  (Read 4274 times)

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Offline canadianbacon

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It's about the oven.  I'm 99.99% sure of it anyway....

Here's my story.

It's Friday night, and the whole family is in the car, and we head over to our local favourite pizza parlour.

My wife orders the regular large bacon pizza, and I start chatting with the pizza owner.

He was pretty friendly, so I started some chitchatting with him, and eventually I asked him if I coult take a piece of his dough
home.  He said yeah sure, and took one of his pizza dough balls, put a bit of bench flour on it, and popped it into a paper bag
for me.

Anyway, when the pizza was ready, he boxed it up for us, and we drove home.

So here I was... with a piece of his dough from the pizza guy, and all I needed was to bake it at home.

Well, to make a long story short, I did bake up his dough, and it didn't taste anything like the dough that he made
in his oven.

I baked the dough directly on my pizza stone, did the stuff I normally do like turn the stove to the highest setting and
let the stone heat for about 45 mins.

I tasted the dough, kept an open mind, and really could not say that this dough ball I baked up tasted anything remoetely
like the one the guy made in his oven.

I put sauce and cheese and a few sliced of pepperoni on it, and baked it.

Well, I'm now a believer that it's all in the oven.  This guy's oven is one of those that works on a conveyor belt.... the pizza goes
in one one end, and comes out the other in about 10 mins or less, or whatever it is ( I didn't take real notice how long it took ).

The pizza guy did the routine things, .... got the dough to the size needed.. put sauce on it, then the cheese, then bacon,
and then into the oven. ( he put the dough on a pizza screen by the way, when then goes onto the conveyor belt )

Anyway, interesting obvervations....

I'm not sure if this has been discussed before, but until you actually get a piece of dough yourself,
and try it in real life, you just don't believe it.  Well, I have now, and I'm dumbfounded.

I weight out the doughball he gave me.  It was 11.7 oz, so I believe he aims for a rough 12 oz for each ball for this size pizza.

I asked him for a "small" dough ball, so what he gave me, I am going to guess was for a *small* pizza, probabally an 8" .

What I ordered from him was a 12" pizza, and the doughball from what I saw, was larger than the one he gave me for my home experiment.

I guess this post is more for Peter, as I'd like his expert opinion on it, but I wanted to share my story with all of you.

-- A quick note on the images below --

* The first 2 images below, are the pizza we got from the pizzeria *
* That dough you see on the digital scale is the dough the guy at the pizzeria gave me *
* The pizza you see being made and coming from the oven, is my try using the pizzeria's dough *





« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 06:11:49 PM by canadianbacon »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Mark,

As the owner of a fairly basic home oven I can assure you that I am not an expert on ovens. However, you may be right in your conclusion, although I am not sure you did the right "test" to compare the two pizzas.

There's no doubt about the fact that your home oven is no match for a commercial oven. Earlier today, member November stated in the Little Caesars thread that the heat distribution is much more even in a conveyor oven than in a typical home oven. Also, from time to time, Tom Lehmann makes similar observations. For example, in response to a question from a home pizza maker, Tom commented as follows:

As you're making your pizza at home, I must assume that you're using a home type oven. These ovens are really not the best for baking pizza as they don't have sufficient heat capacity (BTUs).

Putting aside the question of the differences between home and commercial ovens, I think you made comparisons between the two pizzas problematic when you used your own sauce and cheese and substituted pepperoni slices for bacon. Also, it looks like you were working from a smaller dough ball than the pizza operator used in making the 12" pizza bacon pizza you purchased. I think a better test would have been to get the sauce, cheese and bacon from the operator, in the amounts corresponding to the smaller pizza size, and assembled and baked the pizza in your home oven. An alternative would have been to have the operator bake just the dough skin without anything on it and for you to do likewise in your oven, preferably starting with the same size dough ball. I suspect that this would be impractical since most likely both skins would have to be docked to keep the skins from ballooning up, and the taste comparisons could have changed between the time you left the pizzeria and finished baking your own skin. 

You also changed the test when you baked your pizza on a pizza stone rather than on a screen. Doing that could have also changed the finished product in terms of browning, chewiness, texture, etc.

Maybe next time, even if just for fun, you can bring your own dough ball and sauce, cheese and toppings and have the pizza operator bake the pizza up in his conveyor oven and see whether it tastes different than what you make at home ;D. You might even ask the pizza operator if he has ever made his own pizzas in his home oven and what differences, if any, he noted.

Peter

Offline November

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I was actually reading this earlier and almost commented at the time.  It's probably expected from anyone who has read my previous posts that I would say that there was not a shred of scientific methodology in that experiment or conclusion.  I would agree pretty much with everything Peter stated.  I would go one step further though.  Have the pizza operator assemble the pizza with the sauce, cheese, and other toppings just the way he would if he were going to bake it in his own oven for you.  That's assuming you don't live too far away from the restaurant.  Carry that home and bake it.  Keep the oven on while you're gone and a leave a person behind to make sure your house doesn't burn down.  One of the biggest differences in ovens sometimes comes down to how long your oven has been on.  Remember that the operator has had his oven on since the morning.  There's no shortage of heat.

Mark, did you see where the operator got the dough ball from?  Did it appear to be taken from the same area where the ball used to make your other pizza came from?  It's possible he gave you either dough from an older or newer batch.  The chances that he gave you dough from a different batch, whether older or newer, are extremely likely, since each separate batch may be used to form balls of a different size.  That alone could be the answer to your mystery.  If you want more conclusive evidence that it's the oven at fault, eliminate all the other variables first.

- red.november

Offline mivler

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November,

I notice a difference in crust once the sauce has been on more than 30 seconds. It would probably be better for the operator to show him exactly what he does and how much he uses. Then give him sauce, cheese and toppings so that he can go home and try to reproduce the same thing at home.

Michael

Offline Pete-zza

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If all else fails, I recommend that Mark bring his home oven and dough, etc., to the pizzeria and do a bake-off ;D. Or a Bobby Flay-like throwdown.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 01:57:37 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline November

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Michael,

I agree that having the sauce on for more than 30 seconds changes the flavor a little bit, but what we don't know is if the operator would have the sauce sit on the pizza for longer than 30 seconds anyway.  I've seen pizzas sit there waiting in line to be put in the oven for up to 5-6 minutes because of how busy a restaurant gets.  Peter's idea of having canadianbacon bring his pizza components to the restaurant to be baked in their oven is a better idea.  You want to ensure the human variable stays the same.  The other option is to invite the operator over for dinner sometime where he brings over his pizza components to bake in the home oven.

Peter,

Your idea of canadianbacon bringing in his pizza to bake in their oven is pretty much a throwdown right there.  Some operators might take the request the wrong way, but I don't think it will hurt to ask, especially if the operator seems friendly.

- red.november

Offline vitus

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I think that a myriad of things affect the way the way the skin/crust end up tasting like.

I agree with the guys who are saying that the toppings are a factor. The moist alone (in for example the tomato sauce) does indeed influence the dough.

But I also agree with canadianbacon that the oven alone can change completely how the skin/crust/bread taste. Temperature is one thing. Most people will agree that food cooked at a high temperature taste different than at a low temperature. And if the crust is charred in one oven and not the other then the difference in taste can be great, I think.

But one other thing that I have though about many times is smoke. Actual smoke. No oven is completely clean and when you cook in an oven then tiny drops of oil, flour and so on will fall off the food and burn - creating smoke. I remember as a kid we used to love the bread we baked by a campfire in the garden. It was the taste of smoke. It is the same thing in a coal or wood pizza oven. In an electric oven however the only thing that burns is the tiny drops of oil and so on that comes from the food itself. And I believe that there are big differences between two ovens. Some ovens simply create some nice smoke when hot. In my own oven I sometimes cook pork roast. And whenever I do, a lot of pork fat tend to get all inside the oven. This creates smoke and not only does the pork roast and everything else in there taste great (and a tiny bit smoky) - but if I bake a pizza pie the next day it is great (and a little bit smoky) too!
I guess that this all may sound kind of "yucky", but I think that it actually has a lot to do with food coming from different ovens tasting differently.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 02:48:06 PM by vitus »

Offline Arthur

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After making pizza at home for so many years and trying different flours, waters, amounts, procedures etc (and getting somewhat different results each time) I was totally shocked when I made my pizza (same dough) in a wood oven and an electric oven.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1301.0.html

It was two different foods - not even close.  I would think that similar home electric ovens will produce similar results but two different types of ovens can yield wildly different results.

Offline chiguy

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 Hi canadian bacon,
 It is no surprise that you notice a big difference in your pizza and the pizzeria, but it has more to do with the fact that you baked it on direct contact with the stone. The dough formula used by the pizzeria(cooked on a screen probably) is most likely suited for a conveyor oven. When using a direct stone contact vs conveyor oven there will always be a difference in baking times/temps to achieve similar results.
 Anyway it may have turned out drier than you expected but you're pizza looks better in my opinion. I do not think a conveyor oven can produce a better pizza than a stone deck as long as you have a good formula.      Chiguy

Offline vitus

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but you're pizza looks better in my opinion.
I agree! It does look better! :chef:


Offline canadianbacon

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Hi guys,

I haven't posted back in awhile, I guess I was a bit disappointed about my whole experience at the pizza parlour.

However, I did make it back there this evening.  My wife suggested we get a pizza tonight for dinner, so I decided to
go with her and see if I could chat with the guy I did the last time.

Well things worked out great.  We pulled up to the front door of the pizzeria, and I didn't see the owner guy I had chatted
with last week, but 2 young guys.  Oh well I thought.... can't win 'em all.

Well, 30 seconds later, after my wife walked in, ( I was still in the car with the kids ) I see the guy appear from the back.
Wow, so I jumped out of the car and ran in.  Then, things got better !

The 2 guys working there, were also drivers, and BOTH guy disappeared with pizzas for deliveries !

Perfect timing !  My wife ordered our pizza, and while he made it, he asked me if I had tried his dough... and I told him
it wasn't anything like his., etc etc.

Anyway, I then asked him what type of flour he used... ( which is something I slapped myself for, last week, as I had forgotten to ask
him this question ! )

So he tells me...... we use all purpose flour.... I asked him if he uses "00" flour, and he said no, or something like that, almost like he
knew what I was talking about, but not really.  No we use pizza flour, all purpose flour he said.

He invited me behind the counter.... well that was great !  .... there in the back he had 20 kg bags of flour.

Only one bag said "all purpose flour on it though..... all the rest said "Pizza Flour" .... with the name of his company ( franchise ) on it.

Hmm, I walked over to the bags, and there were about 6 ingredients listed at the bottom of the bag..... now.... if this were
just plain ol' flour, would there not be JUST ONE ingredient listed ? .... ??

Now keep in mind, this guy is a franchise owner, and from what I saw tonight, everything he uses is shipped to him by the company.

The cheese, ( big blocks of mozz ) even have the name of the franchise on it.  It's just plain old mozz cheese.

He told me, after I asked, that he mixes his dough for about 15 mins in his huge Kitchen Aid like mixer ( dough hook on it )

He also grates his cheese on this machine ( it's an add-on attachment ) however.... something I noticed !
The grated cheese is NOTHING like the cheese I grate at home using my hand grater...
the shape is totally different.

Anyway, it's not the type of cheese, but it's *how* it is grated.  It's more fine than what I make at home.  It's also a different
shape.  You know when you use a plain old grater at hom, you get strands of cheese ? ... well this grater or grinder, makes
it much smaller, and more round... and this I bet makes the cheese melt in a much better uniform manner.

Oh, and I asked him what temp his oven is.... he said right away "530 degrees" and takes me over to it, and shows me,
sure enough in a red digital display, it said "530 degrees "

Anyway, now I have no idea what to think.

Oh..... I said for fun, to feel him out..... that you guys suggested that I bring a pizza in and try it on his stove.... I also
said, I'd have once tiny slice and the rest is for him, as I don't want to be pushy, and make it look like I"m using his oven
to my advantage.... anyway he was very receptive to the idea.

The first time I was there chatting with him ( last week ) there were 2 other guys there, and when he was telling me this and that
about the pizzas, these 2 guys were giving us looks, almost dirty but not quite... but almost as if to say "what are you telling this guy
our info for " ... kind of thing.....
I know this made the guy a bit uncomfortable, I could feel it. 

Anyway, oh and he uses the same darn yeast I use now, the Instant yeast, that comes in 1 pound packages.
IDY yeast I think it's called ?

Peter, he told me and showed me he uses a 1/4 cup of this yeast for 20 Kilos of flour.  - how does this sound to you,
is this about right for pizzas ?  - I have not tried down-converting this to a small recipe as of yet.

He actually took me over and showed me his little scoop, and the yeast he uses. 

Once he makes the dough, they break it down into balls, and into a little proofer it goes, which is nothing more
than a closet in the place, closet made of wood.... and doesn't seem to be hooked to any sort of heating device.
I guess it's draft free, and that's why they use it.  - totally homemade too.

He says they leave the dough there for 20 mins, and then into a colder holding area it goes... on trays and then stays there
and is covered.

Oh, and the dough that he used for my pizza tonight ? ... was made that morning ( early )  He says they make the dough always
the same day.  ( probabally because on their franchise boxes, it says "dough made fresh daily ) and that's how they were
instructed to do the dough when he bought the franchise.

Anyway, I think I need to win the lotto, and buy a pizza oven :-)

Oh.... the bacon I had on this pizza....... it's all tiny bacon balls.... I guess u could call them, the bacon must come
from their supplier, as it's always exactly the same.  He doesn't cut it up there. 

The way the bacon is done, each bite of pizza you have, your mouth is filled with a burst of bacon flavour, so this I
like, as it's much better bacon flavour vs tiny bits of bacon I would do at home and spread around a pizza like I would
pepporoni.

sorry for going on here, I hope I have given some good info.  Not much I know for people trying to learn secrets,
but I'm feeling a bit better chatting with the guy tonight.

oh, I just thought about something else.  It took about 5 minutes for the pizza to bake in that oven.  It was pretty
fast.  The guy told me 4-5 minutes for all his pizzas.... he doesn't turn the conveyor belt down in speed, it always goes
the same speed.

Edits:
Editing errors in thought, etc today.  It's nice to see we can edit a post even the next day as I have other stuff to add,
and also clarify my thoughts from last night.  The post was written very quickly while watching TV, eating that pizza from
the pizza parlour, etc.

Note: On my original post for this thread, I indicated that the pizza I bought was a 12" pizza.  I found out last night that this is
NOT the case.  The pizza is a 14" pizza.  I took a measuring tape to it last week and decided myself that the size should be 12"
as that would easily fit into the box.  However, last night the guy told me that the pizza I bought was 14" and indeed, I turned
the box over this morning ( from the pizza I bought last night ) and it says "14" on the bottom of the box " 

Now, he also told me ( the guy at the pizza place ) that the dough he gave me last week was for a 10" pizza.
So knowing this now, we know that he uses 11.7 oz of dough for a 10" pizza.  He further proved this to me, by removing
a box from the wall, and turned it over... sure enough it said "10 " on it.  When I asked him the weight of the ball
he gave me last week, he gave me a number in grams, saying it was "300-something" and indeed, when I weight out the dough ball,
it was 300-something grams, I'll have to check my image, as I shot both the pizza ball in oz and in grams on my scale )

It's amazing the amount of info you can come up with just asking a few questions and getting a sample dough ball.

Cheese: The cheese he used was mozz. I took a mental note of 2 things.
Moisture : 52% and M.F. was 20%
My wife bought some "pizza cheese" at the store the other day, and its moisture content is rated at : 48%
and the M.F. = 20%  ( I'm not sure how this is different from a regular block of mozz cheese you buy at the local supermarket though )

One other thing, I think the pizza guy puts a lot more cheese on his pizza than I do.  I guess because my cheese grater grates in a different
way ( as described above ) this makes me think I"m putting on a lot, but may this isn't the case.  I guess I really should start measuring
the amount I put on a pizza. 

One thing I have to mention about Canadian pizza places..... you just do not get the variety that you do in the States.  Last year I called
a place and ordered a Chicago style pizza.  What came to the door was a pizza like you see below ( very simular ) the only difference
was that the dough was thicker.  That to them is "Chicago style"

You will not find one pizza place around here that will make a deep dish pizza ( they just don't exist ).  The only place where you would find
this would be at Pizza Hut, or a big chain like that.

All pizza is the same here, what makes a pizza different is the toppings you have the guy put on.  That's how we do it up here. 
So pizza places don't make 3 different types of dough or something like that, they make one dough and that's it.


Mark

[ Below is the pizza we bought last night.  That is a medium, 14" pizza.  Bacon and cheese only. ]
Those little bumps you see there on the pizza is the bacon.
Oven was at 530 degrees F on his conveyor belt pizza oven.  Time was approx 5 mins from entering
the oven to coming out.  You can see the dock was docked also where I'm holding up the dough so you can see the bottom.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006, 11:12:19 AM by canadianbacon »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Peter, he told me and showed me he uses a 1/4 cup of this yeast for 20 Kilos of flour.  - how does this sound to you, is this about right for pizzas ?  - I have not tried down-converting this to a small recipe as of yet.

Mark,

If the pizza operator is using 20 kilos of flour, that is around 44 pounds, or 704 ounces. If he is using 1/4 cup of IDY, that is 12 teaspoon, which comes to around 1.28 ounces. That would be 1.28/704 = 0.18%. That is on the low side but for a cold fermented dough it should work. As an example, a typical range for a Lehmann dough using IDY is 0.17-0.25%.

Peter

Offline canadianbacon

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Hi Peter,

ah great info, thanks for doing the math for me.  I appreciate that.  To everyone else,
thanks for your comments regarding my pizza, and I'm sorry I didn't reply to your posts
sooner, sorry about that.

Peter, I've added in some more info in my 2nd post, look at the bottom, where I wrote "Edit: "
after a sleep, more info is coming to me, and I've also clarified parts of that post I made last night.

It's good to correct info if you remember something you originally wrote is wrong, and the pizza sizes
were wrong I had indicated -oops -

I indeed this morning took a measuring tape, and once again measured the box I got my pizza in last night
and indeed a 14" pie will slide into the box.  I still had the other box from last week out on the back deck
so re-measured that one, to make sure it wasn't a different box, and it was also 14" .  2" makes a huge difference
in a circle... and could tototally give incorrect calcs if somebody was calculating something in my data.

Mark
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Offline clown

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That is on the low side but for a cold fermented dough it should work.
he mentioned the dough was made that morning though. 

Offline Pete-zza

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clown,

Perhaps canadianbacon can clarify this point, but his post states:

Once he makes the dough, they break it down into balls, and into a little proofer it goes, which is nothing more than a closet in the place, closet made of wood.... and doesn't seem to be hooked to any sort of heating device. I guess it's draft free, and that's why they use it. - totally homemade too.

He says they leave the dough there for 20 mins, and then into a colder holding area it goes... on trays and then stays there and is covered.

Oh, and the dough that he used for my pizza tonight ? ... was made that morning (early) He says they make the dough always the same day.


A dough with low levels of yeast can be ready after about 12 hours of refrigeration. A good example of a cold fermented dough formulation with a small amount of yeast (as little as 0.17% IDY) is this one: http://www.pmq.com/recipe/view_recipe.php?id=52. So, if the dough is made in the morning for evening use, then the dough should be sufficiently fermented by the time the dinner crowd comes in. Even though the franchisee says that dough is made fresh every day, there is no reason why the unused dough at the end of the day can’t be held over for the next day, even for the lunch crowd if the place is open for lunch. I would rather have a pizza made from the older dough than a new one.

Peter

Offline chiguy

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 Although the finished dough temperature was not mentioned by mark in the formulation, it is one of the most important factors in the cold fermentation process.
 It is possible that his dough is a bit warmer off the hook(85-95F), thus speeding up the fermentation in the cooler.
 It sounds that the cooler is being used to control fermentation intraday and not to extract natural sugars and byproducts associated with longer fermentations.
 
 I will reiterate that baking in direct contact with a stone vs a screen/conveyor oven will produce significantly different results.

                                                                             Chiguy
 

Offline canadianbacon

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Re: It's all about the oven. - My story of getting a pizza dough from the pizze
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2006, 10:18:47 AM »
Hi guys  ;D

The pizza maker didn't tell me what temp the holding fridge was set at, but I did go into it,
and it was chilly.  He did tell me that it wasn't freezer temps though, as that would freeze the dough.

The pizza owner makes the dough, early that morning, lets it rise for 20 mins or so in the proofer
( that box I described above )

Then he told me it goes right into a pretty large walk in fridge.  I went in there with him to see the cheese
he used, and indeed it was chilly but not freezing.

Now, I didn't ask him, but since he starts selling pizza at 11 am, I'm sure this guy is there at 7 am each morning,
so that dough is probabally in the cold fridge pretty early, say by 8 or 8:30 am, so by 5 pm that day when you
buy a pizza, it's had a change to ferment slowly for quite some time.

With that said, I guess if you order a pizza at 11 am, your dough in theory wouldn't be as tasty. ( less fermentation )

However, him being a small pizza guy, I would highly doubt that if there was dough left over from the night before
that he would toss it out - no way, he had all that dough covered well, so he's using that the next morning when
he sells pizzas.... that I'm totally sure of, so scratch my theory of getting a less developed pizza dough I would say ( unless he sold out that day of course )
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Offline DNA Dan

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At the pizza place I worked at they did almost the same thing. Basically you need TIME to prepare all those skins so when you get SLAMMED with a rush hour (Lunch or dinner time) you have enough skins to rip through.

We would make a big batch in the AM, let it rise a bit at RT, then put it in the walk in refridgerator. The refridgeration step was only there to retard the dough and decrease the fermentation so the skins didn't overferment and become flat. So I don't think the refridgeration time is necessarily CRITICAL to the outcome of the skin, it's just there to buy you time until the next big wave of people come into the restaurant. We never had  "fixed" refridgeration times, it just went in there until it was used. Actually the only fixed time we had was staying in the walk-in TOO long. If the dough stayed in there more than 6 hours, the skin was dry and would crack while cooking. Dough that was in there for extended times was bagged up and used the next morning in the fresh dough. This wasn't for flavor at all. This was simply to not waste the dough.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2006, 12:27:12 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline DNA Dan

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I think that a myriad of things affect the way the way the skin/crust end up tasting like.

I agree with the guys who are saying that the toppings are a factor. The moist alone (in for example the tomato sauce) does indeed influence the dough.

But I also agree with canadianbacon that the oven alone can change completely how the skin/crust/bread taste. Temperature is one thing. Most people will agree that food cooked at a high temperature taste different than at a low temperature. And if the crust is charred in one oven and not the other then the difference in taste can be great, I think.

But one other thing that I have though about many times is smoke. Actual smoke. No oven is completely clean and when you cook in an oven then tiny drops of oil, flour and so on will fall off the food and burn - creating smoke. I remember as a kid we used to love the bread we baked by a campfire in the garden. It was the taste of smoke. It is the same thing in a coal or wood pizza oven. In an electric oven however the only thing that burns is the tiny drops of oil and so on that comes from the food itself. And I believe that there are big differences between two ovens. Some ovens simply create some nice smoke when hot. In my own oven I sometimes cook pork roast. And whenever I do, a lot of pork fat tend to get all inside the oven. This creates smoke and not only does the pork roast and everything else in there taste great (and a tiny bit smoky) - but if I bake a pizza pie the next day it is great (and a little bit smoky) too!
I guess that this all may sound kind of "yucky", but I think that it actually has a lot to do with food coming from different ovens tasting differently.

I completely agree with your comments about smoke. This is something that is very dificult to reproduce in a home oven. I puposely do not clean my pizza stone so that the thing smokes my oven like crazy when I fire it up.

Offline DNA Dan

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Your comments about the cheese texture, I know exactly what you mean. As a child my father would use an old hand cranked grinder for grinding our cheese from block mozz. Basically you can make cheese similar to what they have in the restaurant by using a grinder with a screw in it. This makes the cheese an "extruded" product and totally changes the texture of the cheese. I think this is also responsible for the "freckled" look of the cheese that is browned on top the pizza when it come out of the oven. Here is a link to something similar to what we used to use, but it's an electric model.

http://www.sausagesource.com/catalog/mav-5501.html

I think almost any grinder that has a lead screw feeding the cutting head, will produce what you are looking for. It's extruded and it breaks up into little balls easily. Basically you want to grind the cheese, not grate or shred it.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2006, 12:50:45 PM by DNA Dan »