Author Topic: Quality NY toppings & techniques  (Read 55006 times)

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Offline Foccaciaman

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #80 on: September 13, 2004, 11:14:01 PM »
Looks mighty tasty. ;D

Was the effort worth the results?
Would you do it again/what changes would you make?
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Offline Giovanni

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #81 on: September 14, 2004, 10:18:39 AM »
Giotto:

Where do you get your Grande Mozzarella? I tried emailing verns cheese as seen in previous posts but got nothing back. Did you have to call them to order it or did you get it somewhere else?

Offline giotto

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #82 on: September 14, 2004, 12:43:42 PM »
Giovanni:

I get the Grande whole milk low moisture at $3.99 lb on the shelf at Whole Foods in the San Francisco area.  Each section of Whole Foods (grocery/flour, cheese, bulk, etc.) has a list of "approved vendors".  If Grande is not on their shelves, then ask the cheese department if it is on their "approved list of vendors".  If so, they will order it for you (no shipping costs, available within a couple of days, and usually a 10% discount for bulk items if you ask).  I have done this effectively with flours in the past.  Another alternative is to ask any of your pizzerias if they use Grande (I found 3 in my area that do) and ask to purchase a couple of pounds from them.  Hope this works out!

Offline giotto

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #83 on: September 14, 2004, 01:10:50 PM »
Foccaciaman:

This time around, I went with what I know, which was indirect heat to smolder and direct heat only to brown the bottom.  I would go through this process when I wish to leverage the bbq for other foods (e.g., crispy wings, grilled vegetables), which was the case here.  It was a safe approach for making pizza, since the pizza was formed from the oven.  In the future, I know that if the bbq reads under 400 F when the lid is closed, I can run it indirect for a much longer time to get more of the smoldering smoke flavor.

There is also the tortilla approach.  Cook one side over the grill first (a screen makes it easy to handle), and then flip it over to cook the other side.  Next put on the toppings, and finish it up indirectly.  I prefer simulating the wood oven approach though to get a good outside crust.  But this requires you to turn the pizza toward the heat every so often.  I can't see into my bbq.  So the combined oven/grill approach is better for consistency of rise.  

I'm now researching how to convert my home fireplace into a wood oven, as a result of your comment to do something on your own.  I went through the wood oven videos from the URL that I provided above, and the concaved smaller pizza entry seems key.  Tiles along the floor may be used as well apparently.  Worth the investigation.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2004, 01:12:53 PM by giotto »

Offline Foccaciaman

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #84 on: September 14, 2004, 03:01:49 PM »
Giotto:

Nice thinking, the idea of turning a home fireplace into a workable pizza oven really intrigues me, keep me posted. ;D

Unfortunately when I moved into my current house I had purchased it without a fireplace (much to the displeasure of my wife).

So actually, the installation of a new fireplace into my home with some modifications may be the way to get my wood burning pizza oven idea past the little woman.
I think I may have to run this idea by some local fireplace installers and see if they can come up with a design from some sketches that I make. :)
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Offline giotto

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #85 on: September 15, 2004, 12:41:33 AM »
Well, Foccaicaman, that idea has been smoked, or should I say smoldered.

Today, after I called Mugnaini, I was told that "code" requires the firelplace to be 40" high when used for cooking purposes.  Ya know, what a bunch of BS.  How does the government come up with this stuff.  It's okay to have sparks flying at a foot off the ground.   But somehow, cooking requires a different code?  

So I went to Home Depot and looked into fire bricks.   They told me their bricks are for walking a path... Where is the passion.  That's all I want to know.  I will assume it is in the pizza & brewing industries, as I check out what is in my refrigerator:

- Trinity Brewing Co, Chicago, as I notice they use malted rye in with their roasted grains.

- Good ol' Murphy's from Ireland.  Now, that's a place where you look in the dictionary under passion, and you see "Ireland".

- Mackesons Triple Stout-- they had to go through it 3 times.

- Wittekerke-- even the monks' in Beligium have more of a soul with their white beer than those bozos in the U.S. government.  

Passion and Pizza both sart with a "p', and I should never confuse those two with the "g" in government.  But hey, if there is a will, there is a way.  And tomorrow is another day.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2004, 05:36:56 PM by giotto »

Offline Foccaciaman

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #86 on: September 15, 2004, 02:17:49 PM »
What a bummer. Well I guess I will be back to my outdoor pizza oven idea. I am sure that my local restrictions are almost identical.

On the beer note:
Its funny, I just was mentioning Murphy's Stout on the beer bread thread.
Wow, someone who also keeps good beer in there fridge.  ;D
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Offline giotto

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #87 on: October 15, 2004, 06:29:07 PM »
Here's some techniques to give you a crust with less density and more holes:

- First, I would recommend review of this excellent discussion in baker's toolbox regarding mixing methods and the direct impact that duration of mixing has on the airy level of the dough. http://www.progressivebaker.com/class/section5.htm

As you can see from one of its pictures, the amount of time that you mix the dough is disproportionate to the airy level you have in the dough:
(http://www.progressivebaker.com/images/toolbox/nbccourse/lnbc-48.jpg)

- Although pros require longer mixing times, it's important to keep in mind that they are working with 50 lbs or more of flour, while we work with cups of flour.  In the case of professional dough, you will note that their dough is usually an off-white color.  This is because they do not oxidize the pigments in the dough.  Unfortunately, for those who try to follow long mixing times at home, the dough tends to oxidize, resulting in a much whiter color and less taste from the loss of pigmentation.

- It's all in the handling.  You ever see those sites that suggest beating the dough up while preparing it for the oven?  The opposite is true if you want an airy crust.  I find tender loving handling of that dough to be extremely important to giving me that consistent chewy crust demanded in thin New York style crusts, along with an airy texture.  You'll notice that Naples DOC requirements prohibit the use of rollers.  The goal is to keep the bubbles in place by delicately stretching the dough.  

Shorter knead times and delicate handling give me a chewy airy outer crust every time, even when the rest of the pizza is characteristic of a New York thin style pizza: (http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/down-to-the-last-bite.jpg)

- Unfortunately, many contribute the strength of the dough to be directly attributable to long kneading times due to professional requirements when working with 50 lbs or more of flour.  However, salt is often the factor that will strengthen a dough.  The world champion tossing professional, Tony Gemignani, suggests using more salt to make a better tossing dough. 

- Since bubbles allow the top skin of the crust to separate from the bottom skin of the crust, try to bring the bubbles out as much as possible by following any of these methods
a) let the dough sit for 40 or more minutes after removing it from the refrigerator,
b) let the dough sit on the screen with no ingredients for 5 or so minutes,
c) place the dough in the oven with no ingredients (at 530 F, small bubbles should form within 35 seconds, middle to low shelf, without any burn marks).  The last step is critical as seen in this picture:
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/theres-those-bubbles.JPG)


Here's an example of an airy slice attained with the suggestions above to maintain bubbles. Farther down in this page is a thinner slice, which maintains the same airy texture:
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/Now-thats-a-slice.JPG)

As far as color and taste:

- I no longer abide by rules that suggest against the use of sugar, especially when leaving the dough beyond 24 hours; but for different reasons than some might think.  First, to put things into perspective, the use of 1 1/2 tsp of sugar (6g) gives each pizza slice 25% less than 1g of sugar. Hence, you will only get an additional 1g of carbs with 3 slices of pizza. Second, even with refrigeration, much of the natural sugar will be gobbled up in the dough after 1 day by the yeast.  There's nothing worse than a white-looking pizza crust, which you end up over-heating in an effort to gain some color.  In Naples, they do not use sugar.  But then, they often make the dough same day.

- With regard to taste, you need to extend the life of the dough to extract the natural bacteria and sugars from the starches of the dough that can only develop over time.  By adding a little bit of sugar, I can extend the life beyond 24 hours, and I can retain the color and obtain a taste that is clearly stronger from the bacteria by the 2nd day in the refrigerator.

- While separating out the ingredients may appear necessary to maintain the fermentation of the dough during the mixing process, I have found far more effective results with a more thorough mix that is achieved with with a much simpler process of mixing the salt, sugar and proofed active yeast into cooler water at one time, especially when working with a home stand mixer.  

Salt will not kill the yeast.  It only slows it down (which is the goal).  The same is true when adding proofed active yeast to cooler water.  And of course, by properly mixing the dry ingredients in the fluid first (water, milk, beer, etc.), you will get a very consistent even mixture with the flour.  

The 14" pizza shown below has a nice outer edge with slices that end in a New York style slender skin.  The following ingredients will yield a similar result:

10 oz of high gluten flour (e.g., Pendleton's unbleached flour just under 14% protein), 60% cool water (6 oz) , just under 1 tsp salt, just under 2 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp active yeast proofed in 1 TBL of 105 F water, and 1 - 2 TBL oil.  All ingredients, except yeast, were dissolved into the water.  The proofed yeast was then added, mixed gently, and then added to the flour for kneading:

(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/bubble-licious.jpg)
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/for-me.JPG)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2005, 04:22:48 AM by giotto »

Offline giotto

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #88 on: October 15, 2004, 08:33:38 PM »
I continue to be amazed at how helpful professionals can sometimes be in sharing what I would consider their deep secrets.  I have learned, however, that when you share questions in a constructive manner, the owners seem to appreciate your hobby.  

Recently, I decided to follow suit what I've done over time with pizza in my quest to better understand Mexican food.  I had noticed a sign in a window of a largely hispanic area indicating that it once again won rights to best food.  I'm an advocate of learning from the best and this was a serious hole in the wall.  So I stopped in and watched them put together my burrito in front of me-- the process was not at all hidden.  The line was long and I was hit with many questions, like black beans, etc. Sometimes out of respect, I responded with 'what do you suggest, everyone has their specialty?'.  When we got to the sauces, I asked if the green sauce was tomatillo-- he looked up and said "yes."

After I ate an entire meal wrapped inside a single tortilla, I couldn't help but wonder how all those ingredients meshed so well together.  But I decided to keep my questions narrow on this first visit.  So I went back and gave a thumbs up to the person who helped me.  He smiled. I then told him that the sauce didn't taste like the usual Pasilla or Ancho dried chile.  He then told me the name of the pepper they used, which caught me by total surprise.  He then asked me to follow him, despite the line and few family members to help.  Amazing.  He took me over to one of their bare bone shelves, grabbed a bag and told me "this one."  

It's always interesting to see how volume is handled, without skipping certain steps.  I realized that this pepper probably did not need to be skinned.  I asked anyways.  He then grabbed a metal strainer and said to push the rehydrated peppers through it after heating the skin.  I thanked him, and paid a dollar for the bag of peppers.  

This was a serious time-saving expedition, and I continue to learn that pros appreciate hobbies too.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2004, 08:34:33 PM by giotto »

sohraix

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #89 on: October 15, 2004, 09:34:44 PM »
Giotto,

In August, you indicated in a posting at http://www.pizzamaking.com/yabbse/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=524;start=20 that you felt you needed 12-14 minutes of kneading of dough for a NY style pizza.  More recently, you seem to be using much shorter knead times.  I was wondering what circumstances or ingredients changed that suggested that shorter knead times were better.

Peter


Offline giotto

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #90 on: October 16, 2004, 01:28:44 AM »
Sohraix:

Here's what led up to the change in direction of shorter knead times:

- You'll notice that the post you mention above was on Aug. 26th.  One day later, I commented on the progressivebakers site mentioned under your member name (http://www.pizzamaking.com/yabbse/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=524;start=msg4714#msg4714).  In a later section (section 5), I came across the same progressivebaker section that I point to above where I show the picture of the 3 breads.  

- Two days later, on Aug. 28th, I talked about oxidation differences as it related to pros and its coverage in the progressivebakers site.  In posts on Sept. 1st & 2nd, you'll notice that I was now suggesting shorter knead times, along with some hand kneading in between.  I was still working on techniques to strengthen the dough.

- I then took a class from the world pizza tossing champion and I realized that there were other things that influenced the elasticity (strength) of the dough, such as salt.  

Consistency is the name of the game.  But decisions need to change as new information comes along, especially when you know that things are not right at the time.  I have been able to reach a consistency in the structure of the crust with shorter knead times that I could never attain before, while leveraging other techniques to increase the elasticity of the dough.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2004, 01:44:30 AM by giotto »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #91 on: October 16, 2004, 08:10:37 AM »
Giotto,

I'm away from my home base and made a mistake in not logging in properly.  Hence the confusion in my post. (The site doesn't permit deletion or editing of a "guest" message.)

Since I ran out of KA Sir Lancelot flour, I have been using Giusto flour.  I thought your earlier comments may have applied to that flour.  I also have seen recipes that call for up to 15 minutes knead time for high-gluten flour doughs, to which your earlier comments may also have applied.  Thanks for clearing things up.  

Peter

Offline giotto

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Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #92 on: October 16, 2004, 02:27:11 PM »
Pete-zza:

Since flours can be so distinct, including high protein flours, it's best to mix dough only long enough to reach the right characteristics (smooth, non-tearing, etc.) when an airy crust is of interest and oxidation is to be avoided.  The progressivebakers site gave me some useful things to think about-- thank you.  

I remember you mentioned an upcoming trip, which was to include some new pizza venturing opportunities.  Hope a taste of America has been good.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2004, 05:54:50 AM by giotto »

Offline Menthol

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Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #93 on: August 30, 2005, 04:01:36 PM »
Though this thread is practically a year old now, I could not be any happier to have found this thread and this message board!

After years of my living in a city only recently having an authentic NY-Style Pizzeria (only in the last 2 or 3 years) it did not take long for me to become addicted to their pizza and took even less time for me to look into attempting to make one myself...

After months of dismal pizza crust failures, one afternoon of reading through the posts on this thread rendered my first total success! Not to take away from what is obviously MANY others passing on tips and so forth on this board, I feel utterly compelled to thank the people responsible for this message board and this thread inparticular. ;)

Though one cannot avoid gaining some knowledge through practicing making their own dough (if you even have the patience and drive to do it period) I still feel that if it weren't for the tips here, the following photo would have ever come to pass. And though a photo cannot be tasted, I assure you my pizza-making life is forever changed for the better! :)
« Last Edit: August 30, 2005, 04:07:01 PM by Menthol »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #94 on: August 30, 2005, 04:20:44 PM »
Menthol,

Welcome to the forum.

I couldn't agree with you more about this thread. I went back a while ago and reread it and was amazed at how much good information there was at the thread--and how much I had forgotten, even of my own posts. And what a wonderful job giotto did on the thread. I really enjoyed the exchanges we had. He really taught me a lot and made me think more about what I was doing with my own pizza making.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 30, 2005, 04:25:38 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline giotto

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Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #95 on: August 30, 2005, 06:57:18 PM »
Menthol:

The fact that you uncovered this particular thread is a testament to your own research capabilities.  Reaching a point of satisfaction in your New York pizza making at home, especially when your expectations were high, makes all the effort on this thread worthwhile. 

It's amazing when I think about the knowledge that Pete-zza has gained since we first joined, and here he is saying that he's still able to extract some good stuff from this thread.  Amazing... Welcome, Menthol, to where we never stop learning, even from our past.

Even though the internet doesn't quite have our human senses incorporated (yet), I can tell from your picture that I missed out with your pizza... great stuff. 

What flour and toppings did you end up using? And what modifications, if any, will you likely attempt next time?  AGAIN, welcome aboard and thank you for your post. 
« Last Edit: September 02, 2005, 05:08:20 AM by giotto »

Offline Menthol

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Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #96 on: August 31, 2005, 02:00:50 AM »
I seriously, seriously, did not even think that I was going to pull this off as I could not locate a high gluten flour. The mention of the industry standard (14.1% Protein?) in this thread is what really struck me more than anything...

So, in the end, I settled on buying wheat gluten enriched with vitamin C... I saw a recipe by Alton Brown (Good Eats on FoodNetwork) that had this little blurb about using 1 crushed childrens vitamin C with no explanation, but I never typed those two search terms in to any search engine to figure out what that was all about. I had to assume acid. Whatever the case, all of the strange 'remixes' of yeast, water and flour that I have read on any thousands of pizza dough recipes on the net just did not make me feel that this was going to make that 'magical difference'...

I do though really feel that the vitamin C enriched gluten was what did the trick, but it did not hurt for me to pay attention and set my baking stone at the VERY bottom of my oven and crank the oven up practically to its maximum setting--actually only to 520 degrees, but higher than I ever punched it up to for any other recipe.

As far as ingredients, seriously nothing fancy, remember, I had little faith in the small adjustments... Unbleached white flour and the vitamin C enriched wheat gluten (Hodgson Mills Brand on both) to get me somewhere in the neighborhood of the industry standard of protein. The rest was just about 'as lame' as far as quality (not that Hodgson Mills is bad, just a lot of pre-packaged, common, store-bought stuff) but my idea was to not only save money but enjoy what I am doing from front to end. It was exactly that, so I continue to thank you guys for this board and your time to point out what you did here!

Edit: As for adjustments, I did note that, though the crust and the pizza overall was leaps and bounds over anything I had ever created before, it was just a tad salty and the thickest part of the crust was a little too crisp. I used kosher salt and I have always understood (you can tell I'm no baker) that you need to reduce the salt measurement when you use 'flaked salt' like that...
« Last Edit: August 31, 2005, 02:26:38 AM by Menthol »

Offline giotto

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Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #97 on: August 31, 2005, 04:03:21 AM »
Menthol:

Any number of factors can help tame your overly-crispy result:

- wheat gluten can certainly toughen the end result; so you may need to reduce it a bit.

- sugar is directly responsible for the amount it is browned, so if it is over-crisping, you can decrease the sugar.

- fats (oils, milk, etc.) soften the crust-- an increase is often needed to soften higher gluten flours, esp wheat gluten.

- time in the oven may be a factor, especially if the cornicione (outer edge) is the crispy issue.

Vitamin C contains ascorbic acid, a conditioner used in flours.  With respect to dough conditioners, they generally serve to reduce the variability of your end result, and support that American mentality to speed things up.  Vitamin C facilitates bonding that is required for a stronger gluten.  I've used flour that combines Vitamin C with another conditioner to ensure a strong dough with added spring.

Good luck on perfecting your crust.



« Last Edit: September 03, 2005, 03:05:43 AM by giotto »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #98 on: August 31, 2005, 09:45:16 AM »
I happen to have a box of the Hodgson vital wheat gluten with Vitamin C and wondered what the Vitamin C was for. I know that some bakers specify Vitamin C for their flours (it helps produce a greater volume), and Vitamin C is also often used with instant dry yeast (it provides an acidic environment for the yeast and helps it work longer and faster), but I couldn't tell why it would be used with vital wheat gluten. When I couldn't find the answer through a Google search or on the Hodgson Mill website, I called Hodgson Mill and spoke with a customer service rep. She said the Vitamin C is used for the same reasons it is used with flour and yeast.

Menthol, sometime you might want to try using some dried dairy whey along with the vital wheat gluten. I did this recently with an all-purpose flour and liked the results (which I reported on at the Lehmann NY style thread). I used the whey more to increase the browning of the crust, but it also seems to have certain dough "conditioning" effects that improves the handling and manageability of the dough.

Peter

Offline Rubino

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Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
« Reply #99 on: August 31, 2005, 12:45:40 PM »
Pete-zza:

Regarding the use of dried dairy, are you talking about adding something like powdered milk? I used to work with a recipe that called for as much, but I never really knew what purpose it served. Also, the same recipe called for potato flakes. Strange, no?

Lastly, I just want to share that I really enjoy this site and have found it quite useful. So, thanks.

- Michael