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Offline toddster63

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My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« on: September 19, 2007, 02:49:35 AM »
This was a good and tasty pizza. Oven spring was not as great as anticipated with this high of a hydration and heat, but this is only my second batch with KASL, and I find it doesn't produce the same spring that KABF gives me...? I also think this dough could have used more kneading time--it was so wet it never formed a cohesive ball around the spiral dough hook.

KASL                       255 g/9 oz               100%
Water                      189 g/6.66 oz           75%
Salt (2%)                  5.28 g/ .95 TBL        2%
Preferment               18.48 g/.65 oz          7%/flour
(Patsy's/Varasano preferment)

Finished Dough weight 8 ounces per ball, two balls for 12" pies.

2 day fridge retardation, 5 hour room temperature (70 F) rise before shaping and baking.

Baked for 3 minutes at 850F (Deni Pizza Bella 2100, modified thermostat).

Cento Italian tomatoes, fresh California mozzarella (Mozzarella Fresca), EVOO, and lotsa fresh basil from my basil plant...





Offline toddster63

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2007, 02:50:43 AM »
More Pics...


Offline abatardi

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2007, 03:02:03 AM »
Pretty nice man!
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2007, 03:17:43 AM »
Really really nice pie! How long did you let it age and how easy was it forming the wet dough?

      Villa Roma

Offline toddster63

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2007, 03:27:05 AM »
Really really nice pie! How long did you let it age and how easy was it forming the wet dough?

      Villa Roma

it aged for almost exactly 48 hours in my fridge. It was HARD to handle--like you mentioned, Villa Roma, I had to use a lot of bench flour, but it was so wet it just absorbed it, so there was not lingering flour, or bitter flavor element. It was very extensible (when it wasn't sticking to the counter or my hands or my dough scraper), and shaped into 12" pies quickly and easily.

Using my Superpeel made it a breeze to get shaped and onto the stone, though. I really like the light and crunchy wafer thin exterior you get with this high of a hydration (and a high temp fast bake), but dough this wet is tricky to work with. It wants to stick to everything.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 03:28:36 AM by toddster63 »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2007, 03:36:30 AM »
toddster63....Was your 75% hydration including the starter or 75% plus whatever the starter hydration was?

If someone said that this pizza came out of a brick oven, I'd believe it. It's that good!

       Villa Roma

Offline toddster63

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2007, 03:47:44 AM »
toddster63....Was your 75% hydration including the starter or 75% plus whatever the starter hydration was?


I use the dough calculating tool here online at pizzamaking.com, so I am pretty sure it is 75% including the preferment. And I like to make my starters fairly thick, so the preferment was not pancake-battery at all... I'd say it's pretty close to 60% flour, 40% water, something like that, could even be 50/50 somedays. I have never measured my preferment ingredients--it's all by look and feel. But my preferment looks very much like yours does on your YouTube videos, Villa Roma...

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2007, 04:09:55 AM »
I'm going to make a high hydration dough that would be retarded in the refer and then used straight from the fridge without the room temp rise or just a short rise. That should make it super easy to form. Anyone ever try this?

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 05:42:08 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline jasonmolinari

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007, 06:15:34 AM »
Toddster, that is a NICE looking pie. And i'm still waiting for my damn Deni


Offline canadianbacon

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2007, 08:23:57 AM »
I agree, it does look like it came out of a brick oven.

I'd like to have a slice of that and see how it diffrers from the one I make in my oven.

Talking about ovens, I need to replace the bottom element in mine, I have burnt it out,
and right now I've only got the broiler element that is functional, - not great for pizza !


toddster63....Was your 75% hydration including the starter or 75% plus whatever the starter hydration was?

If someone said that this pizza came out of a brick oven, I'd believe it. It's that good!

       Villa Roma
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2007, 09:14:39 AM »
toddster63,

I don't operate at the high bake temperatures you do, so I can't speak from personal experience. But, it seems to me that it is possible to have a dough that is so overhydrated that it is like a wet sponge and may not produce as good an oven spring as a dough with a lower hydration. Maybe November can tell us whether this is a possibility. My recollection is that pizzanapoletana (Marco) has used high hydration doughs in wood-fired ovens above 800 degrees and achieved very good oven spring but I don't believe the doughs had hydrations above 70%. I'm going on memory here, but I think it was around 67% maximum. I don't recall whether that was for a summertime dough or a wintertime dough. Marco was using Caputo 00 flour rather than high-gluten flour so he may have maxed out at a lower hydration level for his 00 flour.

I would think that one would have a very difficult time handling a 75% hydration dough without using a lot of bench flour (which seems self-defeating to me and actually lowers the initial high hydration) or a SuperPeel to facilitate loading the pizza into the oven. I once experimented with a very high hydration dough and ended up having to use a pan to bake the pizza because the dough was impossible (for me, at least) to handle any other way.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 09:16:12 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline BenLee

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2007, 01:01:50 PM »
I'm curious, how did you modify the thermostat?

Offline Flagpull

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2007, 01:18:42 PM »
Son of a gun. I need to get a different oven.

 ;D

Offline toddster63

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2007, 10:46:29 PM »
I'm curious, how did you modify the thermostat?

BenLee, the instructions are essentially (though not specifically spelled out step-by step) all over this this thread:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2334.0.html

From the factory the thermostat is maxed out around 550F or so, but by opening the unit up,  and bending back the "limitor tab" on the thermstat, I have been able to get the stone up to over 1000F. But there are drawbacks--at these high temps the plastic housing of the unit gets up to almost 350F and you need to be careful around it.

I have also modified it by closing off the many oblong side vents that surround the unit on the lid where it meets the base. I also place a heavy brick on the lid while pies are baking (there is a gap between the lid and base that grows to 1/4" in the rear)--all of this in an effort to trap heat in the unit, and to raise the temperature in the baking chamber.

There has been other tweaking as well--I cover the toppings with a 9" round piece of double foil for the first 2 minutes of baking to allow the crust to brown but to try to deter the heat from melting the cheese too fast. There has been a lot of tweaking with the Pizza Bella actually, and it does not just produce pies like the one in this thread like--SNAP--that. There is much more coaxing and experiementation required. I do NOT mean to make anyone think this inexpensive unit is an easy answer to a great pie as is.

It's as I'm sure Marco, Pete, Bill SFNM, Villa Roma, and many others here will tell you, making great pizza is much about experimenting and learning, rather than hard and fast rules or recipes, or even ovens (even a Neapolitan made brick oven, as Marco will often tell us, needs a Master Pizzaiolo to coax a great pie out of it).
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 10:59:23 PM by toddster63 »

Offline toddster63

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2007, 11:08:59 PM »
toddster63,

I don't operate at the high bake temperatures you do, so I can't speak from personal experience. But, it seems to me that it is possible to have a dough that is so overhydrated that it is like a wet sponge and may not produce as good an oven spring as a dough with a lower hydration. Maybe November can tell us whether this is a possibility. My recollection is that pizzanapoletana (Marco) has used high hydration doughs in wood-fired ovens above 800 degrees and achieved very good oven spring but I don't believe the doughs had hydrations above 70%. I'm going on memory here, but I think it was around 67% maximum. I don't recall whether that was for a summertime dough or a wintertime dough. Marco was using Caputo 00 flour rather than high-gluten flour so he may have maxed out at a lower hydration level for his 00 flour.

I would think that one would have a very difficult time handling a 75% hydration dough without using a lot of bench flour (which seems self-defeating to me and actually lowers the initial high hydration) or a SuperPeel to facilitate loading the pizza into the oven. I once experimented with a very high hydration dough and ended up having to use a pan to bake the pizza because the dough was impossible (for me, at least) to handle any other way.

Peter

Pete, I agree with you about a dough being too wet for pizza crusts and acting like a sponge--I really think that is what this batch was doing. The dough was good to work with when enough flour was strewn about it, but it was still slack, and wanted to expand only in diameter, rather than "rise". I saw this on my counter where over the 5 hour rise it went out, and became larger in diameter, rather than actually rising, puffing, like my doughs usually do.

And you are right about hard to handle--I even tried to blow an air bubble under the pizza, which does work well, but with this dough it only raised the center well, with the sides still gripping the countertop more than adequately. Without the Superpeel, it would have been a nightmare indeed--probably pan-time as you mentioned. It's particularly pronounced with the Pizza Bella, as the stone is only a little over 12", and my pies are 11"-12', which gives me little leeway--the pies have to be very precisely placed or the lid will and has smashed the part of the cornicione that extends beyond where the lid comes down.

I really do love the Superpeel for my pizzas and wet bread doughs--it's just the best thing ever, works wonders. If you routinely make pizzas at or under 12" or so, and over 65% hydration, or rustic breads with starters or focaccias,  I highly recommend it. Worth every dime of the under $40 cost.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 11:32:13 PM by toddster63 »

Offline toddster63

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2007, 11:16:44 PM »
I'm going to make a high hydration dough that would be retarded in the refer and then used straight from the fridge without the room temp rise or just a short rise. That should make it super easy to form. Anyone ever try this?

    Villa Roma

I remember someone posting around here, with supposed professional pizza making experience, that for good oven spring they advocated using a cold dough right out of the fridge, or with a very short rise time, but since I usually read advice here on pizzamaking.com that said quite the contrary, I have never tried it. It will be interesting if you try this, as you have produced great oven spring with your usual doughs and your results would therefore be very telling, Villa Roma...

Offline abatardi

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2007, 11:57:01 PM »
There was a discussion on cold dough and temperature differentials and stuff that November was involved in... he may be able to provide more info on it.

- aba
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Offline varasano

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2007, 02:06:00 PM »
looks tasty to me. I made 17 pizzas last night and that photo still made me hungry.

Jeff

Offline abatardi

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2007, 05:43:30 PM »
well if it brought jeff out of the wood work after over 5 months it must be good.

good to see that you are still around and making pizza.  I was afraid you had 'conquered' it and out of boredom moved on to another challenge.  ;)

- aba
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2007, 06:14:11 PM »
Pete, I agree with you about a dough being too wet for pizza crusts and acting like a sponge--I really think that is what this batch was doing. The dough was good to work with when enough flour was strewn about it, but it was still slack, and wanted to expand only in diameter, rather than "rise". I saw this on my counter where over the 5 hour rise it went out, and became larger in diameter, rather than actually rising, puffing, like my doughs usually do.

And you are right about hard to handle--I even tried to blow an air bubble under the pizza, which does work well, but with this dough it only raised the center well, with the sides still gripping the countertop more than adequately.

toddster63,

When I last posted in this thread, I was thinking about a hydration test that was performed in relation to bread, as described starting at http://samartha.net/SD/tests/Hydr01/index.html.

Peter


Offline Peteg

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2007, 07:01:43 PM »
Ditto on Jeff being back.  It's always nice to read your comments.  Keep them coming!

Offline toddster63

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2007, 09:33:21 PM »
That made my day--to have Jeff Varasano say that your pie made him hungry after 17 of his idilic pizzas...!

Was it another pizza party, Jeff...? I can't imagine making 17 pies in one night, that would stress me out...!

Offline toddster63

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2007, 09:38:13 PM »
toddster63,

When I last posted in this thread, I was thinking about a hydration test that was performed in relation to bread, as described starting at http://samartha.net/SD/tests/Hydr01/index.html.

Peter



That's a great link, thanks Pete. I really enjoyed that comparison--particularly as I plan on making some breads this weekend with the same Carl's (Oregon Trail) starter...

Offline jkandell

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2007, 05:46:27 PM »
Talking about ovens, I need to replace the bottom element in mine, I have burnt it out,
and right now I've only got the broiler element that is functional, - not great for pizza !

Your "handicap" is perfect for the Blumenthal method: heat your largest skillet over stovetop on highest heat for 20 minutes.  Turn on broiler.  Quickly slip skillet upside-down onto highest oven rack, closest to element.  Slide on pizza atop the overturned skillet.... between broiler and skillet. You have to be real careful not to stretch your dough too much or it will droop over and not cook and drip oil and sauce.  But you can produce an excellent smallish (200g dough ball) pizza this way.  Cooks in 1-3 minutes.

Offline jkandell

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Re: My "Elite NYC" Pie: Better and Better (PICS)...
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2007, 06:39:37 PM »
I would think that one would have a very difficult time handling a 75% hydration dough without using a lot of bench flour (which seems self-defeating to me and actually lowers the initial high hydration) or a SuperPeel to facilitate loading the pizza into the oven. I once experimented with a very high hydration dough and ended up having to use a pan to bake the pizza because the dough was impossible (for me, at least) to handle any other way.

There is an "art" to handling high hydration dough.  One crucial trick is to use a thick coat of bench flour to keep from sticking but make sure it is only on the surface (in fact, just the bottom).  That's the key to bench flour not being "self-defeating," as you put it.  You certainly want to minimize it, but you'd be amazed how easy it is to manipulate a wet dough with a thin skin of dry flour.  You can then either wet your hands (because wet hands don't stick to wet dough) or use a slight amount of flour to keep them from sticking.  To manipulate the dough, keep constantly moving and use a light but confident touch.  Stretch-and-fold the dough rather than bunch it, to minimize having to touch it.  Use either a mixer to knead or keep the dough "normal" until the beginning of the long ferment, at which point some added water will slowly work its way into the dough.  I also find parchment paper works great for high hydration doughs because you can slip the whole thing right into the oven.   

High hydration dough definitely have higher rise, more air holes, and a moister crumb.