Author Topic: How I make pizza  (Read 4144 times)

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Offline jkandell

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How I make pizza
« on: November 10, 2007, 03:50:03 PM »
Since we share collective styles and wisdom here, I thought I'd share what worked for me on a recent pizza margarita.  Unfortunately it was so tasty it got gobbled before the camera could be found.  But at least you'll see some of my regular methods, and some I'm still experimenting with.

bread flour       96g
whole wheat fl  16g        (100%)
water               88g        (79%)   
salt     1/2t        3g        (2.7%)
IDY   1/16th t  0.2g       (0.18%)

I aimed for 200g dough ball.  This is 10-11".  We split it between two people.  Since even neopolitan-style pizza is very fattening, we've decided just to eat small amounts rather than give it up .  Also, I decided to do this one using the Blumenthal skillet and broiler technique, and my largest skillet only allows 200g pizzas. (I usually go for 250g).

Flour: 96g, organic bread flour, guistos brand; 16g (2T) whole wheat.  Addition of whole wheat is roughly equal to that in rustic european breads (14% of total flour), just enough to give the dough some character without tasting of bran.  I often mix whole wheat and rye for this.  I've discovered that good quality organic flour tastes better than mass produced flours like Harvest King, even if the dough is harder to work with.  Not sure why, but there's off-odors and bland flavor in the latter.

Water: 88g = 79% hydration.  Moist dough makes for more dramatic crust with holes and oven spring.  Enough said.

Salt: 1/2 t.  I use sea salt for sauce but not for dough.  I'm stingy and don't like to waste it where it's not really tasted.

IDY: 1/16th teaspoon.  Because I make single pizzas, to be accurate I actually use 1/2 teaspoon taken from a  mixture I keep in a pill bottle in my freezer of 1:7 yeast in flour.  I can accurately measure as little as 1/32th teaspoon of yeast with this method.

Knead: Combine ingredients, but reserve some water, let sit for 10 minutes, knead by hand for 5 minutes (too small for mixer anyway), let sit for 10 minutes, knead for another 5.  Form into ball.  Drip on more water to get it up to 79%.  This method allows the convenience of kneading easily without getting your hands sticky, and you still end up with a high-hydration dough crucial for light airy texture.  During the long fermentation of good pizza dough there is plenty of time for the extra water to soak in.

Ferment 5 hours at room temperature.  Anything less tastes bland and dull.  I keep trying overnight in fridge, since it has so  many advocates, but as of today I prefer the taste of ambient fermentation in bread and pizza.  Is it my fridge or tongue?  I'm open-minded to 24h ambient ferments, since this is how they do it in Naples and by many people here; but so far 5 hours (with only 1/16th teaspoon yeast) seems to be enough to give the dough lots of flavor. It also gives me more leeway for error: things can go really wrong over a day.  Another weird thing: I am an avid sourdough bread baker, but so far I prefer my pizza dough to have slight yeast taste rather than the more neutral flavors of natural starter.  Is this just childhood nostalgia?

To shape the dough I gently pull it till it's just about to tear.  At some point I throw the dough onto parchment paper which lies on the flat lid to my rectangle stovetop-smoker pan lid, which is my peel.  (I'm cheap.)

Sauce: This time I used Bionaturae brand canned tomatoes (an organic italian from Tuscany with no calcium chloride), olive oil (Trader Joe unfiltered Reserve). garlic, a dash dried oregano, sea salt, black pepper.  No measurements, just adjust till it tastes balanced. (I use sea salt in sauce but cheap salt in dough.)  I mix briefly with a hand-held blender to produce a coarse sauce.
Trader Joe's mozzarella.  It doesn't come in water but is not a brick and it works fine and tastes great and is cheap. I actually prefer it to buffalo mozzarella, which i find too rich and watery and expensive.
Olive oil put on first, spread with fingers, protects crust and blends with sauce for the two minutes pizza is in oven.
Basil leaves.  Added after cooking so they don't wilt.  I grow my own as house plants.

Preheat a skillet on high for 20 minutes.  Preheat broiler 5m.  Turn pan over and place upsidedown on shelf closest to burner.  Slip parchment onto skillet. Lately I've been using Blumenthal method to avoid wasting time preheating oven and also to minimize heat in the house.  This method is quick and cooks the pizza in a minute or two.  I'm experimenting with just placing the skillet under the broiler.  Why does my skillet give off more heat than my pizza stone? I'd really prefer to use my electric oven because I could make 250g pizzas, but I find it hard to get good results with 450-500F.

Wonderful pizza!  Great flavors.  Just enough char flavor to balance out the tomato and dough. Nice light texture, but not enough bubble holes (I get more with pizza stone).  For me, the sign of  great pizza is your mouth wants to keep eating... bad pizza your mouth wants to stop eating.  Bad pizza is "just ingredients on dough", good pizza all blends together into one flavor perfectly balanced.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2007, 03:56:12 PM by jkandell »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2007, 05:15:07 PM »
jkandell,

I enjoyed very much reading of your pizza making method. What always interests me in reading about peoples' pizza making sagas is the logic and reasoning behind the steps used. I can see that in your case a lot of thought went into everything you did.

It should not come as a surprise that you prefer a dough that has been fermented at room temperature. From a purely technical standpoint, you can make a good case for a room-temperature fermented dough because yeast, enzymes and bacteria perform more efficiently at room temperature than under cold fermentation. Before refrigerators were invented (I believe it was in the 1930's that refrigerators started to become common household appliances), doughs were made and used for the most part during the same day. Today, refrigeration allows one to stretch out the window of usability of doughs. Having done a lot of experimentation with the cold fermentation of doughs over long periods, the byproducts of fermentation will develop with time and contribute to the flavor, aroma and texture of the finished crust. For my tastebuds, one day of cold fermentation isn't usually enough. I prefer at least a week.

You are not the only one who prefers the flavors contributed by yeast over starters. Member November, who is out technical guru on the forum, also prefers yeast to starters. He also prefers room-temperature fermentation over cold fermentation.

I like your method of mixing flour and yeast to more accurately measure out the yeast. My solution was to buy a set of mini-measuring spoons on eBay from AB Restaurant Supply. The smallest spoon is 1/64 t.

The reason why you skillet gives off more heat than your stone is because metal is a much better conductor of heat than the refractory material that makes up most stones.

BTW, where did you find the Giusto's flour?

Peter

Offline jkandell

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2007, 12:43:42 PM »
I enjoyed very much reading of your pizza making method. What always interests me in reading about peoples' pizza making sagas is the logic and reasoning behind the steps used. I can see that in your case a lot of thought went into everything you did.

Did you notice how my way of kneading the dough (add water at end) is the opposite of Jeff V's (knead wet then gradually add flour)?  Since I make single pizzas too small for mixer, I really have no choice but to do it my way.  I've used to use my bread machine to knead the dough when I made two and three at a time.

Quote
Having done a lot of experimentation with the cold fermentation of doughs over long periods, the byproducts of fermentation will develop with time and contribute to the flavor, aroma and texture of the finished crust. For my tastebuds, one day of cold fermentation isn't usually enough. I prefer at least a week.

I left some dough in the fridge for a week and the final pizza tasted strongly of alcohol, not really bad but not really good either.  Cold fermentation has so many advocates I remain open-minded.   But since one of my baking philosophies is to use as few implements and artificial manipulations as possible, I have no problem with liking ambient fermentation.  That's how they do it in Naples, eh?

I definitely notice when dough isn't aged: it tastes boring and tastes too much of yeast.  Five or six hours seems to give it "deep" flavor without a strong yeast taste.  Beyond that, it doesn't seem to get better for me--it's the sweet spot.  I noticed the fellow from Brazil conducted experiments with yeast and starter and short and long fermentations (he likes 24 hour ambient), and I plan on replicating his experiments over time. 

Part of the problem is that in Tucson my kitchen can vary from 60s to high 80s depending on the season.

Quote
You are not the only one who prefers the flavors contributed by yeast over starters. Member November, who is out technical guru on the forum, also prefers yeast to starters. He also prefers room-temperature fermentation over cold fermentation.

Nov has so many messages I can't find his particular posts in question.  I also know that Chris Bianca uses yeast and a one-day rise, so it can't be al that bad.  One thing I haven't yet tried is a yeasted biga.  I'm thinking of trying a 12 hour biga for a third of the dough, but Marco cautions against this method.

Quote
I like your method of mixing flour and yeast to more accurately measure out the yeast. My solution was to buy a set of mini-measuring spoons on eBay from AB Restaurant Supply. The smallest spoon is 1/64 t.

Yah, it's neat isn't it!  I hope others will benefit from my description of this method.  Like I said: I don't buy any kitchen implements I don't really need.  (I finally bought a kitchen scale at harbor freight for $16.)  In some ways it would be even better to mix yeast into water, but I don't do that because I can't store it.

Quote
The reason why you skillet gives off more heat than your stone is because metal is a much better conductor of heat than the refractory material that makes up most stones.

The problem is that even with a 200g ball and a large skillet, the dough hangs off the edge.  So baking the pizza involves lifting the edges while it's under the broiler.  Yet using my pizza stone and baking, I can't seem to get get char and it takes 10 minutes.   Yet if I put the stone under the broiler it takes too long to get hot.  I suppose I could find a large piece of cast iron somewhere that would fit on the top shelf.

Quote
BTW, where did you find the Giusto's flour?


Believe it or not, a local food cooperative.  This small hippie store carries a couple Giusto's flours.  Unfortunately, they don't air condition their store which in Tucson means the flour isn't always fresh.

Offline pcampbell

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2007, 04:00:58 PM »
Sounds good but you guys must be really skinny eating half of a 200g pie each!!!   

Your same day rise has definitely prompted me to give it a try. 

In the winter here in NJ I haven't turned on the heat in the basement yet so it's probably about 60 F. 

Could make a very interesting rise being colder than my kitchen would ever be and warmer than a fridge would ever be. 

What was your temperature for .18% /5 hours, or could you give a suggestion on yeast % for say 6-9-12 hours, in 60 F?

I guess part of the 24 hour rise is that it gives us a lot of flexibility.  For example to get the 6-9 hour rise you are pretty much making dough in the morning or at lunchtime whereas with 24 hour cold we can make it at night and consume the next day, or 2 days later.
Patrick

Offline csacks

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2007, 05:57:42 PM »
  :chef:  I've made this crust twice now and like it.  I doubled the recipe and do think the dough is pretty wet and sticky.  Both times I didn't quite get all the water in.  I quit adding water when I thought that I would have some trouble.  On the second try, I found that if I kneaded by hand the first time,  the "second go" could be kneaded with my KitchenAid.  The second time that I made the crust, I was pushed for time, so I sat the dough on the warmer that I use for sourdough.  The temp was 82 degrees and I left it there for 3 hours.  There wasn't a very big rise, but it didn't seem to matter a whole lot.  (The house temp is 65 degrees)  Man, it was pretty good.  This is definitely a strong choice to use when you are in a hurry for pizza.  I am impressed.  CraiG
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 05:59:13 PM by csacks »

Offline jkandell

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2007, 08:48:30 PM »
What was your temperature for .18% /5 hours, or could you give a suggestion on yeast % for say 6-9-12 hours, in 60 F?

My room temperature was mid-70s.  Someone posted a formula here awhile back, rf=sin((t/20)^2), to give you a comparable factor of yeast effectiveness at different temperatures.  No idea on its accuracy, but according to the formula it would take 12 hours at 60F. Or you could increase the yeast to .41%, (or a pinch more than 1 teaspoon of the 1:7 mixture) to keep it at 5 hours, or go somewhere in-between.

Quote
I guess part of the 24 hour rise is that it gives us a lot of flexibility.  For example to get the 6-9 hour rise you are pretty much making dough in the morning or at lunchtime whereas with 24 hour cold we can make it at night and consume the next day, or 2 days later.

You are of course correct, which is why I am still experimenting with 24h and 12h fermentations.  I personally don't like to plan pizzas ahead--my stomach can't think that far in advance--so same-day works fine for me.  But if 24h ambient tastes best, like Pizzabrazil claims, I'll switch.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 08:55:43 PM by jkandell »

Offline jkandell

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2007, 09:10:05 PM »
  :chef:  I've made this crust twice now and like it.  I doubled the recipe and do think the dough is pretty wet and sticky.  Both times I didn't quite get all the water in.  I quit adding water when I thought that I would have some trouble.  On the second try, I found that if I kneaded by hand the first time,  the "second go" could be kneaded with my KitchenAid. 


Glad you liked it Craig!  If you wanted to make a standard 250g doughball you could just increase everything by 25% (e.g. 1/2+pinch of yeast; 141g of water, etc).  I'm puzzled though about why you'd have trouble kneading it.  Remember, you only add enough of the total water to comfortably knead.  It is only at the very end of the second kneading and shaping, right before the 5 hour rise, that you add the rest of the water so it soaks in over the coming hours.  That way you have your high-hydration and comfortable kneading too, so to speak.

Quote
The second time that I made the crust, I was pushed for time, so I sat the dough on the warmer that I use for sourdough.  The temp was 82 degrees and I left it there for 3 hours.  There wasn't a very big rise, but it didn't seem to matter a whole lot.  (The house temp is 65 degrees)  Man, it was pretty good.  This is definitely a strong choice to use when you are in a hurry for pizza.  I am impressed. 

I've never pushed the dough to 3 hours, but I'll have to try it.  I think if it were I, I'd either let it rest 8 hours, at 65F, or go 5 hours but decrease the yeast by a quarter with the 82F warmer.  I have not yet been impressed with fermentation under 5 hours, that seems to be the minimum for me.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 09:14:17 PM by jkandell »

Offline csacks

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2007, 09:25:21 AM »
Perhaps I added to much water to soon.  I will watch it closer next time.  I didn't plan for a 3 hour rise.  But changes happen.  I definitely think this dough is worth learning.  Thank you for posting.  CraiG

Offline pcampbell

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2007, 10:46:40 AM »
My room temperature was mid-70s.  Someone posted a formula here awhile back, rf=sin((t/20)^2), to give you a comparable factor of yeast effectiveness at different temperatures.  No idea on its accuracy, but according to the formula it would take 12 hours at 60F. Or you could increase the yeast to .41%, (or a pinch more than 1 teaspoon of the 1:7 mixture) to keep it at 5 hours, or go somewhere in-between.

You are of course correct, which is why I am still experimenting with 24h and 12h fermentations.  I personally don't like to plan pizzas ahead--my stomach can't think that far in advance--so same-day works fine for me.  But if 24h ambient tastes best, like Pizzabrazil claims, I'll switch.

Could you elaborate on that formula : r = ? f = ? t = ?

Thanks!
Patrick

Offline November

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2007, 11:59:53 AM »
Could you elaborate on that formula : r = ? f = ? t = ?

"rf" is a single variable, as most left-hand sides of an equality are.  It represents the rate of fermentation that one is trying to find.  "t" is the temperature in degrees Celsius.  Details can be found here:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg37297.html#msg37297
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5028.msg42572.html#msg42572


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2007, 12:32:58 PM »
November,

Is it correct to say that to make a change in the quantity of yeast used in a given dough formulation to fit a new situation that you must have a reference rate, such as a fermentation temperature and fermentation time that produces a particular condition of the dough, such as a 50% increase, or a doubling, etc.?

Peter

Offline jkandell

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Re: How I make pizza
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2007, 01:02:45 PM »
Could you elaborate on that formula : r = ? f = ? t = ?

I'll let November explain the technical details of the formula.  I use it as an easy way to compare rates of fermentation (rf) under different temperatures.  Since even a five degree difference can seriously affect time needed, I use this formula (put into excel) as a way to guestimate how much more or less time or how much more or less yeast I'll need.  The rf figures can be compared, so for e.g. if the rf at 70F is double that at 60F, it would take half as long to do same amount of rising.

Really, if you're trying my recipe you should not rely too much on calculations but look at how the ball looks.  Pizza balls that are ready to bake have a quite distinct look to them: round and tight, but also flattish and light textured.  You have about a half hour window of opportunity with my recipe between where it's  good to go and where it's overproofed.  If in doubt, better to be underproofed a bit than overproofed. 

Offline jkandell

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Jonathan's Dough Recipe- updated
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2008, 01:30:36 PM »
Since I've moved up to 250g pizzas, I've decided to post my above formula adjusted.  As with most of you, my procedure is constantly changing, so this is a snapshot of how I am doing things these days.  (And, yes, we're still splitting the small pizza among two people in order to not get fat. :-) )

To produce a 250g dough ball:

141g flour--consisting of 20g whole wheat (3T), plus 121g organic all-purpose or bread flour.
100-111g water (70%-79% hydration);
1/2t plus a pinch, table salt (2.7%);
1/16th t + pinch IDY (0.18%) 
     (More precisely: 1/2t + x teaspoon of a 1:7 IDY-in-flour mixture kept in pill bottle in freezer. Added x = a 1/8t pinch in summer, 1/4t in winter.)

I measure the flour by adding 3T whole wheat and then adding enough white flour to bring the total to 141g.  Measure about 70 or 80g of the water, but reserve the rest.  Mix the ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes.  Knead 5 minutes by hand.  If necessary add in enough of the reserve water to make an comfortably kneaded dough that doesn't stick to your hands.  (Don't worry too much about hydration, you'll be adding the rest of the water later.)  Let sit 20 minutes.  Knead another 5 minutes.  Form into a tight ball and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle the reserved water gently over the ball a teaspoon at a time till it stops being absorbed, usually a tablespoon or so in total; the added water will slowly sink into the dough ball as it ferments creating a sticky but soft dough. Let sit in a covered bowl for 4-6 hours at room temperature until the dough ball is light and fluffy but the gluten is not yet "dead".

Dump out onto a floured surface, flour a bit on top and bottom if need be to prevent sticking, and stretch into a 12" or 13" pizza. Lightly coat with olive oil. top, and bake....  I like to put it onto parchment for the final stretching.

My current method is to bake on a preheated 450F oven with stone for five minutes, to cook bottom and puff the crust; then move to top burner and switch on broiler for another two or three minutes, till dough blisters and cheese starts to caramelize.  Best of both methods!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 02:36:08 PM by jkandell »


 

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