Author Topic: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..  (Read 6349 times)

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Offline pizzablogger

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First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« on: July 21, 2009, 11:25:52 PM »
So tonight I made my first "Sicilian" Style pizza. I put Sicilian in quotes because I have not spent enough time to better understand the actual ingredients that should be used for this style or the techniques which may result in a better effort than my attempt.

This first go around was solely to get used to the process of getting dough into a square pan and then seeing what effect cooking the dough in a rectangular pan would have on the finished product.

Here is a detailed list of what I did in order to hopefully allow some answers to a few questions I have as well as any and all suggestions. Here goes. :-[

I already had a rectangular pan in the house, which is a 9" x 13" pan with straight, non-sloped sides.

Dough Bill
  • 282 g King Arthur Bread Flour (100%)
  • 175 g Filtered Water (62.05%)
  • 7 g Sea Salt (2.48%)
  • 23 g Ischia poolish [(8.38%) poolish is 50-50 water to flour ratio by weight]

Mixed 75% of flour and all of the other ingredients for 2 minutes on low speed in my Kitchen Aid mixer.

After initial mix, 20 minute autolyse

Mixed 4 minutes at low speed and began adding remaining flour slowly. Stopped adding flour after 6 minutes, as the dough started sticking a lot to the dough hook. I rubbed the dough and it felt right, so I stopped. 18g of flour did not make it into the finished dough.

After final mix, 20 minute autolyse

Quick hand form into a circle and into the refrigerator in a 6 cup glad plastic container.

34 hour cold rise in refrigerator, followed by a 50 minute "bench" rise as the container was left on top of my oven while it heated up.

Put exactly 2 teaspoons of EVOO into the pan and brushed evenly on the bottom and sides. Was I only supposed to brush the bottom?

Dumped the dough directly into the pan. Should I have formed and stretched it a little before putting the dough into the pan?

Toppings
  • Drained and blended D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes with cracked black pepper, fresh basil from the backyard, a little sea salt and some oregano.
  • Fresh basil from backyard, julienned and put directly on top of sauce
  • Fresh fior-di-latte from a local store, cubed
  • 24 month old Parmegiano-Reggiano, finely grated
  • Locatelli Pecorino Romano, shaved
  • Spanish Manchego, roughly shaved
  • Fresh basil from backyard, whole leaves put on top of cheese
  • A little D.O.P. EVOO poured over top just before putting in oven

I did not put the sauce all the way to the edge of the dough, should I have done this to be more authentic, or does it matter?

Put pan in oven directly onto pizza stone, which measured 539F when putting pan on stone.

Cooked 8 minutes. Took out to look at pizza. Cooked for 2 more minutes before removing from oven.

Let cool in pan for 2 minutes.

Removed from pan, sliced and ate.

The flavor of the pizza was pretty good, but the crust texture left a lot to be desired. In some places, there were bits of uncooked, nearly raw dough and in other places you could see that the dough wanted to form a good crumb, but did not.

I have just read it may be better to cook just the dough in the pan first and then put the toppings on the pizza and finish in order to fully cook the dough. I'm guessing the pan retarded some of the heat from the stone and the oven, which isn't that hot to begin with and in combination with the toppings did not allow the dough to cook fully.

All in all, I thought the pizza was okay and was somewhat disappointed. The crunchy texture of the crust was nice, but there was not airy crumb to offset that. Also, I think my pizza was too damned thin. I'm thinking some onions and maybe sliced peppers would make this more homey as well.

Oh well, improvement comes from doing, so back to the drawing board. Any thoughts for improvement, flours to use, etc. are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much! :chef:



"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 09:23:01 AM »
PB,

Although I am by no means an expert on the Sicilian style pizza, and it is just about the only style of pizza that I have not made using a natural starter with no other leavening, I do have some thoughts about what you did. However, before giving them to you can you tell me where you got your "Sicilian" dough formulation and the logic behind its selection that led you to believe that you could make a Sicilian style pizza out of it? Also, can you tell me how you calculated the 8.38% figure for the poolish starter?

Originally, I thought perhaps that you were not using enough dough for the pizza and that is why the crust was thin. But, at 487 grams, or 17.18 ounces, and with your 9" x 13" pan, the corresponding thickness factor is 0.1468216. A typical thickness factor for the Sicilian style is around 0.115-0.13. So you should have had enough dough for your pizza.

Peter

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 09:47:30 AM »
Pete, I used the Deep Dish Dough Calculator, selected by Thickness Factor as the option and entered a thickness factor of 0.10 (for no apparent reason other than this seemed to be in the neighborhood of what might be acceptable for this style), one dough ball, selected rectangular pan, input my 13x9 pan measurements, a 62% hydration, 2.4% salt and a bowl residue of 1.5%. I rounded the resulting numbers given by the calculator tool.

To be frank, there was not a specific reason I chose 62% hydration. :-[

The percentage of starter I gave is based on percent of flour, but actually I chose that specific amount of starter because it is 5% of the total dough ball weight, before adding the starter. Maybe I am not accounting for the starter properly and not adding enough perhaps?

Thanks Pete!  :)
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 11:41:13 AM »
PB,

The dough calculating tool you should have used is the preferment dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html. That tool was specifically designed for dough formulations using a natural starter or preferment, irrespective of type of dough. You will also note that that tool accommodates doughs to be used in rectangular pans.

By way of background, when I researched the Sicilian style some months ago, there were certain characteristics that seemed to stand out. The first was that the Sicilian style pizza seems to benefit significantly from a dough that is gassy and with above-average volume. This is usually achieved by using a fair amount of yeast, a modest fermentation time (usually a day or so of cold fermentation), and a final proof before dressing and baking. It is possible to use less yeast, but that usually suggests a much longer fermentation time. The final proof, which takes place at room temperature, especially benefits from the use of a bromated flour. I don't personally use bromated flours and don't ordinarily recommend them to others, but the potassium bromate in bromated flours is a key factor in the volume expansion of the dough during the final proof. I believe that you will find that most of the professional pizza operators who are known for and specialize in the Sicilian style use bromated flours. Otherwise, their finished crusts will be flatter than desired.

Second, most Sicilian style doughs are prebaked before dressing with cheeses and toppings. This helps retain the volume characteristic of the dough because the dough can bake unburdened by anything on it. In some cases, the sauce, or some portion of it, is put on the skin before prebaking. After prebaking, more sauce might be added, followed by cheeses and toppings.

Third, my research showed that the dough that is fit to the pan can be either pressed into the pan to the final size, or be shaped outside of the pan to the general shape and size of the pan and then fit to the pan. If I were using a small amount of yeast, whether commercial or natural, I think I would use the latter approach.

Fourth, I noticed that many Sicilian dough recipes call for oil in the dough as well as for the pan. Also, some recipes call for sugar or milk, perhaps to get more crust coloration and a softer texture to the finished crust. I would say that these ingredients are optional.

Where you departed from the traditional Sicilian dough methods was your use of a natural starter. However, as I have mentioned many times before on the forum, yeast is yeast and most dough recipes can be adapted to use natural starters or preferments in lieu of commercial yeast. But for this to be successful, you have to have the proper starter culture and it has to be well fed, highly active and and ready to go, of the correct consistency, and be used in the proper quantity in relation to the type and duration of fermentation. Even then, it is sometimes necessary or desirable to supplement the natural starter with a bit of commercial yeast in order to get more "puff" in the final dough. Even professionals do this sort of thing.

In your case, I believe that you used too little starter culture for the type and duration of fermentation you used. I believe that you should have used much more starter culture, perhaps in preferment quantities of twenty percent or more in relation to the formula flour. Even then, it might be necessary to have the dough ferment at room temperature for several hours before putting the dough into the refrigerator. To get the final desired height in the finished crust after the dough has been retarded might require several more hours of proofing at room temperature (the actual time will depend on the room temperature). If only a small amount of starter culture is used, along with a prompt refrigeration of the dough (even after using rest periods), you may find that you need several days of cold fermentation, followed by several hours of final proofing at room temperature to get the desired degree of dough expansion before baking. An alternative to this approach would be to use only a room temperature fermentation of several hours before using the dough. However, the amount of starter culture to use in that case would have to be established to fit the desired fermentation time. There is also no reason why you can't combine both room temperature and cold fermentations. However, the dough recipe will have to be modified to fit that application. Because of starter culture variations, this usually means a fair amount of experimentation to achieve the desired results. Whatever approach you decide to use for your next attempt, you should use the preferment dough calculating tool to help you with the number crunching.

For your own edification and enlightenment, you might want to read some of the threads on the Sicilian style to get a better feel for the characteristics of that style, even though the recipes you will find do not make use of natural starters or natural preferments. I would read the threads with the most page views but one good thread to read for its diversity is this one: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5656.0.html.

Good luck. Please keep us informed of your progress on this matter.

Peter




Offline PizzaHog

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 03:18:55 PM »
Hey blogger
Although I am no expert either, here is what I have learned and gathered in my attempts.
I am not even sure what a true Sicilian is there are so many variations-square seems to be the only constant, but...
Quote
I already had a rectangular pan in the house, which is a 9" x 13" pan with straight, non-sloped sides.
A black steel pan seems most common and gives best results.
Quote
Put exactly 2 teaspoons of EVOO into the pan and brushed evenly on the bottom and sides. Was I only supposed to brush the bottom?
Detroit style Sicilian is oil-less, at DiFara's in NY the pie is literally swimming in oil.  Light EVOO or non EV is most common when used, some type of shortening can also be used.  There needs to be enough fat to get a "fry" going on the crust.  Sides or bottom only prob doesn't matter, might best depend on how well seasoned your pan is.  2 Tblsp seems close to right.
Quote
Dumped the dough directly into the pan. Should I have formed and stretched it a little before putting the dough into the pan?
Quote
but there was not airy crumb to offset that. Also, I think my pizza was too damned thin.
My best results have come from dumping the dough and spreading in greased pan right after the mix.  The whole pan is covered for whatever rise method is used.  Whichever, the dough needs a good rise right in the pan to become as airy and thick as it can without being dense.  This averages 2-3 hours for me whether a room temp rise or from out of the fridge.  You may also wish to try a higher hydration.  All my attempts in the 60-70% range were too dense and bready.
Quote
I did not put the sauce all the way to the edge of the dough, should I have done this to be more authentic, or does it matter?
Nope, they seem to be done both ways.  Detroit style spreads cheese right to the edge so there is no exposed dough and instead the cheese bakes to a crunchy brown crust against the pan sides.  My mom always left an exposed crust.
Quote
I have just read it may be better to cook just the dough in the pan first and then put the toppings on the pizza and finish in order to fully cook the dough.
This method has given me the best results so far.  As Pete-zza points out this allows the dough to oven spring and "set" with no moisture or weight on top.
Quote
Put pan in oven directly onto pizza stone, which measured 539F when putting pan on stone.
Maybe just me again - bottom rack with no stone at 500 has been best.  I found that the most famous local Sicilian is baked much lower and am experimenting with this but have not found the right combo yet.  My hydrated dough takes 14-15 minutes total bake time and some cheeses and toppings will also overcook or burn if applied at the beginning.
Quote
Removed from pan, sliced and ate.
Removing the pie ASAP to a cooling rack has been a plus, but again I am using a very hydrated dough.

I'm sure I am deviating from the traditional now due to the very high hydration.  The plus is that this has resulted in a very airy, light, thick and moist crumb which I now find I prefer.  If that is what you are going for then a higher hydration may help.
You pizza looks excellent and much better than my first try, that's for sure!
Good Luck
Hog





 



 

Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2009, 11:04:16 AM »
-With a hydration level of 62%, you should definitely lose the stone and bake it at no more than 500 at the very most. I notice from your pics that the bottom of your pie was just on the cusp of burning, while you report that it was undercooked inside.

-Don't sauce it all the way out to the edge, as doing so will cause the sauce there to burn and blacken.

-I always end up brushing the sides of the pan when I make these and have experienced no ill effects as a result.

-JLP
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Offline pizzablogger

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 06:45:30 PM »
Wow guys, thanks so much for the detailed replies!  :)

I agree with pretty much everything you all said. More starter and a longer room temperature rest before putting the dough ball in the fridge, as well as a longer bench rest are something I need to fool around with. I may also put a small amount of IDY into the mix for this style of pizza.

Thanks so much everyone for the excellent feedback and the link to the Sicilian post you posted Pete. Hey Hog, that picture looks mighty damned tasty!  :D

Gonna make another attempt in the next week. --PB
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Infoodel

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2009, 02:14:02 AM »
Hey PB!
Nice looking 'first sicilian'!
I agree with the advice re: prebaking.  It works really well especially for a thicker pan.
However I've also had some good results using disposable aluminium trays. 12-15 minutes gives you a great browned crust.

Cheers,
Toby


Offline pizzablogger

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2009, 10:39:46 AM »
Hey Toby!

I'm gonna do a four pizza-ball test, with each ball using a different pre-refrigerator rest period and each ball using a different bench rest before baking to get a better feel on dialing in my Sicilian style.

After that I'm definitely gonna experiment with a spring-form bottomless Sicilian so the actual crust is in contact with the stone the whole time.
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Infoodel

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2009, 03:37:02 PM »
Hey Toby!

I'm gonna do a four pizza-ball test, with each ball using a different pre-refrigerator rest period and each ball using a different bench rest before baking to get a better feel on dialing in my Sicilian style.

After that I'm definitely gonna experiment with a spring-form bottomless Sicilian so the actual crust is in contact with the stone the whole time.
4 pizza test. Way to go! I'm keen to see and read about the results.
The spring form pan sounds interesting. I don't think I've ever seen one but it sounds like a cool piece of kit!
Cheers,
Toby


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2009, 03:41:30 PM »
The spring form pan sounds interesting. I don't think I've ever seen one but it sounds like a cool piece of kit!

Toby,

See http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8905.msg77187.html#msg77187.

Peter

Infoodel

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2009, 03:57:36 PM »
Cool! Thanks.
Toby

Offline TronCarter

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2009, 05:20:28 PM »
I also use 62% hydration, cook on a stone at 550 and it works out just fine.  I use IDY instead of Ischia and follow it with a 12 hour bench rise.  I actually use a thickness factor that is slightly less than yours.  I do not prebake the crust.  I press out the dough, then put it in an oiled pan (bottom and sides).  I leave a non-sauced edge, but cheese all the way to the edge (where oiling the sides of the pan helps).  After pressing out the cold dough, I let it proof in the pan for 3-4 hours with a foil top.  I remove the top for the last hour or so to let the top of the dough dry out a bit and it holds up better for sauce, toppings and cheese.  I then replace the foil for the cooking process.  10 minutes with the foil on, 5-6 with the foil off.  The bottom and top both get browned nicely that way.

Anyway, the one difference I see is the salt level.  I use closer to .8% and you are using 2.48%.  I have not used Ischia before, so I could be totally off base, but try reducing the salt to somewhere around 1% and see what happens.  I have a feeling that the salt level is slowing the yeast too much.  My avitar shows an example of the above technique.

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2009, 08:03:04 AM »
Hey guys, I made a big step in the right direction last night, thanks to this website and the replies I received from my last post.

Made two batches last night. Both were leavened via Ischia wild/natural yeast culture. I added the starter at Pete's suggested level of 20% of the formula flour and I was pleased with that amount of starter. I also upped the hydration slightly to 65%.

Batch #1: Cooked in a 13x18 sheet pan. Dough used a mix of 70% KABF and 30% Caputo 00. After mixing (using the same autolyse schedule I mentioned in my initial post), I left the dough to rise for 2 hours before placing in the refrigerator. After 43 hours in the refrigerator, I took the dough out and it looked like it had over-fermented a little. I placed the dough into the pan and let it rest on top of the stove for an additional 45 minutes before firing it in the oven.

I tried cooking the dough alone for 5 minutes before topping. I think this worked pretty well.

Batch #2: Cooked in a 13x9 pan with 2 inch high sides, the same pan I cooked my initial Sicilian style in. Dough was 100% KABF. After mixing the dough, I let it rest for 45 minutes at room temperature before placing in the refrigerator and then let the dough rest at ambient temperature for 1.5 hours before cooking. After taking it out of the refrigerator, it had a much better rise than my batch last week, but not as much as I may have liked. I did not place the dough into the pan until just before cooking.

I also cooked only the dough for 5 minutes before topping.

These two pizzas turned out to be very tasty indeed, with the sourdough tanginess pleasantly noticeable, but not to the point where it took attention away from the overall balance.......I am still left wanting for more crust structure and some spring, but I am on the right track now.

Based on my experience last night, I feel the longer rest of the dough, both before and after refrigeration when taking into consideration the amount of starter I used and the two day refrigeration period, gave me a better result. Dittos for forming the dough into the pan and letting it rise a little in the pan before cooking, as opposed to placing the dough into the pan only immediately before cooking. I also personally prefer the slightly softer crust interior from the inclusion of the Caputo 00 flour.

My next batches will up the hydration to 70% to 75% to get a little more ciabatta like structure to the dough and I think I will cut down the final pre-refrigeration rest to one hour and increase the post-refrigeration rest, monitoring the dough so as to cook it when the final fermentation appears to be closer to a peak state as compared to the slightly over fermented state I encountered last night.

I'm sure I will have more questions later, but some baby steps taken in the right direction last night...thanks so much for all of the help and I'll update the ongoing experiements! :D

"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline Jack

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2009, 04:00:32 PM »
While I'll cold ferment my NY Style dough, I take my freshly prepared Sicilian dough (KABF), put it in the pan and cover it tightly with plastic wrap, leaving it at room temperature for 8-12 hours.  I pre-bake it first, then dress and bake the pie.  This is what I grew up (on Long Island) seeing the local pizzeria do.  Well, they didnt cover it with plastic, but it sat at room temperature for several hours before it was pre-baked.  Oh, there is enough oil in the pan, so that the bottom of the dough fries slightly.

Just another approach to consider. 

I do something a bit weird though.  When I ate sicilian pizza growing up the cheese frequentlyl slid off the slice with the first bite, hangin off my chin, so now I put the cheese directly on the pre-baked crust and add dollops of tomato sauce on top.  Weird yes, but the cheese doesn't slide off!

Jack

EDIT:  I needed to add a tad more sugar to keep the yeast happy with the long room temperature rise, but on a good day, I can have a crust that is around a inch thick.  Just don't bang the pan before the pre-bake or it'll collapse a bit.   62% hydration is about what I use too.  I roll the dough to within an inch of the pan size as soon as I put it in the pan, before the rise.  The rise fills the pan perfectly.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 04:07:13 PM by Jack »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2009, 04:17:38 PM »
Jack,

Do you have a baker's percent version of your Sicilian dough recipe? And what size pan do you use?

Peter

Offline Jack

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2009, 06:51:59 PM »
Jack,

Do you have a baker's percent version of your Sicilian dough recipe? And what size pan do you use?

Peter

Sorry, I've been travelling. 

Yes, I use baker's percentages.  Hanging around you Peter, one has to. <grin>    I'll post them within a day or so. 

I use a 13x9x2 inch high pan.

Jack

Offline aks801

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2009, 01:09:23 PM »
...so now I put the cheese directly on the pre-baked crust and add dollops of tomato sauce on top.  Weird yes, but the cheese doesn't slide off!

Jack, when I made Sicilians at Noble Roman's in high school (30 years ago!) we put the cheese right onto the unbaked dough in the pan, all the way to the edge, put on toppings, then put on the dollops of sauce.  Say, two rows of 3 dollops each.  Man, it was fantastic pizza!  I've tried to recreate it and have a long way to go.  I'm finding the sauce needs to be fairly thick so the dollop stays in place.  This is the way I was exposed to Sicilian pizza, so it is the result I am gunning for.

Good stuff!
alan in Katy, TX

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Offline pizzablogger

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2009, 11:54:21 PM »
Getting closer.....not there yet, but improvement each time.

Thanks for the continuing comments, insight and help!  ;D

"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: First "Sicilian" Attempt. Hmnnnn..
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2009, 11:55:30 PM »
Woops, last picture was supposed to be upskirt, which was slightly burnt in 2 places.....30-40 seconds too long in oven.
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell


 

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