Author Topic: Biga Pizza Pictures  (Read 2651 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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Biga Pizza Pictures
« on: March 04, 2005, 01:28:56 PM »
Here is the result of a pie with no commercial yeast, 24 hour fermentation in the fridge, 1/4 cup of biga. Bubblicious!
« Last Edit: March 04, 2005, 04:05:32 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Biga Pizza
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2005, 01:33:33 PM »
KASL was used with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. 3 minute grill.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Biga Pizza
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2005, 01:51:40 PM »
pft,

Looks really great. Love the bubbles.

Was this the biga that you started with commercial yeast or one that was completely natural, using wild yeast? If commercial yeast, do you plan to try a natural starter?

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Biga Pizza
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2005, 02:04:13 PM »
I have yet to try a natural starter. The biga used was jump started with a small amount of commercial yeast a month or two ago. I would imagine by now it is completely natural although who really knows. The culture is super active and judging by the quantity of bubbles, I may have caught it at it's peak in the refreshment cycle.

I have been waiting to see if I can get a sample of the Patsy's poolish that may be circulating around. Otherwise, I will be in NYC in a few weeks and will buy their raw dough on my way back to the airport. Hopefully it can be stablized in a small cooler and withstand the rigors of air transit.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Biga Pizza
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2005, 02:16:37 PM »
pft,

Whenever I travel north I bring an insulated cooler bag that can hold several pounds of things like cheeses and sausage, etc. It fits just right in my suitcase. I usually freeze the items that can be frozen. By the time I get home several hours later (about 6-8 hours from the time I pack the items in the cooler bag), the items are pretty much in the same condition as when I packed them. So, I think you will be OK with a chunk of dough if you use a similar approach. I have also used one of those ice packs that come from vendors who ship perishable items. I freeze the ice pack and put it into the cooler bag as I am packing the items I am bringing back home.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Biga Pizza
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2005, 02:51:56 PM »
Pete-zza,
Thanks for the travel tips.

A couple of other questions about the photos above. First, the bubbles were numerous as you can see. I ended up puncturing a bunch of them on the rim dough becuase I didn't want huge tumors growing. Would it be fair to assume that one could use less biga next time and get fewer bubbles? Is the relationship linear between biga and bubbles?

Also, now that I have my "pizza legs" underneath me again it may be time to try and challenge the elusive Caputo 00 Blue label. Would it be reasonable to surmise that softer dough would require less biga to produce the same amount of bubbles?
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Biga Pizza
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2005, 03:52:41 PM »
pft,

I have not had much experience using bigas and starters in pizza making, so I'm not sure about the correlation between the amount of biga used and the amount of bubbling. In the commercial yeast world, one of the ways to get more bubbles is to use more yeast. So I would think that the relationship would be linear for the most part.

As between different types of doughs (e.g., high-gluten and 00), I don't know what the bubbling differences are in relation to the amount of biga used, that is, whether one would get more bubbling with a high-gluten dough or a 00 dough when using the same amount of biga. I suspect, however, that Pizza Napoletana may have an answer to that question. But, what does appear fairly clear, however, is that if you use the Caputo 00 flour, not much biga or starter is needed, especially if your biga or starter is highly active. Pizza Napoletana says that the amount of starter (natural) needed for a Caputo 00 dough ranges from 1% to 5% of the weight of water. That could be a fraction of a teaspoon of starter for a dough ball weighing around 8-9 oz. With so little yeast, I would think that bubbling might come more as a result of the high hydration level. I'm speculating a bit here, so more experimentation may be needed to get a better handle on this.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Biga Pizza Pictures
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2005, 06:28:06 PM »
Pete-zza,
Since we are both using a biga, how did your natural Caputo based dough look in comparison, bubble wise, to the KASL based photo here?
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Biga Pizza Pictures
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2005, 06:58:51 PM »
pft,

It didn't look anything like your dough. Virtually no detectible, active bubbling.

I made a second natural starter dough and pizza starting yesterday afternoon and finishing it this evening, and will report on the experiment on the thread where I have been discussing the results from using the natural starter.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Biga Pizza Pictures
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2005, 07:00:13 PM »
Take a picture of the dough before cooking if it's not too late...
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Biga Pizza Pictures
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2005, 08:27:33 PM »
Sorry, pft. I was baking and posting and missed your post. Next time.

Peter

Offline friz78

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Re: Biga Pizza Pictures
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2005, 11:51:35 PM »
Pete and Pft,
I really think you guys need to re-consider the emphasis you are placing on the importance of the biga/starter you have been discussing.  I am convinced that the end product that Pft is producing is primarily the result of his 800 degree grill.  Believe me when I tell you, all the characteristics that his pizzas demonstrate resemble that of high heat baking, not use of starters.  Just my two cents, and I will be in NYC next Monday-Wednesday and I plan to do my homework to find out exactly how many and which pizzerias are using a starter/biga.  My prediction before I start this study is that very few will report the use of a starter/biga, but many will report the use of a high heat oven.  Just my two cents, for whatever it's worth.
Friz

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Biga Pizza Pictures
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2005, 12:34:10 AM »
Friz,

Since I am using a standard home oven I may be able to rule out most of the effects of high temperatures of the order of magnitude that pft uses with his grill. In theory there should be some flavor additions from using a biga/starter that has developed to a mature state, with a lot of activity, acid development, etc., much like occurs with a good sourdough starter.  I could smell the products of fermentation in the natural starter I made, and, having had experience with sourdough starters and the flavors they produce, could detect a positive flavor enhancement in the crusts of the two pizzas I made using the natural starter. I am anxious to see what results Steve and Giovanni achieve when they activate and use the starters they recently purchased from sourdo.com. Those are the starters that Pizza Napoletana apparently has used and recommends.

I suspect what you will find when you go to NYC is that there are very few pizza establishments that use a biga/starter/old dough for leavening purposes. You might be able to confirm that Patsy's and Una Pizza Napoletana use such techniques but not many more, if any. Pizza Napoletana has apparently established through his research of Neapolitan pizzas in Naples that Brandi is one pizzeria that uses a crescito, which is a natural starter, for leavening purposes and that there may be others whose doughs may have been overtaken by natural yeast flora even though beer yeast may be used in their commercial operations. Even in Naples there may be very few places that use a natural leavening beyond Brandi's.

I agree that all of the places mentioned in this post have high-temperature ovens. Whether that is responsible for the enhanced flavor rather than the leavenings they use is not something I am prepared to answer since I don't have enough personal experience with very high bake temperatures or exposure to the places that do along with the use of natural leavenings.

Peter

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Re: Biga Pizza Pictures
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2005, 12:38:12 AM »
friz78 is right to say that almost all of the pizzeria's in NYC do not use a BIGA or Starter. I would bet my life on it.  Aside from the new wave of artisan pizza makers (including anthony mangieri of una pizza napoletana) who are attempting to use various forms of starter, all the old timers used compressed yeast. Even in naples italy most pizzerie use cake yeast.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Biga Pizza Pictures
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2005, 06:07:08 AM »
Friz, Ron,
I agree with both of you on a number of your points. I have responded more fully in Pete-zza's thread to this issue.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2005, 07:17:03 AM by pftaylor »
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