Author Topic: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!  (Read 172736 times)

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Offline Condolini

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #125 on: April 30, 2013, 10:54:25 AM »
Since pics can now be uploaded from an Ipad, I'll do it tonight. Only have a photo of the top but that's better than nothing, right?

Thanks for the recos recipes for the next experiment!


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #126 on: April 30, 2013, 11:00:55 AM »
Since pics can now be uploaded from an Ipad, I'll do it tonight. Only have a photo of the top but that's better than nothing, right?

Thanks for the recos recipes for the next experiment!
Any pic is a good pic around here...we learn from failure just as well as from success.

Good luck with your experiment!
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Offline Condolini

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #127 on: May 01, 2013, 11:02:34 AM »
Here you go, only the top but it shows b4 and after addition of arugula.

Offline pizzalady59

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #128 on: July 07, 2013, 08:14:50 PM »
We made this pizza for supper tonight. It is awesome, I love thin crust pizza and could never find a crust that I really liked. Will be using this recipe in my concession trailer.

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #129 on: August 05, 2013, 05:06:20 PM »
I have dabbled here in the past.  Been a couple years since I was here.  I was cooking a lot on my komado style cooker Bubba Keg (very similar to Big Green Egg).   

I recently got the bug to do pizza again.  So, I tried this recipe.  I let it rise about 22 hrs and used my Bubba Keg with a pizza stone (actually a kiln shelf).  Unfortunately, I let the keg get down to about 425 and it didn't get the crispy texture I wanted even though I pre-cooked the crust 4 mins first.  Next time 550F

One of my early attempts with a cracker crust recipe from here.
(http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c125/roaniecowpony/1stpizza.jpg)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 06:02:30 PM by bbqchuck »

Offline Klankster

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #130 on: August 05, 2013, 05:52:54 PM »
In case anybody is thinking about doing it, one thing I found out from experience is that you really should parbake the crust in the pan on a preheated stone at 500F -- not just on a rack.  A few weeks ago I made pizzas for me and a buddy who was visiting, and was in kind of a hurry so I wanted to parbake both crusts at the same time.  There wasn't room on the stone for both pans, so I parbaked his on the stone and mine on a rack above it.

The difference in results was amazing -- his crust puffed up like I had been seeing. My crust, while OK, didn't have the little pillows puffed up between the docking. It was pretty flat.  It must be all the heat stored in the stone giving some extra punch.

Having had a lot more experience with this, I now know I can make those skins one at a time on the stone and then after they've had the sauce and toppings added, bake them all in one go either on the rack or stone.  Getting the puffing at the parbaking stage is critical -- when I do the lamination with a little olive oil sprayed between the layers as I mentioned in the earlier comment in this thread, then parbake on the hot stone, it works PERFECTLY.  I just have to plan ahead to make sure everything has time to get parbaked on the stone -- avoiding bottlenecks in the process when making more than one pizza.
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Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #131 on: August 05, 2013, 06:07:46 PM »
Over on our bbq forum, there are some really good cooks that have been here as well.  Some of the more progressive ones are going with a steel plate instead of a stone.  I'm going to give it a try in my charcoal fired grill. 

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #132 on: August 05, 2013, 09:25:09 PM »
In case anybody is thinking about doing it, one thing I found out from experience is that you really should parbake the crust in the pan on a preheated stone at 500F -- not just on a rack.  A few weeks ago I made pizzas for me and a buddy who was visiting, and was in kind of a hurry so I wanted to parbake both crusts at the same time.  There wasn't room on the stone for both pans, so I parbaked his on the stone and mine on a rack above it.

The difference in results was amazing -- his crust puffed up like I had been seeing. My crust, while OK, didn't have the little pillows puffed up between the docking. It was pretty flat.  It must be all the heat stored in the stone giving some extra punch.

Having had a lot more experience with this, I now know I can make those skins one at a time on the stone and then after they've had the sauce and toppings added, bake them all in one go either on the rack or stone.  Getting the puffing at the parbaking stage is critical -- when I do the lamination with a little olive oil sprayed between the layers as I mentioned in the earlier comment in this thread, then parbake on the hot stone, it works PERFECTLY.  I just have to plan ahead to make sure everything has time to get parbaked on the stone -- avoiding bottlenecks in the process when making more than one pizza.
Klankster,
That is an extremely important tip that I'm not sure many are really aware of....and as you said, you found out about it by accident, literally.  Very helpful, good post.   :chef:
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Offline nick57

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #133 on: August 07, 2013, 05:01:33 AM »
Yep, parbaking on the stone first, is where it's at.


Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #134 on: August 10, 2013, 12:09:14 PM »
I used this recipe for a couple pies.  First one was last weekend using a corderite (sp?) stone in my komado grill running around 450F.  Not hot enough!
I ended up pan toasting it after the bake.

Lastnight, while the wife was out with the girls for a drink, I cleaned of a steel plate my friend had laser cut for me.  1/4' x 16" dia.

500F in the oven.  Pre-heat for about 20 mins. checked with my IR thermometer.  Good to go.

Par baked 4 1/2 mins


« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 12:12:37 PM by bbqchuck »

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #135 on: August 10, 2013, 12:18:37 PM »
I used jar sauce  :o but good fresh other toppings.  mozzarella, provolone, prosciutto, capacolla, basil.


6 mins in the oven with toppings 

The steel is definitely a huge improvement.    I'm thinking an aluminum plate may be even better for cracker crust.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 12:20:19 PM by bbqchuck »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #136 on: August 10, 2013, 12:31:15 PM »
That pizza turned out good and your dough lamination's are excellent.  ^^^
Are you using Steve's original formula Chuck?  Please keep 'em coming Pizza Pal!  :drool:
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #137 on: August 10, 2013, 12:35:36 PM »
Chuck,

Sometime you might try using a flour with a somewhat higher protein content, such as the General Mills Better for Bread flour (formerly called Harvest King flour at the retail level). I personally preferred that flour for the cracker style over all-purpose flour.

Peter

Offline Klankster

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #138 on: August 10, 2013, 09:44:13 PM »
Chuck, the steel plate looks AWESOME.  That's some serious equipment, and it looks like it works great -- that crust is perfect.  Great idea!

As for flour, I'm currently using a blend of 5oz of bread flour + 11oz of King Arthur "Lancelot" hi-gluten flour in this recipe, and have been pretty happy with it, but will keep experimenting.  I tend to want it as crispy and crunchy as possible.

Saturday night is traditionally my pizza night here, but instead of making a pizza for myself tonight, I made three batches of this dough this morning and we're having 6 friends over tomorrow afternoon for a pizza party -- should be a lot of fun, since I have this recipe and the procedures down pat.
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Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #139 on: August 11, 2013, 01:51:50 AM »
I used the recipe at the start of this thread for those pics above. 

Today I started more dough.  I decided to venture from the orig recipe.  First, I used a rapid dry yeast. I sub'd Firestone Double Barrel Ale for the water.  I warmed the beer to 90f to make the yeast work.  I also changed the salt from 1 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoon.  4 hrs later I couldn't wait anymore. The dough had risen very well and the smell was fantastic. I prebaked the skin at 550f for 4 mins on my 1/4" steel.  Then topped it and finished at 550f for 6 mins.  The flavor was great but it was overcooked. 

Tonight I did another pie for my wife that worked late today from the same batch of dough.  I adjusted the times.  3 min prebake, 4 min finish with toppings.   That  was just about perfect.  The beer definitely adds flavor that comes thru as a more yeasty taste and possibly a hint of maltyness.  I am guessing the beer reacts more to the yeast than water since it foamed up when I mixed in the yeast to the warmed beer.  The flavor was also bigger after 8 hrs.  But still excellent at 4 hrs.  I'll try one at 24 hrs tomorrow.

One other change I made was to move the steel down to the lowest rack just above the heating element.


Peter
I used King Arthur Bread flour.  Is GM Better for Bread a better choice for a cracker crust?

« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 02:16:36 AM by bbqchuck »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #140 on: August 11, 2013, 09:31:33 AM »
Peter,
Do you think the combination of docking and use of steel plate is keeping Chuck's crust bottom from being evenly browned all over.


Chuck, is it perhaps the lighting or is your bottom crust almost white along with the darker brown spots?
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Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #141 on: August 11, 2013, 12:10:00 PM »
Bob,
Yes, the crust was nearly white between the blisters.  But it did crunch up well.

I'm reconsidering the move of the steel plate to the lowest rack.  My bake for my wife lastnight only allowed for a 3 min prebaked skin and 4 min finish with the toppings at 550F and the crust was about at the limit without burning the underside.  The toppings didn't get any browning and were minimally cooked.    I can either reduce the prebake to 2 min and increase the finish bake with toppings, or raise the steel to the center or top of the oven to get a better cook of the toppings. 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 12:17:06 PM by bbqchuck »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #142 on: August 11, 2013, 12:24:35 PM »
Peter
I used King Arthur Bread flour.  Is GM Better for Bread a better choice for a cracker crust?
Chuck,

If you research this subject, you will find that any one of the three basic flours--all-purpose, bread and high-gluten--can be used to make the cracker style pizza. However, when Tom Lehmann discusses the type of flour to use for this style, he generally just specifies something like "pizza flour" or "strong pizza flour". I have taken that to mean either bread flour or high-gluten flour. John Correll on the other hand specifies high-gluten flour, as you can see at the Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/20040408023231/http://www.correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizza/05_Dough-making/07_dough_recipe.htm. I have used the KABF and it works for the cracker style, but when I did the bulk of my cracker style experiments at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.0.html, I opted to use the Harvest King flour (now called Better for Bread at the retail level). Since I liked that flour, I stuck with it for all or most of my later experiments in the same thread because I did not want to introduce another variable.

As you can see from the General Mills specs for the Harvest King flour as sold at the professional level, at http://www.professionalbakingsolutions.com/product/harvest-king-enriched-unbleached-flour-50-lb/53722000?mct=Flour&ct=general-mills-harvest-king&typ=Brand, the protein content for that flour is 12% +/- 0.2%. That compares with the 12.7% protein content for the KABF. However, from what I learned some time ago, the grains used to mill the two flours are not the same. For example, the KABF is milled from hard red spring wheat grown chiefly in the Dakotas. By contrast, the Harvest King flour is milled from 100% domestically sourced winter wheat.

You should be fine with the KABF but as a change of pace sometime, you might try the Better for Bread flour. The one type of flour that produced the least best results in my cracker style experiments was the all-purpose flour. It works but I could not get the desired degree of bottom crust browning, and I saw no compelling need to try to find solutions to that problem. I did try the KASL for other cracker style experiments but I could not get through the bag of flour before the bugs took over and set up housekeeping. Also, the Harvest King flour was sold at many supermarkets in small bags.

Peter

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #143 on: August 11, 2013, 12:47:05 PM »
Peter,
A couple years ago when I joined this forum, I recall my quest for cracker crust recipes resulting in looking for high gluten content flours.  I ended up buying a large sack of Smart & Final store brand flour. It was 14 + % if my memory serves me.   My cracker crust crunch was excellent, probably better than I've been making with the KABF these past few days upon returning to baking pizza.   I was using a stone back then and getting great crunch.  I was not able to get that crunch with a stone using the KABF.  I had to resort to getting a steel plate cut for me last week.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #144 on: August 11, 2013, 12:51:43 PM »
Peter,
Do you think the combination of docking and use of steel plate is keeping Chuck's crust bottom from being evenly browned all over.
Bob,

The closest I came to using metal to make my cracker style pizzas was using a cutter pan. That cutter pan was unperforated. But, even then, and with docking the skins with a commercial dough docker, the bottom crusts were not uniformly brown. I think it is because of the effects of use of the dough docker to create hills and valleys. Also, one of the hardest things I found to do was to be able to use a rolling pin in a home setting to emulate what a commercial sheeter or roller can do to achieve a uniform skin thickness with a low hydration dough. I eventually solved that problem by warming up the dough, as was discussed at Reply 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49138.html#msg49138. But, even then, the bottom crust did not have a uniformly brown color across the entire skin.

I think that Chuck is on the right track to achieve improved results by moving the steel plate and the pizzas around the oven to try to get the desired degree of top and bottom crust coloration. However, I personally believe that getting the desired degree of crispiness and crackeryness is more important than the bottom crust color even though it would be nice of course to have that color also.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #145 on: August 11, 2013, 01:00:14 PM »
Chuck,

In my case, I found that a cutter pan worked best in my home oven. It also gave me the best control over the assembly operation.

Peter

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #146 on: August 11, 2013, 01:17:27 PM »
Peter,
Thanks for the tip on the cutter pan.  I've been getting better at rolling out the dough.  Another thing I noticed was that breaking the dough into 3 pizzas instead of 2 (from the recipe size on the OP) gave me an easier size pizza to control thickness, and it encouraged me to roll it out thinner. But I agree, rolling is a challenge with these crusts.

Will the cutter pan work with my oven setup?  Should I place the cutter pan on the lowest shelf to get closer direct heat from the lower element?

Thanks
Chuck

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #147 on: August 11, 2013, 01:28:18 PM »
I really like the use of a cutter pan because you are able to create that nice cruncky raised lip. Chuck, I cook mine down low but as you know all ovens are different and you wil just need to trial and error for your set-up. Your thinking of down low would probably be a good start though.   ;)
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Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #148 on: August 11, 2013, 04:13:49 PM »
Late this morning, I did another pie from yesterdays beer dough. 

Steel plate is getting blue from heat.   I moved it from the bottom to the middle.

I rolled out a 7 1/4 oz dough ball to about 12".  It was thin enough to see thru.

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #149 on: August 11, 2013, 04:17:58 PM »
Then  I prebaked 3 mins., let it cool and topped it. back in for 4 mins all at 550F.   I gotta say I really like the beer dough better than the standard dough.  Firestone Double Barrel Ale is what I used.   The aroma when cooking is fantastic. 

« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 04:20:52 PM by bbqchuck »