Author Topic: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!  (Read 147777 times)

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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 »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #150 on: August 11, 2013, 05:28:10 PM »
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?
Chuck,

I don't see any reason why a cutter pan won't work in your oven. In my oven, my practice was to place the cutter pan on the lowest oven rack position and to move it to the uppermost oven rack position toward the end of the bake to get more top crust coloration if needed. As with any oven, you watch the color of the pizza as it bakes.

Peter

Offline Klankster

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #151 on: August 11, 2013, 06:44:19 PM »
We're recovering now from our afternoon pizza party.  Man, it was awesome -- made 6, 12-inch pizzas, 5 with traditional tomato sauce, one with pesto, all were awesome.  The 5oz Lancelot/11oz Bread Flour recipe is really excellent -- the crusts were very flaky and crunchy.  Several of our guests had not had cracker-style at home before and loved it.  Did all the parbaking starting at noon, finished that up at 12:30, used the leftover dough scraps, salted lightly and chopped into squares, for crackers to go with the salad.  Guests arrived at 1:00 and we started baking the pizzas at about 1:30 -- preparing the parbaked crusts ahead of time worked exceptionally well -- I was able to bake four at once in our 30" oven and convection/microwave, all at 450 degrees F.  We always let the guests assemble their own pizzas, in this case a 12-incher per couple with two "wildcard" pizzas I made up.

One of the guests is typically a picky eater, and we were amazed that he went back for seconds!

I grow fig trees in pots, and made fig bars (like Fig Newtons) for dessert, which were a different kind of thing, plus vanilla ice cream with cherries from my cherry tree.

What a great afternoon -- and I have a few leftover slices of pizza for lunch this week!    :-D

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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #152 on: August 11, 2013, 06:58:28 PM »
Klankster, that sounds like a fun party.

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #153 on: August 13, 2013, 12:12:00 AM »
I recall searching out high gluten flour a few years ago to make a good cracker crust.  I did find some, but not a name brand.  It was at Smart & Final (regional semi-wholesale store).  I looked at a few different stores for a good name brand first, but I just couldn't find anything other than KABF which I have and don't thnk it's up to the crunch of the Smart & Final brand, and some GM BfB which is around the same gluten content as KABF from what I recall reading. 

So, I bought 25lbs of this flour for $8 and whipped up a batch of Steve's recipe, modified with an extra 1/2 teaspoon of salt and beer instead of water, and rapid yeast.  I'll know tomorrow whether it's a superior crunch to KABF. 

Here's the bag.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2013, 12:15:41 AM by bbqchuck »

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #154 on: August 24, 2013, 01:07:20 AM »
I had a pie tonight from some frozen dough I made last week with Steve's recipe and beer instead of water.  Very tasty. I used a screen to cook on, placed in the middle of the oven at 550F.  The 4 min pre-bake of the skin came out with more browning on the bottom than top, so I flipped it over and topped the browned side for the second bake.

Nice pie, but seemed a little tough in the center.  Would mixing in some AP flour help to reduce the toughness?

Toppings were a jar sauce, provolone, Fontina, prosciutto, Oh! and basil of course.  ;D  Then a light dusting of fresh grated aged Parmigiana Reggio right after removing from the oven.









« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 01:11:25 AM by bbqchuck »

Offline Snackie

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #155 on: August 28, 2013, 10:59:50 AM »
Is it possible to make this type of a dough without a mixer?  or is it too dry.

Offline Klankster

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #156 on: August 28, 2013, 11:59:58 AM »
Is it possible to make this type of a dough without a mixer?  or is it too dry.
I don't use a mixer -- I throw all the dry ingredients into a food processor, pulse it a few times to mix them, then run it, adding the liquid, pause it to scrape down the sides, run it for a minute or so, then dump the mixture out, form it into a ball and put it into an airtight container for a 24-hour rest.  When it comes out of the processor, it's like damp sand and packs into a ball easily.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #157 on: August 28, 2013, 12:13:30 PM »
Is it possible to make this type of a dough without a mixer?  or is it too dry.
Snackie,

When you used the term 'mixer', I took that to also include a food processor and maybe even a bread machine. If you are really asking if it is possible to make a cracker style dough with low hydration solely by hand, I believe that the answere is yes. However, you have to be creative. As an example where I did this, see Reply 61 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49722.html#msg49722 and Reply 126 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg53174.html#msg53174. In the first of these posts, I mention the use of a proofing box. The significance of the proofing box is discussed in detail at Reply 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49138.html#msg49138, as supplemented at Reply 69 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg49752.html#msg49752. It isn't necessary that a proofing box be used but you will perhaps find it necessary to use some form of heat source to allow you to roll out the dough with relative ease.

Peter


Offline Morgan

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #158 on: November 13, 2013, 11:55:56 AM »
Just made this dough! Tomorrow pizzatime :pizza:

Offline Morgan

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Re: Best ever thin "cracker" crust pizza!
« Reply #159 on: November 14, 2013, 11:20:43 AM »
Just baked 30 minutes ago. I made 2 of these, one without pre-baking of the skin and one with it. Pre-baking seems to be the key for really good "cracker style" because it was like 100x better than the other without pre-bake. Now i know exactly what I'm looking for, it was really good i just don't seem to believe how good it was.

Pictures are from the one without pre-bake, didn't take pictures of the second one which was the same, but 100x better even they looked same.