Author Topic: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)  (Read 9248 times)

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Offline Pizzalogy

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first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« on: May 02, 2010, 04:11:12 AM »
Hi everyone. I made my first attempt at NY style pizza tonight using Tranman's recipe for the crust. I was actually pretty pleased with the crust despite not having a stone yet. Overall, the pizza wasn't bad at all and definitely edible. I would even go as far as to say it was slightly reminiscent of NY style pizza. However, I still felt like it had a long way to go in that regard and I am not quite sure what exactly to change in order to get it there, or if I will even be able to.

http://i39.tinypic.com/10eolty.jpg

http://i42.tinypic.com/xo1shy.jpg

http://i39.tinypic.com/fxquf.jpg

http://i39.tinypic.com/241mikn.jpg

Since I was pretty pleased with the crust, I would imagine the first step would be to change the cheese or tomato sauce. I used GFS whole milk mozzarella and a local brand of strained tomatoes, to which I added oregano, salt and a little white vinegar. I also spread olive oil on the crust prior to adding toppings. My sister thought it needed more oregano.

 Anyway,  I just wanted to post some pics and maybe get some feedback. Sorry I couldn't figure how to upload them to this website, it kept saying they were too big even after I reduced them to under 128k on my computer.


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2010, 09:22:54 AM »
Pizzalogy, first off congrats on getting that first pie out of the way.  Looks like you did a nice job.  The bottom crust looks thin and crisp, not burnt.  You actually made a round pie and didn't mangle the overall shape.  The rim looks decent, just maybe needs a bit more browning.  The cheese doesn't look overcooked or undercooked.   It's not uncommon for us to hear about 1st pizza horrors and disasters.  My very first pizza was made with a Reinhart recipe garner off the net and it was not nearly as good looking as yours.  I had issues with the pizza sticking to the peel as many newbs experience, so if you got by all those obstacles, you did several things right. 

I need some more detail about exactly what you did in order to help.  Base on your previous few posts, I will assume that you followed the recipe and hand kneading instructions.  I will assume that you omitted sugar from the recipe.  I will also assume that your parbaked he crust first, then topped it and baked again.  Am I correct in these assumptions?

Next know that there are so many variables to making pizza that could change the result of your crust/pizza so we can't tackle them all at once.   For example you can add or omit the sugar and oil and get a different pie.  You could change up the salt or yeast amount and get a different pie.  You change the cold fermentation time, the method of kneading and baking (ie using a stone next time), the type of oven and get different looking and tasting results. 
You could change up the sauce and cheese and get a different tasting pizza.   For now, just focus on getting your crust to an acceptable level, then experiment with the sauce and cheese.  You can stick with this recipe for experiments or try another recipe.  Try to limit yourself to a few changes at a time and keep details notes about what you did and if you like the effect the changes had. 

Experimentation and experience are truely your best teachers here.  With changing just a few things at a time and taking detailed notes, you can learn to make the best of the ingredients you have and the equipment you have (mixer vs hand kneading and oven).

Do you have a better picture of the crumb of the crust?  I'd like to see how aerated it is.  Your last pic shows a bit of it but I can't really see it well enough to comment.   What flour did you use (AP, BF, or High Gluten flour)?  What hydration level recipe did you go with (was it the higher or lower one)?  did you parbake the crust first before topping or not?  Did you find the crust too dry, too wet, just right?   did the crust have too much, too little, or just enough chew?  Did you use the dough right away or did it sit in the fridge overnight?

I'll let you answer these questions first.

Tran
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 05:43:34 AM by Tranman »

Offline Pizzalogy

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2010, 01:41:40 AM »
Hi Tranman, thanks for the feedback. Below I tried to answer your questions.

Quote
I need some more detail about exactly what you did in order to help.  Base on your previous few posts, I will assume that you followed the recipe and hand kneading instructions.  I will assume that you omitted sugar from the recipe.  I will also assume that your parbaked he crust first, then topped it and baked again.  Am I correct in these assumptions?

Yes, you are correct.

Quote
 For now, just focus on getting your crust to an acceptable level, then experiment with the sauce and cheese. 

That's the thing. I felt like the crust was already at an acceptable level. I was fairly surprised about this, because from everything I've read it sounds as if the crust is the most difficult part and I don't even have a stone yet. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the crust and how much it reminded me of new york pizza crust. That's why I wanted to focus on the sauce and cheese.

Quote
Do you have a better picture of the crumb of the crust?  I'd like to see how aerated it is.  Your last pic shows a bit of it but I can't really see it well enough to comment.   What flour did you use (AP, BF, or High Gluten flour)?  What hydration level recipe did you go with (was it the higher or lower one)?  did you parbake the crust first before topping or not?  Did you find the crust too dry, too wet, just right?   did the crust have too much, too little, or just enough chew?  Did you use the dough right away or did it sit in the fridge overnight?

I'm not sure what you mean by "crumb of the crust" but this is the only other picture I have of the finished pie and it's quite similar to the last picture: http://i41.tinypic.com/ms0q6s.jpg. I used KA bread flour with the high hyrdation and prebaked the crust about 5 minutes. Here is how it looked after the prebake and topped with tomato sauce: http://i39.tinypic.com/2d9xtup.jpg. I found the crust pretty good, maybe a little bit too dry because I stretched it two thin in some areas. I think it could maybe have used a bit more chew, but again I want to emphasize it was pretty decent with no real glaring flaws. At least that's how I felt about it without having a real NY pizza to compare it with side by side. The one thing I want try to change in my next attempt is to make sure not to spread it too thin. I cut the amount of yeast in half like you said and refrigerated it overnight.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2010, 02:18:22 AM »
When I say crumb of the crust, I'm referring to the cell structure of the rim or a side shot of the crust or rim itself.  I can see how dense or aerated it is.  That gives me a lot of information.   I can see it partially in the pic you posted.  It looks on the dense side and more bread like (or white bread like).  The goal most ppl are shooting for is an aerated and lofty looking crumb.  Big cell structures or some bigger air pockets.  This can be achieved in several ways like using starters, improving kneading technique, increasing hydration rate, decreasing cooking times, increasing cooking temps, and or using a hot stone.  The high heat of a hot stone or hot oven causes the water to create steam and will give a bigger oven spring to the rim. 

You'll find that with some experimentation with some or all of the variables mention above and the addition of a hot stone, you'll have a dramatically different looking crumb structure. 

I'm not surprise that you found the crust too dry as the recipe is really meant for the dough to be baked once and not twice.  I only recommended baking twice b/c you don't have a stone yet and I'm not familar with your oven set up so it was an easy method for me to recommend.  Ideally, I bake pizzas using this recipe for a total of 3 mins at a stone temp of 700F in my home gas oven.  You can easily surmise how prebaking the crust at 5min and then baking again for another 3-4 mins can easily double if not triple the cooking time.  That's a lot of time in the oven for moisture to evaporate leading to a dry crust.

I have read that most NY operators are baking at 550-600F temps for around 6mins or so?  I'll need some ppl to confirm this though. So I may be baking at higher temps and shorter times than the typicall NY operator does.  Still though, common sense will tell us that if you bake a crust at a lower temp for a longer period you will get a denser and drier crumb as oppose to baking at higher temps and shortening the baking time. 

If you want to learn how to get higher oven temps in the home oven than the dial number of 500-550 just do a quick search for "broiler" or "broiler technique", "cast iron", "oven hack".  There is some info you might find interesting in reading. 

So to get a less dry crust, I would try to shoot for a higher temp bake and a shorter overall baking time. 

If you don't have a stone yet you can still attempt to bake on an upside down cooking sheet.  Preheat the oven for 45m-1 hour and then use a wooden peel (or a piece of clean stiff cardboard) to slide the uncooked dough onto the upside down cookie sheet.  if you do try this method, I would keep the dough thin as you made it before.   If you decide to parbake again, then i would try making it thicker as you mentioned.

Another method that will work as a makeshift stone is to use some river rocks.  Clean them and level them as much as possible inside a cookie sheet and preheat oven for 45m-1 hour, and then slide pizza on top.  As far as I know, only one member (Petezza) has done this and it works pretty well.  If you need a link, just do a quick search.  If you can't find it just holler and someone will come to your aid.  Of the 2 methods mentioned above, i would love to see you duplicate Peter's river rock bake.  That would be awesome! 

The recipe as is will allow you to cold ferment overnight.  If you cut the yeast in half, then you can cold ferment for up to 2 days.  If you decide you want to bake the next day after halving the yeast, then let it come to room temp for an extra hour or 2 before baking (total proof time of 3 hours?).  Sorry if this is confusing but after making many pies, you will get a feel for manipulating the amount of yeast vs resting times, and proofing times.  To keep it simple you'll want to see the dough rise with the room temp proofing but not doubled.  It should rise a bit and feel a little poofy but you don't want a lot of poofiness.  Also if it gets deflated with you handling it you've let it proof too long (over proofed).
 
As is, cutting the yeast in half will buy you a lot more cold fermenting time and room temperature proofing time.  It gives you that much more leeway.

Ok that's enough for now.  Good luck and do post some more pics.   :)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2010, 02:23:59 AM by Tranman »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2010, 08:17:16 AM »
Pizzalogy, a third method of baking without a pizzastone is on firebricks. Use a few to line one of your racks and do a good preheat.  Firebricks are not the same as regular concrete bricks found at Lowes/HD.  They are fairly cheap and work very well from what i've read. You really should avoid quarry tiles and the like as they are not made for the oven. Yes they will work at temps of 500 or less but prone to chipping and cracking at higher temps.

I would consider trying a thick quarry tile (1-1.5") but all the thinner ones including Tera cotta stones and Saltillo tiles are not worth the cost eventhough they are cheap.  They ended up being a waste of money for me.  I know you've order a pizza stone already but I just thought I would toss that bit of info out there for overs reading this. 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2010, 10:17:17 AM »
I have read that most NY operators are baking at 550-600F temps for around 6mins or so?  I'll need some ppl to confirm this though.

Tran,

From what I have read and from what scott r has posted, I would say that most pizza operators who specialize in the basic NY style ("street" style) use a temperature below 525 degrees F in their deck ovens. Some go as low as 440-450 degrees F. If you search scott r's posts, you might find more precise numbers. Dom DeMarco at DiFara's uses a higher oven temperature in his deck oven for his version of the NY style but he is pretty much an exception. The elite NY style pizzas are baked in very high temperature ovens, such as coal-fired ovens.

Peter

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2010, 11:29:04 AM »
Thank you Peter, I knew you would know best.  My memory is foggy from day to day, depending on how much pizza I've baked and eaten.   :-D

They must be cooking the pies from 8-10 minutes then at those temps. 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 01:00:54 PM »
They must be cooking the pies from 8-10 minutes then at those temps. 

Tran,

I think the average bake times are less than 8-10 minutes but when an oven is loaded with pizzas at peak times, the bake times can be longer.

Peter

Offline Pizzalogy

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2010, 01:09:26 AM »
Ok, well I tried again tonight but it didn't turn out nearly as well at my first attempt. I think what I did wrong was this time I stored the dough in tupperwares instead of keeping it in the original bowl I mixed it in which had flour on the bottom. The dough ball stuck to the tupperware and when I pulled it out, I sort of had to reball it a bit and it seemed to lose all the air it had in it and then it wouldn't stretch properly. I'm guessing I should have let it rise again? Here's a pic showing what happened when I tried to stretch it:


http://i44.tinypic.com/2v0zj2w.jpg

http://i43.tinypic.com/dm8q5l.jpg

and then the bottom crust stuck to the pan. That did not happen the first time. The crust was way too chewy this time.  Sorry I don't have any pics of the top, my camera ran out of battery.

Offline s00da

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2010, 03:37:38 AM »
Hi Pizzalogy, when placing dough in tubberware, make sure you apply a very thin layer of oil to the container to avoid sticking. The reason you couldn't stretch the dough is because when you reballed, you restored elasticity to the gluten matrix. To be able to stretch it, you should have let it rest for a couple of hours. I usually give dough balls a 4-5 hours rest after balling but this depends on many other factors to.

Good luck


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2010, 05:54:35 AM »
Pizzalogy, it sounds like you figured out some of issues and how to fix them. You can store dough (if u like) in the same bowl but I prefer to use a clean new bowl.  I usually put a drop or two of oil and spread it around wih my finger. As sooda said, you want a thin layer. I occassionally roll the top of the ball around in the bowl as well to coat it with a bit of oil as well, then cover it with plastic saran type wrap.
 
The increase chewiness factor is due to the cold ferment.  This is part of the change in taste and texture which some ppl do like. The chewiness may have also been accentuated by your long baking time. Did you par bake te crust again or try to just bake it all at once? Also what was your total bake time and temp including parbaking if you did that.  A 24 hour cold ferment should not cause that much chewiness though so it's likely your bake time and temp. You may be surpise at the difference in results when you get your stone as well. 

Pizza making can be fustrating and satisfying from time to time. There are many variables to get right in order to produce a good looking and good tasting pie. Hang in there. 
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 06:07:16 AM by Tranman »

Offline Pizzalogy

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 11:25:26 AM »
Ok, thanks for confirming my suspicions about what I did wrong. Aside from those mistakes, I tried to do everything else the same way I did last time. I prebaked it again at 550 (according to the dial on my oven) and the total bake time was about 10-11 minutes. I cold fermented it last time also, so I don't think the cold ferment caused the increased chewiness.

Offline Pizzalogy

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2010, 12:10:36 AM »
so i made another pizza, this time with organic flour. i also got the 6 in 1 tomatoes for the sauce, but i was still not impressed with the sauce, dunno what i'm doing wrong there. i posted another thread about my issues with the flour, but i would like to still keep using it, unless you can recommend me a different unenriched flour to use. have yoiu ever calculated the hydration for unenriched flours?


 http://i44.tinypic.com/307pait.jpg

http://i40.tinypic.com/2ugou3q.jpg

http://i44.tinypic.com/16abrtj.jpg

that's from today. i stretched the crust too thin and it was like paper thin, drooped straight down when you held it up and became soggy from the liquid in the sauce and cheese. i guess its a good thing i had no problems stretching this dough. will try to make it thicker next time, also hope the stone comes soon so i dont have to prebake it.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2010, 12:23:44 AM »
Yeah that's a pretty thin pizza with a pretty thick rim. After some practice you will intuitively know how thin or thick to stretch and get the desired thickness. 

Why not for your next pie try to only bake it once directly on the pan and see how that goes.  I haven't tried the 6-in-1s but they are popular around here.

If you want to try another recipe, do a search for the Lehmann recipe. It's makes a decent pie.  You can employ the same hand kneading technique to any recipe.

Also I'm not familiar with enriched flours. Do you know if it is like a bread flour?  You can google it and read up on it, then just follow the formula clostest to it.  Maybe some other members can chime in about this flour. 

Good luck and keep at it.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 12:26:49 AM by Tranman »

Offline Pizzalogy

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2010, 04:01:08 PM »
enriched just means it has synthetically produced vitamins added to replace the natural ones which have been lost in producing white flour. i think most white flour is enriched. i am interested in using flour which has not been enriched, like KA organic bread flour. it is a bread flour and i'm not sure why the hydration is different, the lack of added vitamins must affect it somehow.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 04:03:49 PM by Pizzalogy »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2010, 04:09:05 PM »
Though I haven't worked with enriched flours, I wouldn't expect it to act any different if much at all.  I'd stick with the same hydration rate.  If it feels a little wet you can always add just a bit more flour like 1/2T to compensate.

Maybe some senior members can chime in about enriched flours and if they make any differece to hydration ratios.   ???

Offline Pizzalogy

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2010, 04:46:29 PM »
i think you're confusing enriched flours with unenriched tranman, what flour do you use? chances are it IS enriched (i think).

i switched to using a flour that is not enriched, and even with the low hydration it was  a wet sticky mess. i went by feel with adding more flour and i had to add a lot more but it did come out relatively ok.

the next time i make dough, i plan to keep track of whatever hydration ratio i am using so i can quantify how different it is.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2010, 05:00:41 PM »
i think you're confusing enriched flours with unenriched tranman, what flour do you use? chances are it IS enriched (i think).

i switched to using a flour that is not enriched, and even with the low hydration it was  a wet sticky mess. i went by feel with adding more flour and i had to add a lot more but it did come out relatively ok.

the next time i make dough, i plan to keep track of whatever hydration ratio i am using so i can quantify how different it is.


You are right.  Sorry about that.  I use High Gluten Flour bleached and bromated.  So it has been enriched with potassium bromate, a maturing agent to help with gluten development and makes a stronger more elastic dough.  

If you are using a BF that is unenriched and it has been a sticky mess, then it probably behaves more like a lower protein flour. 

Here's a new recipe for your unenriched flour to try.

   Unenriched BF   3 cups   (411gm)
   Water      1 cup    (220gm)   54%
   Table salt   1 tsp   (6gm)      1.57%
   ADY/IDY   1 tsp      (4gm)      1%
   Sugar      1 tsp   (5gm)      1.3%
   Oil      1 tsp   (4.3gm)      1.1%
   Total         650gm minus 5% bowl residue = 617gm or 308gm per ball.


Just half the recipe if you want to make one doughball to try but it should work out fine.  Let me know.  If it works out well I'll add the recipe to the original link.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 05:06:16 PM by Tranman »

Offline Pizzalogy

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2010, 09:48:21 PM »
thanks and guess what, my stone came today!!

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: first attempt how to improve from here? (pics)
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2010, 11:06:32 PM »
awesome!  Don't forget to give us the details and pics.  The stone, manufacturer, how thick, material it's made of.  Also if you don't mind, let's see a shot of your oven and some details.  Gas, electric, etc. 

Hey did you get a chance to mix up dough using the unenriched recipe?  Did it work out any better?

Ok I have some dough to go knead.  See ya.  :P
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 11:25:25 PM by Tranman »


 

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