Author Topic: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone  (Read 4610 times)

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Offline StrayBullet

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2010, 03:52:25 PM »
Mark, I was kind of kidding about the macarons.  Don't sweat it. My macaron experience was probably one of the culinary highlights of my life, but I think, without a trip to France, it's probably impossible to recreate.  I've actually looked at recipes over the years, and am pretty good at reverse engineering, but the macarons I tasted have me totally stumped.  Someone brought them into the office or they were a gift from a client.  I have no idea where they came from.  Most likely a NY bakery.  I was expecting something crunchy and light, but instead got something incredibly creamy and rich. Visually, it was probably 25% filling, but it tasted like it was 90% filling.  I don't think the icing was butter based, as I generally don't enjoy butter based icings.  I don't think it was shortening either.  It definitely wasn't whipped cream.  I remember at least 4 flavors/colors- pistachio (green), chocolate, coffee and raspberry, although there might have been a pale blue.

Do you have ring dings down in Florida?  It was kind of like biting into a ring ding and expecting a certain cake to filling ratio, but the machine messed up and it was almost all filling- but this was about a thousand times better.


Sounds like you got a good batch!  And even after being there twice, and making countless batches, I've probably only really nailed 'em 2-3 times.  I finally have a good recipe that works for me but even with a Pierre Herme recipe, you don't know if that's the one he uses in his books, the one he presents in his classes or the one he crafted when hired on at Laduree or the one he uses at his own store.  Then there's the source of the almonds, chocolate, etc...don't get me started :D  Damn, it's kinda like the pizza making field :D  Maybe someone can create a macaron calculator :D

Most of the ones I've done have a chocolate ganache filling, I haven't gotten too far into other fillings for some of the same reasons you stated.  Next time I do a batch, I'll shoot you a message and see if I can't get you a few.

Anyway, back to soapstone :) Here are a few of the stones Punta Gorda carries:

http://www.creativesoapstone.com/gallery.html

When you inquire, make sure to ask for a 'classic' high talc stone that has a soft silky texture. Talc is our thermodynamic friend. As the talc content increases, the thermal conductivity/resistance to thermal shock increases.  A pure talc slab would be too soft to bake with, but none of the countertop folks carry that. I believe the 'classic' soapstone is somewhere in the 60 to 80% talc realm.


I've talked at length with Mimi at Creative Soapstone and she's been a champ!  Sent a few pics and really talked about the differences in soapstone.  They also carry bake ware (from a supplier) so they know what they're talking about and know it's being used in a baking application.  Looks like I'll be dropping the top on the 580hp beast and taking a drive  >:D


Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2010, 04:20:54 PM »
Mark, I think I just had a breakthrough  :) I think the fillings were all white chocolate ganache based. That explains the subtlety.  Even the chocolate filling wasn't all that chocolate-y.

Creative isn't going to be cheap.  But you will walk out of there with a real piece of soapstone. Hopefully they'll have lots of remnants floating around.


Offline StrayBullet

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2010, 04:26:24 PM »
Mark, I think I just had a breakthrough  :) I think the fillings were all white chocolate ganache based. That explains the subtlety.  Even the chocolate filling wasn't all that chocolate-y.

That's most likely it.  There are some fillings like pistachio and others that do have butter but not like our butter icing.  I've also made several with a chocolate/fruit compote which are amazing!  Most use dark chocolate in the ganache due to how much sugar is in the meringue and almond flour/sugar mixture.  One more kink to toss into the baking mess is what kind of meringue is used, Italian, French or Basic...makes my head want to explode :D

Creative isn't going to be cheap.  But you will walk out of there with a real piece of soapstone. Hopefully they'll have lots of remnants floating around.

I've already gotten quotes using exactly that, remnants.  I'm placing the order now and will hopefully be in business within a week....as will 2 other local Tampa members :D

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2010, 01:35:44 PM »
The quest is FINALLY over, now the fun begins :D

Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2010, 01:46:19 PM »
Mark, are you sure you have enough stone?  You do have two back seats, you know  :-D

It looks like you've hit the jackpot.  Those are all the real deal- and, from what I can tell, you got nice pure stones.

I have a stone in my trunk as well.  I've been trying to muster up the motivation to bring it in.  As I still have to do a cut (and make dough), it's not like I can fire it up tonight.

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2010, 01:49:16 PM »
Mark, are you sure you have enough stone?  You do have two back seats, you know  :-D


I picked up 2 additional stones for 2 area members and also brought my original stone so they could id it for me...as for the space, this beast only has 2 seats, if it had 4 it would've been easier to shoehorn in the 6-point roll-bar  >:D

It looks like you've hit the jackpot.  Those are all the real deal- and, from what I can tell, you got nice pure stones.

I have a stone in my trunk as well.  I've been trying to muster up the motivation to bring it in.  As I still have to do a cut (and make dough), it's not like I can fire it up tonight.

I hear ya there, I made the other dough I had left from Monday last nite and I know nothing of overnite dough recipes :)

Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2010, 01:55:57 PM »
Doh! The stone with the burn marks is the one I was IDing as serpentine?  What did they say?

It's not looking quite so green/shiny in this light  :angel:

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2010, 02:05:28 PM »
Turns out it actually was/is soapstone but it was sealed?  Josh at Creative Soapstone took a sander to it and in scant minutes it was back to a natural finish.  I learned a TON while I was there.  The piece I have isn't recommended for baking, although it will work, the talc content is much less and mineral content much more.  I'll turn it into a table, chess board or something...hell, who knows, maybe someone in my family gets it as a Christmas gift :D

Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2010, 02:38:50 PM »
Low talc soapstone, serpentine... potatoes, potahtoes  ;D

I have to admit that it really looks different sanded down and in daylight.

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2010, 07:34:24 PM »
You were definitely right!

I couldn't help myself, and not wanting to wait a week until trying out the stone I searched for Jackie Tran's emergency recipe.  I whipped up a batch, let the 380g ball rise for 90 minutes then pushed it out a little too far but the results were amazing :D

The pie cooked in 4 minutes and recipe/fermenting differences aside, the cooking medium really does help.  Again, it took my oven a good while to reach full temp of 550o but once there the temps inside were really even.  I did no oven tricks, nothing above the stone, and placed it on the lowest rack.  When the pie went in, the stone was just above 600, although the front edge read 20-30o lower.  The oven runs for a while but I like the results.  I think I may cut the other one down and use it out on the grill :)


Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2010, 07:51:32 PM »
Oh happy day!  ;D

If you think that's amazing, just wait until you can get a 3 day dough on that bad boy.

What's the 550 pre-heat time- is it that much more than an hour?

You might feel that you pushed it out too far, but, as far as the thickness factor of the best pizzerias in the NY area, that's pretty much it.  I know that you have mellow mushroom-y aspirations, but I'd still like to see how this crust (and longer fermented thin versions) end up comparing to the thicker crusts you make in the future.

I know we talked about this earlier today, but if you're going to make pies that look as good as this, you have to do justice to the photos.  The camera's fine- could you just carry the pizza outdoors for a quick shot?  :)

Edit: In sunlight, your pie would look a little like this:
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 08:15:25 PM by scott123 »

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2010, 08:18:40 PM »
Oh happy day!  ;D

If you think that's amazing, just wait until you can get a 3 day dough on that bad boy.

Trust me, I can't wait for next weekend!  After trying this dough and the 4-day yesterday, I can really tell the difference!

What's the 550 pre-heat time- is it that much more than an hour?

You might feel that you pushed it out too far, but, as far as the thickness factor of the best pizzerias in the NY area, that's pretty much it.  I know that you have mellow mushroom-y aspirations, but I'd still like to see how this crust (and longer fermented thin versions) end up comparing to the thicker crusts you make in the future.

Probably 75-90 minutes, I wasn't watching too closely but will be next time :)  As for the thicker crusts, I'm not really after something as thick as a Mellow (honestly it's too much dough for me but I like the taste) but do want something a tad thicker so I'll be sticking to this recipe for a while, no worries :D

I know we talked about this earlier today, but if you're going to make pies that look as good as this, you have to do justice to the photos.  The camera's fine- could you just carry the pizza outdoors for a quick shot?  :)

With a compliment like that, I feel obligated :D  How 'bout we agree on some PhotoShop settings? :D
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 08:24:52 PM by StrayBullet »

Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2010, 08:38:35 PM »
Photoshop settings, huh?  ;D

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2010, 10:31:05 AM »
Looks like LeRoy Neiman :D

Offline Tampa

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Re: What's the thinnest Soapstone you've seen?
« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2010, 06:55:37 PM »
Many thanks to StrayBullet for picking up a couple of pieces of soapstone for us local pie-heads.

Bob is alreading putting his stone to good use cooking three pies tonight.  He's probably eating as I type.  burp.  Hopefully the pies will be picture-worthy.

As anyone seen a thin soapstone for baking?  I ran an extended warm up test on the rotisserie pizza grill this afternoon using that fat slab of soapstone.  It usually takes 15 minutes to reach 700F with cordierite, with one inch plus soapstone, it took 40 minutes.  Assuming I can reduce the throw temperature from by 75 degrees because of the better cooking performance, it still takes this slab twice as long (30 minutes) to be ready at 625F.

It seems that the thick stone is great for retaining heat but that comes with a warm-up cost.  Has anyone seen thin soapstone used for baking, say 1/2" or so total thickness?  It seems like a thinner stone would work just fine, but I'd rather hear from someone who has tried it (or seen it).

Dave


Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2010, 07:17:57 PM »
Dave, I'm sorry to hear about the extended preheat. That's a bummer. Btw, that 75 degrees is kind of a best guess.  The improved conductivity might buy you a hundred degree differential, and possibly even more.

My local distributor sells 18 x 18 (and 12 x 12) half inch soapstone tiles in the sub $20 range. I know of no one that's baking with them, though.  I tend to discourage people from buying them due to potential recovery issues, but with a grill that might not be a problem.

There's also this:

http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stainless-Steel-Serving-13-inch-Pizza-Baking/dp/B0000E2OAP

They talk about a 1" thickness, but that's with the carrier.  I'm pretty sure this is 1/2" thick.

We've talked about this elsewhere, but, as much as I'm head over heals in love with soapstones for home oven use, I'm not entirely certainly how well they'll incorporate into a high heat grilling scenario. It is an amazing material, so maybe you'll find an aspect about it that makes it wonderful for the grill, but running through scenarios in my head, I'm just not seeing that huge of a benefit of greater conductivity.

Edit: I think soapstone is the most durable choice for a direct flame grilling scenario, but I think most people are getting plenty of wear out of their firebricks and cordierite.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 07:21:40 PM by scott123 »

Offline sear

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2010, 08:42:14 PM »
Looks great  ;D


if your pizza was entering earths atmosphere it would look something like this   :pizza:

Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2010, 10:31:14 PM »
Houston, we've got a pizza  ;D

Offline Tampa

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2010, 01:09:59 PM »
Thanks Scott for you insightful comments, as usual.

You are right, soapstone on a grill is a bit of an unusual situation.  However, even Bob tried his ďslabĒ last night as a replacement for cordierite in a commercial pizza oven and he commented to me about the long warm-up and cool down.  (The skies over Tampa were extra warm last night.)  I suspect we would all like a ~1/2Ē thick soapstone if it were available and the stone didnít crack under regular oven use.

If someone has experience with this please chime in.  Iím thinking that soapstone is a fairly soft stone and shouldnít be that hard to cut Ė I probably just need the right shop.  I know cordierite is often praised for itís ability to handle thermal shock, so soapstone probably isnít quite so forgiving.  Still, I threw that slab right on the grill, full blast from lower and upper (IR) burners and it held up fine.  So with that vast knowledge, and my nominal financial investment at risk, Iím confident that a ĹĒ soapstone would work just fine.  Iíve just got to find a cutter or a grinder (if I only want one stone when done).

Dave

Offline scott123

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Re: StrayBullet and the Holy Soapstone
« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2010, 01:49:21 PM »
Dave, soapstone, imo, is more forgiving thermally than cordierite.  At least, high talc soapstone without too many imperfections- which is what you/most other soapstone owners have. We are talking about two incredibly thermally durable materials, but, I think, in a direct flame setting, soapstone will outlive cordierite.

Before you take the time to look into ways of cutting/grinding the stone you have, I would call Creative and see if they have the 18 x 18 x .5 tiles.  I would think that spending about twenty bucks on a tile would be far less headache than cutting a stone in half lengthwise.