Author Topic: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!  (Read 3848 times)

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Offline slpywes

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Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« on: September 17, 2010, 04:23:14 PM »
Hey guys,

Long time pizza lover, new to the board and the wonderful art of pizza making so bear with me please. I just happened to stumble across Jeff Varasano's awesome recipe and I have a couple of questions.

He talks of poolish and says that it's equal parts water and flour and some yeast but how much? How much water and four do I use and does this amount of water and flour count towards the final amount of water and flour that is going into the dough?

Thank you in advanced!!

For those of you who don't know what recipe I'm talking about it's this one:

www [dot] varasanos [dot] com/PizzaRecipe [dot] htm


Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2010, 04:44:45 PM »
If you read closely you will note that Jeff states in bold red letters "don't be a slave to recipes and percentages", rather pay attention to what your eyes and hands are telling you.He gives guide lines for you to use to help you form your own recipe. The main gist of Varasano's dough success is the formation and kneading technique of the dough.

Offline slpywes

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2010, 04:50:44 PM »
I understand the need for experimentation but I feel like not knowing what poolish is, how to make it and how to incorporate it into the final dough is severely limiting my ability to reproduce Varasano's recipe  :-\

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2010, 04:57:40 PM »
Welcome slpywes
I really liked this poolish recipe and the thread is short and pretty straight forward, so this might be a good starting point to explore the world of preferments.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7327.0.html
As you read, Jeff's methods involve wild yeast, a modified 900 degree oven, and years of experimenting so reproducing his work is pretty tough.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2010, 05:18:42 PM »
slpywes,

Jeff Varasano's recipe at http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm involves the use of a spreadsheet to determine the quantities of ingredients to use for different dough batch sizes. The battery poolish that Jeff talks about is made up of equal weights of flour and water. The yeast for that poolish is wild yeast, although the poolish can be supplemented with commercial yeast. I don't recall offhand whether Jeff adjusts his numbers to reflect the weights of flour and water in his poolish. I use the preferment dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html because I am more familiar with its use than Jeff's spreadsheet. Jeff's instructions as to how to incorporate the poolish are quite explicit. However, if you want to learn more about how poolish preferments can be used in general, see the Rosada articles at http://web.archive.org/web/20040814193817/cafemeetingplace.com/archives/food3_apr2004.htm and at http://web.archive.org/web/20050829015510/www.cafemeetingplace.com/archives/food4_dec2004.htm. Those articles are with respect to commercially leavened poolish preferments but the principles are the same for a naturally leavened poolish.

If you are interested in making your own starter culture to use to make a poolish based on wild yeast, you should check out the Starters/Sponges board at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/board,37.0.html.

Peter

parallei

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2010, 05:23:10 PM »
slpyes,

I think the amount of commercial yeast one would use might be a function of the length/temp of fermentation.  As PizzaHog noted, Varasano uses a wild starter (as do many in this group).

Another poolish based recipe many enjoy can be found here (Pete-zza Does JerryMac):

 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6515.0.html.

As a matter of fact, I'm just about to go ball up some dough I started this morning with the JerryMac dough.......

Best

Offline mkacher

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 12:04:10 PM »
I recently came across Jeff's recipe and also had a question.  He states in his recipe to use 9% Sourdough yeast culture (as a battery poolish) using a baker's %age.  On other threads I've seen him mention using up to 40% starter.  Is he using "yeast culture" and "starter" interchangeably?  Could there be that wide of a variation in his recommendations?

Thanks,
Mike

Offline randyjohnsonhve

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 04:37:30 PM »

Jeff's article is from 2007, are there any updates on his ratings of pizza?...I found his article very interesting with many experienced opinions on how to make the best pizza...A long, but very good read...

RJelli :chef:
"Pizza Evolves...Our Best Pizza Ever is Not Today." It is 'what' is right, not 'who' is right that matters.

Offline anton-luigi

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2012, 03:32:39 PM »
Mkacher,  I think so.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 03:53:36 PM by anton-luigi »

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Jeff Varasano's recipe help!
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2012, 05:20:19 PM »
I recently came across Jeff's recipe and also had a question.  He states in his recipe to use 9% Sourdough yeast culture (as a battery poolish) using a baker's %age.  On other threads I've seen him mention using up to 40% starter.  Is he using "yeast culture" and "starter" interchangeably?  Could there be that wide of a variation in his recommendations?

Thanks,
Mike

You can vary the percentage of poolish based on the workflow and length of fermentation (adjusting for hydration as well). He uses culture and poolish interchangeably. To be fair though, a preferment made with natural yeast is called a levain. A poolish is traditionally made with commercial yeast.

John