Author Topic: Pizza Raquel  (Read 195523 times)

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Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #240 on: March 10, 2006, 08:46:23 PM »
Wow...  A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

-- GB
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #241 on: March 11, 2006, 11:49:50 AM »
Glutenboy,
I appreciate the encomiums. Pizza Raquel adorned with Alleva Fresh is a pure delight.

There are but two more tiers of the mountain I need to climb before the beginning part of my journey is completed. The view would then be totally unimpeded and I could really start to innovate with much more latitude. The first is procuring a fork mixer. My thinking is that a fork mixer, like a Santos, would craft the dough to its highest possible point in a home setting.†

The second tier I need to overcome is also the most expensive. Heat. Not any kind of heat but the right kind. Natural heat generated by burning wood. My dream would be to bake a Raquel, and a Sophia for that matter, in a wood burning oven. Research I have performed has confirmed my desire is not merely an attempt to preserve a folk tradition or to recreate a quaint old-world atmosphere. There is, in fact, a culinary principle involved. However dry the firewood and however good the draft, the interior of the oven will always have a little smoke inside, which will contribute a very slight but distinctive aroma and taste to the pizza. I simply cannot achieve this with my grill no matter how hard I try. Therefore I am at the end of the trail so to speak with where I am currently at.

Back to the wood burning oven. No matter how much pride a pizzaiolo takes in keeping the wood burning oven clean, there is no way to prevent a microscopic layer of ash from adhering to the bottom surface of the pizza. This ash, in minimal quantities (totally harmless to the body), actually uniquely enhances the crust's flavor.

Once I scale the final fundamental tiers before me Pizza Raquel and Sophia will then exemplify the Italian phrase "Farsi Una Pizze Assime" which translated means "Let's Have Ourselves a Pizza." I will no longer have to make excuses for this or that. It will represent a unique reflection of who I am at my core. I am of the opinion that Pizza Raquel and Sophia reach beyond the senses of taste and smell, playing pleasurably upon the gift of sight.

And in order to fully realize taste, smell, and sight, a wood burning oven is required.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2006, 08:44:47 AM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything Youíd Want.
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Offline mivler

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #242 on: March 31, 2006, 10:30:47 PM »
Hi:

This is my first post. I followed this thread for about a month and finally decided to try making Pizza Raquel. I have since made it about 10 times. I wanted to make sure that I was getting consistant results before asking any questions. Here is my problem. Either I add too much tomato sauce and the pizza is literally soaked through, or (in my opinion), it is too dry and needs sauce (but the rest of it is great). Any thoughts?

I have attached three pictures from a pie with what I consider very little sauce and then a last photo of a pizza that was wet and basically had to be eaten with a knife and fork.

Thanks

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #243 on: April 01, 2006, 05:24:57 AM »
mivler,
I know a thing or two about Raquel, so if it is okay with you I'll try to help.

A few questions are in order first however. You stated that you have consistently gotten the same results. That is actually a good thing. It means you have reproduced the recipe. Consistency is very difficult to achieve. Here we go;
- It sounds as if you enjoy the crust but can't find a happy place with your tomato sauce viscosity. Do I have that right?
- Tell me, did you follow the Raquel dough Preparation steps exactly?
- Did you follow the Stretching steps exactly?
- If not, where did you deviate? Be specific and candid here (i.e., did you actually weigh ingredients?).
- Also, you have some nice char going so could you share some details on baking method? You appear to have access to a lot of heat. Much more so than a typical home oven. I will be interested in learning about this piece.
- List your ingredients (what type of cheese, tomatoes, flour, etc)
- Finally, are you putting down the cheese first or the sauce?
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Offline mivler

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #244 on: April 01, 2006, 05:03:39 PM »
First let me apologize for the length of this answer, I want to answer the questions as fully as possible to improve my pizzas, hopefully as some point down the line I will be able to help others.

I want to clarify, I am now consistently making great pizza. The dough has a similar feel to it each time. However as I will explain, due to sauce, cheese, thickness and the length of time it cooks, the results are not 100% consistent.

You are correct, the sauce seems to be the problem. When I add what I consider enough of if it, it soaks through. 

I follow the recipe as precisely as possible. I have a scale accurate to 1 gram. I follow all of the steps; each time I have made the recipe I follow the timing. I have a KitchenAid which I think holds 5 quarts. When tripled the recipe one time my mixer really struggled. I had to break the mixing into a few shorter mixes because my mixer couldnít handle it. I also had to supplement with a longer hand knead. Usually I do a double batch. This is enough of a strain on my mixer, but it gets through it.

I made my starter a few months ago from Dan Lepardís book ďThe Handmade LoafĒ. Basically started with a little yogurt flour and water. Once it became active I just add water and KA all purpose flour. It is sometimes on the thin pancake batter side and sometimes a lot thicker.  I use King Arthur high gluten flour. I am not sure exactly what yeast I bought because I got a pound of it a year ago and I keep it in a Tupperware in the freezer. I use Diamond Crystal salt

After the hand knead I usually cut the dough into quarters. I do not weigh each before dividing but they are generally pretty close in weight. I have let the dough sit in the refrigerator from one day to three days. When I get to the stretching step I follow the steps pretty closely. (Every now and then I do a toss or two into the air.) I had never had dough that was nearly as easy to work with before I was introduced to Raquel. I generally make 11 to 14 inch pizzas. I have played around with that a little because I thought the problem might have to do with the thickness. I do not measure it but the picture I sent is typical something slightly thicker.  After it is the right size I may make slight adjustments so that it looked more circular.

I have not been very scientific about sauce and cheese. I have tried Redpack whole tomatoes (in puree) Progresso and Hunts whole tomatoes in tomato juice (I strained out the juice). I blended it all and added a little sugar and salt. I have used store brand (stop and shop) fresh mozzarella (from a fresh bulk containers at the supermarket. This turned into a soggy mess. I wanted to pour off the wetness from the top of the pizza. I put the cheese on first and then the sauce on top of it. This was the last time I used fresh mozzarella, I really felt that it added way too much moisture to the pizza.

In my most recent pizzas I have been putting on the sauce first but my first few batches I put the cheese on first.

After I gave up on canned tomatoes and I tried Emerilís kicked up tomato sauce and Momaís (I was amazed how much better the canned tomatoes are). I have never measured the amount of cheese or sauce. I realize this could be critical information, however, I vary the amount of sauce to find the right amount and I have never been totally happy. Now that I stopped using the fresh cheese, I do not think the cheese is adding moisture to the equation.

After I get the sauce and cheese on I get it into the oven as quickly as possible.

I preheat my over for a little over an hour. It is a Masterpiece self cleaning oven by Thermador. Hereís the info I have about the oven. I recently moved into this house and as far as I know the oven is from the early 80ís. It is a double wall oven. The doors do not have seals on them, so when food is cooking the door isnít sealed closed. From the first time I used it I knew that it cooked too hot but I did not know how hot. I finally got a cheap oven thermometer that went to 600. Even though my oven says itís cooking at 550, it clearly goes a lot hotter than that. It looked like it read in the neighborhood of 750 (estimating based on where the needle was), however the thermometer cracked so I really donít know how hot it gets. This brings me to question for another forum, I am going to be renovating my kitchen and I obviously am going to be looking for a very hot oven. Anyway I have no idea why the oven gets so hot, but Iím not complaining. I do not time the pizzas but I think they are in the oven about 5 minutes, but Iím really not sure because I pull them out when they look done. I usually peek once. I attached a picture of one of my earlier attempts, where I tried three pizzas in a row to not peek and three pizzas in a row came out charred.
 I am usually so busy getting ready to eat my pizza and getting my next pizza ready that I lose track of time. I have this idea in my head that I should have a feel for it and not need to time it.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #245 on: April 02, 2006, 07:33:01 AM »
mivler,
Thank you for the very well articulated response. It sounds like you may have solved your own problem. Your type of conundrum is what makes pizza so mysterious for me. It is so simple yet so very complicated. Everything is inter-related and if you get one thing wrong it can literally drives you nuts.

After reviewing your photographs I have another question before we move away from identifying the crust as a culprit. You described your crust as being wet. Could it also be gummy? Let me know. Gummy is a dough preparation and mixing problem. Wet is an ingredient problem.

Objectively, the wetness issues you mention either come from the dough, the sauce, the cheese, or some other topping. I would stop making anything but basic Margherita styles. You need to focus intently on the cheese next as you have already played with the sauce ranging from too little to too much without a satisfactory solution.†

I still do not know what type and brand of cheese you typically use. I would be willing to bet that switching to a good fresh mozzarella like what Sam's Club sells (Biazza or a Polly - O Fresh Mozzarella, etc) will help. They are relatively inexpensive and do not break down into a puddle of seeping mess. At the high heat your oven operates at you must have a cheese that can handle it.

Another related thought is to reduce the amount of whatever topping you use. Human nature is to load up sauce, cheese, and whatever else your better half is fond of. Experience tells me that proper balance of a pizza comes from using less ingedients not more. I call it the Pizza Hut syndrome. Try it and see for yourself.

Good luck and report back with your changes and findings.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 07:43:01 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline mivler

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #246 on: April 02, 2006, 09:10:57 PM »
Itís hard to tell from the pictures of the back of the pizza so I attached a side view. My pizzas have been wet on the bottom 2/3 of the pizza. Regarding the cheese, I often used whatever was the least expensive because I did not think it was a factor in the moisture, but I guess you canít take anything for granted.

I didnít remember anyone mentioning having a similar problem. Iím going to do some more experimenting (and measuring) of cheeses and sauces. In the past I have generally keep the toppings simple. I sometimes add basil. I may add dried tomatoes, roasted peppers or fried mushrooms. For now Iíll just stick to Margherita pizza. Iíll report back when I come up with a combo that works. Thanks for the advice.

Offline JF_Aidan_Pryde

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #247 on: April 04, 2006, 11:25:30 AM »
mivler,
I have not seen a pizza as charred as the ones you posted. This is a good thing mind you, I have had to struggle very hard to get decent charring. It does seem your pizzas are a little over cooked though. Or do you prefer the extra char?

I suggest you hang on to this oven. Today's home ovens just doesn't break 550. Just looking at your results, I would love to have your oven. :D

Offline mivler

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #248 on: April 04, 2006, 01:49:27 PM »
I like char, but in my opinion there is good char and bad char. Some of the pizzas have been charred so badly that they were hard to eat. The last picture I posted was the third in a row that I had overcooked. The outside crust got by far the most charred. The bottom was charred, but not as much as the crust. Again, going back to my original problem, the top was more of a puddle (no char problem on top). I realize that I just need to keep a better eye on how much time the pizzas are in the oven.

On the oven issue, I am about a year out from haveing my kitchen redone, and therefore I havenít started doing the research. My current oven has a cracked glass case for a light that doesnít work inside, the door has a crack and (as I mentioned above), there is no seal on the door. When I am ready I am going to consider a commercial pizza oven. (I donít know anything about them yet.) I guess the alternative is to have my oven repaired, but I was also hoping for a larger oven. Right now I can only make 12 inch pizzas. Also, I would much rather get a new oven than design a kitchen knowing I have an oven that is over 20 years old. 

Offline mivler

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #249 on: April 05, 2006, 10:07:33 PM »
Here is an update. I made a few changes. First I took the extra time to carefully layer the cheese first. This was a step I rarely did before. Even when I did it in the past, after I added the sauce, I would spread it with the back of a spoon on the pizza. By the time it was ready to go in the oven the sauce and cheese were mixed up. Second I tried new cheeses. I used Il Villaggio for my first pizza and Lioni Latticini for the second. For the third, I used the part skim processed mozzarella from the local supermarket. (my control pizza). For all the pizzas I used Progresso whole tomatoes. (I blended the tomatoes with the tomato juice in the can)

Layering the cheese first helped significantly. My control pizza was dry.

Il Villaggio Ė Dry. I was happy with the results
Lioni Latticini Ė Wet on the bottom. Based on my results I wouldnít use this cheese again. However after looking at the picture it looks like I added more sauce even though I think I measured pretty carefully. (pictured)

I made 4 pizzas. In the last one I pushed the tomato sauce envelope. I added more than I needed and the pizza was still mostly dry on the bottom.

The other thing (which is probably obvious to everyone) was that I waited a few minutes to cut the pizzas. I think some of my previous pizzas were cut too early. As far as I can tell it looks like the liquid continues to evaporate for the first few minutes out of the oven.

I timed all of my pizzas for 5 minutes and that time worked very well for me.


Offline mivler

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #250 on: April 07, 2006, 10:38:27 PM »
I donít know if there is anyone else out there that is as addicted to Raquel as I am, but I have never made a dough that feels the way she does right off the hook. Thanks to pftaylor for the great recipe and advice and to many others who have helped me without knowing it by their posts on this website. I hope that as some point I can add insight or provide at least one person some information that will improve their pizza.

Has anyone tried making Raquel without gradually adding Ĺ the flour after the first 20 minute rest but instead adding it all at once? There are so many aspects of this dough that are different from what I had done in the past. I havenít wanted to take any chances at not getting the great results I have consistently been getting.  I would be happy to test this and report back the result if no one has tried it. I am by no means an expert, but I have made Raquel enough times that I think would be able to identify if there were any impact. I know that pftaylor spent a long time coming up with this formula, so I assume there is a reason for gradually adding the flour. Sorry if this has already been asked, I donít remember seeing this question.

If I change it, I was thinking that after the 20 minute rest I would add the rest of the flour then mix for 5 minutes, waiting another 15 minutes mix for another five minutes. Then continue with the recipe from step #10 from the recipe http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1258.20.html. (reply #24)

Unfortunately I will not be able to make pizza again for about 2 weeks, but Iím ready to attempt to give Raquel a makeover if I am exploring new territory.


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #251 on: August 26, 2006, 07:17:34 AM »
Well, well, well.

It has been a long time since I cranked up the old Kitchen Aid to make Pizza Raquel. My have I missed her beauty.

Pizza for me is just a flat out blast. I unabashedly admit I can't ever get enough. If a little is good, more is better. There is nothing like pure excess itself. Raquel is as pure as freshly fallen snow on a New Hampshire winter morning. That is to say deep. Pizza is my number one vice. Number two and number three. Well you get the point. As vices go, its not a really bad one considering the alternatives.

Last night Chez Taylor had a number of guests visit for the sole purpose of gorging on pizza. Kids, adults, pets. You name it, we all knew why we were there. No one wanted to be anywhere else. The singular focus was on pizza and where it would collectively take us. In the end we all ended up with distended bellies but what the hell. I'll take a long walk today and be good for the next month. I have found that the better the pizza, the worse I am. I am the exact inverse of pizza. I also could have cared less about the saturated fats, and incalculable carbohydrate levels we were consuming because this was worth it. It is the best value on the planet.

Though I grilled twelve different 12" pies last night I managed to only snap a few pictures of the carnage. More will be downloaded from my son's camera as they become available.

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Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #252 on: August 27, 2006, 09:52:49 PM »
So I tried the Raquel recipe last night, and had some decent results.  I've been using the Lehmann dough recipe for the last three weeks and was happy with it.  I stumbled across this thread last week and decided to give it a go.  Of course, being a newbie to pizza, I don't have any preferments.  I used Pete-zza's recipe from page 11 of this thread and fermented for 46 hours using IDY.  Pics are below.

I'm not sure if I liked it better than the Lehmann dough, although it was very good.  It has to do more with the way I like my crust texture.  The Raquel dough made a more airy crust with larger air pockets.  I thought I would have perfered that over the more dense Lehmann dough.  I think I'm going to give it another go at it next week, just to make sure I did everything right.

One great advantage of this dough is in the mixing procedure.  My KA mixer just doesn't knead well at all, even doing one dough ball at a time.  Doing the Raquel method really seems to make the kneading part, easier in my case.  It seemed easier to handle and stretch and just seemed more forgiving.  It was, however, harder to get it to keep it's shape.

EDIT:  I added some pictures of one of my Lehmann dough's for comparison.  The last two pictures are of the Lehmann dough.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 10:03:54 PM by Boy Hits Car »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #253 on: August 27, 2006, 10:15:51 PM »
Mike,

For a newbie you seem to be hitting on all cylinders. That's a great looking pizza.

One thing to keep in mind about the Raquel dough is that it is quite a bit thinner than a Lehmann dough for the same size pizza. The Raquel thickness factor as I previously used it is under 0.08, which is more in line with the "elite" NY style as exemplified by Patsy's, Grimaldi's, etc. So, it will have a "lighter", less dense feel to it. And, even though the Raquel dough has a lot of similarities ingredient-wise to the Lehmann dough, the results will taste different. In my own mind, I treat the Raquel dough formulation as separate and distinct from the Lehmann dough and not as a style that competes with the Lehmann style.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #254 on: August 27, 2006, 11:00:23 PM »
Mike,

For a newbie you seem to be hitting on all cylinders. That's a great looking pizza.

One thing to keep in mind about the Raquel dough is that it is quite a bit thinner than a Lehmann dough for the same size pizza. The Raquel thickness factor as I previously used it is under 0.08, which is more in line with the "elite" NY style as exemplified by Patsy's, Grimaldi's, etc. So, it will have a "lighter", less dense feel to it. And, even though the Raquel dough has a lot of similarities ingredient-wise to the Lehmann dough, the results will taste different. In my own mind, I treat the Raquel dough formulation as separate and distinct from the Lehmann dough and not as a style that competes with the Lehmann style.

Peter

Peter,

Thanks for the kind words.  I only compared the two because they are the only two recipes I have tried.  Didn't mean to give the impression that they are competing.  You did bring up a great point, one that I forgot.  The thickness factor I used for the Raquel was 0.077 and for the Lehmann I've been using 0.09 for the same sized pizzas.  That really shows the strength of the Raquel recipe.   I was always fearful of tearing holes when stretching the Lehmann dough to 14 inches, but felt very comfortable stretching the thinner Raquel dough to 14 inches.   I guess that is what I meant about it being more forgiving.

Mike

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #255 on: September 04, 2006, 11:33:17 AM »
My second attempt at the Raquel modified with no preferment came out quite a bit better than my first.  It was easier to shape and was even more airy than before.  I enjoyed the crust as much as my Lehmann attempts.


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #256 on: September 06, 2006, 07:32:38 PM »
Boy Hits Car,
I'm glad Pizza Raquel is working out for you. While it is not the easiest of recipes on this site to master, with practice it yields consistently favorable results. I have been smitten by Raquel for a couple of years now and have yet to meet her overall equal. In particular, the robust nature of her skin amazes me. She can be stretched, tossed, dropped, loaded up with impossibly heavy toppings and she never once complains. The margin of error is quite wide if one follows the formulary. Additionally, should you begin enhancing the recipe with a preferment, her flavor will climb through your roof.

I look forward to your results.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything Youíd Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #257 on: December 02, 2006, 07:51:07 AM »
I vowed to myself that I wouldn't attempt to fiddle anymore with the tried and true Pizza Raquel dough preparation didactics. My sense was that I sorely needed a better mixer (hand or fork) and a better heat source than my TEC (a wood burning oven would fit the bill nicely) to climb higher up the mythical pizza mountain. Unless I had a clear vision as to why I needed to change some facet, I simply couldn't justify it. Afterall, I had systematically adjusted each and every variable of the process until I found the sweet spot which largely produced the results I set out to achieve. The resultant dough was the more robust than one could reasonably expect to achieve. Case closed right? 

I now think I was mistaken. Perhaps ignorant is more appropriate. It is human nature to try a tweak here or a tweak there. Tweaks sometimes work and sometimes they don't. I didn't want to tweak for tweaks sake. While I believed I maxed out Raquel with the tools available to me, I forgot one tool which my Grandmother willed to me many many years ago. It is now time to step up and admit the truth.

It is the "Bromwell's Measuring Sifter Guaranteed." I never would of even given a passing fancy to the Bromwell's were it not for the recent collaboration between November and Pete-zza with their new thread "Kitchen Aid Dough Making Method" located in the General Pizza Making area. It took Pete-zza's zest for learning to make me remember that my Grandmother used a sifter for making her pizza. How could I have forgotten that now seemingly crucial step? Will sifting flour make for a better Raquel? I don't know and that is exactly why I need to know. The science behind the logic would seem to dictate that it will. I'm still not sure I understand all the science surrounding yeast that November apparently has a handle on but I can introduce the sifter and gauge its impact as a first step.

Heck, I don't even know whether the Bromwell's is the type of sifter which Pete-zza is even referring to or not. But since it was good enough for my Grandmother, I suspect it will be good enough for Raquel. Attached are photographs of the original Bromwell's sifter I will incorporate into my trials. I will faithfully report back to the community on my efforts - good or bad.

Now off to refreshing the famed varasano preferment. I have some pizza to make!

Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything Youíd Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #258 on: December 02, 2006, 08:43:20 AM »
pftaylor,

I'm convinced the difference between good pizza and great pizza is the attention to detail every step along the way, from selection of ingredients, to mixing/kneading, fermenting/proofing, balling/shaping, topping, and finally baking (well actually the final step is eating: crust first? point first, folded?  ;D).

Others may scoff, but little things like the one you are proposing can indeed make a difference. I've never tried sifting and look forward to your results.

Bill/SFNM


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #259 on: December 02, 2006, 08:51:44 AM »
pftaylor,

As it turns out, I have the same "Bromwell's Measuring-Sifter Guaranteed" crank-operated model as you. From your photos, it looks like your model is the 5-cup model, as is mine. The Bromwell apparently is still sold but it really doesn't matter what kind of sifter is used. The new models are fancier with single lever operation, battery operated, etc. An ordinary sieve will also work. I tried three different ones this morning and they all worked fine. You just have to rap the rim of the sieve with a butter knife or something similar to get the flour to fall through the sieve.

Several members before have used sifting but I look forward to your results anyway.

Peter
« Last Edit: December 02, 2006, 08:54:58 AM by Pete-zza »


 

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