Author Topic: Pizza Sophia  (Read 31959 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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Pizza Sophia
« on: May 08, 2005, 09:06:08 AM »
Today I decided to launch a new thread dedicated to producing the finest example of a Caputo Pizzeria 00 based Pizza I could make. I call it Pizza Sophia. Sitting on the counter is a dough ball formed with the following recipe:

Weight                            Description                                Bakers Percent
8.0 ounces             Caputo Pizzeria 00 Flour                          100%
4.8 ounces             Water                                                         60%
0.005 ounces         IDY (1/16th teaspoon)                               Not Much
1.3 ounces             Preferment                                                 16%
0.16 ounces           Sicilian Sea Salt                                            2%

Later today I will post photographs of a grilled Pizza Sophia.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2005, 11:18:02 AM »
A few rambling thoughts.

The 60% hydration dough was about as wet as I could have handled without adding too much bench flour. Pizzanapoletana has stated the ideal hydration percentage (for Caputo Pizzeria 00) to be closer to 56%. So if this crust turns out like the last Pizza Sophia I produced (which was a little too thin & maybe a little too crackerish), I'll reduce the hydration percentage accordingly.

Those who know my general approach to tweaking a pizza recipe will recognize the fact that I'm a fan of changing one and only one thing at a time. In my book, its the only way to accurately determine which change affected what. The change I made for this effort was to increase the dough ball weight from about 13 ounces to 14.5 ounces as a way to eliminate dough ball weight as a contibutory factor to the above mentioned defect.

The Pizza Sophia recipe is based directly upon Pizza Raquel which was originally designed specifically for KASL flour. So it makes sense that minor changes will have to be engineered into the final Pizza Sophia recipe. Part of the fun of this hobby is to try and determine on one's own, as well as with the assistance of the community what those changes should be. This is the exciting part for me. I'm confident that the Pizza Raquel recipe can serve as a logical launching point into producing Pizza Sophia as the mixing and stretching regimen has produced superior crusts of various types in the past.

The great part about this hobby are the practical aspects associated with it. Namely, getting instant feedback once your creation comes off the grill hissing and bubbling at you. It's a great feeling.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2005, 02:25:20 PM »
Here are my observations of the below pictures:
I should have grilled this pie first instead of second. It would have charred the pie a little more. Also, I placed sun dried tomatoes on the pie before grilling. Hindsight tells me to place the sun dried tomatoes after grilling. They all burned.

Pizza Sophia crust tasted better than Pizza Raquel. By a wide margin.
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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2005, 10:55:38 AM »
I have been using Caputo 00 for a few years, using a similar method of tweaking one ingredient at a time to get what I want (thin, chewy, crisp, tender, flavorful with a bubbly edge).  Still a work in progress, but I have ended up with about a 70% hydration and a very long kneading phase until it comes together in a ball. I use a natural starter I have been feeding for a few years that is based on 00 that also has about 70% hydration. The relative humiidity here at 7000' above sea level is very dry, so I end up having to add more liquid to most recipes involving flour.

This is a very sticky dough and very ungiving of unloading errors. I try not to use too much bench flour.

Bill/SFNM
« Last Edit: May 09, 2005, 01:59:01 PM by Bill/SFNM »
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2005, 05:48:33 PM »
Bill/SFNM,
Very interesting comments about your Caputo technique. I'm glad its working for you.

The Pizza Sophia recipe I just used could not have gone any higher in hydration. I would imagine being over a mile higher than poor sea-level Tampa would have a dramatic impact on mixing steps. Are you using a digital scale? How about autolyse?

Post some pictures if you can...
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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2005, 08:04:32 PM »
pftaylor,

Interesting you should mention autolyse. This is something I have done for years on my baguettes which demand very little moisture - the less the better, so autolysing is necessary just for the dough to come together for kneading. I only autolyse the baguette dough for 5 minutes. For reasons I cannot explain, I have never autolysed my pizza dough, but after discoverying this magnificent forum, it is clear this is something I must try.

I see folks here recommend 15-20 minutes, so that is what I'm going to try for my pizza dough (also for my baguettes). In fact, I have a batch autolysing as write this message. I add some of the flour near the end of the long kneading process, so I may end up adding more flour than usual due to the additional hydration. Can't wait to see the results and I'm grateful for all of the expert help on this forum for pointing me in the right direction.

I plan to bake pizza on Wednesday, so I'll take some photos and post them here.

Yes, I use digital scales and measure by weight for everything.

Bill/SFNM
Sometimes I use big words that I don’t fully understand in an effort to make myself sound more photosynthesis. - @itjenlawrence

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2005, 09:11:08 PM »
Bill/SFNM,
Is that your wood burning oven I see in your avatar? If so, kindly share with the community your experiences.

I am currently going through the planning stages for a patio wood burning oven. I would like to learn about any mud puddles I should avoid along the way.
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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2005, 09:24:48 PM »
Is that your wood burning oven I see in your avatar? If so, kindly share with the community your experiences.

Actually, that avatar is the pizza oven of Pizzeria Da Michelle in Naples, Italy, where I was recently.

My own oven is built from a kit I purchased from Earthstone. I have it covered in stucco to look like a native american horno. I'll post a photo of it when I post the photos of the pizzas I'll be baking on wednesday.

In terms of "mud puddles", here is some sage advice: build the largest oven you have space (and $) for.

Bill/SFNM
Sometimes I use big words that I don’t fully understand in an effort to make myself sound more photosynthesis. - @itjenlawrence

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2005, 09:39:03 PM »
Bill/SFNM,
I never did like the taste of muddy water. Thanks for the heads-up.

What would the minimum size be in your estimation? I am currently planning on a 42" true Neapolitan oven based on the recommendations of ilpizzaiolo and pizzanapoletana.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2005, 11:02:44 PM »
What would the minimum size be in your estimation? I am currently planning on a 42" true Neapolitan oven based on the recommendations of ilpizzaiolo and pizzanapoletana.

I'm sure there are others better qualified to answer this question, but for me it has to do with the size and quantity of pies you want to bake at one time. If you like to have a live fire in the oven while baking (I do!) then you also need room for that. The more experience you have juggling multiple pies, the smaller an oven you can get away with.

Assuming a circular cooking deck, I would allow about 8"-10" for the fire (you don't want the dough too close) and then enough space for each pie. I prefer the fire on the side. My oven has a 32" diameter cooking area, so one or two pies is the best I can manage, although I'm sure a more coordinated person could manage more.


Bill/SFNM
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Offline varasano

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2005, 01:47:57 PM »
I don't have time to read this whole thread, but my dough came to 56% with caputo too and even then felt very wet to me. It's very different than KA bread or KASL

Jeff

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2005, 07:02:35 PM »
Varasano,
The Caputo Pizzeria 00 flour is much harder to master than KASL, in my limited experience. In just about every dimension. It does not absorb as much water. It is much softer and as a result requires more skill to stretch out. I will say though the Caputo is so much more flavorful than the KASL that I could permanently switch to it and tolerate it's extra care and handling as the price of admission.

If I were solely interested in producing the best tasting pies I could possibly make then I would switch. However, I love second generation American pizza too much to totally abandon Pizza Raquel. I don't seem to like the form factor of a small 12" (or so) pizza which seems to be the sweet spot for a true Neapolitan pizza. Call it silly if you will but I feel that pizza should be served at around 16".

I can only wonder how good Caputo will taste once I dial in the Pizza Sophia hydration percentage. 60% seems slightly too high so when I have more time I will gradually go down to 56% and record my observations accordingly.
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2005, 07:20:11 PM »
I have been using Caputo 00 for a few years, using a similar method of tweaking one ingredient at a time to get what I want (thin, chewy, crisp, tender, flavorful with a bubbly edge).  Still a work in progress, but I have ended up with about a 70% hydration and a very long kneading phase until it comes together in a ball. I use a natural starter I have been feeding for a few years that is based on 00 that also has about 70% hydration. The relative humiidity here at 7000' above sea level is very dry, so I end up having to add more liquid to most recipes involving flour.

This is a very sticky dough and very ungiving of unloading errors. I try not to use too much bench flour.

Bill/SFNM

Bill/SFNM

I have recognised the oven immediatelly. That is my home pizzeria. Can you please tell me what was your impression and overall opinion on the pizza made at Da Michele?

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2005, 09:26:45 PM »
Quote from: pizzanapoletana
I have recognised the oven immediatelly. That is my home pizzeria. Can you please tell me what was your impression and overall opinion on the pizza made at Da Michele?

PN:
I have been several times to Da Michele over the years. I love everything about Naples and the surrounding area, but especially the pizza, which inspired me to build a brick oven here and make literally hundreds of pizzas over the years.  The last time I went in October, I really wanted to see if my efforts had paid off. My wife, who is brutally honest about my cooking (when it sucks, she tells me!) told me she thought my pies where now better than Da Michele. One of the proudest days of my life. My overall opinion is that the pizza made there last time was not quite as good as previous visits. It was the middle of the afternoon and I think they had let the oven cool down, not expecting any traffic at that time. The only other patrons there as we entered were just finishing up.

Bill/SFNM
« Last Edit: May 10, 2005, 09:29:12 PM by Bill/SFNM »
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Offline friz78

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2005, 10:39:32 PM »
pft,
I wonder what could be causing your problems with the handling of the Caputo dough.  The recipe you posted at the top of this thread is almost identical to pizzanapoletana's recipe, which I used over the weekend.  My experience was that this dough was the easiest, most manageable dough I have worked with to date, including KASL.  Certainly you have demonstrated time and time again your expertise in this area, so I wonder what could be making this a bit more difficult for you than normal.  I used both a 60% and 58% hydration and found both dough balls to be equally as easy to handle.  Have you been using a refrigeration rise or a counter rise?  Maybe that has something to do with it.  Very strange, as I would have predicted that you would have found this dough easier to handle than even Pizza Raquel.
Friz

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2005, 07:24:50 AM »
friz78,
Currently I'm certainly not having any "problems" since I came up with Pizza Sophia to speak of, but I did in the past for sure. In the past, I have found that Caputo is not tolerant of things like malt and/or sugar. It is best used with the most simple of recipes. Those containing flour, water, salt, and yeast tend to work best (maybe a splash of oil). I can't tell you how many fishy tasting pies I made until Sophia. My comments really had to do with my learning curve on Caputo and some of the stark realities of the flour in general.

The specific points I brought up were:
1) Caputo is much harder to master - I'm not even close after months of effort. During the same time period I was able to master the KASL. A warm rise produces an entirely different product than a cold rise. I've used both and prefer a cold rise because it makes the dough more robust like Raquel. But that is just the point. Most of the learned advice given with respect to Caputo suggests a warm rise. So I obviously have a lot to learn. Big difference in my opinion. Caputo is just a more complex dough or stated another way, it reacts in a bigger way to smaller changes. KASL seems to have a much larger margin of error. I also have a sense that Caputo based doughs seem to handle high heat differently than KASL based doughs. I don't have enough data points yet to accurately support my position but it is something I've noticed. Perhaps it is specific to my grill and not to a standard home oven.

2) It does not absorb as much water (when using a recipe with autolyse). That is a simple fact. Caputo at 60% hydration is a very wet dough. Wouldn't you agree?

3) It is much softer (than KASL) and requires more skill than KASL. Relative to KASL, Caputo is not a dough which you can take a lot of liberties with such as twirling about and so forth. It clearly does not demonstrate the unrippable quality of KASL. So in my book it is a softer dough. Most of the advice I've read suggests to never lift the dough off the counter. The Pizza Sophia mixing and stretching procedures allowed me to lift the dough off the counter and twirl it about some but I wouldn't rank it up there with the KASL. Additionally, most Caputo recipes call for pies much smaller than 16" in diameter. I'm not sure what size pies you make but a Caputo based 16" pie is rather difficult to stretch out compared to a KASL based 16" pie. Again, this is all relative to KASL which I use as the benchmark of handling.

It all adds up to a dough which has abundantly more flavor but is somewhat more difficult to work with. Maybe Dom De Marco has it right with his blend of 75%/25% as a way of smoothing out some of the bumps I mentioned.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2005, 09:30:45 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2005, 08:03:24 PM »
Caputo at 60% hydration is a very wet dough. Wouldn't you agree?


So can you figure how a x% hydration dough perform in a Neapolitan oven? That is how far I go in the winter...
« Last Edit: September 16, 2005, 07:28:07 PM by pizzanapoletana »


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2005, 11:03:21 PM »
pizzanaploetana,
In a word, no. I have no idea how you could have a hydration level that high. I simply do not possess the skill to get anywhere close.

I would be open to learning though...
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2005, 07:37:47 PM »
So tonight I made a hybrid Pizza Sophia with a mixture of Grande Whole Milk Mozzarella and Fresh Mozzarella. The flavor was intoxicatingly good. The crust however was a little dry for my tastes as I tried a 58.5% hydration level. I much prefer the standard 60% Sophia.

Let me know what you think.
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2005, 06:39:07 PM »
Here is the 2 day cold rise hybrid Pizza Sophia with pepperoni. More intense flavor due to the extra fermentation time...
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2005, 07:25:48 AM »
I wanted to post my latest Pizza Sophia photographs here in the mother thread. These were also posted in the "Re-Engineering A16 pizza in SF" thread for a comparative analysis. I did not want to detract from the intent of the collaborative A16 process so I wanted to share my latest topping experiment here.

My arugula plant has finally grown to the point where we decided to pick some of its leaves. We tried arugula as a topping for the first time and it was a hit with the family. We actually preferred it to a heavy dose of just basil. The combination of fresh basil and arugula is quite interesting. One cautionary note, arugula is much more intense than basil and can easily over power it. Use it sparingly. I will try using a shaved hard cheese next ( Reggiano Parmesan) time with EVOO.
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Offline duckjob

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2005, 04:03:37 AM »
I finally got around to giving Pizza Sophia a go. This was my second time working with caputo 00, but the first time using the Sophia/Raquel mixing and handling technique. Overall it was a pretty good pie. Tastewise, I would say the 00 has a definate edge of KASL. As others have found, this dough does not handle as well as the Raquel dough, but it is certainly no slouch. This dough did however handle much better than my A16 attempt, and had a slight edge in the taste department. My only complaint, and it is very minor is that this pizza seems to get a little crispier on the the bottom than KASL under the same conditions. I think I may attempt a 50/50 KASL and Caputo 00 mix with a 62% hydration percentage this week to try and get the best of both worlds. I'm a bit tired now, so I'll get on to the good stuff. The following pie was given a two day cold rise and topped with fres moz, ezzo pepperoni and parmigiano reggiano. Preheated oven to 550 for one hour, turned broiler on high and cooked for five minutes.

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/sophia_060205/sophia_whole.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/sophia_060205/sophia_slice_top.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/sophia_060205/sophia_slice.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/sophia_060205/sophia_slice_side.jpg)

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2005, 08:30:15 AM »
duckjob,
I believe you may be the first member to give Pizza Sophia a try. For a first effort, your pictures are quite impressive. I'm glad to hear Sophia worked out for you.

As I read your post I felt like I could have written it. Your experience mirrors mine which may mean that you duplicated the formulary exactly as I have. Perhaps your experience with Raquel led to your high level of success. I'm beginning to wonder if the Raquel mixing and stretching regimen is more universally compatible than what I first suspected it would be. I have had success using it with other recipes.

I have also noticed the same crust concern you brought to light. A crispy bottom. Almost crackerish. I nearly solved this situation with adding a tablespoon more (split between 2 pies) of the Varasano preferment to the formula. I have come to the conclusion that Caputo Pizzeria 00 based doughs like to be a little thicker than KASL based doughs. It appears to have something to do with handling the heat. It is better suited for higher heat, shorter bake times, and a thicker skin. For a 16" pie I will try a 15 ounce dough ball next instead of my normal 14.0 - 14.3.

Having identified the one big issue with Sophia, I must say that if we can get the crust texture right, I would be entirely happy with her. Sophia handles well for a soft dough and the taste is truly exceptional. Sophia has such an abundant level of flavor I am flabbergasted at the difference. So much so that Raquel would be an afterthought were it not for her generous handling and overall perfection in replicating an authentic NY style dough.

If you are so inclined, I would like to understand the following about your effort:
Did you follow the Sophia formulary exactly?
What did the dough ball weigh?
Were you able to pick the skin up off the bench during stretching without fear of ripping?
What type of preferment did you employ, if any?
You mentioned the A16 clone. I was able to detect a slight oily taste to my modified A16 effort. Reflecting back, were you able to detect the same trace of oil in the flavor?
You suggested your next effort would be at a higher hydration level with a mixture of KASL. The Sophia dough is extremely wet compared to Raquel coming off the hook. Is that a valid observation you've noticed?
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Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2005, 12:42:32 PM »
Guys, not trying to sidetrack the discussion, I just wanted to mention a couple of things I have been messing with.

Duckjob, I think you will have good luck mixing in some KASL with the caputo.  Although I want to make only authentic all caputo pies eventually, I am still having a few minor (but nagging) issues with texture in my caputo pies.  It has also been fun playing around experimenting.  The added KASL seems to help a little with my texture issues, but I have only been adding about 15-20%

I also did some experiments trying to get my caputo to work well in a 550 degree oven because I am often asked to make pizzas at other peoples homes without my modified oven.  One of the things that Peter had suggested could help browning, and might even help my texture issues was to try using lot of oil.  He suggested I used 6% if I wanted to notice the difference in texture.  PFT I had heard you say that you had made a few fishy tasting pies before you found sophia, and now I know what you are talking about.  For some reason caputo really does not like olive oil in such high amounts.  I am sure you guys are fine using 1% in the a16 clone, but it appears that high percentages can be disastrous with caputo.  My pie tasted and smelled like a wet dog.  Peter, as usual, was right on the money though. The oil really did solve my texture problems.  It was the best texture of anything I have made yet. The crust was so soft tender and moist.  Admittedly, I only had a strong olive oil on hand, so maybe the most neutral flavored oils could work.  Would vegetable oil be the most neutral?  Right now I know this is just a crutch, I will be here with you guys experimenting on finding the right texture for Sophia.

I know this is off topic, but I also tried a caputo dough with 2% brown sugar and 10% KASL and it did help the crust to brown at 550.  I was expecting flavor issues because of the sugar after reading some of you posts PFT, but it seemed to work out fine for me.  Actually the flavor might have been better than usual. It still was not enough browning at 550 for me to be happy though.

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2005, 12:54:07 PM »
Guys, I almost forgot to add.  My crust texture got much better when I bailed on trying to do fridge rise doughs.  Just try a room temp rise, and it might solve some of the issues.  I could be wrong, but I suspect with the amount of preferment in the recipe an 8 hour rise would suffice.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2005, 01:01:27 PM by scott r »


 

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