Author Topic: Pizza Sophia  (Read 29828 times)

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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.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
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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 »

Offline duckjob

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2005, 12:57:14 PM »
I followed the Sophia almost exactly. The only area that I deviated from it was that I added a small amount of sugar. For this batch I used 22.5 ounces of flour and added 3/4 tsp. of sugar just to help with the color, as this is what I did to the Raquel recipe with good results. My finished dough ball weighed in at just about 12 ounces exactly and I stretched those into 13-14" pies. I mentioned that it didn't handle as well as Raqhel, but it still handled extraordinarily well. I flattened it with my hands until it was about 8 or 9 inches and then picked it up and stretched it the rest of the way. I didn't feel like it was going to tear, infact I could have kept stretching it  a good bit if I wanted to. I didn't use a preferment, I think I'm going to order one from sourdo.com today. I may have to make another A16 to fully document the taste difference between Sophia and it. I felt the Sophia tasted better, but it was a very subtle difference. I also found the Sophia dough wet coming off the hook. After the rest period and then the hand kneading, which incorporated a little more flour into the dough, it didn't feel overly wet. The Raquel dough does slide right off the hook for me though. Any other questions please ask. I made these pies last week and just now got around to posting, so its not as fresh in my mind as I would like it to be.

Brian

Offline duckjob

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2005, 01:01:17 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 yeast in the recipe an 8 hour rise would suffice.

I'll give that a shot with one of my dough balls. I based the way I preped these pies on the way I made Raquel. I did experiment with different rise times including a same day, and found I got the best flavor with a 2-4 day rise. But the caputo seems to behave quite a bit differently, so I'll have to adjust :)

Brian

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2005, 06:45:30 AM »
scott r,
You may be on to something with the room temperature rise recommendation.

I know pizzanapoletana recommends a counter rise and his comments are generally based on several hundred years of experience. The Sophia formulary is close to being perfected and the direction you re looking in makes sense. I would rather try varying how the dough is managed before I change other core components of the formulary like hydration levels.

Out of curiosity, why are you recommending utilizing only a preferment rather than supplementing with IDY? My experience has shown that a tiny bit of IDY has favorable effects beyond merely guaranteeing a rise. The texture seems to improve as well.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2005, 10:23:34 AM »
The biggest problem I see--and one I have experienced myself many times--is not the flavor of a 00 crust, including a Caputo 00 crust, but rather crust texture and crust color. The Caputo 00 flour has a nice flavor profile to begin with, and using a preferment or long fermentation times, under room temperature or retarded conditions, result in flavor byproducts of fermentation that nicely complement the flour's natural flavors. But texture is another matter altogether. 00 flours in general do not tolerate very high hydration levels. The Caputo 00 seems to be better at hydrating than other brands of 00 flour, and if you can manage getting high hydration levels and also have very high oven temperatures available to you, as do pizzanapoletana and Sante Fe Bill, for example, with their wood-fired ovens, the texture (and color) of the finished crust will be very good. You might have some problems peeling unbaked pizzas into the oven because of the high hydration levels causing the dough to stick to the peel, but so long as you can successfully navigate that problem, your pizzas should be fine. They will be the real deal or very close to it.

The situation is different in a standard home oven, however. In that instance, if you follow the lead of pizzanapoletana and others and use high hydration levels, in order to get any semblance of coloration in the crust you will find that you have to use rather long bake times. Even with a high hydration dough, you can end up with a crackerish crust if you lengthen the bake time looking for color.  And you may not end up with much color even then unless you use the broiler or something equivalent to get added browning. With an oven that operates above 700 degrees, there is no need for any such artifice. The Caputo 00 has a higher protein content than other brands of 00 flour, but not so much greater as to promote quantum leaps in color when used in a home oven environment.

What all the above means is that we, as home pizza makers with standard ovens, have to free lance with our recipes and procedures in order to achieve high quality 00 crusts. We can't just use 00 flour, water, salt and yeast (natural or commercial) and expect to get the same results as with high-temperature ovens that operate above 700 degrees F., and no particular regimen of dough management or autolysing or anything else is likely to completely overcome that and make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I hate to follow one cliche with another, but we have to deal with the hand that is dealt us.

As I see it, this means doing things like adding oil to the dough to get a bit more tenderness in the crumb and maybe a bit more crust coloration, or adding sugar to the dough to get better color. Maybe the oil has to be a mild one, possibly even a seed oil. Going to a thicker crust, as giotto has experimented with, or letting a skin rise for several minutes before dressing, are steps that might be considered to get a more tender, less crackery crust. Weakening the Caputo 00 flour, as by adding a small amount of lower protein 00 flour to it, may also lead to a more tender crust, just as happens when say, bread flour, is substituted for high-gluten flour. I once experimented with the Delverde brand of 00 flour in order to improve its performance in my home oven after failing several times with it and found that adding dry milk and lecithin to the dough helped. This was a somewhat draconian move, but I wouldn't rule it out. We might even want to try adding a bit of whey to the 00 dough to get more color in the crust. And I am not sure that we "need" very high hydration levels (e.g., above 57%). Maybe better yeast management and dough management (e.g., periodic punchdowns) will help. The point of all this is that we have to be inventive and creative in looking for solutions and not try to "force fit" the Caputo 00 flour/doughs into the prevailing circumstances in our desire and zeal to emulate the Neapolitan experience.

As far as room temperature fermentation is concerned, I will make the observation that the most difficult 00 dough to make successfully and repetitively is, in my opinion, one fermented entirely at room temperature, and especially one using a preferment and no commercial yeast. There are many variables involved, from the amount, form (e.g., liquid or dough-like) and maturity and virility of the preferment used, the prevailing room temperature (which, at this time of year in Texas is much higher than the ideal 65 degrees mentioned by pizzanapoletana), hydration levels, and so on. I have also observed that using an autolyse with such a dough does not yield any noticeable improvement in the quality of the dough and its handling characteristics. What does autolyse mean in the context of a dough that is already so wet that it is hard to handle? I am beginning to believe that autolyse and similar rest periods work better with higher protein flours and retarded doughs, and maybe even doughs that have low hydration levels relative to the type of flour used. For me, there is much more to learn on this aspect of dough making.

Peter

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2005, 12:13:38 PM »
Way to go Peter.  Such a wealth of experience and knowledge.

PFT,  I might have alluded to something I didn't mean.   I have had better luck with texture of caputo doughs that have IDY, or a bit of IDY and mostly preferment.  In fact, in my experimenting with Marco's recipe it was thanks to your Patsy's thread that I got the idea to try mixing the two.  I have noticed (and I think Peter has  noticed this as well)  that when I combine the IDY and preferment, the flavor of the dough suffers.  The dough is still more flavorful than IDY alone, but just not as intense as preferment alone.  At first this was actually a good thing for me, as my doughs were almost too sour. 
I did ask Marco about his amazing picture of the side view of his friend Ciro's pizza.  In his response I gathered that with proper culture and dough management we should be able to get just as much spring and texture with preferment only as with IDY.  The quest continues...........


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2005, 09:12:22 PM »
So tonight I tried a modified Sophia with one teaspoon of olive oil added (during mixing) to the two day old dough. All other aspects of the Pizza Sophia recipe remained the same. Frankly, the results were uneven. The taste of the crust was pedestrian at best. It was as if Sophia was wearing a mask. I couldn't detect her usual intense flavor. I thought a teaspoon of oil would char the crust more but it didn't. The crust was softer but since I was robbed of the normally stellar crust flavor the cost wasn't worth it. I couldn't taste the Varasano preferment at all.

The toppings turned out to be a hit. They were a mixture of Fresh Mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and a blend of fresh basil and arugula, finished with a dusting of pecorino and reggiano cheeses. Shame they were wasted on a bland crust. It was if I was eating at Di Fara.

In general, I am baffled by Caputo Pizzeria based doughs. It seems that they are extremely sensitive to small changes. The smallest of changes produces, for me at least, a huge variation of flavor change. I am convinced Caputo doughs are finicky, and require a much higher level of skill to produce a tasty result.

I am constantly amazed at my level of difficulty with this flour. My humble results are below.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
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Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #31 on: June 21, 2005, 12:16:38 AM »
I couldn't agree more about the difficulty of the Caputo doughs.  I had to toss a batch this weekend. It has been a while since something like that happened.   I did the same things I did a few weeks ago with amazing results, and this batch was just so so.  Every time I go back to King Arthur I feel like Sir Lancelot.  KA is so forgiving.  No chance of giving up though, because when you get the Caputo right it is well worth all the trouble.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #32 on: June 21, 2005, 02:52:29 PM »
In general, I am baffled by Caputo Pizzeria based doughs. It seems that they are extremely sensitive to small changes.
pftaylor,
I don't know if this will be of any help to you, but I've been able to get reliable Caputo results with the approach of getting the dough as hydrated as possible with a very long and slow kneading.  I make small adjustments to the amount of water in the dough at the start of kneading to get the right dough/hook action and then simply let it continue to knead very slowly until it reaches the desired consistency.  The dough is fermented the day before baking at room temp, placed in the refrigerator over night, and shaped and proofed at room temp the next day.  This approach gives me consistent results that I like; but it still could be that your worst pie is better than my best. My biggest failures (and there are plenty) usually involve inadequate proofing time due to the need to get the pies on the table at a certain time for the starving  hordes.



« Last Edit: June 21, 2005, 02:54:02 PM by Bill/SFNM »

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2005, 03:20:18 PM »
I really am starting to think that I have been underkneading with my electrolux.  The a16 thread has had me questioning this with its very minimal caputo kneading and everyones great results with that dough, but it does seem like when I go longer with the caputo and the electrolux I get better results.  As usual I am changing other things all the time, so it is hard to know for sure what is really going on.  Bill, you have inspired me to do a really nice long knead today.  I have been having better texture luck with IDY, but I am going back to ischica starter,long slow room temp rise, no punchdowns, and see how it turns out.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2005, 07:28:50 PM »
Bill/SFNM & scott r,
I'm not sure about slow, long kneads but I think I've figured out how to get a very flavorful Caputo based pizza. Time. Old father time. Rise time to be exact. The more the better.

Tonight I grilled the second half of the batch I made four days ago and the crust flavor was stupendous. Just two days ago the exact same crust was utterly bland. Go figure. I guess the preferment had enough time to mature and inject the right amount of irresistible punch into the whole equation. Not only that, the crust charred well and was extraordinarily competent in all major respects. Perhaps I was caught off guard a little bit because I had set my expectations so low based on my experience of two nights ago. I have learned a valuable lesson. Four days seems to produce a crust which exceeds my personal requirements.

Pictures are below:
« Last Edit: June 22, 2005, 07:37:44 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2005, 06:50:38 PM »
I read fellow member Nathan's recent post entitled "New KitchenAid dough hook" with great interest and decided to act upon my instincts. I desperately wanted a spiral hook for my KitchenAid Artisan mixer however it isn't available. It simply isn't an option. I had recently ordered the gelato attachment (summers in FL are brutal) so I felt as if I was trapped in KitchenAid hell like a rat. So what did I come up with?

Well, for less than $50 I upgraded to a whole new unit complete with a spiral hook. Only this time it has power. Raw unadulterated power. The KitchenAid Professional 600 in licorice. It even sounds better doesn't it? It is also compatible with my gelato attachment to boot. Sweet. Very sweet. Its not often I hit the ball flush but this time I did.

How you ask? I must confess I took advantage of Bed Bath and Beyond's return policy. I didn't do anything more than return my unit and proclaim that it didn't have enough power to adequately churn ice cream. That was that. Oh yeah, I also had one of those pesky 20% off coupons that floods my mailbox seemingly every month. Butter, pure butter baby!

I have already prepared my first batch of Pizza Sophia and the dough felt nearly identical to Raquel (which in my humble opinion is no small feat). The Sophia dough felt completely different this time than with the Artisan. I could tell the instant it came off the spiral hook that I had taken a quantum leap toward the holy grail of mixing the elusive Caputo. It truly felt like a KASL dough ball. Strange. My mind is wondering how improved the Raquel dough might be with my new toy. That unfortunately will have to wait because I now have two Raquel dough balls in the fridge made with the Artisan (plus the 2 Caputo's I just made).

Now, make no mistake, I fully realize that a fork mixer like Bill/SFNM soon will have (the Santos) is the pinnacle of mixing. However, there are a few factors that pushed me in another direction. Besides the sticker shock associated with the Santos, I couldn't come to grips with the overall size of the unit and the nagging suspicion that it may not mix small batches (16oz of flour) very well. I will be very interested in Bill's feedback on this point. Varasano's DLX may also even be a step up but I am committed to the KitchenAid standard for now since it is a multi-use type appliance. The KitchenAid platform may not be the best but it is more than adequate and it is very leverageable for general kitchen use. I can however assure you that the dough I made was velvety smooth coming off the hook. It may not be the ultimate dough mixer but it appears to be close enough for now.

The biggest differences I noticed with my first batch was it didn't whirl the dough 'round and 'round like it normally did with the Artisan. Also, the unit didn't bounce around my counter like a pogo stick. It was rock solid. However it made a lot of noise as the gear mechanism is totally different than the Artisan. It did thoroughly mix every square inch of dough until it was ultra consistent in appearance. I never had to push the dough down off the hook once. Not once. In a few days I will post visual results of what I hope will be a breakthrough with my Pizza Sophia formulary. I did make one change to Pizza Sophia - I reduced the hydration percentage to 57% which I believe may be more appropriate for a Caputo based dough. Up till now I must confess that I "knew" something was very wrong with my dough result. It just didn't feel right when compared to Raquel. The combination of the Professional 600 with proper hydration just might do the trick. Here's hoping...

Photographs of my new black beauty are attached. The famed "Varasano" preferment can be partially seen in the background. I had it out on the counter all day knowing that something special may occur so it was at its height of activity.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2005, 08:58:36 AM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2005, 08:09:07 PM »
I couldn't wait to try my first Pizza Sophia produced with the Professional 600 mixer. Other than taking blurry pictures of the spring which ruined both shots I had taken of the rim, I can confirm Sophia benefited from the new mixer. The first rattle out of the box was a clear winner.

The crust was nearly up to the standards of a typical Raquel with one important advantage - taste. The taste of the Caputo based crust was superior to the best that KASL can muster. I have no idea why but I have proven this to myself numerous times. I was a little impatient on preheating my grill so I'm not sure the char is up to my liking but I will have to experiment more on this point to determine whether it was all user error.

On to the shots...
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www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2005, 12:57:54 PM »
Here are photographs of Sophia #2 made with the Professional 600 and aged two additional days. Quite a difference in the char area...
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2005, 07:23:36 PM »
Tonight I made the best example of Pizza Sophia yet. What made it the best? Simply put, I lucked into a breakthrough with my tomato sauce. Kindly refer to the ongoing Ingredients and Resources thread entitled "Finest Pizza Sauce Yet" for the details.

Pictured below is the complete series of photographs from the dressing of Pizza Sophia through holding a slice.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Sophia
« Reply #39 on: September 17, 2005, 07:29:25 PM »
Great looking pie!!!!!!

What I particularly like is the sparse use of sauce. When people watch me put on the sauce, they say, "Is that all"? I say, "You're lucky I put anything on at all because the crust is all that matters to me.". Nothing worse than too much sauce.

Bill/SFNM


 

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