Author Topic: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here  (Read 3870 times)

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Offline RSMBob

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Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« on: May 14, 2005, 05:31:58 PM »
Ok, I signed on last week and am at the same time both overwhelmed and drooling over the posts here. About 20 years ago I moved from Chicago (which I argue is pizza heaven) to the pizza wasteland that is East Central Florida where one of my first orders of the day was to learn to make a decent pizza. Once I acheived that I made a lot of friends! I have now lived in SoCal for a long time, and although there are some great pizza places to be found of many different styles, they are few and far between and I still enjoy making homemade pizzas (mainly thin crust but occasionally some deep dish/stuffed).

That being said...ARE YOU GUYS CRAZY???? I say it in a fun, jesting way. Cutting locks off ovens, hydration percentages, oh so select brands of tomatoes, 50+ lb bags of flour, autolyse...sheesh, I've got a lot to learn! I dump some flour and spices in a Cuisinart, turn it on, and then add a combination of proofed yeast water w/sugar and some olive oil until the ball forms and gets slightly wet...no measurements per se (and go figue, I'm an engieneer by education). Let it rise, punch it down and let it rise again. Use or refrigerate. For sauce, I usually cook (yikes) a puree base along with some crushed tomatoes and add a little oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cheese? Costco Mozzarella Brick grated with my Cuisinart. I roll out the dough, pop it on my corn-meal sprinkled pre-heated stone, poke some fork holes in it, sometimes brush with olive oil,take it out after 4-5 minutes, put sauce, cheese (with a sprinkling of parmesan) and topping on, and return it to the oven until done. Turns out pretty darn good, and family and friends will attest to it.

How much better can I do it?

Some basic questions...

1. I'm not cutting a lock off my oven. Can I bake a great pizza at 450-500 degrees?
2. Flour. I usually use KA AP or KA Bread or a combination. How much of a difference can KASL or Caputo 00 make?
3. Is it a sin to pre-cook a crust? Experience otherwise have led me to soft crust or overdone top side.
4. All this talk about hydration percentages and weight measures. I'm used to volumes...how would they translate?
5. Any thoughts about things other than the basics to raw dough..some spices, maybe cheese, etc.?

Ok, that should get things going. Like I said I have a lot to learn!

By the way, if anyone is from SoCal (esp Orange County), I'd be interested in knowing where you procure top notch ingredients like Caputo flour, Escalon or Stanislaus tomatoes, Grande cheese, etc. Anyone want to split some flour?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2005, 06:20:40 PM by RSMBob »


Offline WOMBAT

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2005, 05:49:09 PM »
CHECK THIS PLACE OUT THEY HAVE EVERYTHING
Cortina Italian Market. 2175 W Orange Ave Anaheim

Offline Nathan

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2005, 06:08:19 PM »
RSMBob,  here's my opinion,

Yes, some of us are "crazy" I suppose.  But I think obsessed would be a better word.   ;D

The bakers percentages allow much more consistency than using volume measurements.  And using weight measurements is a lot easier than trying to do everything by volume. 

I buy 50# bags of Sir Lancelot now because I really like the flour and it's not really all that expensive.  I get cases of #10 cans of 6 in 1 ground tomatoes cheap.  I can get Bonta pizza sauce in single #10 cans.  I get Grande cheese by the case (which is 30 pounds).  5 pound bags of pepperoni etc........

To answer your questions:

1.  I wouldn't go any lower than 500 and 550 would be better if you can get there.

2.  KA bread flour is ok.  The Sir Lancelot makes it chewier.  All purpose will be more "cake like".

3.  Yes, it is a sin to par bake a crust. (http://tinyurl.com/bjgoa)

4.  Weight and volume measurements don't directly translate.  There's too many variables when using volume measurements to try to translate them accurately.  You can try to get an average but that's not good enough for extremely precise people (like a lot of us are).   :-\

5.  As far as spices go the only comment I have is a lot of people on here use Penzey's pizza seasoning.  I have some and have tried and it's good.  But in my opinion it's not over the top good or anything.  They have a store near me so I went in there and bought some.  I don't know if it's worth the hassle of ordering it.  Also, another good topping is pecorino romano sprinkled on after you "pull" the pizza. 

You can order almost everything you asked about online if you want to go through the trouble.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2005, 01:57:29 PM by Nathan »
"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline pyegal

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2005, 06:23:23 PM »
RSMBob,
I know how you're feeling. A little overwhelming, isn't it? I will give you my .02 worth - for what it's worth.

1. I think you can bake a pretty darn good pizza at 500 degrees - you will have to decide if it is great. Preheat your oven for one hour at 500. Yes....that's one hour. My pizza cooks in about 5-6 minutes and I get some char on the bottom at 500 - YMMV

2. I am adding some Vital Wheat Gluten to my KA a-p and my KA Bread flour because I haven't found a source yet in my little burb for high gluten flour or Caputo 00. About 2 t. per 1 3/4 cup will do.

3. A sin to pre-bake a crust? Well....do you see the really fine pizzerias pre-baking their crusts? Hmmm....I don't think so. But I could be wrong. I used to pre-bake crusts to freeze them, but don't usually do that now. You can do what you want, it's your pizza.

4. Some of the kind souls here list percentage, weight, and volume for those like me that are mathamatically challenged and/or don't have a fancy scale - yet. And we thank you, kind souls.

5. Try making a sauce from the best canned tomatoes you can find and don't cook it. Just try it....if you don't like it, you can go back to your cooked sauce. I used to like to cook my sauce and freeze it in 1 cup containers - until I tried an uncooked sauce. I like Penzey's Pizza Seasoning in my sauce. Others like just tomatoes with fresh basil. I say, try them all and see what you like, then make it your own. Poly O whole milk mozzarella is good and widely available. Try some Provolone, Fontina, or ricotta, or a combination of cheeses.

There - just my .02 worth, like I said.
pyegal

Offline pyegal

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addition at no extra charge...
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2005, 06:28:15 PM »
Most here do not roll out their pizza dough when making the crust. They stretch, pat, pull, toss, etc. but they don't roll with a rolling pin. And they call it a skin? Is that right, guys?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2005, 09:28:36 PM »
There's no reason why pizzas can't be baked in a home oven at 450-500 degrees F. Tom Lehmann, a pizza dough specialist, often says that he believes that professional pizza operators use too high an oven temperature. He routinely recommends 450-500 degrees F and a longer bake time. For certain pizzas, like the Patsy clones or Neapolitan style pizzas, the much higher oven temperatures, however achieved, offer many advantages over lower oven temperatures.

Baker's percents are just a handy tool to be able to downsize industrial-size recipes (the kinds of recipes used by professional pizza makers) to single pizza size of any diameter. Many successful recipes at this forum were down-sized from much larger recipes. As was pointed out, weights are just more accurate than volumes and ensures a greater likelihood of getting consistent, reproducible results. That said, a lot of professional pizza operators, like Dom DeMarco at DiFara's, use volumes rather than weights, but they usually have been making pizza dough for so long that they can do it blindfolded. Hydration percents are important because they pretty much dictate how wet the dough will be, as well as influencing the fermentation process, the extensibility of the dough once the time comes to shape the dough into a "skin" (yes, pyegal, you got it right :)), and many characteristics (softness, airyness, etc) of the finished crust. Using weights makes it easier to control the hydration percent.

As for flours, I treat the Caputo 00 flour and KASL flour as just being different. The Caputo 00 flour is intended more for Neapolitan style pizzas and the KASL lends itself best, I think, to NY style or some of the "elite" doughs. Dom DeMarco likes to blend the Caputo 00 flour with another brand of hi-gluten flour, All Trumps, to get a hybrid dough. Until recently (at PennMac), the Caputo 00 came only in 55-lb. bags, and many members have been ordering 50-lb. bags of KASL to get the per-bag price down from the exorbitant prices (when shipping costs are included) charged by KA. The KA bread flour is a superior flour, whether it is used alone or with vital wheat gluten. Like the KASL, it has a higher protein content than competitive brands.

Unfortunately, some of the highest quality pizza ingredients, like the Ezzo pepperoni, Stanislaus tomatoes and the Grande cheese, are frequently not sold at the retail level or in small quantities and must be purchased from those willing to deal with the little guy. I am grateful that we can get these items from any source.   

I have done some experimentation on par-baking the Lehmann NY style dough and reported on the results at Reply #131, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.120.html. Par-baking can be a timesaver in certain circumstances, but the overall quality will usually be below that of a freshly-baked pizza. If RSMBob meant "pre-cooking" a "skin" before adding the toppings, rather than "par-baking" a crust, then that is acceptable and is frequently done by home pizza makers, often to get a thicker, softer, more bready crust because the toppings aren't weighing the pizza down. 

Peter


Offline Nathan

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2005, 09:50:13 PM »
I think that the reason Tom Lehmann believes pizzerias use too high of a temperature may be because of personal taste.  Some people prefer a "breadier" crust.  Personally I don't like it.  I will eat it if I'm hungry and it's the most convenient at the time (a local place sells slices for a buck, it's thick square slices, a half sheet pan is 8 slices). 

"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2005, 10:17:18 PM »
Nathan,

You may well be right, but the following, taken from a Q&A at PMQ, is the sort of thing I was referring to:

"I was wondering what effect the temperature that a pizza is cooked at, has on the final product. Not just time, but flavour, colour, etc. I have heard people using all different kinds of temperatures to cook their pizzas and was wondering if it has affect on flavour, ie you can cook a pizza at a high temperature but it doesn't give enough time for some of the flavours to develop? What are the temperatures that people have found to be the best and in what type of oven.
Thanks,
Michael

Michael;
A longer, slower bake will always beat a fast bake if you are looking for flavor and crispiness. With a longer bake you denature more protein in the flour and create better flavors. This is one of the reasons why those $5.00 a loaf gourmet breads taste so good as compared to the standard white breads that you buy in the supermarket. Even with these, the higher priced breads are almost always baked longer for better flavor development, people recognnize this and are willing to pay more for it. The longer baking times also provide time for moisture to evaporate from the top of the pizza, reducing the possibility of having a "swamp" pizza. The crust bakes out with a thicker, drier crust that is more crispy, and retains it's crisp for a longer time too. Most deck ovens will bake at 475 to 525F and air impingers will bake at 435 to 450F. Baking times will vary with the type of oven and a host of other factors.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor"

Peter

Offline Nathan

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2005, 10:30:00 PM »
Pete-Zza,

I never thought of it that way but..........

I understand what you're saying.  Maybe that's what some people want...  (http://tinyurl.com/73moo)

Personally I try to make what I believe to be authentic New York style pizza.  I have never had Lombardi's or Totonno's (or Di Faras or Patsy's) but I strive to make the best that I am possibly able to and I think it's exceptional.  Definitely better than any place in town.  Most of these places care about their bottom line more than their product.  And that's a shame.
"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2005, 11:23:28 PM »
Nathan,

From reading your posts, I am very impressed with your efforts to perfect your pizza--from buying a new oven, a new 19" Fibrament stone, a new and bigger peel, looking for a Blodgett or Baker's Pride oven, a new digital scale, negotiating with GFS to buy a lot of things, buying a ton of #10 cans of tomatoes, a food mill, 50-lb. bags of KASL (and Bouncer before that), a 30-lb. case of Grande, 5-lb. bags of pepperoni, a metal calzone maker. I'd love to see where you keep all this stuff and the next item on your "to buy" list :). Maybe the infrared thermometer?

Peter


Offline isser

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2005, 11:45:05 PM »
Hi,

I've been on this site awhile but never posted.  I'm a professional chef whose been experimenting with baking at home.  I started with various types of bread and have been learning how to make a quality pizza.  I managed a pizza place years ago but don't remember the recipes and this site has been a godsend.

I usually make calzone because I don't have a stone for a large pizza.  I'd like to know where I can find a metal calzone maker.

Isser

Offline Nathan

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2005, 07:54:14 AM »
Isser, welcome to the site.

You will not leave here without making a great pizza.  I will guarantee you that.

Somerset Industries makes the metal calzone press that you're talking about.  Another one is Piemaster....

"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline tjacks88

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2005, 09:18:37 AM »
Nathan,

Where did you buy the 19" stone? What are the complete dimensions?

Can you also share where you purchased the 50LB KASL bags and other ingredients?

Thanks!

Tom

Offline Nathan

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2005, 01:56:17 PM »
I got the stone from here: http://www.bakingstone.com/order.php  The actual dimensions of it are 18 7/8" x 5/8".  They claim it's 3/4" thick on that site but mine isn't that thick. 

I ordered the flour from this place: http://tinyurl.com/6uz5s

I get the Escalon tomatoes from a local foodservice (GFS).  I also get Grande cheese from them.
"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline tjacks88

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2005, 05:33:31 PM »
I noticed that the stone is round - I have a square one. Is it harder to get it just right on the round stone? I am looking for the biggest one possible, or maybe thinking of going to tiles.

Offline Nathan

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2005, 02:08:38 PM »
If you mean is it harder to get the pizza off the peel and onto the stone I'd have to say I don't see why it would be.  I've never used a square stone because the main thing I cook on it is pizza.  I've never seen the point in having a stone that's say like 19x17 or something because then you'd only be able to make a 17" pizza anyway, unless you're making square or something. 

Tiles would probably be the way to go if you're looking to save money.  If not I'd presonally go with a stone.  And if you plan on getting the 19" make sure it'll fit in your oven  ;)  You can order custom sizes from that place too.  I have no idea what they charge though.
"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline tjacks88

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2005, 07:05:30 PM »
Yes, that's what I meant - is it harder to get off the peel. Maybe the sqaure target for a round pie seems easier for me to hit. ???

I give them a call - I'd like to get one as big as I can fit in my oven, I want to make the biggest pies possible.

Thanks for the help.

Offline Les

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Re: Basic Crust Help/Questions Here
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2005, 04:04:42 PM »
I thought some people might find useful this troubleshooting page for dough & crust from the Enclyclopizza:

http://www.correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizza/07_Dough_trouble-shooting/07_dough-crust_trouble-shooting.htm



Here's the table of contents:


CONTENTS
How to Use This Trouble-shooter - Additional Help
1. Dough too stiff or too firm
2. Dough too slack or too soft
3. Dough balls not rising at all (unrisen or dead dough)
4. Under-risen dough balls, or dough balls rising too slowly
5. Over-risen dough balls, or dough balls rising too quickly
6. Dough balls joining together in the dough tray
7. Dough has an odor of beer
8. Dough balls collapsing (blown dough)
9. Dough (crust) not rising in the oven, even though the dough balls were proofed
10. Crust forming on dough balls

11. Panned dough collapsing when sauced
12. Dough too elastic or springy (shrinks excessively after stretching)
13. Dough too extensible or spreadable (thin spots occurring during screening)
14. Dough sticking to rolling pin, table, or hands
15. Dough tearing in a dough press
16. Dough too large after rolling or stretching (won't fit pan or screen)
17. Excessive flour sticking to rolled dough
18. Black spots on top of dough ball
19. Bluish-black spots on underside of dough ball
20. Crust not brown enough all over

21. Crust too brown all over
22. Crust not brown enough on bottom
23. Crust too brown on bottom
24. Crust not browning and has a tough texture
25. Top edge of outer crust has a whitish color (but rest of pizza is done)
26. Crust browns on one side only or browns unevenly
27. Crust edge is burnt (but rest of pizza is properly done)
28. Crust color uneven
29. Large white pockets on bottom of pan pizza crust
30. Crust fully baked but still has a white surface

31. Crust forms bubbles during baking
Discussion: Crust Bubbling
32. Crust grain is too close (small cells)
33. Crust grain is too open (large cells)
34. Streakiness or uneven grain in crust
35. Crust edge has large burnt spots
36. Crust bakes up flat (no oven spring)
37. Crust collapses (shrinks in height) immediately after pizza is taken from the oven
38. Crust tough and leathery (especially after it cools down)
39. Crust flat and crackery
40. Crust flat, dense, and tough

41. Crust lacks flavor
42. Crust has peculiar flavor
43. Crust has doughy layer under the sauce (crust done on outside but raw inside)
Discussion: Doughy Layer vs. Gummy Layer
44. Crust has gummy layer under the sauce
45. Soggy crumb with grayish tint or translucent, gummy appearance
46. Crust is uneven thickness (thick edge, thin middle)
47. Crust is soggy or floppy (slice flops over when picked up)
48. When parbaking, crust separates like pita or pocket bread
49. Crust made from retarded dough has small blisters
50. Crust sticks to pan or screen
How to Season pans

EDIT (2/1/2012): For an alternative Correll link, see http://web.archive.org/web/20040602213637/http://correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizza/07_Dough_trouble-shooting/07_dough-crust_trouble-shooting.htm
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 01:52:07 PM by Pete-zza »


 

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