Author Topic: Oil on top  (Read 1812 times)

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Offline Arthur

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Oil on top
« on: May 31, 2005, 09:34:13 AM »
After making several pies for a party on Friday, finally one of my friends gave me some useful comments on my pizza.  Typically I get the "this is the greatest pizza I ever ate" or "wow, this is amazing pizza".  Now I know my pizza is pretty good, but there's always ways to improve and besides that, these people are eating over my house and they are not about to insult me.   But finally, someone had the nerve to give me some good input since I've been too close to my pizza for so long I can't give good input anymore.

He thought that the dough was a little dry - he compared it to una pizza napolitana - we had been there together 2 months ago.   I don't add any oil to my dough but I do coat the dough with some oil (with a basting brush) during the fridge rise.    He thought it was to dry.  So using his opinion, on Monday (using the same batch of dough used for Friday's pizza - but now the dough was in the fridge for 5 days!!!) I poured lightly on the uncooked dough (over the cheese) some olive oil.   The dough was amazing.  Of course I wasn't sure at first if it was the 5 day rise or the oil, but after making another pie without the oil I knew that it was the oil.   

I know that DiFara usually pours some oil on after it's done, but I wanted to see if others had experience with using oil on the dough during prep or after cooking.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Oil on top
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2005, 10:57:03 AM »

I often use oil on top of the crust--to prevent migration of water from the sauce into the dough, for added flavor, or to improve browning of the rim of the crust. Occasionally I will also use a high quality olive oil on the pizza after baking. For some this is a no no, but I happen to like the fresh flavor of a good raw olive oil, even a strong tasting one. 

However, I am having a tough time figuring out the physics and thermodynamics of your situation where you have placed the olive oil on top of the cheese. I could understand what happened if you had put olive oil in the dough to get a softer, more tender crumb (but for even that to happen you would have needed a lot of olive oil, around 7% by weight of flour).

The laws of thermodynamics say that heat will transfer in a direction from a hot object to a cooler object. I suspect that olive oil has a higher heat capacity (that is, it heats up faster and retains its heat longer) than sauce or cheese. If that is so, then it would seem to follow that the transfer of heat from the oil would be largely into the air which, as an insulator, has a lower heat capacity than the toppings on the pizza. Otherwise the cheese could overcook and start to turn brown faster than if no olive oil were used. It's possible in your case that the pizza looked done sooner than usual because of the high heat transfer characteristics of the olive oil and the color of the crust and possibly the cheese. You didn't indicate how long the pizza was baked in relation to the other pizzas, but if the pizza with the olive oil on the cheese baked faster, for whatever principles of thermodynamics applied in your case, then there would be less drying of the crust and more moisture retention, leading to a softer and more tender crumb. I'm no expert on pizza/oven thermodynamics, so I am receptive to a more informed analysis from others who have a better grasp of the physics involved here.


Offline Arthur

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Re: Oil on top
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2005, 11:31:58 AM »
I didn't notice any change in baking time nor did I notice any change in the texture of the cooked crust, unlike if I had added the oil to dough during mixing.  The oil on top (just sprinkles over the fresh mozz/locatelli/basil/sea salt) just seemed to give it a nice flavor. 

"I often use oil on top of the crust--to prevent migration of water from the sauce into the dough..." - I strain my sauce using a flour sifter.