Author Topic: Best oven temp for caputo doughs  (Read 2673 times)

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Offline scott r

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Best oven temp for caputo doughs
« on: June 13, 2005, 02:27:11 PM »
I finally got a caputo pie with the texture I have been shooting for, but I had to up the temperature even further in my oven.  This was my first time cooking above 800, and my pie charred more than I would like.  I am just wondering if anyone knows what the optimum temperature for the oven floor is.  I am going to assume that the ambient temperature should be about 100 degrees higher than that.


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best oven temp for caputo doughs
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2005, 08:47:24 AM »
Scott,

I usually use a deck temp of 750F-800F. Is the charring on the top or bottom? If on the bottom, are you using a lot of flour on the peel?

Is it possible you are overcooking the pie? I find it hard to resist the temptation to leave the pie in too long. For me, learning the optimal cooking time of anything I cook, from eggs to steaks to french fries, and especially pizzas is the biggest challenge. It can vary so much that visual cues like charring on the bottom and top do not necessarily tell you what is going on inside the crust which is where overcooking can do the most damage.

Once the edge has risen and it is still soft is when I usually start thinking about pulling the pie out. The edge may have little browning (especially now that I have been using only natural starter). When it comes out just right is usually a matter of luck rather than skill, but taking it out when my instincts tell me it is too early usually gives me the best results.

I think it must take a great deal of  experience to know when a pizza is done. The recipes and ingredients  and kneading methodologies and ball weighs and procedures and equipment that occupy the vast majority of the posts on this forum are for naught if the pie is undercooked or overcooked. I'd like to see more posts on this subject because it is where I need the most improvement.


Offline David

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Re: Best oven temp for caputo doughs
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2005, 10:12:03 AM »
Bill,
your post brings to mind the question posed recently where to find good Neapolitan Pizza in Florence and Naples/I was thinking about the number of people in the North who had said they disliked Pizza from Naples as it was never cooked properly!EVERYONE in the South has said to me that they don't know how to make Pizza in the North?It's a bit like the East coast/West coast thing I imagine.Do you ever  mop your deck down prior to placing your Pizza on the floor to prevent over charring on the bottom?BTW your last pictures were beautiful Bill.Congratulations.
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best oven temp for caputo doughs
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2005, 11:36:59 AM »
Bill,
Do you ever  mop your deck down prior to placing your Pizza on the floor to prevent over charring on the bottom?

David,

Thanks.

The answer to your question, I'm afraid, involves the altitude thing. Since there is less oxygen in the air, wood doesn't burn as hot up here, so it takes more time for the oven to come up to temp. The deck is rarely too hot, and sometimes I have to delay a meal because it needs more time to heat up. Furthermore, the dryness here enhances evaporation, so that mopping can reduce the floor temp very quickly which is not what I want. For this reason, I do mop when baking bread, but never for pizza. Mopping does a better job of cleaning up ash, but a wire brush sweeps enough off for my purposes. Sometimes the color of the bottom of the pizza may have a slight gray cast, but I don't care.

When baking for 90 seconds or so, charring on the bottom has not been a problem.


Offline scott r

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Re: Best oven temp for caputo doughs
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2005, 11:41:38 AM »
bill, I totally used way too much flour, I am pretty sure that was the main culprit.  I was worried about my brand new pizza peel, but I think I overcompensated.  I just did another pie and got it better.  I think I am still using a little too much flour, though.  Burned flour at these temps has the nastiest flavor. One thing I have noticed is that all of the guys I have seen that make this type of pie professionally assemble the pie on a surface, then move it to the peel.  I am assuming that they are doing this to lessen the amount of bench flour they need.  The problem is that I can't seem to do this without bending the pizza out of shape.  If I had a dryer dough, I guess it would be a lot easier, but I love the fluffy moist texture I am getting right now.  I am going to have to do a bunch of practicing of the move the pie technique.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Best oven temp for caputo doughs
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2005, 11:52:30 AM »
scott,

From what I have seen and read, authentic Neapolitan pizzas, like those made in Italy, tend to be smaller in size than our pizzas, around 10-12 inches, and the doughs are shaped into skins on a smooth marble or marble-like surface. It is then fairly easy to transfer the skins, dressed or not, onto a peel (which often look to be metal) in preparation for placement in the oven. This would seem to be more difficult to do if you were to try making a 16 inch size. Then, you might use the string trick that Jose at Patsy's in Harlem uses to make sure that a pizza dressed on a board won't stick to it.

Peter

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best oven temp for caputo doughs
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2005, 12:37:45 PM »
Scott,

I have the same issue: these soft and wet doughs can't be moved much and are hard to load into the oven without sticking. During proofing, the dough ball has become a disk maybe 6" in diameter. I transfer this to a floured granite counter and press it out to about 9-10". Here's the tricky part: I lift it with well floured hands onto a lightly floured peel. While lifting, it actually stretches out some more. I then round out the shape to a uniform 12" on the peel.  I shake the peel back and forth a few times while topping to make sure it isn't sticking. I still mess up plenty and have yet to figure out how much flour is too much or too little. It is much more likely to stick if I have gone overboard on the toppings.  I've tried the suggestion about blowing air under the dough, but that doesn't work me for once the pizza is topped.

I've seen all kinds of different ways professionals do this. I guess if I made several dozen pies per day, I'd get the hang of it pretty quickly. A few dozen pies per day? I think I could handle that!  ;D


 

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