Author Topic: My First Neo - Suggestions Appreciated  (Read 2498 times)

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Offline pi

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My First Neo - Suggestions Appreciated
« on: July 06, 2005, 07:34:11 PM »
Hi everyone - Just finished eating my first attempt at a neopolitan pizza. Not bad for my first try, but I can do BETTER! I have listed some thoughts below, any/all feedback appreciated.

dough:
1 cup warm water
1 1/4oz package of yeast (proof in bowl for approx. 10 minutes then mix with)
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Bread Flour
1 T. Salt (Kosher prefered)

I mixed the dough in a KitchenAid mixer, first with a paddle attachment (2-3 mins) then a dough hook (10-15mins). I varied the speed on the mixer when using the hook between 4 and 6 (4 seemed too slow, 6 seemed too fast). I think I over worked the dough (more on this later). I let it rise for 24hrs.

The Good:
- cooked evenly
- mostly excellent flavor

The Bad:
- dough was rubbery to work with and had a "memory" (ended up using a roller to spread)
- little sticky
- did not seem to rise a lot
- little tough
- the inner crust tasted a little doughy (outer was excellent though a little tough)

Sauce:
1 can of roma tomatos I pureed in blender with one large glove of garlic

Good:
- nice smooth texture
- bright colour

Bad:
- did not add a lot of flavor (I was looking for soemthing with a little more rich, body)

Cooking:
500 degree oven

Good:
- I did not burn it!

Bad:
- I preheated an old, well seasoned stone with the oven. When I placed the cornmeal on it, the meal instantly burned. I panicked and used a cooky sheet instead.
- second try (I made two pizzas) the stone went in cold and the dough did not cook to my satisfaction.

That is it. My family loved it and my two kids (4 and 5) both had three helpings. My son (who had no clue it was not out of a freezer) even said it was good.

Thanks!!!

Paul


« Last Edit: July 06, 2005, 07:36:45 PM by pi »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Neo - Suggestions Appreciated
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2005, 09:38:14 PM »
Paul,

Welcome to the forum.

There were several things left unsaid in your post, but I will do my best to try to address what I believe were some of the underlying causes of some of the problems you identified.

First, your recipe uses both all-purpose flour and bread flour to make a Neapolitan-style pizza dough. A classic Neapolitan pizza dough is made from Italian 00 flour, which is quite different from the two flours you used--in terms of protein content, hydration (the absorption of water by the flour), and several other differentiating characteristics. Since you used volume measurements instead of weights, it's a bit difficult to tell whether your proportions of flours and water are correct. I weighed three cups of flour and a cup of water on my digital scale and I calculated that your hydration (the weight of water relative to the weights of flours) is around 52%. That would be OK if you were using 00 flour (it would still be a bit on the low side) but it isn't high enough for the two flours you used. I estimate that you may need about 1/8-1/4 cup more water. Otherwise, you can expect to have the high degree of elasticity ("memory") you experienced, as well as a somewhat reduced rate of fermentation.

Second, unless your KitchenAid mixer is different from most such mixers that I am aware of, your kneading of the dough was far too aggressive. You kneaded your dough too much and for too long and at too high a speed. In Italy, long knead times are used, but the flours are different, the kneading is actually quite gentle, and the machines used for kneading are different. The procedure I would recommend in your case with your particular flours and other ingredients is as follows: combine the two flours in a bowl; dissolve the yeast (I assume it is active dry yeast, or ADY) in a few tablespoons of warm water (at about 105-115 degrees F) and set aside for about 10 minutes to proof; place the rest of the water (on the cool side) in the KitchenAid mixing bowl and dissolve the salt in it (as by whisking it with a wire whisk or a spoon); add the yeast/water mixture to the bowl, stir, and gradually add the flour while the mixer is operating at "stir" or 1 speed. At this stage, the paddle attachment or dough hook can be used. Once a good part of the flour has been added, use only the dough hook and continue to add the flour and knead until everything comes together in a rough ball; continue kneading until the dough takes the shape of a smooth, elastic ball. This should happen in about 7-8 minutes total, at about 2-3 speed. Ideally, the finished dough ball should be a bit tacky, and not wet or dry. Since you are using volume measurements, which can be imprecise, you may find it necessary to add more flour and/or water to get the desired final condition of the dough ball. Don't be afraid to stop the mixer and to inspect the dough, remove it from the dough hook if it rides up on the hook, or to do a little bit of hand kneading. Home KitchenAid mixers are not particularly good at these kinds of operations (unless you have one of the special dough hooks that KitchenAid produces). I suspect the doughy character of your finished crust was due to overkneading, which quite likely resulted in a more bread-like character to the crust.

Third, you didn't indicate whether the 24-hour rise period was at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If it was at room temperature, as is very typical in Italy, 24 hours would be excessive, and especially for the amount of yeast you used (a 1/4-ounce package). I don't know where you are located or the temperature of your kitchen at this time of year, but if you used a room-temperature rise, then you could have used as little as 1/8-1/4 teaspoon yeast. Using a 1/4-ounce packet of yeast would have resulted in the dough ballooning at room temperature--by two to three times. If you meant to say that the 24-hour rise was in the refrigerator, even then you would have seen a significant volume expansion in the dough. But if your refrigerator was really on the cool side (say, around 35 degrees F), then it would have been possible that your dough didn't rise much while in the refrigerator. But if you used all warm water and 1/4-ounce of yeast, then it's hard to imagine that the dough didn't rise much while in the refrigerator.

Fourth, I estimate that the amount of salt you used was about 3.8% (by weight of the two flours). That's high even for a classic Neapolitan dough, which tends to be higher than with other doughs. But it excessive for your recipe. Excessive salt will toughen the gluten strands in the dough and slow the rate of fermentation of the dough. This can yield a tough dough that doesn't rise to the desired level and is hard to handle. I would reduce the amount of salt to about 2.4%, which would be a bit less than 2 teaspoons (if my flour weight measurements were correct).

Fifth, you might consider adding a bit of olive oil to your recipe. That will help the extensibility of your dough (its stretchiness), especially if you make the other changes recommended above. I would use about 1-2% (by weight of the two flours). That would be about 1-2 teaspoons. It can be added to the mixer bowl just after the flours are added and combined with the rest of the ingredients.

Sixth, if you placed the corn meal on a preheated stone, it will burn as you indicated. Should you choose to use corn meal, it should be placed on a pizza peel and be used as a dusting agent to help release the dough into the oven onto the preheated pizza stone. But you don't have to use corn meal. You can also use plain ordinary flour. You also shouldn't put a cold stone in the oven with the pizza on it. The pizza should be deposited onto a preheated stone.

Seventh, I believe there is a lot you can do to improve your sauce. There are many threads on this forum that deal with that topic far better than I can do on this post. I will mention, however, that classic Neapolitan pizzas use San Marzano tomatoes. There are several threads on this post that also address that subtopic. If you use the site's search feature you will find a lot of posts that should help you achieve a better sauce.

I think if you give the above suggestions a try, your children will be coming around for five and six helpings :). If I forgot anything, or if you would like to submit further information for review in light of my comments above, please feel free to do so.

Peter

Offline pi

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Re: My First Neo - Suggestions Appreciated
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2005, 02:01:44 PM »
Peter - Than you for the detailed reply! I greatly appreciate your level of expertise. I will have to play with the dough some more as well as spend some more time in this forum and see what I can learn (which appears to be a great deal). All in all the experience was fun and I definitely want to take it to the next level. I also need to see if/where I can find the 00 flour mentioned (carried only at specialty stores???).

Thanks again Peter!

Paul

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Neo - Suggestions Appreciated
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2005, 02:45:18 PM »
Paul,

Where are you located (by your spelling of "colour", I assume it is not the U.S.)? That might help us locate a source of 00 flour for you.

Peter

Offline pi

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Re: My First Neo - Suggestions Appreciated
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2005, 03:04:07 PM »
Please do not let that fool you. I currently live in SC, but a large part of my education took place in Canada hence the spelling.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: My First Neo - Suggestions Appreciated
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2005, 04:08:36 PM »
Paul,

That makes it a lot easier.

There are a small handful of brands of 00 flour but I strongly recommend that you consider the Caputo 00 pizzeria flour. Until fairly recently, the Caputo 00 flour came only in 25 kilo bags (55 pounds). But now it is available in 5-lb. bags (repackaged) at pennmac.com. Look for the Pizza Makers tab on the pennmac website. You can also call and ask for Rose. She is a member of this forum and has a good idea of the kinds of pizza ingredients our members are interested in. 

If you decide to try a few bags of the Caputo 00 flour, you might also want to check out other pizza items available at pennmac to try to save on shipping costs. I checked to see if there are any Caputo stocking distributors in SC where you might pick up a large bag and reduce unit costs, but there are none near you at this time. Unfortunately, the Caputo 00 pizzeria flour is not available at the retail store level.

Once you decide to get some 00 flour, we can guide you to some recipes to experiment with.

Peter


 

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