Author Topic: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust  (Read 10475 times)

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Offline johnamus

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Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« on: November 15, 2011, 09:42:28 PM »
Black char spots, big and small, along with a cornicione filled with giant voids.  That is my goal.  I've slowly identified this goal and have posted some documentation of my results in various threads, but rather than clutter other people's threads with my attempts, I'll gather pictures of my pursuit in this single thread.  Any help and comments you can offer will be appreciated.


Offline johnamus

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2011, 09:51:57 PM »
First up is tonight's pie, it was based around Petezza's Papa John's clone but adjusted for a lower thickness factor. I wanted to see how my oven would handle high levels of sugar and oil and his recipe has good amounts of both.  I carefully measured all the ingredients, but ended up with a pie that was way too high in the thickness factor department.  I must have entered 14 inches instead of 12 when using the dough calculator.  Regardless of that error, I ended up with a few contrasty spots, but the dough was much too thick and bread-like to heat up fast enough to develop much more.  My crumb also suffered from the high thickness factor as well.  i posted pictures of the pie along with a shot of the bottom of the crust that charred much faster than the top.  To me, the fact that the bottom charred so quickly indicates that the "hearth" temperature on my cast iron pizza stone is good, and perhaps my broiler failed to deliver enough top-heat.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 10:03:58 PM by johnamus »

Offline johnamus

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2011, 09:55:24 PM »
This picture of a thin-crust attempt from a week ago exhibits the type of leoparding that I am looking for.  My goal is to obtain a greater amount of the spots, but on a thicker New York sized crust depth.

Offline scott123

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2011, 10:13:07 PM »
Johnamus, that's not leoparding.  I wouldn't even call it charring. I would call it more along the lines of uneven browning.

This is leoparding:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/images/Dellavecchia_8-14-2010_Frozen%20Dough%20Leopard.jpg

If all you're looking for is uneven browning, then move the pizza closer to the broiler, don't par-bake it and reduce the sugar and oil, as sugar and oil (oil especially) tend to promote even browning.

My recommendation to use 3/4" steel (or 1/2" steel with an oven trick) was based on an assumption that you wanted to move toward Neapolitan pizza because of your interest in leoparding. If your goal is an unevenly colored NY style crust, then you should be able to do that with 1/2" steel without tricks. I do think, at the end of the day, your cast iron stone is going to be too anemic to give you the best possible bake times.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 10:19:01 PM by scott123 »

Offline johnamus

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2011, 11:13:29 PM »
If I understand you correctly, the difference between uneven browning and leoparding is contrast, right? In other words, relative to uneven browning, leopard spots are darker and the surrounding cornicione is lighter.  If that's the case then leoparding is indeed my goal, I don't want a Neapolitan per se, just an emulation of the Neapolitan cornicione.  Sorry if I got the terminology wrong :)

With that said, do you still think that I should purchase a thicker baking surface?  Based on the charring (or browning) on the bottom of my pie it appears that increasing bottom temperature is intuitively counterproductive. But as a beginner, my intuition isn't always correct. 

Lowering the amount of oil and sugar was going to be the focus of my next experiment. The pie in the second post was a gauge of high oil and sugar in the dough.

Offline scott123

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 02:38:17 AM »
Johnamus, yes, leoparding is very high contrast relatively tiny spotted charring. The thing about Neapolitan leoparding, though, is that you really can't 'emulate' it without actually going all in and making Neapolitan pizza.  Leoparding generally is a malt-less 00 Italian pizzeria flour combined with less than 90 second bakes.  There's a little flexibility on the flour (Craig use to make pretty killer Neapolitan pizza from King Arthur All Purpose), but the less than 90 second bake is in stone.

With the right flour, a traditional Neapolitan recipe and the steel plate/oven setups we talked about earlier, you can most definitely make Neapolitan pizza. You just can't mix and match flours and temps and expect to see the precious pox. Peter Reinhart has done a tremendous disservice to Neapolitan pizza with his 'Neapolitan' recipes that convey the impression that bake time isn't critical for success. It is. It's like posting a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and omitting the chips.

Edit: Neapolitan pizza not only has high contrast spotting on the rim, it also has leoparding on the undercrust:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slice/2142802813/

You really can't have leoparding on the rim but uneven browning on the undercrust.  If you want leoparding, you've got to take the whole Neapolitan package (to an extent).
« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 02:42:16 AM by scott123 »

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 07:54:14 AM »
Leoparding is the charring of  the thin skin of bubbles in the crust.

Offline johnamus

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 03:36:12 PM »
Based on the advice I'm going to attempt a Neapolitan style pizza.

What is a good starting point?  Questions that I am faced with: You mentioned that there is room for a little flexibility with the flour, without 00 flour available should I use AP flour, bread flour, or a combo of the two?  What level of hydration should I use?  Since I'm not concerned with the Neapolitan rules, should I add anything in addition to flour, water, salt, and yeast? 

Thanks for your help!

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2011, 04:16:22 PM »
Unless you have an oven that can hit Neapolitan temps (800F+), you might start here (both are worth reading even if you do - good pics too):

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10024.0.html
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11654.0.html

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Offline johnamus

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2011, 04:51:00 PM »
The pies in those threads are amazing :o, if I can achieve something remotely close to that I will have reached my goal.

The following recipe is mentioned in the Nearlypolitan thread:

00 Flour (100%)
Water (62.5190%)
Salt (2.44309%)
Total (164.96209%)
Thickness factor (0.103927)

  • Mix 80% of the flour, all the water and the levain until even and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Add the salt and gradually mix in the remaining flour, followed by another 20 minute rest.
  • Knead dough (using 'slap and fold') until 'window-pane'. (I don't recall exactly how long but I remember it being hard work!)
  • Bulk ferment the dough at ~72F for 10 hours.
  • Divide and shape the dough into balls which need to be proofed at  the same temperature for 4 hours before baking.


A preferment is used so there isn't a yeast value, what percentages would you recommend for ADY?


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2011, 04:59:02 PM »
I'm not a good one to ask. Barring better advice, my reccomendation would be to make a preferment. I would try 1C water, 1C flour, and a package of ADY. Mix it up and let it get good and bubbly.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 05:10:56 PM by TXCraig1 »
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2011, 11:12:12 PM »
Johnamus, my own quest for the elusive leoparded rim was born out of a desire to emulate Toby's beautiful nearlypolitans pies and always with limited success.  You should be able to find some good clues in those threads and others throughout the forum.

You can do a google search at the bottom of the home page for "leoparding", which should lead you to posts from various members discussing different factors that have lead them to that look.

Scott123 is right in that if you desire that look, only high and quick heat coupled with the proper dough conditions will reveal leoparding, which means NP or a hybrid style.   Basically, under a 2.5 minute bake, and 2.5m would probably be pushing the limits.   

From what I remember of the few conversations I had with Toby about leoparding, he recommended organic and unbleached AP flours or caputo.  I have had some success with bleached AP flour as well, but King Arthur AP flour maybe a good choice in that it is a bit stronger than other AP flours.  The extra strength should make your journey a bit less daunting.   You may also consider extended (modified) autolyse techniques to aid in gluten development as well.  Read and experiment, as there are different ways to achieving the same result.

As far as a preferment with commercial yeast, 0.3% IDY at RT (75F) will be bubbly in about 6hours.  Increasing the % of yeast will shorten the time.  For ADY, maybe try just a tad more yeast, so perhaps 0.35-0.4% ADY.

Good luck,
Chau

Offline johnamus

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2011, 08:05:28 PM »
Thanks for the help Chau. I feel like I'm headed in the right direction, but I'm coming to the realization that pizza making is indeed more of an art than a science.  As a technical-minded person in a high precision industry I find that aspect frustrating at times... where's the manual! >:( But with low expectations I'm going to attempt a Neapolitan recipe.  It should serve as a baseline and hopefully it will help me observe incremental improvements in later attempts.  Kind of like taking a before picture prior to engaging in a diet and exercise regimen.

I used Peter's translation from the Nearlypolitan thread along with your ADY estimate to come up with the following recipe for a 12" pie:

Total Formula:
Flour (100%):
Water (58%):
Salt (2.44309%):
ADY (.35%):
Total (160.79309%):

Preferment:
Flour:
Water:
Total:

Final Dough:
Flour:
Water:
Salt:
ADY:
Preferment:
Total:

207.24 g  |  7.31 oz | 0.46 lbs
120.2 g  |  4.24 oz | 0.26 lbs
4.92 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.88 tsp | 0.29 tbsp
0.71 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.19 tsp | 0.06 tbsp
333.22 g | 11.75 oz | 0.73 lbs | TF = 0.103927
 
 
36.71 g | 1.29 oz | 0.08 lbs
27.53 g | 0.97 oz | 0.06 lbs
64.24 g | 2.27 oz | 0.14 lbs

 
170.53 g | 5.82 oz | 0.36 lbs
92.67 g | 3.47 oz | 0.22 lbs
4.92 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.88 tsp | 0.29 tbsp
0.71 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.19 tsp | 0.06 tbsp
64.24 g | 2.27 oz | 0.14 lbs
333.22 g | 11.75 oz | 0.73 lbs  | TF = 0.103927

I'll use generic AP flour and my Lodge 1/4 inch cast iron pizza "stone".  According to the wisdom of the forum both of these items are not optimal, but they will help me set the bar low for later attempts.

Is there wiggle room in the preferment and ferment stages?  Because this recipe requires a significant dedication of time! For example I'll need to mix the preferment at work around 3:00pm in order to mix the remaining flour at 9:00pm that night, then I'll need to let it rest and proof overnight for 14 hrs at which time it will be ready for the oven at 11:00am.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2011, 08:00:43 PM by johnamus »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 08:22:29 PM »
There is always wiggle room.  Lots and lots of ways to skin this (leoparded) cat.  Many ways to achieve this look.  Basically breaks down to a well kneaded and well fermented dough (I think) plus HIGH heat.  Just keep experimenting and reading.

Chau
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 08:39:17 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline johnamus

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2011, 09:10:54 PM »
Scott, what are your thoughts on an aluminum plate vice steel? Is the higher thermal mass of steel better suited for the baking task than the higher thermal conductivity and lower thermal mass of aluminum?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 09:26:47 PM by johnamus »

Offline scott123

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2011, 07:15:47 AM »
Is the higher thermal mass of steel better suited for the baking task than the higher thermal conductivity and lower thermal mass of aluminum?

Yes :)

In theory, one might be able to get a Neapolitan-ish looking undercrust in a 400 (or even lower) oven with very thick aluminum (more than 1"), but the extreme conductivity would most likely cause it to deliver too much of it's heat at the beginning of the bake and possibility result in too much contrast.

And then there's the outrageous price of aluminum as well.

Regarding the recipe, generic AP has a lower absorption value than Caputo Pizzeria, so I'd go lower than 62 (maybe 58).  As far as the fermentation regime goes... Malted flours (such as AP), develop more sugar the longer you ferment them, and more sugar tends to be counterproductive to leoparding, so, for the AP, I'd keep the total ferment time to less than 24 hours. Other than that, though, there's a good deal of flexibility.  Pick a regime that fits into your schedule. The most important aspect is that you use enough yeast so the dough doubles by the time you form it. As I've mentioned before, yeast quantities in recipes are only rough ballparks and, once you change around the fermentation times, they get even rougher.  In other words, don't plan a party around this next bake, because the dough might be ready quickly or it might take too long. Make notes of all your temps- water, ambient/flour, post mix dough, as well as pay attention to your yeast age and, to an extent, flour age. If you're aware of all the variables and your dough doubles in too short or too long of a time, the next time you can match all those variables while adjusting the yeast accordingly. Eventually you'll be able to predict yeast activity to almost the minute in different conditions/seasons, but, for now, it's a lot of trial and error and note taking- lots of note taking.

Offline johnamus

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2011, 03:23:11 PM »
What is the best method to measure the doubling of the dough?  I've seen the poppyseed method mentioned in another thread, but my guess is that it would be more accurate to measure the dough diameter top-bottom and side-side to calculate volume.  Is this something that can be eyeballed? What method do you use?

Offline scott123

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2011, 03:58:19 PM »
I've given thought to using water displacement, but was concerned that the pressure would deflate the dough. These days, I just do it by eye.

Offline norma427

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2011, 05:32:12 PM »
What is the best method to measure the doubling of the dough?  I've seen the poppyseed method mentioned in another thread, but my guess is that it would be more accurate to measure the dough diameter top-bottom and side-side to calculate volume.  Is this something that can be eyeballed? What method do you use?


johnamus,

If you are interested in seeing how to use the “poppy seed trick”, this is where Peter posted about it at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6914.0.html

Norma

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Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2011, 05:39:38 PM »
What is the best method to measure the doubling of the dough?  .....


Some people use the old rubber band around the container trick....
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7225.msg78742.html#msg78742
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