Author Topic: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate  (Read 6858 times)

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Offline sum1else

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First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« on: November 19, 2011, 11:57:57 PM »
Hi all. I lurk often, but I wanted to share my latest results with you and get some comments. This is my first attempt at a NY style pizza. I usually make Chicago Deep Dish with good results.

I live in NYC, with a decent gas oven that's limited to 550F. I recalibrated the oven as hot as it can get. I don't have a laser thermometer yet, so no idea what the temperature is. In case you were wondering, my two favorite pizzas are L&B Spumoni Gardens (Brooklyn) and Salvatore's coal fired (Port Washington, NY), which is run by a relative of Patsy's (aren't they all).

I have a 12" square by 1/2" steel plate. This sits on the bottom rack of my oven. I hope I'm not poisoning myself by using A36, non-stainless steel  :-\

I made three 8" pizzas to test out my recipe. I use KABF.

Flour (100%):    266.86 g  |  9.41 oz | 0.59 lbs
Water (60%):    160.12 g  |  5.65 oz | 0.35 lbs
IDY (.2%):    0.53 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.18 tsp | 0.06 tbsp
Salt (2%):    5.34 g | 0.19 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.96 tsp | 0.32 tbsp
Total (162.2%):   432.85 g | 15.27 oz | 0.95 lbs | TF = 0.08
Single Ball:   144.28 g | 5.09 oz | 0.32 lbs

30 minute autolyse.

I hand mix and knead everything, about 10 minutes. Bulk rise for 6 hours in a covered bowl on my counter. The dough felt as great as any dough Iíve ever bought from a pizzeria.

Cook time was 3:00 for the pizza photographed. I made another in 2:00 (not photographed) that also had a blackened bottom.

Iíve included some photos. I am happy with the results, but I would like a lighter, more airy crust next time, thinner in the center.

Another problem I have is that the bottom cooked way faster than the top crust (The cheese was cold, so it did not brown up either). My broiler refuses to fire up when the oven is at 550, so I canít get it on. I am thinking another plate on the rack above this one might help concentrate some heat. Any ideas? I would love to see some browning on top. On this particular pie I tried greasing the crust, but no luck.

Thanks for your input and making this a site a great resource!



« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 12:05:52 AM by sum1else »


Offline johnamus

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2011, 12:42:47 AM »
Thanks for posting the pictures and notes! There is a drought of information regarding steel piate pizza baking so I hope you continue to post your results.  

If you're looking for a quicker bake on the top side of your pizza the logical step is to move your plate to the top of your oven, inches away from the active broiler.  This way the top of the pizza is exposed to heat at the same time the steel is cooking the bottom.  The trick is to heat your plate to an optimum temperature and then time the baking of your pizza to coincide with a red (or blue) hot broiler.  As you mentioned, your oven will probably shut the broiler off when a certain temp ceiling is reached, so you'll have to time your preheat, oven cool-down, broiler start, and pizza launch accordingly.  

Good question about using an additional steel plate on the rack above the pizza to help heat the top.  My guess is that the radiating heat wouldn't match the intensity of the broiler, although with this setup you wouldn't need to worry about the steel shutting off as you would with the broiler. I'm eager to hear Scott123's take on this.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 12:46:12 AM by johnamus »

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2011, 09:51:50 AM »
Hey sum1else
Getting the top and bottom heat right is a challenge for sure, and with 2 and 3 minute bakes it sounds like your plate is getting way hot.  The lower your plate rests in the oven the hotter it gets.  Just moving it up will lower its temp, plus there is also the broiler option as johnamus suggested, and here are some other ideas that have worked wonders in my 550 gas oven. 
The ice sleeve can fool your oven temp probe and allow the broiler to run at any time or be used anytime in the bake:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6291.0.html
The oven in an oven or pan trick:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8015.msg69137.html#msg69137

Once you find your oven's sweet spot some of your wishes on crust texture may improve on their own, but if not, at least you will have your bake protocol down and can make adjustments from there.

buceriasdon

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2011, 10:41:49 AM »
Does your gas oven have a broiler beneath the burner? If so I would place a stone/tile/other steel plate that can handle the heat in the broiler compartment. When the bottom is finished take the pizza out and slid it onto the stone to finish the top for perhaps one half a minute to a minute. I used this method for years when I had a gas oven with a lower broiler. Also with practice you will get the dough thinner in the center and more towards the edge without opening holes.
Don

Offline sum1else

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2011, 01:42:09 PM »
Nope. No broiler beneath, only up top. I will try using the plate on the next shelf up and hope the broiler will light. Maybe opening the door for a minute will get the broiler to light-I bet the steel won't lose too much heat.

The problem with that ice trick is that you have to reach into the oven to put it on while it is already hot. I'm not comfortable doing that. I would love to do a cleaning cycle hack, but I'm in a rental and can't mess with their appliances.

Pizzahog, thanks for the link. I'm going to consider some of this and get back to you all in the next few days. (Or today if I can't sit still).

buceriasdon

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2011, 02:00:15 PM »
OK, thanks. Is it possible to move the plate up high, preheat the oven, then turn the control knob to broil and launch the pizza?
Don

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2011, 02:09:27 PM »
Quote
The problem with that ice trick is that you have to reach into the oven to put it on while it is already hot. I'm not comfortable doing that.
Yup, that is why my standard pizza making load out includes welding gloves and elbow length oven mitts...

Offline sum1else

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2011, 02:56:12 PM »
OK, thanks. Is it possible to move the plate up high, preheat the oven, then turn the control knob to broil and launch the pizza?
Don

That's what I am going to try next. I just whipped up some dough that I'll try this evening (same ratios except 62% hydration). My oven won't start the broiler after some certain temperature (seems to be when the thermostat goes hits 550). I am going to try letting some of the heated air out to trick the oven to turn it on.

The pan method will be my last experiment because I do not have pans that will cover an entire rack-I'd have to buy new.


Yup, that is why my standard pizza making load out includes welding gloves and elbow length oven mitts...

wow

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2011, 03:17:58 PM »
Quote
wow
LOL.  A nickname given me as a child was Mr Clumsy.  On top of that, I am baking at about a skin blistering 750 using these oven tricks.  A nice long pair of elbow length mitts takes out all the worries when it's time to install the ice sleeve.  Plus they are handy for all oven work for those blessed with my level of coordination, or lack therof.
If you decide to try the pan thing, using a layer or two of foil might worth a go and not require purchasing anything.
Good luck with the broiler tonight.
Hog

Offline sum1else

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2011, 08:47:26 PM »
Here's this evening's try (62%, KABF, no autolyse, 6 hour room-temperature rise). I reserved half the dough to retard in the fridge for a Tuesday experiment. I placed the steel on the second highest rack, preheat 50 min @ 550--it beeped that it reached 550 in about 25 minutes. Then I launched the broiler, let some hot air out of the oven and waited about 2 minutes and it  started ;D I let it heat for about 3 minutes.
 
This pie looks great. The dough itself felt much better and rose much better with some great big bubbles. I would guess due to technique changes I made today (I watched some Youtube videos about kneading and stretching). The only complaint I have is that the dough is slightly too tough to the chew, not gummy at all, just tough. I have no idea what is causing this. I think I overcooked the dough, but not sure. The springing finished at about 2:30 (last photo), but I left it cooking until 4:30 when it showed some nice browning.

I made a garlic bread instead of Pizza-no more tomatoes here and did not feel like going out.
Recipe: Blanched garlic, diced, "italian seasoning" (McCormick), dried basil, salt, EVOO, Romano cheese

Enjoy! I would appreciate some comments on the toughness

-Tyler
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 08:56:23 PM by sum1else »


Offline PizzaHog

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2011, 09:32:50 PM »
Lookin good!  But you are probably right.  Overbaking is a common cause for toughness and appearances can be deceiving.  The next one should help figure it out regardless the cause.  Your gettin' there!

scott123

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2011, 04:18:18 AM »
Tyler, a few observations.

Electric oven owners have the luxury of working with larger vertical gaps because electric broilers are more powerful than gas.  To achieve the top coloring that you're looking for, put the plate on the top shelf. Working with a small vertical space might take some getting used to, but, launching smaller pies is easier in general, so it shouldn't be that difficult.  As you graduate up to a real NY style pizza size and comparable size plate, that's when the miniscule vertical gap might start being an issue.

It takes 25 minutes for the oven to pre-heat, but the plate is thick, so it takes longer for the heat to penetrate.  You might be able to fully pre-heat the plate in 45 minutes, but I'd give it 75 minutes, just to be sure. If, once you have the pizza you're looking for with 75 minutes, you can then start to dial that pre-heat time down and see if it makes a difference.

Pre-heat the plate to 525. If you pre-heat the plate to 525 for the full 75 minutes, it should have no problem with a good, slightly charred 4 minute bake and the lower temp should prevent the thermostat from shutting off the broiler. Watch the broiler and make sure it stays on for the entire bake. If the broiler does cut out, then you'll need to try something else. There's gentle oven tricks that will give you a slight 25 degree boost and allow the broiler to stay on, but I won't go into those until I'm sure you need them.

Use a wood peel for launching and a metal one for retrieving.  You never want to get raw flour from the launching peel on a baked pizza, because the flour has a bitter taste. Also, wood is a lot easier to launch with, because the skin slides off of it easier than with metal.

Quote
I hand mix and knead everything, about 10 minutes. Bulk rise for 6 hours in a covered bowl on my counter.

Are you sure this is a 'bulk rise?' A bulk rise signifies multiple dough balls (in this case 3) fermented as one mass and then divided.  If this was in bulk, how long did you let the dough balls proof after you formed them? If you are using a bulk a rise, than I suggest, for now, simplifying the process and fermenting the dough balls individually.

Mix
Knead
Scale
Form balls
Ferment
Bake

I can't quite put my finger on it, but something seems a little off about your dough. I'm not in love with KABF, but quite a few members are able to overcome KABF's shortcomings, so I don't think that's it.  You are using a digital scale to weigh the flour and the water, right?  Are you using a scale to portion the dough balls as well? The reason I ask about the scale is that the thickness factor seems off.  The formulation is for 8", and, from the photo, it looks like an 8" pizza, but the crust is way too thick.  Are you having trouble stretching it to 8"?

One of the biggest barriers for beginning NY style pizzamakers is being able to stretch the dough thin enough. 'Overbaking' is not the issue here. If you take a chewy thin crust and make it a bit thicker, it will start getting tough.  Two things.  Watch this video a few times (ignore the rolling pin part)



and make an extra dough ball or two and stretch them as thin as possibly can.  You won't be able to use the skin once you're done with it, but this is a really good and relatively inexpensive way to master stretching.

Lastly, I'm in not in love with this recipe. If you are only fermenting the dough for 6 hours, that's really not enough for NY style.  NY style, ideally, should be cold fermented at least overnight, and you'll want to use enough yeast for the dough to double in the time frame. .2% yeast seems a bit low. As the recipe stands now, are the dough balls doubled in volume by the time you bake them?

Offline sum1else

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2011, 04:50:52 AM »
Scott123, thanks for the informative reply.

It was a bulk rise. I don't recall when I actually split the dough into three, but it was close in proximity to Cooking. I do weigh all my ingredients with a recently calibrated digi scale. However, I didn't weigh the dough balls, I just eyeballed it. I'll ball them immediately from now on.

The garlic bread from today ended up being 50% of the dough and not 33%, and it was only 8". This means it was indeed too thick. My geometry tells me that if I had planned for 8"x3 and I split it 2 then it should have been 9.8". You are correct that I'm having trouble stretching. I'd worked with dough purchased from pizza places before and never have the problems I'm having here. It just seems too "tight," but I am rather inexperienced at this sort of thing so I kept working with it anyway.

That video is great, I'll keep looking at it this week and practice stretching. The dough did double-it is very warm in my apartment.

Thanks for all the other suggestions, I'll try to make some of the changes you recommended this week.

Tyler

scott123

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2011, 04:59:00 AM »
Tyler, dough needs time to relax after balling or it will be too tight to stretch.  It will also have a greater tendency to produce a tough crust. Balling a minimum of four hours prior to baking is recommended, but, as I said, for NY style, it's better to ferment the dough balls individually. Bulk rises are more of a Neapolitan thing. Now that you're balling immediately, you should see a dramatic improvement in manageability during the stretch and also less toughness in the finished crust.

Offline sum1else

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2011, 10:54:06 PM »
Scott123,

I cooked off the other half of my Sunday dough. Just to refresh, this was KABF, 62%, no sugar or oil. This rose for 2 hours on the counter and then I reserved this ball for the fridge (53 hours). I took it out of the fridge when I lit my oven.

As you advised, steel plate on the top shelf (very small clearance), 525 preheat, 75 minutes, broiler on before launch. The broiler did not stay lit, but I opened the door to let some heat out and started it up again. It stayed lit for the duration.

I also was able to stretch this dough much further, thanks to that video. I stretched it like in the video to about 8". After a 5 minute rest I was able to stretch it to 11".

The pie met its maximum rise around 90 seconds. The pie had some great browning on the crust, and I took it out at 3:30. Again the outer crust was tough to chew, but not as bad as the previous pie. The center was so crispy from all the oil that it was crunchy and not tough. All the flour on the peel came from the pie after I took it out of the oven.

I have a nice variety of flours to try here. I've got two brands of AP, KABF, KA "italian", caputo 00, and VWG. I think I may try these other flours and see how I do.

I will be experimenting some more this weekend, and I'll be sure to post results and get everyone's input. Have a great Thanksgiving!
« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 01:58:11 AM by sum1else »

scott123

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2011, 07:40:04 AM »
Tyler, not bad, not bad at all. You're definitely moving in the right direction.  A few observations:

Get some sauce and cheese ;D I have no problem with sauceless cheeseless pizzas, but they're definitely a little harder to master- I'd like to see you master the basics first before getting into the advanced stuff.

Any idea how long you got out of the broiler before it cut out?

Some NY pizzerias avoid oil and sugar in the dough, but most don't.  Imo, they're a beneficial addition. On your next dough, go with 2% oil and 1% sugar. Both should help with browning and with tenderness.

Quote
I have a nice variety of flours to try here. I've got two brands of AP, KABF, KA "italian", caputo 00, and VWG. I think I may try these other flours and see how I do.

You certainly have a 'variety' of flours, but I wouldn't necessarily call it 'nice'  ;D

The AP will give you tenderness, but it also might give you issues with tearing on the form.  Out of your entire list of flours, the AP is definitely worth playing around with, but I can guarantee you that Salvatore's isn't using it. 

The KA italian is 8.5% protein, too low for this style pizza (and most pizza, in general). 

I'm generally not one to say never, but I think the odds of you pulling out a Neapolitan bake time from your current oven are highly unlikely.  You can hit the right bottom heat, no problem, but the broiler will never be able to give you sub 90 second leoparding.  There's a handful of dissenting opinions, but I think most people will tell you that Caputo 00 doesn't work in 2 minute+ bakes. If you think your crust is tough now, try a 3.5 minute caputo 00 dough.

And, lastly, VWG, because of the way it's made, is damaged gluten, and thus provides little benefit to pizza and is only to be used as a last resort.  The only thing it's good for is providing chewiness, which you already have a bit too much of.

For the style you're currently making and your current bake time, you probably should get your hands on real pizzeria flour- something like All Trumps.  That's most likely what Salvatore's is using. Where in NYC are you?  Do you have a car?  Restaurant Depot carries All Trumps, but they require a business license, although sometimes they'll give individuals a one day pass.  There's a RD in Brooklyn. All Trumps, at 14%, is going to be a bit chewier than the 12.7% flour than you're using now, but you can dilute it with something weaker- perhaps the KA Italian.  The resulting blend, because of the superiority of the AT and the bromate it contains, will run circles around KABF. Or, if you really want to go the extra mile, you can track down a bromated 12.5% flour, but that's kind of difficult to do.

Offline sum1else

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2011, 10:06:00 AM »
I'll be using sauce and cheese this weekend, and I'll try the suggested addition of sugar and oil. The broiler was only on for a minute before it cut out. I let heat out the door for about 15 seconds.

Quote
You certainly have a 'variety' of flours, but I wouldn't necessarily call it 'nice' 

I should have known that was coming based on the number of posts I've read on this site :-D I doubt anything close to Salvatore's can come out of my home oven, but just a good pizza in general would be nice. What can I do with this Caputo if I'm not making pizza with it? Pasta?
 
I actually can get into Restaurant Depot on Long Island. I use a friend's membership every 4th of July to stock up. I just don't have space for a 50 pound bag in my apartment. I'll be in that neighborhood today, maybe I'll walk in and see if there's something smaller.

In the mean time, drool at this picture of Salvatore's:  http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/LkvgXZW64j9haw6MjPx09g?select=OcydZ628nNlRE8GvB7gEDA  They have a massive coal oven and told me they get around 6 minute bake times. Have you been, Scott123?


scott123

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2011, 10:28:04 AM »
Tyler, I'm not sure how long you've been making pizza, but, based upon the results of this thread, I would say, if you make pizza once a week, and post the results here, you'll have a Salvatore quality pizza in 5 months. Within a year, you'll go to Salvatore's and say to yourself "Hey, my pizza is better than this!"  ;D The biggest barrier for the home baker, the bake time, you've already broken, so, from here on out it's just the little stuff.

I've never been to Salvatore's, but I've been to coal places in the city.  I'm actually less of a fresh mozzarella fan and more of a low moisture brick mozz guy.  Patsy's does both, does Salvatore's?

When you go to RD, check out the cheeses as well and see if they have Grande. That's what L&B uses.

Offline sum1else

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2011, 10:41:42 AM »
Scott, Salvatore's only uses fresh mozz, no option for brick like Patsy's. I definitely understand where you are coming from-some of my friends dislike the place because of the fresh cheese. IMHO, the pizza is superior to Patsy's and the similar style places (Grimaldis, Lombardis, Angelos, am I missing any?). I think because its a small family operation and there are no tourists--quality still counts for something.

Thank's for the encouragement!   Let's say I get to RD and there are other types/brands of flour. What's the pecking order?

L&B really does it for me because of the dough. It's so doughy and crunchy at the same time. Every time I go I get a pie half-cooked and freeze it. I'm sure you've seen the Man v. Food at L&B. Here's a cropped screenshot from the video--looks like the secret is two pieces of dough pressed together to me! I don't buy the cheese first story. Many places do that without the texture of L&B.


scott123

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Re: First try at NYC with 1/2" Steel Plate
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2011, 11:10:57 AM »
Tyler, I like your friends  ;)

You may have noticed that I talked about your ability to eventually match and surpass Salvatore's, but I didn't mention L&B  ;D  I don't think anybody's cracked the L&B code.  This forum has some talented Sicilian pizzamakers, but L&B isn't pure Sicilian. I don't like Sicilian, but I LOVE L&B.

I believe the two pieces of dough pressed together relates less to texture and more to the fact that they ferment the dough as small balls and combine them for the big sheet.

After my last post, it occurred to me that I've never really done much research on the flours coal places use, so I dig some digging on Patsy's.  From this post here from member Scott R

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=5074.0

it appears that they're using 'Mondello High Gluten Flour.'  I googled it a few different ways and came up with nothing.  I also called the placed that sells it and asked them if they could tell me what the protein percentage was, and they said "not now, call back later"  ???  ;D 

Grimaldi's from this photo here,

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joegermuska/2956374784/

appears to be using 'Blooming Best,' another flour that's giving me almost no hits on google except for a single distributor in NJ.

I'm starting to see a trend here  ;D I think these places might have their own brands of flour, packaged only for them.

According to this post, Lombardi's uses All Trumps:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,505.msg27825.html#msg27825

Long story short, Salvatore's HAS to be using a high gluten flour between 12.5% and 14% protein, so, as far as the pecking order goes, All Trumps is the top of the list.  You can always dilute the All Trumps with weak flour to make a 12.5% blend, but you really can't make a 12.5% flour into a 14% one, even though some people think it can be done with VWG.