Author Topic: Hello from Central Pennsylvania  (Read 1085 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline coffee_cup

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12
  • Age: 25
  • Location: State College, PA
Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« on: March 31, 2012, 08:04:37 PM »
I've made about 20 pizzas on my pizza stone so far.  I am making my own dough with Alton Brown's recipe & the New York style dough recipe found on this website.

I like how my pizzas are turning out, but I still need practice shaping dough.  I prefer a NY style pizza on the thinner side.

After experimenting with many products from Wegmans & Walmart, here's what I have began to favor:  For the dough, i've had the best results with "Gold Medal Better For Bread" flour.  I am doing a 24 hour rise in the refrigerator.  I haven't experimented with yeast too much, I am using the active dry yeast packets.  For sauce I am using uncooked crushed tomatoes or Bell'Orto sauce by Heinz (I suggest you try guys try it).  I usually season the sauce with a little salt, fresh chopped basil, and fresh & dry oregano.  For cheese I have had best results with Walmart brand pizza blend and Polly-o mozzarella.

Here is a picture of tonight's pie - goat cheese & mushroom.  As you can see, i'm still having a lot of trouble shaping it the way I want.  I would appreciate any suggestions and advice.   

http://i.imgur.com/K6qlD.jpg

I am reading a lot on here so I can continue to improve my pies.  Lots of useful information!

Thanks!





Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1816
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 10:07:26 PM »
Welcome, from a fellow Pennsylvanian.
Your pie looks a little under cooked, IMO, but looks pretty good otherwise.  :)

Offline David Deas

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 346
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 06:55:23 AM »
Just looking at your product, you either have too much water or you are not developing the gluten enough.  Either will cause the rim of the pizza to slope like a pyramid once placed in the oven.  Fixing those things will allow you to stretch the dough out much thinner without tearing it.

What is your oven temp?  That's the single most important piece of information you can give us.

There are dough recipes here on the forum for you to follow if you want a thin NY.  Personally, I think it looks good for only having made 19 pies before.  The single biggest improvement I made when I first started out was switching from Gold Medal to a real flour.  
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 07:09:54 AM by David Deas »

Offline coffee_cup

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12
  • Age: 25
  • Location: State College, PA
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 09:37:38 AM »
My electric oven only goes to 500.  I am preheating for an hour.  I will let the broiler on for 10-15 minutes prior to putting the pie in.

So if I can't stretch it out enough, it either has to much water or I didn't knead it enough?

What kind of flour do you recommend?

Thanks for the tips!

Offline David Deas

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 346
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 01:03:52 PM »
A New York style pizza typically requires anywhere from 650 to 850 degrees.

I would recommend King Arthur at *minimum* for any type of pizza.  There are better flours (Guisto, Trumps, HM, etc), but KA is a good solid entry level flour.  KA is about twice the cost of Gold Medal, but absolutely worth it IMO.  It is the best flour you can get widely available off the shelf.

At 500 degrees I would go with King Arthur Bread Flour.  I would also move away from a lean dough.  Milk solids, oil, sugar, vital wheat gluten, and any other dough enhancers work wonders for low temperature bakes.  We can review those options once I have more information about what you're doing.

If you are having trouble with the integrity of the dough once it gets thin, your balling technique or gluten development should be reviewed.  Or you aren't opening the dough balls very efficiently.  

You have not told me what your hydration percentage is?  I need that information.  I am assuming you are letting the dough balls rise to double their original volume?

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2012, 03:15:40 PM »
A New York style pizza typically requires anywhere from 650 to 850 degrees.

I would recommend King Arthur at *minimum* for any type of pizza.  There are better flours (Guisto, Trumps, HM, etc), but KA is a good solid entry level flour.  KA is about twice the cost of Gold Medal, but absolutely worth it IMO.  It is the best flour you can get widely available off the shelf.

With the right home oven setup, 3 minute (the lowest bake time for the style) NY pies can be produced at 530 degrees.

Gold Medal Better for Bread isn't that much cheaper than KA, but it's less expensive and produces at least comparable results. If KABF was superior, fanatics like Varasano and Spangler would be paying the extra money rather than using better for bread (aka Harvest King).

Also, while I agree completely about high fat, sugar and milk doughs (American Style) being more appropriate for lower temperature bakes, vital wheat gluten, with it's off flavor and lack of contribution to oven spring, it isn't bring anything positive to the party.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2012, 03:18:34 PM »
Coffee Cup, before you completely accept your lower temp American Style fate, I would get your hands on an infrared thermometer and test the actual peak temp of the oven.  I've seen ovens that go to 500 on the dial but that exceed that in actual temperature. If that's you, then there's hope you can make a great NY style pizza.

Offline coffee_cup

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12
  • Age: 25
  • Location: State College, PA
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2012, 04:37:16 PM »
This is the dough recipe i've been using - http://www.pizzamaking.com/newyorkstyle.php

I will get an infrared to temp my stone.  The pizza pic I posted took about 7 minutes.  I preheated the oven for an hour, but did 1 smaller pizza before this one.

Also, there is a public park about 1 mile way that has a wood fired brick oven for the picnic pavilion.  No one ever uses the oven.. One of these days i'm going to give it a try. 

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22442
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 04:44:18 PM »
This is the dough recipe i've been using - http://www.pizzamaking.com/newyorkstyle.php

cofffee_cup,

I don't want to discourage you from using the recipe you referenced, but you might want to take a look at Reply 5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17103.msg166649/topicseen.html#msg166649.

Peter

Offline coffee_cup

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12
  • Age: 25
  • Location: State College, PA
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2012, 05:27:53 PM »
Very helpful, thanks.  I am going to try to figure out which one would be best for a lower temp 500 degree oven.


Offline David Deas

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 346
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2012, 05:45:59 PM »
With the right home oven setup, 3 minute (the lowest bake time for the style) NY pies can be produced at 530 degrees.

They say the same type of stuff about creating 'true Neapolitan pizza at home'.  People with skillets and all sorts of crazy mess.  But I learned a long time ago there is no real substitute for temperature.  In other words, if you are limited to 500 degrees you can always make a better American pizza than a New York pizza.

Quote
Gold Medal Better for Bread isn't that much cheaper thaHn KA, but it's less expensive and produces at least comparable results. If KABF was superior, fanatics like Varasano and Spangler would be paying the extra money rather than using better for bread (aka Harvest King).

I have no knowledge of Varasano switching from KA.  Nor do I know his motives.  Or how he feels about it.

What I can say is that Gold Medal is about half as much as King Arthur where I'm at.  And HM is the most expensive, although its very good.  There is no serious question about whether KA is better than GM.  The question is whether or not KA is worth the extra.

Quote
Also, while I agree completely about high fat, sugar and milk doughs (American Style) being more appropriate for lower temperature bakes, vital wheat gluten, with it's off flavor and lack of contribution to oven spring, it isn't bring anything positive to the party.

What type of vital wheat gluten have you been using?  What brand?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 05:57:07 PM by David Deas »

Offline David Deas

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 346
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2012, 05:58:53 PM »
Very helpful, thanks.  I am going to try to figure out which one would be best for a lower temp 500 degree oven.

A Chicago deep dish is the best pizza you can make at those temperatures.  IMO, it's a pizza that should be in every pizza maker's toolbox.  They're awesome.

Offline David Deas

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 346
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2012, 06:13:36 PM »
This is the dough recipe i've been using - http://www.pizzamaking.com/newyorkstyle.php

I will get an infrared to temp my stone.  The pizza pic I posted took about 7 minutes.  I preheated the oven for an hour, but did 1 smaller pizza before this one.

Also, there is a public park about 1 mile way that has a wood fired brick oven for the picnic pavilion.  No one ever uses the oven.. One of these days i'm going to give it a try. 

The problem is unlikely to be your hydration then. 

What technique do you use to open the dough?  Why do you feel that you can't get it to be thin?  What happens when you try?

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2012, 06:37:13 PM »
They say the same type of stuff about creating 'true Neapolitan pizza at home'.  People with skillets and all sorts of crazy mess.  But I learned a long time ago there is no real substitute for temperature.

I'm not a confused celebrity English chef making specious claims about skillet techniques producing 'Neapolitan' pizza.  When 'they' say things, I'm not 'they.'  ;D I've been eating NY style pizza, in all 6 boroughs, for 40 years, I've been studying oven thermodynamics for 15, I've been making my own pizzas in a home oven for 20 years (with a major discovery occurring 5 years ago, resulting in 4 minute pies ever since @550) and I've been consulting with aspiring NY style pizzerias for 3 years. When I say you can make authentic NY style pizza at 530 degrees, I'm not pulling it out of my butt.  Unlike the skillet idiots who wouldn't know Neapolitan pizza if it bit them in the butt, I know exactly what authentic NY style pizza is and can produce countless examples of flawless 530-550 deg. 3-4 minute NY style pies.

A knowledge of materials science can be a substitute for temperature.  To a point. As of today, there's no known material that's consistently producing authentic fast baked NY style pizza at 500, but, give me a year, and there will be.

If you want to say that American style is more suitable for 500 degree ovens, I'm with you completely (for those uninterested in modding, of course).  On the other hand, if you wish to stand behind your 650 deg. NY style claim by comparing my statements to the skillet idiots and talking about there being 'no substitutes for temperature,' then I disagree vehemently.

Quote
I have no knowledge of Varasano switching from KA.  Nor do I know his motives.  Or how he feels about it.

I'm sure you've read his recipe page, so you know at one point, he was a KA fan boy.  Right now, I can show you videos of him/his employees using Harvest King.  I don't need to know his motives or his inner feelings.  Actions speak louder than words. For Jeff, Harvest King (Better for Bread) is a superior flour.

Quote
There is no serious question about whether KA is better than GM.

You're absolutely right, there is no serious question- GM is comparable or better. KA has better marketing and far better brand loyalty.  But you don't make pizza with brand loyalty or marketing.

Quote
What type of vital wheat gluten have you been using?

As far as I know, there's only one type of vital wheat gluten. Are you asking me what brand? Over the years, until I came to understand the negative impact it was having on my bread, I used most of the popular brands: Bob's Red Mill, Now, Hodgson Mill and Honeyville.

Offline David Deas

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 346
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2012, 08:58:23 PM »
I'm not trying to imply that you're naive.  A bit generous perhaps is all.  Nevertheless, you're obviously very experienced.  And if you say you can work a New York style pizza in the 500 degree range then the only thing left for me to do is sit back and take notes.

Quote
I'm not a confused celebrity English chef making specious claims about skillet techniques producing 'Neapolitan' pizza.  When 'they' say things, I'm not 'they.'  Grin I've been eating NY style pizza, in all 6 boroughs, for 40 years, I've been studying oven thermodynamics for 15, I've been making my own pizzas in a home oven for 20 years (with a major discovery occurring 5 years ago, resulting in 4 minute pies ever since @550) and I've been consulting with aspiring NY style pizzerias for 3 years. When I say you can make authentic NY style pizza at 530 degrees, I'm not pulling it out of my butt.  Unlike the skillet idiots who wouldn't know Neapolitan pizza if it bit them in the butt, I know exactly what authentic NY style pizza is and can produce countless examples of flawless 530-550 deg. 3-4 minute NY style pies.

Are you talking about a true old school New York style pizza, such as what Varasano makes, or a street slice?  Because I have an extremely hard time picturing a Varasano pie being made at 500 degrees.  A street slice?  OK.  But the real deal?  The mozzarella alone would make the whole damn pizza soggy.  Where would the char come from?

And where and under what circumstances would a person study oven thermodynamics?  And for 15 years?  Is that some sort of professorship at a culinary engineering university or something?

Quote
A knowledge of materials science can be a substitute for temperature.  To a point. As of today, there's no known material that's consistently producing authentic fast baked NY style pizza at 500, but, give me a year, and there will be.

Try gold.

Quote
I'm sure you've read his recipe page, so you know at one point, he was a KA fan boy.  Right now, I can show you videos of him/his employees using Harvest King.  I don't need to know his motives or his inner feelings.  Actions speak louder than words. For Jeff, Harvest King (Better for Bread) is a superior flour.

I don't think so, my man.  It just doesn't work that way.  

Varasano has a business to run with plenty of other considerations to make.  AISTR, Jeff tried all the flours under the Sun and arrived at KA.  What's your theory on how that happened in the first place?  Was he brainwashed by the hegemony the whole entire time he *thought* he was being objective?

Atlanta is my home town so I'll just ask him the next time I see him or call out there.

Quote
You're absolutely right, there is no serious question- GM is comparable or better. KA has better marketing and far better brand loyalty.  But you don't make pizza with brand loyalty or marketing.

How convenient.  

So you're saying that anything contrary can be dismissed as a consequence of brand loyalty and marketing?  Because it can't possibly be that KA makes a superior product by most folk's standards?

Do you have some sort of a personal issue with King Arthur?  Possibly precisely *because* they're so popular?

Quote
As far as I know, there's only one type of vital wheat gluten. Are you asking me what brand? Over the years, until I came to understand the negative impact it was having on my bread, I used most of the popular brands: Bob's Red Mill, Now, Hodgson Mill and Honeyville.

No.  All gluten is not created equal, and all products are not of the same gluten concentration.  When you talk about oven spring and flavor I have no clue what you're talking about.  I've never heard or experienced anything remotely close to what you're talking about so I can't comment.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 06:53:37 AM by David Deas »

Offline pythonic

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2336
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Crest Hill, IL
  • Pizza......its what's for dinner!
Re: Hello from Central Pennsylvania
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2012, 01:54:11 PM »
Just wanted to say i started my pizza making journey with KABF and then gave gold medal a try and im extremely happy with the pie i can create for half the price.  But KABF in my opinion still has a slighty better flavor.
If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.