Author Topic: My First Pie Attempt!  (Read 986 times)

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Offline rcbaughn

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My First Pie Attempt!
« on: April 11, 2012, 09:01:53 PM »
Well, here it is, my very first attempt at making pizza! Honestly it wasn't very successful. I made a béchamel sauce that had a bit too much nutmeg and also a bit thick after baking. I over dried the fresh mozzarella in paper towel and also should've broke it up so it didn't get rubbery. The mushrooms were right on and the fresh basil was great. I wish I would've left it in the oven for a bit longer, the bottom didn't cook like I wanted it too. I used my oven turned to 550 for two hours with the stone about 5" from the top, and cranked the broiler on high for 15 minutes before putting the pizza in. I think it cooked for about 5 mins, maybe a bit more since I didn't time it.

Lest I say, the spicy shrimp pizza I made last night turned out a lot better even though the dough was a bit too thin, but it was crispy at least. Wish I'da taken pics but I was too hungry for hot pizza! I think not drying the mozzarella at all made a big difference in the cheese's texture. I also cut that pie with a bit of that Kraft cream cheese laced shredded mozzarella. Any advice or criticism is WELCOME big time, I want to get better at this for sure! Thanks guys, have a great night baking!
More is better..... and too much is just right.


Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 09:15:36 PM »
If you're making thin crust American, that's great.  If you're trying for a Neapolitan, you've first got to focus on getting some serious heat to the pie.  Recently I think I've come close to cracking this nut after being inspired by member Jackie Tran (and others) and his work in this area in the "Almost WFO" thread.  I just thought it was really cool.  I don't think you can find stuff like that anywhere else on the net so you've definitely come to the right place.

Offline rcbaughn

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2012, 09:19:43 PM »
If you're making thin crust American, that's great.  If you're trying for a Neapolitan, you've first got to focus on getting some serious heat to the pie.  Recently I think I've come close to cracking this nut after being inspired by member Jackie Tran (and others) and his work in this area in the "Almost WFO" thread.  I just thought it was really cool.  I don't think you can find stuff like that anywhere else on the net so you've definitely come to the right place.

I almost placed this pie in the thin crust section, but I am so wanting to start making neapolitan pies and not american thin crust. I may need to give it up since my oven sucks in the house I rent, but I will read that post that you recommended. Thanks for the tip on that man, hopefully my third and future pies will turn out better.
More is better..... and too much is just right.

Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 09:23:38 PM »
I almost placed this pie in the thin crust section, but I am so wanting to start making neapolitan pies and not american thin crust. I may need to give it up since my oven sucks in the house I rent, but I will read that post that you recommended. Thanks for the tip on that man, hopefully my third and future pies will turn out better.

Give us your dough formulation.  You don't need an oven to start learning.

Offline rcbaughn

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2012, 09:39:53 PM »
I don't know if any of you read the pizza posts on Seriouseats.com, but that is what led me to start trying my own pizza baking. That led me to this awesome site. I used Kenji's dough recipe from the Hacker-Free method, which goes like -

20 ounces (4 cups) Italian tipo "00" flour (see note), plus extra for dusting dough
.3 ounces (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) kosher salt, plus extra for assembly
.2 ounces (about 1 teaspoon) active dry yeast
.2 ounces (about 2 teaspoons) sugar
12 ounces water

Now I cannot find "00" flour ANYWHERE in Birmingham, AL, so I used KABF, but I may have should've used KAAP. I also didn't have scales till last night, so I had to go with the ole cup measurements. That also may have contributed to the dough not cooking like it should. Anywho, that recipe was my starting point. I also have a propane torch for browning which I haven't used, but it's pointless if I can't get the lift in the crust that I need I feel like. Just be charred flatter pizza then. Ha.
More is better..... and too much is just right.

Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2012, 09:49:06 PM »
Ditch the sugar.  Neapolitan dough does not have sugar or oil in it.  Otherwise, your dough recipe looks OK.  Most members here use between 62% and 70% hydration, which is higher than the 60% you are currently using.

It is not surprising that you cannot find 00 flour.  It can be difficult to track down.  You will likely have to order it.  In the meantime KAAP is a good substitute.  You are right on with that.

Describe your dough creation and maturation process.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 09:52:00 PM by David Deas »

Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 09:54:07 PM »
And yes we read Slice.  Our site members have been featured on there quite a bit in the past.  My Pie Monday?  We practically own that segment.

Offline rcbaughn

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 11:12:11 PM »
Ditch the sugar.  Neapolitan dough does not have sugar or oil in it.  Otherwise, your dough recipe looks OK.  Most members here use between 62% and 70% hydration, which is higher than the 60% you are currently using.

It is not surprising that you cannot find 00 flour.  It can be difficult to track down.  You will likely have to order it.  In the meantime KAAP is a good substitute.  You are right on with that.

Describe your dough creation and maturation process.


You guys are regulars on My Pie Monday?! That is AMAZINGLY cool. I always look forward to Monday rolling around because of that, awesome place to get ideas for toppings and ideas for me. Maybe I'll get a pie on there one day in the future that is worthy.

And I'll try the AP flour next time over the BF. But with my dough I've been dissolving the yeast at first in the water warmed just a bit while I mix the flour salt and sugar (which I'll leave out). When the Kitchen Aid dough hook has that mixed, I'll slowly add the water/yeast mixture and let that just come together. I'll turn off the mixer and let it rest for 10 mins before I let the machine knead it for 10 mins. The last time, which was my first attempt at dough, the flour was off and I had to add water to get it to be a little more sticky. I wanted it to stick to the bottom a bit but not to the sides. After the 10 mins knead is up I took out the dough and felt it, did a windowpane test, and got a pretty good see through with minimal tearing. I threw it in a bowl with no oil in it and let it rest in my fridge for 1 day on that pie in the pictures, and the next pie the dough was in there for 5 days. The 5 day one wasn't as puffed up but tasted better. I wish I had pics. But yep, there is my method for bringing it together. Maybe it isn't too far off the norm.

P.S. - When I cooked the pizzas I took the dough out, divided it, rounded them smooth and let them rest in a bowl with just a hit of semolina flour so they wouldn't stick. I let them come to room temp on top of my oven covered with a towel before stretching on my peel with a bit more semolina to keep it from sticking.

More is better..... and too much is just right.

Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2012, 11:30:02 PM »
You guys are regulars on My Pie Monday?! That is AMAZINGLY cool. I always look forward to Monday rolling around because of that, awesome place to get ideas for toppings and ideas for me. Maybe I'll get a pie on there one day in the future that is worthy.

And I'll try the AP flour next time over the BF. But with my dough I've been dissolving the yeast at first in the water warmed just a bit while I mix the flour salt and sugar (which I'll leave out). When the Kitchen Aid dough hook has that mixed, I'll slowly add the water/yeast mixture and let that just come together. I'll turn off the mixer and let it rest for 10 mins before I let the machine knead it for 10 mins. The last time, which was my first attempt at dough, the flour was off and I had to add water to get it to be a little more sticky. I wanted it to stick to the bottom a bit but not to the sides. After the 10 mins knead is up I took out the dough and felt it, did a windowpane test, and got a pretty good see through with minimal tearing. I threw it in a bowl with no oil in it and let it rest in my fridge for 1 day on that pie in the pictures, and the next pie the dough was in there for 5 days. The 5 day one wasn't as puffed up but tasted better. I wish I had pics. But yep, there is my method for bringing it together. Maybe it isn't too far off the norm.

P.S. - When I cooked the pizzas I took the dough out, divided it, rounded them smooth and let them rest in a bowl with just a hit of semolina flour so they wouldn't stick. I let them come to room temp on top of my oven covered with a towel before stretching on my peel with a bit more semolina to keep it from sticking.



OK.  

Balling is done early in the process.  You never want to rework or reball dough that has already risen.  So normally you let the dough rise for some short period, then divide into individual balls that you let rise for a much longer period.  When ready to bake, just scoop one out and go.  Normally you want about 1.5 to 2 times the initial volume in terms of rise.  

Do not use Semolina flour.  You don't want that in your pizza dough.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 11:43:28 PM by David Deas »

Offline Malanga

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 11:58:49 PM »
OK.  

Balling is done early in the process.  You never want to rework or reball dough that has already risen.  So normally you let the dough rise for some short period, then divide into individual balls that you let rise for a much longer period.  When ready to bake, just scoop one out and go.  Normally you want about 1.5 to 2 times the initial volume in terms of rise.  

Do not use Semolina flour.  You don't want that in your pizza dough.

So, if I were to make a batch of dough and it's in one big mass, should I divide it before throwing it in the fridge?  Or if it goes in as one big batch, do I take it out, divide, and ball them up and throw them back in?  I've been balling a few hours before cooking and after the big batch has cold fermented for a few days.


Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2012, 12:13:49 AM »
So, if I were to make a batch of dough and it's in one big mass, should I divide it before throwing it in the fridge?  Or if it goes in as one big batch, do I take it out, divide, and ball them up and throw them back in?  I've been balling a few hours before cooking and after the big batch has cold fermented for a few days.

Normally you want the balls to go into extended fermentation and not the bulk.  Your current practice is very rough on the dough.

Grab some cheap individual plastic food containers and you will soon discover as well that individual balls are also more convenient than extended bulk rises.

Offline rcbaughn

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 03:09:16 AM »
Awesome, I'll always ball them a short period after mixing and kneading then. I can see how that will help big time in forming and helping the crust. And you just recommend the flour I use in the dough on the peel? I had a good bit of raw AP flour on the bottom of my first pie, so that's when I tried semolina. The raw flour tasted a lot worse than the semolina, but the semolina did give it a good bit of grit, and it may be inhibiting browning and charring since the crust has that as a thin layer between it and the stone. I guess just a tiny amount of AP flour and working to get it in the oven quicker will help me with my peel-to-oven transfer.
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Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2012, 06:52:39 AM »
You should have two peels.  One wood.  One metal.

The wood peel is for launching the pie.  Take some flour and rub it into the grain of the wood real good.  Dust off excess.  This prevents the dough from sticking to the wood peel.

The metal peel is for collecting the pie out of the oven after its done.

Offline Malanga

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 12:57:05 PM »
Normally you want the balls to go into extended fermentation and not the bulk.  Your current practice is very rough on the dough.

Grab some cheap individual plastic food containers and you will soon discover as well that individual balls are also more convenient than extended bulk rises.

Thanks for the low down David.  I know you're a respected voice in these parts, so I need to pick your brain to learn bit here.  Just for educational purposes, can you describe the reasons why the way I described (extended fermentation in bulk) is rough on the dough?  

How long should I let the bulk sit after kneading before balling?  And when they come back out after extended fermentation, I would not be kneading again, rather the only work on the dough would be to disc them up?  Lastly, would all of this pertain to other styles for the most part as well?  (I'm a total newb so I'm trying to get all of this down).  

« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 04:04:45 PM by Malanga »

Offline rcbaughn

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 04:24:48 PM »
Will do David, that was what I did to my wood peel but I suppose that I just didn't rub it enough and had to much that wasn't engrained. It was brand new so that is probably the issue partly. And I'm on my way to order a good metal one now. I'll go spend some time researching brands and sizes unless someone posts up a recommendation before I find one. Thanks again, your advice has been awesome. -Cory
More is better..... and too much is just right.

Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2012, 04:38:19 PM »
Thanks for the low down David.  I know you're a respected voice in these parts, so I need to pick your brain to learn bit here.  Just for educational purposes, can you describe the reasons why the way I described (extended fermentation in bulk) is rough on the dough?  

How long should I let the bulk sit after kneading before balling?  And when they come back out after extended fermentation, I would not be kneading again, rather the only work on the dough would be to disc them up?  Lastly, would all of this pertain to other styles for the most part as well?  (I'm a total newb so I'm trying to get all of this down).  




Extended fermentation in the bulk is not, itself, rough on the dough.  Its the part where you cut up and reball the already risen dough that is rough.  You've cut the gluten, released trapped gas, and tied the gluten structure all up in knots.

The bulk rise normally occurs for just two hours or so.  And after extended fermentation all you have to do is grab a ball and make pizza.  No kneading.  That is correct.

Does this pertain to different styles?  Yes and no.  Not a simple question to answer.  Look around the forum a bit at the different styles.  For Neapolitan, TxCraig sets a great example.  You might know him as "that guy from Texas with the Gianni Acunto in his garage", or so I've seen him called.  He has an entire thread dedicated to his baking and you could learn a great deal from it.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14249.560.html

For home oven Neapolitan pizza we have two threads that are pretty good.

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

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10024.0.html
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 04:44:07 PM by David Deas »

Offline David Deas

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2012, 04:42:09 PM »
Will do David, that was what I did to my wood peel but I suppose that I just didn't rub it enough and had to much that wasn't engrained. It was brand new so that is probably the issue partly. And I'm on my way to order a good metal one now. I'll go spend some time researching brands and sizes unless someone posts up a recommendation before I find one. Thanks again, your advice has been awesome. -Cory

Rub it in there real good.  Harshly.

For Neapolitan pizza, the pizza is not dressed on the peel.  Normally you dress the pie on a stone surface and then pull it onto the peel, stretching it as you perform this act.  When you initially open the dough, you only open it to about 9 or 10 inches.  As you pull it onto the peel after it is dressed, you stretch it out to the final 12 or 13 inches.  So part of the reason why you don't have to worry about the dough sticking to the peel is because the pizza spends so little time on the launch peel as it is.

For pizzas that are dressed on the peel, like a 21 inch New York style street slicer, that's a different ballgame.  But that isn't what we do here.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 04:44:59 PM by David Deas »

Offline rcbaughn

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2012, 04:57:11 PM »
Awesome, I will just start making it on my counter then or buy a good stone to go on my counter. Really all I gotta get now to be all set up is a metal peel from somewhere and one day a much better brand name stone. The $20 that I was given isn't cutting it I bet as far as neapolitan pies will go, but I could use it my cheap one for dressing when I do get a new one. Off again to search for a good metal peel!
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Offline ringkingpin

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Re: My First Pie Attempt!
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2012, 05:02:09 PM »
OK.  

Balling is done early in the process.  You never want to rework or reball dough that has already risen.  So normally you let the dough rise for some short period, then divide into individual balls that you let rise for a much longer period.  When ready to bake, just scoop one out and go.  Normally you want about 1.5 to 2 times the initial volume in terms of rise.  

Do not use Semolina flour.  You don't want that in your pizza dough.

I have "saved" or "rescued" dough which has risen and proofed by knocking it down, reballing, and then taking it out and it had enough umpphh to rise again.  I actually err to the side of caution and proof more balls than I need to make sure everyone gets their fancy full of pizza then reball the proofed balls and toss it back in the fridge. 
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