Author Topic: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method  (Read 2803 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline hotsawce

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 599
Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« on: May 14, 2012, 02:15:59 AM »
Well, here's a new Kenji method I haven't tried yet. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/03/skillet-neapolitan-pizza-no-kneading-or-oven-recipe.html

If anyone is willing to give it a go and post results, you're welcome too   ;)

I have an electric stove, so I can really only do one variation of it but may try within the week. Looks pretty promising!!!


buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 09:04:28 AM »
A small propane torch with a throw away tank can't be that expensive at the home improvement stores. $20? I don't have the time myself to try the method but it does look like it should work with a bit of practice.
Don

Offline hotsawce

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 599
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 11:46:33 AM »
I don't even think the propane torch is necessary. Just an added touch.

Offline toddster63

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 233
  • Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 01:01:15 PM »
The propane torch can add a lot, believe me. Below are before and after pictures from some years ago when I was cooking in my Deni countertop oven.

You can get great little and powerful torches at the hardware store that screw onto disposable canisters—a breeze to use and maintain.


Here is typical before the torch, and then after the artful touch of the torch:


buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 01:45:52 PM »
Looks great! Did it take much practice to get that look?
Don

Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 11751
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 02:27:08 PM »
It's interesting how fine (tiny individual dots) the leoparding is with the torch.
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline toddster63

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 233
  • Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 04:13:48 PM »
It's interesting how fine (tiny individual dots) the leoparding is with the torch.

You can change that somewhat, Craig, but I found if you lingered too much in spot with the torcy in order to get darker and larger spots, said spot would get very dark very fast; Kenji's picture on the Slice page shows this a little... Dark, dark leoparding on pale blond always bothered me (usually freaky over-fermentation in my book)—I tended to run the torch all over the pie quickly and got the smaller spots on more golden color... But no matter, in the end the result is a taste of char in the mouth, heh...?

The torch takes a few pies to get down what you want—if you really want the bigger spots, that never did come easy to me, but running the torch all over was pretty easy and reliable for the look above..

Offline hotsawce

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 599
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 04:35:06 PM »
The only thing I would add is cooking in the skillet would be cooking the skin at a higher temp than in a Deni oven.

Offline toddster63

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 233
  • Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 05:52:42 PM »
The only thing I would add is cooking in the skillet would be cooking the skin at a higher temp than in a Deni oven.


The only thing I would add is cooking in the skillet would be cooking the skin at a higher temp than in a Deni oven.

Maybe, not sure.... With a 40 minute preheat the highest I ever got my modified Deni up to was 1200F on the stone, but usually did not like to cook over 750F, as there was just too much char. The moded Deni was great for the bottom of the crust, but there was just not the top heat to keep up with the scorching stone. That's what the made the torching so ideal.

I was fairly happy with it, considering I lived in a 14th floor studio apartment with no deck, patio... Sure prefer my LBE, now, that's for sure...!

Here is a pic of a Deni underskirt for me at 850F (too much char!), with a hand torched top:

Offline shuboyje

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1056
  • Location: Detroit
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 09:38:04 PM »
I did a pie like this last month with an extra dough ball, my steel plate, and my iwatani torch.  The resulting pizza had the look I thought I could achieve, but tasted horrible.   I didn't even finish a single slice before it hit the garbage.  The flavor was very very different then the char you get from a wood fire.
-Jeff


Offline hotsawce

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 599
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2012, 05:56:16 PM »
I don't really buy this story. Assuming you cooked the dough properly cooking it in a skillet shouldn't have made it taste significantly different from any other method.

Further, many have achieved a desirable char in an electric or gas oven that was not distinguishable from char from a wood fire oven.

WFO advantage is heat. Not "smokiness" or any of the other perceived benefits.

I did a pie like this last month with an extra dough ball, my steel plate, and my iwatani torch.  The resulting pizza had the look I thought I could achieve, but tasted horrible.   I didn't even finish a single slice before it hit the garbage.  The flavor was very very different then the char you get from a wood fire.

Offline shuboyje

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1056
  • Location: Detroit
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 06:54:39 PM »
I agree with everything you are saying except not believing my story, lol.  I've cooked many delicious pies on my steel plate in my gas oven.  I don't think it was the plate that let to the off flavor, instead I think it was the torch.  It was a very acrid bitter flavor I've never tasted in much more charred wood fired pies which explains my comment.  The iwatani runs on butane, but I have never tasted this flavor in anything else I sear with it.  I truelly believe it was something to do with the way it charred the dough.
-Jeff

Online scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6675
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2012, 07:56:46 PM »
I'm not a big believer in torch induced leoparding.  Here's why:

1. It never looks like the real deal.

2. It's the intense top heat during the bake that defines the oven spring/crumb, not after.

3. As Jeff noticed, the chance for off flavors is high.  I've never tasted butane, but it's smell would lead me to believe that it tastes really nasty.  Rarely is combustion ever perfect with any fuel, there's always a chance you'll get a minute amount of uncombusted butane on the food, and, even if it's a miniscule amount you will taste it. I can smell the odorant added to natural gas in a gas oven, but I think the distance from the burner to the food, as well as the deflection involved, prevents the food from tasting like the gas.  I also am a bit skeptical when it comes to the purity of torch fuel.  Impurities can give you a much dirtier/nastier tasting burn.

In other words, it's a purely cosmetic workaround, that, imo, isn't really cosmetically appropriate, that lacks the crumb/oven spring providing aspects of intense oven heat and that can add off flavors.

Offline toddster63

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 233
  • Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 08:26:57 PM »
The torch does add char flavor, period. I never went for deep char, but it does add the char flavor, and NO other chemical or fuel-oriented flavors—honestly (and I am a certified super taster). I can definitely taste the differences between my torched pies (less so with my LBE pies) and those of UPN, A16, Antica Pizzeria and others, but most of my family and friends honestly cannot. And a few of them I really, really trust too. So I guess I would call the differences, according to most laymen, subtle, and more than cosmetic, though the cosmetic aspect was important to me, absolutely.

SO... if you're in the situation I was in, where you have no deck for an outside pizza rig, and are living in a compromised apartment with NO large oven, and/or finding it hard to cook in an oven that gets to 475F at best (as my DeLonghi coutertop oven did at the time), I really do recommend the torch if you're dead set on getting some char. It's cheating a little bit I guess, but in the end it's all about the flavor in your mouth, right? And if you're hooked on char, it can be the only way to achieve char in some situations (like I was in). In the end the torch is just another tool in a creative cooks arsenal. I do like being free of the torch now with my LBE, and feeling like I am no longer "cheating"... :-D

Below is a picture of one my typical pies on my 750F Deni stone with Caputo Pizzeria. Decent spring, good flavor (a tad chewy), but pale. When torched after a 2:30 or so bake, these pies would spring a little tiny bit more under the torch and the char would definitely get added.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 10:36:54 PM by toddster63 »

Offline hotsawce

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 599
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2012, 09:21:41 PM »
Feel free to offer another suggestion for those of us that don't have access to extreme high heat methods.  ::)

Long story short, I wouldn't knock it until you've tried it. Do I expect it to replicate a wood oven? No. Do I think it could produce a better result than what a home oven could produce? Quite possible.

I'm not a big believer in torch induced leoparding.  Here's why:

1. It never looks like the real deal.

2. It's the intense top heat during the bake that defines the oven spring/crumb, not after.

3. As Jeff noticed, the chance for off flavors is high.  I've never tasted butane, but it's smell would lead me to believe that it tastes really nasty.  Rarely is combustion ever perfect with any fuel, there's always a chance you'll get a minute amount of uncombusted butane on the food, and, even if it's a miniscule amount you will taste it. I can smell the odorant added to natural gas in a gas oven, but I think the distance from the burner to the food, as well as the deflection involved, prevents the food from tasting like the gas.  I also am a bit skeptical when it comes to the purity of torch fuel.  Impurities can give you a much dirtier/nastier tasting burn.

In other words, it's a purely cosmetic workaround, that, imo, isn't really cosmetically appropriate, that lacks the crumb/oven spring providing aspects of intense oven heat and that can add off flavors.

Offline shuboyje

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1056
  • Location: Detroit
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2012, 10:05:16 PM »
Feel free to offer another suggestion for those of us that don't have access to extreme high heat methods.  ::)


I know this wasn't directed at me, but that is actually why I tried this method.  If I were to continue on I would probably try to build a stovetop oven with a steel plate that sits on top of the burner and is preheated, a small metal "oven" that sits on top of it, and the torch projecting into the "oven" heating it and providing top heat, but not hitting the crust with direct flame.  it would be small, cheap, and if it worked could work for pretty much anyone.  I'd probably insulate the "oven" to allow it to hit higher temps and also isolate the fuel canister from the heat(no explosions please).
-Jeff

Offline toddster63

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 233
  • Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2012, 10:55:38 PM »
I know this wasn't directed at me, but that is actually why I tried this method.  If I were to continue on I would probably try to build a stovetop oven with a steel plate that sits on top of the burner and is preheated, a small metal "oven" that sits on top of it, and the torch projecting into the "oven" heating it and providing top heat, but not hitting the crust with direct flame.  it would be small, cheap, and if it worked could work for pretty much anyone.  I'd probably insulate the "oven" to allow it to hit higher temps and also isolate the fuel canister from the heat(no explosions please).

Interesting idea, shuboyje... I make many kinds of "authentic" pizzas that has taken me years to perfect (Neapolitan, Chicago deep dish, Elite NY, 1950's cracker) and the one thing I have found invaluable—even over precision (bakers %'s for example or temperatures)—is creativity. Scientific approach yes, but good pies most often come from standing back and saying, "How can I do this better...?" And then thinking outside the box (or the instructions within threads)...

Offline hotsawce

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 599
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2012, 12:54:11 PM »
I don't see how you could have done a "pie like this last month" when the the method was posted less than a month ago....

I know this wasn't directed at me, but that is actually why I tried this method.  If I were to continue on I would probably try to build a stovetop oven with a steel plate that sits on top of the burner and is preheated, a small metal "oven" that sits on top of it, and the torch projecting into the "oven" heating it and providing top heat, but not hitting the crust with direct flame.  it would be small, cheap, and if it worked could work for pretty much anyone.  I'd probably insulate the "oven" to allow it to hit higher temps and also isolate the fuel canister from the heat(no explosions please).

buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2012, 03:09:59 PM »
Jeff, Good luck with that idea, I found in my experiments that the steel plate was too conductive and the bottoms burned.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=13610.0
the original oven   
http://inventorspot.com/articles/stovetop_ceramic_pizza_oven_bake_9872
Don


I know this wasn't directed at me, but that is actually why I tried this method.  If I were to continue on I would probably try to build a stovetop oven with a steel plate that sits on top of the burner and is preheated, a small metal "oven" that sits on top of it, and the torch projecting into the "oven" heating it and providing top heat, but not hitting the crust with direct flame.  it would be small, cheap, and if it worked could work for pretty much anyone.  I'd probably insulate the "oven" to allow it to hit higher temps and also isolate the fuel canister from the heat(no explosions please).

Offline shuboyje

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1056
  • Location: Detroit
Re: Kenji Lopez Stove Neapolitan Method
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2012, 09:00:32 PM »
I don't see how you could have done a "pie like this last month" when the the method was posted less than a month ago....


When my father was a kid in the mid 50's his family spent a summer living in an apartment in connecticut while my grandfather was working there.  He has told me many times about the old Italian woman in the building who would make them pizza.  Guess how she cooked it?  In a pan on her stove top.  I doubt she had a time machine....

I've had my steel plate for about 6 months, before that I was using a cast iron pan preheated on the stove top then finished under the broiler.  When I got my iwatani one of my first thoughts was to use it in place of the broiler, and believe it or not that's what I did.

I'm totally behind finding a method similar to this that will work, I simply reported my results using a torch, I'm not sure why you are taking such issue with it?
-Jeff