Author Topic: Les' Sebastopol "Sweet" Pizza  (Read 37247 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
Les' Sebastopol "Sweet" Pizza
« on: September 26, 2005, 05:57:20 PM »
Les’ Sebastopol Sweet Pizza

This thread is a three part recipe for a naturally “sweet” pizza (though not all that sweet really) that I’ve been experimenting with for the last six months or so.  Sebastopol is where I live, 60 miles north of San Francisco, and about 11 miles from the Pacific.  Here’s morning-afternoon pictures of the vineyards that surround me, and where Gravenstein apple orchards used to dominate the landscape.  Typical weather starts out with the Pacific fog in the AM and sun after noon, mid-seventies during the summer and mid-sixties during the winter, a great place to grow pinot grapes:


Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
Re: Les' Sebastopol "Sweet" Pizza
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2005, 05:59:26 PM »
In the afternoon:

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
Re: Les' Sebastopol "Sweet" Pizza
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2005, 06:00:50 PM »
 The Sebastopol Sweet Pizza recipe involves some unusual ingredients and techniques, so I thought it would be best to break down the steps.  This first part of this thread is the results a small test, the second part is the sauce, and third part is the dough, and the last part is assembling the pizza.  Altogether I am offering “Les’ Sebastopol Sweet Pizza.”  I hope some of you will try it, I’d love feedback.

First, “sweet” pizza theory.  I wanted a pizza that incorporates all the qualities I love, but usually have to go to different pizzerias or different recipes to get.  I love the taste of fresh tomatoes, but as everyone knows they are hard to come by (year ‘round at least); I also like a tomatoey sauce.  I like my crust on the sweet side, like French bread, but not so sweet you can taste any sweetening agent in it.  I like the crust with crunch on the outside and tender inside.  I love bubbles, and lots of them, in my pizza dough.  There are couple of other things I like which you will see incorporated into the final recipe.

I have consulted Peter (Pete-zza) privately to help me with testing, techniques, and my measurement figures (thank you Peter).  Hopefully he will add comments both in terms of what he’s learned and what he disagrees with. This first part is something I think Peter is a bit skeptical of, so if anyone else would like to test this theory and report his/her findings, that would be greatly appreciated.


The Experiment

The hardest part has been getting sweet dough without much in the way of sweeteners.  In my research I found out that honey offers some unique properties.  For example, because honey is concentrated, it helps retain moisture (hydroscopicity).  It also helps retard staleness and bacterial grown in dough.

But commercial honey is heated to get it out of the comb, which kills enzymes the bees add to concentrate the nectar.  Enzymes are basically accelerators which make complex chemical reactions take place in a short time.  The major enzymes found in honey are known to have positive effects on dough development, playing an important role in the fermentation process because they break down sugar in the flour so it can be used by the yeast. Sugars exist in many forms, and those present in flour can be classified into three types:

*   Very complex sugars, like starch. (About 75 to 80 percent of the sugar in flour is in the form of starch.)
*   Complex sugars, like maltose.
*   Simple sugars, like glucose and fructose.

Yeast can feed only on simple sugars, which are present in small quantities in the flour.  The complex starch that constitutes the majority of the flour's sugar must be converted to simpler forms until it reaches a form the yeast can use.  Without enzymes, there would be no transformation of sugar, and very little fermentation activity.

The main enzymes in honey are invertase, diastase, and glucose oxidase.  Invertase breaks down the saccharose and maltose into simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose.  Diastase changes some of the starch in flour to dextrins and maltose sugar. Glucose oxidase oxidises sulphydryl groups in the gluten chemical structure to make the dough stronger and more elastic.

My concept has been that if I could get some enzymatic action going, and prevent the yeast from using the sugars up, then it might make the flour’s natural sugars available to my taste buds.  But how to get them?  Well, there is a way to process honey without heat so that white honey results; white honey retains the original enzymes.  So that’s one thing I’ve been experimenting with to see what difference it might make to dough development.

I have tried to use only as much as needed to get results, and not add any detectable added sweetness to the dough (that’s ended up being 4% baker’s percentage).  Peter suggested I do a double blind test using regular amber honey versus the white honey in two different pizzas:

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
Les' Sebastopol "Sweet" Pizza
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2005, 06:04:58 PM »
It obviously wasn’t very scientific because only myself and my wife were the test subjects, but neither of us knew which dough was which when we began evaluating them.  The three differences we noticed were how much the different doughs rose, the amount of air in them, and taste.  The dough with white honey rose about 10% higher (The baked crust was about the same amount more airy):

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . experiment continued
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2005, 06:06:06 PM »
Finally, I cut the edge off both pizzas and compared tastes, which was most of my interest. I thought the sweetness was more “complex” in the white honey dough, and had a longer “finish” in terms of aftertaste. I reported this to Peter, who made valid points about the reliability of subjective experience and that just one test wasn’t very conclusive (I’ve since done a second test and tasted the same thing).  I agreed, but argued that the result does fit the enzymatic action theory.  Plus I’ve been eating many pizzas over the last six months, usually two or three a week testing for taste (I’ve put on 20 pounds doing so), so I think my taste buds are attuned to small differences (and being a vegetarian for 33 years makes one tastes buds more sensitive to subtle tastes).  Also, I’ve continued to notice a subtle quality to the sweetness in the (eight) doughs I’ve made since then.

Anyway, when you see white honey in the dough recipe, you will know why. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you think it’s worth the effort to find some, or just go with regular amber honey.

Here’s a couple of websites, one talking about honey and the other about enzymes in general:

http://www.airborne.co.nz/Enzymes.html
http://www.enzymes.co.uk/baking1.htm

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
The Sauce
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2005, 06:09:01 PM »
Sebastopol Sweet Sauce

The contribution this sauce is supposed to make to natural sweetness is achieved using vine ripened, naturally sweet tomatoes, and do as little cooking as possible.  But what sort of fantasy tomato is this, and where can it be found year round?  The answer: the grape tomato.  The grape tomato is growing by leaps and bounds in popularity, as the link below reveals:
http://www.bbg.org/gar2/topics/kitchen/2001sp_grapetomato.html

Recently Costco started carrying grape tomatoes for $4.29 for 2 lbs.!  That contrasts with what I pay now at Whole Foods of $2.99 to $3.99/pint (which is about 13 oz.).  Those at WF are organic however, and when you inspect the "meat" of the tomato it is less watery than the non-organic.  Even though the taste is very close, in terms of baking, the organics do better in my opinion.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . sauce continued
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2005, 06:11:42 PM »
As you will see from the recipe, it calls for slow baking the grape tomatoes, and Escalon’s 6 in 1 tomatoes (http://www.escalon.net/6in1.asp) which are vine ripened and not cooked (fresh chopped grape tomatoes are added when assembling the pizza as well).

The other strange thing (or you might at least wonder about its presence) is the ground anise seed.  I discovered anise early in my quest for natural sweetness.  If you put so much in you can taste it, the anise seed works against the sweet goal.  Anise is naturally sweet however, and has a little "bite" like tomatoes do.  So what it seems to do when just the right amount is added is to accentuate the tomato flavor and sweetness.  You'll notice I only use 1 tsp. that's to be spread over 8-9 pizzas.  I also find that grinding whole seeds in my little grinder gives a better result than buying it already commercially ground.

I have to say the sauce has been the hardest part of my recipe to reveal because I have never had a sauce I love so much, and love having the secret of when I feed pizza to my friends.  I think it might qualify as one the world’s best pizza sauces, so I would love to hear other opinions about this.

List of Ingredients:

•2 pints grape tomatoes, halved and salted (approx. 1 1/2 tsp sea salt)
•4 large cloves of garlic, minced
•2 tsp olive or grape seed oil

•One 28 ounce can Escalon 6 in 1 tomatoes, strained through food mill (use disk with smallest holes).
•15g (1/2 ounce) chopped fresh oregano (a 1 ounce package yields 1/2 ounce).
•1 tsp. fresh ground anise seed
•Approx. 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
« Last Edit: September 26, 2005, 08:18:37 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . sauce continued
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2005, 06:14:04 PM »
Preparation:

1. Salt the halved tomatoes* first in a bowl, mix in minced garlic and oil, spread on two baking sheets covered with non-stick aluminum foil, and bake in a preheated oven at 150° for 60 minutes, and then 10 minutes at 200°.

* If you have a food processor with 10mm (approx.1/2 inch) slicing disc, you can run the grape tomatoes through that by packing the feed chute with the disc still, push the pulse button, and then quickly but gently push the tomatoes through (it takes less than a second to pass through).  This loses a minimum of the juice (grapes are quite solid and hold up to cutting well) and significantly reduces preparation time.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . sauce continued
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2005, 06:16:12 PM »
2. While they bake, strain the 6 in 1 tomatoes and mix in anise seed, salt, and fresh oregano.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . sauce continued
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2005, 06:18:13 PM »
3. When the tomatoes are baked . . .


Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . sauce continued
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2005, 06:19:42 PM »
. . . strain them, a cup or so at a time, through the medium-hole disk of a food mill.  Use a spoon to help scrape off every drop puree possible from the bottom of the food mill disk (I usually do several cycles of straining-scraping).  Repeat with the rest of the baked tomatoes until you’ve extracted all the sauce.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . sauce continued
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2005, 06:21:33 PM »
4. Mix the strained baked tomato sauce and the 6 in 1 mixture.  Ladle 90g (100ml or just shy of 1/2 cup) into freezing containers (Glad sells disposable but reusable 1/2 cup plastic containers, I’ve used the same two dozen for months), and freeze until ready for use.  Normally makes about 8 to 10 servings, depending on starting tomato moisture, and how successful you were extracting the sauce from the baked tomatoes (as you can see from the picture, I usually make a double batch).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2005, 06:25:28 PM by Les »

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
Sebastopol Sweet Dough
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2005, 06:29:28 PM »
Sebastopol Sweet Dough

The goals of this dough are (mostly) natural sweetness, lots of bubbles, crunchy surface, chewy and airy interior, and a very fat outer edge.  It requires at least two days to achieve (I do it in two days plus 8 hours).  It is made in such a way that a lot of gas develops, but not so much as to require punching down, and then kneading carefully to preserve the bubbles in the dough.  Fortunately the dough is extremely extensible, which helps safeguard the gassy character of the dough.

The strangest thing about this dough is that it’s made using crushed ice, which means you have to have a mixer.  Ice is hard to measure volumetrically, so a digital scale should be used as well.  Feedback from a retired baker and Peter about what the ice does suggest the ice allows the water to be absorbed more slowly (and of course allows a longer kneading time), which permits a more even and better absorption of water.  One effect this has on the dough is a “meaty” finish.

You will notice the low hydration percentage (56%).  That’s because any higher moisture level will cause the dough to rise too much over the two day period.  You only want it to rise to a certain point (see below) so you can stretch the dough with gas still in it.*

*For the pizza making beginners . . . you will notice terms in the dough recipe like “bakers percentage” and “thickness factor.” If you are interested in learning to calculate using these formulas, here’s a link where you can read about terms:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1570.msg14325.html#msg14325
. . . and a link to a thread that discusses how to calculate using the formulas:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1662.msg15304.html#msg15304. Also, the standard for pizza dough is a high protein unbleached white flour, and the King Arthur brand is the most popular. Their high protein flour is called Sir Lancelot (referred to at this site as KASL). You can order it online here:
http://shop.bakerscatalogue.com/landing.jsp;jsessionid=c0302806771119262386843?go=home&revive=Y&pv=1119368320025 Click on “KA Signature Flours” in the upper left of the page, and then click on “pizza and pasta” on the top right of the page that loaded. If you don’t have KASL, use a high quality unbleached white flour (the brands Red Mill, Arrowhead Mills, and Stone Buhr all sell retail). Finally, if you are weighing with a scale that only has ounces, you can convert grams to ounces by multiplying the number of grams by 28.35.


List of ingredients

507g (17.88 ounces), the thickness factor is skewed because the pizza has an extra-thick edge.

Weight by grams • Baker’s Percentages • Volume Measurements
•300g unbleached KASL flour • 100% • (approx. 2 rounded cups)
•6g sea salt • 2% • (1 rounded tsp)
•2g instant yeast •.7% • (1/2 tsp)

•140g crushed ice (made with filtered water) • (lightly packed 1 cup)
   -28g filtered water • (2 Tbs) (56% total hydration – ice + water)
•12g white honey • 4% • (1 tsp)

•2g olive oil • .7% • (1/2 tsp) 
« Last Edit: September 27, 2005, 12:52:30 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . dough continued
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2005, 06:31:32 PM »
1. Combine all the dry ingredients -- flour, salt, and yeast -- in the mixer bowl and mix. 

2. In a small container combine the white honey (first coat your spoon with oil) with the 28g of water, stir until dissolved.  Set aside for the moment.

3. Crush ice in a blender (or with the parmesan blade of your food processor) to a fine consistency (crush extra ice cubes so you can easily measure out what you need).  Add 140g crushed ice to the dry ingredients.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . dough continued
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2005, 06:33:09 PM »
4. Using the paddle attachment, mix until the ingredients form moist crumbs (a minute or so).  Add the oil to the container with the water and honey, and then pour that slowly in with the mixer running. Knead with paddle or dough hook until dough is 65°.*

*What you want is for this amount of dough to mix for at least 20 minutes and reach a temperature of 65°(larger batches require proportionately more time).  In the KA mixer with a wide 6 quart bowl, the paddle works great for one pizza, but if you double up you will have to switch to the dough hook after a few minutes.  Peter reported that using a smaller, more narrow bowl in hot Texas weather, the dough reached 65° long before 20 minutes (because it creates more friction), so he used whole ice cubes (instead of crushed ice) to get to the target time.  He also was considering refrigerating his flour to help.  In my new Electrolux mixer, I use snow-cone consistency ice and a larger proportion of water (100g ice/68g water) and it works great.  In other words, you will have to make adjustments to your ice consistency and/or ice-water balance to achieve the at least 20 minutes of kneading and 65°.


When the dough is finished kneading, create a dough ball:

1. Take the dough and holding in front of your body with both hands, fold the dough away from you and press the ends together. Do not oil the dough or your hands at this point (why is explained below)!

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . dough continued
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2005, 06:34:36 PM »
2. Turn the dough 90° and fold again.  Do this 4-8 times until the dough is smooth except for the single opening you’ve been folding the dough toward. 
3. Sit the dough down on the counter and pinch that opening closed by pulling it into a nipple-like point, and making sure all the remaining crevices created by the folding are taken up into the point.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . dough continued
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2005, 06:37:28 PM »
4. Roll the dough around in your hands or on the counter to fully seal the dough ball at the point (oil on the dough or your hands makes this closing more difficult).  This is crucial, there must be no openings in the dough ball.  Usually I “spank” the closure point to help seal it.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . dough continued
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2005, 06:39:22 PM »
5. Soak the dough very liberally in unfiltered sesame oil (this oil will be patted off before baking, so it only imparts a subtle flavor).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2005, 06:42:39 PM by Les »

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
. . . dough continued
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2005, 06:41:13 PM »
6. Place the oiled dough in a small bowl and cover it with a folded wet paper towel.  IMPORTANT:  It is NOT to be made airtight.  In the picture I have, you can see I’ve altered an inexpensive plastic bowl by cutting out the middle of the cover.  This allows the wet paper towel to stick easier.

7. Refrigerate the dough for 48 hours (40° is optimum . . . for my fridge, the bottom shelf maintains that temperature).  Check the dough every 24 hours and re-wet the paper towel if necessary.

Offline Les

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 199
  • Age: 67
  • It's Proper to use Grape Tomatoes in Wine Country
Assembling the Pizza
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2005, 06:46:29 PM »
Assembling the Pizza

After two days in the refrigerator, AT LEAST SIX HOURS before you are ready to make your pizza, transfer your dough to a plate or wide pasta bowl and store in a damp warm place (I heat water in my microwave and store the dough in there).  Make sure the dough is thoroughly coated in oil.

Later, when it’s time to think about cooking your pizza, get your fresh grape tomato/sauce ready first.

Preparing the sauce for a 14 inch pizza:

1. In small bowl of food processor, pulse chop 70g (approx. 1/2 cup) fresh grape tomatoes (don’t overdo chopping them, the tomatoes are supposed to be chunky).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2005, 06:48:32 PM by Les »