Author Topic: Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)  (Read 4006 times)

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Offline RSMBob

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Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)
« on: October 12, 2005, 12:11:16 PM »
I've been lurking here awhile and thought I'd share my efforts. I grew up in Chicago but now live in SoCal, so what better time for a great pizza (sausage of course) that the Angels-White Sox playoff game. I can't lose no matter who wins and my family gets great pizza as well.
 
While I will be attempting to refine my pizza making based on the multitude of things I have read and learned here, I gotta say that I usually just wing it...much less precise and scientific than so many of the great pizza makers here.
 
Dough: 2 cups warm water, 1/2 C Olive oil, 3 tsp yeast, 1 Tb sugar...let activate 15 minutes. Fill FP half full with flour (I use KA AP), a splash of salt and a little corn meal. Run FP and add liquid mix until dough ball forms and then a touch more so dough is a little sticky but not too wet. Repeat with a 2nd batch of flour to use remaining liquid. Place in oiled bowls and cover with plastic wrap. I do a rise and punch down and then refrigerate to slow rise/retard. THis dough was n the fridge 48 hours in 2 bowls and is enough to make 4 16" thin crust pizzas.
 
Sauce: I used Muir Glen peeled ground tomatoes for the first time and added a little sugar and salt and spices (oregano, basil, garlic, crushed red pepper. I did not cook it. Sauce was very good, but a little too chunky for my personal taste. Muir Glen is a very good brand of tomatoes and great to pick up when on sale!
 
Cheese: Don't know the brands, but 1/2 whole milk mozz and half part skim. Grated.

Sausage: This was just local store-brand, partially cooked ahead of time I get concerned putting raw sausage on a pizza cooking for a relatively short time.

Assembly/baking: Preheat oven and stone to 500 degrees at least 30 minutes. Lightly flour board/rolling pin and dough ball. Roll out to approx size and round shape of stone.  Ok, here's where I cheat. I pul the stone out of the oven and I fold the dough quickly into quarters...once in half and then in half the other way. I drop it on the stone and the unfold it and work it a bit to the edges so the shape and size are good. I prick the crust with a fork to minimize the huge dough bubble and pre-bake for 3-4 minutes. I pull the crust out with my peel and apply the sauce, a light layer of cheese, the sausage and then more cheese. Sometimes I sprinkle a little oregano and/or crushed red pepper on top (I didn't tonight) and then slide it back into the oven for 7-10 minutes. I pop it out with the peel and it is good to go. If I want an extra crsipy crust I will pull the stone out and let the pizza rest on the stone awhile longer.

I gotta say that this made one (ok 4) very good thin-crust pizza. The sauce with the Muir Glen's was very fresh tasting, and using some whole milk mozz allowed the cheese to melt better. Got a nice crisp crust with some voids on the edges. No char marks becasue the oven/stone was at 500 degrees, but it did brown nicely and the cheese just got to that nice bubbly/cooked look where it changes color.

Below (I hope) are the pics of the pie as it came out of the oven, a side view of a slice, and a view of the underside.

Appreciate any comments and critiques and ideas. Like I said, this is all by touch/feel/experience and the methods are not "pure", but it did make pizzas we enjoyed immensely.

(http://pages.prodigy.net/bobhayden/IMG_4321.jpg)
(http://pages.prodigy.net/bobhayden/IMG_4333.jpg)
(http://pages.prodigy.net/bobhayden/IMG_4335.jpg)



Offline chiguy

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Re: Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2005, 01:59:57 PM »
 Hello, RSMBob
 The pizza looks great, i would suggest a tablespoon of romano/parmiegan cheese mixed into your sauce, do this and maybe decrease the salt by a bit/pinch. The cheese has sodum in it so you want to add salt last. I was unable to detect how much flour you are using in your dough. I can tell you all purpose is what is used on thin crusts. Here are some suggestions.
1. Try making a dough with Instant Dry Yeast with room Temperature water.
    Your dough may be going to refridgerator too warm with your method, retarding dough in the fridge is reserved for lower temperature doughs usually made with IDY with room Temp water. Your process is usually for same day fermentation.
2. It is not necessary to proof oil in the water and yeast, this can be added last.
3.Oil amount may be on the high end for a thin crust pizza. I would have to see your flour amount to confirm this theory.
4. I would have water in the mixer then add flour,IDY,salt,sugar, mix to a ball 3 min then add oil. When you are using Active Dry Yeast(your Method) adding it to dry flour it must be added at a slightly higher temp than recommended on the package. my point is with IDY there is much more room for errors than with ADY.
5.ALso if you dont have a peel, you should try usinga thin board with parchment paperon it to prepare your pizza on. Then take it over to the oven and slide parchment paper &pizza right onto the stone. This will be much easier. I hope you try some of these ideas.I also hope you are not cheering for those Angles being from Chicago. I was wondering if you had a favorite pizza here in Chicago, fafmous or unknown.   GO WHITESOX,  Chiguy

Offline pam

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Re: Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2005, 02:50:22 PM »
I can tell you all purpose is what is used on thin crusts.
Um ... don't many recipes in this section call for high gluten or bread flour? ???

Quote
5.ALso if you dont have a peel, you should try usinga thin board with parchment paperon it to prepare your pizza on.
Um ... I would have sworn that's a peel in the top picture. Maybe he hasn't gotten the technique for sliding a pie off the peel onto the stone yet?
When an eel bites your eye and the pain makes you cry, that's a Moray.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2005, 02:58:53 PM »
RSMBob,

You can't argue with success. Your pizza looks fine. I will have to try it sometime.

I agree with most of what chiguy has said except for point number 4. I took "FP" in your post to mean food processor. If that's the case, I would put all the dry ingredients in the bowl first and then add the liquids, putting the oil in last. If you put the liquids in first and then add the dry ingredients, everything will splatter all over the inside surfaces of the bowl and will have to be scraped off. Also, the almost-liquid dough can get under the blade and crevices and gum up the machine. Using a stand mixer, I would basically reverse the process along the lines mentioned by chiguy. I personally don't put salt, sugar or oil in with the yeast and water while the yeast is being proofed. You can get away with a pinch of sugar with the ADY while it is being proofed, but that is far as I will go. You didn't indicate whether you were using ADY, but I assumed so from the fact that you proofed it.

As chiguy noted, you didn't indicate how much flour you used. But if you used 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup oil, I would estimate that you used something close to 6 cups, which would get you close to 60% hydration, which would be a workable hydration ratio for all-purpose flour. I suspect you don't measure out the flour because, with a food processor, it is easy to tell when there is enough flour since a nice dough ball forms just at the point where the amount of flour is just right. The downside of a food processor is that it produces a lot of heat in the dough because it has a high frictional heat component, about 3 to 4 times what a standard home stand mixer will produce. To mitigate the heat effects on the dough, I usually use cold water out of the refrigerator (and sometimes even ice water in the summer) and use mostly the "pulse" feature and, occasionally, the "on" speed, but for the shortest time possible (usually at the end of the knead cycle). I also tend to go right to the refrigerator with the dough so that it cools down as fast as possible. 

At 1/2 cup oil, I would estimate that you are at around 5% (by weight of flour). That will show up in the crust in the form of a soft and tender crumb. Some thin crust pizzas, especially the ones with soft crumbs, can tolerate even more oil than you used. That is a characteristic, for example, of many of buzz's deep-dish doughs that he also uses for thin-crust pizzas. Some of the versions I made included over 10% oil.

I was most curious about your procedure of removing the heated stone (I assume it is at least 16 inches or better) and then putting the rolled out dough on it to par-bake. I wouldn't trust myself to do that safely, although my recollection is that fellow member friz78 uses a technique similar to yours (i.e., removing the stone with the baked pizza from the oven). I took your procedure to mean that you don't have a wood peel but that you may have a metal peel, which you use only to remove/replace the pizza once it sets up and bakes in the oven. I am speculating here but maybe you can clarify.

Peter

Offline RSMBob

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Re: Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2005, 03:45:19 PM »
Thanks to the replies so far. Just have a minute here so this will be a quick reply (more later tonight).

As you can see from my pics, I DO have and use a wooden peel (gotta be 15+ years old now!). I have had a disaster or two trying to assemble the pizza on the peel and then transfer to the stone in the oven (yeesh the mess!). So I just scoop the hot stone out with the peel and quickly get the crust on the stone using the double fold technique. I then pop it right back in the oven for the par-bake. Following the par-bake I pop the crust out with te peel as normal to apply the sauce and toppings and then return it to the oven for baking.

I know"par-bake" is somewhat of a pizza sin, but I've been making the thin crust pizzas for almost 20 years now and I just can't get the crust sufficiently done/baked/crisp without frying the top of the pizza although my new oven does have a setting that prevents the top element from turning on at all so maybe I'll try that sometime.

Also, just to clarify, I probably do use a bit less than 1/2 C of oil with the 2 cups water. FP is Food Processor (Cuisinart), and I do add the liquid to the dry ingredients. A lot less messy and you can really tell easily how to get the crust pretty close to right with the dough ball forming. You're right about the heat, though...it does get the dough pretty warm.

Thanks again for all the good words...more later after I eat the leftovers for lunch!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2005, 04:40:35 PM »
RSMBob,

I guess it's time to get my eyes examined again :). When I was reading your post, I just couldn't imagine why you wouldn't use a wooden peel if you had one.

I don't consider pre-baking a crust to be a pizza sin. It is quite common in a home setting with thin crust pizzas, and can also be done with deep-dish crusts. One of our members, giotto, routinely uses it as part of his basic baking regimen with NY and other styles. It's all part or trying to make the best use of the ovens we have to achieve the best results with our pizzas.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 14, 2005, 09:58:48 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline chiguy

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Re: Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2005, 04:59:43 PM »
Hi, RSMbob
I noticed the peel after Pam so kindly pointed it out. I tend to glance though pics on the forum and get right to the text. Alot of pics look similar to me and i am well aware that formulation and procedure is more important in achieving a great crust. I assumed you being from Chicago and all, you are trying to achieve a Chicago thin crust pizza, kind of like Home Run Inn,Ledo's,Palermo's,Cheasdans or any neighborhood thin crust. In this case ALL PURPOSE FLOUR(correct) is what a high majority here in Chicago uses and they are run though a dough sheeter or rolled out in a home enviorenment. Not the same for a N.Y. thin though which is High Gluten and is usually Hand Stretched. I must say i dont see many recipes for a Chicago thin on this site at all. It's just deep dish this and deep dish that. I think most people that visit Chicago never even get a chance to try this type of pizza. They don't know what they are missing!!As for the peel to stone transfer, I understand that rolling out  these thin crust style and putting heavy toppings/sausage on can be very difficult. The reason is that most Chicago thins are placed on a pizza pan almost NONE get placed directly on the stone. You may try buying a 16in pizza pan to start the pizza on.It well be much easier,  lay it right on the (spray pan w/t canola oil & dust with cornmeal) pan after its been rolled out on the work surface and cut off excess or roll for a small crust, you may also consider purchasing a 16in cutter form. I would recommend at least 8 min in the oven at 500 Degrees,then pull out the pan with glove and use a Spatcula to break loose any ends that may slightly stick. It should come off very easy if dough has had time it set and bake a bit. Do this right by the oven door, once it is loose the pizza can be slid using the spatcula with ease right onto the stone to finish to your desired crust. I still would like to know the amount of flour you use. Go Sox, Chiguy

Offline RSMBob

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Re: Sharing my method/attempt/results at a thin crust pizza (pics)
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2005, 09:34:54 PM »
Hi chi...thanks for the note.

Next time I make the pizzas I'm going to measue things out just to see what I DO use and will let you know.
I did grow up in the Chicago 'burbs (DOwners Grove) and still visit twice a year to get my fill of pizza and italian beef (oh yeah, see the parents and sisters, too!) but have now lived in SoCal for, gulp, 20 years, the last 15 in Orange County (betweeen LA and SD).

I grew up on Barnaby's and then Connie's, but even though I had moved away by then, listening to my dad talk about Home Run Inn through the years got me addicted every time I go back now. Other great thin crust pizzas around that I frequent are AUrelio's, Dan's (little place in DG), and this summer I had my first Vito & Nick's! I prefer thin crust but do very much enjoy the deep dish/stuffed crust as well, and I have hit all the regulars from Uno/Due to Giordano's to Malnetti's to probably my favorite, GIno's East (there actually used to be one here 15 years ago). Amazing how many REALLY good pizza places there are in and around Chicago...I can't figure out how places like Domino's and Pizza Hut even exist there.

Anyways, I wll give some of your ideas a try and report back. In the meantime, I gotta say "Go Angels!". Hey, if it were the Cubs it would be different, but 15 years near Anaheim has got me wearing the red tonight, although I don't like the results so far.


 

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