Author Topic: Bakers from Montreal (and Canada): help me gather the best ingredients  (Read 1304 times)

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Offline whygee

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Hi,

After eating at "Best Pizza" in Brooklyn, I'm interested in baking NY style pizza here in Montreal. Reading through this forum, I realize that this might not be as straightforward as I anticipated ;D I bake in my electric range with a "kiln" shelf and I can get 600 F temperature on the stone on good days.

I'm looking for help to gather the best ingredients if somebody has tips.

Flour: I currently use P&H Milling's "Oak" Bakers Flour, which is a untreated and unbleached bread flour milled in Montreal from canadian wheat. I think the protein content is around 12%. As you probably know, potassium bromate is banned in Canada so I don't know if a better alternative actually exists. Maybe there's something I can add to the recipe to compensate for that?

Sauce: I want to do an uncooked tomato sauce with basil and oregano. San Marzano are usually my go-to tomatoes for uncooked sauce, but they are expensive (best price I've seen is 3$ a tin). Is there another brand that is good enough to be used uncooked and is cheaper than imported San Marzanos?

Cheese: It's tough to get away from Saputo's products here. From what I understand, I need the mozzarella with the highest fat content, so I'm thinking about going around a big italian store like Milano to find the fattest mozzarella.

Thanks in advance for your input.


Offline scott123

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Re: Bakers from Montreal (and Canada): help me gather the best ingredients
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 01:33:11 PM »
Whygee,

What are the dimensions of your kiln shelf?  Do you have a scale that's capable of weighing it? The weight will go a long way in determine baking properties. It really depends on the kiln shelf, but there's a small chance you can do a Best bake time at 600.  Maybe.

Tell us a little bit more about your oven. Does it have an electrical element on the floor and on the ceiling?  You're pre-heating it with the floor (bake) element, right? Where are you placing the kiln shelf in the oven. Does this oven have a convection feature?

I wouldn't worry about San Marzano's.  They're expensive, and it's, imo, almost impossible to find an honest brand.  The goal should be to find a good tasting tomato.  I was, for the longest time, very gung ho about puree, but, eventually I came around to the idea of hand blending tomatoes to make my own puree.  I don't know what brands of tomatoes you'll have access to in Montreal, but I would just grab a few of the least expensive brands, hand blend them, and taste them.

Canada should have labeling laws that tell you protein per 100 g, right?  Knowing the exact protein quantity for your flour is very important.

Fat is an important player in the cheese equation, but it's not a guarantee of great results.  You can have fatty cheese that performs poorly.  I can't speak for Canada, but sometimes when you leave the U.S., mozzarella can take on a yellow tone.  You want something that's very white and opaque.  I'm not really a huge fan of fresh mozz, but, I have dealt with pizzerias in other countries who had trouble finding a good traditional aged low moisture brick mozzarella and had better luck with the wet fior di latte.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 02:23:01 PM by scott123 »

Offline whygee

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Re: Bakers from Montreal (and Canada): help me gather the best ingredients
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 02:06:47 PM »
Thank for your reply. Here's as much info as I can gather.

Regarding the shelf, I bought it at a pottery store and the dimension are: 16 x 16 x 5/8". As for the weight, it's probably too heavy for my kitchen scale...

Here are the full specs on the flour:

- Protein  (%) 12,4 minimum
- Moisture (%) 14,3 maximum
- Ash  (%) 0,57 maximum
- granulation: U.S. #100 screen (150 microns)

My oven is old school with exposed elements and no convection. I heat from the bottom and place the shelf on the middle rack so I can do some broiling if the bottom is baking faster than the top. Unfortunately, the oven has a new tendency to shut itself down completely after being held at max temp for a while...

Thank you for the advice on the cheese. I thought I should avoid fresh mozzarella because it's too watery. We have access to good "Fior di latte" here, but it doesn't brown uniformly like "dry" mozzarella.

Offline scott123

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Re: Bakers from Montreal (and Canada): help me gather the best ingredients
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 02:48:34 PM »
I just went back and took a look at some photos of Best's pizza. I'm not sure why I thought it was fior di latte, but it's looking a lot like low moisture.  Fior di latte can be wet, but if you press it between paper towels, it removes a lot of the moisture.

That being said, I'm probably over reacting when recommending fior di latte. Montreal is not that far from NY.  You may not be able to get our exact brands, at least, not on a supermarket level, but, at the same time, I'm sure you can get a great aged low moisture brick mozzarella.

I just did a search for 'Saputo' in the forum:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8314.msg71734.html#msg71734

If Scott R gives Saputo his blessing, it's going to be good cheese.  Any chance you can score some 'Saputo Gold?'

What kind of bake times are you seeing now?

What are the weights of your dough balls (in grams) and how big are you stretching them to?

12.4% protein flour is a little low.  For a Best-like pie, I'd find a flour closer to 13%.

A 5/8" thick kiln shelf isn't ideal, and, for mirroring Best's 18" slices, a 16" stone doesn't cut it. Can your oven handle a larger stone? Do you have a ceramics supplier near you with competitive prices?  600 puts you really close to the realm where kiln shelves might actually work.  With your oven cutting out, though, I think you might be better off with a material that will let you work in the low 500s, such as 1/2" steel plate.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 02:51:23 PM by scott123 »

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Bakers from Montreal (and Canada): help me gather the best ingredients
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 03:01:30 PM »
New York pizzas are commonly made with All Trumps flour (14% protein content), but any other high protein content (13 to 14%) should work well in this application. If you cannot get a higher protein content flour, buy some vital wheat gluten (available at most supermarkets in the baking ingredients aisle) and use that to bump up the protein content. Starting with a 12% protein flour, you will need to add between 3 and 4% (based on the weight of the flour) vital wheat gluten (VWG) to bring it up to 14%. Be sure to dry blend the VWG into your regular flour, and remember to increase the dough absorption by 1.5% (based on the total flour weight) for each percent VWG that you add. This will help to impart that chewy characteristic common to N.Y. style pizzas.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline whygee

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Re: Bakers from Montreal (and Canada): help me gather the best ingredients
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 04:09:42 PM »
I have some Caputo "00" lying around, would I be better off with that?

I try to use the dough tool on this site to adjust the size of my dough ball to my oven. I don't think it could accommodate a bigger stone. I'm aiming for a bake time under 5 mins.

If I go to the cash&carry, I should be able to find some Saputo Gold.

Offline kickz28

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Re: Bakers from Montreal (and Canada): help me gather the best ingredients
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2012, 09:47:30 PM »
I have some Caputo "00" lying around, would I be better off with that?

I try to use the dough tool on this site to adjust the size of my dough ball to my oven. I don't think it could accommodate a bigger stone. I'm aiming for a bake time under 5 mins.

If I go to the cash&carry, I should be able to find some Saputo Gold.

Let me know if you find the Saputo Gold in Montreal. I use the Saputo Mozzarellissima with good results, but I'd like to give something else a try too.

As for flour, I use King Arthur BF because I always buy a bunch of bags when I go to the US, but when I don't have any, I use Robin Hood BF, and I don't think I can tell the difference (although I've never tried side by side)

Offline whygee

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Re: Bakers from Montreal (and Canada): help me gather the best ingredients
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 11:05:54 AM »
So I went to Mayrand (mayrand.ca) and I couldn't find the "Saputo Gold". All they have is "Mozzarellissima Pizza Cheese" and 2 or 3 other brands that look pretty similar.

However they do have Stanilaus "NY style" pizza sauce and "California red" diced tomatoes in 100 oz can. I don't know if this is any good. They also carry a lot of different flours by the 20kg bag.

This got me wondering if anybody has ever tried using ascorbic acid to replace the potassium bromate in untreated flour.


 

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