Author Topic: a few questions from a newbie  (Read 1594 times)

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Offline banjobounce

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a few questions from a newbie
« on: October 26, 2012, 03:04:54 AM »
Hey all,
I have a couple of questions that have been itching at my brain for a while. I know they may not make much sense, but I am really just curious. I realize that answers like "Why would you ever wanna do that?" are probably pretty obvious, but i can't help but wonder. Anyway:

1. Instead of using oil in the bottom of the pan for deep dish pizza, could one use the grease from sausage? Would there be any advantages or disadvantages to this approach? In the same vein, could one use sausage grease to season a a pan?

2. Could one use butter in place of oil in the dough? (i don't mean completely replace, but more up the butter decrease the oil) If so what effects would it have on the crust.

3. Can a decent deep dish pizza be made in a conventional home oven? Do I need stones or bricks to use in conjunction with the pizza dish to achieve this?

4. What is the deal with this crust carmelization that Pequod's does? To the best of my knowledge, they are just putting cheese around the outer edge of the pizza before they bake it. Is this in the ball park?

Thanks a million in advance. Any replies will be greatly appreciated as i feel so lost right now but really wanna make a mean pie.


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 02:21:43 PM »
If you're so curious to know the answers to your questions, just try doing the things you've asked about, because that's the only way you'll ever know. Basically your questions pertain to personal preference, rather than laws of physics or anything that can be answered with an indisputable yes or no. Regardless, I'm gonna make an attempt here to answer your questions because I'm bored. (Warning: My responses almost certainly will not give you the answers you're looking for.)

Question #1a: Yes, you can use sausage grease or any other kind of oil, or you can use nothing if using nothing is the best way to create the kind of pizza you'd like to eat. 1b: No one can tell you whether there would be any advantages or disadvantages because what you like is not necessarily what anyone else likes. 1c: Yes, you could use sausage grease to season a pan. I'm not saying you should or should not use sausage grease to season a pan; I'm just saying you can. But I think you already knew that.

Question #2a: Yes, you could use butter in the dough instead of oil. It probably won't create the same crust characteristics as dough that contains oil, but it can be done. Just try it. If you like it, then it's not only possible but it's also the right thing to do. 2b: My guess is that if you put enough butter in the dough, it will make the crust taste more buttery. But you'll never really know unless you try it.

Question #3a: Yes, decent deep dish can be made in a conventional home oven. In fact, amazing deep dish can be made in a conventional home oven. 3b: You don't need a stone, but I prefer to use a stone, and I assume most other members prefer to use a stone. But that doesn't make it the right way for you to do it. For all I know, you may prefer a pizza that can only be made without a stone. But you'll never know unless you try it both ways.

Question #4: You already know more about Pequod's than I do, but what you said sounds like what little I know about them.

You'll never know the most-correct answers to these questions unless you try these things yourself, because there are no right or wrong answers. There are no shortcuts to learning and understanding how to make great pizza (unless you just happen to get lucky and end up with exactly what you want after following someone else's recipe or instructions). Once you try the stuff you're asking about, you'll know the answers. Or maybe not, because sometimes you have to try things a few times before you have any idea whether or not you like the results.

Here's a blog post I published yesterday, which has step-by-step instructions for how to make a deep dish pizza that I think is freaking awesome. (It's also very simple.) I've included enough pictures to depict almost every step of making this pizza, and the post also contains links to related posts about things like how I seasoned my deep dish pans (with pictures, of course). Although I think it's a pretty amazing blog post about an equally amazing pizza, I realize that if I made one of these pizzas for you, you might hate it. If so, does that mean my information and instructions are wrong? No, it just means they're wrong for you. But if you love it, they're right for you. The only way you'll ever know is by trying it.

I invite you to try it.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 02:26:09 PM »
...Here's a blog post I published yesterday..[/quote]

Looks interesting AR, and thanks.  I'm going to delve into the deep dish playground this winter, I hope.
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Offline banjobounce

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 03:24:20 PM »
thanks! Wow this forum is a lot more open minded than some i have been on. I appreciate the responses!

Offline Garvey

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 04:16:07 PM »
I'd add to Ryan's great answers thus:

1. Sausage grease has a lower smoke point than oil, FWIW.  And oil doesn't have bits of meat floating in it...  But go for it and report back!

2. Butter has 14-18% water content; oil does not.  So you may want to adjust for that.  Also, butter also has a lower smoke point that oil.  If you start to approach an all-butter crust, it might brown mighty quickly, before the rest of the pizza is done.  If I were trying this, I'd cook at a lower temp for longer time (e.g., 400 instead of 450 or whatever). 

Offline CDNpielover

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2012, 05:20:54 PM »
just to play devils advocate here...   >:D

one of the great things about writing (and internet forums) is that folks can share knowledge and prevent a reinventing of the wheel.  if you read the forums, you will see that there has been quite a bit of discussion (and trial and error) about the questions you ask.  you won't find many folks using sausage grease or butter like you had mentioned, and for good reason (garvey alluded to this).  rather than encourage you to blindly try any idea that strikes your fancy, I would first recommend searching the forums and doing a TON of reading.  look at the big deep dish threads, and read them from beginning to end -- and take notes.  put in some hours of reading and thinking before attempting your first pizza.  if you still want to experiment with sausage grease etc. after that, then go ahead, but IMO your experiments will be far more productive as you'll have some existing knowledge to work off of.

i work in science, and when faced with a new problem, one of the first things I ask is "who may have had this problem in the past?"    ...and then i consult the literature.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 05:24:28 PM by CDNpielover »

Offline mrmojo1

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2012, 09:06:52 PM »
just to play devils advocate here...   >:D

one of the great things about writing (and internet forums) is that folks can share knowledge and prevent a reinventing of the wheel.  if you read the forums, you will see that there has been quite a bit of discussion (and trial and error) about the questions you ask.  you won't find many folks using sausage grease or butter like you had mentioned, and for good reason (garvey alluded to this).  rather than encourage you to blindly try any idea that strikes your fancy, I would first recommend searching the forums and doing a TON of reading.  look at the big deep dish threads, and read them from beginning to end -- and take notes.  put in some hours of reading and thinking before attempting your first pizza.  if you still want to experiment with sausage grease etc. after that, then go ahead, but IMO your experiments will be far more productive as you'll have some existing knowledge to work off of.

i work in science, and when faced with a new problem, one of the first things I ask is "who may have had this problem in the past?"    ...and then i consult the literature.


Fun conversation!  my wife is answer # 1, she loves to experiment, and change recipes!  Me im like you and garvey, i think theres a reason for recipes, some one has already done it and it works.  especially old recipes!!  we make sausge now, and i have a basic blend i use from many recipes ive seen.  salt, pepper, fennel, thats it. one night i came home found a huge bag new homeade sausage, there was a little piece of paper in it with an "O" written on it.  im like whats this "O"?  oh, i added onion powder!  oh man, i was way annoyed....i like the recipe as it was, i am now into checking repeatability etc.  and subtle taste differences of how i made it, grind the fennel 1st or feed it through the grinder.  she loves to test things!  she is of the opinion she may stumble on to something and thats great, she has fun with it.  i am of the opinion if onion powder was good in italian sausage, then i would have seen it or heard about it from family, friends, articles...etc.  but i am an engineer, and she isnt....and i probably need to chill.  but i really enjoy the repeating process, changing one thing only....right now its the oven i cook in, everything else i keep the same.  i sure didnt want to use new onion powder sweet italian sausage and the new oven and try to figure out if the oven changed the flavor?  but again...i probably need ot chill!  its all a lot of fun!!!  she may really enjoy ruining my controlled experiments!  i probably need it once in a while!!

Offline norma427

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 09:16:56 PM »
banjobounce,

Just to add my .02.  I did use butter to grease deep dish pans for a deep-dish pizzas, but never tried sausage grease to replace any oil in any pans.  I did try bacon grease and manteca to grease steel pans for Greek pizzas and Sicilian pizzas though and those pizzas turned out good.

Try whatever you want and post your results.   ;D  Experimentation is fun.

Norma
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Offline pizzaneer

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 11:27:05 PM »
@MrMojo: be grateful you have a wife willing to set foot in the kitchen and fool around, even it pushes your boundaries.  Mine does not share my interests, and I am very jealous of you.  Just sayin.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 01:00:07 PM »

Me im like you and garvey, i think theres a reason for recipes, some one has already done it and it works.  especially old recipes!!

So I suppose you put cornmeal in your deep dish dough? Because that's what almost every recipe out there says to do. And as you suggest, there must be a reason, which is that someone has already done it, and it works.

Except it doesn't work, and everyone who has done it that way has done it wrong, including me.

People might trick themselves into thinking cornmeal creates an "authentic" deep dish crust, but it doesn't. Regardless of whether you like such a crust, it's not "authentic," even though probably all of these recipes claim that it's authentic.

You're right, though; someone has already done it (Uno, Malnati's, et al). But not like that. In fact, they've done it nothing like that. Yet everybody knows deep dish dough is supposed to have cornmeal in it.

My experience is that almost every "tried and true" recipe out there is total BS. But it's not just recipes that are BS; it's also the methods these recipes instruct you to use. For example, instructions on how to season a pizza pan, or how long to mix pizza dough (regardless of style). They're always wrong, and they always direct you to focus your attention on the wrong things, for the wrong reasons. And if you allow yourself to trust the "tried and true" instead of doubting everything you read, you'll never learn anything; you'll never make a truly great pizza (or other type of food). Instead, you'll just train yourself to be impressed by mediocre homemade pizza (or other foods) when you could easily be making the best stuff on Earth.

So I don't take anyone's word for anything. If I did, I wouldn't know much about making pizza. Also, I advise people not to take my word for anything. I'll gladly share what works for me, and what I consider the right way, and what I think looks pretty good in the hundreds of pictures I've shared on the internet, but I hesitate to ever say my methods are the right way.

The reason recipes get passed on, often for generations, is not because they work. Conversely, they get passed on because people are unwilling to take the time to understand them enough to improve them. I think I make pretty good pizzas (of various styles), but if I see anyone passing down copies of my current recipes and/or procedural instructions in 20 years from now, it'll probably disappoint me.

By the way, I don't consider myself a deep dish expert (or even close).


Offline CDNpielover

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 01:25:01 PM »
So I suppose you put cornmeal in your deep dish dough? Because that's what almost every recipe out there says to do. And as you suggest, there must be a reason, which is that someone has already done it, and it works.

Except it doesn't work, and everyone who has done it that way has done it wrong, including me.

People might trick themselves into thinking cornmeal creates an "authentic" deep dish crust, but it doesn't. Regardless of whether you like such a crust, it's not "authentic," even though probably all of these recipes claim that it's authentic.

You're right, though; someone has already done it (Uno, Malnati's, et al). But not like that. In fact, they've done it nothing like that. Yet everybody knows deep dish dough is supposed to have cornmeal in it.

My experience is that almost every "tried and true" recipe out there is total BS. But it's not just recipes that are BS; it's also the methods these recipes instruct you to use. For example, instructions on how to season a pizza pan, or how long to mix pizza dough (regardless of style). They're always wrong, and they always direct you to focus your attention on the wrong things, for the wrong reasons. And if you allow yourself to trust the "tried and true" instead of doubting everything you read, you'll never learn anything; you'll never make a truly great pizza (or other type of food). Instead, you'll just train yourself to be impressed by mediocre homemade pizza (or other foods) when you could easily be making the best stuff on Earth.

So I don't take anyone's word for anything. If I did, I wouldn't know much about making pizza. Also, I advise people not to take my word for anything. I'll gladly share what works for me, and what I consider the right way, and what I think looks pretty good in the hundreds of pictures I've shared on the internet, but I hesitate to ever say my methods are the right way.

The reason recipes get passed on, often for generations, is not because they work. Conversely, they get passed on because people are unwilling to take the time to understand them enough to improve them. I think I make pretty good pizzas (of various styles), but if I see anyone passing down copies of my current recipes and/or procedural instructions in 20 years from now, it'll probably disappoint me.

By the way, I don't consider myself a deep dish expert (or even close).

Nice rant, but I think you missed the point.  No one here said to follow a recipe word for word without thinking.  instead, it was suggested that the guy do a bit of reading about his questions before he jumps blindly into the kitchen, trying to use butter and grease for oil without understanding what others have found before.  

That said, you're plain wrong when you say "almost every 'tried and true' recipe out there is total BS" and "They're always wrong, and they always direct you to focus your attention on the wrong things, for the wrong reasons."  That's simply not true.  Of course one should always be thinking about what they are doing, however I think you're being overly pessimistic when you say that recipes exist because people are dumb and lazy.

You know, your entire life and everything around you is a result of passing down accumulated knowledge through time.  We don't reinvent the wheel every time we build a bridge or put a rover on Mars.  Telling someone to ignore previous results is just silly!

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2012, 01:44:36 PM »
That said, you're plain wrong when you say "almost every 'tried and true' recipe out there is total BS" and "They're always wrong, and they always direct you to focus your attention on the wrong things, for the wrong reasons."revious results is just silly!

You might want to read this again:

Also, I advise people not to take my word for anything. I'll gladly share what works for me, and what I consider the right way, and what I think looks pretty good in the hundreds of pictures I've shared on the internet, but I hesitate to ever say my methods are the right way.

By the way, I don't consider myself a deep dish expert (or even close).

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2012, 01:48:40 PM »
Or maybe this:

I think I make pretty good pizzas (of various styles), but if I see anyone passing down copies of my current recipes and/or procedural instructions in 20 years from now, it'll probably disappoint me.

Offline mrmojo1

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Re: a few questions from a newbie
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2012, 12:12:13 AM »
@MrMojo: be grateful you have a wife willing to set foot in the kitchen and fool around, even it pushes your boundaries.  Mine does not share my interests, and I am very jealous of you.  Just sayin.


you are right! I am grateful!  she is the best!  I am very lucky!