Author Topic: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?  (Read 3946 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Chi_Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Chicago, IL
First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« on: January 03, 2013, 05:50:14 PM »
Hello all.  

I have been making NY style pies for the longest and recently decided to try my hand at a Sicilian.  My inspiration was a local Italian restaurant that makes a thin square pizza that's somewhere between NY style and Pan pizza and the crust has a slight pastry like taste (http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/fX7kUz21SzpkJzm0e4u5pg?select=hrrdB8dv6qR-nGG24ouuGg#hrrdB8dv6qR-nGG24ouuGg).  I also consulted the Sicilian pizza recipe posted by Serious Eats ( http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/07/basic-square-pan-pizza-dough-recipe-sicilian-recipe.html )

I ended up using a Lehman dough with proportions similar to the Serious Eats recipe and let it ferment for about 2 days in the fridge.  Then I lightly oiled a 10x15 SS baking tray, placed the dough on it, covered and let it rise on the countertop for a another hour or so before stretching it.  Parbaked the crust for about 5 mins at 525 in the center rack, then topped with sauteed spinach, tomato sauce, sucuk sausage, mozzarella, and a little olive oil.  Baked for another 10-12 minutes and it was done.  

The toppings tasted good and the edge of the pie was nice and crunchy but I was disappointed in how the crust turned out.

1) The pizza stuck to the pan.  Not a huge problem and somewhat expected since I was using a new, unseasoned pan and far less than the 1/2 cup of olive oil specified in the Serious Eats recipe.

2) The bottom of the crust was not at all crispy.  I know the baking sheet won't give turn out pizzas as crispy as a stone but the crust bottom didn't even have any blonding.  It was totally soft save for a the edges that had received some olive oil.  I'm not sure why this happened.  Is it because I didn't use enough oil?  The Serious Eats site says the crust essentially frys in the oil on a Sicilian pizza.  Could it be because I didn't have the baking try close enough to the heat source?  My rack was in the middle while my stone is usually at the bottom closest to the heating element...wonder if that would make a difference.  I was able to get the crispiness I wanted by heating individual slices in a cast iron pan but it shouldn't require this.

3) Overall flavor of the crust was lacking.  I was surprised that an aged dough could be this bland especially since I've had success with fermented dough in the past and even Trader Joe's dough tasted better.  Wonder if I should have used more salt.

Below are the ingredient ratios and some pictures of the pie.  Any advice would be appreciated!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 05:53:16 PM by Chi_Guy »


Offline JimmyG

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 477
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 10:29:40 AM »
Chi_Guy,
Your dough formula and baking temp looks fine to me. I have made many Sicilians and regular pies with similar formulas. Your crust, however, is looking a little anemic and possibly undercooked. I might suggest that you preheat your oven a little longer and or extend the cooking time. Extra oil in the pan will indeed help the dough not stick, will facilitate browning the bottom of the crust and will help improve the overall flavor of the crust. I have also found that a little extra dusting of flour when stretching out these doughs will also help brown these pies better in the pan, probably b/c it is sucking up any extra moisture.  Additionally, from my experiences in the past with aged doughs, I have produced the best flavor with IDY doughs when the holding temp was between 40F-45F and the dough was aged 3 or more days.
Good luck with your next sicilian,
Jim
Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

Offline Chi_Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 02:55:25 PM »
Thanks for the helpful suggestions JimmyG.  You're right, the flavor and texture of the pizza could have benefited from a longer cook time as well as more oil.  Next time I will up the oil content and increase the parbaking to about 10 minutes before adding the toppings. 

Another question, most Sicilian dough recipes I've seen call for making the dough the day of the bake.  Is it worth the extra time to use aged dough for a Sicilian or is the different negligible?


Offline JimmyG

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 477
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 05:08:09 PM »
Yeah, holding the dough overnight or longer definitely improves the flavor of the dough. However, if you search through the emergency dough archives: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8297.0.html you will find a collection of dough links that Peter complied that will provide you a quick dough if you desire.
Jim
Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

Offline steel_baker

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 180
  • Age: 60
  • Location: Western Pennsylvania
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 05:23:26 PM »
Just based upon the picture showing the crumb, it definitely looks undercooked. A bit gummy & soft.

Don't know what temp you bake them at but in my home oven, I bake at 475F on the bottom rack. I get excellent browning and crisping of the crust. I use a 67% hydration dough with a generous amount of oil in the dough. I use blue steel pans with just an oz of oil for baking the tray. It literally fries in the pan. You need to be careful if using a shallower pan however to avoid an overflow of oil into your oven and causing smoke.
steel_baker  :chef:

Offline Serpentelli

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1164
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
    • Bat Man vs. The Penguin
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 10:01:53 PM »
I am an expert in pan pizza since I've made DS pizza twice. :-\

My kitchen oven S-U-C-K-S!! So there is a top heating element but nothing on the bottom ??? Horrrible. Lesson learned.

Anyway, my first DS pizzas were done on top before they were done on the bottom. (500F oven)

Tonight's fix:  Crisco th ewhole pan. Aluminum foil over the top for the first ten minutes. Then foil off and finished for an additional 7 minutes.

Perfection. Pies came out with zero sticking. Perfect cheese and topping browning.

Good luck

John K
I'm not wearing hockey pads!

Offline Chi_Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 04:41:39 PM »
Appreciate the helpful responses from everyone here.  I'm still troubleshooting my Sicilian pies.  Since my last post, I attempted a couple more pies one using the same Lehmann dough and the second with a Trader Joe's dough ball, but for one reason or another, neither was successful.  Same problems as before, bottom wouldn't get crispy despite additional oil and lowering the temperature to 475. 

But the good news is I've had a few breakthroughs in my pizza making that I believe will greatly improve my next Sicilian pie.  The biggest one is discovering no-knead dough method for pizza.  I made a pan pizza in a cast iron skillet using the Serious Eats no-knead recipe that turned out pretty good.  I saw a lot of similarities between pan and Sicilian styles so I think it can be easily adapted to a square pan.  I've posted about my experiences with no-knead dough here cently:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,23064.msg237420.html#msg237420  and  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,23402.msg238904.html#msg238904.  This dough recipe really gives me the flavor and texture that I was seeking in a thick-crust type pie, more so than the Lehmann recipe did.

As for the bottom not being crispy enough, I had the same problem with my pan pizza despite using a cast iron pan.  My thought is because the pizza bakes in an unheated metal pan instead of a hot stone, the bottom can't get as crispy.  Do you think baking it on the bottom shelf of the oven as opposed to the middle would help?  Otherwise I may just use a stone in conjunction with the pan to get the crispiness I want on the bottom. 

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21970
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 08:30:13 PM »
Chi_Guy,

I really donít know what to tell you to help you with your Sicilian pizzas that you want to make, but maybe if you purchased a steel pan it might help you to get the bottom more crispy.  If you are interested I used a regular Lehmann dough in a steel pan and did get decent bottom crust browning at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21198.0.html

I also worked on a Sicilian thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18281.0.html for awhile before I got the results I wanted.   

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3074
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 10:37:05 PM »
That dough looks way under proofed to me.   I think your main problem is that you are not letting your dough rise nearly enough before you bake it. Try letting it rise twice as much!   Secondly, Its very important when making pan pizzas that you have a very FLAT bottomed pan that lets all parts of the pan make full contact with a large, thick, or a large AND thick pizza stone.   Instead, if you are lucky enough to have an oven with a totally flat floor, you can put your pan right on the bottom of your oven.   If you do that you might want to experiment with bringing it up off the floor towards the end of the bake to fully cook the top.   Good luck!         

Offline Chi_Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 09:51:32 AM »
@norma427 - I'm using a SS pan though not the dark one you have.  I actually considered getting a blue steel pan but when I didn't achieve the crispness I was after with a heavy cast iron pan, I figured it must be my oven and not the pan (in fairness, the bottom was crisper than with the SS pan).  Was watching this video on a Brooklyn style Sicilian and noticed that even for a pie baked in a commercial oven, they deck it at the end to crisp up the bottom.  So I think putting the pie on a stone towards the end of the bake should do the trick. BTW, your Sicilian pies look really good!  What temperature do you usually bake them at?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCoTdmEaqks[/youtube]


@scott r - You hit the nail on the head.  This dawned on me during one of my recent experiments with NY style dough and reading Pete-zza's posts about temperature affecting rising times.  Back in the summer time when my house was hot, I would put the dough out to rise while I preheated my stone and within an hour, my dough had risen for me to use it for pizza.  But during the winter time, a 1 hour or even 2 hour rise is not enough.  That's would explain why the Sicilian dough kept fighting with me when I tried to stretch it out.  I've uppped my IDY and rise times now to account for the cold weather which improved my NY pies.  I'm sure it will have a similar effect on other pizzas.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 10:13:51 AM by Steve »


Offline Skee

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 147
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 10:52:50 AM »
So I think putting the pie on a stone towards the end of the bake should do the trick.
If you're putting the cast iron skillet on a rack, it's not going to come to heat fast enough to yield a nice crisp crust.  Hit with a burner for 30-60 seconds, until you can hear the oil popping, and then put it in the oven.  Or use a stone from the start.

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21970
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 04:53:27 PM »
@norma427 - I'm using a SS pan though not the dark one you have.  I actually considered getting a blue steel pan but when I didn't achieve the crispness I was after with a heavy cast iron pan, I figured it must be my oven and not the pan (in fairness, the bottom was crisper than with the SS pan).  Was watching this video on a Brooklyn style Sicilian (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCoTdmEaqks) and noticed that even for a pie baked in a commercial oven, they deck it at the end to crisp up the bottom.  So I think putting the pie on a stone towards the end of the bake should do the trick.  

What temperature do you usually bake them at?



Chi_Guy,

I have used other pans at home and at market and some of the pans donít get the bottom browning I wanted, until I found the right bake time, right rack position to use, the right temperature to try, etc. For my steel darker pans it all depended on many things if I got the right bottom browning.  I have tried different types of Sicilian pizzas and it all depends on what you like in a Sicilian pizza.  There are Sicilian pizza like they serve at L&B Spumoni Gardens where the crumb isnít as light as some Sicilian pizzas.  Other members of this forum and I did go to L&B Spumoni Gardens.  There are pictures on the forum of those pies from our visit to L&B Spumoni Gardens.  Maybe you want to look at this thread if that is something like you want to try. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17168.0.html   There are also many other styles of Sicilian pizzas.

Those Sicilian pizzas I made on that one Sicilian thread were baked at about 538 degrees F, give or take some degrees.

The video you posted was very good.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Online CDNpielover

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 675
  • Location: Sonoran Desert
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 01:06:48 AM »
It went clear in your post, but it seems you are putting the stone on the bottom rack and the pan on a middle rack.  You want the pan directly on the stone, that's probably why it's not cooking.   :chef:

Offline Chi_Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2013, 12:34:35 PM »
It's been a while since I last posted in this thread but I'm happy to report that my latest Sicilian pie attempt was far more successful thanks to the helpful advice given in this thread and learning from some of my past mistakes. 

I checked out the links Norma mentioned and decided to go with a modified version of the L&P Spumoni Gardens pie.  The pictures and descriptions looked delicious and I liked the fact that it could endure a longer bake because the top of my pies now brown faster since I've switched to dry mozz.  The recipe I used was a modified version of the one dellavecchia posted in the L&P thread http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17168.msg168598.html#msg168598.

Flour (100%):  399.77 g | 14.1 oz | 0.88 lbs
Water (64%):  255.85 g | 9.02 oz | 0.56 lbs
IDY (0.4%):  1.6 g | 0.06 oz | 0 lbs | 0.53 tsp | 0.18 tbsp
Salt (2.5%):  9.99 g | 0.35 oz | 0.02 lbs | 2.94 tsp | 0.98 tbsp
Oil (4%):  15.99 g | 0.56 oz | 0.04 lbs | 3.55 tsp | 1.18 tbsp
Sugar (1%):  4 g | 0.14 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.33 tbsp
Total (171.9%):   687.2 g | 24.24 oz | 1.52 lbs | TF = 0.1616

Dough
Used KABF and mixed for about 10 minutes in a KA following a 20 minute autolyse per Jeff Varasano's method.  Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes.  It didn't quite pass the windowpane test however at this point it was 1am and I just wanted to go to bed so I covered it and stuck it in the fridge.  Normally I my doughs go through a 1-3 day cold rise, but since I was baking it the following day had to make do with an overnight ferment.

The dough fermented for about 15 hours in the fridge and then at room temperature for 3 hours.  During the last hour, I shaped the dough in an oiled baking pan and let it finish proofing in there. 

Cheese
The usual Trader Joe's whole milk mozzarella, sliced and went right on the naked crust.   I didn't have romano on hand that day so topped the pie with parm from Whole Foods instead. 

Sauce
I used an uncooked sauce of strained Bionaturale tomatoes from a jar mixed with a little salt, pepper, dried oregano and dried basil.  Normally I add a little sugar to my sauces but I skipped it this time because these tomatoes tasted great and already had a good balance of acidity to sweetness. 

Toppings
I'm generally a  minimalist when it comes to pizza but the family wanted a heartier pie that night.  So in addition to cheese and tomatoes, I threw in some spicy chicken kabob (precooked), pickled jalapenos, and sliced onions. 

The Bake
The oven was preheated to 500 deg F with a stone at the bottom for about an hour.  I was torn between 475 and 500 but given all the problems I've had with browning in the past, I went with higher temp to be on the safe side.  The stone temperature registered between 519 and 539.  I moved the stone to the top shelf of the oven and placed the tray with the pie on the bottom shelf.

The pizza baked for about 16 minutes, rotated halfway.  Took the pizza out and saw that the sauce had cooked nicely and the rim had some good browning on it.  But alas, the bottom of the crust was still pale.  So with a little manuevering, I moved the entire pie from the tray to the stone that was still in the oven to crisp up the bottom for about 3 minutes.

Total bake time:  19 minutes.

Results
* While not perfect, this was the best Sicilian I've produced so far.  The stone helped the bottom get nice and crispy, just the way I wanted it.  Placing the pie directly on the stone got it much crispier than baking it on the stone from the get go.  In fact I would say the bottom was a little too crispy.  Next time I'll deck it for just a minute or 2 instead.

* The sauce was fantastic, absolutely the best sauce I've had so far.  It reminded me a lot of the sauce on Giordano's stuffed crust pizzas.  Some of it attributable to the quality of the tomatoes I used but I suspect it has more to do with the length of time the tomatoes cooked on the pie.  19 minutes vs. 6-7 minutes for a standard NY style pie will definitely bring out different flavor characteristics in the sauce.

* The pickled jalepaneos added a nice tartness that cut through the richness of the pie.  I might continue to use it on other pizzas.

* Next time I will up the quantity of mozzarella cheese.  There didn't seem to be enough mozz flavor.  It could be because the other toppings and large amount of sauce overpowered the taste of the cheese.  I'll also try to minimize other toppings next time.

* The texture of the pizza varied.  The pieces towards the outside were a bit more dense, and not that thick.  The ones in the middle were the best.  Airy, with a good hole structure, and lighter despite being thicker.  I may use a rolling pin next time to obtain a more uniform dough before stretching it in the pan

* The mozz baked into the cheese created a somewhat gummy layer on top of the crust in some places.

* Crust could have benefited from a few days cold ferment to improve flavor.  Note to self:  plan ahead next time.

* I'm beginning to think I need to ditch my SS pan for a blue steel one.  Even with high temps and baking at the very bottom closest to the heat source the bottom of the crust just doesn't brown.  The stone at the end helped but it was a pain and shouldn't be necessary IMO.  It seems the dark pans members are using give the best results.  Did you guys buy yours locally or online?  Most of the brick and mortar stores I've been to only carry the crappy non-stick pans.

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21970
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 01:12:36 PM »
Chi_Guy,

Your recent attempt really looks good!  ;D

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6968
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2013, 01:34:09 PM »
Chi_Guy, stainless is a poorer conductor than regular steel, which, in turn, is considerably less conductive than aluminum. Aluminum will warp, though. I'm not sure how L&B achieves even undercrust color with what appears to be slightly warped aluminum pans. If you can get your hands on a cheap aluminum sheet pan, it might do the trick, even if it doesn't contact the stone perfectly.

The gumminess between the cheese and the crust is typical of this style of pizza, and is an advantage, not a defect. It's a little bit like the exterior of a boiled dumpling.

Crispiness is a component of bake time. The longer the bake, the crispier the undercrust. If you want color with less crispiness, you need to either ramp the heat a bit, either by increasing the oven temp or using a more conductive pan. It looks like you could use a little more oil on the pan. That will help with browning as well.

Sicilian style pizza dough is traditionally the same as New York style. With this in mind, 64% hydration might be a little high For KABF. In addition, 2.5% salt is an outlier as well. 60% hydration might be closer to the norm, along with 2% salt. Less water will give you faster browning. Between using more oil on the pan and a lower hydration, you might get good browning and a fast enough bake with your current pan.

While better than the last, this dough is still looking a little underfermented. If you go with this time frame again, I'd increase the yeast. In addition, I think the tightness of the  crumb might benefit from considerably less kneadingĖ maybe half the time you're  kneading now.

A rolling pin is not recommended :)

Offline Chi_Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2013, 03:03:19 PM »
@norma427 Thanks!

@scott123, I agree aluminum would probably give better results.   Unfortunately, the aluminum pans I've seen so far don't have sides high enough to properly bake a Sicilian.  I'll keep looking.  Regardless, I intend to use a different pan for my next bake.

Thanks for the explanation on how hydration levels affect browning.  What sort of crumb and texture would a 60% hydration give to the crust?  I remember reading a Slice article on Sicilian pizza where they compared the results of different hydration levels in the dough...from 60% to 80%.  They determined that somewhere close to 74% was the ideal hydration level for a crust that was not too airy, nor too dense, and had some chew to it.  How does this differ from your experience?

As for fermentation, how much more yeast would you recommend for an overnight fermentation?  Next time I'm going to go with a 1-3 day cold ferment.  Would the 0.4% IDY be sufficient for a longer ferment? 

I considered the rolling pin because the Spumoni pie from what I'm told goes through a sheeter so I figured the rolling pin would have a similar effect.  One problem I noticed was that the dough wasn't stretched as evenly as I would have liked.  A rolling pin might help in that regard but then again, might ruin the airiness I'm after..

Offline Chi_Guy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2013, 04:08:12 PM »
One more thing, the final dough temperature was about 72 deg F.  Would this lead to the underfermentation you mentioned?  Thanks.

Offline Skee

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 147
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2013, 04:28:13 PM »
I remember reading a Slice article on Sicilian pizza where they compared the results of different hydration levels in the dough...from 60% to 80%.  They determined that somewhere close to 74% was the ideal hydration level for a crust that was not too airy, nor too dense, and had some chew to it.  How does this differ from your experience?...As for fermentation, how much more yeast would you recommend for an overnight fermentation?  Next time I'm going to go with a 1-3 day cold ferment.  Would the 0.4% IDY be sufficient for a longer ferment?
This is what 70% hydration with 0.35% IDY and a 48-hr cold ferment looks like:


Offline The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 971
  • Location: Manhattan, KS
Re: First attempt at Sicilian didn't turn out great....why?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2013, 05:02:34 PM »
C.G.;
A couple of things are probably happening here. The bright pan color is reflecting heat away from the pan, making it nearly impossible to bake the most difficult part of the pizza, the middle section. If you got just a little color development around the bottom edge, the dough might be pulling up slightly off of the bottom of the pan, thus creating an air gap between the pan and the dough, under this condition, it is all but impossible to get and bottom color at all. I think if you had been baking on a stone you would have had better luck with the bottom color. As for flavor, most of the crust flavor is developed as a result of baking, so if the dough is not properly baked, you do not develop any of the flavors that are characteristic to a baked pizza crust. You can see this if you take an English muffin and eat one half of it without toasting, then toast the other half and you will see a significant improvement in flavor.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


 

pizzapan