Author Topic: Introduction  (Read 344 times)

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Offline 3.1416

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Introduction
« on: January 12, 2013, 07:54:38 PM »
Hi all,
My name is Dave. I have lived in the backward and barefoot region of Kentucky for more than 5 decades. I never liked pizza until I had one in Switzerland about 15 years ago. No sauce, puffy crackery dough, wonderful cheese, and, of all things, an egg on top. It was heaven. I also experienced a bread revolution there. I came home and built a wood-fired brick oven in the side of a hill, then built my timber-framed home around it. (I operated a sawmill at the time on the side). Bought a book, captured my own yeast and started making bread alongside my enthusiastic daughter. 15 years later I am ready for another one of those pizzas. So is my wife. We are not going to Europe to get it, or even New York. I could tell you how to make pork ribs or barbecued brisket or pork shoulder but I don't know a blamed thing about pizza dough, sauce, or mozzarella cheese. I am hoping for some help.

I do use baker's percentage. I do bake in the wood oven. Lower temp of course. I do have access to KA flour. That's about it.


Offline scott123

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Re: Introduction
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 09:12:31 PM »
Dave, welcome to the forum.  You built your home around your oven? That's fantastic!

This Swiss pizza sounds like an enigma.  Any chance you took some photos of it?  Does the pizzeria still exist?  Any details as to the cooking method- was it a wood fired oven? Any idea of how long it took to bake?  Was it golden brown and puffy crackery or charred on the rim?

What style of oven? Barrel? Pompeii? How tall is the dome on the inside? How hot do you take the dome and floor to? Would you be open to the idea of using the oven while it's at it's hottest for pizza, then letting it cool down a bit for bread?

Sorry about all the questions. We can probably start a new thread and get more help from other members, but I wanted to jump in because you've piqued my curiosity.

Offline 3.1416

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Re: Introduction
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 11:48:43 PM »
Scott, thanks for your reply. Have no idea if the pizzeria is still there or not. It was a wood oven with a dome 17" high. I know because I measured it while I was there. It was pompeii if that means it was shaped like an igloo. I don't think the temp was over 600-700 degrees. There was very little char on the pizza. The best was to describe the crust was to say it looked like a catchers mitt with the pocket up. Certainly wasn't docked. It was up and down like a scottish morraine or golf course. At my ovens hottest I have baked pizzas (not homemade), steaks, chops, potatoes. I am talking 900+ degrees. I fire it overnight, rake out the coals next morning. Bake bagguettes and flatbread first at 600 degrees. Couple hours later I do loaves.

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Introduction
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 11:22:42 AM »
Dave, Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you can achieve temps in your oven to bake any type of pizza you want. Would love to see pics of your oven and house if you have any you can post. Thanks for stopping in.

Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline scott123

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Re: Introduction
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 05:47:20 PM »
Dave, while I'm very curious about the Swiss oven, I'm also curious about your oven as well. This is what I meant to say :)

What style of oven do you have? Barrel? Pompeii? How tall is the dome on the inside?

While I do have a pretty good idea of European geography, I just took a look at Switzerland on a map and noticed that southern Switzerland is actually not that far from Milan.  Perhaps there's a Milanese influence on Swiss pizza?  I am by no means at all knowledgeable about Milanese style pizza, but from the little that I do know, it appears to be more crackery than Naples. Did your pizza resemble this at all?

http://www.supercoolfoodblog.com/2010/10/annabelle-milanese.html

I've also heard some people talk about Milanese pizza being a bit more NY-ish, possibly Neo-NYish, which, when done in a coal oven, can gravitate towards puffy crackery.

Do you recall if the slice had any droop/flop or was it rigid when held in your hand?

Offline 3.1416

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Re: Introduction
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2013, 09:02:05 PM »
Will post pics of oven and house as soon as I learn how. (Not kidding). The oven is a black oven or Roman oven. I suppose you could describe it as barrel shaped. The cooking deck is 3' wide by 4' deep. The top of the dome is 17" from the deck. It weighs 8000 lbs. I built it on a back-hoe trailer so I could weigh it and transport it. Then I set it on concrete walls I had poured. I used a loggers knuckle boom to pick it. The chimney is outside the oven in front of the doorway. Smoke comes out the door and up the flue. When I built it I embedded thermocouples at different depths in the bricks and refractory so that I could monitor what was happening thermally 1" - 6" away from the interior. I use J thermocouple 0-999 F. range on a multi-input controller.

As far as the physical characteristics of the pizza it has been too many years for me to reliably say. It did not look like the pictures on the link to "supercoolfoodblog." It certainly would not have occurred to me to call it pizza. It was more like really good bread with equal quality crust and crumb. Then someone came along and put a few good things on it as it occurred to them. Kind of like what I do at home with cheese, crackers and bologna. Impromptu but delicious.

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Introduction
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 01:56:45 PM »
Dave, can't wait to see pics, how can we help you post?

Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles