Author Topic: Pizza making myths -1  (Read 3492 times)

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Offline elsegundo

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Pizza making myths -1
« on: December 30, 2005, 01:01:35 AM »
For the new pizza makers, I would like to share some truth. There are a lot of pizza books and authorities who perpetuate pizza making myths. I am going to start with one of the easiest -flour.

Many, if not most, books state to use all purpose flour. It could work. You have to start somewhere.

When you travel to New York and look in the back of the store, you will discover high gluten flour. Please save yourself a lot of bad pizza and cut the chase. get bread flour or ideally high gluten. You might want to blend AP with it but pizza isn't crescent rolls so buy the right flour. You could do the semolina, Italian 00, or others. In the end AP will produce vanilla.

All the KA discussion is fine if you like it. So is the restaurant supply at a much better price.

If you still doubt that All Purpose is for beginners, check the bag in the dumpster behind your favorite pizza place. 

It is not going to read Pillsbury.

That was the easiest myth. Number two will be equipment,


Offline eric22

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2006, 06:49:48 PM »
http://www.think2020.com/jv/Recipe.htm

Jeff says the flour type really doesn't matter.   Maybe just a little.

 ;)


Offline gottabedapan

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2006, 07:59:44 PM »
Gee ... I guess that means that DKM's and most Chicago-style deep dish is plain vanilla.  ;D

Offline canadave

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2006, 08:35:38 PM »
Quote
If you still doubt that All Purpose is for beginners, check the bag in the dumpster behind your favorite pizza place. 
It is not going to read Pillsbury.

Funny you mention that.  I once looked in the dumpster of a pizzeria near my old apartment in NYC, and the labels on the empty bags were for a high-gluten flour made by.....Pillsbury.

Regarding the flour, I get your point, but you're not totally correct.  AP flour is not quite as good as high-gluten flour for SOME types of pizza; others are perfectly fine with AP or 00 flour, and in fact wouldn't turn out as well otherwise.

You sound quite confident and sure of yourself and what you're saying....but with all due respect, before you pronounce some sort of final judgement on these so-called "myths," you might want to double-check your facts (as should all of us...and not just regarding pizza).

Regards,
Dave

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2006, 12:16:44 AM »
Pillsbury has a good high gluten flour for NY style called balancer. 

Offline elsegundo

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2006, 12:54:22 AM »
Pillsebury. They make high gluten flour. I did not know that. We don't see it here. Good to know, especially if you are going to make pizza.

Thanks for the information.

I wonder who and what Pillsbury was going to make it for.  Perhaps pizzerias and pizza. Just a guess.

I won't characterize Chicago pizza; it's the holiday season- good will to all. DKM is fine; try it with pizza flour.

The truth is: the reason pizza books say to use all-purpose is because it is common, not because it makes a good pizza. Certainly not NY or crispy. Sorry, but if you want better pizza you're going to move from AP either sooner or later.

As far as facts, ask you favorite pizza place if they just use AP.
Maybe in Canada, eh.


A final word "Encyclopizza". Look at the recipes and the flour listed. Rest my case with the expert John Correll.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2006, 01:00:19 AM by elsegundo »

Offline canadave

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2006, 03:18:33 AM »
A famous saying from baseball managing legend Earl Weaver seems appropriate here: "It's what you learn AFTER you know it all that counts."  You might want to heed that, elsegundo.

First of all....when you make blanket statements like "all pizza pies MUST use high-gluten flour or they're 'vanilla'," you're treading on thin ice.  I myself use high-gluten flour for the particular style of pizza I prefer, and I recommend it over using AP flour.  However, I've made pizzas with AP flour, and while not perhaps *quite* as tasty as my high-gluten pies, they were still quite good.  Nothing in life is absolulte, and neither is flour usage in pizzas.

In addition, you seem to have an inflexible idea of what pizza should be (not Chicago-style, or pure Neapolitan-style, for instance?); and any pizza that doesn't fit with your "vision" is unacceptable.  Well, sir, believe it or not, other people might not share your vision of what pizza should be like.  Don't you think it's a bit condescending to tell other people "I hereby proclaim this to be the truth, and if you're doing it differently from how *I* say it should be done, you're wrong?"

And finally, just because someone on Encyclopizza says he uses high-gluten flour, and just because several recipes there call for high-gluten flour, doesn't mean that using some other kind of flour is "wrong."  If you can't fathom why that might be so, then I'm afraid you and me won't have much of anything useful to exchange in terms of constructive dialogue.

Incidentally, your claim that high-gluten flour is a good flour to use for many pizzas (notice that I do not say "ALL" or "MOST" pizzas) is hardly a revelation.  Just about anyone on this board knows that already.  You just wind up sounding silly if you present that idea as some sort of astounding revelation for the benefit of us ignorant fools.

Cheers,
Dave

p.s. my favourite pizzerias here in Canada use different flours--some use AP, some use high-gluten.   But wait, let me guess--the ones that use AP have bland vanilla pizza, right?

p.p.s. you might want to read some of Pete-zza's posts to see how someone who has real knowledge best shares it with others.  In particular, notice his lack of condescension and his clear grasp of the fact that even he, with all his acquired pizza knowledge, is still always learning.  He has not "closed the book" on his information store.  You might want to think about that.

Offline pam

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2006, 10:08:38 AM »
A final word "Encyclopizza". Look at the recipes and the flour listed. Rest my case with the expert John Correll.


Hmm ... methinks that perhaps someone might need to spend some time reading what John actually wrote in the Encyclopizza before citing him as one's authority, because methinks that John has quite a different take on the matter than what someone attributes to him.

From John Carroll's dissertation on flour in his Encyclopizza:

In the third paragraph under "Properties of Quality Pizza Flour, he says:

Quote
For pizza, protein level should be between 10 to 14 percent. The exact amount depends on what makes the best crust for your style pizza and dough-making methods. When in doubt, go with the higher amount of protein.


(OBTW, here's a free tip for you: 10% protein ain't high gluten. In fact, in the section "Three Types of Bakery Flour," he classifies 10-11% as "All-purpose flour.")

Quote
Flour for Pizza Crust

Most pizza crusts are made with bread flour. Although there’s no hard-and-fast rule regarding pizza flour protein level, the following numbers can be used as a GUIDE. To impart firmness to the crust, most thin crust pizzas are made with the highest protein flour, in the 13 to 14.5 percent range. It’s often called high-gluten flour. Medium-thick pizzas might use a slightly weaker flour in the 11.5 to 13 percent protein range. And thick crust or pan pizzas might use a flour with protein in the 10 to 11.5 percent range. As a rule, the thinner the pizza, the more protein the flour should have. If in doubt about what level is best for your pizza, go with 13 to 14 percent protein, or high-gluten flour. However, the above rule-of-thumb is a GENERAL GUIDE which can certainly have exceptions. A pizzeria should use whichever flour produces the type of crust most preferred by its customers.


Quote
Type and Grade

For most pizza, we recommend purchasing bread flour. Spec­ify the desired protein level—10 to 11.5 percent, 11.5 to 13 percent, or 13 to 14.5 percent. If in doubt, buy the top level, or high-gluten flour. NOTE: Since there’s no official definition for high-gluten flour, not all flours labeled “high-gluten” perform the same. Some perform like “medium-gluten” flour.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2006, 10:14:15 AM by pam »
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Offline freshflour

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2006, 11:05:09 AM »
When you travel to New York and look in the back of the store, you will discover high gluten flour. Please save yourself a lot of bad pizza and cut the chase. get bread flour or ideally high gluten. You might want to blend AP with it but pizza isn't crescent rolls so buy the right flour. You could do the semolina, Italian 00, or others. In the end AP will produce vanilla.

I haven't made a pizza from all-purpose flour in a long time.  I guess the closest I came would be Bob's Red Mill, which is hardly Pillsbury or Gold Medal.  I was never all that happy with my pizza before I found KASL, but there were also significant changes in my technique at the same time.  One of my projects for when my flour inventory is low enough is to go back and revisit the subject of flour, and see how I do with the all-purpose flour.  I've got a sneaking suspicion that it won't be all that bad in the end.

Offline elsegundo

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2006, 11:23:52 AM »
If you read John Correll's recipes you will see high gluten flour is used. Even if you drop to bread flour, it is still not AP.

If you are happy using all-purpose - enjoy.

If you think that is what they are using from those 50 pound bags in NY is AP - it is not.
If AP really did it, a lot of us would not be storing high-gluten, bread flour, semolina, 00, and others.

I am still not seeing reports that your local pizza place is just using AP. Ask the flour manufacturers like Pendleton what they are shipping to pizzerias. In their case, their catalog states for pizza:

thick to medium pizza: Big Spring and Power
thin to medium pizza:  Morbread, Bakers Craft, Mondako, and Blendako

cookies, muffins, pies, tortillas, noodles: all purpose.

Again, if you want to quote experts, I would put JC at the top of the list.

In the end, it is whatever works for you and a matter of taste.

Happy baking whatever you choose.



Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2006, 12:03:08 PM »
I would like to chime in here. I don't usually participate in these types of threads, although I do get a kick from reading them. What I would like to say is this. I have been making homemade pizza for over fifteen years. My equipment has changed very little over that time. I still have a standard residential type oven, I still use a stone, I still use my BBQ grill sometimes, I still use both AP and bread flour, whichever I have on hand, I still use tap water, I still use commercial yeast, I still put a little sugar in my dough and I still use my KA mixer. But what has changed, and what has made not only my experience as a pizza maker, but the enjoyment of all of my family and friends who have participated in making and eating my pies, more than any other factor, is quite simply the knowledge I have gained right here in this very forum. In just a few short months I have gone from a just so-so pizza maker to one who can now produce a pie where the family just can't wait until the next pizza night. I have learned techniques and strategies in dealing with dough, types of sauces, cheeses and ways to make that pizza even better, but the equipment and ingredients have not really changed that much. For example, I have learned that by adding a little VWG to my AP flour, I can get a lot closer to the high-gluten content found in KASL. I still would love to try some KASL but the fact that I have not had an opportunity to use it is not going to keep me from making pizza. I have also learned alot about dough management. A year ago I had not even heard that term, now I know how to take that fresh made dough and do a slow fermentation in the refrigerator for first one day, then 2 and now I find that a 3-4 day cold fermentation really makes a huge difference in dough manageability and also helps add some additional flavor. But the funny thing is, the dough is still made with basically the same ingredients. I still love to experiement, sometimes I am very pleased with the results and sometimes I am not but certainly one thing is for sure, I learn from the failures as well as the successes. I recently started making some incredibly flavorful pies using sourdough. The first couple pies we were not very happy with, but thru some of the techniques and processes learned here I continued to pursue it and now I am so glad I did. The results lately have been very gratifying for me.

Flexibility is probably the single most important quality in anything we do, pizzamaking notwithstanding.

Dan

Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2006, 12:18:51 PM »
By the way, the soudough mentioned above is kneaded by hand.  :)

Offline canadave

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2006, 01:01:50 PM »
Quote
Flexibility is probably the single most important quality in anything we do, pizzamaking notwithstanding.

Dan


If we'd all remember that single line, the world would be a lot better off.  Excellent point Dan!

Dave

Offline apizza

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2006, 07:39:38 PM »
In the end, it is whatever works for you and a matter of taste.

So I guess I'm asking why you started this thread. The last place I go for info is a dumpster. This is where I come for information and I suppose this thread is providing it, but blanket statements are not for me. I believe there are no hard rules. With them the fun would be gone.
I bake for my "customers" (family) and they prefer AP, but I'll try anything.  Am I a myth buster?   ;D

Offline Iceman

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2006, 07:48:06 PM »
The last place I go for info is a dumpster.

I'm not saying, I'm just saying, ........................ and I'm not at all telling you what to do. Just let me remind you of a young man who built a nice company and a healthy bank account from something he got from a dumpster. I believe his name is Bill Gates. I wonder what is his favorite style of pizza???






This is/was posted all in humor. I now return you to your regularly scheduled pizza discussion.
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Offline buzz

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2006, 12:26:42 PM »
AP flour is the best for deep dish pizza, which is some of the best pizza in the world.

You can make excellent thin crust pizza with AP flour--excellent.

"Myth" dispelled.

Offline DKM

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Re: Pizza making myths -1
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2006, 12:18:35 PM »
The only "myths" are things presented as absolutes across the whole pizza spectrum or believing one "expert" against another.

What is an "expert" anyways?

DKM
I'm on too many of these boards