Author Topic: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment  (Read 4234 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline elsegundo

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 179
  • Location: Sacramento/El Segundo CA
  • Shakey's not stirrred
Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« on: December 30, 2005, 05:00:39 PM »
Many books say you need NO new equipment to make pizza. That is a myth. Pizza making is a hobby or pasttime. You need the right equipment. With commercial pizza at the cost it is, you will pay back your investment in a few weeks.

Indispensable is a pizza stone.  We are not baking cookies here.

Also if you knead by hand, you will soon lose interest in baking. I use a KitchenAid as well as a Cuisinart depending on the type of dough.  For a sheeter I use an Atlas pasta roller. You don't need this if you are not making thin crust crackery.

Also consider a pizza peel, dough scrapers, cutter, storage containers for the flour, and small ones for the refrigerated dough.

This list is not total but covers most of the essential.

You will need a small cash box for the money you save. Buy several large beer glasses cause you don't need to go to the local pizza joint as often and what are you going to spend the savings on.
Translation for our NY friends and family: we can buy a beer at our pizza stores on the West Coast, not just soda. ;)


Next myth: olive oil


Offline pam

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 61
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2005, 04:26:38 PM »
Many books say you need NO new equipment to make pizza. That is a myth. Pizza making is a hobby or pasttime..

Sorry to bust your bubble, but for some of us pizza is just food. Having all the specialized equipment is nice, and I thoroughly enjoy my KA, black steel deep dish pan, pizza peel, screens, quarry tile stone, but ain't none of it essential to making a perfectly delicious, perfectly acceptable pizza. I've had pizza cooked on a cast-iron griddle ovr a live fire in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh, India) that knocked my socks off, it was that good, and I've had pizza cooked in a hand-made, imported, Napoli-style wood-fired oven in a Toronto pizzaria that was a "Best of the City" that makes me puke just thinking about it. Bottom line is this: it ain't the arrow, it's the Injun.

(And, BTW, it's "pastime," not "pasttime.")

Quote
Also if you knead by hand, you will soon lose interest in baking
I suppose I can expect my 80-year-old mother, who's been kneading by hand since she was a teenager, to lose interest in baking any day now.
When an eel bites your eye and the pain makes you cry, that's a Moray.

Offline bortz

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 88
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2005, 04:32:32 PM »
Some of my best crusts have come from hand kneading. You can do wonders with the correct pizza pan and no stone or screen. It all comes with practice and technique.

Offline chiguy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 560
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2005, 05:43:07 PM »
 Hello,
 I think a person starting out can probably get by without the bare essentials. The important thing is practice and technique just like Bortz mentioned. I feel hand kneading can sometimes feel like a chore and can be a bit messier than using a mixer. I assume this is what elsegundo means when he speaks of a loss of interst in baking. As for The Greatest Generation like Pam's 80yr old mother and my 88yr old grandma, nothing deters
them.     Chiguy

Offline Iceman

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 25
  • Location: Chicagoland
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2005, 09:05:11 PM »
Hey Pam. You go. Give it to him strait, don't pull any punches. LOL.
It is better to eat pizza with friends than to eat sprouts alone.

Offline eric22

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 98
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2006, 01:28:32 AM »
Some of my best crusts have come from hand kneading. You can do wonders with the correct pizza pan and no stone or screen. It all comes with practice and technique.

Never had good results with pans unless I put them on a hot stone.  ???

Offline freshflour

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 60
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2006, 11:28:06 AM »
I'm not so sure I agree that all that much equipment is particularly essential.  You need an oven -  that much is clear, and you need something to cook the pizza on.  You also need a bowl for mixing the dough, and maybe another for rising - although they could be the same one.  Other than that, I don't know how much dedicated equipment is all that necessary.  Here are my thoughts on a few particulars:

My KitchenAid is a time saver, but I've kneaded plenty of dough by hand.  It's not that hard - especially with the high hydration of a pizza dough, so I wouldn't really count the mixer as essential.

If you go with a stone, you've got to get a peel to go with it.  A screen works well, too.  I've made plenty of pizzas on a greased aluminum pan, but I don't think I liked any of them as much as the stone-baked pizzas.

Any old tupperware container will do for a rising box.  I have a couple that I use only for dough, just so they don't accumulate any odd smells.

Cutters, scrapers, specalized storage containers for the flour?  I just fold the top over my flour bag.  So I guess my storage container is the bag it comes in.

Offline canadave

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 666
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Beach Meadows, NS, Canada, Earth
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2006, 03:34:25 AM »
Quote
Many books say you need NO new equipment to make pizza. That is a myth. Pizza making is a hobby or pasttime. You need the right equipment. With commercial pizza at the cost it is, you will pay back your investment in a few weeks.
As Pam said quite rightly, with all due respect that's your own opinion.  If you're planning on owning a professional pizzeria, then yes, as you say, "you need the right equipment."  Other than that, it depends on how seriously you take pizza-making.  I suppose you're pretty serious about it, judging from the proclamations of "facts" that you seem to have accumulated in your pizza travels.  However, others are not as "committed," and do not need fancy equipment.

Quote
Indispensable is a pizza stone.  We are not baking cookies here.

This is starting to be almost comically fun.

A pizza stone, while certainly a benefit to many types of pizza baking, is by no means "indispensable."  And I say this as someone who swears by my pizza stone (actually it's a set of unglazed quarry tiles--but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and concede that we're basically talking about the same concept).  

Many folks here achieve much the same effect with a pizza screen rather than a stone, as freshflour just pointed out I see.  And as someone else pointed out, a pan can give results that are just fine.  Perhaps not "the absolute very best it could possibly be," but who cares?

Oh, and by the way...so are you telling me that I should bake my Chicago-style deep-dish pizza on a pizza stone, not in a pan?  Show me where someone says to do that, please--I'd love to see how that's supposed to turn out.

Speaking of Chicago-style pizza, check out this link from the Encyclopizza that you seem to feel is infallible:
http://www.correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizza/05_Dough-making/08_dough_recipe.htm

What kind of flour do they say to use?  Hint: not high-gluten flour ::)

I can't wait to see how the olive oil "myths" are going to be debunked for our benefit.  We await your further pontifications on the subject.

Dave

EDIT (2/1/2013): As an alternative Correll link, see http://web.archive.org/web/20040606221443/http://correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizza/05_Dough-making/_05_dough-making.htm
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 01:43:06 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22123
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2006, 10:02:23 AM »
One of the things I really like about the forum is that people of all stripes have the opportunity to share their information on pizza making with others. With the possible exception of the water "myth", I tend to avoid such areas of discussion since I have been burned too often in the past and have learned that what appeared to be "conventional wisdom" was not conventional wisdom after all. The same goes for personal preferences. We are all conditioned to a great degree by our prior experiences, quite often starting from childhood. And that applies to preferences in pizzas as well. And to virtually everything that goes onto a pizza. There is no lack of opinion on this forum about what are the best flours, cheeses and tomatoes to use for pizzas and what equipment and techniques to use to make pizzas. I have learned that is best to remain fact based as much as possible and leave to others how they would like to use the facts, realizing that such "facts" are also likely to morph into something else with time. There are few if any absolutes in this world. We live in an opinion world.

I believe that elsegundo is well intentioned in his desire to share what he believes to be his "best practices" gained over many years of experimentation with pizza. Experience does teach us a lot after all, and I have learned an enormous amount myself from just being on this forum and reading about the experiences of others. A lot of it you won't find in any cookbook. But, I still have to pick and choose based on my own preferences and circumstances. I also sensed that elsegundo's posts on "myths" would provoke the types of responses they have. But I truly believe he was trying to be helpful. I personally took away from his posts what he believed to be his firmly-held best practices based on many years of experience making pizza.

Peter


Offline itsinthesauce

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 446
  • This is a sickness.
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2006, 10:37:00 AM »
Well stated.


Offline David

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 966
  • What’s So Funny ‘Bout Pizza Love and Understanding
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2006, 11:46:31 AM »
One of the things I really like about the forum is that people of all stripes have the opportunity to share their information on pizza making with others.
Peter



Sharing information is what makes this Forum so thorougly enjoyable, addictive and unique.This is the first time  (O.K. second!)i've remotely noticed it turn into a 'Tit for Tat' blog.Very Sad.............BTW the # 1 Myth in making Pizza Dough is that it's easy and  you just need four Ingredients.I'm sorry ,but without the most important , 'Passion'  -you'll almost always fail.
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline elsegundo

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 179
  • Location: Sacramento/El Segundo CA
  • Shakey's not stirrred
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2006, 12:13:07 PM »
Chicago pizza - requires a special pan -thanks

Pam,

 pizza is not just food. It is pizza. One of the greatest gifts from past civilizations. Like chocolate and pastrami. (and spell check)
You don't need special equipment, but you have it? Of course you do.

Are you guys really baking without a stone? Really? Just like the pizzerias? A deck is a large stone.

My grandma isn't kneading my dough - my KA and Cuisinart are. That is why I can make dough so often.

 "suppose you're pretty serious about it, judging from the proclamations of "facts" that you seem to have accumulated in your pizza travels.  However, others are not as "committed," and do not need fancy equipment.     Bless them.

I'm serious about pizza. I think a lot of us are. I believe if you could look into the kitchen of most members here you would see pizza equipment from peels, to stones, to mixers, to storage for all that AP flour. Something. You've got something. Be honest.

I think it is a disservice to suggest you don't need any new equipment and that you will enjoying a lot of great pizza.
The right equipment makes the process easier, and I believe better, especially for gluten development and browning.

What you buy is your business. But I prefer not to tell new folk you can just get by.
They deserve better.

Technique is great, and I would recommend listening to Pete-zza and the other experts, but you need a few tools.

I have had more pizza failures than most people have had birthdays.  Along the way I learned what I needed to do.
The day I bought a pizza stone was one large step for man, one large edible pizza for the family.



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









Offline pam

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 61
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2006, 02:55:16 PM »
pizza is not just food. It is pizza. One of the greatest gifts from past civilizations. Like chocolate and pastrami. (and spell check)

Wrong. It's just food, like any other food. YOU may think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, but you're saying so doesn't make it so. In MY book, and that of 1.6 billion Chinese, pizza can't hold a candle to Jaio-tze or Peiking Duck.

Quote
You don't need special equipment, but you have it? Of course you do.

The fact that I HAVE the equipment doesn't mean that it's NECESSARY, for me or for anyone else. Specialized equipment is a CONVENIENCE and nothing more. I was making thin crust pizzas on cookie sheets and deep dishes in cake pans long before I was GIVEN my first deep dish pan or ever heard of screens or quarry tiles, and when time or necessity requires, I stlll do.

You know, I really feel sorry for you, because, apparently, you can't make a pizza unless you have access to mechanical mixers, high temp ovens, stones, peels, and all that other fancy equipment. I know you're going to find this impossible to believe, but thousands of people make pizza at home every day without mechanical mixers, stones, screens, peels, deep dish pans, and all those other fancy gizmos, and nothing you or I or anyone else on God's green earth say is going to change that.

Quote
Are you guys really baking without a stone? Really? Just like the pizzerias? A deck is a large stone.

Last time I checked, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, Pizza Pizza, 2 for 1, and Domino's were turning out perfectly acceptible pies and ain't none of 'em are using a stone, and I'll bet they sell a hell of a lot more pizza in a month than the entire membership of Pizzamaking.com makes in a year. The fact that they don't measure up to YOUR standards of a "real" pizzaria may say more about your elitist standards than it does about the quality of their pizza.
When an eel bites your eye and the pain makes you cry, that's a Moray.

Offline elsegundo

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 179
  • Location: Sacramento/El Segundo CA
  • Shakey's not stirrred
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2006, 04:30:37 PM »
Pizza is just food. No. Difference of opinion.

A pizza stone is a small pizza deck. Pizza chains usually make pizza either on a deck or on a conveyor system.
A conveyor system typically blasts the pizza initially with 600 degree plus heat.  They aren't baking on a cookie sheet.

If anyone is happy making do with their usual kitchen equipment, I wish them all the best.
Pizza will be  better if you use the right equipment. That is my opinion.

That is the purpose of this website.  An exchange of information and opinions.


"You know, I really feel sorry for you, because, apparently, you can't make a pizza unless you ..."
   Debate the facts please and leave the personal attacks to the restaurant reviews.


Offline Iceman

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 25
  • Location: Chicagoland
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2006, 07:10:53 PM »
I have had more pizza failures than most people have had birthdays.

Crack me the ever-loving crust up. I'm 40-something and I'm proud to say that I've never had any failures. I say that in the sense that I've never made anything that wasn't happily eaten by someone.

Here is a perfect example of what I mean. Whether you consider this a pizza or not, the chef who created it does. I don't think anyone anywhere will have any credibility telling this chef that he is wrong.

Grilled Pizza with Grapes and Soppressata
Recipe by Joseph Wrede. Joseph's Table, Taos, NM.

ingredients
2/3 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces Gorgonzola dolce, diced
(Northern Italy's classic blue cheese; young gorgonzola, mild, creamy and beloved for it's soft spreadable texture.)
4 ounces soppressata, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
(A salami made from cured-dry pork flavored with red and black peppercorns.)
3/4 cup green grapes, halved
2 tablespoons snipped chives

directions
In a medium bowl, combine the water with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the flour and let stand until dissolved. Add the sugar and a pinch of salt and stir in enough of the flour to form a stiff dough. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Light a grill; lightly brush the grate with oil. Deflate the dough and form it into 4 balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball out to a 7-inch round. Brush lightly with olive oil. Transfer the rounds to the grill and cook over a moderate fire for 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are browned and crisp. Flip the rounds and sprinkle the Gorgonzola and soppressata on top. Grill just until the cheese is melted and the bottoms are golden; move the pizzas as necessary to avoid burning. Transfer the pizzas to plates and top with the grapes and chives. Serve immediately.
It is better to eat pizza with friends than to eat sprouts alone.

Offline elsegundo

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 179
  • Location: Sacramento/El Segundo CA
  • Shakey's not stirrred
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2006, 09:07:32 PM »
Iceman,

Your pizza would fit in quite well here in California. There is a famous restaurant in Berkley that has probably already copied the recipe.

I define failure as obtaining a result that was less than I was intending. I've had many and I couldn't eat them.

When experience, ingredients, recipe, and the right equipment came together, I obtained better than expected.
I wish someone had told me the complete truth when I was starting out on the Appian Way.

Enjoy the pizza. thanks.

Offline buzz

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 559
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2006, 12:29:42 PM »
You do not need a pizza stone to make excellent pizza.

I've been kneading pizza by hand for years--haven't lost interest yet. Check out cooking shows by Mario Batali and other top chefs of the world--not only do they actively practice kneading by hand, but a lot of them don't even use measuring cups.

Offline elsegundo

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 179
  • Location: Sacramento/El Segundo CA
  • Shakey's not stirrred
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2006, 01:36:38 PM »
Buzz,

thanks for referring me to Mario Batali

"You do not need a pizza stone to make excellent pizza.

I've been kneading pizza by hand for years--haven't lost interest yet. Check out cooking shows by Mario Batali..."

The following is from Mario's recipe on the Food Network:

Pizza Margherita From Food Network Kitchens
Show:  Ciao America with Mario Batali
Episode:  Pizza 


Place a large baking stone on the oven's lowest rack and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Generously dust a wooden peel with flour and place dough on the peel. Make a disk shape by pressing dough with the heel of your hands, rotating the dough between presses. Continue to press and stretch dough into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Spread the sauce on the pizza in a thin, even layer, making sure to leave a 1/4-inch border around the edges of the pizza. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the mozzarella.

Slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the bottom of the crust begins to brown.

Remove from the oven, tear the basil leaves and scatter over the pizza. Slice with a pizza wheel and serve immediately.



So Mario lists a baking stone, a peel, and a pizza wheel. Sounds like equipment to me, I could be wrong. I'll leave it to the experts.

Ciao

Offline buzz

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 559
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2006, 01:44:38 PM »
I repeat--you do not need a pizza stone to make excellent pizza. If you want to use a pizza stone, do so, but first-class pizza can be made without one.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22123
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Pizza making myths- 2 Equipment
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2006, 01:57:49 PM »
For me, the greatest value of pizza making as a hobby is that it allows me to play around with a lot of "toys" and to make a lot of different types of pizzas. I am not trying to be a minimalist pizza maker, even though I think I have learned enough about pizza to be a minimalist pizza maker if I ever got stranded on an island somewhere or in someone else's kitchen with virtually no pizza equipment.

To feed my pizza making habit, I, like many others, have accumulated a fairly wide assortment of pizza equipment over time. I have a stand mixer, food processor, and a bread machine, all of which I have used successfully to make pizza dough. I have a few wood peels of different sizes, a few metal peels of different sizes, pizza screens in several different sizes, two pizza stones, tiles, a cutter pan, several deep-dish pans, flat/perforated pizza pans, a dough docker, a perforated disk, a few bench knives, several pizza cutters, a digital scale, a digital instant-read thermometer, a Boos cutting board, a countertop toaster oven (with its own pizza stone), and a fairly eclectic collection of dough holders and other assorted pizza paraphernalia. To me, they are all just tools which I selectively use as my fancy strikes me or as a specific recipe or technique may require. I have even made good pizza on a preheated bed of rocks in a simple pie plate. You can't get much more basic than that, and especially if you also knead the dough by hand.

But, I would venture to say that a good part of my practical knowledge about pizza making has come from experimenting with so much equipment under varying conditions. As much as possible, I try to be wideband rather than narrowband. That also applies to the formulations I use and my attraction to baker's percents, Excel spreadsheets, and the like since they liberate me to expand my pizza horizons in virtually any way I choose. And maybe help others along the way from what I learn in the process.

I have personally chosen not to upgrade in those areas where I could perhaps get a better end product. For example, I have intentionally chosen not to go to a much better stand mixer than my standard grade, now geriatric KitchenAid mixer or to get a fancier and better oven than my standard grade Whirlpool electric oven, which is also long in the tooth. And I haven't tried to defeat the self-clean feature of my oven (I am a coward by nature). It's just a personal thing, and I understand perfectly well why others may choose to do the kinds of things that make their pizzas absolute masterpieces. Luckily, through the help of many people on this forum, most of us are now able to locate sources of some of the finest pizza ingredients in the world, in some cases at the same prices that the professionals pay. I am most grateful for that since I am no longer denied high quality in my pizzas. Maybe at some point I will relent and move outside the sandbox I now play in, but for now I am perfectly content with what I have and do.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 04, 2006, 02:09:36 PM by Pete-zza »


 

pizzapan