Author Topic: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups  (Read 3381 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 myth -4 measuring cups
« on: January 05, 2006, 03:43:04 PM »
If your pizza isn't as great as you want it, it could be because you:
used AP,
you baked it on a cookie sheet , BTW a pizza pan is specialized equipment,
you used olive oil when another oil might be better,
you didn't use a fully heated pizza stone

or you received a recipe measured in cups of flour. 

Myth # 4    measuring cups for flour

Pizza books are notorious for saying use 3 - 4 cups of flour.
Even when they say 3 1/2 cups flour, how much is that.  16 ounces? Maybe


If you can borrow a scale, after carefully noting the weight of the container, scoop up your flour and weigh. What did you get?Have a friend do it. What did he get? Close.

There is a reason pizza professionals and bakers use weights for flour.

When you see a recipe posted and it says 3 cups flour do you know if that is a 4 ounce cup or a 6 ounce.

If the author is trying for hydration level of 44 percent by weight, and you haven't weighed the flour you are guessing.
Some people believe pizza is like love. It's all good.  For others, you have to weigh.

If fact, many pizza experts even weigh down to the salt, sugar, and yeast.

If you are happy with the way your pizza is and the way you are doing things, fine.

If you want to try a different approach,  a small scale could be really beneficial.
Pelouze.
Or Soehnle, Salton, or whatever brand you trust.

As Mario, Emeril, and Alton say,
"Now let's get that pizza stone really hot. "
 
There is another weigh to make great pizza.











Offline canadianbacon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1041
  • Age: 49
  • DoughBoy
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2006, 03:45:44 PM »
A very interesting post, thanks for taking the time to do it.
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Iceman

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 25
  • Location: Chicagoland
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2006, 05:29:37 PM »
Generally speaking, these "myth" threads are humorous, for the light reading part of them. Other than that, well, I'll refrain for the most basic opinion and just say "to each their own".

I can't remember ever seeing a show where Mario Batali really measured or weighed his amounts for any type of "dough-based" items. Have you ever heard the term "bench flour"? That just kinda screws up your whole point I think. I'm not saying that you should just "eyeball" of "ballpark" ingredients, just please get real. You're preparing food. You're not building a church, this is not rocket science or brain surgery. I think you may be drinking just a little bit too much Kool-ade.
It is better to eat pizza with friends than to eat sprouts alone.

Offline canadianbacon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1041
  • Age: 49
  • DoughBoy
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2006, 05:56:05 PM »
Actually, many of the guys here pride themselves on measuring very accurately the amount of flour and the amount of water they use. 

I went to a professional pastry school, and from day one we were tought that measuring out a cup of flour was for amateurs.  All bakers worth their salt will never use a recipe using volumes of ingredients.  Everything is *weighed * out.  It was all new to me, but in time we got used to it.  We had a a big class of students, and we would all do the same recipes each day.  Without precise measurements, there's no real way of knowing why 4 students have totally different results.  We were tought to measure out all ingredients to the gram.   I have perhaps 600 or more recipes from my pastry school days, and every single
recipe is by weight, and all in grams, making it that more accurate.

When you measure out ingredients you are accurate each and every time, many people eye-ball a cup of flour, some can be over by 1/8th of a cup, others short by an 1/8th of a cup.... it doesn't look like much but indeed it can change a recipe.

You have to also remember that when you see these "professionals" on TV doing stuff, they of course are using recipes that are measured by volume, why ? because 90% of people watching these shows don't own a kitchen scale, and 99% of viewers don't own a kitchen scale accurate enough to measure to the gram.  It's just easier to measure out a cup of flour using a cup measure.

Yes, pizza isn't rocket science, but keep in mind that many here are trying to replicate other's recipes here on the board,
and by weighing out ingredients, including water, this can make thing much more accurate for the person trying to make
somebody's recipe.

Yup, everyone has their own opinions, and that's what makes the world go round  ;D

Generally speaking, these "myth" threads are humorous, for the light reading part of them. Other than that, well, I'll refrain for the most basic opinion and just say "to each their own".

I can't remember ever seeing a show where Mario Batali really measured or weighed his amounts for any type of "dough-based" items. Have you ever heard the term "bench flour"? That just kinda screws up your whole point I think. I'm not saying that you should just "eyeball" of "ballpark" ingredients, just please get real. You're preparing food. You're not building a church, this is not rocket science or brain surgery. I think you may be drinking just a little bit too much Kool-ade.
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline David

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 966
  • What’s So Funny ‘Bout Pizza Love and Understanding
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2006, 06:02:21 PM »
I'm not saying that you should just "eyeball" of "ballpark" ingredients, just please get real. You're preparing food. You're not building a church, this is not rocket science or brain surgery.

If I was doing practically anything else in the kitchen that didn't come under the general heading of "Baking & Pastry",I may tend to agree with you,but this IS a Science,and he hasn't even touched on control and determination of Dough temperature by water,flour,friction etc. in ongoing disclosure of myths.
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Ed

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 31
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2006, 06:39:16 PM »
Baking is definitely science.  Guessing on measurements has a much more profound effect on your results than in other forms of cooking.  If you have your measurements right and have too much flour on your table when kneading you can affect your hydration percentage and come out with a different product than the recipe intended.
Part of what is so interesting to me about baking is that it is science.  Learning that starches break down into sugar and give the dough more flavor when you make your pizza dough with ice water and retard it in the refrigerator overnight is great.   The amount of kneading, the ratios of the ingredients, the heat of the oven, all of these work together in producing the final product.

Ed

Offline apizza

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 403
  • Location: Wethersfield, CT
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2006, 07:34:54 PM »
I've seen Emeril"s pizza show. He is the last person I would listen to about making pizza, including heating a stone.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22008
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2006, 08:58:46 PM »
Many professional bakers and pizza operators use weights and baker's percents, but there are a good many who do not. A good example of the latter is Dom DeMarco of DiFara's in Brooklyn who uses volume measurements and rough ratios. But he has been at it so long that he can make dough in his sleep. Many professional pizza operators have gone to using pre-mixes and pre-prepared packets of salt, sugar, yeast, etc. This allows them to use low-paid help to make the dough. All they have to do, basically, is put everything in the mixer, add water, oil, etc., and follow prescribed mixing/kneading instructions (mainly mixing/kneading speeds and times). With experience, they usually learn to tweak the ingredients and, in some cases, to even make adjustments to compensate for seasonal variations.

In a home pizza making setting, weights aren't as critical as in a professional environment but they do have the advantage, as pointed out by Mark, of allowing others to replicate recipes more easily and more quickly, especially for those who are new to pizza making. For those of our members who are professionals (and there are quite a few) and can handle baker's percents, they can use them to good advantage in their businesses to do pretty much whatever they would like to do. I personally like the fact that we have both hobbyists and professionals on the forum, since I think that each can learn a lot from the other.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 05, 2006, 09:01:03 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline AKSteve

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 141
  • We are all made from the same dough.
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2006, 11:15:38 PM »
One of these days, I might actually start weighing ingredients just so I can start experimenting with ratios to get a better crust. For now, I use volume measurements on everything. I start off with a certain amount of water and just keep adding water during the mixing process until the dough looks right to me. I'm pretty happy with my results. I know that I'm not following the recipe exactly, though. The Reinhart recipe I'm using calls for 5 cups of flour. I scoop all of that into a big bowl and add it to the mixer a half a cup at a time. Sometimes 5 hardpacked cupfuls will turn out to be 13 or so lightly-packed 1/2 cupfuls when I'm adding flour to the mixer. So I know things aren't exactly right, but I'm still pretty happy with my end result.

Steve

Offline Iceman

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 25
  • Location: Chicagoland
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2006, 11:50:39 PM »
OK, so what I wanted to say didn't sound like I wanted it to. I didn't want to say "don't measure". I measure. I also take pride in what I cook. I spent 3 summers at the CIA. After a while if you took too much time measuring/weighing everything that you should have the feel for, you would have your head handed to you. In any kitchen the conditions and ingredients are not the exact same every day. You need to be able to roll a little bit with every recipe here and there to get things right. That's where it's not rocket science, but good cooking. Bad eyeballing gets you a big plate of food that you are going to have to eat all by yourself, because nobody else will touch it. I just don't think, in my own opinion, that there has to be such strict/hard-fast rules (kinda like building a church). Cook (make pizza) the way that makes you the most happy. Cooking (making pizza) IS just like making love; it is all good. [Except when I'm trying to make Chinese food, then it's a firefight.]
It is better to eat pizza with friends than to eat sprouts alone.


Offline Steve

  • Steve Zinski
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 1950
  • Age: 51
  • Location: Richmond, VA
    • pizzamaking.com
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2006, 07:41:15 AM »
Yes, pizza isn't rocket science, but keep in mind that many here are trying to replicate other's recipes here on the board,
and by weighing out ingredients, including water, this can make thing much more accurate for the person trying to make
somebody's recipe.

A very good point.
Pizzamaking.com is a member-supported public resource. Click HERE to become a Supporting Member.

Offline buzz

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 559
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2006, 12:12:53 PM »
It is absolutely unnecessary to use scales to make great pizza. A lot of pros (again, Like Mario Batali), don't even use measuring cups, much less baker's percents! The pros have the experieince to know what the dough is supposed to look like and how it's supposed to feel, so weighing is absolutely unecessary. If it's too dry, add a litttle more water; if it's too wet, more flour. It's a very simple procedure.

Offline Steve

  • Steve Zinski
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 1950
  • Age: 51
  • Location: Richmond, VA
    • pizzamaking.com
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2006, 10:19:02 AM »
It is absolutely unnecessary to use scales to make great pizza. A lot of pros (again, Like Mario Batali), don't even use measuring cups, much less baker's percents! The pros have the experieince to know what the dough is supposed to look like and how it's supposed to feel, so weighing is absolutely unecessary. If it's too dry, add a litttle more water; if it's too wet, more flour. It's a very simple procedure.

I agree with you Buzz. But, when I'm trying to replicate your pizza recipe, what's "dry" to you might be "wet" to me. Do you see where I'm going with this? For the sake of this forum, and the sharing of recipes, I think it's best if recipes were given in baker's percentages, or by weight (or, as a last resort, by volume.) This is simply to help others get it right the first time. Once you are comfortable with a recipe then you can do it by "feel."  ;)
Pizzamaking.com is a member-supported public resource. Click HERE to become a Supporting Member.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22008
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2006, 10:44:32 AM »
Another advantage of baker's percents to me that has been mentioned before but perhaps not on this thread is that I often can spot what is wrong with a recipe, how it might be improved, or even where it fits within a particular style, when I see it stated in baker's percents. I usually can't tell when I am only looking at volume measurements. I also wouldn't be able to downsize or upsize recipes with uniformly consistent results without the benefit of baker's percents. Using baker's percents and square-inch loading calculations are simply tools, but good ones. Of course, since baker's percents are weight-based, this necessitates using a scale at some point.

Another useful tool, of course, is the digital camera. Whether someone is using weights or volumes, seeing photos of one's efforts can often shed light on the processes being used or problems encountered, like a dough that is obviously too wet or too dry, overbaked, etc. For successful recipes, the photos become benchmarks to guide others in their own efforts, no matter what system of measurements they are using.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 07, 2006, 10:51:41 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline robtfink

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2006, 11:19:27 AM »
One needs know grammar before expecting lyricism.

Offline buzz

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 559
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2006, 11:43:06 AM »
Steve--

Of course I see your point, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with weighing, if that's how you want to go about it. I don't, and I think that using measurements is perfectly self-explanatory (after all, measuring has been the standard in cookbooks for a very long time now). As I said in another post, the great weigher Alton Brown, when making a pastry dough, when it came to hydration time asked, "How much water? Well, it depends. It could take 1 tablespoon, it could take 3 tablespoons, depending on the humidity level, age of the flour, etc." And then he proceeded to spritz the flour with a spray bottle--this isn't weighing, it's educated guessing!

So for those who want to weigh, then weighing is good. For those who don't, then measurements are good. For those who are more advanced, then they can eyeball it. All get to the same result--an excellent pizza!

Offline DKM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1684
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Texas
  • Chicago - Now that's Pizza!
    • The Emperor.net
Re: Pizza making myth -4 measuring cups
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2006, 12:40:19 PM »
I am in the mold of Buzz here, and as Iceman points out bench flour and other things throw off the weights.  In fact even recipes that have weights in them still have outs for too wet & too dry.

DKM
I'm on too many of these boards