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Offline jasonr

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Anyone care to comment?
« on: January 21, 2006, 11:55:00 PM »
Hi there. I'm new to this forum. I have just recently completed my latest recipe, and I'm very proud of it, as the results have been quite good for me. I have to say, my pizza tastes about as good as I can imagine it tasting, and if only I had a wood burning oven, I feel like it would be perfect. But then again, I've been reading many of the posts on this board, and I get the feeling that I may not be as experienced as I thought I was. So how bout it? Anyone comments? Any suggestions? Anyone want to tell me how to improve my recipe?

I think I have a few points of interest:

1. Red sauce: I improvised my tomato sauce recipe over time from a simple recipe I found in the Best Recipe Classic book by Baking Illustrated. I personally love the taste, but I am not sure my method is kosher, so to speak. Namely, to get the right consistency, I use a fine sieve to get rid of some excess liquid. I have a suspicion that this is blasphemous. However, I find when I leave the sauce simmering, it never really gets to the right consistency. Is it wrong to take this shortcut? What are the consequences of straining liquid, rather than reducing it through simmering?

2. Cheese: Personally, I don't like fresh mozzarella for pizza. I have tried using the expensive buffalo mozzarella from the Italian grocer and it just doesn't seem right for pizza. So instead, I use Silani 25% M.F. 52% humidity vacuum packed cheese. Does anyone know of a better cheese?

3. Crust: Basically, I've been using a standard Williams Sonoma pizza crust recipe, reduced to 1/4 to get the thin crust I prefer. But I wonder if it isn't possible to get a better crust. Any ideas? In particular, I'd like a crisper crust. Unfortunately, using my baking stone, it takes almost 8 minutes to fully bake my crust, and if it goes much longer, the cheese browns more than I'm comfortable. Ideally, I'd like to bake for 10 minutes, and get a super crisp crust, but of course, this would totally brown out the cheese. Other than getting a wood burning oven that can bake a pizza in 4 minutes, is there any way to speed up the baking of the crust without overbrowning the cheese?

Makes 2 Medium Sized 10-12” Pizzas

The Dough

6 ¼ OZ (1 ¼ Cups) Bread Flour
1 ¼ tsp Active Dry Yeast
140 ML Warm Water (105 – 115 F)
¾ tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Sugar
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.   Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix in the sugar, olive oil, some of the flour, and then the salt.
2.   Mix in the remaining flour, and knead on low speed in a stand mixer, or by hand, for 8-10 minutes, adding up to ¼ cups extra flour until the dough is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. Knead for a minute or two by hand if necessary. Divide dough in half.
3.   Let each dough piece rise in an oiled bowl until doubled in volume, 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours.
4.   Punch down and use immediately, or refrigerate for up to overnight. (if refrigerating, let dough come to room temperature before shaping)

The Tomato Sauce

16 OZ Canned Diced Tomatoes
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Large Cloves Fresh Garlic
1 Medium Sized Button Mushroom, Chopped Finely.
3-4 Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped Finely
1 tsp Sugar
Salt and Pepper

1.   Process the tomatoes, in a small food processor until pureed.
2.   Heat the olive oil in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan at high heat until warmed. Sautee the mushroom and garlic for a few minutes.
3.   Mix in the tomato puree, and stir with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.   Remove from heat, and let sit for a few minutes. Stir in the basil, then salt and pepper to taste.
5.   Place sauce in a fine sieve and strain until it reaches the correct consistency, which is smooth without being runny, with some texture, but not chunky.


To Finish

7 OZ Freshly Grated Mozzarella Cheese (Use high moisture, high fat cheese such as Silani, preferably 51 % moisture, 25% M.F.)
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp very finely chopped fresh Oregano
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
 
1.   Preheat oven and baking stone to 500 degrees F for at least 30 minutes (preferably 60 minutes).
2.   Place the chopped herbs and a small amount of freshly ground salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss lightly by hand, and then add 2-4 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil. Stir with a whisk and set aside.
3.   Lightly flour dough and carefully knead dough by hand into a 10-12 inch circle on a lightly floured surface or Rollpat. If the dough becomes too elastic to stretch, let it sit for a few minutes and try again. Transfer dough to a baker’s peel dusted generously with semolina flour.
4.   Top the dough with a moderate amount of tomato sauce, leaving a ¼ to ½ inch border free of sauce.
5.   Top with Mozzarella cheese, and pack down firmly. Brush cheese with the herb/oil mixture, leaving some leftover oil.
6.   Carefully transfer the dough to the baking stone , and bake for 4 minutes. At the 4 minute mark, quickly open the oven door (take care of the intense heat!) and lightly brush the crust and cheese with the remaining olive oil. Bake for at least 4 minutes more, or for 5 ½ minutes if you prefer a crisper crust, and don’t mind extra browning of the cheese.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2006, 09:52:54 AM »
jasonr,

Welcome to the forum. And thank you for the thoughtful and well-written and comprehensive post. That makes it easier for me to compose my comments and suggestions.

I will direct my comments to the dough recipe. As you may have already seen, opinions vary widely on the forum on the matter of pizza sauces, including the seminal question of whether they should be raw or cooked and even what kinds of tomatoes should be used. My view is that if you like your sauce as it is, then it would only be the spirit of adventure that you might motivate you to try out other ideas. On that score, ideas and possibilities are virtually unlimited on this forum.

I took the liberty of converting your recipe to baker's percents and calculating the thickness factor (TF). For me, this is standard operating procedure because it allows me to see what you are doing and even what style of pizza you are making. In doing this conversion, I added the 1/4 cup of flour you use during mixing/kneading to the 6 1/4 ounces of flour you recited in your recipe. Otherwise, the hydration level of your dough, that is, the ratio of the weight of water to the weight of flour, would be around 78%, which would be unmanageable. With the added 1/4 ounces of flour, the hydration is lowered to around 63%, which is a much more manageable (and normal) figure for a dough based on bread flour. If my math is correct, this is what I come up with on a baker's percent/thickness factor basis:

100%, Flour (bread flour), 7.8 oz. (6.25 oz. + 1.55 oz. = 7.8 oz.)
63.3%, Water, 4.94 oz. (140 ml. = 140 grams = 4.94 oz.)
2%, Sea salt, 0.16 oz., 3/4 t.
0.9%, Sugar, 0.07 oz., 1/2 t.
6.3%, Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), 0.49 oz., 1 T.
2.2%, Active dry yeast (ADY), 0.17 oz., 1 1/4 t.
Total dough weight = 13.63 oz.
Weight per dough ball = 6.81 oz.
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.08 (for 10" pizza), or 0.06 (for 12" pizza)

What the above information tells me that on a thickness scale, your pizza is along the lines of a thin NYC Patsy's style crust. For comparison purposes, a thin NY street style pizza would have a thickness factor of around 0.10-0.105. The other two things that jump out at me in your dough formulation are the amount of yeast and the amount of EVOO. 2.2% yeast (ADY) will work best for a dough that is to be made and used the same day, usually within a few hours of making the dough. However, for a cold fermented (refrigerated) dough, of which there are many fans on this forum, it is far more than is necessary. The ADY could be reduced to around 0.25-0.50%, or about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon. So, which way you choose to go will largely depend on whether you want a same-day dough or a cold fermented dough. A cold fermented dough will invariably be better than a same-day dough in terms of crust flavor, color and texture. My approach would be to determine up front whether I want a same-day dough or a cold fermented dough and select the amount of yeast accordingly.

The amount of EVOO is perhaps standing in your way of achieving a crispy crust. At just over 6%, that amount of oil will yield a tender crust (with EVOO, you may also be able to taste it). That is because at that level the oil acts to keep the moisture in the dough from escaping. You do want to have a lot of hydration in the dough if you want a crispy crust. It is somewhat counterintuitive that that should be so, but a high hydration level allows the dough to bake longer and permit the water to escape the dough and evaporate and, in the process, produce a crispier crust. Along these lines, I would suggest that you try using a lot less EVOO, maybe around 1-2%, a lower bake temperature, and a longer bake time if crispiness is what you are after. You might try around 450-475 degrees F and watch the pizza as it bakes to balance the baking of the bottom and top of the pizza. The dough is already thin to begin with so you should be able to get a greater degree of crispiness. If you need help on a final formulation for the dough to reflect any of the above suggestions, I can help you by running the numbers through a spreadsheet. What I would need is the size of pizza you would like to make and at least a rough idea of dough/crust thickness. I can also adapt the formulation to either same-day or cold fermentation, as you prefer.

I would also suggest that you consider the following sequencing of your dough production: ADY proofed in a small amount of the total water, at around 105-115 degrees F, for about 10 minutes; rest of water in the bowl; salt (dissolved in the water in the bowl, about 30 sec. to 1 min.); add proofed yeast to water in the bowl; add flour; and add oil. Putting the oil in the bowl last allows the dough to hydrate better. For the amount of dough you are making, 8-10 minutes knead time is too long unless you are kneading the dough entirely by hand. You actually want to have the dough be slightly underkneaded. Otherwise, the finished crust can have a dense crumb with few large voids or holes.

I can't promise you that following the above suggestions will produce the perfect dough that you are looking for. Once you become attached to a particular recipe, changes aren't always easy to accept.

Peter






Offline jasonr

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2006, 11:32:17 AM »
Hi Peter. Many thanks for your comments. Before I go on, I wish to clarify one thing, just in case you didn't realize this: The dough for this recipe is meant for 2 pizzas. I only use about 50% of the dough in making my pizza, but the rest of the recipe is scaled for 1 pizza. This is very confusing and a stupid way for me to have drafted the recipe, so I have fixed things. But I just want to make that clear, so you can understand how thin the crust is going to be.

Also, I would like to point out that I am not attached to the dough recipe. Unlike the rest of the recipe, (which is mine) the dough itself is merely a scaled down Williams Sonoma crust. If you can give me a superior dough recipe that will yield the same quantity of dough, then I am more than willing to switch.

Now, onto what you said:

1. Kneading

Although I used to use my kitchenaid, I now knead pizza dough by hand. (don't ask me why, with pizza, I just do it by hand as a matter of preference or personal whim) I find that it takes about 9 minutes of vigorous hand kneading to achieve a windowpane, soft baby-bottom texture. To clarify: do you consider this to be conducive to my goals?

2. Olive Oil

I am not married to the olive oil. I simply include it, as it was in the original dough recipe, which has been scaled down, but otherwise not modified by me in any way. If I understand you, you're saying that I can get a crisper crust by reducing the olive oil. Suppose I reduced the amount by 1/2, from 1 TBSP to 1.5 tsp. Would doing this require any adjustment in the other ingredients, or could I get away with simply reducing the olive oil and leaving the other stuff be?

3. Proofing

When I am making pizza for myself, I find it generally practical to shape and bake immediately after the rise, mainly because it saves me the trouble of warming up the dough after it has been in the fridge. However, baking is a hobby for me too, and I most definitely want absolutely the best quality possible, especially if I am going to be making this for other people. Let's assume that time is not an issue, and that I want the absolute best possible crust. What is the procedure? Should I retard the dough like I would bagels and leave it in the fridge overnight? Would a longer retardation period be advisable? What is the exact procedure? It goes without saying that I would cut the amount of yeast for this. I take it you are suggesting about 1/3 of a tsp.

4. Yeast

This brings me to the yeast. I am using AD yeast, mainly because I read somewhere that it is preferred by pizza bakers, something to do with the higher ratio of dead yeast cells versus Instant Dry, and its effect on pizza flavor. Is there anything to this? Normally I prefer to use Instant. Should I stick with AD?

5. Baking

You suggested in your post that I reduce the temperature to increase the baking time to get a crisper crust, while presumably keeping the cheese unbrowned. To clarify: should I preheat the stone at 500 as usual and then reduce the oven heat to 475? Or should I preheat at 475 and bake at 475? My gut tells me the former option makes the most sense, but what do you think?

6. Flour

I am currently using a Robin Hood Unbleached, with 4g protein to 13g total, which I calculate to be roughly 13 1/3% gluten, which is a pretty strong bread / weak high gluten flour. Sadly, King Arthur is not available to me here in Toronto, so I have access to the following brands:

Oak Manor Bread: About 12.5% gluten (I have noticed that this flour gives very little bang for your buck; Ounce for ounce, it takes far more OM to do the same job as any other brand, from King Arthur to Robin Hood to Bob's Red Mill/

Bob's Red Mill Bread: About 11.7% gluten (I like this brand alot, and would be using it if it were more convenient to find it. Sadly, only Whole Foods seems to carry it.

Is the flour I am using good for my purposes? Should I be using something else?

7. Tomato Sauce

I am currently sauteing my garlic and mushroom for about a minute before I add the tomato. I don't really know how long I'm supposed to do this, nor what it should look like when it's "ready". How long and most importantly, what should well-sauteed garlic/mushroom pieces (very finely chopped) look like?

Offline scott r

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2006, 12:46:42 PM »

1. Red sauce: I improvised my tomato sauce recipe over time from a simple recipe I found in the Best Recipe Classic book by Baking Illustrated. I personally love the taste, but I am not sure my method is kosher, so to speak. Namely, to get the right consistency, I use a fine sieve to get rid of some excess liquid. I have a suspicion that this is blasphemous. However, I find when I leave the sauce simmering, it never really gets to the right consistency. Is it wrong to take this shortcut? What are the consequences of straining liquid, rather than reducing it through simmering?

2. Cheese: Personally, I don't like fresh mozzarella for pizza. I have tried using the expensive buffalo mozzarella from the Italian grocer and it just doesn't seem right for pizza. So instead, I use Silani 25% M.F. 52% humidity vacuum packed cheese. Does anyone know of a better cheese?


Jason, since Peter did such an amazing job of addressing your crust issues, I will comment on your dough and cheese.

In my opinion, your sauce process is perfect!  I have found that if I cook down my tomatoes I will get  a sauce that tastes more like spaghetti sauce than my favorite pizza sauces that I grew up admiring.  It is VERY rare to find a pizzeria that cooks down it's sauce, although one of the best in the country Di Fara's does use this technique.  Still, There is nothing Blasphemous about what you are doing, and your sauce should have a nice fresh taste without watering down the pie.

I have never tried your Silani brand cheese but, I do know that Grande is a favorite of the majority of the people on this forum.  I noticed on one of your other posts that you are in California.  I was there recently, and inquired at a Whole Foods about what brand of mozzarella they had.  It did not have a label on it (other than whole milk mozzarella).  I was surprised to find out that the store brand dry mozzarella there was Grande, since in my area they use an inferior brand.  You might want to check this out.  Also, I am not sure what brand the provolone was, maybe grande as well, but it was some of the best I have found.  I grew up in the Pittsburgh/Ohio area where it is very popular to incorporate some provolone in with the mozzarella.  I think some people would consider this blasphemous, but I really like it to help give the pizza a little extra flavor.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2006, 02:15:14 PM »
jasonr,

Yes, I was aware that your recipe was for two pizzas, and so noted when I divided the total dough weight by 2, which I had to do to calculate the thickness factor.

On the numbered items from your last post, here are my comments:

1) Kneading: It is perfectly fine to hand knead the dough. The Robin Hood flour you are using appears to be a bread flour and, for the total amount of dough you would be making, just under 14 ounces, you should have no real problems hand kneading it. For comparison purposes, however, sometime you may want to try your KA stand mixer to see if it does a better overall job. If you decide to do this, I estimate that you wouldn't need more than 5-6 minutes kneading time. I usually use the stir speed to mix everything together and, when after I add the oil, I knead at around 1 speed for about a minute or so (to incorporate the oil) and then at 2 speed for about 5-6 minutes, or until I get the dough texture and feel I am looking for. The specific times will usually be governed by the amount of dough I am making and how effective a job my machine is doing at the time.

2) Olive Oil: When I change quantities of ingredients in a dough recipe, I usually adjust the quantities of all the ingredients based on the baker's percents. In most cases, the adjustments are minor since the flour and water are always the heaviest ingredients and the rest of the ingredients are so lightweight that the effects of changes in these to the overall formulation are pretty much negligible. I just let the spreadsheet do all the heavy lifting. In the case of the olive oil, I would assign a baker's percent of say, 1% or 2%, and let the spreadsheet recalculate the required weight of oil, which I would then convert to volume. I will give you an example or two in a followup post.

3) Proofing: I think it is pretty much incontrovertible within the pizza making profession that long fermentation times, whether at room temperature or under refrigeration, produce the best crusts, especially in terms of crust flavor. Cold fermentation is easier to control in my opinion and that is the approach I would recommend to you with your dough formulation. With your basic formulation and using a small amount of yeast, you should be able to get 2-3 days useful life out of your dough. The dough would be usable within about a day, but 2 or 3 days would be better because there would be more flavor-enhancing byproducts of fermentation. Also, since the recipe includes sugar, there should be adequate food to feed the yeast over that time period and also insure that there is adequate residual sugar in the dough to contribute to good oven spring and crust coloration when the time comes to make and bake the pizza. Along with using a small amount of yeast, I would also recommend that the water you use for other than proofing purposes be kept on the cool side so that the finished dough temperature is around 80 degrees F, which is considered optimal for fermentation purposes. That will also keep the dough from fermenting and rising too quickly.

4) Yeast:You can use any of the three basic forms of yeast. Many pizza operators, especially those who use a lot of yeast in their business, use fresh yeast because it is a "wet" yeast and, as such, the fastest operating. It is also the cheapest. But ADY and IDY are acceptable too. The trend in recent years has been toward using IDY because it is the most convenient to use. It can simply be mixed directly into the flour, whereas ADY required proofing in warm water and later adding it to the rest of the ingredients. IDY does in fact have more active cells than ADY, but it is also has a smaller particle size and is of a different strain, all of which means that the IDY starts to go to work faster than the ADY.The American Institute of Baking once did side by side tests of the three forms of yeast and couldn't detect any differences. Yet, there are proponents of all three forms of yeast who swear by them and would never change no matter the evidence presented to them.

5) Baking: What I meant with the lower temperature is to use that lower temperature from the start. In other words, I would preheat the stone for about an hour at 450-475 degrees F. A pizza stone preheated for that time to 500 degrees F would still retain a lot of heat even after you lowered the temperature. At 450-475 degrees F, you may not need a full hour to get up to temperature. You might get away with 45 minutes. This is one of those areas where you will have to play around with temperatures since each oven is different from the next.

6) Flour: Based on the numbers you gave for the Robin Hood flour, it appears to be a bread flour. That is the one I would use among the various brands you mentioned. If sometime you are in an experimenting mood, you might try adding some vital wheat gluten (VWG, aka gluten flour) to the Robin Hood flour to boost its protein content to approximate that of high-gluten flour. I wouldn't be in a rush to do that, however. I would wait until your recipe is as you want before trying that possibility.

7) Tomato Sauce: I'm afraid I will not be much help to you on the sauteing of the mushrooms. I saute them in slices, not in small dice as you appear to be doing.

I will follow up this post today with a dough formulation or two for you to consider in light of our exchanges. I will use 1% oil and I may even reduce the salt a bit which, upon further reviewing your formulation, now appears to be a bit on the high side. I will try to keep the total dough weight relatively constant.

Peter




Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2006, 03:20:39 PM »
jasonr,

Here is a typical formulation that you may want to consider:

100%, Flour (Robin Hood bread flour), 8.16 oz. (231.11 g.)
63.3%, Water, 5.16 oz. (146.3 g.), around 5/8 c. (about 146.3 ml.)
0.9%, Sugar, 0.07 oz. (2.31 g.), a bit over 1/2 t.
1%, Olive oil, 0.08 oz. (2.31 g.), 1/2 t.
1.75%, Salt, 0.14 oz. (4.04 g.), a bit less than 3/4 t.
0.30%, IDY (instant dry yeast), 0.02 oz. (0.69 g.), a bit less than 1/4 t.
Total dough weight = 13.63 oz. (386.54 g.)
Individual dough ball weight = 6.81 oz. (193.07 g.)
Thickness factor = 0.0868

I had originally planned to give you two formulations, one for a 10" pizza size and another for a 12" inch pizza size. However, since you have been using the same amount of dough for both sizes, I decided not to change that. You should keep in mind, however, that when you make the 12" size, you should be careful to watch the bake time since it will bake faster than the 10" because of its thinner crust, even at the lower temperature you plan to use.

I did not specify the flour by volume, since that can vary from brand to brand, and even from day to day, and also on how heavy or light a hand you use in measuring it out. If I use the weight/volume data you originally provided, the 8.16 ounces of flour in the above formulation would work out to around 1 5/8 cups. You may find that you will have to tweak the flour and/or water a bit in any event, but you seem to have a good feel for what the final dough should look and feel like. Since 63.3% hydration is a bit on the high side for a bread flour, I would hold back a bit of the water to see if you need it to get the final, desired finished dough.

I also changed the yeast from ADY to IDY, for the sake of convenience. As noted earlier, the IDY can be mixed directly into the flour. I set the IDY at 0.30% on the assumption that it is fairly cold in Canada this time of year and that your kitchen may also be on the cool side. So long as you keep the water on the cool side, you might even increase the IDY a bit more to adjust for the cooler temperatures. Don't be surprised if the dough doesn't rise all that much while under refrigeration. That's normal for the above formulation.

I might add that the above formulation is not cast in concrete. We can change it pretty much at will--to do essentially what you would like it to do. Any of the ingredient quantities can be changed, ADY can be substituted for IDY, and even the pizza size can be changed quite easily. In the latter instance, the spreadsheet will spit out the new sets of quantities.

Good luck and please keep us abreast of your results. Also, feel free to ask questions anywhere along the way.

Peter

Offline jasonr

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2006, 04:33:01 PM »
Ok, I'm going to try your dough formula the next time I make pizza, which will hopefully be sometime during the week, or saturday at the latest. By the way, my kitchen is, sadly, actually fairly warm. (I'd estimate about 75 degrees F) This is because the idiots in my building turn off the air conditioning during the winter, but even with 0 heat and the temperature at -10 C outside, my apartment never drops below 70 F! Ironically, during the summer heatwave, I had the place at 65-68 F (I'd live in a fridge if I could) but now during the winter, it sometimes gets as high as 80 F, even though I haven't used my heat at all! >:(

Quote
I have never tried your Silani brand cheese but, I do know that Grande is a favorite of the majority of the people on this forum.  I noticed on one of your other posts that you are in California.  I was there recently, and inquired at a Whole Foods about what brand of mozzarella they had.  It did not have a label on it (other than whole milk mozzarella).  I was surprised to find out that the store brand dry mozzarella there was Grande, since in my area they use an inferior brand.  You might want to check this out.  Also, I am not sure what brand the provolone was, maybe grande as well, but it was some of the best I have found.  I grew up in the Pittsburgh/Ohio area where it is very popular to incorporate some provolone in with the mozzarella.  I think some people would consider this blasphemous, but I really like it to help give the pizza a little extra flavor.

Actually, I'm in Toronto, so you must be thinking of another Jason. But you do raise an interesting point: I haven't yet looked into Whole Foods as a source of cheese. I live right next to a high class Italian grocer called Pusatari's, so I usually get my cheese from them. But maybe Whole Foods has something I haven't seen  before. By the way, is it possible to get a vaccum packed (not fresh) mozzarella with greater than 25% M.F. / 52% Humid?

Oh yes, and that reminds me, I have another cheese question. At Pusatari's, the Silani cheese, which is vaccum packed, is always very soft and moist. So moist in fact, that it is difficult to grate without smearing it on the box grater, and the individual shreds tend to stick together. By contrast, the exact same brand cheese, purchased at the regular grocery stores, is very firm and not very moist. I brought this up with the cheese lady at Pusatari's, and asked her why her cheese would be different from their cheese, when theoretically it's the exact same brand under vaccum pack (not like any moisture is going to escape!), and she wasn't sure. She suggested that because her boss knew the distributor for Silani in the region (or something to that effect) Pusatari's was able to get the freshest cheese to be vaccum packed, or something like that. Does this sound right to you? Do you think it's a good thing for the vaccum packed cheese to be moist and soft, or should it be firm and dry like the stuff I get from the regular supermarket?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2006, 04:42:16 PM by jasonr »

Offline 007bond-jb

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2006, 10:20:20 AM »
If you want a thicker sauce mix as usual heat your oven to 165 deg. put your sauce in an uncovered sauce pan use a small enough pan so you have about 3 inches of sauce in it, put the pan in the oven for 10 hours (check @ 8hours) it will be almost like a paste or thick catsup :pizza:

Offline buzz

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2006, 11:46:49 AM »
A good ratio for thin crust pizza is 1 TBS oil (I prefer canola): 1 cup flour.

Try par-baking your pizza.

Offline scott r

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2006, 12:52:26 PM »


Actually, I'm in Toronto, so you must be thinking of another Jason. But you do raise an interesting point: I haven't yet looked into Whole Foods as a source of cheese. I live right next to a high class Italian grocer called Pusatari's, so I usually get my cheese from them. But maybe Whole Foods has something I haven't seen  before. By the way, is it possible to get a vacuum packed (not fresh) mozzarella with greater than 25% M.F. / 52% Humid?

Do you think it's a good thing for the vacuum packed cheese to be moist and soft, or should it be firm and dry like the stuff I get from the regular supermarket?


Jason, I have never noticed these numbers on cheese.  I am assuming the 20% M.F. stands for moisture factor ???  I don't think we have those grading systems here in the U.S., but I could be wrong. 

In my experience a dryer cheese (of the same brand and type) means a fresher cheese.  If you are talking about Fresh mozzarella, either the type in water or the other fresh cheese in plastic that the industry calls cryo pack, I would think that the dryer stuff would taste better, melt better, and break down less on the pie.  If you are talking about processed dry mozzarella (your typical type used by most pizzerias), You can actually get something that the industry referrs to as green cheese.  With this type of mozzarella fresher is not always better.  The end result of using a green cheese is poor meltability, and a less complex flavor.


Offline Aaron

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2006, 01:28:51 PM »
Jason I envy you living next to such a fine store,wish I had the money to shop there more often.
In your phone book look up Grande cheese co,it is not the same as the states but they are a cheese producer with 5 factory outlets in T.O.(great products,try the fresh parm its out of this world,and about 20% mix of provolone)
You can get all of your needs filled at this place,they even carry 00 flour but sadly not the pizza one,you can get that in woodbridge at Seacore(20000 sq ft of seafood and Italian grocery items,dont forget to pick up some of the flavoured olive oils for use on pizza,spices are in the oil,just put some on the stretched skin and spread it around,then tomato sauce).
The stanislaus sauces can be gotten from Roman cheese in Niagara falls(or ask your friend what he uses)
I would also like to know the name of your friends pizzeria.
Aaron in Brantford

Offline jasonr

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2006, 10:51:51 PM »
Quote
Jason, I have never noticed these numbers on cheese.  I am assuming the 20% M.F. stands for moisture factor Huh???  I don't think we have those grading systems here in the U.S., but I could be wrong. 

M.F. stands for milk fat. The "partly skimmed" cheeses you see typically have about 17%. The average cheese seems to be around 20%. The second number is humidity, which denotes moisture, or water content. 52% is the highest I have been able to find, the 48% being very common as well. I am only interested in making the best; I do not tolerate compromises, so the higher the fat, the better. As for humidity, my understanding is that a moister cheese will not brown as quickly in the oven. This means you can leave the pizza in the oven longer, and get a crisper crust with minimal browning. This is my theory anyway.

Scott, to me fresh cheese means cheese that is floating in liquid, such as the buffalo mozzarella floating in buffalo milk that can be purchased at Pusatari's, or the boccoccini and feta cheese that have become ubiquitous even at regular grocery stores. Anything else is not fresh, as far as I am concerned. Obviously, fresh cheese is an absolute must for caprese salad, and if I want to snack on cheese, I always prefer fresh. But I do not use fresh cheese for my pizzas, for a variety of reasons. The cheese I am referring to is vaccum packed, and relatively dry. But as I said, for some reason, the cheese at Pusataris is less dry than the cheese of the same brand I get from the other grocers. I actually prefer it this way, in terms of texture, even if it is harder to shred and spread. But I was curious to know what the reason for this was, as well as whether this was generally considered to be a good thing for pizza.

Quote
Jason I envy you living next to such a fine store,wish I had the money to shop there more often.
In your phone book look up Grande cheese co,it is not the same as the states but they are a cheese producer with 5 factory outlets in T.O.(great products,try the fresh parm its out of this world,and about 20% mix of provolone)
You can get all of your needs filled at this place,they even carry 00 flour but sadly not the pizza one,you can get that in woodbridge at Seacore(20000 sq ft of seafood and Italian grocery items,dont forget to pick up some of the flavoured olive oils for use on pizza,spices are in the oil,just put some on the stretched skin and spread it around,then tomato sauce).

Wo. Are you saying they will sell to the public? I would be very interested in acquiring some high gluten flour, which is simply not available in retail stores in Canada. (Believe me, I have combed Toronto, top to bottom, and high gluten flour is absoutely impossible to find here. God I wish we had access to King Arthur flour!) As for parmagiano, I alreaduy have access to the best in the city. Pusataris kicks as for parmesan. At about $30 / LBS, it ain't cheap, but damn is it good! By the way, if you like interesting olive oil products, you may enjoy a little place that opened up in the building where I work (The Exchange Tower) called Oliviers. It is an olive oil / olive oil product store, and they have some very interesting olive pastes and mixtures. They also sell the best spaghetti I have ever tasted. It's a truffle flavored pasta that is to die for!

As for the pizzaria in Montreal, my friend no longer works there. It used to be Opera Pizza, (which was the time when my friend worked there) but it then became Cozy's Bistro. My friend insists Opera was better, but I would say Cozy's still has the best pizza I have ever tasted. If you're ever in Montreal, try it; it's somewhere on Sommerled street, not too far from Cavendish. (I don't know the exact address, you can look it up) They use an authentic wood burning oven, and the pizza is simply sublime. And I know for a fact that they do not use fresh mozzarella, so as far as I'm concerned, that's poof that you can make great pizza with the vaccum packed stuff.

Offline lilbuddypizza

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2006, 07:47:28 AM »
Oddly enough, I think fresh mozzarella is a mistake on American pizza. I only use fresh in the summer, with home grown tomatoes, and some salt and pepper.

Offline Aaron

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2006, 10:39:04 AM »
Jason,you have to try the fresh parm,go to the Jevlan rd store if possible for the best selection.On Jevlan there is a company called quality cheese, also makes good cheese(used to be partners with Grandes owners).
As for high gluten flour I go to Costco and buy 20 kilo bags of Robin Hood bakers flour for $9.99.
The 00 pizza flour can be gotten at seacore on Aviva Ct across from the T.O Star printing press on Woodbridge.
Pusateris is fine for purchasing foods but ask them if they deal with Grande,there is a good chance they do.If so you can cut out the middle man,and save some bucks.
Also Bulk barn carries hard winter flour(high gluten)and bread flour(high gluten also).
Aaron

Offline AKSteve

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2006, 03:30:20 PM »
Jason,

Since you're trying to find a cheese you can leave in the oven for a while, I wish you could try the locally made fresh mozzarella I purchased a while back. Unfortunately, I'm in Alaska, so that makes things rather difficult. But, not only can I not get the stuff to brown, I can't even get it to melt before the rest of the pizza is done. I've tried it in both my oven at 550 degrees and in my Kamado at 700 degrees. Both times, the crust had started to burn and the cheese was still in it's original unmelted shape. The last time I made a pizza with the stuff, I ended up throwing it back on the pizza stone an hour after I shut the oven off just so it could dwell there and melt all the way through.

It did have a pretty good flavor, so before I give up I'm going to try a couple of things next time to see if I can get it to melt better. One, I'm going to put another pizza stone on the rack above the pizza so I can get some heat from above. I've tried the broiler, and it just burns the top of the cheese without melting it. If that doesn't work, I'm going to microwave the cheese for a minute before I put it on the pizza so that it's already partially melted when it goes into the oven.

Steve

Offline jasonr

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2006, 09:57:52 PM »
Pete, I tried making the dough with about 1/6 tsp of instant dry yeast using room temperature water. This was 2 days ago. The dough has been sitting in the fridge and has not risen at all. I don't get it. You said to use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp active dry yeast. I used about 1/6 tsp instant. What went wrong?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Anyone care to comment?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2006, 10:40:36 PM »
jasonr,

We won't know for sure until you are ready to work with the dough. As I indicated above, it is not unusual for the dough not to rise much while it is in the refrigerator. The extent of the rise will depend on the temperature of the dough when it went into the refrigerator and the temperature of the refrigerator itself. If all the steps were properly taken to prepare the dough, the small amount of yeast should not be the source of any problems you may have. I always use small amounts of yeast for the Lehmann dough, sometimes even less than what you used. When you bring the dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up, you should see signs of life, especially if your kitchen is as warm as you earlier indicated.

Peter


 

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