Author Topic: An Idea  (Read 9223 times)

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Offline f.montoya

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An Idea
« on: May 29, 2013, 05:32:40 AM »
We all know that the main site has some "dough calculators". But the thought had occurred to me that the user pretty much has to have some solid idea of what he/she is doing before employing them. What I mean is that it does the math for you, as long as you have a general recipe in mind and have a decent understanding of baking terminology.

But what if you don't? So much has been said about this recipe or that, what the resulting crusts and crumb are like, copy-cat recipes, etc, and then a bunch of wrenches thrown in the spokes like how weather, humidity, elevation, and other variables affect dough performance and development. This can get really confusing, especially for the average home baker.

So I am thinking to write a program that I call the "Dough Recipe Generator".

What it will do:

1. Basically, the user will begin on the front page that will show a collection of photo representations of the different styles of pizza.
2. They click on, say, "New York Styles" and are taken to the next page that displays more photos of pizzas, representing typical types found in higher-end restaurants(think coal fired), as well as types that are more common in other places using deck ovens and the sort(I don't really want to elaborate more on NY style but you get the picture).
3. The user makes a selection again and is now taken to a list of recipes that fit that style, along with more detailed descriptions of what they should produce.
4. Finally, the user selects a recipe from the list and the recipe is loaded. It shows a list of "What you need", as in equipment, oven requirements, etc, along with the baseline recipe itself and the recommended brands of ingredients, as well as who created the recipe(proper credit!). There can be a selector for number of pies at any given size that will adjust the recipe automatically, similar to what the dough calculator does.
5.  Now, the user will see some selectors to choose "elevation", room temperature average, humidity %, hard or soft water, etc. After making selections, the user clicks the "Adjust" button and the recipe ingredients and workflow recommendations change to compensate for those variables.

I know there are a lot of recipes already listed on the main site. However, I would like to gather not only those, but all of the tried and tested recipes that have gained recognition and that are floating around these forums, as well as the pizzeria recipes that have been uncovered and shared here, then organize them in a MySQL database that can serve this application/tool.

To be honest, I can write something in less that 3 weeks that can accommodate 1 - 4 above easily. Number 5 will require some collaboration between those who have extensively tested doughs with different variables, as well as hopefully Dr. Lehmann and his extensive knowledge. But this can be added later and beta tested before being released on the main web application.

Ideally, I would like to give access to the backend control panel to some of the veterans here of each style here so they can add the recipes, details and requirements for each, as well as the author of the recipe. These admins could oversee future additions to the recipe database.

For now, this is the idea I have. I would appreciate any comments and/or additional ideas related to this project and whether or not it will have much value.

Thanks!

« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 07:02:40 AM by f.montoya »


Offline derricktung

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2013, 06:33:58 AM »
This is a great idea!  At the very least, folks that are interested in a particular style would  be able to get a base recipe to go after...  If only I had some programming knowledge to help with the process... =(


Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 06:59:24 AM »
...  If only I had some programming knowledge to help with the process... =(
No problem. I have enough programming knowledge to handle the framework and general design. I'd like to keep it absolutely simple though. No Flash intros or fancy animations. Just straightforward and easy to use. :)

Offline dsissitka

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2013, 07:49:19 AM »
I would like a place to document the Lehmann method of dough making...

If you need any help count me in.

We could get up and running quickly with Django, ExpressionEngine, or Jekyll. I'd probably opt for Jekyll since it doesn't require an app or database server but they're all fine options.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2013, 08:00:28 AM »
My hat's in the ring too!
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2013, 08:34:47 AM »
I would like a place to document the Lehmann method of dough making...

If you need any help count me in.

We could get up and running quickly with Django, ExpressionEngine, or Jekyll. I'd probably opt for Jekyll since it doesn't require an app or database server but they're all fine options.

Thanks for your support, dsissitka. If no one objects, I will gladly give you access to classify and enter the Lehmann recipes into the database. And don't worry about the need for the different available platforms for this project. I'm going to build everything from scratch using PHP, HTML and MySQL. It shouldn't take me long to have the database up with the basic tables and such, and very soon afterward, I can have an interface for entering recipes and their details ready to use. While you and others are building the data, I will work on the frontend interface where the user will be accessing.

My hat's in the ring too!
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks, Tom Lehmann! It would help immensely if you could list and then quantify(or at least estimate) all the effects and affects of the uncontrollable variables such as humidity, warm air temperatures, cold air temperatures, soft water/hard water...and well I'm no expert, whatever variables you are aware of and how they affect the dough development, performance and resulting crust. From this, we should be able to apply some basic equations and algorithms to enhance the app to compensate for them on any given recipe. Once again, thanks for throwing your hat into the ring!!

Offline derricktung

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 08:35:22 AM »
No problem. I have enough programming knowledge to handle the framework and general design. I'd like to keep it absolutely simple though. No Flash intros or fancy animations. Just straightforward and easy to use. :)

Let me know what I can do to help!  I'll be happy to contribute however I can!

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2013, 08:42:47 AM »
Let me know what I can do to help!  I'll be happy to contribute however I can!

Your help would be greatly appreciated! For now, it would be great if you could compile a list of all ingredients that could possibly be used in any dough recipe, regardless of the style. Then, for example with salt, list as many types of that ingredient that have been mentioned in recipes for pizza dough, such as sea salt, iodized salt, table salt, etc. This will build the foundation for the selectors in the interface where we enter the recipes. When you're done with that, maybe a nice list of equipment that may be necessary for different recipes(pizza/baking stones, etc.)

You can post lists here, just in case someone notices something that may need to be added. :)

Thanks again, (I'm assuming your name is...) Derrick!

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 09:04:07 AM »
Shouldn't the"What you need" list of  items in #4 be an input (what do you have?) rather than an output? Else, you will cause the user to search through recipes trying to find one he has the necessary equipment to make. After style selection,  I would say that available equipment is the most important user input.

You could have an additional "suggestions" output that says something to the effect, for the style you are interested in, you could also make these recipes if you also had this piece of equipment.

"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
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Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2013, 09:05:39 AM »
Call for opinions...

Let's say the user lives in New Zealand and it's now getting pretty cold there. They enter an average indoor temperature of 15c(or 59f) into the app. Should the app adjust the fermentation time or should there be something like a "Dough Doctor Advice" dialogue that appears saying something like, "It's a little cool where you are. I recommend that you increase the room temperature rise time to 5.5 hours" I can do it either way. :)

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2013, 09:11:08 AM »
Shouldn't the"What you need" list of  items in #4 be an input (what do you have?) rather than an output? Else, you will cause the user to search through recipes trying to find one he has the necessary equipment to make. After style selection,  I would say that available equipment is the most important user input.

You could have an additional "suggestions" output that says something to the effect, for the style you are interested in, you could also make these recipes if you also had this piece of equipment.

Actually, I wanted to make the database searchable from other points as well. Haven't come up with a complete list yet. Your point is valid though. If someone were to click on "Neapolitan Pizza", for example, I intend to have a warning for any unusually difficult equipment to procure. In this case "Warning: You will need a wood fired oven that can safely attain temperatures in excess of 420c/800f!" would show up well before the user has wasted time trying to select a recipe.

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2013, 09:23:25 AM »
You could have an additional "suggestions" output that says something to the effect, for the style you are interested in, you could also make these recipes if you also had this piece of equipment.

Only one problem with that. If you selected WFO, what should NOT appear? I think as the temp drops, you can find the sweet spot for any pizza. However, you are spot on! How about from the reverse...

1. "Find recipes based on your oven and accessories" user clicks and is taken to...
2. "Select all items that you DO NOT have" > user selects what he/she does not have
3. Selections of styles loads that contain recipes possible w/o what was selected by the user > user selects recipe
4. Recipe loads as usual

Offline derricktung

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2013, 10:14:26 AM »
Your help would be greatly appreciated! For now, it would be great if you could compile a list of all ingredients that could possibly be used in any dough recipe, regardless of the style. Then, for example with salt, list as many types of that ingredient that have been mentioned in recipes for pizza dough, such as sea salt, iodized salt, table salt, etc. This will build the foundation for the selectors in the interface where we enter the recipes. When you're done with that, maybe a nice list of equipment that may be necessary for different recipes(pizza/baking stones, etc.)

You can post lists here, just in case someone notices something that may need to be added. :)

Thanks again, (I'm assuming your name is...) Derrick!

Good guess.  Indeed, my name is Derrick.  ;)

Perhaps we should set up a google document so that this can be more interactive amongst the group?  This way, we're all accessing the most up to date document...

Thoughts?  I'll start putting significant time into pulling this together on Sunday (my day of rest).  Our business has it's opening day on Saturday, so things are a bit nutty, but I can at the very least get it started.

Let me know if we're okay with using the Google doc idea. 

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2013, 10:21:46 AM »
Good guess.  Indeed, my name is Derrick.  ;)

Perhaps we should set up a google document so that this can be more interactive amongst the group?  This way, we're all accessing the most up to date document...

Thoughts?  I'll start putting significant time into pulling this together on Sunday (my day of rest).  Our business has it's opening day on Saturday, so things are a bit nutty, but I can at the very least get it started.

Let me know if we're okay with using the Google doc idea.

Sound good, Derrick. No rush. Everyone has a real life to deal with. I want to do this right, not fast! :)

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2013, 10:22:31 AM »
Yeah, and a Google doc is A-O.K.

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2013, 10:26:06 AM »
Oh, and how rude of me (I get tunnel vision at times). Best of luck on your opening day! I'd love to hear how it goes/went!!

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2013, 10:53:51 AM »
Actually, I wanted to make the database searchable from other points as well. Haven't come up with a complete list yet. Your point is valid though. If someone were to click on "Neapolitan Pizza", for example, I intend to have a warning for any unusually difficult equipment to procure. In this case "Warning: You will need a wood fired oven that can safely attain temperatures in excess of 420c/800f!" would show up well before the user has wasted time trying to select a recipe.

I think you may have missed my point entirely.

For example, there are any number of ways to approximate WFO Neapolitan pizza without a WFO - from a cast iron skillet to a steel plate to a high temp counter-top electric oven. Lots of people come to both here and Slice looking for instructions on how to do exactly this. I'm not sure the right thing to do is tell them they are wasting their time if they don't have a WFO - rather tell them how to come as close as possible with what they have available. Isn't that your overall goal?

To accomplish this, you really only need two pieces of info:  1) what style, and 2) what kind of oven/equipment. In each style, different recipe/oven combinations in the database could be assigned a rating based on closeness to ideal, probability of success, quality, or something similar. Then it's a simple matter of selecting recipes mapped to the various combinations possible for the unique user in rank order. Tweaks to the recipe based on environmental conditions, ingredient substitutions, etc. would start here, I think - not before.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2013, 11:02:10 AM »
Actually, I wanted to make the database searchable from other points as well.

I'm a little confused on your goal. In your original post, you make it sound like someone selects a specific style of pizza, answers a few questions, and out pops a recipe. Neat and simple.

Just my $0.02, I think the scope of this project is probably already a lot bigger than you think it is, and you might want to do things to limit the scope rather than expand it.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2013, 11:09:29 AM »
Only one problem with that. If you selected WFO, what should NOT appear? I think as the temp drops, you can find the sweet spot for any pizza. However, you are spot on! How about from the reverse...

1. "Find recipes based on your oven and accessories" user clicks and is taken to...
2. "Select all items that you DO NOT have" > user selects what he/she does not have
3. Selections of styles loads that contain recipes possible w/o what was selected by the user > user selects recipe
4. Recipe loads as usual

What do you mean by "what should not appear?" A WFO might work for every type of pizza, but it is not ideal for every type of pizza. I think you will need some sort of rating system for recipe/equipment combinations so that you can prioritize responses.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2013, 11:18:29 AM »
I think you may have missed my point entirely.

For example, there are any number of ways to approximate WFO Neapolitan pizza without a WFO - from a cast iron skillet to a steel plate to a high temp counter-top electric oven. Lots of people come to both here and Slice looking for instructions on how to do exactly this. I'm not sure the right thing to do is tell them they are wasting their time if they don't have a WFO - rather tell them how to come as close as possible with what they have available. Isn't that your overall goal?

To accomplish this, you really only need two pieces of info:  1) what style, and 2) what kind of oven/equipment. In each style, different recipe/oven combinations in the database could be assigned a rating based on closeness to ideal, probability of success, quality, or something similar. Then it's a simple matter of selecting recipes mapped to the various combinations possible for the unique user in rank order. Tweaks to the recipe based on environmental conditions, ingredient substitutions, etc. would start here, I think - not before.

Oven is one thing, accessory equipment is another. While you are right, I keep re-thinking whether anything needs to be asked at all. Maybe we can, instead, compile primary necessities for the recipe, along with alternatives. First and foremost, this database is about dough. How to bake it and in what to bake it in, can be an easily added part of the resulting recipe with an unlimited number of varying techniques to achieve the end result. Hopefully, the Admin of certain styles or recipes, will filter out what has not been tested to work.

That said, I can easily set result lists to show recipes in any order, including an order according to what a user specifies they have/don't have, as far as oven and equipment goes.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 11:54:26 AM by f.montoya »

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2013, 11:29:08 AM »
I'm a little confused on your goal. In your original post, you make it sound like someone selects a specific style of pizza, answers a few questions, and out pops a recipe. Neat and simple.

Actually, out pops a list of recipes. The user can continue to filter further if sub-styles exist within any given main style.

The recipes, if I have stages 1 thru 4 in place, will be all baseline recipes(as they were written). Nothing complicated about that, whatsoever.



Just my $0.02, I think the scope of this project is probably already a lot bigger than you think it is, and you might want to do things to limit the scope rather than expand it.

Working with databases, there really is no limit to what can be done, searched for or reasoned with. I have more than 15 years experience doing this kind of thing and have been building and hosting websites for over 10 years that use databases. What you can do with a pizza, Craig, I can outdo with web applications...well, maybe close! You have some pretty darn awesome looking pies!!  :-D

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2013, 11:42:56 AM »
Actually Craig, if you wouldn't mind, could you help in expanding the scope of ways to search the database? I can add an unlimited number of ways, such as search doughs with reduced oil, search doughs with thick crusts, light and airy crusts, shorter bake times, etc.

It will not complicate things at all. These can be part of an advanced search option where the user is warned that results will list may styles that they may not have the proper equipment or oven for. We can still add selectors to filter out what the user cannot use. Nevertheless, it is something that some may use, including a person who has almost anything at their disposal.

But of course, the main part of the application is aimed at taking a user to what that user is looking for.

Offline f.montoya

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2013, 11:52:51 AM »
As Craig has brought up, there could be a number of ways in which someone might want to search for a recipe. I just found another. The "emergency" dough recipes thread. Some recipes in the database can be classified as "emergency", and thus, will pop up when someone searches for them.

Again. All angles of search are welcome and can be added very easily.

Offline derricktung

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2013, 12:07:20 PM »
I think Craig has a good point... We need to look at this from a basic user perspective of entry into the tool. 

There are really only three key factors for the entry level pizza maker to consider:

1.  What kind of pizza do you want to make?
2.  What kind of equipment are you using to make it with?  (Heat source, cast iron vs. baking steel vs. broiler vs. etc.)
3.  How much time do you have before wanting to serve the pie?

I would think the first screen would be filled with pictures/different base styles of pie (NY, Neapolitan, Chicago deep dish, Tavern, Cracker crust, etc.) while the second page would then provide a checklist of gear/heat sources (cast iron/sheet pan/baking steel, oven with top broiler/bottom broiler/WFO/green egg etc.)

A third page would ask "how much time do you have until you want to serve?" which can provide the ideas behind long cold fermentation vs. regular ambient fermentation vs. emergency doughs. for the different styles to pull up a recipe.

It can become far more complicated with the idea of "best ingredients" for each recipe, along with "substitutions" if you don't have access to key ingredients (e.g. 00 flour vs. AP flour). 

And then if we want to introduce technique, that's a whole other ball park of information... (Stretching doughs, etc.)  I'd almost want to cut this out of the scope for now since the variability here is huge for each style...

Just some initial thoughts...

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: An Idea
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2013, 12:10:24 PM »
Oven is one thing, accessory equipment is another...  First and foremost, this database is about dough. How to bake it and in what to bake it in, can be an easily added

Not really. Say two people have the same oven however one has a 1/2" steel plate and the other has a screen (or even a run of the mill pizza stone). They effectively have very different ovens and may benefit from different recipes even if they are after the same style. You need to consider the entire baking kit as one discrete element in the analysis. You can't look at the oven in isolation from the in-oven equipment any more than you can look at the dough in isolation from the oven. Dough and oven are part and parcel.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage


 

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