I thought I would start my own Pizza making thread to document my journey as I learn how to make good pizza. Actually - hopefully better than good. Hopefully great pizza. Pizza that makes men weep and women sing.
Over the last few weeks I have really gotten into the whole idea of learning this art. I've always enjoyed eating pizza of course and have been baking bread for some years now with pretty good success, however the whole "proper" pizza idea is only very recent. It got kicked off when I bought a "Weber Charcoal Pizza Oven" accessory on a whim, thinking that making pies in the backyard would be a lot of fun. I've posted a bit about this on the thread here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,24677.20.html
So now I figured it's time to start my own thread about pizza itself, rather than any particular oven type. The first couple of pics shows where I am currently at using the Weber. I am pretty pleased with the results so far and they will hopefully only get better. Lots of learning to do and lots of fun to be had along the way.
I also plan to build a wood fired oven in the backyard this year, so that should also help results.
In terms of style, I don't really have on in mind. I just know I like a thin crispy pizza crust with a nicely puffed cornice, crisp on the outside, chewy and tasty on the inside. So probably toward the Neapolitan end of the scale or maybe somewhere between there and New York. Who knows...
Anyway.....today I am working from home and it's raining. I had some mozz left over though, so thought as a baseline experiment, I would do a quick pie in my home oven just to see what the results would be.
I have previously been using sourdough starters and long ferment times for my dough, but today I went with an emergency type. I just used the Lehman dough calculator for a 300g dough ball, used a 50/50 mix of Caputo 00 and regular strong bread flour. 0.5% ADY, 2.5% salt, 2% oil and 1% sugar just to see what would happen.
As I wanted pizza for lunch, I left the dough ball for three hours, then went for it. My oven is an electric convection oven and doesn't get very hot. I have a 1" thick granite stone so heated it up with that inside for an hour. The stone temperature measured 480F
The pie used an uncooked tomato sauce I made from a couple of vine ripened tomatoes I found in the fridge, a clove of garlic, a glug of EVOO, a sprinkle of dried oregano and some salt and pepper. I also added some black olives and some wild boar salami that I had in. One ball (125g) of buffalo mozzarella.
9 minutes cooking time in the oven.....and out came a pretty crappy looking pie. Sorry about the quality of the whole pie shot. But you get the general idea.
So - what about the taste? Well, the crust was bland and uninspiring, more bready than anything with none of the flavour I have found from a long ferment and/or sourdough starter. Hardly surprising though. It was crisp on the outside though, and the base held the topping well. Browning underneath was a bit "meh"...
The tomato sauce was surprisingly tasty. Not as nice as the ones I have made with San Marzanos though. The Cheese, olives and salami were of course good and saved me from throwing the whole thing away. There's half of it left for the kids when they get home. I think they'll be pretty disappointed as they love the pizzas from the Weber, but I am sure they will still eat it. Failing that, there's the dog...
So why did I post such a lousy pie? Bottom line is I thought I'd start off with a regular "home oven" attempt and then try to document progress from there - it should inspire me to always do better.
What I have learned today is that the long ferments definitely make a big difference to the dough. Also that Caputo flour definitely doesn't brown well at home oven temperatures and that my home oven is rubbish for cooking pizza - just doesn't get hot enough and I have no option to turn the broiler part on while the oven is running it's usual convection thing.
Learning is good. Learning and using that learning to do better is my goal here though.