Author Topic: Where to begin?  (Read 2185 times)

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Offline Trickydick

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Where to begin?
« on: June 12, 2013, 01:11:50 PM »
Hey all!

I recently joined the forum and can see that there is a wealth of pizza knowledge and baking knowledge here.  I am struggling with where to begin, so pardon my somewhat ADHD patterned hopscotch of thoughts and questions.  A bit of background and what my "goals" are would help me refine my questions, and maybe help guide me where to look for answers on this forum.  I am a bit overwhelmed.

Recently completed a home renovation and had a wood burning pizza oven added amongst other things.  It's a Forno bravo Primo.  I've been tinkering with making pies but the word lackluster comes to mind.  My goal in using this sight is to educate myself to the point that I can make great Neapolitan, and NY style pizza.  I think most of my friends and family would prefer the NY style, but I'd like to learn to do both styles.    I'd also like to become proficient it "pushing out" the "skins", some new words to me I picked up browsing the forum!  I clearly have a long ways to go.

I would also like to come up with a realistic plan so that I can decide early in the week that if I want to make pizza for friends and family on Friday or Saturday, that come the weekend, my dough will be ready.  My current solution for this is not working.  For one, I work full time+.  Prepping dough on a weekend before and making 30 dough balls then freezing is not a sustainable or desirable solution.  For one thing, I got it in my mind that sourdough cultures were the way to go.  Maybe they are, but I think I'm trying to master the double black diamond before I've even conquered the bunny hill in way.  Also, when using the frozen (or even fresh) dough, it just doesnt work well (poor elasticity), at least not in any consistent manner. I think my entire dough making process is flawed as well, since results are so inconsistent. Ideally I would like to have a plan for making 12-15 fresh dough balls at a time but perhaps even a few more, for baking several 12-15" diameter pies. Ideally where I can prep the dough some days before so its ready to go by the weekend.  Time saving methods are huge plus.  It seems that for now, I should forego using my sourdough cultures until I have a firm grasp on the basics. 

After a day or so of perusing the forum, I have noticed several ways I can go about making some improvements.  For one I think I need to keep notes and come up with a bakers formula of more precisely weighing the ingredients as opposed to measuring cups of flour and water.  It seems that I also need to make a decision on which style of dough and pie I want to master first, since the dough and oven management will be different.  That's got to be NY style, since it appeals to more friends and family. Next up I think I need to decide on some ingredients like what flour I should use and what yeast. I bought a 1# brick of IDY lat August and was a while before I opened it, then sealed in a plexiglass storage container in the pantry.  Last time I used it (for pretzels) seemed to provide adequate rise.  Flour, I have been using KABF, and have tried blending in some KASL (mail order only where I live) and tried using some 00 Capitol, and various blends.  Not taking notes I might add.  No wonder things are so inconsistent.  I would like to one that is easily available and sufficient to fulfill my goal. It seems KABF may be good.  I've heard some talk of Bromated flours.  I don't think my local grocery store carries any of the mentioned brands.  I am NOT opposed to buying a commercial sized sack if needs be, at some point in this journey, but perhaps I should nail down some basics first. 

It seems my first objective would then be to turn to the NY style pizza forum threads and search for a recipe, which seems rather daunting.  It seems also that some folks advocate extended cold ferment or hybrid cold then warm ferments.  Where can I read more about the specifics behind these ferments and what the pros and cons are, and so forth?  Also I've heard some discussion of bulk ferments which might seem a little more time friendly.  In addition to this, any recommendations on where to look at technique in putting the dough together.  Seems there are some do's and don'ts with the mixing process.  I know the shaping and pushing out takes time and practice, but I'm wondering about specific.  Ill briefly mention I have a KA stand mixer, about 8-9 yrs old in think the "artisan" 5-1/2 Qt bowl I believe, though I am unsure of its watt rating.  Plenty of refrigerated space for dough storage and a couple of mini dough trays.  Room temp in FL usually mid 70s.

Thanks for any advice. 

Here are a couple pics of early semi-successful efforts.  Mostly because a good friend who had worked in a NJ pizza shop in his youth was able to work the dough for me.  Not entirely sure what "style" these are supposed to be. 

TD





Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 01:44:38 PM »
For Neapolitan, go to that section and study the sticky post, "How I do it in the garage" by TxCraig.

For New York, it is wide open.  Just as an aside, you can make the dough on say, Wed. or Thursday and you will be good for the next 2 weeks with that batch in the fridge, no problem.  Also, If you have a mixed crowd, you can make Neapolitan first, then cool it down to NY level within one evening session.


Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2013, 03:03:13 PM »
Thank you.

I've been perusing the Lehmann NY dough recipe sticky.  Seems a popular one with its own sticky.
I will need to modify them or rather, upscale, in order to make several pizzas from one batch of dough. I wonder how much dough my mixer is able to handle.
It seems also the range I gave was rather odd (12-15"), as most of the Lehman pie sizes are 12,14,16,or 18" as opposed to my rather vague 12-15" size.  I have only eyeballed the dough balls I have made in the past so obviously in addition to maintaining notes, I will need to parcel the dough into more accurately portioned dough balls to get the diameter pizza I desire. 
Are there any pros/cons with attempting a NY style pizza in a wood fired oven?  The oven temp can be regulated by how much fuel you give it, and while heating up, and cooling off it does pass through the 550°F range called for. 

I like your idea about cooking the Neapolitan pies first then the NY style in the cool down, though the opposite could also be done I suppose. 

I will be checking into the Neapolitan garage thread soon.

TD

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013, 06:16:34 PM »
Started reading the TXCraig garage cooked Neapolitan. WOW!

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.  I think that I am probably closer to making that work, than I am with starting with NY style.  My oven seems to level out at 850-900 floor temp and 1000+ roof temp when properly fed. 

That thread is rather large to say the least, and while I am plugging away, and don't want to ask any specific questions that have already been answered, I thought I'd post here instead.

His fermentation process while seems straightforward in explanation, seems from a time management perspective to be a bit of a hurdle.

From a bit of working at this with a pen and paper:  If I wanted to follow (one of) his fermentation procedure(s), for a Saturday Pizza Dinner Party [mix; 36hrs@60F; 6hrs@77F; ball; 6hrs@77F] baking pies at 7 - 7:30 PM, I'd need to mix my dough Thursday at 6PM at the latest. Friday pizza would mean Wednesday dough prep, and Sunday, a Friday dough prep.  Added before this is a culture proof step that begins (at least the day before). 

Its going to take some getting used to this, as well as working out the kinks in my culture management steps, and will also take some flexibility on my part to make minor adjustments like TXCraig has done (some sub 48 hr fermentation programs). 

I think in my previous attempts, that the fermentation steps were incomplete at best.  Nothing more than 8 hours in most cases.  Also in learning to manage my sourdough cultures life can get in the way of tending to the care and feeding of the cultures. 

So I think I might want to try an extended batch ferment for say 6 x 12" pies for father's day.  He gives some recipes with baker's percentages and dough mass weights, but I don't know how to back calculate that to a working formula for 6 pies.  It is also going to be a hurdle to come up with any significant quantity of 00 flour in that timeframe.  None available at local shops that I've found at least.  Have about half to 3/4 left of a 3 # bag of KA "Italian Style" 00 flour on hand though. 

By my math, and I've never done this before:  6 pies at 260 grams each= 1560 grams total mass.  using a formula from that thread
100% flour (caputo, but I only have KA italian)
62% water
2.8% salt
1.2% culture
thats 165% figure then I just shoot for 1650 grams total dough mass I'd need
1kg flour (the limiting factor)
620 g water
2.8 g salt
1.2 g culture (WOW that seems extremely less than what my sourdough book calls for!)

Am I computing this right?

He also uses a K5 mixer I read through page 5 anyway, I am going to assume my KA will be fine.

Thanks for the support!

TD

Offline deb415611

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 06:43:23 PM »
TD

check out the dough calculators,  they help alot  http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_tools.html

someone who knows will come along and let you know their thoughts but I don't remember anyone using the KA 00 and sticking with it,  I don't believe it's comparable to Caputo

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2013, 07:24:28 PM »
And DRAT!  I've only got about 350 grams left of the KA 00 anyway.

seemed to be an easier to obtain alternative for me.  Looks like I will try to obtain some Caputo.  I may try the pennmac online store.

looks like I'm either going to try for an emergency dough or a Lehman dough for father day pizza and regroup after I can find some Caputo flour without paying a huge premium for S&H.  That will give me more time to research the forum and tinker with the dough calculator tool.

As far as the ferment times and temps.  What is going on during this time?  In my brewing experience, yeast amount, temp and time all factor into the final character of the finished product (beer) and is fairly well defined in the literature and such.  In baking, and especially pizza, it seems to be more vague to me as to the results of the finished product, with regards to hard to define characteristics like texture, and dough elasticity, and such with respect to the fermentation temps and times, as well as the entire mixing process (over mixed, ideally mixed, undermixed).  In addition there are many other variables (oven temp & humidity, dough hydration (and by the way, how the heck is this calculated anyway?), baking time, oven heat distribution, etc.   I guess this is what is meant by "the art and science" of pizza making.  In large part I think it is simply my inexperience and past failures with occasional good to great results, that drive me to pursuit of perfection (though I hate that word).

Thanks for the advice.

TD

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2013, 08:24:31 PM »
For the exact taste and texture, Caputo 00 is the most available in the states.  The time factor is not as critical as the temperature, as far as the individual segments, so it is pretty flexible.  That is to say, you can bulk it for longer or shorter, then ball it and extend that segment out for a week or two, provided that the intermediate stage of room temp fermentation is also followed.  In a nutshell, once it is balled and secondary fermented, it can be held for a good amount of time in the refrigerator.

It will not be optimal a week later, but it will still be far above average, and even 2 weeks later it will be better than 98% of what most non pizza nerds eat.


You can also try a bromated flour if you want to use the same dough for Neo and NY, but  the Neo will suffer slightly while the NY will improve (over using Caputo 00).

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 04:38:20 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions.

Summer vacation is preventing any immediate plans for experimentation, but ill be sending some feedback when I'm home and have a chance to try some of these new to me techniques and if possible some Bromated flour and/or 00 flour.

TD

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2013, 03:48:38 PM »
The Caputo is proving more difficult to obtain at a reasonable price without incurring expensive S&H fees.  I was able to procure a sack of All Trumps for $22 however so I am pretty excited about that.

I will keep looking for the Caputo as well

Thanks

TD

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 05:56:38 PM »
I really like the AT bromated.  Other than Caputo, it makes the smoothest, easy to work dough of any I have tried.


Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 10:41:07 AM »
Are there any sticky posts or other general guidelines for making the dough?  By making, I mean the initial mixing and kneading before the cold fermentation stage.  Also how will I know how much my KA stand mixer can handle (its the 5.5qt artisan model forgot the wattage)?  I am planning to use the Lehman dough calculator with 63% hydration and IDY. I might try doing a second batch with some Sourdough cultures.  When using sourdough culture as a percentage of the flour weight is there any adjustment or manipulation of the % basis as a portion of the sourdough culture isn't yeast mass but is really just really wet dough?
Are there any particular guidelines as far as the fermentation phase?  I was thinking bulk two days at 40°F then balling and an additional day at 42-45°F after that.  Then let rise to room temp for a good 3-4 hours before use.

Thanks again!

TD


Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 04:54:47 PM »
Stumbled upon the master post about start to finish methods of TXcraig1!  I think that'll probably handle most questions.  Now back to reading it!

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 09:37:01 PM »
That is  the one I was alluding to.  Post on that thread any questions and he will assist.

Offline dhorst

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2013, 11:20:05 PM »
I don't know if you happen to have any Amish or Mennonite markets in Florida, my guess would be not.  But if you do, or if your happen to come across any in your travels, check out their flours.  You can usually get some Occident flour that is a bromated flour.  I like it better for pizza than All Trumps.  I prefer All Trumps for bagels though.
That is  the one I was alluding to.  Post on that thread any questions and he will assist.
Craig is a very kind, generous and knowlegeable guy with regards to any questions regarding pizza, and well, probably food of any sort and science experiments.  And I want his oven in my garage, thank you very much! :-D

Offline adm

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 04:37:01 AM »
I don't know if you happen to have any Amish or Mennonite markets in Florida, my guess would be not.  But if you do, or if your happen to come across any in your travels, check out their flours.  You can usually get some Occident flour that is a bromated flour.  I like it better for pizza than All Trumps.  I prefer All Trumps for bagels though.Craig is a very kind, generous and knowlegeable guy with regards to any questions regarding pizza, and well, probably food of any sort and science experiments.  And I want his oven in my garage, thank you very much! :-D

There is an Amish Market in Sarasota. It's part of "Yoder's Amish Village". Might be worth a try. I passed through there a year ago but can't remember if the market sold flour or not. The restaurant does a fine breakfast though....


Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2013, 07:52:46 AM »
if they're serving breakfast, chances are they're buying flour from someone. Ask if you don't see any, occident generally is only available in 50# sacks, maybe he will sell you smaller quantites.
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Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2013, 10:02:33 AM »
Living in FL, where many communities have golf courses (and country clubs) including mine, I was able to talk the CC GM into buying a sack of all trumps for me for $22.  Their supplier doesn't carry the Caputo however.  About $70 for a 55#sack incl s&h from pennmac.com and amazon.com.  Going to keep looking.  I don't think any of the local pizzerias use Caputo.  There are two I am planning to call today if I get time between work, and forum surfing !

TD

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2013, 10:46:33 AM »
I have struck out in finding a local source for any Caputo flour.

Looks like amazon or pennmac or fornobravo or some other online retailer.

Looks like about $70 for a full sack 55# with s&h included (which is essentially a drop in the bucket after building a WFO).
But still. Is it the pizzeria flour (blue sack) or the rinforzatto (red sack) ?  I'm thinking its the blue sack. 
What's the big difference between the two?

Any recommended online retailers?

Thanks!!

As an aside, I also phoned a neighbor who is fanatical about wanting to make pizza.  Took a special class in NYC even!  I see him from time to time and he's talking 00 flour and all sorts of stuff to me that I never understood.  Well, apparently, he too had to buy the 00 flour online (though now realizes he's using the wrong flour for making NYC dough I hear, after the class). 

TD

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2013, 01:43:53 PM »
I wouldn't buy a 50# sack of Caputo unless you have a lot of freezer space.  The All Trumps I use more of and it is cheap enough that I do not mind throwing away 10 or 15 pounds if I don't use it quickly (2 months).  I rebag in 5# and freeze it for a couple of days as soon as I buy it.

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Where to begin?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2013, 02:04:47 PM »
I found a place that repacks the 55# sacks in 5# quantity.  Going to try that for starters and go from there.
I wouldn't say I have a LOT of freezer space.   
Is it really necessary to freeze the flour?  What is the shelf life? $22 for a sack of all trumps left at room temp, how long can I expect it to last?  Do you freeze it with the idea of destroying any bugs in residence?

TD
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 02:09:46 PM by Trickydick »