Hi all – it’s been a while since I got to do any pizza experimentation but I finally got to do some more “work” this weekend. I got to try out a new tool and do a solid side-by-side comparison between two versions of the recipe to decide once and for all which is better.
In the end the most recent “2.0” version won out for taste and texture, so I’m happy to move forward with that one. It’s not “there” yet, but it’s close. Lost of work left to do, but of course that’s half the fun!
The basic difference between the two doughs is 2.0 has a higher percentage of egg than 1.0.
They both came together rather easily, though 1.0 was MUCH stickier than 2.0. They both got ~30 hours rest in the refrigerator.
When rolling them out I got to use my new rolling pin – an 18 pin which I fitted with those thickness-gauge rubber bands. This helped IMMENSELY in getting the dough a more even consistency. I can’t stress how awesome this was!
However, it was VERY hard to roll out all the way to a 14” size. Without that extra ability to press into the dough I just had to roll, and roll, and roll, and roll – and it was still difficult to get it all the way out to 14 inches. The good news in this was there was little over-hang crust that I had to cut away, but it took a while to get there. Also, just a funny note, it kind of has the feel and texture of sugar cookie dough once rolled out all the way. I was half tempted to press out cookie-pizzas
I should also note that I used a hefty amount of flour in rolling them out – especially 1.0 as it was still pretty sticky. But the overall procedure works very well now – roll out to 14”, dock, oil, sprinkle on and pat-down cornmeal, and flip onto the pizza disc.
Each then got the standard 30 minute hydration period and then were set on the counter for a couple of hours to try and encourage the drier, crispier edges. The each was sauced, topped, and baked at 450 for ~7 minutes.
1.0 was rather chewy – not enough “snap” to the crust. It had good flavor, but not as good as 2.0. It also browned very nicely on the bottom.
2.0 Was very tasty and had the good crispness along with the slight chew I’m looking for. However, it got pretty burnt on the bottom – not so bad where it tasted bad or burnt, but it wasn’t a nice golden brown, that’s for sure.
So we did decide that 2.0 tasted the closest and that’s the one to keep and work on, but there are still some challenges:
1. The crust burnt: I’m not sure if I’m getting darker results due to the longer counter-top post-hydration rest (also allowing for a longer oven pre-heat time) or what. Maybe I need to raise the rack up one, or even cut down the cooking time?
2. Still not getting the dark crispy edges – more specifically from the top. The top of the pizza doesn’t get as “done” as I’d like. I can’t really have heating elements in the top and bottom of the oven like those conveyers do, but maybe there’s something I can do, like put a pizza stone on the rack above or something.
3. The thickness isn’t quite perfect – but close. The rolling pin actually made the dough a bit thicker than Pete’s formula called for (closer to 1/8 inch) though there wasn’t a noticeable difference in the final product (other than the wonderful consistency! Haha). However I think its still EVER SO SLIGHTLY too thin. I also got very little refrigerator rise out of the 2.0 version.
So those are really the only big challenges left – well, the taste isn’t quite perfect, but I don’t know how to get any better really, as far as trying to explain (or, more accurately, figure out) where it’s off a bit. Hopefully we can get some other people trying out the recipe!
I’m up for suggestions on perhaps some more things to try and correct my problems! This is of course a fun thing to work on!
A few other non dough/crust related items.
1. I did par-bake the pepperoni (if that’s the correct term) this time to try and cut down on the fat content. I gotta say it worked really well! I put them in the oven at 250 for maybe 5-10 minutes and then blotted off as much grease as possible. And again, it worked – I was able to load up the pizza with more pepperoni without it turning into a big greasy messy pool. The pepperoni is, I think, going to be the one thing I’ll never be able to get 100% down. I’ve not found any brand that tastes just like theirs.
2. The sauce I put together this time was the best yet, as far as mimicking the taste. A friend who was helping me taste test said it was spot-on.
a. 1 can tomato paste
b. 1 can (same size) water
c. ¾ tbsp sugar
d. ½ tbsp kosher salt
e. 1 tbsp basil
f. ½ tbsp oregano
g. Mix all together (slowly) with a whisk, and let mellow in the fridge at least 3 or 4 hours. Overnight would be best.
h. It’ll be very thick! Thicker than most sauces.
3. I’ve still not found a place around here that carries Aged-Smoked Provolone, which is the “right” kind of provolone to use. I can only find non-smoked sharp provolone. It’s definitely the right flavor, but it’s not quite perfect. It has too much of a “tang” that doesn’t fit the flavor profile. I’m going to breakdown here soon and find and online cheese store to get some aged-smoked stuff the next time I try making the pizzas.
After having leftovers the day after, I have to say that there are some other noticeable differences in the final crust. The 1.0 actaully came out a bit thicker than 2.0 - I mentioned that 2.0 needs to be a tiny bit thicker. 1.0 was the perfect thickness, and again had wonderful color. But it was much softer and chewier (though not burnt!) than the 2.0 This makes sense, because the 1.0 did give some rise in the 24 hour fridge rest, while the 2.0 rose almost none at all (if any). So at this point I think I need to find some kind of middle-ground between the two. More experimentation is needed!