Author Topic: Live coverage: My first attempt  (Read 1419 times)

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Offline Drivingrain

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Live coverage: My first attempt
« on: September 06, 2013, 08:21:11 AM »
If anyone is interested in the trials and tribulations of a newbie, then stay tuned here...

Background:
I've baked pizza on a stone in conventional ovens for around 10 years.  I usually made my own dough out of APF or a mix of BF and AP in a dough machine, rolled it out with a pin super thin with basically no additional time or care, and threw it on the stone and the results have always been better than anything available on the street....but I've always known I can do much, much better.

This week's recap:
1. The oven upgrade: Bought this contraption for my Weber charcoal system in my attempt to get use a +/-800 degree oven for my pizza: Has anybody in this forum used it before? I cant seem to find a review.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006WRLBNU/?tag=pizzamaking-20

2. Small gadget upgrade: Bought this to get some feel for the cooker's temp
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0021AEAIK/?tag=pizzamaking-20

3. Joined this forum and started reading: And got a headache over a 2 hour period.  Total information overload.  I realized I need to start small and build from there.  Compromise is necessary unless Im willing to dedicate 100% of my time to my Friday night dinner.

4. Bought some 00 flour  Went to my local Italian grocer and got some of the Cento 00 flour

5. Found a newbie dough recipe and just went for it: I sort of indiscriminately picked the below recipe and started making it.  It's been in the fridge for close to 24 hours and I will pull it out a few hours before the cook tonight.  Damn does it seem salty!
http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/07/how-to-make-neapolitan-pizza-crust-from-keste-pizzeria-vino-nyc-manhattan-roberto-caporuscio.html

The plan from here:
1. Pull that dough out around 3pm and bring it up to temp
2. Pour a glass of wine and light the wood fire around 5pm and start to begin to warm the stone
3. Around 6-630 begin to work the dough
4. Hopefully around 630 or 7; start the cook (thinking 2x margherita and two dessert pies; one nutella/banana/clotted cream dots added after the oven & one clotted cream/rum-cherries/lemon)
5. Approx 7:05, take some pictures of the pizza

Any tips or edits to the above plan would be greatly appreciated!


« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 09:08:09 PM by Steve »


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 11:17:10 AM »
If anyone is interested in the trials and tribulations of a newbie, then stay tuned here...
Sounds good to me. I love seeing documented progress in real time. Kinda like the Tommy's thread I claimed as mine in the cracker style section, as well as a lot of Norma's threads.

This week's recap:
1. The oven upgrade: Bought this contraption for my Weber charcoal system in my attempt to get use a +/-800 degree oven for my pizza: Has anybody in this forum used it before? I cant seem to find a review.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006WRLBNU/?tag=pizzamaking-20
Looks fine from what I can tell, but 14" will probably be too small for you once your pizza obsession reaches the level of the typical pizzamaking.com regular. I have an important tip: If/when you end up with a lot of burned pizza bottoms (from baking them on the grill), line the bottom of your stone with aluminum foil. If you don't, your stone will probably get much hotter than you want it. The foil reflects a lot of the intense, excessive bottom heat, and it makes a world of difference.

Other members will probably steer your toward grill mods. I've never modded a grill, so I can't help in that department. Take Bert (MightyPizzaOven) seriously.

4. Bought some 00 flour  Went to my local Italian grocer and got some of the Cento 00 flour
Don't get all hung up on 00 flour. I've never used it myself, but I've read enough to feel pretty confident that it's pretty much only usable in extremely high temperatures. I'm sure Craig and other informed users of 00 will have plenty to say about that.

The plan from here:

2. Pour a glass of wine and light the wood fire around 5pm and start to begin to warm the stone
I apparently missed when you said you'll be using charcoal (rather than gas). Not sure if that changes anything I said above, as I've never used a charcoal grill.

5. Approx 7:05, take some pictures of the pizza
Yeah, don't forget that step. Then make sure to share them.

Offline Surffisher2A

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 12:34:09 PM »
I am just starting out with trying to make better pizza myself, however I been grilled on a weber for a long long time so I might be able to help with that.

The stone you bought is better than no stone at all, but my guess its not going to last and there are better options if you read this site. It is however a good starting point to start to learn the craft.

Now for the grill, I doubt your going to see 800 degree temps in your weber kettle unless you add some parts / modify the grill. More realistic cook temps would be in the 600 degree range on a good day with hot fuel. You will be able to spike temps over that at time but you will never be able to sustain it or control it. Having said that you don't need 800 plus temps for good pizza. The only time you really need that is for  true Neo style pizzas.

The most valuable piece of equipment you can have is a good digital scale that does grams. I have two, a small one that does grams to the .0 place for salt, yeast, and etc and a larger capacity scale that does whole grams for flour and water. You can get a good large capacity scale for around 25 bucks and 10 bucks for the smaller capacity scale. Check out the equipment forum here for specific products.


« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 03:26:54 PM by Surffisher2A »

Offline Drivingrain

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 03:24:57 PM »
Don't get all hung up on 00 flour. I've never used it myself, but I've read enough to feel pretty confident that it's pretty much only usable in extremely high temperatures. I'm sure Craig and other informed users of 00 will have plenty to say about that.

I hope/plan to get to a consistent 800 tonight using wood.  Whenever I burn a wood fire in the summer (usually if I want a little extra flavor in a steak); I go far beyond the Weber thermometer maximum.  I bought a 750 degree oven thermometer to see if I can max that out.  We shall see in a couple of hours.

Don't get all hung
I apparently missed when you said you'll be using charcoal (rather than gas). Not sure if that changes anything I said above, as I've never used a charcoal grill.

Yes, charcoal 22" grill; but I'll burn wood tonight. 


Yeah, don't forget that step. Then make sure to share them.

Will do!

Offline Drivingrain

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 03:33:15 PM »
Now for the grill, I doubt your going to see 800 degree temps in your weber kettle unless you add some parts / modify the grill. More realistic cook temps would be in the 600 degree range on a good day with hot fuel. You will be able to spike temps over that at time but you will never be able to sustain it or control it.

This will be the challenge.  Because I have been using the Weber WSM smoker for the past couple years I've become very good at holding 200-250 for 12-18 hours by knowing the winds in my grill area and by getting to know my cooker.  This isnt the WSM (it's a 22" kettle) and this isnt low&slow...so I'll be testing myself in a whole new way tonight.  We shale see!

Having said that you don't need 800 plus temps for good pizza. The only time you really need that is for  true Napalatono style pizzas.

The hope is to get close to 800.  I'll start the wood fire in my Weber fireplace and then transfer it over to the kettle.  I'll also use some of my smoking wood chunks and a few briquettes.  By weight Im guessing I'll be 60%+ wood (mostly birch which needs to get hot b/c the smoke is bitter for me), 20% chunks of whatever I have the most of (also up to temps far beyond pillowed smoke) and 20% charcoal; all place around the outside of the kettle with none directly under the stone.

The most valuable piece of equipment you can have is a good digital scale that does grams. I have two, a small one that does grams to the .0 place for salt, yeast, and etc and a larger capacity scale that does whole grams for flour and water. You can get a good large capacity scale for around 25 bucks and 10 bucks for the smaller capacity scale. Check out the equipment forum here for specific products.

Yes, got one.   But I need to get a better one.  The current one will get me by for now; but I like the sound of what you propose.

Offline Drivingrain

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 03:49:01 PM »
Ok, the dough balls have been out for 35 minutes so far (it's 335pm EDT as I write). 

Should they sit out covered or uncovered?


Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 03:52:43 PM »
COVERED.  You don't want them to form a skin on them.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline Drivingrain

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 03:56:04 PM »
COVERED.  You don't want them to form a skin on them.

got it, thanks!

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2013, 03:58:18 PM »
Driving rain, I can't wait for the next installment ;D . Nice detailed account so far.
Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2013, 04:32:38 PM »
Forming your dough ball is the first step in assembling the pizza, and each subsequent step builds on the previous and mistakes and imperfections are passed along and often amplified. Your dough ball should be perfect - smooth and tight and sealed on the bottom.

Watch this video. The forming starts at about 3:55. You will develop your own technique, but this gives you a good idea of what you want - much better than I could do typing out words.
 
Did you lightly oil those containers? It's important.


Pizza is not bread.


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2013, 04:34:33 PM »
When you open the ball into the pizza base, the bottom of the dough ball is the bottom of the base.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Drivingrain

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2013, 05:43:29 PM »
Forming your dough ball is the first step in assembling the pizza, and each subsequent step builds on the previous and mistakes and imperfections are passed along and often amplified. Your dough ball should be perfect - smooth and tight and sealed on the bottom.

Watch this video. The forming starts at about 3:55. You will develop your own technique, but this gives you a good idea of what you want - much better than I could do typing out words.
 
Did you lightly oil those containers? It's important.



Awesome, thanks!  Done!

Offline Drivingrain

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2013, 05:44:25 PM »
Fire is started.

Wine pushed aside for one bourbon and ginger.


Offline Drivingrain

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Re: Live coverage: My first attempt
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2013, 09:11:14 PM »
More pics coming...but to summarize:

What a humbling experience!  Everything tasted a-ok flavor wise, but the tops just werent getting done.  The bottoms developed nicely, but the tops stayed limp.

Fire management was fascinating.  It did take a good 90 minutes before I could get it consistently above 700.  So much learned, yet so much to learn...


 

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