Wow! Since discovering this site a couple of months ago I have been downright giddy with all of the new recipes and techniques I've learned about making "real" apizza in my home oven. I'm originally from the home of the best pizza on Earth, New Haven Connecticut (bet you thought I was going to say Italy, or maybe even New York. Don't even get me started on Chicago, that's a casserole, not a pizza). Since moving to Michigan over 20 years ago, I've been in a good pizza desert. Sure, Michigan has its own style of pie which can be good if you're into that sort of thing, but I'm always longing for that perfect, thin-crust ah-beetz. I truly have a passion for pizza and I make it at least once per month as it is, although since discovering pizzamaking.com its been every single weekend.
After getting some really good advise from Scott123, I procured a 14" x 20" x 1/2" steel plate and proudly cooked and promptly devoured my first two pizzas this past weekend. What follows is my step-by-step account of my process in the hopes that I can help others to achieve pizza making success and get some feedback into what I need to improve.
I started out by making my dough on Wednesday night for the pies I was planning to cook on Saturday. I used a recipe provided by Scott123 and shown here:http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,25127.msg264868.html#msg264868
The only difference is I upped the salt to 2.25%. Besides that, I followed the recipe exactly and let the dough ferment in individual Rubbermaid containers (lightly oiled) for a couple of days and then took them out to sit at room temp 3 hours before cooking. Since I was going for slightly smaller pizzas, I formed the dough into 4 balls instead of 3 as called for in the recipe. Right before stretching them out, the dough balls looked like this:
(my apoligies if the pictures don't post in the correct spots!)
I made two pies, one plain cheese (a.k.a. mootz) and one with onion and red peppers. For both I used a can of cento crushed tomatoes for the sauce, Grande whole milk mozzarella, and Grande Grated Romano.
I stretched the doughs to about 14" on my wooden peel which I dusted with 50/50 flour and cornmeal. I put on a tin/medium layer of the crushed tomatoes and dusted on some Romano cheese. Finally, I added the mozz and finished them off with a dash of olive oil.
I had my 1/2" steel placed on the very top rack of the oven (about 4" from broiler) and preheated it to 550 for an hour. Then I turned the oven off and cranked up the broiler as high as it would go. Both of the pizzas cooked in about 3-4 minutes.
My results were good, but I'm very critical of the pizzas I make so I'm going to just list my concerns.
1) The first pizza to come off the steel was the all mozz pie. I think I put jut a little bit too much olive oil on the top so it was a little bit soupy. My biggest concern though was that the bottom crust got more burned than I had expected.
2) The second pizza to come out was the onion and pepper. The bottom crust on this one turned out almost perfect. I'm wondering if the first pizza drew a little bit of heat out of the steel thus making my second pizza less burned?
3) On both pizzas, I think I could have used just a little bit less Mozzarella.
4) The sauce still had a bit of an un-cooked flavor. Wondering if this is because of putting too much cheese? I also did not add anything to the sauce but felt like it could have used just a hint of garlic or perhaps even some salt.
I'm absolutely loving this site and I really look forward to hearing what you all think!
In Pizza We Trust