Author Topic: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel  (Read 1715 times)

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Offline atrain88

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New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« on: September 17, 2013, 02:07:47 PM »
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


« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 03:38:10 PM by atrain88 »


Offline atrain88

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 08:25:28 AM »
I made more dough last night for another round of pies on Thursday.  This time, I used 1.87% salt instead of the 2.25% I used in my last recipe.   I'm hoping this will make the crust just a little bit more tender than my last batch.  I also chopped up 2 cloves of fresh garlic which I added to a can of crushed tomatoes along with a pinch of salt.   Letting those flavors marry in the fridge for a couple of days in hopes of having a slightly more flavorful sauce this time around while still staying true to the beautiful simplicity of a New Haven apizza.  Will post more photos next week!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 08:39:02 AM »
atrain88,

You might find this post by Tom Lehmann of interest:

Reply 5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,23273.msg236067.html#msg236067

Peter

Offline stonecutter

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 09:35:42 AM »
   .......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.... 

That first part cracked me up, probably because I used to hear and say that all the time when I lived in CT.   I too moved into pizza exile...South Carolina.   
http://oldworldstoneandgarden.com/

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Jacob August Riis

Offline stonecutter

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 09:40:27 AM »
I posted this before, but this was a shout out to New Haven style, with a little extra cheese for the kids.....

http://oldworldstoneandgarden.com/

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Jacob August Riis

Offline atrain88

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 10:27:58 AM »
Thanks for the info Pete-zza!   I've actually heard of this happening before but never experience it myself so I figured I'd give it a shot and see what happens.   If it looks to to much like tomato Jelly, I've got a back up can ready to go.   I actually used to be a buyer for a VERY large national pizza chain and this happened to their sauce once when they decided to add garlic at the manufacturer instead of in store.   There were many interesting (read: heated) discussions about what to do with 20 truckloads of jelly tomato sauce!   Thanks again!

Offline atrain88

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 10:30:09 AM »
Looking good Stonecutter!   I notice your pizza had some of the dark black char on the bottom as well.  Did you cook on a steel plate?  Have you had any success with getting a nice golden brown in later attempts?   Man I do miss that CT pizza! 

Offline stonecutter

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 11:33:30 AM »
I use a WFO for pizza.  I would guess the temp between 800*-900*...not sure exactly, I do everything by eye.   No sugar in the dough, but there was some olive oil.  This was an emergency batch we made after running out, and this pie was baked 30 mins after.

We are headed up in Oct for a couple weeks.  I'll be catching up at some of our favorite places there and in NYC.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 11:36:53 AM by stonecutter »
http://oldworldstoneandgarden.com/

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Jacob August Riis

Offline stonecutter

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 11:35:57 AM »
The char was o.k. with everybody...I usually don't bake this style at such a high temp, but I had ramped up the heat for Neo's and the kids were hungry!  So yeah, I normally have a dark-golden brown crust for NH.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 09:36:25 PM by stonecutter »
http://oldworldstoneandgarden.com/

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Jacob August Riis

Offline atrain88

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 08:22:39 AM »
UPDATE:

So I cranked out these beauties last night from the dough and sauce I prepared on Tuesday (post above).   I have to say, the all mozz pie in the foreground was one of my proudest achievements.  It had that taste, that X factor, the one you cant quite put your finger on but you know it when you have it.   I have to give a HUGE thank you to all the contributors at Pizzamaking.com with a special shout out to Scott123.   You guys friggin rock!!


Offline atrain88

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2013, 10:12:02 AM »
This weekend I think I'm going to try making one of New Haven's famous white clam pies.   I've never tried making one of these before so if anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears!   I'll post pictures in a few days.  I made a really nice batch of dough last night using the King Arthur Bread Flour I finally found at my local grocery store so I'm really excited to see how they turn out.   

Offline stonecutter

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Re: New Haven Apizza on 1/2" Steel
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2013, 11:37:46 AM »
Plenty of fresh clams and garlic are not optional.  A squeeze of lemon adds a nice zing too.
http://oldworldstoneandgarden.com/

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Jacob August Riis

Offline atrain88

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White Clam Apizza!
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2013, 02:47:37 PM »
I made three more apizzas on Sunday with mixed results (mostly positive!).   Overall they were really good (the white clam especially) but I accidentally added too much yeast to my dough which caused them to over-proof.  I knew I messed up the dough but figured I'd just go with it.  They say you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes so why not just give it a try?  The resulting pies were a little on the chewy side.   It did give me an opportunity however to test something else that has been bugging me which is whether to press the dough down half way through the proofing/fermenting process, or not.   

Since I added too much yeast to my dough formulation, the dough balls began to explode out of their containers while in the refrigerator.  This led to some square-shaped pizzas as the end product.  I decided that I would press all of the air out of one of the dough balls to allow it to go through a second rise.   The results are shown in the first two photos below.   The first photo is of the pizza whose dough was pressed down on Saturday afternoon, the second was allowed to rise naturally.  They both cooked in the same amount of time and to the same relative degree of char, however, the pizza made with the pressed dough was noticeably tougher.  I found this interesting because many pizzerias that I've worked in swear by the 2nd rise of the dough.   I found the dough that I left alone to be more tender and and it complimented the cheese and sauce much better.

Now on to the the Pièce de résistance, the New Haven White Clam Pie!   Wow, I will definitely be making one of these again!   I stretched out the dough as I normally do and then started by covering it in a thin layer of olive oil.  I then added a 10oz can of Bumble Bee brand Chopped Clams w/ juice.   I drained most of the juice from the can but retained a little bit which I lopped on to the pizza with the clams.  In hindsight, I think I could have used a slightly larger can for the 14" pizza I made.  I originally planned to buy a dozen live little-neck clams from the store but they just didn't look that fresh so I decided to go with the canned.  After adding the clams to the olive oil covered dough, I sprinkled on about 4-5 cloves of freshly chopped garlic.  I rubbed all of these ingredients on top of the dough by hand to ensure an even coverage.   I then added a very light layer of whole milk mozz, a sprinkle of freshly grated romano, and a dash of oregano.  I topped the whole thing with another drizzle of olive oil before popping it in the oven.   Just like with all of my pizzas lately, I cooked it on a 1/2" thick steel that had been preheated to 550 for an hour.   Oven off, broiler on high.  This cooked in less than 4 minutes.   After it came out of the oven, I finished it by squeezing two lemon wedges over the top.   This may have not been my prettiest pizza, but the taste was off the charts!  Who wants a slice??!!

And for those of you who may have noticed a trend in my finished pizza photos, I always put my finished pies on to a piece of corrugated cardboard.  It's easy to come by, cheap, allows breathablity, soaks up excess grease, is great to cut pizzas on, and is totally disposable! 

 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 03:20:42 PM by atrain88 »


 

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