Author Topic: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure  (Read 7700 times)

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Offline crkoller

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My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« on: December 27, 2013, 04:56:59 PM »
My Wood Fire Pizza Adevnture

So first I just want to thank everyone for their direct or indirect help: TXCraig1, JConk007, JDV, Serpentelli, Mmmph, Pete-zza, Fornographer, Fidel Montoya.

BACKGROUND:

So a little over two weeks ago my Andiamo 70 Forno Bravo oven arrived. I decided to make the purchase after coming to the conclusion that there is no great pizza in my area (aside from Italian Pizzeria III in Chapel Hill, which is fantastic – more Neo-neopolitan/NYC though).

I have always loved food and some of the best memories I have with my dad growing up were making pizza at home – he is a Long Island boy so the pies were always great.

I also had the opportunity to live and travel throughout Italy in 2010 and eat my way up the West Coast. The highlight dish was without question a pizza from Naples – my brain was rearranged and like a drug user I have been chasing that flavor/high for years with little success.

CURING:

So Forno Bravo recommends a five day/five fire cure, but per the suggestion of Fornographer I went with a two week cure (technically it was a thirteen day / sixteen fire cure). The first week I exclusive used cardboard and small sticks from the yard (oak/maple). The next week I basically add a medium size log everyday raising the temperature of the oven by ~100F each day until last night when the dome reached over 1000F. Each day small amounts of water would seep out of the sides where the metal sits next to the stand.

SPECS/TOOLS/INGREDIENTS:

Oven – Forno Bravo Andiamo70

Oven Tools – two old school wooden pizza peels, one perforated loading peel, one perforated banjo turning peel, one solid turning peel, and a U-shaped brass brush (all from JConk007). 

Other accessories – Lenox LT91 propane blow torch, Fluke 62 MAX Plus IR Thermometer (range -20 to 1202), All-Clad food mill, Canon 7d/iPhone 4s, and I’ll throw the wood in here: I used Red Oak from a friend. The caveat with this wood is that it is from a tree that fell from Hurricane Fran (1998) so it burns hot and fast – truly awesome.

INGREDIENTS:

Caputo Flour, Nina’s San Marzano Tomatoes, Cento San Marzano Tomatoes, Sicilian Olive Oil (Lucini/California Olive Ranch/Barbera), Basil, Sicilian Sea Salt, IDY,  Mozzarella (Garfolo [Buffalo], BelGioioso, Chapel Hill Creamery), Tutto Calabrian Chilis, Sicilian Oregano.

DOUGH:

From JDV: 18 Hours Caputo with 60% hydration, 2.8% NaCl, 0.2% IDY. I knead it in my dad’s KA for 10 minutes then hand kneaded for another 10. Bulked for 12 and balled for 6 at room temperature.

BAKE:

So I made 8 pies and each seemed to get better as the oven became a little less brutal. My dome temperature was hanging out around 1070 and the floor was between 850-960. The first pie I christened the oven with was a Marinara – I trusted my gut and did not use any cheese just in case the pie came out a little well done. Needless to say the pie was great aside from the fact that the bottom was jet black haha (learning lesson number one). The bottoms of the pies had a great leoparding on them but the goal for the next round of pies it to get a better leoparding around the outer rim. I think I did a good job with the cornizone – tried to imitate Motorino’s as much as possible with the high rise.

The pizzas were Marinara (tomato, oregano, garlic olive oil). Margherita (tomato, Buffalo Mozz, olive oil, basil). Filette (cherry tomatoes, mozz, garlic, chili flake, olive oil, basil)

Always looking for feedback, but not too bad for my first pies!

-Chris (I always like seeing the face behind the pizza, I'm the guy on the left in the glasses standing next to my best friend Mike from college).


Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2013, 05:04:54 PM »
marinara

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2013, 05:05:45 PM »
Margherita

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013, 05:06:01 PM »
Filetti

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 05:06:18 PM »
Margherita (no basil)

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2013, 07:20:41 PM »
Great job Chris! The floor will even out after 10 or so firings. Also, make sure your coal pile has one log on it, all the way to one side (as far against the wall as you can get it) and has a flame that laps the whole dome. This will help with leoparding. See if you can extend your fermentation to 24 hours as well.

John

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2013, 08:59:14 PM »
Thanks for the advice John. I threw an additional log between pie 4 and 5 and the final pizzas were better, also probably because the floor evened out too. The flames were definitely not licking the dome, but my cool pile was large which certainly help lower the cooking times.

I just love how transcendent pizza is, you take delicious albeit relatively pedestrian ingredients and when combined in the right environment they become something so incredible. These pies were good but there is tons of room for improvement, but honestly their taste was so layered that the measurable enjoyment I got from eating them rivaled some of the Michelin star restaurants I've eaten in over the years.


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2013, 08:19:12 AM »
I have found that during the firing, which should be just over an hour, spreading the coals over the entire floor helps saturate. Then after moving all the coals to one side, give the floor about 20 minutes before cooking. This helps mitigate the poor conductivity of the floor.

The oven is small and you can only cook one pie at a time, but it can produce pies that rival even the mightiest of Neapolitan ovens once you understand the quirks.

John

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2013, 11:45:02 AM »
Yeah that makes sense, learning my oven will be key in producing better pizzas. What is your typical floor temp when you bake and of the entire time the pizza is in the oven what percent of it is on the floor versus on the peel? I was battling the hot floor by raising the pizza off it for around 10-15 seconds off the total 70s.

Offline wheelman

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2013, 01:23:28 PM »
excellent start Chris!  those pies look great.  keep up the good work.   when I'm having bottom burning issues I make sure not to move the pie from the same spot as I turn it.  it draws heat out of the floor and if you move it around it is more likely to burn.  not sure how he does it but John's results from a similar oven are almost without equal around here.  I'd listen closely to him! 
bill


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2013, 02:10:33 PM »
What is your typical floor temp when you bake and of the entire time the pizza is in the oven what percent of it is on the floor versus on the peel? I was battling the hot floor by raising the pizza off it for around 10-15 seconds off the total 70s.

I don't measure the floor anymore, so I don't really know what it is. But you should get to the point where you never need to lift the pie and it cooks completely on the floor. Keep baking on it and the conductivity will even out. And do give it the rest period - I am always anxious to get cooking, but that little bit of floor rest does help significantly.

John

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2013, 02:54:31 PM »
And do give it the rest period - I am always anxious to get cooking, but that little bit of floor rest does help significantly.

That was definitely a mistake on my part, I wanted to use this thing so badly that I basically moved my coals, brushed the floor and launched the first pie

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2013, 02:57:39 PM »
Thanks for the tip Wheelman. Makes complete sense to keep the pie on the same spot and I've been harassing JDV for week about different things and he is nothing but helpful, do I certainly plan on continuing to tap all of his knowledge

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2013, 06:28:31 PM »
Here is a photo of the cornicone I forgot to upload

Offline thezaman

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2013, 01:43:47 PM »
 your pizzas look very good.i have a primevera 70. it is three years old and i am realy happy with it. you will find that after 10 or so uses it will cook better.  a good fire that can be moved far enough to the side that you can give the front of the pizza a few inches from the coals will help. also,a long fermentation  allows the pizzas to bake a little hotter without burning like shorter fermented dough may. make sure you have a landing area that gives you a straight shot in and out or your peel will get hung up on the side of the opening and deform the pizza. i try for a floor of around 800 degrees.

Offline Everlast

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2013, 01:53:50 PM »
Chris,

Looks like you're off to a great start! I used to own a Primavera 60 (I'm now a 2stone Inferno owner) and my friend currently owns the Primavera 70 which I believe has the same specs as the Andiamo 70. I've done a good amount of pizza bakes on my friend's Primavera 70 and I have a couple of recommendations for you. First, as thezaman says, I'd target a floor of no more than 800 degrees. Since you've only got a 28" deck, that means that once you get your oven up to temp (the dome is clear), you may need to remove some of the coals to drop the floor temp. Thus, I'd recommend you get a steel trashcan with a lid so you can remove hot coals as needed. 5-10 minutes before you launch your first pizza, with the floor being around 750 or so, add a good size piece of wood so the flame rolls over the top of the dome and almost around to the other side. This top heat will allow you to get the heat you need on the top of the pizza without the bottom getting overdone. Once you have the combination of the dome flame and the floor up to 800 degrees, launch the pizza. Then, repeat as necessary for each successive pizza launch, adding a log right before each bake and removing coals as necessary to lower the deck temp. Oven management is an art and it takes some time to get it right. Second, in addition to the longer fermentation (try TxCraig1's formula and workflow when you're ready for it) try a higher hydration dough such as 62 or 63% which should help also help to avoid excessive charring.

Offline Serpentelli

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2013, 02:24:21 PM »
Hey Chris,

Those look great and you have the best professors possible in the respondents above! Keep up the good work and document both your successes and failures so that you have a foundation for growth in whichever way YOU want to go.

If there is one thing that I am going to get better at in 2014 its RECORDKEEPING. My current pizzamaking records are a mess! Look at Lionel Vatinet's book for and example of what/how you should be keeping track of things!

Would love to have you down to ILM sometime!

John K
I'm not wearing hockey pads!

Offline breadstoneovens

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2013, 04:56:41 PM »
Hi Chris,

Very nice pizza. Keep the pictures coming.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.

Offline JConk007

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2013, 11:25:36 PM »
Excellent Start Chris! Looks great !  Its a never ending journy sure to be enjoyed by yourself ,and the many who have the pleasure of being the testers. Thanks for the Honorable mention too  ;)
keep em coming  !
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline crkoller

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Re: My Neapolitan Pizza Adventure
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2014, 12:30:42 AM »
New Year's Day bake. Went with 3 margheritas, 1 Rosa, 1 White & Green (buff mozz with fresh spinach), 1 Baby Sinclair (Robertas - English white cheddar/maitake mushrooms/calabrian chiles/dino kale/banyuls vinegar/garlic).

So moving forward I took the above advice and tried to tweak a couple of things to improve my bakes. I first tried to keep the floor around 800F during the 6 pies, which was a very good piece of advice, I had no issues of excessive burning on the bottom of the pies. I am definitely going to purchase a metal trashcan this weekend because it will certainly help manage the heat better as I tend to over heat my oven as opposed to under heating it. Another important tweak that JDV pointed out was putting fresh logs on the coals to create flames moving over the top of the dome - I think this was a key to this bake. I can't wait to try TXCraig1's protocol - I printed it months ago, but think I should wait until I have an Ischia culture as I have read that many people don't have 100% success with their natural cultures.

Working in research I realize changing so many of my variables was probably silly because it will be hard to determine what has made the difference between each new bake, but it is still early in my learning so I feel playing around on the outer edges of normal isn't all that bad of an idea.

Bake times were 70-80 on these pies. 100% Caputo (Blue Bag) / 62.5% cool filtered water / 2.8% NaCl / 0.25% IDY

Bulk Ferment: 18 hours
Balled Ferment: 6 hours

Notes: I got some weak leoparding, but it is certainly there - very excited about that. Need to teach the family more about Neapolitan pizza because comments like "I like mine crispier than this" or "It's kind of pillowy" drive me nuts - granted its been awhile since I have been to Naples, but the pizza I had there was the consistency of a warm wet blanket or a fresh pizza...it was perfect. I'll have to school them on this in the future. and Lastly the Rosa pizza was good, but I found it a little dry on my palette - good not great, anyone else have an opinion on Bianco's signature pie that might help me better understand it?