Author Topic: Best Yet  (Read 12281 times)

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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Best Yet
« on: July 11, 2006, 02:39:25 PM »
I've been tweaking and tweaking and the more pies I make, the more the following holds true for Neapolitan pies:

Hotter is better (950F+)

Quicker is better (60 seconds)

Wetter is better (65% hydration including water in starter)

Here are some photos of today's effort which was the best yet (San Felice flour, Camaldoli starter -10% of total weight):



Offline scott r

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2006, 02:22:16 AM »
Bill, your pizza looks really beautiful.  We are very lucky to have you here sharing your work.  An inspiration!

A few questions.  first what is on that pizza?

How long did you knead, and how long did you proof your dough?

Are you still doing a fridge rise?

Finally, how hard is it to get your oven up to those temps?  Does it take a while?

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2006, 02:57:51 AM »
What is on that pizza?

How long did you knead, and how long did you proof your dough?

Are you still doing a fridge rise?

Finally, how hard is it to get your oven up to those temps?  Does it take a while?

Thank you, Scott.

I didn't mention the topping because I've been concentrating so hard on advancing my crust, I really didn't give much thought to the toppings. I had planned for this pie to be the first this year to use tomtoes from my garden, but there was only one that was ripe, so I ended up using what I had. Costco sells a hand-rolled copicola/mozzarella/basil that I sliced. There is also some thawed Alleva Dairy fresh mozzarella that has been in the freezer for a few months.   

The dough regimen was:

- Mix 75% of flour with all the other ingredients. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining flour and knead for 5 minutes
- Rest for 20 minutes and knead for a few turns.
- Bulk ferment at room temp for about 7 hours
- Refrigerate overnight
- Shape and proof for 5 hours

Took 5 hours for oven to get up to temp. I just checked it out 12 hours after shutting it down and it is still about 700F. I'll be making breakfast stomboli with the leftover dough in the morning and also baking some rye bread in the afternoon.

Bill/SFNM

Offline scott r

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2006, 12:06:48 PM »
Thanks Bill. 

Hopefully I wont bother you if I ask a few more questions.

Did you slowly add the flower, or did that first 75% go quickly in the mixer?  I know you had mentioned recently that a long slow knead had resulted in your best products.

Have you ever compared the results of the current procedure with ommitting the fridge proof and just sticking to all room temp?

I am amazed at how hot your oven still is!  Damn those are efficient.


I have gone back to experimenting with a rest period earlier in my mix again as well.  I am not totally sold on it yet, but it has seemed to help my pies be slightly more consistent, and it definitely makees the dough more managable.  Since my oven can't get as hot as yours I stll am sticking around 61% hydration, but with your temps and wetter dough I dont think the skins would need to be any easier to stretch out.

Offline jimd

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2006, 02:08:24 PM »
Also Bill, can you tell us the temp of the oven floor? I also have a wood oven, and I have not yet found the right "dome"/floor ratio. Often the dome is reading in excess of 900 degrees, but the floor is around 650.

Your pie looks just great.

By the way, I made one this weekend by using fresh Ricotta cheese and wild mushrooms sauteed in olive oil. When finished, I drizzled a little truffle oil on top. My family and guests said it was the best yet.

Thanks for your info.

Regards,

Jim

Offline ajcorn

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2006, 03:48:21 PM »
Bill your pizza is beautiful!  What was your flour?

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2006, 03:56:06 PM »
Thanks Bill. 

Hopefully I wont bother you if I ask a few more questions.

Did you slowly add the flower, or did that first 75% go quickly in the mixer?  I know you had mentioned recently that a long slow knead had resulted in your best products.

Have you ever compared the results of the current procedure with omitting the fridge proof and just sticking to all room temp?

I am amazed at how hot your oven still is!  Damn those are efficient.


Scott,

I welcome any questions. I really enjoy this forum and have learned so much from it. If I can help others in any way, it is a great pleasure.

I first put the water in the mixing bowl, then dissolve the salt, then mix in the starter, and then dump in at once 75% of the flour. I mix with a spoon until it comes together. I then let it rest for 5 minutes. I then sprinkle in the remaining flour and knead for about 5 minutes or until I see from the action of the mixer that enough gluten has formed in the dough. I then give it a 20 minute riposo. 

I did use to believe that a very long, slow kneading was necessary, but the above regimen seems to give great results if you like a softer, fluffy crust.

I did do a room temp fermentation and think the one described above works better for the kind of starter and flour I use. It is also very convenient.

Jim: I only measure the oven floor temp. When the dough hits the deck, that's what matters the most. The dough has a pretty thin line between perfect and overcooked. The toppings are less temperamental - I rely on high radiant heat from a live fire to cook the top. If I try to bake a pie on a 650F floor, it takes several minutes to bake and the dough is overcooked for my taste.

Ricotta cheese is something I've never tried on my pies, but did eat a number of pizzas in Italy with it. I should give it a try one of these days if I can find a decent ricotta. What kind did you use? 

Bill/SFNM

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2006, 04:01:12 PM »
Bill your pizza is beautiful!  What was your flour?

Thank you.  I use San Felice Pizzeria flour which according to Marco, whom I respect tremendously, doesn't taste as good as Caputo, but in side-by-side tests, my family and friends prefer it.

Bill/SFNM

Offline jimd

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2006, 04:17:55 PM »
Thanks for the info Bill. I will have to try my next experiment at 950 at the floor.

The Ricotta cheese I used is made by Calabro, and they are located in Connecticut. I found it in a gourmet store in Massachusetts. Because Ricotta is soft and can by "runny" (it has the consistency of a finer cottage cheese), I scooped the Ricotta into some cheese clothe and hung it over the sink for several hours, noting that a fair amount of liquid drained out. I also squeezed the clothe from time to time to get out more of the moisture. As a result, the cheese did not make the pie soggy or heavy at all, but just gave a very pleasant and creamy taste.

Jim

Offline deb415611

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2006, 06:01:04 PM »

The Ricotta cheese I used is made by Calabro, and they are located in Connecticut. I found it in a gourmet store in Massachusetts.
Jim

Jim,
 I just tried the Calabro ricotta last week and liked it.  I bought it at Stop & Shop or Price Chopper (but i'm in CT).   You might be able to find in the regular grocery store and save a few cents - I know that at least Stop & Shop is in MA.

Deb
Deb


Offline scott r

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2006, 07:47:05 PM »
calabro makes many versions of ricotta.  Most grocery stores sell the kind in the normal looking plastic container.  For something really special try the "fresh" ricotta from calabro that comes in a mini metal bucket and mushrooms out of the top of the container.  The whole thing is then wrapped in plastic wrap.  Jim, this might be what you tried.  So far that is the best ricotta I have found, but I still think there is something better that is used at the Pizzeria Regina in the north end of Boston.  It is magical. It reminds me more of cream cheese than the ricottas I have found.

Bill, I am happy to hear that this was not a long knead.  I have been trying every way possible to get a long knead to produce the type of results that you pictured, and I just can't do it.  You are not the only one that has said a long slow knead produces fluffy results.  A friend who visited some pizzerias in Naples witnessed them doing much longer kneads that I usually do with excellent results.  For now I am going to assume that the mixers, heat, and large batch sizes are making the difference.  I now feel confident that I can go back to my faster mixes and start looking for other variables to experiment with.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2006, 02:40:54 AM by scott r »

Offline David

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2006, 12:35:37 AM »


Took 5 hours for oven to get up to temp. I just checked it out 12 hours after shutting it down and it is still about 700F.
Bill/SFNM

Hey Bill,
            It's funny how as we progress out tastes and thoughts move along also.Last w/ei was burning a lot of excess scrap wood after a construction project.Unfortunately i hadn't planned ahead and had no starter / dough prepared,so Pizza was out of the question.I did however check the temp of my oven 5 hrs after I had fired it up.The Dome was at or above 950 at all points,and the floor was hovering around 730 -765.This is the longest fire I have had without putting food in it.Normally I light it up and move the fire to the side fairly early on in the proceedings.This time however I left the fire /ashes in the middle for considerably longer.I was kicking myself for not having a Dough ready !My oven floor has never been above this point,so I think this is as high as i can go?In conclusion i think that the 45 min- 90 min heat up  time that is talked about is probably unrealistic for a home built oven with the materials we have readily available.I'm slowly nursing back my calmadoli from a long hibernation , in the off chance that I may get to cook this coming w/e.Regards,
                                                                 David
BTW Does anyone know the exact dates for the Pizza fest in Naples (Italy) this year?
I plan on going over  Sept / Oct time ?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2006, 12:40:06 AM by David »
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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2006, 02:32:37 AM »
I now feel confident that I can go back to my faster mixes and start looking for other variables to experiment with.

Scott,
I think inefficient kneading with a c-hook was part of the reason I used to employ a longer knead. The fork mixer has helped a lot to reduce kneading time. In a recent test, I compared a batch that had been kneaded for 5 minutes vs. a batch kneaded for 10 minutes. The difference in texture was very noticeable with the 5 minute knead being softer. 

For me, the "other variable" that has had the biggest effect recently is cooking time. While a pie cooked for about 55 seconds was perfect, one cooked for 70 seconds was not fluffy - still good, though. I'm not saying there is a specific ideal cooking time - each session and pie is different and it takes a lot of experience to get consistent results. I'm still far from that point - luck is still my secret ingredient.

Let me know what you find out - we can muddle through this together - one delicious pie at a time!  :chef:

Bill/SFNM

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2006, 02:40:38 AM »
I think this is as high as i can go?

BTW Does anyone know the exact dates for the Pizza fest in Naples (Italy) this year?
I plan on going over  Sept / Oct time ?

David,
Is it possible the scrap wood was a soft wood that doesn't burn as hot as hard wood? Also, please tell me a little about the Pizzafest in Naples. I'm going to be over there in early October and was thinking of making a side trip to Naples. A Pizza fest sounds interesting, but I wouldn't want to be there then if the best pizzerias are clogged with people like me  ::)

Bill/SFNM

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2006, 06:44:42 AM »
Pizzafest 2006 from the 7th to the 17th September. However it will only open to the public (no pizza operators) from the 13th to the 17th).

I'll be in Naples from the 13th to the 20th September.

Hope to see you there


Offline ebpizza

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2006, 07:42:57 AM »
Scott:

Where in Boston can you purchase the "fresh" ricotta from calabro?

Also, Purity Cheese in the North End makes a very good ricottoa.



Offline jimd

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2006, 09:31:53 AM »
The Ricotta cheese from Calabro was the "fresh" one referenced, with the cheese "mushrooming" out of the container (the top being covered with a plastic wrap). It really was good, and much better than other store-bought Ricotta I have tried.

In regard to oven temperature, somewhere on this forum I read that smaller pieces of wood burn hotter than a big log. SO---I split the larger logs into smaller pieces, none bigger than a man's forearm. The differance in heating of the oven has been significant--the oven reaches the "white dome" temperature much sooner and the oven stays hotter by refreshing the fire with these smaller logs. I was a skeptic before trying it, figuring that the bigger the log the better the fire. I have now confirmed that size does matter, and smaller is the way to go (good news for me, as I am about 5'4" in stature).

Offline David

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2006, 09:58:32 AM »
Also, please tell me a little about the Pizzafest in Naples.

Bill/SFNM

Here is the link for last years show:

http://www.pizzafest.info/2005/intro.htm
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Offline josteh

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2006, 06:20:59 PM »
Hi,
Astonishing pizza you've made!
This is my first post in this forum and I'm pleased to see all the pizza napoletana-die-hards out there.
I guess you've had tons of questions regarding this matter -- but could you tell me where you got hand of your wood-fired oven? After having experimented with a pizzastone and the grillfunction in my electric oven, I'm seriously considering installing a wood fired oven in my house -- and I'm hoping for a real napoli oven (capable of 900F+) in order to reach the goal of one day making a vera pizza napoletana. Could you give me some info about your oven? dimensions, wood-consumption, oven dealer etc? Is this a commercial oven or is it built for home use? I understand there is a great difference in thermal mass between the two. I've seen one company in naples selling brick ovens : www.forno-napoletano.it/www.forno-napoletano.com -- does anyone in this forum have any experience with the ovens they are providing? Are they suited for home use?

J.


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Best Yet
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2006, 11:45:58 PM »
could you tell me where you got hand of your wood-fired oven?

I built my outdoor oven from a kit from Earthstone Ovens

In terms of wood consumption: depends on all kinds of factors: wood type, log size, degree of seasoning, starting oven temp, ambient temp, relative humidity, altitude, baking session length, etc. For me, starting with a cold oven this time of year at 7000' above sea level using well-seasoned oak and pecan logs that are 16" long x by 3" diameter, it takes about a dozen logs.

If you are indeed seriously considering a wood-fired oven, you should probably read through all of the posts in the "pizza ovens" section of this forum. If you do, you may find yourself asking a whole different set of questions - you'll get a bunch of help and also some conflicting answers, but there are good people here who all are willing to help.
 
Bill/SFNM