Ok, I made 2 batches of dough tonight, yielding 2 pies each. I didn't want to wait for my starter so this past week I caught my own. I know, I know it's a hit or miss thing with probably a 90% chance of catching something not so tasty, but what can I say, I like to take chances
...and in keeping with the spirit of poor man's neapolitan, this is the cheap way!
So 1 batch made with the starter I caught last week, my technique was simple, I mixed equal parts flour and water and put the result in a gladware container with the lid ajar. The next morning the thing was bubbling like crazy, so I added another quarter cup water/flour let sit another day, etc...continued this until the mixture rose almost halfway up the container (about 3-4 days) and on the 5th day it fell and I stuck it in the fridge. Got a little layer of moisture on top which from my reading is called 'hooch' which I didn't drink
The other batch was using IDY, I followed the recipe for pizza #3 that Peter linked me too in a previous post on this topic. For the starter batch, I didn't use any IDY and used about half of the poolish that I had made.
I also broke down and used an electric egg beater, no stand mixer here. I was attempting to not use any electric devices, since I really don't have many available at this point and I was trying to go as cheap as possible, but I managed to get my hands on an egg beater. So I spent about 15 minutes mixing with the beater as I gradually added the 25% remaining flour after a 20 minute autolyse, a learned technique that I improved with. As I got close to adding all the remaining flour, the dough started to climb the beaters if I held them at a diagonal. I found the best technique was to hold the beater at a diagonal (about 60 degees or so off the bench) and slowly press it directly into the dough as I rotated the bowl with my other hand. As soon as the dough climbs the beaters above the halfway point, stop rotating the bowl and straighten the beater to a 90 degree angle to the bench and slowly pull it back out of the dough. This will cause the dough to come off the beater. Repeated this process for 15 minutes. It is important not to let the dough climb all the way over the beater, or it will no longer fall off when you pull the beater from the dough and will just fling everywhere. Learned this one the hard way
I got the best texture I have so far with this process, I then flourd my bench and dumped it out of the bowl. It requred a bit of coercion with a wooden spoon, and then spent about 2 minutes hand kneeding, basically pulling the dough until the wet sticky interior was exposed and folding the floured end I was pulling into itself. Then I split the dough into 2 balls and placed each in an oiled plastic gladware container.
I am pretty excited about these batches, even if the starter batch doesnt turn out I still have 2 pies to look forward to. Cooking them all this Friday and going to have a taste test. So I will ferment in the fridge until Friday at around 3:00pm and pull them out and start cooking! I'm a bit unsure as to how long I will let the dough rise at room temp, it will be a call I make once I see how much the dough has risen in the fridge.
I realize many ppl on here get a bit touchy as to what can be called a neapolitan or not, so I just want to iterate that I know I cannot make a true neapolitan without the high heat. It's my favorite style and I'm just trying to get as close as I can given my limited resources while still renting an apartment and in college (read no money
). At the very least my dough mixing techniques will be refined until I can achieve the high heats needed.
As a side note, I went to my schools' cafeteria today and took note of their pizza oven. It is only fired to 525! What a waste! Also they used a press to shape the dough before dressing it
I never took notice to these things before I started visiting here and cooking my own, though I always did think their pizza was below par. I am wondering however if someday I might be able to use their oven for a 'class project' and see if I can get them to fire it up for me if I bring my own dough and toppings.
I'll let you know how the tasting goes on Friday and try and get a some better pics posted.