Author Topic: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)  (Read 43249 times)

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Offline NegativeSpace

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2006, 10:27:23 AM »
Instead, the people here have focused with laser-precision on not just pizza, but Neapolitan pizza, and spent years of their lives figuring out every conceivable aspect of combining flour, water, salt, and yeast.  This guy doesn't stand a chance against that.  He should stick to his combination-of-the-week of eclectic ingredients.  That's what he knows.  Not pizza.

He did not put on any pretense of being a pizza guru, nor did he claim his recipe was THE definitive Neapolitan. It's his recipe for HIS favourite pizza -- not yours, not mine.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2006, 12:52:26 PM »
I did a quick search on the Blumenthal Neapolitan style pizza and found what appears to be relevant discussion at this blog:
http://brandoesq.blogspot.com/2006/12/in-search-of-pizza-perfection.html. To preserve the relevant content of that blog, I have copied and pasted it below, as follows:

The latest dough recipe I've been tinkering with comes from In Search of Perfection by Heston Blumenthal. If you're a huge fan of Family Food, you already know to expect that in order to follow one of his recipes you'll be jumping through hoops, but the results more often than not make the immense effort required worth the while. 8 classics (from roast chicken to steak) have been reinvented in the quest for perfection. Having tried his pizza dough recipe several times in the past month, I must say while it may not be everybody's idea of perfection, it sure brings you that much closer to understanding what perfection, if there is such a thing, might taste like. If you ask me, I think it tastes if not perfect - a term one hesitates to use given the stridently divergent schools of thought as to what constitutes a perfect pizza - then at least an instance of excellence.

Aside from good dough, the key to pizza greatness lies with heat - the EU pizza copyright proposal specifies an oven-surface temperature of 485°C and a cooking time of between 60 and 90 seconds! Your average domestic oven peaks at a far lower temperature (so the pizza takes longer to cook, which changes the character of the pizza, and not for the better), thus prompting Chef Blumenthal to amusingly recount the hoops he jumps through to buck his Gaggenau's top temperature, and how he manages to cut his baking time down to 90 seconds by inserting a cast iron pan (preheated over high heat for 20 minutes) into the preheated oven with the grill whacked on full, thus getting the heat above and below the pizza as hot and as even as possible. Which, of course, gives me yet another reason to lust after this top-of-the-line cooker - try as I might, my cantankerous oven peevishly refused to get sufficiently hot; my best baking time (with dutifully preheated cast iron pan in place) never got any speedier than 7 minutes.

While I can't vouch that my taste in pizza dovetails with yours, Heston Blumenthal's recipe certainly tasted like I am on the right path to pizza nirvana. The secret to its fantastic flavour is adding a proportion of pre-ferment - a small amount of dough left to ferment in the fridge for at least 12 hours - to a larger quantity of dough. The longer dough is left, the more its flavour develops. But the longer dough is left, the more the gluten relaxes and loses elasticity. The answer? Pre-ferment, prepared for flavour, mixed with dough that still possesses extensibility. Subject to the right heat conditions, the dough bakes into a light and crisp pizza crust with an airy, almost delicate interior structure, so full of creamy, bready, toasty flavour that you'll be eating that puffy, golden brown cornicione right down to the last crumb.


While the preferment question I had has been answered (the preferment is refrigerated), it is still not clear what size pizza is made with 150 grams of dough. That is a bit over 5 ¼ ounces, which is not a lot. I would guess that the pizza size is around 9”-10”, but it would be nice to know the precise size to replicate as closely as possible the conditions used by Chef Blumenthal.

Peter

Offline mister_c

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2006, 01:32:47 PM »

Also, I'm pretty sure he just flat out lied about the pie cooking in 2 minutes.  We've all seen that color of browning
 - that pie was probably 6 minutes or even 10.


I today tried making a pizza using the same method as Heston Blumenthal and mine took around 2 minutes.  A pic can be seen in the thread below

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4278.0.html

I'm fairly new to this pizza making malarky, and as you can see, I've yet to master making pizzas that are round  :)

Offline Buffalo

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2006, 01:39:16 PM »
mister_c;
Your pizza does look nice and brown.....What type of oven, and what temperature, did you cook it at to get these results in 2 minutes? ???    Thanks...
Buffalo

Offline mister_c

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2006, 02:58:57 PM »
The oven is a standard electric UK oven (not a convection/fan oven). I heated the oven up to 250C, then when this was up to temperature I began to heat the cast iron frying pan on the gas hob at its max setting (see pic 1 below).  My oven is unable to have the grill and oven on at the same time so around 10 min later I turned the oven off and turned the grill on to its max setting.  After a further 10 mins I turned the gas hob off and carefully(!) turned the pan upside down.  Then (with even more care!) I transferred the pan into the oven so that the pan was around 1 inch (maybe a little more) below the grill.   I then waited a couple of min before pulling the rack out a little to make it easier to get the pizza onto the pan. See pic 2 for the pizza cooking under the grill.

This was the second pizza I made tonight.  As you can see from pic3 there are a couple of charred bubbles. This was due to the pizza being so close to the grill heating elements.  However, I got the crust spot on this time and was exactly like a Pizza Express restaurant pizza. The base was much thinner than my previous effort and prior to cooking I drizzled a lot more olive oil, not only in the centre, but I made sure the edges got a drizzling also.

Finally, see pic4 for a look underneath.

Hope this helps - happy new year to all


Offline Buffalo

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2006, 09:24:33 PM »
mister_c;
Thanks for the information........Your pizza crust (both top and bottom) appear to have browned nicely using this method......
Buffalo

Offline ebpizza

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2007, 09:37:35 PM »
A preheat of 20-30 minutes on the cast iron pan seems excessive. Does it really need to be that long?

Offline mister_c

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2007, 05:48:13 AM »
Don't know -- I heated my pan for 20 min and this did the job so can't see any need to try and reduce the pre-heat time.  After all, we do want it as hot as possible ;)  I must admit I was a little apprehensive beforehand but I've found that the cast iron pan is able to take the heat so I'm no longer hesitant.  However, I would say it has to be cast iron (the cast iron pans with the enamel finishes are suitable also) - no way I would attempt this with any other kind of frying pan...

Perhaps somebody with the right temperature measuring devices could see how hot the pan gets and whether 20 min is overkill?

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2007, 08:01:30 AM »
more info are available on the book that support the tv series.

Ciao

PS, He (HB) was not so impressed with the tomatoes available in England , not with San Marzano tomatoes in General. His other observation was that that type of tomatoes need to be processed (tinned) to be enanched, which is in my opinion very true and that is also the reason why I do not see the point to use fresh tomatoes on Pizza Napoletana. The only one I would use kind of fresh, is the piennolo type, I have previously mentioned and which is kind of semi-dried on the vine.

Offline NegativeSpace

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2007, 04:27:46 PM »
PS, He (HB) was not so impressed with the tomatoes available in England , not with San Marzano tomatoes in General. His other observation was that that type of tomatoes need to be processed (tinned) to be enanched, which is in my opinion very true and that is also the reason why I do not see the point to use fresh tomatoes on Pizza Napoletana. The only one I would use kind of fresh, is the piennolo type, I have previously mentioned and which is kind of semi-dried on the vine.

On the contrary, from his book, Heston comments on the raw San Marzano tomato:

Quote from: Heston Blumenthal
But the taste? It wasn't what I'd hoped for -- it was fresh-tasting, sure, but I've had more sweetness and complexity from a cherry tomato. (And before you start thinking I'm just a fussy chef who's spoilt for choice, that wasn't only my opinion. I took a bunch of San Marzano back to my restaurant and everybody felt the same. ... )

However, he does indeed go on to comment that the canned San Marzano's are the most superior:

Quote from: Heston Blumenthal
The San Marzano definitely had the best balance: the canning had concentrated its taste (the heat involved in the canning process effectively cooks the tomatoes, giving them some of the flavour dimensions of oven-roasted tomatoes) to produce something sharp but sweet. It was the taste I remembered from Neapolitan pizzas.

On an amusing note, in his list of Restaurants, Suppliers and Other Useful Addresses is none other than www.pizzamaking.com


Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2007, 08:36:16 AM »
Negativespace,

I think it depend how you interpret this. San Marzano is a tomato that needs to be processed to extract all the potential from it. So yes, HB said that fresh wasn't the best, he did recognized that the quality one, canned, did not have comparatives available in the UK supermarket product. From that point he then start the idea to manipulate fresh tomatoes so to take them to a flavor similar or better then the one he remembered from Naples.

I am not arguing about his version, which was indeed a good one for the average UK viewer, but he arguably went to the right places to find perfection in Naples..... (no extra comment here), as indeed he did for the fish & chips in Paddington; however, who knows Blumenthal is well aware of his idea of "memory" and how that affects his recipe development...)


Offline jasonmolinari

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2007, 12:22:52 PM »
this method seems very interesting to me. I'll definitely give it a try.

Offline pdc

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2007, 08:23:48 AM »
Well, it definitely works. Now I just need to find a bigger cast iron pan to do full-sized pies. I heated the pan for about 15 minutes, used half of a regular dough, and it cooked in 2 minutes. The bottom started to burn a little bit at the thin lip around the perimeter of the pan, so i had to pull it off a little earlier than I would have liked. A larger pan would solve this problem. Here are some pics of the results:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pcarpen/350327613/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pcarpen/350327828

Offline shango

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2007, 02:24:35 PM »
After watching this video I felt insulted and underestimated. 

I am not to say if this man is "the best chef in the world", but, I can say that he is truly disrespectful to the Neapolitan pizze and pizzaioli by even mentioning the them in this show.

Stick to Sous Vide,
-E
pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline jasonmolinari

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2007, 02:43:54 PM »
I tried it this weekend was while the crust browned nicely, it was lacking crunch since the cast iron pan does not absorb the excess moisture from the dough.
I was disappointed

Offline pdc

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2007, 09:08:30 AM »
While I have to admit to the inauthenticity of this method, I can't deny the end results. With some modifications and a little cheating at the end, I came as close as I've ever come to what's produced from a high-temp wood burning oven. I use Jeff V's dough recipe with Caputo flour, about 62% hydration, IDY, and sea salt.

Using a 15 inch cast iron pan, heated for about 15 minutes over high heat, and then placed about 6 inches from the broiler, the pie puffed up, toppings melted, nicely charred in spots and beautifully brown in others in 2 minutes flat. As Jason stated, the pie lacks crispiness on the bottom as the pan doesn't absorb the moisture like a stone does. A couple more minutes on the stone in my oven didn't do much good as it wasn't heated thoroughly. A little floppy on the bottom, but great hole structure, flavor, and char. A reheat of leftovers the next day in a non-stick pan gave me a new idea. After a couple of minutes, the bottom crisped up nicely and the rest heated nicely while remaining tender.

A ha! Ok, another attempt this past weekend, with 2 minutes on the cast iron followed by another 2 minutes back on the stovetop in a 15 inch non-stick pan, solely to crisp the bottom.   Authentic? Hell no. Effective? Yup. The bottom crisped beatuifully, while keeping the rest puffy and charred and perfectly cooked.

I did 6 pies over the course of an hour, keeping the cast iron under the broiler the entire time. It remained super-hot, which the last pie just as nice as the first. A margherita, a finnocchiona salami and olive, wild mushroom and thyme, shaved fennel and pecorino, Chris Bianco's Rosa (red onion, parm, rosemary, pistachios), and another margherita.

I yearn for a wood fired oven in my backyard or I wish I had the balls to modify my oven to bake on the cleaning cycle. I've always felt limited by my oven, and I was always unsure if my dough was to blame for my unsatisfying results, or if it was the oven's fault. This is as close to my idea of a perfect pie as I've ever come, and while I'm a bit embarrassed that it took this method to achieve it, I can't argue with the results.

Offline jasonmolinari

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2007, 09:33:49 AM »
Interesting idea. So you took it out of the oven, and put it in a nonstick pan on high flame? I might try that!

Offline pdc

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2007, 11:15:59 AM »
Yes, once the top was fully cooked, I pull it out and slide it right into a preheated non-stick pan to finish up. I think a normal pan would work fine too. Hope it works out!

Offline RichT

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2007, 09:16:57 AM »
I am not to say if this man is "the best chef in the world", but, I can say that he is truly disrespectful to the Neapolitan pizze and pizzaioli by even mentioning the them in this show.

Oh, come on.  ::) That's so dramatic, and verges on absolute snobbery!

The TV show is meant for the general public. It is meant to be easily accessible and, as has been said throughout the thread, the results speak for themselves. Seriously, the show (and book) is about getting as close as possible to perfection in a home kitchen. I think disregarding the Neapolitan pizzaioli would be the greater disrespect.

I could definitely understand the offence caused if he claimed to be some kind of pizza expert - but he didn't. In his own words, "I could never hope to emulate the lengthy apprenticeship of the pizzaiolo." The whole series was about experimentation and exploration in the quest for great food. It achieved exactly what it set out to do.

I know I for one have made my best pizza yet after seeing this show and reading the book. Actually, that's exactly how I found this forum - as I'm now on a quest to learn more and take things a step further.  :) So, it's worked for me and probably thousands of others alike. I don't see what the problem is.

Offline mister_c

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Re: Heston Blumenthal's pizza recipe (BBC TV)
« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2007, 04:39:25 AM »
Here is my latest. A much wetter dough was used, as per the information on Varasano's excellent website, and this had a big impact on creating a thinner, more elastic dough.

jasonmolinari said a few posts back that he was disappointed with the frying pan method, and I agree it does have its shortcomings. However, its all good fun experimenting and my goal is try and achieve as close as I can get to pizza Napoletana. When funds permit, I hope to pick up a Raytek IR thermometer to see the temps being achieved both on the pan and in and around the oven/grill.

Good post, pdc. I'd be interested to see some pics of your results.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 05:00:52 AM by mister_c »