Author Topic: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style  (Read 77433 times)

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2007, 01:38:02 PM »
Pete, would you rank this as your best tasting cracker style to date?

Mark,

I have had a rather short career with the cracker style but, overall, I would say yes, especially from the standpoint of the crispy and cracker characteristics. However, some of the modified Lehmann cracker crusts that I made using a natural preferment had nicely flavored crusts also.

What I have been trying to do is identify the critical parameters--that is, what works best with the cracker style in a home setting. The biggest issues with the DKM dough recipe that I have identified to date from reading the posts on that recipe have been the difficulty in getting a good dough ball to start, rolling out the dough, and whether the skins should be pre-baked or not. Weighing the flour and water and using a food processor solves the first problem. The dough heating method appears to solve the second problem although more experimentation may be necessary to determine its parameters. My original thought was that I wanted to avoid having to pre-bake crusts. However, now I think that there is a lot of merit in pre-baking the crusts because it gives me greater control over the process and almost ensures that I get a crispy and crackery crust. Of course, the dough formulation has to be a good one and the thickness factor has to be a workable one. Using the pre-bake extends the total bake time by about 4-5 minutes but, on the other hand, I don't have to preheat a stone for an hour before I bake the pizzas. I only need a 10-12 minute oven preheat. I also couldn't be happier with my cutter pan. It makes pre-baking, dressing and baking the final pizza much easier than using a peel and a stone.

I tried to be very detailed and precise in my last two posts on what I did because I want others who may attempt the recipe to see the same signposts as I did when I made the last pizza.

Peter


Offline fazzari

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2007, 03:04:29 AM »
Well Pete
I tried something at work these last two days and wanted to share the results with you.  I rolled a sheet of 33.5% hydration dough (after it was mixed and had risen 2 hours).  This dough is laminated.  I cut out four seven inch pizzas: one weighed 3.5 oz, the next 2.6 oz, the next 2.1 oz, and the last was 1.5 oz.  (Our standard 7 inch pizza weighs 4 ounces, so all of these were thinner).  I then refrigerated them until this morning..and then I cooked them all in my deck oven at 650 degrees.  We cook all of our pizzas right on the deck, and on the experiments I've done at home I cook right on the stone.  What I wanted to see was if they would all cook in the same manner if being so thin.  AS you can see they all cook basically the way all cracker type crusts cook...there is a major part of the skin which forms a base and gets crispy, while the top can get poofy.  The major problem with the ultra thin ones is the weight is so light that it has a hard time browning.  As I have expressed before, I believe it is the lamination which sets this crust apart from others and so when trying to replicate this at home (because of the lack of sheeters), I believe the compromise has to be in the dough, not in the sheeting process.  When I tried hand laminating 37 and 40 percent hydrated doughs, I found my skins tough also...it was then that I realized I should try a wetter dough with a longer fermentation.  So, I experimented with a 45% dough which I let ferment at room temp for 14 hours (actually I just kept poking at the dough until I thought I could manage it with a rolling pin, and 14 hours was the number that day).  I was able to laminate this dough and cut skins which I refrigerated until the next day.  I was simply amazed at how well the skin turned out...Not only did it cook perfectly right on my stone in a 500 degree oven...but in all honesty, it was one of the best flavored sheeted crusts I've ever had...obviously it had everything to do with the long fermentation. (This little experiment at home is going to have ramifications of our dough process at work) I think a picture is in the kitchen aid section of the cracker crust section. 
Anyway, thought I'd share
John

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2007, 08:12:04 AM »
John,

Thank you. That is very good information.

As a point of clarification, are the weights you mentioned for the four 7" pizzas actual pizza weights or skin weights?

So, if I understand what you are saying, if one wishes to make a cracker style dough at home without the benefit of a sheeter, they should either 1) rely on a long fermentation and not use the lamination process if the dough is of very low hydration (e.g., around 33-35%), or 2) use a higher hydration dough (e.g., around 45-50%) together with the lamination process, ideally with a relative long fermentation. I assume in both cases that there is no docking or pre-baking of the skins and that the thickness of the skins is conducive to producing a crispy and crackery crust. Did I get what you said right?

I noticed that your experiments have been with 7" pizzas. I realize that at work the pizzas you make have much thicker crusts than what I have been experimenting with lately. But, if you were to use very thin skins, either at work or at home, would you be able to peel a fully unbaked rimless pizza that is 12" or better and dressed in normal fashion into the oven without running the risk of stuff (cheese and/or toppings) sliding off of the edges of the pizza onto the deck/stone? Obviously, this question is directed to what one might be able to do as a practical matter in a home environment when using thin skins.

Peter

Offline fazzari

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2007, 12:28:45 PM »
Peter
In my opinion, it's not the low hydration that particularly makes the cracker crust, but rather the lamination process.  So, without the use of sheeters, one must find a way to laminate dough without over-rolling as this causes unwelcome toughness.  To do this, compromises have to be made...your idea of using warmer water is a good one and I know it matters tremendously at work.  But, I also think that you can experiment with developing the dough a bit more in the mixing stage....I know with my kitchenaid mixer, the 45% dough came together a lot easier than the drier doughs...yet, I kept it way undermixed..and since I've been playing around with long room temp ferments, I thought , why not, so I did....I really didn't know what to expect, and so I was flabbergasted at the results for a first try.

The weights in my pictures are of the skins themselves.  This type of crust is simply fabulous for displaying a fair amount of good toppings.  Although I am a minimalist myself, the crust can handle just about whatever you want on top.  With the use of coarse corn meal, the assembled pizza slides very easily onto your baking surface.  Well, I'm off to rake leaves!!
John

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2007, 12:52:50 PM »
John,

It's hard to imagine that I could get a crispier and more crackery crust than what I got with my last pizza, without using the lamination process, but I am open to being surprised. I'm a bit overdosed on cracker-style pizza at the moment, but when I recover I may try a low-hydration dough using the warm dough method and see how well it lends itself to the lamination process. When I used a hydration of around 45-50% for the Lehmann cracker-style pizzas, I had no problem whatsoever rolling out the skins. The finished crusts weren't as crackery as the last cracker-style pizza I made but it may be worth trying a fold and re-roll lamination method with that version also.

FYI, of the four skin weights you used, the 2.7 oz. one was closest to my last cracker-style pizza based on its corresponding thickness factor (0.068). Was there a particular one of the four test pizzas you made that you preferred over the others?

Peter

Offline fazzari

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2007, 01:52:41 PM »
Peter
It is entirely possible that maybe we're looking for different skins altogether.  I'm not a huge fan of thin and crispy (although I would never turn it down).  I got to thinking about why I originally went with the long room temp ferment...and now I remember, that at 40%, I didn't feel the kitchenaid would develop the dough I needed to laminate....so, I tried using time to help me with that after reading about the no knead bread...but was amazed at the difference in taste and so I will always use this method for homebuilding this crust again.  Another funny aside,...I cannot bring my skins from work and cook in my oven...I can't get the oven hot enough and this just ruins the crust.  But with the method I tried at home the oven was perfect.  In fact the first batch I had the oven all the way up and they were to crackery for me...but when I turned the oven down to 500 they were perfect.
In answer to your question about which thickness I preferred....our 7 inch pizza at work is about 4 ounces and I just don't think it gets better than that for my taste.

Thanks for all your help
John

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2007, 02:00:43 PM »
Peter,
I read your latest post last nite and you got my pizza bug biting so even with the eff'd up ankle I made the DKM crust. As described it came out very 'scrappy'. I let it rest for 4 hours and then took it back out and re-kneaded by hand a little to get things a little more incorporated and more of a satiny appearance on the outside and put it back it a covered oiled container to rest for the rest of the 24 hour countertop proof. I'll try and post some pics of the results tonite.
On another note, I had my daughter pick me up some cheese last nite, some regular cheap mozz and some Bel Gioioso fresh. I tok the advice from another thread and nuked it and re-kneaded it to get the extra whey out so as to not water down the pizza and it went from a mushy texture to a very nice firm texture. The surprizing part was that on a 16oz chunk of the fresh stuff I got 4oz of whey, 25%!! That turns a $8.49/lb chunk of cheese into $10.61/ chunk of cheese. Even with the price of milk where it's at I think a guy's better off making his own fresh mozz. I think it's time to start playing around with making my own fresh cheese again and getting better quality and cheaper too.
Just smelled the dough after what would be about 17-18 hours now and WOW, plenty of aroma in there. Can't wait to roll it out and get'rgoin tonite!!
Jon
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Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2007, 05:10:54 PM »
In my opinion, it's not the low hydration that particularly makes the cracker crust, but rather the lamination process.  So, without the use of sheeters, one must find a way to laminate dough without over-rolling as this causes unwelcome toughness.  To do this, compromises have to be made...your idea of using warmer water is a good one and I know it matters tremendously at work.  But, I also think that you can experiment with developing the dough a bit more in the mixing stage....I know with my kitchenaid mixer, the 45% dough came together a lot easier than the drier doughs...yet, I kept it way undermixed..and since I've been playing around with long room temp ferments, I thought , why not, so I did....I really didn't know what to expect, and so I was flabbergasted at the results for a first try.

Hi John, So do you feel that you can take a wide range of hydrations using a proper sheeter and still produce a laminated crust that crisps up? It just seems like there really isn't much working around the sheeter on this one, because either you are going to create a totally different dough, or the method will effect the cooking, flavor profile, crumb, etc.

You also mentioned that dough from your restaurant doesn't cook the same as it does at home. I think this is typical of what a lot of other folks have often asked on these forums. Do you feel that the high temps are a necessity to make a laminated dough properly?

Thanks for the comments so far, this thread has been a great read.

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2007, 10:48:17 PM »
Tonites pie....
Par-baked, with onions, gr peppers, mushrooms, sausage and Bel Gioioso cheese on top of the sauce and some cheaper Crystal Farms on the top. I like the diced cheese better than the shredded as someone posted in a different thread, doesn't cook as fast and melts in with the toppings a bit better without browning too fast. Only thing I can bust myself on is I should have rolled the dough a bit thinner, but all and all a very good pie. Also top and bottom were generously coated with ghee to get a crispier crunch on the bottom (thus the foil, then placed on the stone) and to help seal the top before the sauce. You guys have helped my pizza skills to a huge degree and once again I thank you.
Jon
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2007, 10:58:34 PM »
Jon,

Very nice.

Did you use the original DKM dough recipe or one of my thinner versions?

Peter


Offline Jackitup

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2007, 08:51:57 AM »
Hi Peter,
The original one by DKM http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizzainnstyle.php.
As I said, the only thing I can bust myself on is not rolling it thin enough. But as you can see, I have a hard time using a lite hand on the toppings so it works out just fine with the heavier 'top end'.
Jon
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Offline fazzari

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2007, 12:39:48 PM »
Okay
I tried an experiment I should have tried long, long ago.  Yesterday I mixed up a batch of dough (33.5% hydration)...this is at work.  I let it double, and then I sheeted a 20 pound piece of dough and cut a 10 inch, 7.7 ounce skin out of the sheet.  I then folded the sheet and re-rolled (laminated) the dough and cut out a 10 inch 7.3 ounce skin.  Both skins were refrigerated overnight.  I then baked both with the same toppings in the same oven (650 degrees).  The top pictures should be the sheeted skin, while the bottom ones are the laminated one.  The outside appearance of both pizzas are quite similar.  The bottom of the sheeted crust is way more spotty....the laminated crust seemed to brown evenly all the way across the bottom.  The textures were completely different..  the sheeted crust was crispy, crackery...the laminated crust was crispy, tender.

I'm not here to pass judgement on the skins...although I will always take tender over crackery, because everyone likes something different.  I'm just trying to point out that one recipe can make two completely different products with slight modifications. 

You know I've never broken down my procedures this far in 30 years..I was taught by the 'monkey see-monkey do" method and so it is very interesting to me to see why things work the way they do.

Now, here's a question...why is the lamination so much different...is it because of cell compression, or is it the actual dough Kneading like action of the extra roll.

That was fun
John

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2007, 03:32:48 PM »
John,

Purely by coincidence, I did a similar experiment today but using a 2-ounce dough ball that I gathered from scrap from one of my recent doughs. I put the dough ball into the refrigerator until today, when I decided to run my own test with it. The dough ball had been in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days, but it was about 5-6 days old total counting the two days that it had spent in the refrigerator as part of the initial dough.

After removing the dough ball from the refrigerator, I put it into my proofing box to warm it to around 104 degrees F to hopefully allow me to roll out the dough more easily. I decided that I would use the fold and re-roll lamination method. The dough rolled out fairly easily to start but it became tougher to roll out once I folded it and re-rolled, which I did a couple of times. Fortunately, I didn’t have to roll the skin out to a large size since the amount of dough I had would only make a roughly 6-7” pizza (with a skin thickness factor of about 0.06). Once the dough was rolled out to that size, I docked it on both sides and placed in into a 7” dark, anodized nonperforated cutter pan (also from pizzatools.com). I had pre-oiled the cutter pan as before.

This time, I did not pre-bake the crust. I just dressed it as usual and baked it at 475 degrees F for about 10 minutes, on the lowest oven rack position. I noticed that it took longer for the crust to brown, but I was not surprised and actually expected it since, as noted above, the dough was about 5-6 days old. The photos below show the finished pizza.

As you experienced, the crust was crispy but tender rather than crispy and crackery. As can be seen in the middle photo below, there were not a lot of obvious layers to produce the cracker-like characteristic. However, the pizza was delicious nonetheless. It made for a nice snack for lunch today.

I wouldn’t try to make too much out of today’s experiment other than that it is possible to make a pretty good pizza out of the leftover dough scraps after several days. I would want to do a more straightforward test of the lamination method using fresher dough, either same day or a day or two later, to see if I reproduce the results I got today.

Peter

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2007, 03:53:25 PM »
John,

I don't have a sheeter, but I have used the pasta roller method and have done a similar experiment before. It's my experience that the laminated doughs come out tender because you get a "steaming" effect between the layers as it cooks. You're basically trapping more air bubbles between the layers. The more layers I would make, the more gummy the topside of the crust became, to a point though, too many and you just get one solid reincorporated dough. So there is a fine balance there between sheeted once, twice, three times, or too much. I think on the flip side of things, pastries like croissants call for multiple thin layers but they are also slathered in butter. It's very difficult to produce more than 9 layers (3 passes through a sheeter folding in thirds each time.) with flour alone and not resort to some sort of fat to keep the layers separate.

Have you tried different hydrations with respect to the lamination process? Could you please address some of the questions I posted earlier? Many thanks.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2007, 04:07:49 PM »
Now, here's a question...why is the lamination so much different...is it because of cell compression, or is it the actual dough Kneading like action of the extra roll.

John,

After posting my last reply, I got to thinking about the question you posed. I think the answer has to do with the degree of rolling of the dough and how much the cellular structure in the dough is compacted by the rolling process. In my case, I ended up rolling the dough so hard that it was like a thin sheet when I was done without any real texture to it. I put a light sprinkling of flour between the layers as I folded the skin, and that seemed to create a bit more distinct layering effect, but it apparently disappeared when I re-rolled.

I think one solution is the one I used with an early Lehmann cracker-style dough that I made where I took the initial dough ball and divided it into two smaller balls, each of which was rolled out separately very thinly as far as I could roll it out. I then superimposed the two skins, with a bit of flour between them, crimped the edges together, and then rolled out the lamination to the desired size. With that method, I got a crispy and crackery effect. It also occurred to me that I could have misted the bottom skin before superimposing the top skin with a bit of water to create moisture that would convert to steam and cause the skin to expand outwardly under the influence of the oven heat, thereby creating a crackery effect. I even thought of adding small dabs of butter between the layers. The danger with this method as I saw it at the time was that one had to be careful as not to make the skin too wet and difficult to roll out the lamination as a result. I guess what I am saying is that one perhaps has to create separate layers and superimpose them to get a quasi-laminated effect. Using a thin skin and pre-baking the crust, as I did with the earlier modified DKM dough, seems to get around that. Yet, there was nothing to complain about with today's mini-pizza. It was very good, and I would be happy with crispy and tender as an end result any day.

So, it seems that maybe the sheeter you have at work compresses the laminated skin just as my hand roller does, creating a final skin without much texture.

Peter

Offline fazzari

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2007, 06:35:04 PM »
Just my opinion, but it's not the layering effect per se which makes this skin so good.  Imagine this, in a restaurant setting, you roll out a long sheet of dough, fold it up and roll it again, at which time you use round templates to cut out skins.  The next batch you roll out a sheet, after which you add all of the scraps of dough from the previous batch, fold and sheet again, .....so you see, after the first batch there really is no layering, its a lot of rolled scraps reintroduced into a new sheet of dough.  So, it has more to do with the compression of the crust.
As I've said in another post somewhere, I've replaced shafts in my huge mixers, because the dough sheared them...I've also sent back brand new sheeters, which couldn't do the job with low hydro dough..it seems as if only the older equipment is bullet proof, but they are getting harder to find.....so you see, trying to replicate this kind of product at home has been a lot of fun, because up to maybe a month ago, I would have thought it was impossible, but it can be done with modifications to the dough.
As for me Peter, I like the look of your last pizza the best...I can tell just by looking at it, this was a good pizza. 
Dan, I'm not saying you can use a range of hydrations to make a good cracker crust....I'm saying somehow, you've gotta get as low a hydration dough as you can, and you have to get it workable with your rolling pin or pasta sheeter or whatever you use.  But also beware....you might be looking for a different crust...I don't particularly enjoy tough, crackery crusts....I shoot for tender and crispy.....also, I have found you can very easily over laminate  and end up with a tough cracker.  Having said all of this guys, there are so many variables that change this type of crust...it is a very hard crust to get consistent.  This week i'm having a hell of a time, because the flour (the same kind we've used for years), is so strong.  You guys would love working with me and my brother, we talk dough every single day!!
It's been 30 years and we're still looking for perfection.
Dan, just one more thing...when my skins are perfect, the heat from the stone travels through the crust very easily...it has to because we use raw beef and sausage on our skins and they are usually cooked in 6 to 8 minutes.....it's when the heat is not coming through, that we screen our crusts to give them more time to cook.

Thanks guys

John

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2007, 07:28:01 PM »
John,

I remember reading a piece by Tom Lehmann, who grew up on the South side of Chicago where the cracker-style pizzas were very popular at the time, and he said that when eating a cracker-style pizza you were supposed to end up with a bunch of crumbs in your lap. And that you wanted to hear the crust "crack" when the pizza cutter ran through it. That is what I was shooting for when I started making that style of pizza. Since then, I have seen that there are many variations and nuances of "crispy" and "cracker" and also that you can have a combination of crispy and tender. The last pizza of mine that you liked was the crispy and tender type. It was different than the other pizzas I made and reported on in this thread, but I liked it a lot nonetheless. More importantly for me, I think I have learned a lot more about how to use and work with low-hydration doughs in a home oven environment. At some point, after I have done a few more experiments with the DKM dough recipe, I hope to take what I have learned here back over to the Lehmann medium-hydration cracker-style doughs to make them work better in a home oven setting. I also plan at some point to give the dough formulation you use in your restaurant a try in my home oven. That one should be very interesting because it is a low-hydration dough but not crackery.

Peter

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2007, 07:32:55 PM »
Ok, this cracker crust thing is getting real contagious.  I, too, experimented with one the last couple of days.  I attempted to duplicate somewhat the process that Pete mentioned in Reply #16 above using the exact same modified DKM dough formulation mentioned therein with some Harvest Gold flour.  This was my second attempt at a cracker crust as my first attempt about 7 or 8 months ago was not very good. This seemed to be a very difficult dough to master.   I've shied away from trying it again until I read about Pete's many recent adventures on the subject (he's got to be tired of eating cracker crust pizzas by now!). 

I don't have a food processor and didn't want to pull out the big mixer, but used my Emeril hand mixer (don't laugh) instead with the dough hooks.  I usually do most of my dough mixing by hand anyway.  Boy, this is a super dry dough.  I used hot water which was around 128 degrees and instead of a "proofing box," I put the flattened dough ball in a covered bowl in the slightly warmed oven (around 110 to 115 degrees) for two hours.  I was really surprised to see after 2 hours that the dough hadn't risen at all.  Not a bit.  This is the first time I had not proofed the yeast in warm water for 5 or 10 minutes for pizza dough purposes, but instead used what I thought was IDY, but now I'm wondering if it was.  The grocery store usually carries the ADY and another type of "quick rise" yeast (Red Star), which is what I used (picture below). 

Offline BTB

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2007, 07:34:25 PM »
After a couple of hours, I attempted to roll out the dough with my big wooden roller.  Wow, it was very difficult.  Not easy at all.  And when I couldn't get it to a nice round 13" circle, I took some pieces of dough that angled off and attempted to roll it onto the skin so it would be more circular.  But no matter how hard I tried, I could not combine the pieces of dough together.  I don't know how anyone could accomplish the "lamination" as some had mentioned without some special sheeter equipment.  I finally rolled it out to a very thin thickness factor (est. it to be .05 to .06), folded it in half and put it in the refrigerator in plastic wrap for around 30 hours.  At this point I was kind of discouraged and was wondering whether I should discard the dough and discontinue the experiment, but I went forward today anyway.

Offline BTB

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Re: Pete-zza Does DKM Cracker Style
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2007, 07:42:14 PM »
After a 90 minute warm up on the counter, I put the cracker crust skin in my oiled cutter pan, docked it a lot with a fork, and pre-baked it in the oven at 475 degrees for around 4 and 1/2 minutes.  Afterwards I dressed it up with sauce, topping and cheese (I did the traditional way with the cheese on top of the sauce) and baked it for an additional 8 or 9 minutes, with switching it from the low rack to the high rack (also with use of the convection oven feature for the last few minutes).  Pictures of the final product are below.  While the pizza was not quite as crispy and crackery as I would have liked, I was pleasantly surprised that it actually tasted pretty good.  Better than a lot of pizza places that I've tried recently (especially down here in Florida).  It was good enough to convince me that I'm on the right track and to further experiment with this crust and see what how it can be improved upon.  I think next time I will revert back to using  ADY that has worked so well for me with other doughs. 

Thanks, Pete, for all your hard work and effort on this style of pizza dough.  I'm glad you took the lead in this area as it hadn't received too much attention in the past.


 

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