Author Topic: NY Pizza in UK  (Read 7689 times)

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Offline Robin

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NY Pizza in UK
« on: November 16, 2007, 07:04:11 AM »
Hi,

I have been lurking on this forum for several years so I thought it was finally time to post my story. I moved from London to a small village in Wales about 5 years ago and then started to make pizza at home as I could no longer readily go out and buy them. Gradually I become more and more obsessed with  my little hobby and I ended up making hundreds and hundreds of pizzas. Over the years I must have tried out pretty much every technique and ingredient combination mentioned on this forum. For the first 3 years I cooked my pizzas on firebricks placed under the grill (broiler in US). I would let them heat up for a couple of hours and they would get so hot that I managed to achieve cooking times of about 3 minutes which was pretty good (and I also charred the cupboards next to the grill which was not so good).

After a while it was time to move onto the next level so I purchased a two deck commercial electric pizza oven which went up to about 500C. Shortly after this I started to become ill whenever I looked at a VDU screen for any length of time so I had to give up my full time job as a software engineer.  Thinking of what else I might be able to do I decided I might try and sell pizzas commercially since I could make quite a decent pie by this point. Once I had made the decision I started to work out all the bits and bobs that were need to transform my hobby into a commercial reality. I thought this would only take a couple of months but in the end it took a further 18 months before I was happy with the quality and consistency of the pizza. I  launched my venture about 4 months ago and I now deliver 18" New York style pizzas to homes within my village 3 nights a week.

My pizzas are sort of based on NY brick oven style ones in that they are about 18" round, have a thin crisp crust, plenty of charring and big holes in the rim. However I do not use high gluten flour. They also taste better than any other pizza I have eaten (I know I am biased but a customer I delivered to last week, who has traveled extensively, said it was the best pizza they had eaten anywhere in the world, ever). I have also tried a few pizza places outside the UK e.g Da Michel (not bad) , Lombardis (bland, bland bland) and also the current best neopolitan ones in London such as Donna Margerita (Again bland) and Pomodoro Rosso (Last time I went I got a crisp dried out crust and tinned mushrooms). At this point in time I'm pretty sure that I make the best commercially available pizza anywhere in the UK.

OK finally the recipe. The main difference between this recipe and others on this forum is the use of a French type 55 flour. This is a low protein (11%) flour that I get from Shipton Mill in the UK. To my mind this produces the best tasting crust around (and I have tried out a lot of different flours). I also use yeast in my recipe instead of a sourdough as I much prefer the flavor.

2/3 French type 55 flour
1/3 Bread flour. Anything around 12-13% will do. The bread flour is mixed in for a crisper crust.
69% Hydration.
IDY In my recipe I use about 1/3 tsp for 3840 grams of flour. 
Salt I use about 4 Tbl for 3840 grams of flour

The dough is then hand mixed only until all the flour is hydrated. This is pretty much a no knead dough. I have found this method works bests on wetter doughs.

I then leave the dough to bulk rise for about 20 hours at room temp. (well a bit below as I put it in my basement which is slightly cooler than the rest of the house). I have found that the amount the dough rises in this first stage is critical to the final product. You want a rise of about 60-70% for best results. If the rise is less than this you won't get good charring and if it is more the dough will rise to fast and you won't get a good hole structure. The dough is then balled up and left to rise for another 5-6 hours.

The pizzas are then cooked on screens in an electric deck oven for about 4 minutes at 400C (Small note: I have not had a wood oven pizza that tastes anything as good as my electric oven pizza - As Varasano says its all technique)

For the sauce I use pureed whole plum tomatoes which have been marinated overnight with some chopped shallots to get a really fresh taste.

So if anybody is passing through Hay-On-Wye or just wants to try the best pizza in the UK then let me know.

Finally thanks to everyone on this Forum for sharing and helping to get me to this stage.

Robin


Offline David

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2007, 07:26:51 AM »
The Boys in the Valleys certainly have something to sing about Robin!Your Pizza looks better than anything that's delivered in my neck of the woods.Congratulations.Can't help but be surrprised at your comments on the "Bland" pizzas you've had elsewhere (Donna,DaM' etc.) The only place I haven't tried that you mentioned is P.Rosso,but i've been reading favorable reviews elsewhere?I'll try and see if any of that French flour is available around here to try?I was thinking of maybe taking a Class @ the Bertinet Kitchen.....do you deliver as far as Bristol   :-D
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Robin

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2007, 07:58:59 AM »
Hi David,

I guess the reference to bland is very subjective. Before I started making my own pizza I most definitely would not have said they were bland. However I now have a new reference point and all pizzas I have had made with caputo 00 taste very bland compared to my recipe. Even in my own experiments pizzas made with caputo flour would always lack somewhat in taste compared to the french flour.

Shipton mill have an online shop from which you can obtain the flour.

I could deliver the pizza to Bristol but it might be somewhat cold by then  :)

Robin

Offline 2stone

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2007, 08:23:36 AM »
Hi Robin,

Thanks for sharing your great story.
You demonstrate that nothing beats
trial and error, along with tenacity and
persistence. I'm sure your pie tastes as
good as it looks.

How far are you from London?

regards,
willard

2Stone blog: www.2stoneblog.com

Offline Robin

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2007, 08:30:53 AM »
Hi willard,

Thank you for your kind comments.

How far are you from London?

About 3 hours drive  :(

Robin

Offline MWTC

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2007, 11:57:14 AM »
Peter,

What would be the US equivalent to the French type 55 flour? And what is 500C in Fahrenheit?

MWTC  :chef:


Thanks Peter for the conversion site.  500C = 932F,    400C = 752F    
« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 02:40:11 PM by MWTC »

Offline SteveB

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2007, 12:03:43 PM »
King Arthur offers a French-style flour that is supposed to be equivalent to French type 55 flour:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/detail.jsp?id=3334

It can be used to make great baguettes:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4789/demi-baguettes-using-ka-frenchstyle-flour

- Steve

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2007, 12:11:33 PM »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2007, 12:39:02 PM »
Peter,

What would be the US equivalent to the French type 55 flour?

MWTC,

I have read that one might try to simulate the French 55 flour by combining all-purpose flour and bread flour with a targeted protein content of 12-12.5%. To do this, you can use November's tool at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/ (on the right-hand side) to figure out how much of each flour you need to get a targeted mass (weight) of flour and targeted protein %.

Peter.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 09:06:25 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline SteveB

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2007, 12:50:47 PM »
Peter,

According to my notes from a French baking seminar held in Aurillac, France a few years ago, French bread flour has a protein content of between 11.5 - 12%.  Incidentally, "Type 55" refers to an ash content of 0.55%, on a dry basis.

- Steve


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2007, 01:00:41 PM »
Steve,

On that basis, one could come close just by using the King Arthur all-purpose flour (11.7%), which is also unbleached and nonbromated. Using a brand of all-purpose flour with a lower protein content than the King Arthur all-purpose flour, I suspect one wouldn't need to add much bread flour to reach a target of 12%, and even less when using the King Arthur all-purpose flour.

Peter

Offline Robin

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2007, 01:17:05 PM »
I have read that one might try to simulate the French 55 flour by combining all-purpose flour and bread flour with a targeted protein content of 12-12.5%.

Yes you can get the right protein content by blending flours. However thats only half the story. In my case I use this particular french flour because it tastes fantastic. This would have a lot more to do with the type of wheat, growing conditions, how it's milled etc. etc. I would not advise just trying to replicate the protein content as this will not produce the same taste.

Robin

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2007, 01:24:42 PM »
Robin,

You are right. After I posted and thought about it more, I came to the same conclusion. It's like trying to replicate the Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour, which has a protein content of 11.5-12.5%, by using a domestic all-purpose flour or a somewhat stronger flour. It won't work in that case either. When King Arthur came up with a domestic "clone" of the Italian 00 flour, I don't think they came close.

Peter

Offline MWTC

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2007, 02:32:54 PM »
Robin,

Can we get that brand of French Flour in the U.S.A.?

MWTC  :chef:

Offline Robin

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2007, 03:32:18 PM »
Can we get that brand of French Flour in the U.S.A.?

No. It's produced by a small UK mill that imports it's own french wheat. They have an online ordering site but it does not look like they ship abroad. Sorry

Robin

Offline MWTC

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2007, 04:49:13 PM »
Would you supply the link to the site?

MWTC  :chef:

Offline ZekeTheCat

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2007, 09:39:31 PM »
Robin - was curious since you use only use 1/3 tsp of IDY for 3840 grams of flour , do you dissolve and proof the yeast in the water before mixing or do you just dry mix it into the flour ?

Great looking pie - I'm envious to say the least. I'm convinced that a good high temp oven is a major key to good pizza. I think most residential ovens (in the US at least) just can't provide the high temps and volume of heat necessary for proper pizza baking. Either the crust is browned good with the toppings overcooked or the toppings are cooked and melted just right and the crust is undercooked with poor browning - at least that's been my experience.

Anyway, Thanks for the info and pictures.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2007, 09:56:44 PM »

Offline Robin

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2007, 04:43:39 AM »
Robin - was curious since you use only use 1/3 tsp of IDY for 3840 grams of flour , do you dissolve and proof the yeast in the water before mixing or do you just dry mix it into the flour ?

I just dry mix the IDY into the flour.

Robin

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: NY Pizza in UK
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2007, 01:28:00 PM »
I just dry mix the IDY into the flour.

Robin,

That is very interesting. Like ZekeTheCat, I wondered how you would uniformly disperse 1/3 teaspoon of IDY in 3840 grams of flour, which translates into almost 8 1/2 pounds of flour. One of the few times I hydrate IDY is when I am using so little of it in relation to the amount of flour that I am afraid it won't otherwise get uniformly dispersed within the flour. I assumed that you did the same.

I estimate that your usage of IDY is around 0.026% by weight of flour. That seems to be in line with the usage recommended by pizzanapoletana (Marco) some time ago except that he was using 2.5 g. fresh yeast for 1650 g. of flour (presumably Caputo 00) and his fermentation times were less than what you are using. I believe the dough formulation was a "summer" version, to compensate for the higher ambient temperatures by slowing down the rate of fermentation yet keeping the "window" for the dough about the same. His rate of use of yeast, when converted to IDY, was 0.051% by my calculation. So, your  correspondingly smaller amount of IDY is consistent given that your fermentation times are longer by several hours. For the small amount of yeast you are using, have you found it necessary to make seasonal adjustments to your dough formulation or is the place where you store the doughs at a pretty constant temperature year round?

Peter



« Last Edit: July 27, 2008, 06:36:21 PM by Pete-zza »


 

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