Author Topic: Generic Chicago Thin Crust  (Read 64191 times)

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Offline norma427

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #200 on: November 19, 2010, 10:45:57 PM »
Norma,

Since we could not find anything in the V&N video to suggest docking, and when I could not find anything about docking at V&N's when I did extensive Google searches, I did not use docking either.

Peter

Peter,

Thanks for telling me you didn't dock either.  I was just worried that the crust would bubble.  I don't have that much experience with thin crusts.

Norma

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Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #201 on: November 20, 2010, 09:57:32 AM »
Loo, those were some great pictures and great work in trying this style out further.  Maybe some of us should attempt a meeting at V & N's next summer. 
 
How did you find the handling of the sticky dough skin when you rolled it out?  Mine stuck to the rolling pin, even before I rolled it up onto the rolling pin and even when I sprinkled a good deal of flour onto the pin.  And how did you handle the skin?  Did you roll it out onto a peel or what?  Did you put semolina on the peel prior to rolling it out?  (I put a little corn meal onto my pans) Or how did you get it onto the peel with it being so difficult to handle (or was it?).  I found this part the toughest, but sense it wasn't so with you but am not too clear on that part of the process that you went thru.
 
Many -- or per the advice on another Chicago website's V & N thread -- advise others to order their V & N pizzas "extra crispy" or "well done" at their restaurant to better ensure a "crispy" pizza as many have complained that their standard bake more often does not come out anywhere near being crispy (as many old timers esp. complain).  BTW, I made a different thin crust pizza using the puree from the Malnati's can, too, and found it terrific for thin crust pizzas also (with pinches of sugar, basil and oregano).  Garlic powder, like you did, and maybe onion powder would be nice, too.
 
Peter, many describe the crust as cracker-like, but so many on that other site have complained publicly about their recent experience with finding it anything other than crispy.  My experience with the crisp factor has been "hit and miss" with mostly miss recently (soft and chewy), but still a good and very tasty pizza at V & N's.  One would never refuse it.  But the advice on another website stresses that people should order their pizzas extra crispy or well done to get the desired crisp result.  Often (probably more often), I've found DKM's cracker version to be crispier than V & N's.
 
V & N is usually a flat, flat style of pizza with little to no oven rise or spring. And the formulation does not call for much yeast.  But I'm curious as to why someone would not want to dock this style of pizza (i.e. Chicago style thin).  Even from my experience in not seeing V & N pizzamakers docking the dough skins, why not?
 
I have some ideas on improving some of the things that I did, am still a preferred cutter pan supporter, and am planning a "return to milk dough" trial in the near future.  But I cringe a bit at the sticky dough part of the process.
 
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Offline loowaters

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #202 on: November 20, 2010, 10:15:25 AM »
How did you find the handling of the sticky dough skin when you rolled it out?  Mine stuck to the rolling pin, even before I rolled it up onto the rolling pin and even when I sprinkled a good deal of flour onto the pin.  And how did you handle the skin?  Did you roll it out onto a peel or what?  Did you put semolina on the peel prior to rolling it out?  (I put a little corn meal onto my pans) Or how did you get it onto the peel with it being so difficult to handle (or was it?).  I found this part the toughest, but sense it wasn't so with you but am not too clear on that part of the process that you went thru.

I take the dough ball and place it right in to a tub of flour and coat it on both sides rather than sprinkle the surface and then the top of the dough ball.  This, I've found, eliminates the problem of sticking to anything.  I didn't have any problems rolling it out on my counter top and once rolled to the desired size I carefully lifted and placed the skin on the semolina covered peel for topping.  No release problem either which I was worried about, especially with the sausage one.  That one was rolled thinner and it takes a while to cover with all that sausage, obviously extending it's time on the peel before heading into the oven.

Loo
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Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #203 on: November 20, 2010, 11:41:01 AM »
I didn't have any problems rolling it out on my counter top and once rolled to the desired size I carefully lifted and placed the skin on the semolina covered peel for topping.  No release problem either  . . .
Wow, somehow I got to a different point here than you did.  There's no way in H___ that I could lift the skin on my experiment above on this -- carefully or not -- and get it onto a peel or pan without it tearing or falling apart.  Maybe I need to add a lot more flour, but that would seem to change the formulation considerably (but maybe for the better?).

I used the special pizza scaper to lift up the edge of the dough skin on the floured countertop and onto the rolling pin.  Mine would have been impossible to lift up by hand alone and put onto a peel or, in my case, a cutter pan.

It is good that we share these experiences as we need to prepare others for all kinds of contingencies and things they may face.  I can't help but think that this is not a simple recipe and would preliminarily suggest to others to consider use of much more flour.

                                                                       --BTB          :(

     
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 11:50:16 AM by BTB »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #204 on: November 20, 2010, 12:47:18 PM »
As noted in Reply 92 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6368.msg117665.html#msg117665, I made an experimental V&N clone dough. I used the 14” dough formulation given at Reply 120 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6368.msg117150.html#msg117150. I believe that is the same dough formulation that Loo used except that I used Stone Buhr flour, which is a flour sold mainly in the Northwest and the closest flour I had to the Ceresota/Hecker flour.

I conducted the experiment mainly to see if the dough ball size was correct using the abovereferenced dough formulation and also to see if the dough could withstand a 24-hour room temperature fermentation. I knew from my experimentation with long room temperature fermentations (e.g., 20-24 hours) that it would take very little yeast to get a dough to double and then be used. If only a single double were desired, then V&N would have only needed a teaspoon or two of IDY to accomplish that result, based on 600 ounces (37.5 pounds) of Ceresota flour. Clearly, from the V&N video, much more yeast than that is used, and it is intentional that the dough sustain several rises, with many punch downs in between. I did not see anything in the V&N video to suggest that the dough is held in a cooler. As some evidence of this, at about 1:18 in the video, Guy Fieri asks Rosemary: So this will sit here for how long?, to which Rosemary replied: Till tomorrow, and once it starts raising every 20 minutes to a half hour you can come in here and punch it down (emphasis mine). I took “here” to mean in both cases the place where the tubs of dough are shown in the video.

For the small amount of dough involved, I decided to use my Cuisinart food process to make the experimental V&N clone dough. The sequencing of ingredients was the same as shown in the video. Both the water and milk (2% milkfat) were essentially at room temperature, as in the video. I finished making the dough at 2:00 PM on Thursday afternoon and placed it in a glass Pyrex bowl, which was then covered with plastic wrap. The bowl was selected to be large enough to allow the dough to about triple in volume if it came to that. Using the poppy seed trick, the dough doubled for the first time after 5 ¾ hours, at a room temperature of around 70 degrees F. Over time, the doubling times became shorter. But at all times the dough looked pretty much like the rising dough shown in the V&N video. This suggested to me that the total hydration of around 66% (the sum of the formula hydration and the water contribution of the milk) was perhaps quite accurate. At some point during the evening and before morning, the dough looked like it tripled in volume. I just punched it down a few more times until I was ready to test the dough for proper weight/size. I decided to use the dough after 24 hours, at around 2:00 PM on Friday. The dough at that point started to show some medium sized bubbles at the outer surface and had a more gassy appearance. Prior to that time, those bubbles were not there and the dough was not quite as gassy. This might suggest that one might want to use the dough sooner than 24 hours, maybe 18 hours.

At this juncture, I should add that I was fairly confident that the dough would hold up to a day of room temperature fermentation. Normally I would be concerned with the dough running out of sugar to feed the yeast and leave something for crust coloration purposes. However, I recalled pizzanapoletana (Marco) once telling me that doughs fermented at room temperature can tolerate multiple risings without running out of sugar. He pointed this out to me in the last sentence at Reply 11 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3057.msg25947/topicseen.html#msg25947. As the dough kept rising and as I kept punching it down, I kept on thinking of what Marco told me. After each punch down, the dough came back to life.

The next step was to get a final dough ball of the proper weight. I added some bench flour to my shaggy dough ball, which looked like the dough in the video, to be able to work with it more easily and to shape it into a round ball without it sticking to everything. To get a measure of the desired dough ball size, I sat in front of the V&N video and kept cutting away the dough ball until it looked to be the same size as the dough ball that was in Guy Fieri’s hands in the video, at about 1:42-1:43. I don’t know if that dough ball was for a 12” pizza or a 14” pizza but I had speculated earlier that there was perhaps only one dough ball weight and that it was used to make both size pizzas (a skin for the 12” size would be trimmed from a 14” skin using a pizza cutter as shown in the video). The dough ball I ended up with was 248 grams (8.75 ounces). That translated into a thickness factor of 0.05683 (for a 14” skin). However, the final dough ball also included bench flour, so the starting thickness factor before the bench flour should be somewhat less. It may take a few tries to get an idea of a typical amount of bench flour to use, but I estimate that it might be about 12 percent of the starting formula flour. For now, I think I would use a nominal thickness factor of 0.053. I estimate that the final dough should have a hydration of around 60%, so the bench flour should be sufficient to lower the total effective hydration (around 66%) to around 60%. At that value, there should be lower risk of the dough skin sticking to the peel.

Before forming a skin out of the dough ball, I allowed the dough ball to rest at room temperature for about an hour. That was to allow the dough ball to recover from the handling and shaping/sizing during the addition of the bench flour. I had no problem rolling out the dough ball to 14”, using a rolling pin. After dressing the skin, the pizza was baked on a pizza stone that had been placed on the lowest oven rack position of my electric oven and preheated for about an hour at a temperature of around 500 degrees F. For a peel release agent, I used semolina flour based on what Loo mentioned. I did not dock the skin, for the reasons mentioned earlier.

The finished pizza looked pretty much like Norma’s pizza as baked in her home oven. The finished crust had a texture that I would describe as being between a tender cracker texture and a crispy one. From a taste standpoint, I thought that the dough/crust could have used more salt. I went back to the V&N video and rechecked the scene where the measuring cup of salt is shown, at about 0.48, and, while it is hard to make out the detail, it is possible that the measuring cup was filled above the one-cup marker line. Whether that is correct or not, I would be inclined to try 2% salt next time and adjust up or down from there based on personal taste.

As noted above, I used 2% milk. After doing some Google searches, I learned that Dean Foods, which is the largest milk producer in the country, is fairly big in the Chicago area. I found an image of their whole milk and 2% lowfat milk products in the Chicago market  at http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/uploadedImages/News/Chicago/Images/Science/MILK_1.jpg. As in the Dallas area, where Dean is headquartered, the whole milk product is color coded red and the 2% product is color coded blue. I can see a resemblance between the gallon of milk shown in the video (at 0:48) and the corresponding product shown in the Google image. So, for now, I think I would use 2% milk. Of course, any other milk, including whole milk as Norma has been using, should also work out fine.

In the next post, I will set forth an updated rendition of the original dough formulation for the 14” pizza size.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #205 on: November 20, 2010, 12:49:11 PM »
I have set forth below the updated rendition of the V&N clone dough formulation for a 14” pizza based on the analysis of my last post. I used the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html.

Ceresota or Heckers Flour (100%):
Water (55%):
IDY (0.283%):
Salt (2%):
2% Milk (fresh) (11.98%):
Total (169.263%):
136.65 g  |  4.82 oz | 0.3 lbs
75.16 g  |  2.65 oz | 0.17 lbs
0.39 g | 0.01 oz | 0 lbs | 0.13 tsp | 0.04 tbsp
2.73 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.49 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
16.37 g | 0.58 oz | 0.04 lbs | 3.27 tsp | 1.09 tbsp
231.3 g | 8.16 oz | 0.51 lbs | TF = 0.053
Note: Dough is for a single 14” pizza; nominal thickness factor = 0.053; the formulation does not take into account any added bench flour (estimated at around 12% of the weight of formula flour noted above); no bowl residue compensation

Since it is possible that V&N uses two dough ball sizes, despite my speculation, it may become necessary at some point to further revise the above dough formulation to reflect the two sizes. Hopefully, further clarification on this point might come out of any experiments conducted by our knowledgeable members who decide to try the dough formulation. 

Of course, it is possible to use the expanded dough calculating tool to come up with a dough formulation for a 12” pizza, should one choose to try that size. All the entries in the tool would be the same in this case except for the pizza size.

Peter

Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #206 on: November 21, 2010, 01:57:54 PM »
In my second attempt at making the V & N Clone pizza, I want to indicate at the onset that the result of this attempt was . . . a great pizza.  But it's making was not without . . . some difficulties.
 
I went about yesterday putting together the ingredients for another 12" V & N Clone pizza as follows:
 
Flour (100%):  155.92 g  |  5.5 oz | 0.34 lbs
Water (55%):  85.76 g  |  3.02 oz | 0.19 lbs
ADY (.375%):  0.58 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.15 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
Salt (1.58%):  2.46 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.44 tsp | 0.15 tbsp
Milk (fresh) (11.98%):  18.68 g | 0.66 oz | 0.04 lbs | 3.74 tsp | 1.25 tbsp
Total (168.935%): 263.41 g | 9.29 oz | 0.58 lbs | TF = 0.07

In the expanded dough tool I entered, of course, a 13" pizza to account for shrinkage and bowl residue, and even tho I planned to rolled this out to at least a 12" diameter, I think I rolled it out to a little more than 13" and it was a pretty thin skin, which turned out very good.  The change from the first time I did this was the reduction from .08 thickness to .07, which is seemingly minor but it sure resulted in a lot of less ingredients.  I forgot to enter into the tool the addition of 1/8 tsp. of reg. sugar (which I put in) to try to get the crust to darken a bit more. 

Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #207 on: November 21, 2010, 02:01:52 PM »
I mixed the ingredients all together on Saturday afternoon, let it first rise a bit in a slightly warmed oven, then onto the counter for 5 to 6 hours (knocking down the rise several times), then into the refrigerator for about 14 hours, then onto the counter for a couple of hours to get to room temperature (70ish).  Somewhat regrettably, the dough again turned into a somewhat sticky dough ball, but I added a lot of bench flour to make it considerably less so.  I put the tacky dough ball into a slightly oiled bowl and covered it nicely.  The following day it was still sticky when I attempted to roll it out, so I put it on top of floured parchment paper in an attempt to better set it up to transfer the rolled out skin onto my 14" cutter pan. 
 
Well, that was not to be.  The parchment paper moved all about as I attempted to roll the dough into a thin skin on the floured parchment paper.  So I taped the paper down so it wouldn't "move about," but found that to be a lost cause also (it moved about anyway).  I added more bench flour then and started to attempt to roll it onto (and then off) my rolling pin, but found that would be no different from my earlier experience reported above.  So I used my scraper and rolled the skin partially onto the rolling pin, scraped the skin off of the floured counter while picking it up the best I could and transferred it to my cutter pan.  It didn't go perfectly, but eventually I got a elongated circular dough skin into the pan and pressed it out better to fit the pan.  This is the hardest part of making this IMO with my use of a cutter pan. 
 
Maybe this formulation is better intended for use with peels, stones and other methods, I'm not sure, but all should be prepared to deal with the dough skin at this point in various ways.

Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #208 on: November 21, 2010, 02:05:28 PM »
After getting the soft dough skin into my cutter pan -- which had always been great in making me a delicious, crispy thin crust pizza -- I pressed the dough skin into a fairly good circular shape, patched up a bit, put on the sauce and some really small pieces of sausage (as I expected a shorter time for baking a really thin crust), added the cheese and spices (strove to put on a little less cheese), and baked the pizza on the absolute bottom rack (remember in my electric home oven there is no apparent heating elements), and baked for exactly 12 minutes (turning 180 degrees once) at 475 degrees F. 
 
The result to me and my son was much different from an earlier experience above.  It was really good.  Semi-crisp and the crust was pretty tasty.  Most of the pieces, as you'll see, were not floppy and limp as occurs with a lot of other recipes.  As Loo indicated earlier, this is one fine thin recipe.  There are some unanswered questions to me on the use of milk in the crust formulation, but this one worked well for me today.  While just a small pizza, it was totally consumed in less than 6 minutes I think.
 
                                                                                      --BTB                       :D
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 02:16:33 PM by BTB »

Offline loowaters

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #209 on: November 21, 2010, 02:19:48 PM »
Nice pics BTB! Another fine looking pizza.

How are you mixing this?  It's a question that hasn't been discused much with this formulation but could play a big part in how easily you can handle this skin after rolling out.  FWIW, I made this with my KA Artisan mixer using only the dough hook, kneading for eight total minutes but that time also counts two stoppages to get it all off the hook when it did it's typical cling and climb, then restart.  Probably six minutes of actual kneading.

Loo
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Offline norma427

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #210 on: November 21, 2010, 02:52:07 PM »
After getting the soft dough skin into my cutter pan -- which had always been great in making me a delicious, crispy thin crust pizza -- I pressed the dough skin into a fairly good circular shape, patched up a bit, put on the sauce and some really small pieces of sausage (as I expected a shorter time for baking a really thin crust), added the cheese and spices (strove to put on a little less cheese), and baked the pizza on the absolute bottom rack (remember in my electric home oven there is no apparent heating elements), and baked for exactly 12 minutes (turning 180 degrees once) at 475 degrees F. 
 
The result to me and my son was much different from an earlier experience above.  It was really good.  Semi-crisp and the crust was pretty tasty.  Most of the pieces, as you'll see, were not floppy and limp as occurs with a lot of other recipes.  As Loo indicated earlier, this is one fine thin recipe.  There are some unanswered questions to me on the use of milk in the crust formulation, but this one worked well for me today.  While just a small pizza, it was totally consumed in less than 6 minutes I think.
 
                                                                                      --BTB                       :D

BTB,

Your pizza is a fine looking V&N clone.   :)  Good to hear you had good results in using your cutter pan.  Thanks for posting how you went about making your V&N clone. 

Norma
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Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #211 on: November 22, 2010, 09:37:25 AM »
I forgot to say that this recent trial resulted in a pizza crust that was actually close to what I recalled V & N's to taste, feel and look like.  So that's a good thing.  I also used some semolina on the slightly oiled cutter pan under the pizza crust. 
 
Loo, I hand mixed this dough (my poor wrists) for 7 to 10 minutes, which I rarely do as the deep dish recipes don't require half that time.  I have a big mixer contraption buried in the lower cabinet behind a bunch of stuff that I just don't like to move out of the way to get access to, esp. with small usuage.  I also have a nice small hand mixer that has some special dough hooks, and I've sometimes used that, but generally always fall back on (probably because of habit) on the tried and true hand mixing system.  I know I am probably old fashion in that respect.  And my wife doesn't want any more kitchen equipment like a bread machine to fill up the space in the kitchen.  Do you think using a mixer or something similar would make for a better handling dough? 
 
It may be the case that for many or most of these thin crust recipes that some form of machinery is best and I'm willing to learn.  Occasionally, I even use my KA food processor -- which I have easier access to -- and that is pretty good, esp. for low hydration recipes.  I've never made a thin crust without oil and this was an interesting trial to do one without it.  Will have to do more.
                                                                                           --BTB

Offline loowaters

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #212 on: November 22, 2010, 10:47:51 AM »
BTB, you made reference in an earlier post about it falling apart or ripping if you wanted to move it from a work surface to the pan or peel.  I just think it would take a substantial amount of hand kneading time to get the elasticity that I found I had.  When I said I moved it carefully to the peel it's not that the dough was overly delicate and I thought it would tear I didn't want to mis-shape it too much.  I had no fear of it tearing.  Strengthened gluten matrix thru kneading is all I was thinking in the possible differences in our dough and it's handling abilities.

Loo
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Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #213 on: November 23, 2010, 01:38:39 PM »
A photo of a cheese and sausage pizza at V & N's that was posted on the Internet today.

Offline norma427

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #214 on: November 23, 2010, 10:54:36 PM »
I tried another attempt for a V&N clone today.  I mixed the formula Peter set-forth at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6368.msg117734.html#msg117734 and left the dough sit out for a total of 17 hrs.  I did reball the dough several times.  This attempt for theV&N clone was made at market today.  This is what the dough balled looked like before I used it to bake into a pizza. The dough ball was rolled with a rolling pin and then opened the rest of the way as I normally open a dough ball.  The dough ball was the right amount for a 14" pizza.

Pictures below

Norma
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Offline norma427

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #215 on: November 23, 2010, 10:57:11 PM »
rest of pictures

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #216 on: November 24, 2010, 07:40:19 AM »
Norma, the pizza looked very good.  Do you not have any stickiness issue?  And can you easily move the dough skin from the bench to the peel without difficulty?  I wonder for those who may like a little browner crust whether a little sugar or whey would be good in the formulation.

                                                                                           --BTB

Offline norma427

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #217 on: November 24, 2010, 08:00:27 AM »
Norma, the pizza looked very good.  Do you not have any stickiness issue?  And can you easily move the dough skin from the bench to the peel without difficulty?  I wonder for those who may like a little browner crust whether a little sugar or whey would be good in the formulation.

                                                                                           --BTB

BTB,

Thanks for saying the pizza looked good.  I didn’t have any stickiness issues.  The dough was very sticky before I removed it from the small container.  I have found when reballing the dough different times it can be very sticky, but if I handle the dough quickly, when reballing it doesn’t stick to my fingers.  As can been seen in the picture I posted of the dough ball before I made it into a pizza, this dough was fermented a lot.  I placed some flour on top of that dough ball, had some flour in my hand, turned the container upside down, let gravity help remove the dough ball, and gently used my fingers to help remove the dough ball. I also had flour on my prep area before rolling and also floured my rolling pin.  I didn’t use a lot of flour, but everything was floured. This V&N clone dough was easy to roll.  The V&N clone attempt yesterday wasn’t as crispy as my last attempt at market.  It had a nice crispness, but I think I prefer a real crisp crust.  I really don’t know how crisp a real V&N pizza is.

Since I have never seen a bottom crust of a  real V&N pizza, I also wonder if sugar or something else might help the crust brown more.  Can you tell me what a real bottom crust of a V&N pizza looks like?

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline BTB

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #218 on: November 24, 2010, 08:21:33 AM »
I used just a smidgen of sugar (1/8th tsp) and thought it helped.  Next time I think I'll try a smidgen more.  I don't have any good pictures of the crust, but here are a few pictures from another site taken at V & N's pizzeria that may give a little better idea.                                                                  --BTB

Offline norma427

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Re: Generic Chicago Thin Crust
« Reply #219 on: November 24, 2010, 08:45:22 AM »
I used just a smidgen of sugar (1/8th tsp) and thought it helped.  Next time I think I'll try a smidgen more.  I don't have any good pictures of the crust, but here are a few pictures from another site taken at V & N's pizzeria that may give a little better idea.                                                                  --BTB

BTB,

Thanks for posting the pictures of a real V&N pizza and how the bottom crust looks.  It looks like a real V&N pizza is baked more than the attempts I made.  Their cheese looks browned a lot more than mine did.  I also see the bottom crust is browner than my attempts. 

It will be interesting to see what kind of results you get if you add a little more sugar to your dough.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!


 

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