Author Topic: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust  (Read 14918 times)

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Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2009, 06:56:50 PM »
John, Fantastic experiment. This proves all along what I have concluded regarding this type of crust, that a sheeter is not only essential, but a requirement. Interestingly, once you hit about 6 layers the pizzas seem to look quite similar. However you did note that the increased layer was more delicate. So it's apparent in the taste with more layers. Keep up the great work, your experiments make for fantastic reading.

BTW, out of curiosity what brand sheeter are you using?


Offline fazzari

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Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2009, 12:34:42 AM »
We use a Rondo sheeter...its an older model (the old ones are almost indestructable).  Dan, I disagree that a sheeter is mandatory...I've made a ton of pizza at home using the methods layed out in this thread with great success....they are as good a pizza as I've ever made at work, and they really aren't that hard to do if you sheet the dough while it is warm.

John

Offline fazzari

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Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2009, 10:05:46 PM »
This post should represent the final chapter in my quest to perfect the laminated cracker crust made at home.  The evolution of the process has come in very small bits and I think I just perfected or at least made easier the last little bit.  First of all I will list the recipe...notice that I have not used a dough calculator in that I think making individual dough balls for this process complicates the method.  This is because I have found it is easier to laminate sheets of dough...and then to cut desired skins from the sheet, or even better...dividing the sheets into manageable sizes so that there is no waste.

Flour      100%      any flour seems to work, I've made my best skins with KA bread flour
Water      45         as hot as you can get it from the tap
Veg oil       4
Salt           1.75
IDY             .75

Place all dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together.  Add all of the hot water with the vegetable oil and start your mixer.  Mix until all of the dry shaggy parts on the bottom of the bowl are incorporated into the dough.  This usually takes 6 to 8 minutes in my KitchenAid.  Cover dough and place in a barely warm oven for about 90 minutes.  Take the warm dough and using your rolling pin sheet the dough into as big a sheet you can..I shoot for a sheet which is at "most" one quarter inch thick.  Now take this sheet and fold it evenly into as many layers as you are comfortable with.  (The pictures below are of skins cut from a  30 ounce piece of dough which I have folded into 6 layers).  You will notice that the dough has cooled considerably and so now you will sheet your folded dough using your rolling pin, but do it smartly also taking your time...don't fight the dough, when it resists being thinned, simply cover it with a towel and let it rest for a few minutes.  I found that by taking my time and letting the dough rest, I could comfortably sheet the dough to about one eighth inch...it might take 10 minutes of total time.  I use no flour during the sheeting process.
At this point I divide my sheet into whatever sizes of pizza I want to make.. I stack them between wax sheets and freeze for about 1 hour...I want to make sure the dough is nice and cold.  By the way, the skins can be kept frozen for a couple weeks if needed.  I then store the skins in my refrigerator to be used 24 to 48 hours later.  The skins below were refrigerated for 30 hours.  They were taken straight from the refrigerator, topped and baked..they don't need to be warmed up.
The skins I cut were 7 inches wide apiece (after minor shrinkage in the refrigerator) and weighed an average of 4.05 ounces.  I baked these pizzas on quarry tile in my oven that had an average temperature of 560 degrees.  The pizzas took right betwwen 5 and 6 minutes to bake.  This is significant because the beef on each pizza was applied raw and on a good skin, the heat comes from the bottom of the skin up through the top cooking the toppings.  Anyway people, it can be done without a sheeter...it takes a little work, but I feel the results are well worth the effort if you want to try something a little different.

John






Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2009, 09:38:58 AM »
John,

Nice job. It looks like your persistence has paid off.

Am I correct that you don't have to pre-bake the skins before dressing?

Also, as a point of clarification, are the sheets you roll out square or rectangular? If either, how do you avoid any waste (scrap) if the final skins are round?

As a simple test, I used the Weight option of the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html, with 30 ounces as the weight input (the amount of dough you used), and got the following:

Flour (100%):
Water (45%):
IDY (0.75%):
Salt (1.75%):
Vegetable (Soybean) Oil (4%):
Total (151.5%):
561.39 g  |  19.8 oz | 1.24 lbs
252.62 g  |  8.91 oz | 0.56 lbs
4.21 g | 0.15 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.4 tsp | 0.47 tbsp
9.82 g | 0.35 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.76 tsp | 0.59 tbsp
22.46 g | 0.79 oz | 0.05 lbs | 4.94 tsp | 1.65 tbsp
850.5 g | 30 oz | 1.88 lbs | TF = N/A

Does the above sound about right? If so, I assume that one could use a smaller dough weight, say, half of what you used, to make fewer pizzas of the same size you made (7"). Or, someone could use the 30 ounces and make fewer, but larger pizzas. For example, based on your use of 4.05 ounces of dough for a 7" pizza, which translates to a thickness factor of 0.1052372, if I wanted to make a single 14" pizza, which is fairly standard for me for the cracker style, I would need 3.14159 x 7 x 7 x 0.1052372 = 16.2 ounces of dough. To be on the safe side, I would perhaps increase that weight to allow for scrap produced during the rolling/cutting processes. Is my analysis correct or am I misapprehending something?

Peter

Offline fazzari

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Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2009, 06:55:59 PM »
Peter
The skins are not prebaked...this is what gives this particular skin the texture it has.

I roll out rectangular sheets, like the size of my dough board at home.  From these sheets you can cut whatever size skins you need...you can even just divide the sheet so there is absolutely no waste at all.  The only reason I am showing round skins is so I can present to the reader that these truly look like a laminated skins found in restaurants.

Of course you can make as large or small a batch as you need..but if you're making round ones or specific size rectangles, allow for some extra dough...this makes the sheeting much easier.

A question for you Peter.. I have done a ton of reading, here, at PMQ, at Pizza Today, anywhere they talk about dough..and I have never seen discussion about laminated skins.  The only article I recall was one from Tom Lehmann, and even in that he only gives a brief discussion of the process.  Have you ever found discussion about these?  I have to think there aren't many doing this process anymore.....but as you can tell from the discussions on this site about Shakeys, Round Table etc...there are those who miss these skins of the past.  They are truly a remarkable skin when they are done right...on the other hand they are very unremarkable when they are bad.  And as I have always said, it has always been the consistency which has been hard to master.
JOhn

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2009, 07:17:46 PM »
John,

I don't want to mislead anyone but was the 4.05 ounces of dough for a square or round 7" pizza?

I agree with you on the lamination issue. It is rarely discussed in the literature. However, a member who once worked for Round Table discussed the methods that they used to form their skins, and it was a machine lamination method (see Reply 5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1911.msg17492.html#msg17492). When I made a Round Table clone, I tried to simulate that method. I also tried a superimposed lamination method (individual sheets on top of each other) to get more crispiness in a deep-dish crust, and also for a Lehmann cracker-style crust. However, I think the Round Table method was closest to yours.

Peter

Offline fazzari

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Re: Evolution of the perfect cracker crust
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2009, 12:02:45 AM »
Peter
4.05 ounces for a 7 inch diameter skin


 

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