Author Topic: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section  (Read 5317 times)

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Offline Wallman

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Offline cdodson

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Re: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2008, 02:16:14 PM »
Grilling both sides of the dough is a new concept to me.  Has anyone ever tried it besides this guy?
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Offline dan f.

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Re: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2008, 12:25:46 PM »
The dough recipe that anchors the WP section appears to violate at least one major pizzamaking.com tenet: Recommending 00 flour for pizza baked at 500 degrees.  ::)
I know I've seen repeated advice on this website that 00 is best for Neapolitan-style baked at 700-800 degrees. I've searched for an explanation of why 00 doesn't work as well in home oven temperatures of 550 or less. I know it's there but I can't come up with it. Could someone please enlighten me??

Also, the recipe calls for 1-2 TBSPs of ADY for 2 cups of flour, which seems excessive.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2008, 01:35:29 PM »
I know I've seen repeated advice on this website that 00 is best for Neapolitan-style baked at 700-800 degrees. I've searched for an explanation of why 00 doesn't work as well in home oven temperatures of 550 or less. I know it's there but I can't come up with it. Could someone please enlighten me??

dan f.,

There may be a single post somewhere that discusses all of the factors involved, but I suspect that the answer to your question is spread out over the entire forum in several posts by several different members.

The 00 flour used for authentic Neapolitan pizzas is a fairly low protein flour that benefits from a relatively high hydration in relation to the flour's rated absorption (typically around 55-57%) and use in the context of very high oven temperatures. That hydration can vary from case to case, but it can be somewhere between say, 58-65% and, in rare cases, maybe a bit higher. A classic Neapolitan dough made with 00 flour and baked in a an authentic Neapolitan wood-fired oven with a very high bake surface temperature (typically 800 degrees F and higher) will produce a thin pizza with a soft/light, "melt in your mouth" crust and crumb. It will typically take less than a minute to bake the pizza and there will also be leoparding of the outer crust. If you try to bake the same dough in a standard home oven at normal oven temperatures, the results will usually be a crust that is light in color, with no leoparding (any coloration will be uniform in nature), and it is likely to be more cracker-like and crispy and overly chewy, usually because the pizza is baked too long (usually several minutes) in the quest to get decent crust coloration.

There are some measures that can be taken to improve results with 00 doughs in a standard home oven. These include reducing the hydration (to discourage over baking), adding oil to the dough (to help retain moisture in the crust during baking), adding some sugar to the dough (to aid in crust coloration), using a natural starter (to get a better crumb texture), and making a crust that is much thicker than normal for a Neapolitan-style dough (to get more softness in the crust and crumb). Blending the 00 flour with a stronger domestic flour, such as high-gluten flour or bread flour, will also often help. It may even be possible to modify the home oven, as by using a mini oven built within the oven, to get a better bake. A practical application might use a combination of these measures. Even then, your results will not approach an authenic Neapolitan pizza baked in a very high temperature oven. The classic Neapolitan pizza dough includes only 00 flour, water, salt (usually sea salt), and yeast (usually either fresh yeast or a natural starter). That's it.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 31, 2008, 07:59:14 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline dan f.

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Re: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2008, 07:52:58 PM »
Thanks, Peter, for your customary thoroughness. Your answer confirms what I suspected: WP giving out supremely bad advice on 00 flour to novice pizza makers. Will be sending the food section folks a note to this effect.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2008, 08:22:49 PM »
dan f.,

If you were referring to the dough recipe at http://projects.washingtonpost.com/recipes/2008/05/28/basic-pizza-dough-oven/, I see other problems with that recipe. If one cup of water is used with two cups of 00 flour, I estimate that the hydration is over 80%. That would not work well with a food processor, and obviously a lot of bench flour would be needed to reduce the hydration of the dough to a workable value. If you are going to have to use a lot of bench flour to do this, why not do it in the processor bowl, where kneading and hydrating the flour are more efficient, rather than on a highly floured work surface.

As you previously noted, the amount of yeast is far too high, even for a dough that is to be made and used within a couple of hours. One to two tablespoons of active dry yeast is about 3-6% of the weight of formula flour. Short-time doughs don't need more than about 1.5% ADY.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 08:38:04 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Wallman

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Re: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 01:53:51 PM »
I've not used any of the Washington Post recipes in the article. But the technique of baking on the grill works pretty well. You just have to watch the dough like a hawk, it will burn if you're not careful. A two zone fire also helps, with one hot side and one cooler side. 

Offline dan f.

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Re: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2008, 05:43:49 PM »
I wrote to the Post about the pizza recipe and 00 flour. Seeing no response from them, I sent it to the author, who writes a food-related blog.
Here is here response:

Dan,
I appreciate your concerns regarding my dough recipe. And coming from the tri-state area where people are really passionate about pizza, I realize dough elicits some heated debates. I wouldn't venture to write a piece as I did without doing some serious research. Though I've been working with pizza dough for home cooking for years, I began researching for journalistic purposes for the Washington Post Express; the research I did out of curiosity far outweighs what's in this piece or the one to which you are responding.

 

In talking to Frank Morales from Rustico, Carol Greenwood from Comet, and Roberto Donna from Bebo, all three of them explained how they made their dough in and each one was somewhat different from the other. I also talked to Wolfgang Puck in person about his pizza dough and what makes it different or better in his mind than anyone else's. I'm not sure any of these chefs would call another's defective or off because it was different.

 

That said, I'm not a professional chef and I value constructive criticism from you. You may be right on the 00 flour not being great for ovens that don't reach over 550 degrees However, heating my oven up for an hour with two stones makes it hotter than 550 degrees in there. Some newer ovens don't crank that high. Also, just so you know, Bonnie Benwick and Joe Yonan didn't just go on my word; I made it for them and delivered it to the offices of the Washington Post as part of the process of writing the piece. In addition, it was recipe tested several times over by their testers in their home ovens.

 

There are alot of point for point comments I can address in your letter, but rather than do that, until I were to better understand your preferences, I'd just say this. Even people from the New York metro area don't necessarily embrace one pie as a gold standard; some people are all about DiFara's while others think Lombardi's is still terrific. And in this town, Vace gets kudos, but I'd rather have my own; the crust is too spongy for me. In short, I appreciate your concern. I don't pretend to be an expert, but even if I were, I do think that pizza crust cultivates loyalties and divisions like those inspired by the Yankees versus the Mets. Just ask Adam Kuban of SliceNY, or for that matter, any of the chefs who make it here in town.

 

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. I would be happy to make your recipe and report back on how terrific it is once I'm done!

 

Sincerely, Melissa McCart



Offline dan f.

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Re: Pizza Featured in the Washington Post Food Section
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2008, 10:42:40 PM »
Tried grilling on both sides of the dough. It works pretty well! Different kind of pizza from oven/stone but  it's plenty good and not pumping your oven up above 500 in summertime certainly is a positive. I grilled veggies beforehand so the charcoal was not at max heat, which was helpful for preventing dough burn.


 

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