Author Topic: Which crust/sauce should I try next?  (Read 4701 times)

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Offline BradLovesPizza

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Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« on: January 12, 2005, 09:03:58 PM »
This is going to be wordy, but not good wordy like some other's messages usually are  :)

I tried making the thin crust recipe on the main site about a month ago, and it didn't turn out well at all. It stuck to the cookie sheet I made it on (the best pizza pan we had) and tasted too salty. I'm almost certain I didn't make the classic Tablespoon vs Teaspoon mistake, but it sure seemed like it - though I know others have had problems with the Thin Crust recipe here. At this point, I'm ready to try to make a pizza again - though maybe not thin. After reading this forum for the last 4-5 months, I've started to gather together some of the hard-to-find items.

Here's what I have or can get ahold of as far as equipment goes
* 15 pound Myweigh Digital kitchen scale with tare function.
* Hand mixer - no stand mixer yet.
* Standard issue low-end GE oven that can go to 550 degrees
* 16" Pizza screen

For ingredients
* Found large cans of Bonta Pizza Sauce with Basil and 6-in-1 at our local GFS. Not sure which to buy. Should I buy both and mix them?
* King Arthur Bread Flour and Vital Wheat Gluten
* We have a Kroger nearby. Maybe I can find some of that Bridgford pepperoni there.
* I can probably find the Carnation malt as well.
* I have some fresh packets of SAF Perfect Rise active Yeast (1/4 ounce)
* Some bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil of varying brands. One of the recipes on here said to use Classico Olive Oil. Not sure if that's a brand or a type. I know another recipe said to use regular olive oil - not virgin olive oil. Maybe that's also what Classico is?

I'm thinking I would like to try a New York Style pizza next, but there sure are a lot of crust recipes here. I've read with interest all the different variations and experiments. Is there one recipe that seems to be the best one as of late ? I can handle the ones that require weighing the flour and other ingredients. I'm either going to have to hand-knead or use the hand-mixer. Will the hand-mixer even work?

For the sauce, I'm again not sure which recipe to try.  The main site recipe says use a can of whole peeled tomotatoes.  I'm guessing this is more what the 6-in-1 is rather than the Bonta - but I can't  get my mind off the fact that the Bonta can says "Pizza" on it - so that may be the better choice.  :-\  So, any suggestions on a recipe to try that uses one or both of the Escalon cans? (Please no recipes with neck bones hehe).

So there you have it. I hope this makes some sense.

Brad


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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2005, 10:38:21 PM »
Brad,

Welcome to the forum.

My best advice is to start simple. There are many pizza dough and pizza recipes on this site and most are quite good. But, to get your feet wet, I would start with a basic dough recipe and work up from there as you gain experience. Based on what you have indicated you have available to you in the way of ingredients and equipment, I would recommend that you start with the following recipe for a NY style dough. It is one that I have followed on many occasions where I did not have the King Arthur Sir Lancelot or other high-gluten flour on hand but had both the King Arthur bread flour and vital wheat gluten. The procedures for preparing the dough will be based on hand kneading since a hand mixer, as I understand your use of the term, is unlikely to do the job. I wouldn't worry about what brand of olive oil to use. Classico is a brand of olive oil, but there are many others out there. I would suggest a regular olive oil, or a canola oil or even a combination. I would reserve the extra-virgin olive oil for table use, or, if you'd like, to put a little on a finished pizza to add a nice final touch to the pizza. If all you have is the extra-virgin stuff, then by all means use it in the dough.

Bread flour (King Arthur), 12.45 oz.
Water, 7.70 oz.
Salt, 1.10 t.
Oil, approx. 3/4 t.
Instant dry yeast (IDY), 1/4 to 1/3 t. or about 1/2 t. active dry yeast (ADY), such as the SAF brand
1 T. vital wheat gluten (Arrowhead brand)

To make the dough, put the bread flour on a work surface in a mound. Add the salt and vital wheat gluten and mix to combine. If you are using IDY, you can mix it in with the flour also. If you are using ADY, place it in a couple of tablespoons of warm water (about 105-115 degrees F) and let it set for about 10 minutes to proof. Then add the proofed yeast mixture to the rest of the water. The rest of the water can vary in temperature but I would be inclined to lean to the cool side (around 70 degrees F) to keep the finished dough temperature around 80 degrees F.

Form an opening in the center of the mound of flour and start adding the yeast/water mixture gradually to the opening and work it in with a large spoon or your fingers until all the water/yeast mixture has been incorporated into the flour. Start to knead the dough until it forms a rough ball. Add the olive oil and knead that in. It may take several minutes to complete the kneading, but at the end the dough ball should be soft and elastic. It may be a bit on the tacky side but it shouldn't be so sticky that it completely sticks to your fingers. Don't be tempted to add more flour. If, after another minute or so of kneading, the dough is still sticky, then it is OK to add a bit more flour. But only as much as is needed to overcome the stickiness. If the dough is stiff and dry, then you may have to add a bit more water.  If you weight the dough ball on your scale once it is in proper form (smooth and elastic and no tears on the outer surface), it should be around 20-21 oz., or enough for a 16-inch pizza.

At this stage, the dough ball should be lightly coated with oil, placed in a container (any container should do the trick, even a plastic bread bag or freezer bag), and then put into the refrigerator compartment of your refrigerator. For best results, the dough should stay in the refrigerator for at least 16 hours, but 24 hours or more is better. After that time, the dough can be removed from the refrigerator in preparation for shaping into a dough round. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours. At this point, the dough should handle nicely and be extensible (stretchy) enough to be able to shape and stretch into a 16-inch dough round, using your fingers to press the dough outwardly and lifting and stretching the dough outwardly until it increases in diameter. 

Once the dough had been formed into a 16-inch dough round, it can be placed on the 16-inch pizza screen and dressed. I wouldn't try to get fancy at this point on the sauces or type of pepperoni to use. If you have the 6-in-1 tomatoes, use it, along with any seasonings you might like, including dried oregano and basil, red pepper flakes, garlic, or grated cheese. Bridgford makes a good brand of pepperoni, but there are other good ones also. For now, use whatever you can find. In due course, you will find the toppings that most please you. You didn't mention cheeses, so I assume that you can find mozzarella and other suitable cheese choices.

To bake the pizza, you may want to preheat your oven to around 475-500 degrees F. and place the pizza screen on the center rack. This is one of those things that you learn from experience. I have used 500-550 degrees F without a problem. But, until you learn the idiosyncracies of your oven, you may want to start at lower temperatures and make adjustments from there. You may also want to play around with other rack positions. Until then, just keep a close watch on what is happening to the pizza. Once the rim of the crust is brown, the cheeses are browning and bubbling, and the bottom of the crust is brown, you should be just about done. Remove the pizza from the oven, put it on a rack for a few minutes to cool a bit, and cut and serve.

If you experience any problems, come back and tell us what happened. There are many savvy people at this forum who should be able to diagnose whatever problems you encounter. In the meantime, good luck.

Peter

Offline BradLovesPizza

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2005, 06:06:20 PM »
Peter,

Thank you for the detailed instructions! I can't wait to try this out. I'll be sure to take pictures and post the results.

As for the cheese, I bought some mozzerella at Costco for a previous pizza. It was a round tube shape and fairly watery. I didn't like it much. Didn't seem to want to melt - and if it did melt, it was kind of chewy. Maybe I'll try a 50/50 mix of mozz/provolone - I think that's the mix some others were using on here. I'll have to go back and check. Cheese is another confusing area for me. Not sure if I should get part-skim or whole milk versions of cheese. Not shure whether I should get a block and shred it myself - or just go with the pre-shredded.  Any suggestions here?

Thank you,
Brad

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2005, 07:07:03 PM »
Brad,

The recipe I gave you is the exact one I used recently, with very good results, to make three 16-inch NY style pizzas on New Year's Eve for a pizza party while visiting with friends in Massachusetts. In my case, I used a food processor to make the dough.  I also used both a 16-inch pizza screen and a pizza stone (15-inch) that I had preheated (on the bottom rack) to around 500-550 degrees F for about an hour. Once the pizza crust (on the screen) started to brown, I shifted the pizza off of the screen onto the pizza stone for a final few minutes. You didn't mention that you have a pizza stone, so you should perhaps use your pizza screen with a lower oven temperature until you gain more experience with your oven. If you have a stone (or tiles) then the approach described above should produce good results.

As for cheeses, I used a combination of a pasteurized low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese and provolone cheese. The whole-milk mozzarella cheese is my personal first choice but if you can't find it in the supermarket, the part-skim low moisture and other similar versions are perfectly fine to use (but try to avoid the finely divided cheeses in bags). The mozzarella cheese I used was pasteurized and in a ball shape, and I shredded it using a box shredder. The more common forms of provolone usually don't come in a ball that can be shredded so I bought some in sliced form from the deli department of a local supermarket. I shredded it with a knife by julienning it and reducing it into small shreds or dice. (Or, just as easily, you can get it in a single chunk and shred it with a box shredder.) For now, I wouldn't use a soft, cows-milk mozzarella cheese. It is very nice in flavor and has many uses (especially for Neapolitan style pizzas) but the other cheeses are the more common for a NY style pizza. Many members of this forum also use frozen pre-shredded mozzarella cheeses from places like Costco and, although I have not personally tried them, they appear to be perfectly acceptable to use judging from the comments of posters to this site.

At this point, I wouldn't venture too far afield on cheeses. Using either mozzarella cheese or a blend of mozzarella and provolone cheeses should be sufficient. Once you get your pizza legs under you, you may want to take a look at other possibilities as to cheese choices. There are many postings on this forum that address that issue. Some time ago I posted my own opinions on cheeses on another thread, at Reply #1, at http://forum.pizzamaking.com/index.php?topic=524.msg4544#msg4544. That posting might be useful to you but you should explore other possibilities as well since they are virtually endless.

If you have any questions before proceeding further, feel free to post them. As with most things in life, the devil is in the detail, and if you can master the detail you will achieve success. I look forward to seeing the photos of the results of your pizza.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 11:11:53 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline BradLovesPizza

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2005, 09:13:24 PM »
Well, tonight I made the crust. I thought I would include pictures. First picture is of the ingredients. I was surprised when it came down to it how few ingredients there are in this.

Offline BradLovesPizza

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2005, 09:15:06 PM »
I began to notice right off that my scale isn't as accurate as Peter's. I had to guess at the hundredth of an ounce.

Offline BradLovesPizza

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2005, 09:16:02 PM »
Then I really had to wonder how to measure 1.1 teaspoon of salt! What do you think?

Offline BradLovesPizza

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2005, 09:18:12 PM »
More measurement issues.  I put the cup on the scale, and measured 7.7 oz of water. Then I started to think that maybe he meant fluid ounces (see side of pyrex container). I discarded that idea and went with the scale measurement.

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2005, 09:20:43 PM »
At this point, my wife is getting involved. She gradually added the water and took this picture for me. This just after all the water and oil was added and a few kneeds (is that a word?) of the dough.  Lots of dough on my hands.

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2005, 09:28:40 PM »
Just about 3 minutes later - the finished dough ball! I'm a little concerned that it turned out to be 20 oz exactly instead of a bit over 20 oz. The dough was a little tacky, and then i kneeded it about another minute and it lost it's tacky feeling. I think it was starting to dry out. I think it's ok though.  I'm pretty happy with it.

It's into the fridge now. I'm guessing that I'm going to get about 18 hours of time in there before I will need to remove it and sit it on the counter for a few hours before baking.  I'll let you know how tomorrow night goes.

I hope I'm not being impolite in posting all of these pictures.  Just let me know if that's the case, and I'll post fewer of them or make them smaller.

Brad


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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2005, 10:25:35 PM »
Brad,

I'm planning to bring the recipe with me to Mexico later this week where I plan to make a few more pizzas based on the recipe. So I'm anxious to see your final results to see if they replicate mine, albeit in a different kitchen and unavoidable differences in technique. From your "ingredients" photo, it looks like you have all the right stuff. And from the final photo it looks like you didn't go overboard on the use of flour. I usually let the dough sit at room temperature for about an hour or so after coming out of the refrigerator (usually after 24 hours) before shaping. After that, the dough should be OK for another couple of hours or so.

FYI, when I recite my ingredients, including water, it is by weight and based on baker's percents in most cases. I post the volume equivalents for those who do not have a scale, digital or otherwise. I'd like those who do not have scales to be able to try out the recipes I post, not just those who have the money to buy fancy scales. To do this, I weigh the ingredients first, especially the flour and water, and then use measuring cups, spoons, and mathematical conversions for the small weight ingredients to come up with the volume equivalents. Try it sometime and you will see that it is not easy to do accurately. My scale is accurate down to 0.05 oz., which is why I post out to two places--for those who may have similarly accurate digital scales. But what is more important than the math is getting the right "feel" for the dough and knowing how to make the minor adjustments in the formulation to get the dough to the point where success is reasonably assured. And once you get it, your pizzas will turn out fine. Until then, it's back to the drawing board and practice, practice and practice.

Peter

Offline canadave

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2005, 10:30:44 PM »
For what it's worth, just to reassure people without the digital scales who might read this: even if you can't measure to hundredths of an ounce, minor differences in weight won't be noticeable.  For instance, if the recipe calls for 20 oz of water, and you wind up putting in 20.1 oz, it's not going to make any noticeable difference.

That being said, I wish I had a really accurate digital scale instead of the $9 Wal-Mart analog special :)

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2005, 11:26:52 PM »
What Dave says is correct. Many times I have practiced the same recipe at the homes of friends and family who had only inexpensive spring-loaded analog scales, where everything is done by eyeballing the weights of the ingredients. And I never had a failure using such scales. Usually what I do is buy digital scales for those persons, because of their greater accuracy and because of the reduced likelihood of error.

Peter

Offline BradLovesPizza

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2005, 08:00:10 PM »
Ok, it's time to bake a pizza. The dough. In the fridge for about 16 hours. Countertop for 1.5 hours. I flattened it out and layed it on top of the stove while the oven was preheating because it still seemed to be chilly after being out.

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2005, 08:01:31 PM »
I've always wondered what consistency the 6-in-1 canned tomatoes were. Here's a picture for others that were wondering as well.

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2005, 08:05:12 PM »
Dough stretchen out and then placed on the screen. 6-in-1 spread out.  After this pic, I used some Penzey's pasta sprinkle on top of the sauce (not shown in picture). The pasta sprinkle is a mixture of basil, oregano, thyme and garlic.  I wasn't sure how much to put on. I probably put about half a tablespoon on. I know now that this wasn't enough. Next time I'll probably put on at least a tablespoon.

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2005, 08:10:55 PM »
Here's the fnished pizza.  I preheated the oven for an hour at 500 degrees, and left it at that temp.  I thought the pizza looked about right coming out of the oven. There was some smoking going on when I opened the door, so I panicked a bit and took it out right away before really inspecting it.

Offline BradLovesPizza

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2005, 08:35:58 PM »
Here's a pic of the bottom of the crust

Unforunately, I had a few problems
* The top of the crust (the part touching the toppings) did not cook thoroughly.  It wasn't soggy or pasty - maybe closer to doughy.  When I did the "droop test" that I've seen other do, the toppings just slid off revealing the undercooked crust (I took a pic, but it came out blurry). I'm thinking this may be a combination of problems, but would welcome your input. Here's my list of potential problems 1) Too many toppings - I had sauce, half-pound of sausage, half-pound of cheese, pepperoni - put on in that order  2) 6-in-1 may be too watery. It may need to be drained or mixed with a thicker sauce 3) Maybe didn't cook it quite long enough. 4) Oven too hot or not hot enough?   Whatever, I'm doing wrong here, it is fairly common for me with other pizzas I've made as well and would sure like to fix it.
* The pizza stuck to the screen quite a bit. You would think I would know enough to spray some non-stick cooking spray on it. I'm sure this will solve this problem.

I still ate 2.5 pieces of this and enjoyed the first 2.  :) I would self-rate this pizza a 3 out of 10 - where 1 is inedible, 5 is good and 10 is the best pizza in the world. 

Would I make it again? Probably - with some mods to fix the un-done crust issue. I'm also looking forward to trying DKMs thick crust pizza. I certainly have enough 6-in-1 in the freezer now!

Thank you to everyone for your help on this. I really am trying to learn, so please don't hesitate to comment.

Brad

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2005, 09:37:05 PM »
Brad,

It is not at all uncommon for the dough to feel cool to the touch as you start to shape it, even after an hour or two at room temperature. What I do when I remove the dough from the refrigerator is to take the dough out of its container (bag or metal or plastic bowl) and place it on a work surface so that it is directly exposed to the warmer room temperature. I sprinkle a little bit of flour on top so that the dough doesn't develop a skin. I sometimes also put a sheet of plastic wrap over the pizza dough to be sure that no skin develops.

I tend to use less sauce than you do. The conventional advice is to use the tomato sauce sparingly, although I realize that there are those who like a lot of sauce. If that is the case, you should still keep in mind that there is a limit to how much can be put on a pizza in the way of toppings. The more toppings you use in terms of pure weight, the longer it will take to bake the pizza and you run the risk of either the crust or toppings not being fully baked, resulting in the doughiness you experienced. A half pound of sausage, a half pound of cheese and pepperoni may be too much for your pizza (I assume it was a 16-inch pizza). You might try lightening up on the toppings the next time around and see what happens. You might also try lowering the oven temperature to around 450 degrees F and baking the pizza slower and longer. Or using a higher oven rack position. I usually use a combination of a 16-inch screen and a pizza stone. I bake on the screen for about 7 minutes and a final 2 minutes or so on the stone. The last pizza I made using the recipe I posted had sausage, pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and two or three different cheeses.  But I didn't go overboard on any, and everything cooked.

I don't really think the thickness of the 6-in-1s is the source of your problem. I use the 6-in-1s right out of the can, without draining. Draining the tomatoes may help a bit if you plan to use a lot of moist toppings, especially vegetables, but if you are somewhat sparing in your use of the moist toppings, I don't really see a need to drain the 6-in-1s. You might want to spray your screen to avoid sticking, but if you make certain that both sides of your dough are dry before you mount the dough on the screen, you should be OK. If the side of the dough that is to be placed on the screen is a bit damp, then you can dust it with a little bit of flour. Putting over a pound of toppings on the dough may have also contributed to the sticking by the sheer weight. From my experience, the worst pizzas are those that have too many toppings--they are usually soggy and overloaded so much that you need a knife and fork to eat them. Even the professionals experience this problem, so don't despair.

Just keep trying and, as you remove obstacles to success one by one, you will reach the goal.

Peter




Offline canadave

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Re: Which crust/sauce should I try next?
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2005, 07:40:48 AM »
Quote
There was some smoking going on when I opened the door, so I panicked a bit and took it out right away before really inspecting it.


Could this be the problem? ;D  Maybe it should've stayed in there a bit longer.  A smoking oven is okay.

For what it's worth, the best pizzas I've made have either been cooked at 475 (slow cook), or 550.  I never had much luck at 500.  Definitely, as Pete said, the more toppings you have, the more difficult it'll be.  Seeing as how you're still in the early experimental stages, I'd strongly suggest you start easy--either just plain cheese or a topping or two--just to get your "pizza legs" under you ;)  Then once you've got a good handle on things, you can start upping the ante in terms of toppings.

Dave