Author Topic: New guy seeking advice  (Read 5070 times)

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Offline JohnLondon

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New guy seeking advice
« on: January 06, 2009, 04:34:04 PM »
Hello all, first post here  ;D

I have never cooked a pizza before ,well I have cooked the frozen variety I guess. But I have never made one from scratch.The range of dough recipes is so confusing. Until I read the posts here I thought pizza base was pizza base.If you wanted thick crust you used more and if you wanted thin crust you used less  ::)

What I want , ideally, is a base that can be cooked the same day its made. Thin crust. I like the light puffy crust.(I am in the UK so I am not familiar with US style of pizzas...if there are any UK people here, I like Pizza Express style pizza).
Oven is the gas variety which goes up to Gas Mark 8 (450 degrees according to online converter).
I have a Pizza stone on its way to me.

I am guessing I need to cook it at the highest heat available?
Bottom/middle/top shelf?
Can somebody point me to a nice dough recipe ?(will be mixing by hand if that makes any difference). And if possible, could you state weights used. We dont use (as far as I know) the cup measurement here in UK.

Oh and need recipe for two 12" pizzas . Thanks for your help  :chef:


Offline David

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 10:52:10 PM »
I grew up eating Pizza Express Venezianas (when they were the dominant player in a very small field ),though haven't had one for the past twenty years,or so. To be honest I  can't clearly remember what the base was like.There are many knowlegeable people on here and a few from the UK who i'm sure could point you in the right direction though.Stick around and spend some time on here learning,and I guarantee you'll be making better pizza than Pizza Express!
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 11:20:15 PM »
What I want , ideally, is a base that can be cooked the same day its made. Thin crust. I like the light puffy crust.(I am in the UK so I am not familiar with US style of pizzas...if there are any UK people here, I like Pizza Express style pizza).

JohnLondon,

Can you narrow what you mean by "same day"? It is possible to make and use a dough within a few hours or up to 24 hours. Anything less than 8-10 hours I would use a room temperature fermentation of the dough, not the refrigerator. I have never had or even seen a Pizza Express pizza, so it might help if you describe its style and its characteristics in as detailed manner as you can so that the members have a clearer ideas as to what kind of pizza you are after. If you know how Pizza Express makes its bases (e.g., hand shaped and tossed, par-baked, etc.) and how it bakes its pizzas  (e.g., in a stone deck oven or in a conveyor oven), that information would be very helpful.

It would also help to know what kinds of flours and yeast you have at your disposal.

In the meantime, you may also want to read the following thread that I often recommend to beginning pizza makers for making a fairly basic NY style pizza: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.0.html. That thread should lay out the general playing field for you, including different baking protocols. I recently added a post to that thread, at Reply 65 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg63786.html#msg63786, that is devoted to tips for hand kneading a pizza dough.

Peter

Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2009, 02:56:37 AM »
OK, I **think** that Pizza Express pizzas are Neopolitan style . Very thin crust.The rim is quite airy and has the black charred bits(sorry for the not very technical description). I am not too sure how they are made,although I dont think they are par baked and Im pretty sure they are hand shaped, but they are very quick, if thats any indication.

Maybe I am being too specific.All I want is a really nice thin crust pizza that can be cooked in my oven.Once I know I can make an edible pizza I would be more inclined to experiment more.Would ideally like to make the dough, let it rise for an hour then cook.

Flours available ? You may be able to tell I dont spend too much time baking  ;), so these are what I found at an online local supermarket.
Strong White, Super Strong White, Strong White Bread Flour Unbleached.Then there is Plain Flour and Self Raising Flour.

Yeast, Im not too sure, all I can see is Fast Action Yeast and Dried Active Yeast.


Pete, that New Yorker looks pretty good to me  :D ,but then so do most of the pizzas I have seen on here and would be more than happy with any of them.

Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2009, 07:27:54 AM »
One more question.

My oven has a main oven, and a smaller top oven/grill(broiler)combo.Both go up to the same temperature.The top oven is considerably smaller.Should I use the main oven or top oven.Or does it make absolutely no difference?

Offline David

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2009, 09:09:23 AM »
i just got a little info since last night that may contribute to your cause.PE's pizza's are cooked in pans which were dressed in 'carlo' a veg oil to stop sticking.
The tomato base was just that - large cans of chopped Italian tomatos each of which had 1 basil leaf in it - no fancy tomato sauce ,mozarella cheese (not Buffalo) was chopped into 1/4 inch peices.The ovens are electric from Sweden.I can tell you they are certainly not Neapolitan style,but still hold a nostalgic place in my memory.The dough is made in a central commisary and the balls frozen and distributed to each store to maintain consistency.They claim to add a "Secret Ingredient" at the mixing stage which is not divulged to anyone.I was told this by an old friend who worked there many years ago,but things may have changed.At a guess I would suggest that the bases are closer to CPK than any of the other chain/franchise pizzas here in the USA that i'm familiar with,and the toppings more traditional and conservative.



If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2009, 09:29:35 AM »
JohnLondon,

What you are asking for is known in the trade as a short-time (or short-term) or "emergency" dough because of its very short lifespan. It is not a dough that I would use personally, beyond experimentation, because the finished crust will lack good crust texture, flavor and aroma. Also, unless a high protein, high-gluten flour is used, the crust coloration can be on the light side. It takes a long time (several hours at room temperature and several days for a cold fermented dough) for the biochemical activity in the dough to produce all of the above desired characteristics. Moreover, the crust will not be as readily digestible because the enzymes that will have to break down the protein and starches in the crust will be in your stomach, not in the dough itself.

However, if a short-time dough is what you want, there is a way to produce it but it will take more than just one hour. I am sure I could come up with a dough recipe that would allow you to make a pizza after a one-hour rise as you requested but it would take a lot of yeast and the finished crust would  be almost completely devoid of color and taste. You would perhaps forever give up the idea of making your own pizzas after eating such a pizza and you will curse me up and down for leading you down that path.

Since a NY style pizza seems to pass your threshhold test, you might want to take a look at Replies 407 and 408 starting at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg27251.html#msg27251. If the pizzas described there are of interest I would use the strong white bread flour, and also the "Fast Acting Yeast" which I assume is the same as our domestic instant dry yeast (IDY). I would also modify the dough recipe to make a thinner crust. For two 12" pizzas, the following dough formulation that I put together using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html might meet your requirements:

Flour (100%):
Water (60%):
IDY (0.70%):
Salt (1.75%):
Olive Oil (1%):
Total (163.45%):
Single Ball:
340.15 g  |  12 oz | 0.75 lbs
204.09 g  |  7.2 oz | 0.45 lbs
2.38 g | 0.08 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.79 tsp | 0.26 tbsp
5.95 g | 0.21 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.07 tsp | 0.36 tbsp
3.4 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.76 tsp | 0.25 tbsp
555.97 g | 19.61 oz | 1.23 lbs | TF = 0.0867
277.99 g | 9.81 oz | 0.61 lbs
Note: Nominal thickness factor = 0.085; bowl residue compensation = 2%

You will note from the above dough formulation that I used a bowl residue compensation of 2%. That is to compensate for minor dough losses during the preparation of the dough. If you will be using hand kneading, you are bound to experience such losses because of dough that ends up sticking to the bowl, your mixing implements, your hands and your work surface. If you use any of the volume measurements given in the above table, you should round them out to the nearest measuring spoon sizes. The volume measurements are for U.S. measuring spoons.

If you decide to try the above recipe, you will want to be sure that the water you use is on the warm side, perhaps as high as 120 degrees F (about 49 degrees C), and possibly even a bit higher, to be sure that the finished dough temperature is in the range of about 85-90 degrees F (29-32 degrees C) so that it can rise more quickly than a normal dough. These figures assume a room temperature of about 70 degrees F (about 21 degrees C). If your room temperature where you are in the UK is higher or lower than that, you should adjust your water temperature accordingly. I suggest a digital instant-read thermometer to measure your temperatures.

The above formulation represents just one such formulation that can be used to make a short-time dough. There are several others on the forum. For example, another popular NY style short-time dough is the one described at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3736.msg31160.html#msg31160. Also, if you go to Reply 25 in the same thread, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3736.msg48427.html#msg48427, you will find a compilation of several short-time dough recipes that I put together. I also saw another short-time dough recipe recently at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7405.msg63813.html#msg63813.

As far as your oven is concerned, I think I would go with the main oven. If the maximum temperature that your oven can deliver is 450 degrees F (about 232 degrees C), that may mean that you will have to bake your pizza a bit longer. However, that temperature should work and it may even yield a somewhat darker crust. If the crust becomes too dry or chewy or crispy as a result, you may have to make an adjustment in the hydration of future doughs.

Good luck. I hope you will report back on your results.

Peter

 

Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2009, 09:34:36 AM »
Wow, its like Science  ;D

I will try your recipe.Regardless of its success I shall,when , not in a rush ,attempt a slower fermenting? dough.Possibly at the end of the week.Hopefully my stone and peel will be with me by then  :).

thanks for your help

Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 11:04:17 AM »
OK, first pizza is done and dusted.I must admit, that although it was based on pizzagirls recipe on your tips for the amateur pizza maker thread.Unfortunately my wifi kept cutting out as I was going from ingredients to step by step instructions .I will be more prepared next time.

Strong Bread Flour 200g
Water 4.5 oz
Salt 1/2 t
Oil 1/2 t
Yeast 3g

All figures are approx.I couldnt find the digital scales so had to use the old fashioned type.


I gave the dough approx 1 hour to rise and it did...although I maybe should have gave it longer ( I need to practice patience), it hadnt quite doubled.

When I lifted the dough out of the bowl I couldnt believe how light it was.

The problem I had was, it didnt want to go into the shape. It kept shrinking. Had to use a rolling pin.
Used some shop bought topping (probably a sin to say that here  :) ) , mozzarella broken off the ball , and some danish salami.

Now when I said originally I had never made a pizza from scratch before, that was true, although my mother has made pizzas as long as I can remember.

I must say, my effort was far superior .It was actually really nice.The crust was very light,although probably more bready than ideal.Again impatience took over, after about 8-9 min at 450 degree I took it out and place it under the grill (broiler?) for ,probably 30 seconds.Looked lovely, although could have probably done with slightly longer to cook the middle of the base.

What it has done, is given me the confidence to try again.If I had the same result again I would be perfectly happy.If I can improve it I will be ecstatic  ;D

Oh, it didnt end up anything like a New Yorker though,I think it was a bit too thick,more like an American...BLimey, Im learning something  ;D

PS what would be the reason I couldnt shape it properly??
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 11:07:17 AM by JohnLondon »

Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 12:25:26 PM »
I want to make a pizza (or two) on Saturday night, possibly Sunday instead.I have tomorrow and Friday free, so can make the dough and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days.Could I use the recipe you posted in this thread?


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 01:42:41 PM »
JohnLondon,

Based on the information you provided, the recipe you actually used looks something like this:

Flour (100%):
Water (63.7875%):
IDY (1.5%):
Salt (1.39535%):
Olive Oil (1.13541%):
Total (167.81826%):
200 g  |  7.05 oz | 0.44 lbs
127.57 g  |  4.5 oz | 0.28 lbs
3 g | 0.11 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.33 tbsp
2.79 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
2.27 g | 0.08 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.5 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
335.64 g | 11.84 oz | 0.74 lbs | TF = N/A

Your yeast level, at 1.5% IDY, was far higher than needed even for a short-time dough--about two times as much. That, together with using warm water, should have allowed the dough to expand quite quickly.

The problem you experienced with the handling of the dough may have been because of the very short fermentation time. When the dough has been kneaded, it is very elastic, with a lot of springback, simply due to the mechanical process of kneading. It can take some time for the gluten in the dough to relax and permit easier handling. In working with such a short-time dough, you should handle it gently. You shouldn't re-knead, re-ball or re-shape it. That will only bring back the elasticity and make it very difficult to work with. It can then take hours for the gluten matrix to relax enough to allow you to work with it again.

The dough formulation I gave you was designed specifically for a short-time dough. If you want to try a fermentation over a couple of days in the refrigerator, you should reduce the yeast to about the level that was used in the pizzzagirl dough formulation. Doing this, the original dough formulation I gave you becomes this:

Flour (100%):
Water (60%):
IDY (0.40%):
Salt (1.75%):
Olive Oil (1%):
Total (163.15%):
170.39 g  |  6.01 oz | 0.38 lbs
102.23 g  |  3.61 oz | 0.23 lbs
0.68 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.23 tsp | 0.08 tbsp
2.98 g | 0.11 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.53 tsp | 0.18 tbsp
1.7 g | 0.06 oz | 0 lbs | 0.38 tsp | 0.13 tbsp
277.99 g | 9.81 oz | 0.61 lbs | TF = 0.0867

Since the instructions for the cold fermentation case is different than the room temperature case, you may want to re-read the sections of the pizzzagirl thread to be sure that you follow the correct procedures. You should also be sure to use cooler water this time so that the finished dough temperature is in the range of 75-80 degrees F (about 24-27 degrees C). Assuming a room temperature of 70 degrees F (about 21 degrees C), I think a water temperature of around 83 degrees F (around 28 degrees C) should be about right.

Peter



Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2009, 02:03:52 PM »
And will that still get me two 12" pizzas??

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2009, 03:35:03 PM »
Johnlondon,

I inadvertently gave you the formulation for one pizza. For two, it is:

Flour (100%):
Water (60%):
IDY (0.40%):
Salt (1.75%):
Olive Oil (1%):
Total (163.15%):
Single Ball:
340.77 g  |  12.02 oz | 0.75 lbs
204.46 g  |  7.21 oz | 0.45 lbs
1.36 g | 0.05 oz | 0 lbs | 0.45 tsp | 0.15 tbsp
5.96 g | 0.21 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.07 tsp | 0.36 tbsp
3.41 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.76 tsp | 0.25 tbsp
555.97 g | 19.61 oz | 1.23 lbs | TF = 0.0867
277.99 g | 9.81 oz | 0.61 lbs

Peter

Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2009, 05:37:05 PM »
Thanks Peter, one more question  ::) .When you finish kneading the bread, do you put it straight into the refridgerator?Or do you let it rise some first?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2009, 05:51:30 PM »
Thanks Peter, one more question  ::) .When you finish kneading the bread, do you put it straight into the refridgerator?Or do you let it rise some first?

JohnLondon,

You can do it either way depending on how soon you want to use the dough. If you want to use the dough after, say, one day of cold fermentation, you can let the dough sit at room temperature for about a half hour or so before putting it into the refrigerator. That hastens the fermentation. If you want to use the dough after a couple to three days, you can go directly to the refrigerator with the dough without any warmup.

Peter


Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2009, 06:04:01 PM »
Thanks Peter. Will be making the dough tomorrow to cook at the weekend.I may even post some pics  :chef:

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2009, 06:07:12 PM »
I may even post some pics  :chef:

Please do. Often the photos tell a lot about the dough/crust. Plus, people love to look at photos of pizzas of others.

Peter

Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2009, 11:33:20 AM »
You know what? I cannot wait to get back to work next so I can stop eating these pizzas  ;D

I used the recipe in reply #6 on this thread, just halved it.Kneaded for approx 10 minutes, left for 1.5 hours.I then punched it and left for 5-10 minutes before shaping,without any further kneading.

Could have probably done with a slightly better done underside, but was nice all the same.Not sure it was nice as yesterdays, but the dough was easy to shape, I could even throw it from hand to hand  :chef: .Pizza Stone has turned up.Unfortunately the peel hasn't so I cooked in the tray you see in the pics.Im assuming that when I do finally use the stone , that will help the underside along.

I also didnt sieve the flour like I did yesterday.

May not be perfect, but it was very nice, which is what counts.Can only get better  :)

Sorry, wont let me post pics.Why can I not link to my flickr account??Is it to do with my post count.Not worth attaching a pic, I have had to reduce the quality so much to get it under 128kb its just a blur!!

Offline JohnLondon

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2009, 11:56:02 AM »
Resized with Picasa. Please dont laugh  :-D

Topping is : Shop Bought sauce ,grated mozzarella and Danish Salami
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 11:57:40 AM by JohnLondon »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New guy seeking advice
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2009, 12:03:01 PM »
JohnLondon,

There's nothing laughable about that pizza. It turned out great, especially for someone who is just starting out. It also looks like you are using a good flour, with good crust coloration.

It will be interesting to see how the cold fermented version compares with your short-time version.

Peter