Author Topic: CRISPY BOTTOM  (Read 5027 times)

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Offline ERASMO

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2009, 07:26:52 AM »
Thank you all for the responses to my question.  As usual the discussion has been very helpful!!!!

I do myself prefer the more flexible NY style pizza but my wife has requested a crispier bottom so of course I must try to accomodate.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2009, 10:24:59 AM »
Several years ago, I wondered what the origins were for using sugar in pizza dough, especially since it was not an essential ingredient to making pizza dough. I am not talking here about adding sugar to a dough to be sure that the yeast is adequately fed over a long fermentation period but rather its impact on crust coloration, and especially bottom crust coloration.  It wasn't until I read a post on the Patsy's reverse engineering thread by Ron Molinaro (ilpizzaiolo) at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1053.msg9384/topicseen.html#msg9384 that the lightbulb went off and I saw how the evolution of pizza making in the U.S. gave rise to the introduction to sugar (and also oil) in pizza doughs, especially in the context of the NY style and the use of deck ovens. Ron's explanation also dovetailed with what I had learned a short time before when, in response to a question by a member posed at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,886.msg8022.html#msg8022, I investigated various ovens, including deck ovens, to get an idea as to their operating temperatures. As noted in that thread, I came to the conclusion that, while deck ovens could theoretically get up to 650 degrees F, most operators were operating at below that temperature and, in some cases, considerably below it, as I noted with respect to a pizza operator in Massachusetts that I met who was making NY style pies at 470 degrees F in his Bakers Pride deck oven.

Since that time, I have read countless posts directed to Tom Lehmann at the PMQ Think Tank where operators have complained about excessive or premature bottom crust browning. And the advice that Tom invariably gave (and still gives) was to either 1) delete the sugar in the dough completely, if used or 2) reduce the amount used. Sometimes, he suggested using pizza screens to lift the pizzas off of the deck surface to control the bottom crust browning. When a sugar range was suggested, it was usually 1-2%. When the problem complained of was lack of crispiness in the crust, Tom's advice was consistent: reduce the bake temperature and bake the pizzas longer. He dispenses the same advice today, pretty much generically for all types of pizzas. As Terry knows, Tom is also a believer in using oil in NY style pizza doughs, as much for flavor as anything else, as I reported recently at Reply 700 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg61557.html#msg61557 (see also the posts that follow Reply 700).

I will concede to Terry that Tom Lehmann is not the final word or the arbiter of the authentic NY style as that style is embodied in the pizzas made today in NYC. He will, from time to time, concede that a properly made NY style pizza baked in a deck oven is hard to beat, and he will acknowledge the role that hearth-type ovens play in producing artisan type pies, but his focus is more on conveyor ovens that are increasingly taking market share away from the other types of ovens. Increasingly, the advice he dispenses to those in the former groups is technical in nature, such as how to resolve formulation problems and baking issues.

Peter


Offline tdeane

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2009, 11:25:45 AM »
T,
Is this what you do?  How long & at what stone temp do you typically bake your pies?

Matt
I only do that if I have a heavily topped pie and a very hot oven. I have to or else the bottom will just burn before the top can cook. My oven gets up to 700 degrees but the bake temp varies greatly on a busy night. Usually I'm baking at 610-650 depending on how busy it is. As far as how long goes I would have to say, until they're done. ;)

Offline tdeane

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2009, 11:48:26 AM »


In my opinion NY has three different sub styles of pizza that are all considered NY style.  One type is the lower temperature type of pizza made by the largest portion of the city's pizzerias and it can be found everywhere.  I have a feeling this pizza was invented by Rays, and I am sure you are familiar with it.  This pizza is fairly crispy and sturdy because it's designed to hold lots of crazy toppings like penne pasta (I never understood that one). 

Well I suppose Ray's could bake at 450 but I never considered that to be real NY pizza. It's a tourist trap with things like rigatoni and spaghetti pizzas with overly thick crusts. I always hated it. I was talking about places like Joe's and Bleeker St. Pizza which I consider to be the standard for the walk in slice joint. And all the great places in Brooklyn, not to mention Di Fara which used to just be a slice joint when I moved to NY. Although it was the best slice joint. I was just saying that of the non-coal oven NY style there are a lot of great places and I don't think they bake at 450 or use sugar in their dough. I also have to say that Peter is right, I don't think Tom Lehmann knows much about NY pizza.

Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2009, 11:53:47 AM »
This thread is very illuminating, but also confusing. I've read so much online about people jerry-rigging home grills and ovens, and even buying wood ovens, to reach high heat levels (and swearing up and down that it's the only way to get a really good pizza) that I thought temperature levels of 650+ were the norm in professional settings, not the exception. Am I to understand that super-high heat is an arch-perfectionist and/or highly specialized thing of no concern to Joe Schmoe who's just looking to match the level of the average pizzeria ? What readily-definable characteristics distinguish the higher-temp from the lower-temp pies ?

-JLP
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Offline gfgman

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2009, 01:13:10 PM »
I bake my pies at 500 with great success. I use that temperature because I sent my father-in-law to one of my favorite shops to pick up pizza and he asked the owner how hot they were baking at.  I have noticed that they at around 10 minutes, maybe a little more.  There seems to be some good leeway between being just about done and being past the point.  I find the same to be true at home.  If the bottom is not quite ready, good cheese can handle a little longer.
I can't grasp all the scientifics, but here's why I don't use oil in my dough, besides the taste test where I preferred the crust without.  The pizza shops I really like; when they pull their dough out to make the pie, I observe the color of the dough.  I know what my dough looks like at home even with a small amount of oil.  I don't see how it's possible for their dough to have the whiter color that it does if they are using oil because no oil is colorless.  I could be wrong, but that is what I have observed.  I used to use sugar for crispyness, but it is not necessary is you cook the pie right.  Recently I was using sugar because, in that same taste test, I preferred that crust that had sugar and no oil.  But, each sample I made was emergency dough.  I'm now trying the basic with just salt, and I have it in the fridge since last night.  It came out of the bread machine really blended and smooth.  I just checked it and it is not rising all over the place like previous efforts.  It looks really good.

GMan

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2009, 02:32:49 PM »
This thread is very illuminating, but also confusing. I've read so much online about people jerry-rigging home grills and ovens, and even buying wood ovens, to reach high heat levels (and swearing up and down that it's the only way to get a really good pizza) that I thought temperature levels of 650+ were the norm in professional settings, not the exception. Am I to understand that super-high heat is an arch-perfectionist and/or highly specialized thing of no concern to Joe Schmoe who's just looking to match the level of the average pizzeria ? What readily-definable characteristics distinguish the higher-temp from the lower-temp pies ?



JLP,

The average Joe Schmoe doesn't need to use super-high heat to make a decent pizza at home. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that Joe can recreate in his home oven a pizza that is as good as one made in the average pizzeria using a deck oven operating at the same temperature as Joe uses in his home oven, if that is what your question implies. From time to time, I have read at the PMQ Think Tank where pizza operators would say that the dough they used in their pizzerias did not bake up the same in their home ovens using a pizza stone and the results were different from what they baked up in their shops with their deck ovens. The reverse was also said to be true. That is, a pizza made from dough at home by the pizza operator baked up differently at home than in their commercial deck ovens at work. It is difficult to search the PMQTT for stories like this because of the difficulty in finding the right keywords to use for the search, but here is one example of the sort of thing I am talking about: http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=32504#32504. This example isn't fully dispositive of the issue, because of the large number of variables involved, but the exchanges in the thread referenced offer some insights into the differences involved. In a similar vein, see this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3993.msg33307.html#msg33307. You will also note Tom Lehmann's comment on home ovens in Reply 1 in that thread.

It is difficult to define and recite all of the differences between higher-temp pies and lower-temp pies because the formulations and used for the doughs and their management are usually different and the bake protocols can also be different. For example, as previously noted, a pizza dough baked at very high oven temperatures may not use any sugar or oil, whereas one baked at lower oven temperatures can use both sugar and oil. The bake times in both cases will usually be different, and the finished characteristics of the two crusts will usually be different. A simple comparison would be to eat a pizza from a place like Patsy's (the original) baked in a coal-fired oven and another from Ray's or some other typical NY slice joint baked at lower temperatures in a deck oven.

Peter




Offline scott r

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2009, 02:44:14 PM »
Jose, temperatures of 650 plus are definitely not the norm in professional settings.  Coal oven style, or wood burning style pizzas definitely get up that high or higher, but there just aren't that many places around the US with these types of ovens.  Interestingly there are a few chain pizzerias out there such as papa johns that are using temperatures in the 625 range to try to get the pizzas out the door faster, but unfortunately they are using air impingement ovens which make a different "american" styled pizza.  

I have had to do a ton of sifting through used ovens lately as I am currently trying to source a 10-20 year old oven for a client here in the Boston area that wants to bake at 650, but doesn't have a very large budget.  What I have found is that the vast majority of the used ovens available to me here on the east coast max out at 550.  It is possible to retrofit some older gas ovens (I just did it with a Bakers Pride), with a 650 degree thermostat, and if you buy a new oven that is what the majority now come with.  I know there are exceptions, places like Difara's for example that have the odd high temperature deck oven, but I would say that on average, you typical mom an pop pizzeria is baking at 500-550.  What is important to realize, however, is how much different a pizza baked in a professional deck oven set to 500 is than a pizza baked in a home oven set to 500.  In my opinion the thermal mass of a real deck oven does make a better product at the same given temperature.  

Offline Fingerstyle

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2009, 01:25:35 PM »
At the risk of stating the obvious - an easy way to get a crisp crust (any style, any topping) is to let the pie cool on a rack a few minutes (air space under is important to avoid sweating), then rewarm in the oven however much you're ready to eat (pie or slice) a few minutes. While the top may/may not  be diminished slightly - depending on individual tastes  - this method crisps the bottom beautifully, simply, every time.
Cheers!
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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2009, 01:52:52 PM »
Vic,

That's a good point. I like my pizza hot so I use that method with slices all of the time. One of our (dormant) members, quidopizza (John), a former pizza maker himself, also once suggested the same method, at Reply 137 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1053.msg10191.html#msg10191.

You can also do the reverse to soften a dry crust, by putting the baked pizza on a flat metal or other non-absorbing surface and let the pizza sweat so that the released moisture goes back into the crust.

Peter


Offline ERASMO

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2009, 07:59:08 PM »
Thanks again.

Info is greatly appreciated!!!

Offline milkrate

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2009, 04:01:14 PM »
One method that I use to get a crispy crust is to only use the stone to get the crust started and finish cooking directly on an oven rack.

I'll cook it on the middle rack on a stone (usually on a piece of parchment to keep things a bit cleaner), then take it out, crank the oven and wait until electric coils red-hot. I finish cooking it on the bottom rack, directly above the coils.

Hopefully this picture works - I used this method on this morning's pizza.

Offline taster

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2009, 01:31:33 AM »
Another thing is to make sure you don't overload your pizzas.

true
« Last Edit: February 28, 2009, 01:34:46 AM by taster »

Offline koloa101

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Re: CRISPY BOTTOM
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2009, 09:56:15 AM »
50/50 mixture of flour and semolina to dust the pizza peel and give the dough a little coating. it gives plenty of crunch from m y experience!

Hello

I have been using some of the New York style High Gluten flour with EVOO recipes listed on the site and was trying to find a recipe or technique that would give me a crispy bottom. I cook my new york style pizza in my electric oven at 550 degrees with a pizza stone.

Any input would be great!

Thanks


 

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