Author Topic: Sicilian ain't so easy....  (Read 4737 times)

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Offline aks801

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Sicilian ain't so easy....
« on: February 14, 2009, 11:01:31 AM »
So, I've made pizza at home about 6-8 times now.  The NY style thin crust comes out great, I really couldn't be happier.  The Sicilian, well, let's say it needs work.  What I'm looking for is that moderatly high crust that has a noticeable "crunch" on the sides (not so much on the bottom).  Here's what I've been doing:

- using an aluminum pan from the grocery store (we'll come back to that in a minute!)  It's the right size (kinda large), but is probably the main culprit.
- Lehman recipe that I modified to fit my sized pan (just altered on a proportional basis).  I refrigerate it for about 24 hours, then press it out into the olive oiled pan (not all the way into the corners yet) and let sit out for about an hour before cooking.  When it's time to cook, I press it all the way up into the corners.
- cheese blend right onto the dough (mozzarella, fontina (sp?), provolone blend).
- toppings (usually like sausage, pepperoni, diced onion).
- dollops of sauce more or less one per where the squares will be cut.
- cook on top of stone at about 475 (hot as oven will go).  Stone is there because at that point I will have cooked the few NY style pizzas first.

The deal is, the crust isn't that high and there's no crunch on the outside.  Not wanting to change a bunch of things at once, I think that first I should obtain the proper black steel pans.  I've been referred to a few places up in the northeast (on other threads here) and will avail myself accordingly.  The assumption is that the steel will have different heating qualities than the aluminum.  Will give that a go and see where we are at that point.  If I still am not a lot closer, then I figure I'll take a close look at the dough recipe and work on that.

Opinions?
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 03:01:19 PM by aks801 »
alan in Katy, TX

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Offline jeff v

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 12:37:23 PM »
aks,

If you'd share more about your dough formula and management I might be able to help some since I've been playing with these lately. Besides the pan one thing that jumped out is if your pressing the dough in and baking right away. I get the best results when I let the dough proof in the pan a while, and try not to totally degas it when pressing it into the pan. Are you oiling the pan? Again more info on how you handle and make the dough would help too.

Best,

Jeff
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2009, 01:06:51 PM »
Alan,

You didn't indicate which Lehmann dough formulation you are using but most Sicilian dough formulations call for more yeast and oil than a typical Lehmann NY style dough formulation, and different dough management as well, particularly in proofing the dough in the pan. Unless you are using a Lehmann Sicilian style dough formulation, you may want to find a recipe that is uniquely Sicilian and give that a try. In that vein, you might take a look at Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1073.msg9607/topicseen.html#msg9607, if only to get a feel for some of the unique characteristics of the Sicilian style. In the abovereferenced post, there is a link to a Sicilian dough formulation that Big Dave Ostrander used when he was a pizza operator. Unfortunately, the link is no longer active because of changes that were made to the original PMQ Think Tank forum. Fortunately, however, I had posted the Ostrander recipe elsewhere on this forum, so if you are interested it is at Reply 4 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3805.msg31814/topicseen.html#msg31814. Either of the above recipes can be scaled to fit any size pan, using one of the dough calculating tools on the forum.

You are correct that having the right pan to make the Sicilian style pizza is important. The best type of pan is either a dark, well-seasoned pan (steel or aluminum) or one of the newer dark, anodized pans. You might be able to get away with using a brighter metal pan but you may have to use a lot of oil or other fat in greasing the pan and rely on the thermal transfer characteristics of the oil to essentially "fry" the bottom and sides of the crust.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a Sicilian dough benefits from using a bromated flour, particularly in respect of the proofing of the dough in the pan, which is where the bromates help retain the rise in the dough.

Once you get the correct pan, you may also want to take a look at the Sicilian style board of the forum, where you will find a lot more information on that style.

Peter

Offline aks801

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2009, 02:32:46 PM »
Thanks, guys.  As usual, this forum proves its worth.

I'll post what I've been doing.  I lifted this somewhere on here, as the Lehman Sicilian Dough Recipe.  I believe it was for an 18x12 pan.  Mine is a 11.5x11 pan, so I reduced the recipe down to 85% of the original (rough calculation on my part).  This then is what I've been doing:

100% King Arthur Bread Flour / 14.4 oz
2.5% Salt / 0.37 oz (about 1 7/8 tsp)
5.0% Olive Oil / 0.75 oz
0.67% ADY / 0.095 oz (a bit under 1 tsp)
58% Water / 8.33 oz (a touch over 1 cup)

Please note that the original recipe calls for IDY.  I only like stocking one type of yeast (ADY), so I go with that.  So, I warm up the water to 110 degrees, put in a little bit of honey, then put in the yeast.  Let that set for about 7 minutes, then put into the flour, salt, olive oil mixture inthe bowl.  I stir it up good, then turn it out onto a lighly floured countertop and knead it by hand.  I give it a light coating of olive oil then set it in the fridge, covered loosely with plastic wrap.

When I press it out in the pan, I don't pound it down, but just stretch it out as needed.  I forgot one step in my original post: I take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter about 90 minutes before putting it in the pan.  Once in the pan, I let it sit as is for about 45 minutes.

Jeff, I do oil the pan with EVOO before putting the dough in.  Perhaps I'm not using enough?

Peter, you mention a bromated flour.  Might I possibly look for a flour that specifically says "bromated"?  The King Arthur white bread flour sure works good for the NY-style pizzas: perhaps it is not the best for the Sicilian?  Also, would a semonilla (not sure if I'm spelling that right) flour be better suited for the Sicilian?

As an aside, I'm making NY-styles tonight, and will shape the crusts like Valentine's hearts (hopefully...).  One will be all-cheese for the kids, the second will be half cheese, half pepperoni so there is more cheese pizza for the little ones, plus some pepperoni for the 12-year old.  Then, I'll do one with cheese, thinly sliced Boar's Head Canadian Bacon, some diced scattered onion, and a little goat feta.  Should be great!

thanks in advance,

alan






alan in Katy, TX

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Offline aks801

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy.... w/ PICS
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2009, 03:00:25 PM »
Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, or something like that.  Maybe this will help with the "analysis".

EDIT: couldn't get pics to post.  Will try a test post elsewhere then put them up.
alan in Katy, TX

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2009, 03:21:32 PM »
Alan,

You did indeed use the Lehmann Sicilian dough formulation I referenced in my last post. However, you did not use the proper amount of ADY when converting the recipe from compressed yeast to ADY. Also, the instructions for the Lehmann dough formulation do not say what size pan should be used. By my calculation, the amount of dough you used to make the dough for your 11.5" x 11" pan was 23.945 ounces. For your pan, that converts to a thickness factor of 23.945/(11.5 x 11) = 0.1892885. A more typical value would be around 0.12-0.13. As for the ADY, the proper amount you should have used to be faithful to the Lehmann recipe should have been one-half the weight of the compressed yeast, or 1% ADY.

If you are still interested in using the Lehmann Sicilian dough formulation, you might consider the following one, as produced using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html and using a thickness factor of 0.13 and a bowl residue compensation value of  2.5% to compensate for minor dough losses during your hand kneading of the dough:

Bread Flour (100%):
Water (58%):
ADY (1%):
Salt (2.5%):
Olive Oil (5%):
Total (166.5%):
287.01 g  |  10.12 oz | 0.63 lbs
166.47 g  |  5.87 oz | 0.37 lbs
2.87 g | 0.1 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.76 tsp | 0.25 tbsp
7.18 g | 0.25 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.29 tsp | 0.43 tbsp
14.35 g | 0.51 oz | 0.03 lbs | 3.19 tsp | 1.06 tbsp
477.87 g | 16.86 oz | 1.05 lbs | TF = 0.13325
Note: For 11.5" x 11" pan; nominal thickness factor = 0.13; bowl residue compensation = 2.5%

The King Arthur bread flour you used is not bromated. From what I understand, most pizza operators who specialize in the Sicilian style use bromated flours because the proofed doughs retain their volume better at bake time. Semolina flour can also be used for part of the total flour, but you might want to wait to see if you can solve the current problems before considering the use of semolina flour. Also, I understand that not all semolina flours are suitable for the Sicilian style, or at least for certain dough recipes.

Good luck and have a good time with your kids.

Peter


Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2009, 04:19:45 PM »

Peter, you mention a bromated flour.  Might I possibly look for a flour that specifically says "bromated"? 
alan

alan,
Unless I am misunderstanding something, I don't think you should look for or consider using bromated flours because potassium bromate is a suspected carcinogen and is banned in much of the world.  Better to stick with the good quality KA flour that you are now using, with the possiblity of adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to mimic the effect of the potassium bromate.  JMHO.

~sd
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Offline aks801

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2009, 04:27:03 PM »
Pete: very interesting.....

Your calculation really involves using a lot less flour than I've been using, ADY as a higher percent of total, salt very similar to existing levels, ending up with a lower thickness factor.  Plus, the bromated flour component.  My primary local grocer carries an excellent selection of flours, so I'm sure I can get something suitable.

Did my proofing methods and times seem about right?

One thing I have learned very, very quickly is that even though one might be in the "ballpark" of using the right combination of ingredients, just a very small deviation can yield drastically different results.  For instance, during one of my cooks I did not use the correct temperature range for the warmed water, and also didn't let the yeast set in the water for more than about 3 minutes.  Totally changed up the pizza.  Guess all I'm saying is that I can really see the value and the necessity in how the recipes are presented in such a precise, quasi-scientific manner.  To achieve repeatable results one must control the variables with as much precision as possible.

Next step: try it using your calculation!  We'll see how it works with my existing pan.  I also will order some black steel pans and then we'll see how that might change things up.

Sourdough girl: thanks for weighing in.  I'll take a close look at the flour, and perhaps try your suggestion first re. the absorbic acid.

Thanks again!
alan in Katy, TX

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Offline aks801

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2009, 04:41:39 PM »
Ok, here are hopefully some pictures.  You'll see some of the cooked pizza still in the pan, some when it has been taken out of the pan, then one of a slice.  Hopefully this helps with the analysis.

alan in Katy, TX

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2009, 06:01:09 PM »
Alan,

Your preparation methods look fine to me except that I think I would leave out the honey when rehydrating the ADY (you really don't need it) and let the ADY rehydrate for ten minutes instead of seven. Using incorrect water temperature is one of the major causes of poor or degraded performance of ADY, so you want to be sure that your rehydration water is around 105 degrees F, give or take a few degrees. Ideally, in a home setting, you want to achieve a finished dough temperature of around 75-80 degrees F. If you are in Texas and you are hand kneading the dough, I suspect that you will come pretty close to that range. Normally, I would suggest that you use only a small amount of the formula water to rehydrate the ADY and leave the rest on the cool side, but if you are hand kneading the dough you will most likely need all of the formula water at around 105 degrees F. In your case, was the water you used for your last dough batch at the correct temperature?

I mentioned the bromated flour not as a suggestion that you use it but to point out what appears to be the practice used by professionals who specialize in the Sicilian style. Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is a common substitute for bromates for those who wish to avoid using bromated flours, but I think it is generally viewed as not being as effective as bromates. If you choose to use ascorbic acid, you only need a pinch.

Peter


Offline scott r

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 12:45:56 AM »
after spending a bunch of time experimenting with ascorbic acid I can say for sure that I have found it to act nothing like bromate. 

Offline aks801

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2009, 12:23:52 AM »
Ok, any Sicilian lovers out there, I'm making another attempt!

This time I am using the suggestions made by Pete-zza, and doubling it up to make 2 pizzas.  I finished making the dough about 15 minutes ago (11:15 PM), and the 2 dough balls are oiled, in bowls covered with Saran Wrap, and in the fridge.  The cook will be dinner tomorrow night.

Pics will be taken and posted, comments will be made.
alan in Katy, TX

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Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2009, 05:35:48 PM »
Alan, looking at your pictures, I first of all think you are off to a good start. Your third picture of the pictures you initially posted in this thread (pict 0872) shows a raised "rim" or cornicione which is higher than the center portion of the pizza....this is something I have been trying to, but have not been able to obtain. I'd be interested in learning more specifics on exactly how you are shaping your dough in pan.......before baking, are you simply bringing the dough to the edges, or actually pressing the dough against the raised sides of the pan so it somewhat conforms to the sides and is higher than the center just before you place the pan in the oven?

With regards to thickness, Sicilian sold retail comes in a variety of thicknesses, as you probably know....from the thickness you had in the pictures you posted (which looks a tad thinner than mine, but about the same) to very puffy, billowy almost pillow like thickness.

I have been able to achieve that thick, puffy style without any bromates or additives, but I think you need to be very careful with regards to not forming the dough in the pan in a manner that releases to much gas, as already mentioned in this thread-- think forming the dough in the pan with your fingers spread, not held together, and gently at that so as not to release or compress too much of the gas trapped in the dough from fermentation.

I also agree with Jeff V with regards to the rest period between forming the dough in the pan to cooking the pizzas. I have never had a good spring, height, when forming the dough just prior to cooking. In fact, the last manipulation of the dough I do occurs 30 minutes prior to cooking (which may be why I cannot get a raised outer edge!).

Other than that, I would follow the advice Peter laid out and see where you are at that point. It has been long enough since I last used IDY or ADY for me to offer anything meaningful, and I am still learning Sicilian style myself. Keep going and post pictures so we can follow your results! :)
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Offline TronCarter

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 07:29:18 AM »
I agree with the above suggestions about pan rise.  I take my refrigerated dough out and press it out into a shape slightly larger than the pan.  That way, when I put it in the pan I can pull it back slightly and get into the corners.  After this, the dough doesn't get pressed out again.  I then cover the pan with foil and let it rise for a few hours, or at least an hour in a proofing box (aka my oven that I ran for about 2 minutes to get up to ~130F).  Once it has proofed up nicely, it is still very fragile, so I remove the foil for about another hour.  This allows the top to dry out a bit and will hold up to the sauce, cheese, and toppings without falling. 

As far as the crunch, I cook on a stone at 550 for 10 minutes with foil on top of the pan, and then 6 with the foil removed.  It allows the bottom to crisp up nicely without burning the top.

Offline aks801

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2009, 01:12:51 PM »
Well, the pizza came out pretty good I must say.  This was last Monday, so not all the details are still fresh in my mind.

I took the dough out of the fridge and let them set on the counter for 90 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap.  Then I oiled the pans liberally with EVOO.  Placed the dough in each pan and pressed out along the edges, kind of like when I'd be starting out a thin-crust skin.  This gave it a defined ridge.  With my fingertips I pressed it out, stretching it out and trying to get it into all 4 corners, which it did not quite do.  Left it alone.  Here is a picture.  One pan (the dark one) is aluminum, and the other pan (white) is steel, I believe.

(http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk40/aks801/Pizzabeforebaking.jpg)

I let the dough pans sit thusly for 45 minutes, during which I cooked up some home-made Italian sausage (ground pork, salt, pepper, fennel seeds, small amount of white cooking wine).  Once ready to cook, I pressed the dough all the way into the corners.  By this point the dough had risen up a touch.

First pizza was cooked in white pan.  Most of it was cheese-only, to please the younger 3 kids, with one row including some pepperoni for my oldest.  I put my cheese blend directly onto the dough, then put two columns of sauce dollops on top.  This pizza had a nice crust, with some of it crunchy on the outside (my much desired result).  I think that crunch is really from cheese that has oozed onto the side and cooked on the hot pan.  So, I do attempt to spread cheese all the way to the edges of the pan.  On this pizza I actually put on too much cheese, so the ratio of cheese/crust was too high: oh well!

(http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk40/aks801/Pizzacheeseonly.jpg)

The second pizza was cooked in the dark, aluminum pan.  Came out very nicely, featuring Canadian bacon and the chunks of sausage.  Cheese ratio was better than the first (uhm, I ran out of cheese!).  Toppings excellent.  Here it is fresh from the oven, already out of the pan.

(http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk40/aks801/Pizzasausageandcanadianbacon.jpg)

Here's a picture of a slice, with me holding my plate out in front of myself and phone/camera in the other hand.  Trying to provide that elusive side-view shot.  I'd like to see the crust get a little thicker, and I might next time include a step of proofing it in a slightly warm oven for just a bit, then taking it out to crank up the oven temp in preparation for cooking.

(http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk40/aks801/Pizzaslice.jpg)

And last, here is a shot of what was left over, just so you can get a better look at things.

(http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk40/aks801/Pizzaleft.jpg)

I think the next big step is to get a hold of some real-deal dark steel pans.

NOTE: you can copy and paste those URLs to see the pictures.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 01:14:40 PM by aks801 »
alan in Katy, TX

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Offline aks801

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2009, 01:40:23 PM »
Thanks, Pete!
alan in Katy, TX

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Offline TronCarter

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2009, 04:18:40 PM »

(http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk40/aks801/Pizzaleft.jpg)


I don't get it...??  There was pizza.... left over??   Hmmmm... I'm trying to wrap my head around that one...    ;)

Good looking pictures.  It looks like you are definitely on the right track.

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2009, 05:03:09 PM »
Definitely looks like you are on the right track.

In the first picture you posted of the dough after you stretched it in the pan, it appears that you have slightly "rolled over" the edges of the dough when forming the dough.

This is most noticeable on that first pic, in the smaller black pan, the dough JUST to the right up the top left corner of the pan has a line in it which appears to be where you stretched out the dough and then folded a small amount of the edge of the dough back towards the interior of the pizza to make a thin, outer rim where the dough is twice as thick as the interior of the pizza.

It looks like this has been done to both Sicilians. Is this correct? Your cooked Sicilian pictures show a nice, definined rim of crust that does not slope downwards, but maintains height.

Am I on the right track? Thanks....I'm trying to solve this issue for my own Sicilian pie.  :)
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Offline aks801

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Re: Sicilian ain't so easy....
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2009, 10:02:44 AM »
Am I on the right track?....

It's actually not that complicated.  I just start pressing down with my fingertips about 3/4" from the edge of the dough ball, going around in a circle to make a defined rim, then start pressing down and out with my fingertips in the middle part of the dough to stretch it out.  At no point do I fold anything back as you describe.  It's really the same thing I do when I'm starting out to make a thin-crust pizza (except of course I don't slap the dough and don't toss it).

It's interesting how different folks have certain "requirements" in order to meet their goal.  Your's is the shaping of the rim.  Mine is achieving that certain crispy/crunchiness on the outside of the crust.  All part of that riddle inside the mystery inside the enigma....   ???
alan in Katy, TX

"Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss."
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