Author Topic: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe  (Read 7800 times)

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Offline codeninedesign

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My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« on: April 15, 2009, 07:32:31 PM »
Hi guys,

My first post on here, but I wanted to share my sourdough thin crust recipe with you. In fact, I even put together a very extensive video that goes along with the recipe, but pizzamaking.com won't let me post a link because I'm new :-\. If you'd like to check it out, it is the only "sourdough pizza" on vimeo.com. Go check it out. Anyways, enjoy and let me know what kind of results you get out of the recipe. Thanks!


    Things to know before you begin:

        * This recipe assumes you have an active sourdough culture.
        * Prep time on the dough is at least one day.
        * This recipe makes two pies.
        * This recipe is only given in weights. Youíll need a scale that can measure grams.
        * If any of this sounds a bit much, check out my simpler thin crust recipe here.

    1. Make sure you have a sourdough starter going before starting this recipe. If you donít have one going yet, you can order one at sourdo.com or cultivate your own local sourdough culture.

    2. Measure the following:

        * Filtered Water - 220 grams
        * Bread Flour  - 336 grams
        * Kosher or Sea Salt - 1.5 tsp
        * Sourdough Yeast Culture -36 grams
        * Instant Dry Yeast - 3/4 tsp

    3. Pour everything except for about one quarter of the flour into your stand mixer.

    4. Use the standard paddle attachment and mix on the slowest speed until your dough is evenly mixed. You should be aiming for the consistency of a thick batter. It shouldnít look like dough yet.

    5. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, DONíT SKIP THIS.

    6. Put the dough hook onto your mixer and start kneading your mixture. After five minutes, bein to gradually add in the remaining flour. Aim to have all the flour in by about the eight minute mark or so. If you reach a point where the dough looks good but you still have more flour, just donít add it.

    7. After about 8 minutes, click your stand mixer up to the next highest speed. Kneed until you see the dough forms a wet ball. Always err on the side of dough that is too wet. If the dough needs a bit more flour, put some in.

    8. Cover the bowl and rest for 20 minutes. THIS IS IMPORTANT, DONíT SKIP IT.

    9. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top, sprinkle the top of it lightly with flour, and use your hands to form it into a nice round ball. It should be wet enough so that it sags when you form your ball. If itís perk, your dough may be too dry.

    10. Place the dough in a container, cover it with plastic wrap or a nicely fitting lid, and stow it away in your fridge for 1-6 days. The 3-4 day range is best, Iíd say.

    11. Take the dough out about an hour to an hour and a half before you want to bake it.

    12. Heat your oven to as hot as it will go.

    12. Toss the dough and put a small amount of sauce on. I stick to one ladle full.

    13. Top the pie with mozzarella and the toppings of your choice and slide it onto your super hot pizza stone, or if you are using a pan, just slide the pan onto a baking rack.

    14. My over doesnít have a cleaning mode, so I top out around 500 degrees. My pizzas take about 5-7 minutes to bake. Keep an eye out on yours.

    15. Pull it out and cool it on a wooden surface if you can. Wait about 3 minutes to cut into it. Serve.

-Ryan
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Offline tdeane

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 08:02:45 PM »
Seems like you just copied most of that directly from Jeff Varasano's recipe.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 08:30:09 PM »
At his blog, Ryan acknowleges Jeff's work. Ryan's version makes use of a basic stand mixer (not a DLX) and a standard home oven without a modified clean cycle.

Peter

Offline codeninedesign

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 08:48:12 PM »
Seems like you just copied most of that directly from Jeff Varasano's recipe.

Yeah, sorry, I trimmed down the text of that recipe a lot so I could share it on here. I did modify the recipe a bit as Jeff's comes out a bit too salty and I wanted more rise, so I added more insta-yeast.

Anyhow, sorry for the first post faux-pas :)

Addendum: This recipe is from my blog post: Translating Jeff Varasano's Technique
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2009, 11:41:57 AM »
Ryan,

Out of curiosity, have you ever practiced the recipe without using the starter culture and, if so, what were the results/differences?

Peter

Offline Flagpull

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2009, 02:30:30 AM »
I just think that, while the results you are getting are GOOD, if you aren't hacking your oven...if you aren't using a stone or quarry tile..., etc, etc. I just don't know what the sourdough starter and all of the work that Jeff's recipe entails brings with it.

I've simplified my recipe over the years to be flour, water, a bit of yeast, a 7 minute mix, and 24 hours in the oven. I plan on scaling it to a commercial outlet at some point, so that's part of the reason of the simplicity but also I just don't see the point. There are plenty of people who use and love and breath starters, but it's kind of like putting a Porsche engine in a Geo Metro if you are just gonna bake it at 550* on a metal pan.

PS: I like your Thin Crust Dough recipe, AND all of the great advice on your site. Keep up the good work.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2009, 10:53:25 AM »
...and 24 hours in the oven.

Philip,

I assume you meant 24 hours in the refrigerator rather than the oven (unless you are making a 24-hour room-temperature fermented dough in a cold oven ;D).

Peter

Offline NY pizzastriver

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2009, 01:02:30 PM »

There are plenty of people who use and love and breath starters, but it's kind of like putting a Porsche engine in a Geo Metro if you are just gonna bake it at 550* on a metal pan.

See this makes me feel better about not using a starter. I mean if at 550, even on a stone, the difference is nominal why bother? Jeff makes that clear too, words to the affect of "Try baking something that calls for 350 degrees at 75 degrees, see how that works out for ya".

Jerry Mac's 3-5 hr poolish I find intriguing, SD girl says that adds loads of flavor, and she's a cool hip chick.  :D

"If God said you can come to heaven now, but you have to stop eating my pizza, you'd stay and finish instead, right?" - Essen1

Offline s00da

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2009, 02:50:04 PM »
I started with Varasano's recipe in the beginning and It gave me good results. Actually, Varasano's page was an eye-opener to many concepts that I'm still experimenting with and learning on this forum. Nonetheless; as I learn more and more from this forum and its amazing members, my recipe became much simpler and provided much better results. For example, once I tried room temperature fermentation with starters, I'm not able to go back to my previous cold-fermentation practice.

The most valuable lesson I learned is that only experimentation and adjustments to individual preferences and environment will yield good results.


Offline sourdough girl

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2009, 04:12:24 PM »
See this makes me feel better about not using a starter. I mean if at 550, even on a stone, the difference is nominal why bother? Jeff makes that clear too, words to the affect of "Try baking something that calls for 350 degrees at 75 degrees, see how that works out for ya".

Jerry Mac's 3-5 hr poolish I find intriguing, SD girl says that adds loads of flavor, and she's a cool hip chick.  :D



Not trying to stray too far OT here, but thanks for the compliment, NY!  Yes, I believe that JerryMac's poolish offers much more flavor, for a same day dough.  I think that everyone finds the sweet spot for their dough, whether they like to mess with wild yeasts, cold ferments, RT ferments, preferments... all those things add flavor to the dough and you have to mess with all of them, sooner or later, to decide which one is right for you, your equipment and your schedule.  A wild yeast (sourdough) crust adds another level of flavor, but also requires another level of dedication which might be too much for some.

The recipe that codeninedesign has posted, while it uses a mixer and sourdough starter which are not yet in your pizza arsenal, still seems to be aimed at bringing Jeff's recipe to those of us who can't or won't hack our ovens.  I already have JerryMac's recipe perking for tonight, but I plan to try this recipe next week with my own starter.  Should be interesting!

~sd
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Offline NY pizzastriver

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2009, 04:19:42 PM »
You're welcome hip chick!  :D

So, when you say "A wild yeast (sourdough) crust adds another level of flavor, but also requires another level of dedication which might be too much for some" is that to say you disagree with Flagpull in his saying that at 550 it's like putting a Porsche engine in a Geo metro? I mean if you dedicate yourself to the chemistry and feeding of cultures only to realize little if any difference at 550, why dedicate yourself?
"If God said you can come to heaven now, but you have to stop eating my pizza, you'd stay and finish instead, right?" - Essen1

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2009, 05:11:50 PM »
I'm not sure that I have done enough experimenting to answer your question with authority, but I'm sure that there is a difference, however minor, in the flavor at 550o.  However, I'm also pretty sure that the flavor would be more pronounced at 800o.  Perhaps those more expert in this area would chime in on this question.  I know that with bread baking, the difference between a commercial yeast loaf and a sourdough loaf at 500o is quite apparent, but you also bake bread a lot longer than you do pizza and the dough is often a lower hydration, so the two are not necessarily equal.  If the baker can tell the difference at the lower temp, and it is pleasing, then there is reason to invest the time and effort into sourdough.  If you can't tell the difference, why bother?

I think Flagpull's analogy is a good one since the effort for sourdough might or might not be worth it ... however, with as light as those little Geos are, just think how fast that little bugger could go with a Porsche engine!    :-D
 

I have also read that sourdough bread is better for you than commercial yeast bread... and I know that the shelf life is longer from my own experience.  Seems to me that the benefits of wild yeast would also translate to pizza dough, which would be another reason to consider its use over and above flavor.  And no, the experts are NOT ALL in agreement on those benefits, just like many other "facts" about sourdough cultures.

~sd
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Offline Essen1

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2009, 05:28:08 PM »
Mots,

The Geo would disintegrate with a Porsche engine in it. You'd be riding "open air", just on the chassis.  ;D
Mike

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2009, 06:28:52 PM »
sourdough girl,

I think that what Philip (Flagpull) was trying to say is that if you are going to try to replicate Jeff Varasano's pizza, you should go the whole nine yards and use a stone and very high heat. I have used natural starters for just about every style of pizza, with good results, and I have never associated the use of natural starters with very high oven temperatures. To me, a natural starter is just another form of leavening agent, albeit with the potential--not to be minimized--to make significant contributions to the flavor profile of the finished crust (but see below).

In your case, should you decide to try Ryan's recipe, you should be aware that Ryan made a significant change to Jeff's recipe. Jeff's recipe calls for the use of IDY to be optional. That suggests that if the starter culture is properly activated and maintained, there should be no need for any commercial yeast, even for a long, cold fermentation. When allowed, the amount of IDY is stated in Jeff's recipe as 0.25%. By using 3/4 teaspoon IDY, Ryan increased that to about 0.67%, or almost triple the "optional" amount of Jeff's recommendation. That change will significantly alter the dough's biochemical activity during the fermentation process. Moreover, it is possible that the 0.67% IDY will overtake the natural starter and minimize its effect from a leavening standpoint and the production of byproducts of fermentation that are normally responsible for the final crust flavors and aroma. In my experience, where I have used both natural starters and commercial yeast in the same dough recipe, the effects of the natural starter were, for all intents and purposes, lost. That is, I couldn't detect its presence in the finished crust. And that was using levels of commercial yeast (IDY) that were far lower than 0.67%. As a result of my experience using both forms of yeast simultaneously, I no longer use any commercial yeast when using a natural starter. If I were to do so, I would use a highly acidic--almost unfed and starving--form of the starter culture solely for flavor purposes. With the commercial yeast, I wouldn't need it for leavening purposes. 

You may find that the recipe produces results that will be entirely satisfying to you. And, in the final analysis, that is all that really matters. However, it won't be a replication of Jeff's recipe for an unmodified home oven setting. 

Peter

Offline Flagpull

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2009, 08:03:06 PM »
You haven't heard of the new 24 hour oven time?

Low heat / long cook time is the new rage!

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2009, 08:17:57 PM »
Peter,
Thanks for the clarification... and, I had forgotten that the recipe posted above includes commercial yeast.  I am one of those purists who does not add commercial yeast to any sourdough application, so I would have (will) left the IDY out.  My attitude is, if I'm going to bake with wild yeast, I should not need any other yeasts because my starter is either good enough to carry the load or I shouldn't be using it.

So, I guess there are two ways of looking at this:  Jeff's original recipe is for high heat with the use of a starter, hence Philip's analogy.  If you don't use high heat or you add commercial yeast, you are no longer really making his recipe.  On the other hand, many of us on this forum try to replicate pizza from Naples in our unmodified home ovens, so why not add Jeff's recipe to the list?  Experimentation and modification (of recipes, not ovens!) leads to improved pizza for many of us, so why not try it even though it won't be exactly the same?  What would this forum be without all of us posting our many iterations of recipes we shouldn't be able to make with our equipment?   :o   :-D

You haven't heard of the new 24 hour oven time?

Low heat / long cook time is the new rage!

Hey, Philip, it works for big chunks of meat....  why not give the technique a shot for pizza??   :-D

Mike,
Talk about blowing the doors off!   :-D  Your description reminds me of sitting in the "open air" bow seats of our little Bayliner, blasting across the Sound, on a sunny day, at 50 MPH!  What a RUSH!!    ;D  8)

~sd aka mots

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2009, 09:05:51 PM »
On the other hand, many of us on this forum try to replicate pizza from Naples in our unmodified home ovens, so why not add Jeff's recipe to the list?  Experimentation and modification (of recipes, not ovens!) leads to improved pizza for many of us, so why not try it even though it won't be exactly the same?  What would this forum be without all of us posting our many iterations of recipes we shouldn't be able to make with our equipment?   :o   :-D

sourdough girl,

I have absolutely no quarrel with what someone does to any dough recipe, for whatever reason or purpose. But when someone transforms a recipe, especially one as well known as Jeff's, into something different, the person modifying the recipe should be careful in characterizing the change, as not to mislead others. I consider Ryan's recipe to be an "adaptation" rather than a "translation" of Jeff's recipe. See, for example, Ryan's comments from his blog:

If you, like me, have ever done a Google search for ďNY pizza recipeĒ then you have no doubt stumbled across the bible-esque tome that is Jeff Varasanoís Famous NY Pizza Recipe. The recipe, which is in itself very simple, tips the scale at a hefty 22,000+ words. Now donít get me wrong, Iíve read almost every single one of those words, but it took me months to get up the courage to sit down and plow through it all!

What Iíve prepared for you here is a condensation of Jeffís recipe; a reduction, if you will, of the simple steps minus all of the asides and fascinating science behind his pieís creation.


In my opinion, the two recipes are markedly different. That's the only point I am trying to make.

As for the Neapolitan analogy, it is my practice, which I have followed for a very long time, to characterize anything other than an "authentic" Neapolitan pizza, which requires the use of a very high-temperature oven, as being a "Neapolitan style" pizza. To do otherwise, would be to mislead.

Peter



Offline sourdough girl

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2009, 09:45:12 PM »
Peter,

Your points are well taken.  I understand and agree with everything you have said above.  You make some important distinctions that should be noted by all.  As an artist, I understand that there are "copyright" and "intellectual property" issues at play here.  I use those words in quotes because they might be a bit strong on their own for our purposes, but the idea is still the same:  presentation of information and MISrepresentation of information as well, as Terry pointed out right away.

I think it's very important for all of us to keep to the straight and narrow when it comes to recipes and I thank you for being the keeper of the flame.

~sd
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Offline NY pizzastriver

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2009, 10:24:03 PM »
Big Lol's to Mike, Flag pull and SD for above. ''New rage'' indeed.  :-D

Good thread. Humor, sarcasm, wit, and starters all in one page.

Peter, I saw that too. I remember pointing out how post culture the tiny bit of added yeast was optional. An ''adaptation'' is one way to put it, yeah, I might even go with "Homage in passing". Additional yeast is just one issue, as you also said, as Jeff puts high heat in the top 3 keys to doing his gig. So I thank you for being the flame keeper watcher man too, or something like that.

Oh, and his blog says the recipe is  "in itself very simple." (??) When a recipe starts by basically saying "Breed a culture, order starters cultures online, then study culture starting and activate accordingly" you can't then say it is "in itself very simple". It's like saying "flying your own plane is fun and easy, first build plane, then..."




« Last Edit: April 17, 2009, 10:32:39 PM by NY pizzastriver »
"If God said you can come to heaven now, but you have to stop eating my pizza, you'd stay and finish instead, right?" - Essen1

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2009, 10:21:32 AM »
I hope we didn't scare Ryan away. I actually think his method of making the dough with a stand mixer may be useful since there are several people who have had difficulties using an ordinary stand mixer (non-DLX) to make Jeff's dough. Also, being able to use a pan in lieu of a pizza stone may come in handy for those without pizza stones. The oven spring may not be as good with a pan but the increased amount of yeast might help compensate in part for that so long as the right conditions (adequate hydration, pH and residual sugar) are present at the time of baking. I would also plan to use Ryan's dough after a couple of days. Beyond that, the risk of overfermentation is likely to increase quite rapidly.

Peter

Offline NY pizzastriver

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2009, 03:20:11 PM »
I hope we didn't scare Ryan away.

I hope not too, and I'll apologize for being my usual wise guy self. I'm sure he makes a great pizza, anyone who understands the magical mysteries of cultures is ok by me.
"If God said you can come to heaven now, but you have to stop eating my pizza, you'd stay and finish instead, right?" - Essen1

Offline codeninedesign

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2009, 02:32:29 AM »
I'm here! I'm here! Sorry, I didn't check back here for a few days and look what happened! The conversation bloomed like a ... well like a sourdough starter!  :pizza:

I have in fact tried this exact recipe with dried insta-yeast and I have to say the flavor is definitely different. In the same way that my different strains of sourdoughs taste different, so does the end product made with the insta-yeast. Bottom line: It's not bad, per se, it just isn't as tasty as the sourdough starter.

As far as whether or not the long rests, sourdough starter, or any of the other bits of the recipe are necessary, maybe simplifying like this will help explain my point of view (which is truly just my opinion, so take it for what ever it's worth):

  • Which dough, regardless of baking method/temp would you rather eat: One that has gone through a proper and thorough autolyse period, or not? If you have the time and the patience to do these steps, then do them - it only stands to improve your end product and it makes good chemical/logical sense why long autolyse periods are good :)
  • Which dough do you feel you'd prefer to offer to guests - a dough made with the same yeast available to everyone in the grocery store, or a dough made truly unique by the subtle flavors brought to it by your local wild yeast culture you've been raising for years now? If different flours affect the flavor of your pie, so too do the salt, water, and type of yeast you choose. I know what you're thinking - but YOU add commercial yeast in this recipe. Yep. It's true. I give each of the yeasts a job to perform. The sourdough is there for flavor, and because I want some extra bubbles, I add some commercial yeast as well. I know it makes the purists cringe and the beginners scratch their heads, but in the end, your guests don't care what kind of rigid rules you stuck to - they only know what your pizza feels like and tastes like in their mouths and I like what the addition of the added commercial yeast does for the texture of my pies.
  • Finally, if you rent, and are not willing to chop up your landlords appliances, I think a great method to get good oven spring is to toss the water on the bottom of the oven. The steam created keeps the surface of the crust moist (and thus elastic and expandable) during the critical first few minutes where you get most, if not all, or your rise.

    Now if you are committed to the steam theory (which my experience and my taste buds certainly seem to support), you can't very well go heating stones up in your oven then splashing cold water in there. Not unless you like your pie chunky style - who knows, gravel may come into style one day as a popular topping but I don't think we're quite there yet :)

So to recap, I like the sourdough because it's more flavorful, and it's unique to my kitchen only. I like the long autolyse period because dammit, that is just how bread is baked! Proper autolyse is just plain old important. And finally, I like baking with lots of steam and I feel like this limits my ability to use stone.

In the end, all of these little twists and turns make a difference, and that's the whole reason why we are all on here chattering away, right? We're all looking for a new little twist to make our pies, no matter how incrementally small, a little better :) So don't think of this stuff as porches in geos, think about it as taking your project car you've been working on during the weekends and popping a different brand of headers in to see if you can get a few more horsepower out the the old thing.

I'll try to check back sooner this time. Hope some of this makes sense and happy baking to you all  :chef:
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Offline sourdough girl

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2009, 04:02:22 AM »
Ryan,

I am glad to see you back!  Glad we didn't scare you off!
Your comments and theories are interesting.... and I agree that in the end, it's all about what each of us thinks is the best technique to achieve what we like to feed ourselves and our guests.  It's all about personal choice and taste.
As you read, I am a sourdough purist, not only for the reasons Peter mentioned, but also because I'm just plain stubborn.   :-D   ::)  My starter doesn't get training wheels... it has to learn to ride the bike unaided.  If it can't, then I guess it stays on a tricycle (or gets dumped down the drain!) and never gets to graduate to even a Geo, let alone a Porsche! 

As for the steam, I'm a firm believer, but I must add that I bake bread on a stone all the time and have always squirted water into the oven (opposite side from the light) in the first few minutes of baking without breaking a stone even once.  (Good thing my computer desk is wood.... knock, knock, knock!)

It's all a journey and there are many roads, both on the map and off, to explore.

~sd
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Offline codeninedesign

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2009, 04:10:08 AM »
Totally SD!

I like keeping it simple, but I try not to let my tradition limit my experimentation. We're pretty much all baking from the same recipes, so I think breaking tradition sometimes is a good way to discover new flavors  :)

As for the stones, maybe I've just had bad luck with them?? I've broken stones even OUT of the oven! Must just be cheap rock I've been buying. I like my pans for now - but who knows, I'm not one to let my tradition... oh, I already said that. Ha!

Love the dialog!
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Offline codeninedesign

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Re: My Sourdough NY Pizza Recipe
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2009, 04:10:54 AM »
Oh, and as an aside, anyone know when I become a full fledged member and not a branded newbie?

Thanks!
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