Author Topic: Tonight's NY Style Pizza  (Read 5700 times)

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Offline friz78

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Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« on: February 20, 2005, 10:12:08 PM »
Posted below are pictures from tonight's pizza making endeavor.  I love night's like tonight, as this pizza was a great success and really no difficulties to report whatsoever.

Tonight I made a Pete's NY Style dough recipe for a 16 inch pizza with ONE addition.  I simply added one tablespoon of Malt Powder to the recipe and proceeded as normal otherwise.  The results were fantastic, although I really can't say I would or would not attribute any of the great results to the addition of the malt.  I would say the greatest reason for the good results was that this pizzamaker had his "A" game tonight, for whatever reason. 

As Pete's recipe seems to always yield, the dough was a joy to handle.  Extensible, but not too much so, and the dough just seemed to have the perfect consistency for forming and shaping it.  As many of you know, forming the dough was a bit of a concern for me after my last experience with a DiFara's pizza that included 00 flour.  This time, I did not have any such problem.  I hand formed the dough with my knuckles and, per a suggestion from Pete, placed the dough round on a flat surface when it was about 15 inches in diameter.  In order to get it to the 16 inch diameter I desired, I simply went around the edge of the dough and gently stretched it slightly by hand to achieve the final 1 inch in diameter that I needed.  This technique worked fantastic.  I was especially pleased with the size of the rim that this pizza yielded after baking- not too big and puffy and not too small either.  It was just right for my taste.  It was probably a rim that is associated more with a NY street slice than a Patsy's slice, but I prefer this kind of rim to a Patsy's rim so it worked out great.

I baked the pizza on a preheated pizza stone at 500 degrees.  After placing the pizza in the oven, I increased the oven temperature to 550 degrees for the duration of the baking time.  I baked the pizza on the stone for 7 minutes.  It was cooked perfectly, atleast for my tastes and those of my family.  Not quite the charred effect that PFT is able to attain with his grill, but great crisp to the bottom of the crust and great chew in the rim. 

In summing up this pizza, I would say the one noticeable trait that may have been influenced by the addition of malt powder to the recipe was a great crisp to the bottom of the crust.  The crust was not burned or even blackened at all, yet it still possessed a great crisp.  For that matter, I would say that the crisp was slightly greater than I would prefer (of course, I am being very picky right now because I really liked the crisp overall).  One adjustment I will consider in future recipes would be to slightly reduce the amount of malt to this recipe.  Maybe use 1 1/2 teaspoons instead of 1 tablespoon of malt.  But you certainly won't go wrong using the 1 tablespoon of malt either.

For those curious about how the malt affected the taste of the dough, I can honestly say that I noticed no obvious taste difference with the addition of the malt.  My sense is that the malt affected the crisp to the crust but not the overall flavor of the dough (ie. the dough didn't taste "sweet" or like a "chocolate milk shake").

Enjoy the pictures and I would be happy to answer any questions any of you may have regarding my preparation or attributes of the finished product.

Friz


Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2005, 10:13:21 PM »
dough

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2005, 10:13:46 PM »
pic 2

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2005, 10:17:40 PM »
pic 3

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2005, 10:25:02 PM »
pic 4

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2005, 10:25:35 PM »
pic 5

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2005, 10:33:05 PM »
pic 5

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2005, 10:35:32 PM »
pic 6

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2005, 08:09:20 AM »
Friz,

Very nice job.

It looks like you have mastered the technique for the Lehmann NY style dough. Maybe sometime you could provide a detailed description of that technique, e.g., type of mixer, mixer speeds and times, preparation of the dough for refrigeration, time of refrigeration, preparation for forming once the dough comes out of the refrigerator, etc.. Once the recipe ingredients are right, these are the factors that will dictate the success of the recipe. Such a description might help those who have been struggling with the recipe or other versions of it. I'm sure I will learn something also.

I notice from the photos that you dressed your pizza on a metal peel. You have more courage than I do. Obviously the peel is around 16 inches, as is your stone. Neither my peel (wood or metal) or stone are that size. Did you experience any problems dressing the pizza on the metal peel (with any special precautions) and did you find an advantage to baking the pizza entirely on the stone rather than using a combination of a 16-inch screen and the stone?

The results you achieved from the addition of the malt to the Lehmann ingredients were also interesting. Although I have not been deviating much from the basic Lehmann recipe, other than scaling it down and adapting it for home use, I had been intending to try out the malt addition on the Lehmann recipe to see if it would be an improvement. It may take making a few more pizzas using the malt to see if the results are reproducible and consistent, but if they are, then there should be no reason not to use the malt. The malt powder contains a fair amount of sugar (in the form of a non-diastatic barley malt extract), and should contribute to browning and possibly a flavor addition to the crust. When I was in my sourdough bread "phase", I often used the non-diastatic barley malt extract (it looks like and has the consistency of molasses) and it produced a nice brown color (crust and crumb) and nice flavor notes.

Peter

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2005, 12:45:51 PM »
Pete,

Regarding dressing my pizza directly on the peel, I'm so glad you asked that question.  You are correct, I dress the pizza directly on the peel.  You are also correct in that I have had a few disasters using this technique in my day, although not on this occasion.  My question to you is, "How else is it possible to dress a 16 inch pizza if you don't use a screen to cook it?"

I have been successful in dressing my pizza directly on the peel by using significant amounts of flour on the peel and also directly on the pizza dough after it is spread and just before I place it on the peel.  The downside to this is that there is too much flour on the bottom crust of the finished pizza than I would optimally prefer.  I have stopped using corn meal for pizzas that I bake exclusively on a stone because I have found that corn meal is much more likely to burn than flour is.  This is especially true when making more than one pizza on a stone in one evening.

So, if you have any advice/feedback on managing the transition for a 16 inch pizza from the dressing stage to the oven/stone, I would love to hear it.  Do you dress the pizza on a flat surface and then slip the peel underneath it at the last minute, after it is dressed?  Let me know.

Thanks,
Friz


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2005, 02:59:22 PM »
Friz,

If I didn't have a 16-inch screen and didn't want to use one but I had a 16-inch stone or a large tiled area that could accommodate a 16-inch pizza, I personally would just go out and buy a larger wooden peel--one with at least a 16-inch blade and possibly closer to 18-inches.

Another way, which I once tested on a metal peel with reasonable results, was to put a sheet of parchment paper (it has to be the wide parchment paper for a 16-inch pizza in your case) on the metal peel, and put the shaped pizza round on top of the sheet of parchment paper, dress it and then slide it onto the stone. As a precaution, you can put a bit of flour or cornmeal under the parchment paper between it and the peel to insure that the pizza will slide off of the peel and onto the stone. To prevent the edges of the parchment paper from scorching, I would cut the sheet of parchment paper to conform to the size and shape of the pizza with about an inch or two to spare. You can bake the pizza for the entire time on the parchment paper, but I found it better to remove it once the pizza sets up, which is usually only a couple of minutes. You just lift the pizza (I use my fingers but any tool will do) and remove the parchment paper by grasping it at the edges. From that time forward, the pizza bakes in the normal fashion. If you wait too long to remove the parchment paper, it can become brittle as it is exposed to the high heat and be almost impossible to completely remove. I find this exercise a bit of a pain, and over time you will go through a fair amount of parchment paper (which is not all that cheap), which is why I would just go out and buy another, larger wooden peel.

As for managing the dough during shaping, my practice is to work and shape the dough on a large wood cutting block that has been lightly dusted with flour. I also dust the dough ball, which I first flatten (if it already wasn't done before) very lightly on the top and bottom with flour. I try to use the smallest amount of flour necessary to insure (I hope) that the shaped dough won't stick to the screen (or a larger wooden peel if I had one). When I am ready to transfer the shaped dough to the screen, especially one as large as 16 inches, I fold the dough round in half, and sometimes even in quarters--just as is often done when transferring a pie crust onto a baking pie dish--and transfer the dough to the screen and unfold it. If the dough needs any final minor adjustments to size or shape, this is when I do it. It is then dressed. I reduce the likelihood of the dough sticking to the screen during dressing by having everything I intend to put on the pizza all laid out in advance at my work area.

In your case, where you are building the pizza on a metal peel, and especially because it is metal, it is a good idea as you are building the pizza to shake the peel a few times to be sure that the dough slides. If it doesn't or it is sticking in spots, you may still be able to lift the dough from the edges and toss a bit more flour under it. This is a lot harder to do when the pizza is fully loaded and dressed. So it is very important to have all of the ingredients you intend to put on your pizza all laid out in advance and to work fast. I have read that it may be possible to dislodge a stuck pizza from a peel by using a length of dental floss and running it under the pizza from edge to edge, but I have never tried that to confirm that it will work.

I am sure that there are others more inventive than I who have their own handy tips that they fall back on when they are making their pizzas and have to deal with the issues mentioned above. Maybe some will come forward with their favorite tricks.

Peter

Offline brianc

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2005, 04:03:39 PM »
Back when I cooked on a heated stone, I used to dress the pizza on parchment paper and simply lift the whole thing into the oven when ready.  Since the parchment paper didn't change how the pizza baked in comparison to directly on the stone, I just left it there.

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2005, 04:27:16 PM »
Pete,
Thanks for the feedback. In reading your message, I'm assuming that you have never attempted the practice of transferring a 16 inch pizza directly onto a pizza stone. It sounds like you work with the screen, atleast initially, and then possibly transfer it to a screen after a period of time cooking on the screen.

My peel is indeed 17 inches and this allows me to transfer a 16 inch round directly onto my 16 inch stone. I could tell you some horror stories about transferring a 16 inch pizza round from my peel to my stone, but I would prefer not to have to rehash some of those awful memories/moments. I will say that I think I've turned the corner and haven't had that problem in my last 4 or 5 pizza making adventures.

Regarding cooking technique, I must say that I prefer cooking directly on the stone for the entirety of the cooking process rather than using a combination of screen and stone or a screen exclusively. I have tried all of these combinations and, based on my experience, there is something that the stone provides that can't be achieved with the other methods. The other methods encourage a crisp crust just like a stone, but the stone seems to discourage the crust from "drying out" as much as a screen seems to. Perhaps it's because of all the air that's allowed to pass through the bottom of the crust when using a screen that makes it taste a bit more dry than with a stone? Perhaps I'm not using the screen properly either. And, I would add, I have had very good success using the combination of a screen and a stone for baking. However, I think I still prefer exclusive use of a stone over all other methods.

Of course, my preference for using a stone exists only after burning the bottom of my fair share of pizzas using a stone. I had difficulty matching the cooking level of the top and bottom of my pizzas but have now finally mastered this balance with a 500 degree oven that is turned up to 550 at the exact time that the dressed pizza is place on the stone in the oven. This works for me in my oven, but it may take some time/experimentation to find what works for others with their stone, their oven, etc.  While we would all love to cook our pizzas on the highest possible temperature (or atleast try to), it is important to keep in mind that the most important element in cooking your pizza is to get a good, even cooking that allows the top and bottom to be done at exactly the same time.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2005, 04:30:48 PM by friz78 »

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2005, 05:42:30 PM »
Regarding special techniques I used for last night's endeavor, I can't really say I did anything special or out of the ordinary.  I used a KitchenAid mixer and followed Pete's instructions on dough preparation, mixing, and shaping as closely as I possibly could.

If you read the thread on "Tom Lehman's NY Style Pizza" that is dominated by Pete's experimentation, discoveries and feedback, you simply cannot go wrong in your efforts to create a NY Style pizza.  Of course, this can also be easier said than done.

Just to re-establish a few principals in dough/pizza preparation - Using weight measurements in your recipe is invaluable in achieving accuracy and replicating the recipe time and time again. Volumetric measurements are such a thing of the past for me, as I have become a big believer in weighing ingredients.  Also, take your time when handling your dough before and during the shaping process.  Take breaks if necessary and "regroup" and assess the situation if necessary.  And last but not least, be equally as diligent in cooking your pizza - keep an eye on it in the oven and don't be afraid to make an adjustment if things don't look right during the cooking process.  Once you've achieved a favorable cooking process, make a note of it, be as specific as you can (exact cooking time and temperature, etc.), and then you should be able to follow the same formula the next time you want to re-create the same pizza.

Friz

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2005, 06:56:21 PM »
Friz,

You are correct in that I have not baked a 16-inch pizza directly on a stone. My stone is about 16" x 14", so the only way I have been able to make a 16-inch pizza has been to use a 16-inch screen and transfer the pizza from the screen to my stone after the pizza has firmed up (I usually bake a standard NY style pizza for about 6-7 minutes on the screen at an upper level rack position and about 2 minutes on the stone at the lowest oven rack level.) I thought about the possibility of getting a larger stone, and even saw a 16" x 16" stone for sale on eBay, but I already own two stones and have been hesitant about buying a third one. I might try some tiles, however, maybe a double stack, for greater heat retention.

Your advice about regrouping and assessing matters mid-stream is good advice. There are a lot of things that happen during the processing of dough that most recipe writers simply ignore or pretend don't exist. Like stopping a mixer and reorienting a dough that gets hung up on a dough hook, or removing the dough and doing some kneading by hand because the mixer is not doing a good enough job (as in mixing in oil in a partially kneaded dough), adjusting the mixing times when it is clear that the dough is not being properly or sufficiently kneaded, doing a minute or two of hand kneading after the dough comes out of the mixer and then carefully examining and testing the dough to be sure that it is soft, elastic and smooth, without tears on the outer surface, and not too wet or too dry, but rather tacky. And not being tempted to add flour to what seems to be an overly wet or sticky dough when just a minute or two of hand kneading will increase the hydration (absorption of the water by the flour) so that the stickiness disappears in most cases (and, if not, minor adjustments to flour, water and mixing have to be made). It is these kinds of details that often get ignored but have to be mastered to make a good dough. But once you "get it", you will have solved some of the toughest aspects of dough making.

Peter


Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2005, 10:03:51 PM »
There are a couple of reasons why I like making 16" pizzas:

1.)  With a family of four, I usually just need to make one 16" pizza to feed the family (unless I'm more hungry than normal).  If we have company, I only need to make two pizzas.

2.)  I'm not sure if there's any merit to this theory, but I am quite fond of NY "street" slices.  Of course, these slices tend to come from 16-18" pizzas that are then cut into individual slices.  By making a 16" pizza at home, I am able to simulate a NY "street" slice when I cut up a 16" home pizza.  Probably more psychological than anything, but fun nonetheless.

Now that I think about it, there is probably some merit to a larger diameter pizza having a different taste than a smaller one.  If the diameter is larger, wouldn't that make for more surface area of the pizza to be comprised of the "middle" portion of the pie as opposed to the crust/edge portion?  In other words, a 16" pizza has a lower ratio of "rim" portion than "middle" portion than a 14" pizza would (ie. there is a higher % of  crust/edge in a smaller diameter pizza than there is a larger one).  Hence, maybe that's why the larger diameter pizza takes on more of a NY "street" slice feel to me than a smaller one...

Friz

Offline friz78

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2005, 10:53:50 PM »
BrianC,
Thanks for the feedback on the parchment paper.  That sounds like a very reliable technique that I will try.  Again, in my earlier efforts I suffered some major disasters transferring a dressed 16 inch pizza from the peel to the stone.  And the nervousness that it will happen again, at any moment, never seems to go away!   ;)

Offline brianc

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2005, 10:38:43 AM »
Pete mentioned having experiences where the parchment paper sticks to the pizza and becomes hard/impossible to remove.  I've never had this problem, but it sounds like a nightmare.  I should mention that I always put a little cornmeal on the paper beforehand, so maybe that's what kept me from disaster.  I'll never go back from screens now though...

Brian

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2005, 02:29:38 PM »
Brianc,

What I meant to say about the parchment paper is that if you wait too long to remove the parchment paper the high oven heat can cause the parchment paper to become brittle and to disintegrate if you try to remove it by pulling on it from the edges. What you can't pull out remains under the pizza until the pizza is done baking. At that point the parchment paper will usually be dark brown from the oven heat, and can be a bit messy to clean up. My greater concern is whether the parchment paper interferes with the browning of the crust bottom because it acts as a barrier between the pizza dough and the stone. I would think that the differences would be slight but I honestly haven't done enough testing to tell one way or another.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Tonight's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2005, 09:02:25 PM »
Friz,
Well done! I always appreciate a great looking pie. Keep it up.
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