Author Topic: Finally hit a home run  (Read 7924 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Trogdor33

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 193
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Michigan
Finally hit a home run
« on: October 31, 2009, 01:07:23 PM »
I tried a couple new things this time and was amazed at how well they worked.

First, I re-arranged my oven. I have a gas oven with no broiler (well, there is, but it's a drawer under the oven - unacceptable) and have been trying to find the sweet spot to get the bottom nice and crisp but getting the top done at the same time. Before, with only the fiberment I had a beautiful crust with barely melted cheese or a burnt crust (I am talking totally carbonized) and a good looking top. I had the idea to take a cheap old broken home and garden party stone and use it for some thermal mass on top. This helped a bit, but not enough. Then I figured I would line the rack with tin foil to get the reflective effect. This worked much better. I have been experimenting with various positions in the oven and I found this works best. The other nice thing with this config is that the thermostat is above the tin foil, so I got the oven up to nearly 700 deg (which is an estimate based on how far past 600 the oven thermometer seen in the picture went). The last part to the equation was using a screen to make the bottom cook a little slower. All these combined turned out a slightly crispy crust that still had some bend to it.

Second, the dough changes. This time I went with a 64% hydration KASL based dough, but I added some lactic acid powder to mimic the taste of a sourdough culture and some vitamin c to make the dough a bit more elastic. The resulting dough handled much better than I am used to and tasted better than 99% of crust that I have ever eaten. I used Jeff Varasano's wet kneading / "autolyze" (not a true autolyze) technique and Tony Gemignani's method for pushing out/tossing dough (covering with half semolina/half high gluten flour instead of putting the flour on the table). It also helped a bunch to use the plain counter top instead of the wooden cutting board as I have been doing before. I haven't been very successful in tossing dough before because I could only get one or two tosses before it got paper thin in the middle, these changes allowed me to toss 8-10 times while keeping it relatively uniform. One of the problems with my unscientific approach (changing more than one variable at a time) is that I don't know whether the wet knead or the addition of vitamin c were primarily responsible for the better handling qualities or if they both worked together, which I suspect is the case.

Last, the sauce. I have been using a heavily modified version of Peter's PJ clone sauce and this time decided to grind up all the spices in a coffee grinder before adding to the 6-1. This resulted in a sauce that was noticeably better tasting than the exact same thing with unground spices. I would like to try november's microwaving technique for it, but we prefer a toaster oven to microwave, so I don't have one to try it with.

Anyway, here are the pics. Thanks everyone, especially Peter and November for all your help.

For all you non-geeks who may be wondering what the name trogdor is all about, have a look here: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html


Offline NY pizzastriver

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 527
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2009, 06:25:53 PM »
Well done mate, a beauty! Feels good don't it?!
"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 ThunderStik

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 331
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2009, 07:20:49 PM »
Good job, i would take a slice of that wthout question.
I KNOW MORE ABOUT PIZZA THAN ANYBODY!!!!!!!

(in my house)

Offline JConk007

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 3649
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Lovin my Oven!
    • Flirting with Fire
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2009, 08:00:54 PM »
Great work! so How long on the screen before removal to stone or all screen time?
JC
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline Trogdor33

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 193
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Michigan
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2009, 08:23:41 PM »
Thanks guys, it does feel good to finally get it right.

JC, it was on the screen the whole time. I was too chicken to take it off. Maybe I will try that next time.
For all you non-geeks who may be wondering what the name trogdor is all about, have a look here: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html

Offline Trogdor33

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 193
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Michigan
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2009, 08:17:34 PM »
New batch of dough, different formula, new lessons learned.

The latest batch uses 61% hydration, 0.23% ascorbic acid and 0.6% lactic acid. I was disappointed when I first started making my skins because the dough was so elastic, but I got over it quickly when I tasted the result. I am still going to cut the ascorbic acid back down to 0.11% for my next batch to see if it was mostly that or the lower hydration. I would love to get the same flavor and texture without the nasty handling qualities of this formula. I also remembered to get some SAF instant yeast instead of my ugly fleichman's quick rise for the next batch. Here's what I used for a formula this time:

KASL   100.00%
Water   61.00%
IDY   0.40%
Salt   2.00%
EVOO   1.50%
NFDM   1.00%
Molasses   1.50%
Lactic Acid   0.60%
Vitamin C   0.23%


The dough was fermented 48 hours in the fridge and brought out for 2 before shaping. After shaping, the skins stayed on the screens for 30 minutes before dressing. The pizzas were baked at ~600 deg for 7 minutes on the stone using the screens. The crust turned out very well in that it was crispy on the bottom but chewy inside. The crust honestly doesn't look too great, but it tasted wonderful. The rim was much lighter than I had been making before.

Anyways, on to the good stuff:
For all you non-geeks who may be wondering what the name trogdor is all about, have a look here: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21491
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2009, 06:45:47 AM »
Trogdor33,
Congratulations, your pizza look wonderful!  :) 
Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Steve973

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 56
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • I love brewing beer and making pizza!
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2009, 01:06:38 AM »
That pizza looks quite mouth watering!  Great job!
"Right here, right now, from the very beginning, there is only one thing. Constantly clear and unexplained, having never been born and having never died, it cannot be named or described." - Zen Master So Sahn

Offline WestCountry

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 148
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2009, 04:17:13 PM »
Thanks for sharing.

I think I want to try the lactic acid powder.
Does anyone know if its safe to use this powder in dough with a long room temperature rise (I usually use a small amount of IDY yeast and let dough ferment and proof for about 9-10 hours at about 70 degrees)?

Thanks
Chris

Offline Trogdor33

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 193
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Michigan
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2009, 05:29:45 PM »
I just made a batch of 2hr room temp fermented dough with lactic acid in it 2 days ago and last week I made bagels that were room temp fermented. It's totally safe.
For all you non-geeks who may be wondering what the name trogdor is all about, have a look here: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html


Offline WestCountry

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 148
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2009, 05:55:17 PM »
Thanks... I will order me up some of this powder!!  :pizza:

Chris

Offline abilak

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 124
  • Age: 37
  • Location: IHB, FL
  • The FL Pizza Man
    • My former band
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2009, 09:34:30 AM »
Thanks guys, it does feel good to finally get it right.

JC, it was on the screen the whole time. I was too chicken to take it off. Maybe I will try that next time.

I leave my pies on the screen for 4-4.5 mins, then slide screen and pie out on a rack on my counter.
Then just rotate rack/pizza, slide peel under, and plop it on the stone.
Real easy once you do it a few times... IMO much better than just leaving on screen.

Offline Trogdor33

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 193
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Michigan
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2009, 12:20:11 PM »
I have actually changed my formula to where I now only use KASL, water, salt, yeast, EVOO and lactic acid. I don't use the screens at all in the oven anymore and have been coming out with much better crusts.
For all you non-geeks who may be wondering what the name trogdor is all about, have a look here: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html

Offline Pizza Rustica

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 94
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2009, 12:33:41 PM »
Trogdor33,

I agree with the non use of screens. I made some NY style last weekend and made the first few on the screens and then did several w/o the screens. Big difference w/o the screens. Just simply slid them on the stone as in my WFO outside. Great job on your pizza's. Also noted that you dropped the AA in your last formula. How did that change the taste?
Russ

Offline abilak

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 124
  • Age: 37
  • Location: IHB, FL
  • The FL Pizza Man
    • My former band
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2009, 12:38:16 PM »
I agree as well, however, I find it is super easy to make a perfect pie by stretching onto an 18" screen, plopping it on the stone for 4 mins, then finishing it off on the stone... I'm not saying I can't make a pretty round perfect pie scretching onto a pie, you just don't have to worry about the whole sliding it off onto the stone thing....

Offline Trogdor33

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 193
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Michigan
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2009, 12:45:24 PM »
@Pizza Rustica

My formula now is very different from what I was doing when I started this thread. I am much happier all around with my new method. The taste is far better and the dough is much easier to work with. I have even been throwing it successfully. I never intended the AA to be used as a flavor enhancer, but rather to mimic the effect of bromate. Turns out that I didn't need it to begin with. I also ditched all the sugars and while you'd think it would negatively affect flavor, the taste and texture of a crust baked entirely on the stone more than makes up for it. I had only been using the screens before because I had flubbed a couple pies that hung on to the peel a little too much. Lowering the hydration a couple ticks fixed that.

@abilak

As I said above, I had the same problem with unpredictability sliding onto the stone. Dropping the hydration from 64% to 61% made the dough immensely more workable and fixed the problems I was having sticking it in there. The only reason I would use a screen in the future is for a high hydration dough or a very thin skin.
For all you non-geeks who may be wondering what the name trogdor is all about, have a look here: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21491
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2009, 12:53:46 PM »
trogdor33,
Great to hear how your formula has evolved.  :)  If you have the time, please post more pictures.  Your original pies sure looked tasty. Wunder bor Gut! - Wonderful Good in Pa. Dutch language.
I had the same problems with my pies and am now using only the peel.  Once in awhile I still will get a football pie.  :-D
Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline abilak

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 124
  • Age: 37
  • Location: IHB, FL
  • The FL Pizza Man
    • My former band
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2009, 12:54:06 PM »
gotcha, my pies are on the thin side and I like to use a good amount of sauce.
the screen helps me make it happen.
not to mention my pies are the full 18" size of my stone, hard as hell to get it perfectly on there when going full 18 just made on a peel.
the screen helps the shape be 100% perfect.
if I could fit a 20" stone in my oven, I would gladly make the 18" just on the peel :)

here is a pic of a pie, note how thin the crust is at the thickest end LOL
« Last Edit: December 02, 2009, 01:09:43 PM by abilak »

Offline Jack

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 404
  • Location: WA
  • Pizza; it's what's for dinner, breakfast........
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2009, 03:49:57 PM »
I make 17 inch (+/-) pies on my 19 inch stone.  Getting the pie on the stone is much easier than even an 18 inch pie.  There is nothing holy about an 18 inch pie, unless you are selling them in 18 inch boxes.

Jack

Offline abilak

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 124
  • Age: 37
  • Location: IHB, FL
  • The FL Pizza Man
    • My former band
Re: Finally hit a home run
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2009, 03:54:08 PM »
Yeah no kidding :)
Getting an 18" pie on a 18" stone is frustrating to say the least...
Maybe I could squeeze a square 18.5" stone in my oven, maybe that will help, LOL.
I guess you can tell I'm not to thrilled about reducing the size of my pies to get rid of using the screen for the first few mins...
I'll do a 17" sometime next week and compare the difference to the one I'm doing tomorrow night.