Author Topic: 2 recent pies  (Read 4218 times)

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Offline abilak

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2 recent pies
« on: November 25, 2009, 06:54:57 AM »
All Trumps Bromated Flour: 623g
Filtered water: 363g
IDY Yeast: 3.1g
Kosher Salt: 19g
Garlic Powder: 4g
Onion Powder: 4g
Oil: About 1.2 -1.4 TBSP (I squeeze it out of a bottle into the mixer, so it's an estimate)

* Search for my other posts regarding how I actually mix everything and other details explaining my process.

Both of these pies are 18" cooked at 550 deg.
I start them on a screen for about 5 minutes, then finish directly on lower rack stone for about 4 minutes.
The cheese is a mix of part-skim and regular polly-o block mozz

First two pics are from an old dough that was in the frig for 6 days
The next two pics are from a 24-hour cold rise

« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 08:02:39 AM by abilak »


Offline abilak

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2009, 08:09:57 AM »
Here is a shot of another 18" in the oven, then when done. Tasty

Offline ThunderStik

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2009, 12:00:34 PM »
Good lookin pies. I wish I could make an 18" but my stinkin oven isnt deep enough. Maybe I need a new oven.
I KNOW MORE ABOUT PIZZA THAN ANYBODY!!!!!!!

(in my house)

Offline ddacey

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2009, 02:28:42 PM »
Hello abilak,
I was reading through some of your posts and noticed all your pizzas are almost perfect in shape and size.  Would you mind going through your process for forming your pies.  My dough seems about the same as far as it's makeup, but i always start to get so thin in the middle and have an un-even and built up edge.  It's pretty good but yours seem to look much better.  Thanks dan

Offline abilak

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2009, 08:31:17 AM »
I form them on an 18" screen.... that's what gives them the perfect shape. I start by putting a decent amount of flour on a cutting board. Then I drop the dough ball in there. Flatten and start making a rim for the crust. Flip over, flatten a bit more, and go back over rim for crust. Then I start hand stretching it to make sure there are no uneven spots. Once the pie is almost 18" and uniform in thickness, I plop it on the screen. Then I stretch the edges a bit more to make it perfectly round. Hope this helps!

Offline ddacey

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2010, 01:08:19 PM »
Thanks for the reply, i use a screen too.  i think i just need to keep practicing.

Online scott123

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2010, 02:59:29 PM »
Ddacey,

Practice certainly helps, but the right flour and a proper level of hydration goes a long way in making dough that can be formed easily.  I've never worked with primo gusto, but I have had extensive experience with unbleached bromated flours, and, when properly hydrated, they pretty much form themselves.

I get the feeling that your flour has too much protein.  Bleaching encourages gluten formation, and although bromate aids extensibility, it also, I believe, encourages gluten as well. Too much gluten makes for a tough/hard to work with dough.  Some of my most miserable pizzamaking experiences were with King Arthur's 14% protein bread flour.

You may end up having an easier time by switching to a different flour, but, before you do, I would try 2 things.

Greater Hydration

How sticky is your current dough? Assuming it isn't too sticky, I'd increase your hydration level to somewhere in the 68 percent realm. The greater the hydration, the slacker the dough, the less tendency to be tough when you work with it. It will get tackier, though, so flour the bench well. Chilled, it should lose much of it's tackiness, but, as it warms to room temp, expect it to get tacky again.

Less Kneading

The bromated flours that I work with sheet almost instantly. When you add the additional gluten formation during the long cool rise, the need for kneading is minimal. Mix the dough just until it pulls away from the bowl, scale, form into balls and then chill.

I can't guarantee you that these will solve your pizza forming woes, but I think they'll help with your particular flour.  If they don't, I'd start looking for another bromated flour such as All Trumps.


Abilak,

It looks like you've been doing this for quite some time and you seem happy with your results, but if you want to kick it up a tiny bit, I highly recommend a thicker stone.  From seeing pictures of your oven in another thread, it definitely looks like it's sturdy enough to handle something larger/heavier. A larger/thicker stone will reduce your cooking times and give you greater oven spring. I don't know how pizzerias do NY style pizza in Florida, but here in NJ/NY, you'd never find a pizzeria with a 9 minute cooking time. The longer a pizza takes to cook, the less heat it's getting, the less puffy it's going to get. Think about how puffy 90 sec Neapolitan pies are- by increasing your stone size/thermal mass you're taking your pie in that direction. I've never stood at my favorite pizzerias with a stopwatch, but I guarantee you it's no longer than 5 minutes and most likely closer to 4.

You're making some mouth wateringly beautiful pies, but if you're open to experimentation, I highly recommend a thicker stone.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 07:23:29 PM by scott123 »

Offline abilak

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2010, 04:36:26 PM »
Abilak,

It looks like you've been doing this for quite some time and you seem happy with your results, but if you want to kick it up a tiny bit, I highly recommend a thicker stone.  From seeing pictures of your oven in another thread, it definitely looks like it's sturdy enough to handle something larger/heavier. A larger/thicker stone will reduce your cooking times and give you greater oven spring. I don't know how pizzerias do NY style pizza in Florida, but here in NJ/NY, you'd never find a pizzeria with a 9 minute cooking time. The longer a pizza takes to cook, the less heat it's getting, the less puffy it's going to get. Think about how puffy 90 sec Neapolitan pies are- by increasing your stone size/thermal mass you're taking your pie in that direction. I've never stood at my favorite pizzerias with a stopwatch, but I guarantee you it's no longer than 5 minutes and most likely closer to 4.

You're making some mouth wateringly beautiful pies, but if you're open to experimentation, I highly recommend a thicker stone.

Scott123, I'm sure a thicker stone would make a slight difference... But this one works great, and until it breaks I'm just gonna stick with it. Thanks for the advice. For a neopolitan pie, I agree with your quick cooking times... However, I'm from Jersey and there are MANY places that set their ovens to 450 and cook the pizza for much longer than 8-9 mins. I remember reading a post where Pete-zza really dove into the subject. But, I can surely tell you that 90% of the regular jersey style pie places in central jersey cook their pies for around or more than 9 minutes. Even places at the beach like the sawmill in seaside.. they cook at 450-475 and their cooking time breaks 12-13 mins. We might be talking about different style pies.

If you search on my older posts, I used to have an oven that I modified to bake at 1100 degrees (on the cleaning cycle) and I made plenty of pies in 2-4 mins with no problem. I agree those pies are better, however we remodeled our kitchen and my wife wouldn't let me keep the old beat up magic chef oven. I have a jenn-air gas oven under my kitchen island now. I am very happy with it at 550.

Online scott123

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2010, 07:17:04 PM »
12-13 minutes in Seaside? Seriously? Is the Sawmill the same thickness that you have in the pictures above? The pie you have pictured, to me, is pretty much the quintessential NY Style pizza.

My local pizzeria (Morristown) produces a pie that's identical to yours in every way except for a slightly more open crumb.  The last time I checked, they set their deck oven to 450.  If you call them during non busy hours (no pies in front of yours), they'll take the order and say 'okay, 15 minutes.'  If you show up in 7 minutes (and I frequently do), the pie will be coming out of the oven as you walk in the door (or boxed and on top). That's from the phone being placed back on the hook to the pizza coming out of the oven in 7 minutes.  And these guys aren't competitive formers, so I'm thinking at least 1 minute for the form.

There are some variables that might be in play here, such as the hydration level of the dough, the specs on the oven and the quantity of sauce, cheese and toppings, but I have a really hard time seeing any of those variables having enough impact to require 12 minutes baking time on a thin crust NY style pie in a 450 degree deck oven.

And 450 is, imo, the low end of the spectrum.  When my local place opened 20 years ago, they were in the 500 realm and were winning numerous best pizza in the county awards.  Then they decided to cut corners on energy costs and dialed it back. Needless to say, they haven't won an award since. I'm sure that there's plenty of 475 and 500 places out there.

I've never eaten at the Sawmill, but I've had pizza up and down the shore, and, except for slight variations, it all seems to be the same that I get both locally (Northern NJ) and in Manhattan. Some of the places in Hoboken, obviously, are a slightly different animal due to the slice size, but it's still the same thickness and quantity of toppings.

So, in terms of many central NJ pies taking 9+ minutes... Respectfully, I'm not seeing it :)

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2010, 07:19:56 PM »
Plus the only reason it is taking that amount of time is because he is making it on a screen THEN finishing on a stone. I do the same thing as abilak cooking on a screen then finishing on a stone because it is kinda hard in my case making a 16" pie on a 15" stone. When I was making the 13-14" pies putting them right onto the stone not using a screen it would take around 5:20-5:40 minutes depending what I would put on it.


Offline abilak

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2010, 08:17:06 PM »
I just cranked one out and it took about 8 minutes with no toppings on the pie at 550. I have formed pies before using just a stone and no screen, and yes... It does take a little quicker to make. I think I cook my pies a little longer than how a "normal" pie is cooked anyhow... Usually the bottom is charred a bit, and sometimes the edges. I don't want to argue over the cooking times.... It is what it is. Thanks for your suggestions and observations.

Offline Steve973

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2010, 09:26:54 PM »
Nice looking pies.  It would be nice to make the largest possible diameter pies, but I've pretty much settled on 14 inches.  On my stone, preheated for an hour at 550F, it takes me 6 minutes to cook a pizza, and maybe a litte longer with some toppings, even though I am conservative with my toppings.  I cook directly on the stone, but I have to admit that I don't get that perfect shape.  I often end up with slightly oblong/oval pizzas due to sliding the pizza off of the peel and onto the stone.  Once in a while I get lucky!  With your method, the presentation aspect is very nice.  Anyway, for the hobbyist or home enthusiast, cooking times don't seem to be super important if you're happy with the spring and if you're satisfied with the crumb. 
"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 abilak

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2010, 09:55:02 PM »
I can make an almost perfect looking pie without a screen, however, since my stone is 18" and my peel is slightly larger than 18", it is pretty difficult to get it on the stone. Yes, I could step it down an inch or 2, but I really like the 18" pies and in my case, they come out almost as good as not using a screen. I really don't use the screen for some presentation type purpose, it is really the only way I can get a full 18" pie in my oven. In some of my earlier posts, you can see 14-16" pies that I made directly from peel to stone. Some done at 550, some done at 1100 in my modified oven. I can spin the pies round by tossing them, or I can stretch them very evenly... At first my pies were far from round, and I couldn't stretch or toss a pie in the air. After making so many of them, and using lots of different methods.. I really don't have a problem using either method. It's really just a bunch of practice, that's all. I will say one thing... If your hydration is too high, the dough will tear if you try to toss the pie or stretch aggressively like you see the guys at the shops do. Using the recipe above, you can really stretch this dough very thin.
Like Steve 973 said, if you're happy with it, that's all the matters.
In my personal opinion... if I could once again have an oven that would do 1000-1100, I would prefer that... but, in my case, It's just not going to happen again unless I build something out back, which I might do at one point.
It's cool to read about how everyone does things differently.

Offline abilak

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2010, 10:28:55 PM »
Here is the one from tonight.
Like I said, 8 mins, It could have been removed as early as 6-6.5 mins for a pie done to what I would "normal".
As you can see, I cook my pie a little bit longer than some typical nj/ny style pizza places where the cheese is just melted.
I have tried it many different ways, but this one is my favorite.
This was done with a mix of cheese I had laying around in my fridge, but I prefer a blend of 50/50 grande mozz.
cheers.

 

Online scott123

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2010, 10:48:30 PM »
In my personal opinion... if I could once again have an oven that would do 1000-1100, I would prefer that... but, in my case, It's just not going to happen again unless I build something out back, which I might do at one point.

Well, what I'm trying to say is that with the right stone, you can mimic a 1000-1100 deg oven. No cleaning cycle tricks, no special oven, just a hefty stone (that I was able to score for $25) in an old GE oven preheated to 550.  I have my own long term goals to build something out back, but, in the mean time, I wouldn't part with my 3 1/2 minute pies if my life depended on it.

To each his own, I guess.

Offline abilak

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2010, 09:32:28 AM »
Do you know of any places where I could get an 18" stone that is thicker? Or perhaps a 19" square stone so that I can make pizza's right on the peel if I want? I was on the FibraMent site and they provide conflicting information. Their stones are 3/4" thick. I am not sure how thick mine is, but I wonder if it would be any improvement at all.

Taken from the FibraMent site FAQ:

"9. Do thicker stones improve baking performance?

    Thermal conductivity or heat transfer is independent of thickness.  Baking stones provide direct bottom heat to your food items.  Thickness of the stone does not change the heat transfer rate.

    For baking stones to work properly the heat must be conducted evenly.  Some baking stones conduct heat too quickly while other stones conduct heat too slowly.  FibraMent's heat transfer rate is 4.63 Btu.in/hr.sqft.F tested to ASTM Standard C177-95.  This is the ideal heat transfer rate.

    Thicker stones (1", 1 1/2" and 2") are primarily used in commercial ovens where additional strength and recovery times are required.  I've had the same 3/4" thick stone in my home oven for many years and it's still in excellent shape."

Online scott123

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2010, 12:23:49 PM »
With evasive answers like that, Fibrament should probably run for office :)

They're throwing around a lot of scientific jargon to make it look like what they're saying has heft, but, in reality, it's just a silly attempt to try to make people believe that every non fibrament stone is garbage.  If less conductive stones are inferior for baking that would denigrate every firebrick in every Neapolitan oven across the globe. All ceramic stones are insulators, and, by nature, fairly poor conductors. That's what makes them take forever to get hot and that's why they stay hot for a long time.  The range in conductivity between ceramic materials is pretty negligible.  Any stone can make phenomenal pizza as long as it has sufficient thermal mass.

Fibrament basically doesn't want their non commercial customers to feel like they're getting something less than spectacular, so they pat them on the head and do a little misdirection about heat transfer.  The reality, though, is that the thinner/smaller the stone, the less thermal mass it contains, the less heat it stores, the longer it takes to bake a pizza. It's not rocket science.

I've cooked pizza with 3/8" stones, 1/2" stones and 2" stones, all preheated to 550.  As you go larger, the cooking time decreases dramatically. That's why my local pizzeria (with what is most likely a 2" slab) can cook a pizza in 6 minutes or less with an oven preheated to only 450.

Looking at the picture of your stone in the other thread, it looks like it could be either 1/2" or 3/4".  A square 18" wide 1" thick stone would shorten your cooking times/improve your oven spring a bit, but a 1 1/2" thick stone would take you into real pizzeria oven thermal mass territory. Both would probably cost you a truckload of money, though.

A cheaper option would be half width firebricks (1 1/8" thick). Most brick places carry them. I've worked with 2" firebricks (that are heavy as lead), but never the half width ones.  I've always kind of wondered whether or not the half width bricks would shift during launching, but I'm reasonably certain that won't be an issue.

Presently, I'm getting 3 1/2 minute pies from a 17" x 20" x 1 1/4" soapstone slab that I picked up as a remnant from a local soapstone supplier for $25.  I've used just about every possible material for baking stones and put in years of research and I can say, without a doubt, for the home pizza baker, nothing comes close to soapstone. It's the Rolls Royce of baking stones. It's very dense/stores a tremendous amount of heat and is thermally almost indestructible.

Here are two suppliers for Florida:

http://www.creativesoapstone.com/contact.html
http://www.doradosoapstone.com/_DS-Florida/index.htm

All soapstone places have remnants.  It's just a matter of finding an 18" square.  If you find a piece that's slightly larger than you need, maybe they'll cut it for you.  I wouldn't recommend trying to cut it yourself, unless you know someone with a tile saw.

If these places are too far away, look in the phonebook under soapstone contractors. There's a good chance one of them will have a scrap piece lying around that they'll sell to you.

Offline abilak

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2010, 12:27:52 PM »
Ok, thanks for the info on the stones and your insight. I'm going to check some places out and see what they have. Luckily I have a 30" sliding tile saw, so if it were larger, I could cut it. I'll let you guys know if I find something at a decent price.

Online scott123

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Re: 2 recent pies
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2010, 07:31:03 PM »
A 30" sliding tile saw?! Nice!!!

You're in much better stead than I was.  I ending up taking a hammer and chisel to my stone, something that, looking back, I kind of wish I hadn't done.  It's still structurally sound, but it's a bit cosmetically challenged.

I don't know if there's regional fluctuations in pricing, but the place I went to charged $10 a square foot for remnants. Hopefully that's pretty standard. Also, it's probably a Jersey thing, but my supplier wouldn't look through their stock and tell me over the phone if they had a remnant my size, so I had to take my chances and make the 45 minute drive. Hopefully you'll be dealing with someone friendlier.

A word of warning- 18" x 18" x 1 1/4" is going to be pretty hefty.  My GE Hotpoint shelf is happy as a clam holding the weight of my stone, but if I owned a gas oven, I'd probably toss that bad boy on the floor and leave it there.  I've known numerous gas oven owners that have gone this route.  Not only does it free up all the shelves for regular baking, but it promotes even browning on baked goods and it gives you a worry free place to store the stone. It's hard to tell from the photo of your oven how flat the floor is, but you might want to scope it out before you buy the slab. If you do go the floor route, I'd recommend pretty much matching the interior dimensions of the oven- that seems to work the best for even browning of other baked goods.

Oh, and, if the price is right, you might want to consider buying two >:D Broiling is all good and nice, but having a stone ceiling makes the process so much easier. I'm presently ceiling-less. I'm not going to make another 45 minute drive, but if I were able to turn back the clock... I might have bought two.  Maybe. I think if I ever had plans to entertain, I might want to do two pies at once, but as I bake now, Soapstone might be overkill for just a ceiling- cheaper firebrick will give me plenty of radiant heat.

Good luck!