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Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #440 on: September 03, 2011, 11:09:59 PM »
RE: Using a cooler and the walls sweating. Was the lid closed all the way or tight?  What if you try cracking the lid with a spacer to allow the moisture to escape.  Would that work? Amazing looking pies Omid.  Did you take any pictures of the crumb?  Can you do that next time you are there? Any guesses at their hydration level? Thank you for sharing your experience.
Chau

Dear Chau, your insatiable curiosity amazes and inspires me! I would not be surprised if one day in feature I come to learn that you, like Pasquale Makishima, have won the pizza championship in Naples. In regard to the Coleman cooler that I used long time ago, its lid was closed all the way. Cracking the lid with a spacer is definitely an option, which I implemented many times to increase the interior temperature. However, if I remember correctly, the iced-water bottles inside the cooler kept causing aggregation of moisture along the walls and the floor inside the cooler. I remember that sometimes the excessive sweating inside the proofing tray itself would annoyingly change my dough recipe in terms of the hydration percentage. Naturally, the sweat is contingent upon a number of factors: humidity levels, temperatures, and etc. in the room and inside the cooler. In respect to the Bruno pizzas, I neglected to take pictures of the crumbs, which were quite soft and fluffy, like a croissant. One piece that I saved, keeping it inside my refrigerator, is still maintaining its softness. I will take some crumb pictures next time. At last, in terms of the Bruno dough hydration level, my best educated guess would be equal to or over 60% or 61% but lower than 64%.

By the way, I recall reading somewhere that you were told the charred bubbles and/or spots on Neapolitan cornicione are signs of "over-fermentation". To my thinking, that defies the logic of fermentation, depending on how the term is defined. I am suspicious of an over-fermented dough engendering wholesome blisters within a 60-second bake in a Neapolitan oven. Please allow me to explain as far as my limited knowledge can guide me forward in this highly complex subject, which I had never consciously given it a whole lot of thought. And, the model that I will propound below probably won't be free of flaws. Hence, I would appreciate any efforts that would ameliorate or rule out the model.

The two principal chemical constituents of wheat flour are "starches" and "proteins". Basically, once a dough (composed of water, wheat flour, salt, and fermentative agent) is formed, the natural amylase enzyme of the flour is activated under proper conditions such as the right range of temperatures and hydrations. Once activated, the amylase enzyme commences to convert the starch content (the complex sugars) of the flour into simple sugars (such as dextrin and maltose), which are consumed and digested by the yeast cells in the process of fermentation. In fact, the simple sugars fuel the process of fermentation. To be more particular, the starch is composed of long carbonic chains of molecules. The amylase enzyme breaks down the molecular structure of these long chains into shorter chains, known as "dextrin" and "maltose" sugars. The maltose, consumed by the yeast, contributes to the process of fermentation, and the dextrin conduces the baking process. Hence, the amount of amylase enzyme present in flour is quite critical, while the conversion of starch into simple sugars plays a pivotal role in fermenting the dough and baking it into pizza crusts. Deficient amount of amylase in dough can lead to slow fermentation, whereas high amount of amylase can result in over-fermented dough that becomes stiff and gummy.

Now, what is the role of salt in relation to fermentation and charred bubbles? Salt seems to play an evasive role in the crust formation and coloration. Inasmuch as salt slows down the enzymatic processes (essentially decreasing the rate at which amylase converts the starch into simple sugars) and inasmuch as salt reduces the fungal activities (essentially diminishing the rate at which yeast cells consume and digest the simple sugars), by the time a pizzaiolo feels the dough balls have been fermented enough (before stretching them into dough discs) hopefully there are enough residual sugars (unprocessed by the yeasts) left in the dough discs that can form those elusive bubbles on the cornicione! In a saltless dough, the yeast would rapidly deplete the sugars; hence, the dough would become bloodless and produces pale, albino crusts.

Based on the above premises, I hypothesize that a Neapolitan dough that contains adequate levels of the simple sugars—in addition to containing certain hydration levels, density levels, and reposed glutinous tension levels, which are beyond the amount of time available to me to explore at the moment—is a necessary precondition for formation of the charred bubbles, spots, and/or dots on the cornicione. When a dough disc is subject to intense heat in a Neapolitan oven, the residual sugars that are left unprocessed in the cornicione become caramelized and more kinetic (mobile). Hence, they congregate together (like drops of water attracting each other) and turn, under the intense heat, into charred blisters, spots, and/or dots in various locations on the landscape of the cornicione and crust. (As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche says, "Come, assist, complete, bring together what belongs together. . . !") An over-fermented dough may not have enough residual sugar left in it to turn into blissful blisters.

A couple of days ago, I did two ad hoc, not fully scientific, experiments that may shed some light on this issue. The first experiment involved baking 2 small dough discs made with the same exact recipes, portions, and techniques. (See the pictures below). The left dough disc was over-fermented at room temperature for 60 hours while the right dough disc was fermented at room temperature for 10 hours. Both dough discs were simultaneously exposed to 500° F for 5 minutes. Notice the over-fermented dough, in the picture below, did not brown much, perhaps because all the sugars were depleted by the yeasts during fermentation.

The second experiment involved making two piles of a mixture of dextrin and maltose (50/50), except the left pile contained few drops of distilled water. Both piles were simultaneously subjected to 500° F for 5 minutes. In that duration, the water quickly absorbed all the sugar particles in the left pile into one almost amorphous mass which began to boil in an agitated manner, while the particles of sugars in the right pile began to liquify, caramelize, and pull one another into a single, globular, tar-like mass. The smell of the smoke caused by the reaction had a certain resemblance to the smell of a charred pizza crust. Perhaps, this is a kind of reaction that underlies the leopard marks on a Neapolitan cornicione. Again, here I have completely ignored the roles of dough hydration, dough density, gluten networks that harbor water inside the dough, and air flow throughout the crust. Yet, it appears to me that the role of the simple sugars in dough might be of primary concern in formation of the charred bubbles. Have a great Labor Day weekend!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 09:22:18 PM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #441 on: September 03, 2011, 11:12:11 PM »
Continuation:
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #442 on: September 03, 2011, 11:33:21 PM »
Perhaps you were sincere in your comments about me someday winning the pizza championship in Naples, but it gave me a great laugh.  Thank you for that.  I can not see that ever happening, since pizza is but a hobby for me and not my life's work.  I am curious, but that is about it.   

You on the other have a much greater chance than I.  You are not only skillfull in dough and pizza making, but also intelligent, extremely well read, articulate, and a gentleman.  I think I can safely speak on behalf of many here in saying that your posts are always a treasure to read. 

Very interesting experiments Omid.  Perhaps if you get a chance or inclination you can show 2 doughs baked with vastly differing levels of salt.  Perhaps no salt vs 3% to show the difference.  I have a wedding to attend this weekend, but can do this experiment as soon as I get some time. 

The pictures of the Motorino pies are gorgeous.  Thank you for the description of the Bruno crumb as well.  And what an excellent description it is to compare the softness to a croissant.  Aside from having the proper dough, do you think the softness also comes from the use of (aged) cake yeast?  I can only dream of one day making a crumb like that.  Perhaps then, I will enter the pizza contest.   :-D

cheers,
Chau

Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #443 on: September 03, 2011, 11:36:17 PM »
Perhaps you were sincere in your comments about me someday winning the pizza championship in Naples. . . . I am curious, that is about it.  

You on the other have a much greater chance than I.  You are not only skillfull in dough and pizza making, but also intelligent, extremely well read, articulate, and a gentleman.  I think I can safely speak on behalf of many here in saying that your posts are always a treasure to read.  

Very interesting experiments Omid.  Perhaps if you get a chance or inclination you can show 2 doughs baked with vastly differing levels of salt.  Perhaps no salt vs 3% to show the difference.  I have a wedding to attend this weekend, but can do this experiment as soon as I get some time.  

The pictures of the Motorino pies are gorgeous.  Thank you for the description of the Bruno crumb as well.  And what an excellent description it is to compare the softness to a croissant.  Aside from having the proper dough, do you think the softness also comes from the use of (aged) cake yeast?  I can only dream of one day making a crumb like that.  Perhaps then, I will enter the pizza contest.  

cheers,
Chau

Dear Chau, I was very sincere in stating that. The sky is the limit if we do not lose our childlike, as opposed to childish, curiosity! And, I thank you and others, in truth, for holding such gracious sentiments toward me and my posts. I hope they are worthy of your attention. Your marvelous attitude and mentality encourage me to put more weight on the "philosophy" (derived from the ancient Greek word philo-sophia, meaning "love of wisdom") aspect of "pizza napoletanismo", without deviating from the established topics of this forum. What could be the object of this "love" of pizza that many of us share? Often I fall back on habit and forget why I am here (not just here)! When I stated in my initial post that "I have joined this forum with one main interest in mind: amore per la pizza napoletana [love of Neapolitan pizza]", that was no understatement. I do not think many of us are here just be-cause we like to learn how to make pizza! It is crucial not to confuse means and ends. A fundamental question to ask is: What is the problem to which making pizza is supposed to be an/the answer? Perchance, the problem for many of us is of existential nature, an ontological interest in our own existence and our own time-being-in-the-world. In that sense, pizza making may manifest itself as a mean toward a higher end. Perhaps, learning how to make pizza is more about how to re-create ourselves. In this pursuit, art definitely has the power to seduce us to life!

In regard to "aged cake yeast", I did some experiments so long ago that I can not remember the results. However, what I do remember is that aged cake yeast can sometimes produce irregular, unpredictable, and/or surprising results! Sometimes desirable and sometimes not so desirable. Good night!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 12:13:57 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #444 on: September 04, 2011, 12:27:12 AM »
Thanks again for the vote of confidence.  At the rate I'm going, I may never achieve such a feat.   :-[

Chau


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Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #445 on: September 04, 2011, 11:44:47 PM »
Tonight I went to Caffé Calabria, within which dwells Pizzeria Calabria. Caffé Calabria, in my opinion, has the best coffee I have ever had in San Diego and in the US. They do not compromise! Reportedly,they adhere to the Italian traditions of coffee roasting and coffee brewing. (Yes, Calabria is also a coffee factory, a rare gem of San Diego.) Perhaps, this is the closest you can get to Italian coffee here on the US soil. If you ever happened to be there, try the cappuccino which is flawless: the proper temperature, right consistency, delicate texture, subtle flavors, divine aroma, and luscious crema on top. In respect to making coffee, Caffé Calabria has done that which I thought was impossible in the United States!

Early this year, Calabria officially added Pizza Napoletana to the menu, although the Caffe's white, bride-like, Ferrara oven has been beautifying the place since five or six years ago! Below are some pictures of the Pizza Margherita I had tonight. I wish Calabria the best in their new challenging pizza enterprise.

http://www.caffecalabria.com/
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 01:43:47 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #446 on: September 04, 2011, 11:57:46 PM »
No offense to Pizzeria Calabria Omid, but by the looks of it, I think you could show them a thing or two about producing a real Pizza Napoletana!
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 12:07:48 AM by parallei »

Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #447 on: September 05, 2011, 01:10:43 AM »
No offense to Pizzeria Calabria Omid, but by the looks of it, I think you could show them a thing or two about producing a real Pizza Napoletana!

Dear Paralleli, needless to say that Caffé Calabria roasts and brews extraordinary coffee, I think their pizzas will in time catch up to the status of their outstanding coffee. Not long ago, Calabria had a pizzaiolo, Mr. Anthony Rubino, whom reportedly had learned the trade at Kesté, but he is not with the pizzeria anymore. I had tried some of his pizzas which I liked. Below are some of his pictures at Calabria before his departure. Notice that his pizzas, in terms of appearance, look like the Del Presidente's. I remember that he seemed fond of that pizzeria in Naples. Good night!

Omid
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 02:56:43 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #448 on: September 05, 2011, 02:51:37 PM »
Here are my dough balls for tonight. About 31 hours ago, the dough was hand-inoculated, using exactly 1 gram of fresh yeast (42° F) fully dissolved in 30 grams of water (70° F) within a 10-minute period. After my right hand was fully doused with the yeast-water mixture (1 gr. + 30 gr. = 31 gr.), 29 grams of the mixture was left behind, which I discarded. Then immediately, within the 10-minute period, I used my hand (doused with the 2 grams of the yeast-water mixture) to knead the dough (71.6° F), which had been hydrated for about 75 minutes in my marble chamber at 67° F. The salt, in dry format, was added later on during kneading. Throughout the 31 hours, the interior temperature of the marble chamber was kept steadily at 67° F.

Flour      1000 gr.   (Datum Point) Caputo Pizzeria "00"
Water     560 gr.    (56%)
F. Yeast  ≈0.06 gr. (≈0.006%)
Sea Salt  28 gr.     (2.8%)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 08:53:25 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Offline Tman1

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #449 on: September 05, 2011, 05:32:11 PM »
They sure are nice looking dough balls. Has anyone queried you on where the little pizzaman came from?

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #450 on: September 05, 2011, 08:28:52 PM »
They sure are nice looking dough balls. Has anyone queried you on where the little pizzaman came from?

Dear Tman1, the little pizzaman is known in Napoli as "Pulcinella", which is akin to a good luck charm and more! Pulcinella is a mythical figure and an integral part of the Neapolitan culture. It is of obscure origin and has been integrated with many aspects of the neapolitan life, such as pizza, macaroni, music, various crafts, and etc.

According to Wikipedia:
"His [Pulcinella's] main characteristic is his extremely long nose, which resembles a beak. . . . Always dressed in white with a black mask (hence conciliating the opposites of life and death), Pulcinella stands out. . . . According to Pierre-Louis Duchartre, his traditional temperament is to be mean, vicious, and crafty: his main mode of defense is to pretend to be too stupid to know what's going on, and his secondary mode is to physically beat people."

My Pulcinella statuette was given to me as a gift in Napoli some years ago. I used to have a much larger one, standing on his feet and holding out a Pizza Margherita on his palm. When Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano opened back in 2009 in San Diego, I gave it as a good-luck gift to the pizzaiolo (Mr. Peter) of the pizzeria. His pizzas are scrumptious!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 04:16:20 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Offline wheelman

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #451 on: September 05, 2011, 11:00:29 PM »
thanks Omid for the pucinella details.  i have often wondered about that.  He shows up often.
bill

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #452 on: September 05, 2011, 11:51:08 PM »
Here are my dough balls for tonight. About 31 hours ago, the dough was hand-inoculated, using exactly 1 gram of fresh yeast (42° F) fully dissolved in 30 grams of water (70° F) within a 10-minute period. After my right hand was fully doused with the yeast-water mixture (1 gr. + 30 gr. = 31 gr.), 29 grams of the mixture was left behind, which I discarded. Then immediately, within the 10-minute period, I used my hand (doused with the 2 grams of the yeast-water mixture) to knead the dough (71.6° F), which had been hydrated for about 75 minutes in my marble chamber at 67° F. The salt, in dry format, was added later on during kneading. Throughout the 31 hours, the interior temperature of the marble chamber was kept steadily at 67° F.

Here are the results for the pizzas I baked tonight. . . The dough balls were sorcerous! And, the crusts were magical: buoyant, tender, aromatic, and delectable! The dough balls had such a great constitution that I used a tiny amount of flour to open and stretch-slap them into discs.

Flour      1000 gr.   (Datum Point) Caputo Pizzeria "00"
Water     560 gr.    (56%)
F. Yeast  ≈0.06 gr. (≈0.006%)
Sea Salt  28 gr.     (2.8%)

Fermentation Period: 31 hours at 67° F + 9 hrs at 67° F - 78° F
Oven: My $99-dollar humble home gas-oven at 899° F (floor)
Bake time: 65 seconds (Pizza Margherita) & 69 seconds (Pizza Pera)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 08:53:00 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #453 on: September 05, 2011, 11:52:00 PM »
Continuation:
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #454 on: September 06, 2011, 12:15:01 AM »
As always, great job Omid.  It looks like you made a few changes to your routine to get a different outcome.
One obvious change is that you baked at a much higher temp in your home oven and shortened the bake time.  How did you achieve this? Was it a difference in setup? Getting the stone closer to the broiler?

Also it sounds like this batch was hand mixed rather than with the Santos.  If so, what was the reasoning?

Thanks,
Chau
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 08:01:23 AM by Jackie Tran »

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #455 on: September 06, 2011, 07:56:51 AM »
Beautiful! I think those look like your best yet! Such a tiny amount of yeast. I must try this.
When I die, I want my remains scattered all over Disney World. Also, I don't want to be cremated!

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #456 on: September 06, 2011, 04:25:42 PM »
Hey all,
Great looking pies Omid!
I was wondering why don't you use a scale like this one:
https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00372YUKO/?tag=pmak-20
Would be much easier to work with. I have this one at home :)
kriss



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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #457 on: September 06, 2011, 07:34:32 PM »
thanks Omid for the pucinella details.  i have often wondered about that.  He shows up often.
bill

Dear Bill, you are welcome! Let me add that Pulcinella seems to transpire as a character with a status such as that of Don Juan, Faust, or Don Quixote. Like them, he has been used as a theme in literary works and musical compositions. Igor Stravinsky set the character in motion in one of his Operas. Unfortunately, Wikipedia does not disclose much about Pulcinella's origin and his relation to Pizza Napoletana and other dimensions of Neapolitan culture. You won't find many people in Naples that know about this celebrated, but elusive, character. Perhaps, Mr. Ettoro can enlighten us in this respect. Good night!
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 06:27:26 PM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #458 on: September 06, 2011, 10:09:05 PM »
Sorry! I accidentally erased whatever was the content of this post.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 08:01:20 PM by Pizza Napoletana »
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Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!
« Reply #459 on: September 07, 2011, 01:01:54 PM »
Here are my dough balls for tonight. About 31 hours ago, the dough was hand-inoculated, using exactly 1 gram of fresh yeast (42° F) fully dissolved in 30 grams of water (70° F) within a 10-minute period. After my right hand was fully doused with the yeast-water mixture (1 gr. + 30 gr. = 31 gr.), 29 grams of the mixture was left behind, which I discarded. Then immediately, within the 10-minute period, I used my hand (doused with the 2 grams of the yeast-water mixture) to knead the dough (71.6° F), which had been hydrated for about 75 minutes in my marble chamber at 67° F. The salt, in dry format, was added later on during kneading. Throughout the 31 hours, the interior temperature of the marble chamber was kept steadily at 67° F.

Flour      1000 gr.   (Datum Point) Caputo Pizzeria "00"
Water     560 gr.    (56%)
F. Yeast  ≈0.06 gr. (≈0.006%)
Sea Salt  28 gr.     (2.8%)

Beautiful! I think those look like your best yet! Such a tiny amount of yeast. I must try this.

Great looking pies Omid! I was wondering why don't you use a scale like this one:
https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00372YUKO/?tag=pmak-20
Would be much easier to work with. I have this one at home :)
kriss

Thank you gentlemen for your kind comments! It is generally held that the way dough is inoculated impacts the quality of the end product, either tenuously or substantially. Accordingly, the "hand-inoculation" technique is geared toward protracted and gradual fermentation at controlled room temperature, giving dough the possibility to cultivate flavorous complexity, gentle texture, buoyancy, and superb extensibility—without the dough becoming unpleasantly acidic, gummy, and unmanageable. And, by design, the technique does away with micro-measuring the yeast via use of instrumentation. There seems to be something magical about the warmth of human hand that enchants the yeast cells.

Dear Kriss, I thank you for the link. That is a nice scale.

Dear Ev, if you are going to try the technique, I suggest the following:
1. Before hand-inoculating the dough, make sure your "00" flour (1000 gr.) is sifted and nicely hydrated (560 gr.) for a long enough period of time (about 70 minutes or less for fresh Caputo Pizzeria) whereby there is moderate conversion of complex sugars to simple sugars, which are readily attacked by the yeast cells as food.
2. Keep the internal temperature of the hydrated flour at 70° F or 71°F.
3. Assuming that you are going to use 1000 grams of Caputo Pizzeria flour hydrated with 560 grams of water, thoroughly mix 1 gram of fresh yeast (I have never tried this with dry yeast) in 30 grams of water in a glass container, such as a shot glass, within less than 10 minutes.
4. Pour the yeast-water mixture in a concaved, non-absorbent plate.
5. Place your clean hand (one side at the time) in the mixture for about 30 seconds per side, letting your hand get soaked in the mixture while the yeasts adapt to the warmth of your hand. (You may decide to use both hands rather than just one. Alternatively, some bakers use a cheese cloth, instead of using their hands, that is soaked in a yeast-water mixture. Thereafter, the cheese cloth is wrapped around the dough for 5 to 10 minutes.)
6. Before the 10-minute period is over, fully immerse your yeast-doused hand inside the dough and keep it therein for about 3 to 5 minutes before you commence kneading.
7. After kneading the dough for a while, begin to add the sea salt—a little at a time.
8. After kneading is over, let the dough rest at room temperature (about 76°-78° F) for about 2 or 3 hours before you form your dough balls.
9. Thereafter, the dough balls need to be kept at controlled room temperature of 67° F. I personally avoid refrigerating the dough. At controlled room temperature of 67° F, the dough balls require a long time before they begin to bloom. Before the blooming occurs, you can judge the fermentation activity of your dough balls by the aroma and lively white color of the dough.  

Good day, gentlemen!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 08:18:43 AM by Pizza Napoletana »
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

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