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Author Topic: Al taglio romana with cheap all purpose flour  (Read 878 times)

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Online Yuvalvv

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Al taglio romana with cheap all purpose flour
« on: February 25, 2024, 12:20:43 PM »
I've been wanting to experiment with this style of pizza for a long time, but with one specific goal: using only the cheapest all-purpose flour I can find (10.8% protein, with a pretty elastic gluten characteristics), to demonstrate one can get good results without using "fancy" (Italian) flours (which may help get these results, but are not mandatory).

Below are 3 pictures of 3 different bakes. The 3rd one is pretty much the result I was aiming for. The same flour was used, with the difference between bakes being a slightly different work process. 1 & 3 were baked in a Lloyd Detroit pan, and the 2nd was baked in a standard oven tray (black aluminum).
All doughs were 75% HR and opened the 'traditional' way (opened on the counter, transferred to the pan and straight in the oven). 1 & 3 were par-baked 'naked' finished with sauce & cheese, #2 was par baked with sauce and then finished with cheese. The dough was on the thicker side (0.14 TF; traditionally, the "maximum" TF for this style is 0.137).

Here are my conclusions for this specific style:
In order to get the irregular, big 'alveoli' in the crumb, the dough (gluten) needs to be on the (very) extensible side. Since this flour is on the elastic side (and 'only' 10.8% gluten), I ended up using 32% poolish in the 3rd bake in order to make the dough more extensible (the strengthening effect of the acidity from the poolish didn't hurt either).
This can also be done by doing a long autolyse (couple of hours) or using a flour with more extensible gluten (i.e. Italian flours).
Also, to get a more extensible gluten I did a minimal knead (2 minutes by hand) with no folds - biochemical gluten development all the way (8 hours RT fermentation).

This one is obvious, but to maximize volume, bar baking with minimal toppings (or best, 'naked') is a must. Straight baking with toppings from the get-go will result in a flat pizza.

Regarding fermentation, my conclusion is this style benefits from a moderately overfermented dough.

And lastly, probably the most important part - opening the dough and transferring it to the pan. Finishing with an even, same-height dough is the most important (and challenging) part of making this pizza.
Apart from the pretty much straight-forward (but complicated) "massaging" of the dough in order to expand it, I found that the most challenging part was to open in just enough so it wont 'elongate' more during transfer, i.e. - open it too "long" (which means 70%~ of the pan length), and the dough becomes bigger than the pan in length, which makes for an uneven dough distribution and a very bad end product. I have found that opening it 50% of the pan length does the trick (the width is not a problem because during transfer the dough is "stretched" only in length). Also bear in mind that I used a pretty small pan for this style (14x10") so this was crucial (I guess it becomes less of a problem when using a very big dedicated al taglio trays).

Obviously this can be much improved (and pretty easily also). But truth be told, I don't find this pizza style worth the effort, and I'll probably never make it again; I didn't really enjoy eating it - as expected, the bottom was super crispy and the crumb light and airy, the dough tasted like any other RT long fermented dough, but the overall eating experience was meh). But for me it's challenge accomplished, and I hope my conclusions help others trying to make this style :pizza:
« Last Edit: February 25, 2024, 06:44:19 PM by Yuvalvv »
My pizza blog: www.pizzablab.com

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Al taglio romana with cheap all purpose flour
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2024, 12:50:40 PM »
You definitely don't need to seek out special flour to make great pizza. Practice and experience is far more important.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
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Online Yuvalvv

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Re: Al taglio romana with cheap all purpose flour
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2024, 02:58:52 PM »
 ^^^ My point exactly. Process >>>>>> flour (or 'recipe')
My pizza blog: www.pizzablab.com

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