• #81 by DKM on 20 Dec 2004
  • Looks tasty.

    Did some good work there, son.

  • #82 by Pete-zza on 20 Dec 2004
  • Lars,

    The tricky part in using the screen in the toaster oven is to be sure the bottom of the pizza doesn't brown too quickly or burn.  In retrospect, I should have put the toaster oven rack another notch up, because the bottom of the screened pizza was darker than the other pizza.  Moving the pizza up a notch in the toaster oven might have solved that problem, but doing so might also have changed the required bake time.  For the stone, the lowest rack worked fine.   One of the benefits of making the mini pizzas in the toaster oven is that you don't have to heat up your regular oven (when it is working right) just to make a small pizza when a snack is all you really want.   If you decide to quadruple the amount of dough, you may also choose to use your stand mixer rather than resorting to hand kneading entirely.

    As for the method of layering the pizza ingredients, I don't have a set sequence.  For the New York and similar style pizzas I usually put the sauce down first, followed by the meltable cheeses (e.g., mozzarella or a mozzarella/provolone blend), and the rest of the toppings and any grated hard cheeses.  More recently, after seeing a program on pizzas on the Travel channel, I have been playing around with putting the cheese down first, followed by the sauce and the remaining toppings.  Either way, if you put a lot of toppings, especially wet ones like vegetables, or watery cheeses like fresh mozzarella cheese, you run the risk of the crust finishing baking before the toppings are done.  If you saute the mushrooms first in a little bit of olive oil or butter (to provide a barrier against moisture), and salt them before cooking to extract some of the moisture, that should help.  Not overdoing the toppings quantity-wise is usually also a good idea.  

    You are right that the low temperature of your toaster oven works against getting the pizza just right.  Excess water moisture is a problem even for professional pizza operators when their customers order too many high-moisture toppings.  You will have to play around with the small pizzas to get a feel for how the physics of your toaster oven will affect the results of the pizzas you make in it.   One of the things you might consider, especially if you place the screen on a higher rack position in your toaster oven, is to turn on the broiler.  This might help drive off some of the excess moisture and also provide some beneficial browning of the crust and melting of the fresh mozzarella cheese.  

    You might even experiment with the procedure you mentioned, i.e., pre-baking the pizza to melt the cheese and then adding the sauce and remaining toppings.  

    I look forward to the results of your experiments.


  • #83 by Pete-zza on 03 Jan 2005
  • On New Year's Eve, while I was visiting friends in Massachusetts, I was called upon to make a variety of pizzas (a total of eight) to celebrate the approach of the new year.  I had decided in advance that three of these should be 16-inch NY style pizzas based on Tom L.'s NY style dough recipe.  Since I did not have any high-gluten flour on hand, I decided to use bread flour (King Arthur brand) and supplement it with some Arrowhead vital wheat gluten (VWG) to approximate the protein content of KA's Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour.  The recipe I chose to use, and many of the techniques employed, were similar to what I had reported on in an earlier posting at this thread (Reply #65, at,576.msg5635.html#msg5635). 

    The ingredients for the recipe I used were as follows:

    KA bread flour (100%), 12.45 oz. (about 2 3/4 c.)
    Arrowhead VWG (2.5%), 0.31 oz. (just shy of 1 T.)
    Water (62%), 7.70 oz. (just shy of 1 c.), plus 1 T. (to compensate for the VWG)
    Salt (1.75%), 0.22 oz. (about 1.10 t.)
    Oil (1%), 0.12 oz. (about 3/4 t.)
    IDY (0.25%), 0.031 oz. (between 1/4 and 1/3 t.)
    Sugar, 0.07 oz. (about 1/2 t.)

    To prepare the dough, I used my friends' variable-speed Braun food processor.  I combined all the dry ingredients for each dough ball in the bowl of the processor, gradually added the water (which I had temperature-adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of about 80 degrees F), and then pulsed the dough until it came together into a rough ball between the blade and the sides of the bowl, about 2 to 3 minutes.  I then added the oil and kneaded for about another minute or two.  The dough was a bit sticky at this point, so I removed it from the bowl and kneaded it a bit more by hand on a work surface using a small amount of bench flour--just until the dough was a bit tacky but elastic and smooth.  I oiled the dough with a little bit of olive oil, placed it into a plastic storage bag, and then into the refrigerator, where it stayed for the next 24 hours or so.  The weight of each dough ball was about 21 ounces. 

    About 2 hours before I planned to shape the three dough balls into pizza rounds, I removed them from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature (which was around 64 degrees F).  I then shaped the dough balls, one by one, into 16-inch rounds.  The dough was extemely easy to shape and stretch into pizza rounds.  Each was dressed, baked on a 16-inch pizza screen on an upper oven rack for several minutes and then for a final few minutes on a 15-inch round pizza stone that had been preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degrees F.  Because each pizza was topped differently, as noted below, I used the color of the crusts to determine when to shift from the screen to the stone.  In my case, when the dough for a pizza started to turn light brown at the rim (which was puffy at this point) and the cheeses were just starting to turn color, I shifted the pizza to the stone for the final few minutes of baking, or until I got the desired top and bottom crust color and cheese browning.  All three pizzas turned out very well and were well received by the guests, notwithstanding their less than sober condition.

    What came as a surprise was how well the crust made from the above recipe could hold up to a lot of toppings, without getting soggy or collapsing from the weight of the toppings.  The first pizza had the fewest toppings.  It was a simple yet classic pepperoni pizza with a roughly 50/50 blend of whole milk mozzarella and provolone cheeses, a simple 6-in-1 tomato sauce (tomatoes right out of the can), a few dried herbs and fresh basil, a drizzling of olive oil, and freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (after baking).  The second pizza was a sausage pizza with all of the other toppings mentioned above (other than the pepperoni) and also a decent scattering of diced green peppers and onions, and some grated Asiago cheese.  The final pizza, which I dubbed the "Kitchen Sink" pizza, had all of the toppings and cheeses mentioned above for the other two pizzas (including both pepperoni and sausage) plus a fair amount of sauteed mushrooms and several dollops of fresh mozzarella cheese in addition to the other cheeses.  I was afraid that I was about to enter the failure zone with a real mess on my hands, and even some of the guests were starting to fret as I loaded on the toppings.  But, remarkably, the crust rose to the challenge and the final pizza turned out to be the most popular of the three pizzas.

  • #84 by Lars on 25 Jan 2005
  • Peter, I finally got the unglazed ceramic tile for my toaster oven.  I bought three 12" square tiles (actual size 11-3/4" sq) from Bourget Bros in Santa Monica, and I left one whole to use as a top stone for my regular oven.  One I used for experimenting on how to cut tiles, and the third I cut 2" off one end so that it will fit in my toaster oven.  So the small one is 11-3/4" x 9-3/4" and will easily accommodate the 9" diameter pizza screens I have.  I also have a couple of 9" diameter aluminum pizza pans, but I'm not sure if I should use them or not.  Do you recommend baking on screens, directly on the tile, or with a pan?

    I took advice from your recipes in the dough I started today, but I did make one substitution; i.e., one part semolina flour to 4 parts bread flour.  I like the texture I get from using part semolina flour.  If possible, I will take photos tomorrow, when I finish the dough.
  • #85 by Pete-zza on 25 Jan 2005
  • Lars,

    NY style pizzas are invariably baked on stones (hearth) or screens, or a combination of both, soI wouldn't tend to use pans if you have the stone or screens. I think you may find it most helpful to use either the stone (tiles) or a screen, rather than both, because of the limited space in your toaster oven and limited maneuverability. Make enough dough for two pizzas and try baking one directly on the tile (preheated) and one using the screen alone (using a higher rack position to avoid overbaking). One of the advantages of using the screen, of course, is that it is easier to place in the toaster oven. Otherwise, you have to find a mechanism for transferring the unbaked pizza into the oven squarely on top of the stone. In my case, I used a vegetable prep sheet that was of just the right size and shape.

    You should be OK adding some semolina flour to the recipe. However, since semolina is a finely divided form of flour with a fair amount of protein and gluten formation, you may find it necessary in future adaptations to add a bit more water to properly hydrate the flour mixture. You might also inch up the yeast a bit. But, whatever you do, the final dough should still be a bit tacky to the touch. I recently visited a pizza operator in Massachusetts and he routinely uses semolina in his NY style doughs, and the crust is of very high quality. He uses a roughly 50/50 blend, in equal volume amounts (he uses the same number of scoops of each flour).

    I look forward to your results.

  • #86 by Lars on 26 Jan 2005
  • I'm baking it tonight, and so I'll let you know.  BTW, my toaster oven is pretty large inside, and so there is plenty of room for both screen and tile.  I'd been using a screen on the pizza stone in my regular oven because there isn't enough room for me to use the peel efficiently.  I should get one with a shorter handle because my kitchen is too narrow.  I have a cookie sheet that I can use as a peel, and so I somewhat regret buying the peel, as the cookie sheet works better, and it will also work with the toaster oven.

    I did have to add a bit more water to the dough because of the semolina, and I made sure that the dough was tacky to the touch.  I have quite a bit of experience with getting the water proportion correct, and I did add a bit more yeast as well, since my own recipe calls for more, and I was making something in between your recipe and one I had used before.  I think I'll get something fairly decent this time, but I'll let you know the exact results, in case it needs more fine tuning.
  • #87 by Pete-zza on 27 Jan 2005
  • Fellow member friz78 recently indicated an interest on another thread in a recipe for a NY style dough based on a high hydration level and sufficient to make a 16-inch pizza. Since I did not have the precise recipe on hand, I took the basic Lehmann recipe I have been working with over the past few months and developed a new formulation for the 16-in size. I chose to use a relatively high hydration level of 63% (the weight of the water relative to the weight of flour) and instant dry yeast (IDY) at the high end of the range (0.25%) specified by the basic Lehmann recipe. To calculate the amount of dough that would be needed to make the 16-inch size, I used the expression Pi x R x R x TF, where Pi is equal to 3.14, R is the radius of the pizza (8 inches) and TF is the thickness factor for a typical NY style dough. I used 0.105 for the thickness factor. Using this expression, the amount of dough needed to make the 16-inch pizza is around 21 oz (3.14 x 8 x 8 x 0.105 = 21 oz.). Here is the formulation I ended up with, together with the baker's percents:

    High-gluten flour (100%), 12.65 oz. or just under 3 c. (King Arthur Sir Lancelot preferred)
    Water (63%), 7.95 oz., or around 1 c.
    Salt (1.75%), 0.20 oz., or a bit over 1 t.
    Oil (1%), 0.13 oz., or a bit over 3/4 t.
    IDY (0.25%), 0.03 oz., or about 1/3 t.

    The above recipe can be practiced using either a stand mixer, food processor, or even by hand (although the latter will require a lot more effort). Details of the techniques to be used have been reported elsewhere in this thread. Because the volume measurements specified above are estimates (albeit the best I could come up with), if the volume measurements are used it may also be necessary to make minor adjustments to the amounts of flour and/or water to achieve the proper consistency for the dough (smooth, elastic and a bit tacky) when it is ready to go into the refrigerator. I recommend at least 24 hours of refrigeration, and a 1-2 hour warmup period after coming out of the refrigerator before shaping. If several dough balls are made, they should last another 2-3 hours at normal room temperature. If a longer retardation period is desired, say, 48-72 hours, then I would suggest using cooler water (I normally temperature adjust to get a finished dough temperature of around 80 degrees F), a bit of added sugar, or both. (The cooler water slows down the fermentation process and the sugar provides food for the yeast to keep the fermentation process going.)

  • #88 by friz78 on 27 Jan 2005
  • Unreal.  Fantastic.  Thanks - can't wait to get started.  Should have some pictures by the end of the weekend.
  • #89 by friz78 on 27 Jan 2005
  • Pete,
    I read some interesting conversation earlier in this thread about oven temperature.  What are your thoughts.  Lately, I have found a 550 oven with my stone at the bottom of the oven to be too hot and burning the bottom of the pizza before the top is cooked.  I am leaning toward a 475-500 degree oven temperature this time around.  Your thoughts?
  • #90 by Lars on 27 Jan 2005
  • I made three 9" pizzas yesterday, which I baked in my toaster oven using the ceramic tile and screens.  I tried two different methods of shaping the dough - one by stretching it by hand, which gave me a very thin center and a somewhat thick edge, and the other by rolling it out with a rolling pin, which gave me a uniform thickness.  The first method worked better and gave me the closest to a NY style pizza that I've been able to make yet.  I really like the NY style much better on a small pizza because after I cut the pizza into fourths, it was very easy to fold the pieces over (approximately in half) with the point going to the crust, and this made it very easy to eat, although it was somewhat like Calzone.  The ones with even thickness did not fold easily. 

    I agree that oven temp is critical.  I baked these at 450 in my toaster oven, and they tended to cook faster on the top than on the bottom.  I would have liked for the bottom to be a bit crisper, and I think a temp of 500 would have been better.  I used Mozzarella di Bufala on top, and it turned brown in 10 minutes, at which time I took the pizzas out, even though the bottom could have cooked a bit more.  In the past, I have baked the crust with no toppings (or just cheese) for a few minutes before adding toppings so that the crust would be cooked enough and the toppings not burned.
  • #91 by Pete-zza on 27 Jan 2005
  • Lars,

    Congratulations on your initial efforts to make NY style pizza in a toaster oven. I never thought we'd find ourselves talking about making NY style pizzas that way, but you've confirmed that it can be done. With practice, you will get to know your toaster oven better (who'd ever thought we'd utter those words either) and be able to improve upon the finished product and technique. Who knows? With time, you may become our resident expert on toaster oven New York style pizzas. Just don't ask me for a recipe for NY style pizza hors d' oeuvres or cocktail canapes :).

  • #92 by friz78 on 27 Jan 2005
  • I just got done with preparing the 63% hydration recipe you posted earlier Pete (for 16 inch pizza).
    I don't know if it was the hydration %, the greatly reduced kneading time, the KA Sir Lancelot flour, the weight measurements, or a little of everything, but I am so encouraged by the way this dough came together.  Like night and day from my last attempt.  As evidence of the difference between weight measurements and volume - the water that you recommended for this recipe was "approximately 1 cup".  When I got done with weighing it, it was almost 1.25 cups.  That seems like quite a big differential to me.  I am sold on weight measurements for accuracy and ability to duplicate recipes that you like.
  • #93 by Pete-zza on 27 Jan 2005
  • friz,

    There are many members of this forum who are far more knowledgeable than I about oven temperatures and how to coax the most out of the lowly home oven.

    When I first started my study of pizzas it was with the Neapolitan style pizzas, which called for very hot ovens and very hot pizza stones. So, I got used to cranking the oven up to its highest temperature--around 500-550 degrees F. When I started making New York style pizzas, I also cooked them on a very hot stone. However, since the largest pizza my stone (and my peel) could accommodate was 14 inches, the only way I saw to make a larger pizza, apart from replacing my pizza stone with tiles covering a larger area, was to use a screen. I chose a 16-inch screen since that is the largest size that will fit in my oven with the door closed, and the 16-inch size is also fairly typical of a NY style pizza as one might find in NYC. I would dress the pizza dough on the screen and put the screen on an upper rack position in the oven. Once the edge of the pizza started to swell and turn brown, I would slide the pizza off of the screen and onto the stone (at the lowest rack position) for another couple of minutes to get the increased top and bottom crust browning. I found that I liked the results better using this method than when I used a screen all by itself. But I will also confess that I haven't tried to master using the screen apart from the stone, as many on this forum, such as Randy, for example, have done. My recollection is that Randy put his stone in the closet.

    As for temperatures when using the screen, I have used the hottest oven temperature I can muster and I have tried lower temperatures. Since I don't overload my pizzas with toppings and cheeses, I have been able to get away with using the higher temperatures without having the crust done before the toppings are cooked and the cheeses are browned, or vice versa. There are some experts, notably Tom Lehmann, who believe that most people, including professional pizza operators, bake their pizzas at too high an oven temperature. My recollection is that he advocates a bake temperature of around 435-450 degrees F for most types of pizzas. He points out that at the lower temperatures a pizza will bake more evenly and thoroughly and will have nicer browning and taste without sacrificing other desirable qualities of the pizza, such as softness, texture and chewiness of the crust.

    As with any home oven, the user has to get to learn the idiosyncracies of the oven. This can come only with time and experience. Ultimately you will find the sweet spot and thereafter your results will be more consistent and reliable. Learning your oven also means having to be attentive and scrupulously watching what is happening as your pizza bakes. It's like Yogi Berra once said: You can observe a lot about something by just watching.

    In the future, I would like to try one of Steve's two-stone methods, in conjunction with using the broiler, to try to get a more authentic-looking crust.

  • #94 by Pete-zza on 27 Jan 2005
  • friz,

    I went back to my digital scale and weighed 7.95 oz. again, and got about 1 cup again on a volume basis. The way I converted the water from weight to volume for purposes of the recipe was to put a glass Pyrex one-cup measuring cup on my scale, tared out the weight of the measuring cup, and added water to the cup until 7.95 oz. showed on the readout of the scale. The level of the water as best I could eyeball it looking at eye level was at just about the 1 cup marking. I use the Pyrex measuring cup because it is intended for volume measurements. For dry ingredients, I use metal measuring cups and spoons intended to measure dry ingredients. I have seen conversion data for water that says that one cup of water weighs a bit over 8 oz, so I don't think I am far off the mark, given that my scale has an accuracy of 0.05 oz. and it is almost impossible to discern the precise water level marking. But I think you can see why weight is more reliable than volume and how difficult it is to convert weight measurements to volume measurements.

    I can't account for your reading, unless I was wrong in my approach, my scale is off, or you are using an analog scale (I don't recall whether yours was analog or digital). It would be nice to get the answer.


  • #95 by friz78 on 27 Jan 2005
  • Peter,

    I was using an old plastic measuring cup that makes Pyrex look like state of the art measuring equipment.   My situation is more of an example of how UNRELIABLE many measuring tools can be, especially old, outdated ones.  This old plastic cup that I used was so inaccurate it was incredible.  You're absolutely correct - in the end, the scale doesn't lie...
  • #96 by JAG on 28 Jan 2005
  • Guys,

    This is probably just some almost useless info. that for some reason has remained deep in my memory, and won't go away, but water volume to weight ratio is. 1 oz. H2O volume = 1.03833(and some change) oz. H2O weight. If all the other ingredients aren't measured out to this detail, carrying out this many decimal points is probably pointless though, not to mention a real challenge.

  • #97 by Steve on 28 Jan 2005
  • So what you're saying is that 1 cup (8 oz.) of water weighs 8.3 oz.  ;)
  • #98 by JAG on 28 Jan 2005
  • Steve,
    That would be correct, 8.3oz. per cup, if anyone wants to split hairs. I usually use the eyeball method since my other ingredients aren't measured out to the extreme. :)
  • #99 by Randy on 28 Jan 2005
  • But that is only at a given water temperature and since everything is relative with the exception of speed approaching that of light a cup of water is still a cup of water.  At right about boiling a cup weighs 8 oz.

  • #100 by JAG on 28 Jan 2005
  • Exactly!!?? ;D, and since I don't usually take the time to be that careful with my measurements I say damn the torpedos, and hope a few tenths of an oz. (of such a large measurement) won't make or break my dough. A few tenths off could be catastrophic when measuring the smaller ingredients though, so that I do with caution.