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Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #680 on: February 13, 2009, 12:48:01 AM »
PFT and Widespread, Reading these posts about your preference of a slightly longer slower bake made very happy.  Sometimes I think that I am crazy to prefer my pizza this way, and its nice to hear some other pizza obsessed friends going down the same path.  I like a 2 minute pizza, and find that the sub minute pies (even the ones I had in naples!) are just too soft and soupy no matter how much draining I do.  Even the ones without topings  ;)    Still, Ron at Il Pizzaiolo, and UPN  do manage to turn out some pies that put a big smile on my face, but they are both clocking in at about 1.5 min now.

Widespread, I did have a different experience with the Rosso.  I know its the real thing because I went to Chefs Warehouse myself to pick up the 55lb bag.  For me this flour was very easy to deal with and made an excellent crust, maybe some of my best.  The Russo provided no soupy problems for me, but then again, I don't measure my flour anymore so I guess I could have been using an unusual hydration percentage. I actually remember it to be quite the joy to work with.  Up until that point the caputo pizzeria was the only other flour I had encountered that was so silky soft and so incredibly easy to mix, especially when mixing by hand. 

It is very difficult for me to get the Rosso, and I didn't find it so amazing that it was worth paying the shipping.   I am quite happy with the blend of King Arthur Special and Caputo pizzeria that I have been using for a number of years, and I can get them both quite close to where I live.  Its my old tried and true mixture that I judge all others by.  I am very curious if Peter finds it worth the effort to obtain the Russo on a permanent basis, especially knowing that he too is preferring the caputo/special blend these days.  I do know that If I could not blend flours, and use only one type in my medium temperature pizza, it would either be the Russo combined with maybe a bit of diastatic malt (depending on oven type) or a good American bread flour, and not a straight up caputo pizzeria.

Widespread, I am also curious about your love of the all trumps.  Just like the Russo, I had to drive quite far to find some that was unbleached and unbromated.  when I finally got around to doing comparisons with KASL, I found them to be quite similar.  Similar enough to not bother jumping through all the hoops required to obtain it.  Have you ever done a side by side comparison between the 2?
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 01:22:26 PM by scott r »

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #681 on: February 13, 2009, 12:50:43 AM »
I almost forgot to mention that another reason why a medium temp pizza is so nice is that it massively opens up the options for the types of cheeses you can use.   

Offline pftaylor

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Pizza Raquel
« Reply #682 on: February 13, 2009, 11:26:36 AM »
Itís only good if you like it.

That statement has stuck with me almost as long as ďthereís no place like homeĒ from the Wizard of Oz (my favorite movie of all time). My dad first uttered that statement to me when I was but a young lad. Itís been my mantra with respect to pizza ever since. Itís particularly useful these days when there is so much information which requires vetting floating around. I canít begin to tell you how many times some well meaning writer or chef has said to do this or use that ingredient only to find out that I didnít much like the result. Or it didnít work for my style of pizza as well as it did for their style. This is why it is important to put everything into proper context by trying it for yourself and seeing if you like it. Donít just take someone elseís word for it.

As an example, I grew up with elite NY style pizza and that style perhaps more than any other is my lens through which I try to put things into proper context. If I had grown up in Chicago or Naples then I have no doubt my baseline would be much different. 

Itís only good if you like it.

Only problem with my mantra these days is I no longer have a baseline from which to broaden my base and extend my reach. Iím out of options. My optic lens is cloudy. Like the Hubble, I should be able to see things more clearly but Iím hampered right now because Iím on my own path.

For most of my life I thought elite NY style pies were the ultimate expression of pizza. After all they were the best tasting pizza I had ever eaten. That was until I learned most use the cheapest ingredients available and lean entirely on high heat as their differentiator. Not to mention that I easily surpassed their end product not using anything more than my TEC and the collaboration here.

I then striped away the veneer of elite NY style and began examining Neapolitan pies in earnest. What I found was nearly everything I had been searching for; tradition, artisan technique, quality ingredients, a true understanding of how to make dough flavorful and lastly high heat baking. Should have been enough to last my lifetime. But it wasnít.

Itís only good if you like it.

Only problem was I genuinely didnít like it enough to stop. Maybe it is a baseline problem where Iím unable to put things into proper context because I didnít grow up with it. But the defects were too many for me to overlook or accept. I will say there are fewer defects with Neapolitan style pies than any other broad category but it can most certainly be improved based on what I have had the pleasure of eating commercially and producing privately.

The initial problem for me was the form factor was too small. My mindís eye told me that 12Ē makes a foot not a pizza. I needed bigger. The cure was worse than the disease as I quickly learned because an increase in the form factor to an acceptable size led the softness of the crust which was a benefit at 12Ē to becoming a serious defect. Classic case of action and reaction. Slice meisters shouldnít have to be told how to eat pizza. It should just a natural thing to pick it up and go for it. I have been unable to overcome this issue in my mind.

Itís only good if you like it.
 
In fact, that seemingly obvious statement is perhaps one of the more relevant in the world of pizza. I know it applies to me in spades which is why I share so many aspects of my reasoning behind my journey. Take my most recent post regarding Caputo Pizzeriaís applicability to my style of pizza making. I just donít like it (by itself) for my style of pizza.

I do however understand its place in the Neapolitan world of pizza making. Itís taken me a long time to get there in terms of knowledge and having the right tools to comfortably make that statement and really mean it. Up until the point where I had the right tools I couldnít make a call on the style. I just knew that what I had commercially was not up to what I was cranking out on my grill let alone the Raquel Oven.

So then I set my sights on blending flours to craft a crust which compensated for the defect I just knew I had to overcome. At a visceral level that just galled me. Still does frankly. I am unwilling to accept the fact that I have to blend flours to craft my perfect crust. There has to be flour out there that I can use which meets my requirements and I wonít stop until I find it.

Just to clarify my previous post, I now craft what I would call near perfect crust with a combination of Caputo Pizzeria and KA Special. I am not interested in compensating for what I consider to be a defect in the Pizzeria flour with a longer bake. Iíd rather replace the culprit than create another chain reaction. Why would I want a longer bake when I can achieve a breakthrough level of quality in anywhere from about forty-five seconds to a minute and a half of blast baking?

Actual bake time is very dependent on whether or not I use wood chips and the stabilized temperature of the Raquel Oven. Any longer of a bake and crust begins perceptibly dying in my opinion. In fact, somewhere just over the minute and a half mark, I think crust crosses over into the realm of being bready. Personal opinion but I canít stand the thickness of the crisp past that point. I have consistently been able to produce a wafer thin crisp crust at shortened bake times and I intend to find a compatible four. Or Iíll have to keep blending.

San Felice straight out of the bag is neck and neck with my blend as well and is certainly better than straight Pizzeria. Iím just hoping unblended Caputo Rosso, right out of the bag, will meet my expectations and I will relentlessly trial it until it proves to me it is incapable (like itís brother Pizzeria) of hitting the mark by itself. Giusto flour would then be in my consideration set if Rosso doesnít work but Iím a long way from waving the white flag. Heck, I havenít even started yet.

A final thought. You have no idea how delighted I was in reading the reactions to my previous post. And it is good, no great, to see how it resonated with others. My original post and subsequent member responses are emblematic of what has kept me at pizzamaking.com for years. Simply put, I enjoy the sharing of ideas for the collective gain of making better pizza. 

Itís only good if you like it.

Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything Youíd Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Cass

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #683 on: February 13, 2009, 11:44:11 AM »
^^^

Very well said!
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
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Offline MWTC

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #684 on: February 13, 2009, 12:15:19 PM »
Widespread, I am also curious about your love of the all trumps.  Just like the Russo, I had to drive quite far to find some that was unbleached and unbromated.  when I finally got around to doing comparisons with KASL, I found them to be quite similar.  Similar enough to not bother jumping through all the hoops required to obtain it.  Have you ever done a side by side comparison between the 2?

Scottr,

I have done a side by side comparison of KASL and All Trumps. My conclusion is that All Trumps is more flavorful. The KASL is more of a blank slate, to my taste. Guisto is between those two.


pftaylor,

It seem that we are on the same path.

I have come to this conclusion:

100% AllTrumps
65% Water @ 68 degrees
1/2% IDY
2% Salt
2% EVOO
2% Sugar

2 min Mix, 20 min Riposo, 5 min Knead.

Ball it up, then into the fridge for at least 48 hours.

At least a 1-1/2 hour counter rise.

I am baking in the 2stone, at 500 degree stone temperature with a air temperature of 700 degrees.

A better bake in a cutter pan or a 1-1/2inch tin plated steel pan than directly on the stone. IMHO

Try it and let us know what you think.

MWTC  :chef:

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Offline AZ-Buckeye

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #685 on: February 13, 2009, 12:33:49 PM »
Itís only good if you like it.


Itís only good if you like it.

Only problem with my mantra these days is I no longer have a baseline from which to broaden my base and extend my reach. Iím out of options. My optic lens is cloudy. Like the Hubble, I should be able to see things more clearly but Iím hampered right now because Iím on my own path.


Always enjoy your posts.  When I saw your statement quoted above, my thought was that I wish I was at the level of pizza making so that I was "on my own path" rather than trying to copy the elusive true "Neapolitan" pizza.  There was a short but good interview with Chris Bianco in the latest La Cucina Italiana magazine.  When asked if he ever received criticism from Italians for his style of Neapolitan pizza, he said: "I am not looking to recreate what I ate in Italy, but to make food that is a reflection of me and my tastes."  He also says that his pizza is not a replica of Neapolitan but an "homage."   I'm not sure if this is what you meant by being on your own path, but clearly Chris is on his own path and its not a bad thing.

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #686 on: February 13, 2009, 01:29:14 PM »
I had a discussion with Chris about this.  Basically he went down the same exact path as us, growing up with longer baked pizzas, discovering neapolitan and going the super fast route, then swinging back somewhere in the middle.  I am sure that some will say that his pizza style is dictated by his oven which is probably not capable of producing evenly baked 1 minute pizza all night long, but after spending some time with him I can assure you that if he preferred a 1 minute pizza he would have found an oven that could deliver that speed all night long.

Offline pftaylor

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Pizza Raquel
« Reply #687 on: February 13, 2009, 01:39:16 PM »
AZ-Buckeye,
You have captured my quest perfectly. It is gratifying to know that who I am at my core and therefore what my pizza stands for, is coming through my posts. Chris Bianco, like scott r, myself and others here, do share the same pizza gene. Though there aren't many like us, we know who we are and we wouldn't have it any other way.

When I met Chris a couple of years back it validated everything I stood for in the world of pizza. I will say that to find your way, understanding what the Naples style is all about is more than a little helpful.

They are the original artisans of pizza. 
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything Youíd Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Pizza Raquel
« Reply #688 on: February 13, 2009, 02:29:26 PM »
scott r,
I wanted to address your notion of a slightly crispy crust from another perspective because I think it deserves further discussion. That perspective has to do with what is best for the pizza as a whole.

Conventional wisdom suggests that in order to achieve a wafer thin veneer that one must extend the bake at slightly lower temperatures. That it can't be done with a bake in the 45 second to 1.5 minute range. Well, I've challenged that notion and proven for myself that extending the bake is not the only way to get there. Everytime I make pie I consistently produce the exact egg shell thin veneer I'm looking for.

I have found that extending the bake has tradeoffs which I couldn't solve. Which got my mind racing along the lines of what IF I was able to achieve a shortened bake and a slightly crispy crust? It would be the best of both worlds would it not?

Here is what it takes in my experience:
- blending Italian 00 and North American flours (as of right now)
- a naturally leavened dough
- a long room temperature rise
- absolute alignment of dough, sauce, cheeses and toppings
- an ultra low dome oven fired with thoroughly seasoned wood & wood chips once the pie is peeled in (raises the flame but not the temperature too much)

What's the benefit to a shorter bake?
- just about everything. In fact, I can't think of a downside
- ingredients aren't stressed
- a pizza which is truly alive with stupendously vibrant flavors

Food for thought.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything Youíd Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #689 on: February 13, 2009, 05:17:02 PM »
Peter, I actually have another means to achieve a crispier crust with a shorter bake time, and I am sorry but I would prefer to talk privately about it for a number of reasons, but, again I must say,  don't underestimate the effect on the flavor of the cheese that comes with a longer slower melt.   I would like you to try something.   Get a piece of normal boring old mozzarerlla, poly-o, whatever.  put it on a pie and do a 1 minute bake.   Now take that same cheese and put it on another pie and cook it slowly in the mouth of the oven, do something closer to an 8 minute bake.  The cheese will taste TOTALLY different, I mean, you wouldnt even believe that it was the same cheese at all.  Now, this is an extreme example, but I have found that it holds true for all cheese be it processed, buffalo, fior de latte, whatever. Some cheese tastes fine when it's melted fast, and some tastes WAY better when it's melted slowly.  I just want to point out that "not stressing" the ingredients is a bit of a generalization, and is subjective.   

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Offline shango

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #690 on: February 13, 2009, 11:29:18 PM »
or the cheese could simply be cut into different sizes depending on the desired bake time to cheese melting ratio..
pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #691 on: February 13, 2009, 11:45:52 PM »
This is a great way to find the middle ground between a fast baked crust, and a cheese that tastes better with a slow melt.  There is a popular pizzeria NJ, and another one in Los Angeles that do it this way.   Unfortunately when I visited these two places the cheese on the outside of the big chunks still ended up with that cooked too fast (lack of) taste, while the center remained pretty much unmelted, not totally solving the problem, so you just have to be careful not to make the chunks too big.   Of course the best scenario is what I found in Naples where the cheese was put on the pizza in small to medium sized pieces, and they have access to mozzarella perfectly suited to the fast bakes.   
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 11:57:44 PM by scott r »

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #692 on: February 14, 2009, 11:36:46 AM »
Quote
Widespread, I am also curious about your love of the all trumps.  Just like the Russo, I had to drive quite far to find some that was unbleached and unbromated.  when I finally got around to doing comparisons with KASL, I found them to be quite similar.  Similar enough to not bother jumping through all the hoops required to obtain it.  Have you ever done a side by side comparison between the 2?

Scott,  I have not been able to do a side by side with SL and it has been a while since I used SL so it would be hard for me to compare them.  What I do notice about the at is the yellowy creamy rich appearace that the dough has to it,  and its ability to produce a killer  feeling looking dough in no time and everytime with no special mixing regimen.  It just comes together perfectly.  After fermentation it handles amazingly well and opens up easily while staying strong enough to retain gasses.  It produces an nice crisp crust with a great taste without being chewy at all and  is even good after cooling and sitting for a while.  I think the bottom line is that its flavor is more rich than the sl. 

Quote
Widespread, I did have a different experience with the Rosso.  I know its the real thing because I went to Chefs Warehouse myself to pick up the 55lb bag

I as well know that I got the real thing as it was the 55# bag that was shipped to me.  it was just damaged a bit,  but surely is the red bag,  i still have pictures from when i was trying to get my refund or reship out of them.  So,  based on your positive experience with the red,  I have busted it back out and just made up a batch for room temp fermentation with the vasarano pref. till tomorrow afternoon.  i also have some 4 day IDY at/caputo cold balls ready for tomorrow as well.  I had to bring the red hydration down to 56% to get to where i have been liking my doughs to feel,  but it is still very soft and smooth.  It will go for a long bulk rise and divide it tomorrow morning.  So we'll see how it goes.  I forgot to ask,  is the red malted and fortified or not?  I am guessing not right.  -marc

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #693 on: February 14, 2009, 03:55:33 PM »
No, the red caputo is not malted either.   That is one of the key differences between caputo and american flours, although there are a number of different things.  Almost every american flour is malted, its really hard to find them that aren't.  I know Guisto makes some unmalted flours, but they aren't the biggest sellers, and its tough to find them here on the East coast without doing mail order.  Basically the malt helps the flour to brown in the oven.  The caputo flours which were designed for super high temperatures don't really need any extra browning capabilities.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #694 on: February 15, 2009, 12:07:40 PM »
Just for fun, kindly review the photographs below of four different crusts.

I would be interested in feedback from the community on the quality of crust you see. Let's say on a scale from 1 - 10 with 1 being "who cares" and 10 being "best I ever saw."

Then rank order the four crusts from your favorite to your least favorite.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything Youíd Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

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Offline Pizzacrazy7

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #695 on: February 15, 2009, 12:55:59 PM »
Pftaylor,
         Not that I'm an expert by any means(still have a lot to learn), however, I'd rank em as follows:

#3 - 10
#1 - 9.5(Little more charring on crust would of put this one in front of #3, more of a fuller crust instead of hollow like #3)
#4 - 7? (Kind of a confusing pic trying to figure out what is what)
#2 - 2 (Sorry, I dont care for that flat of a crust---nothing personal!)

Tony
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Offline haybot

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #696 on: February 15, 2009, 02:41:15 PM »
I've got a little problem with removing the dough balls from the bowls. i usually add a little oil to the bowl but the dough still sticks to the bowl and looses a lot of volume while removing it. Is there anything else besides adding oil? flour maybe?

Offline pftaylor

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Pizza Raquel
« Reply #697 on: February 15, 2009, 03:14:11 PM »
Hey haybot,
Sorry couldn't resist...Can you post a photograph of your bowl, ball in the bowl and implement you use to extract the ball?

Otherwise we are guessing in the dark. Right now all I can offer up is a two step remedy;

- dip the extractor tool in flour and scrape the sides of the bowl first. Thereby freeing up the ball from the sides.

- Then dip the extractor in flour again and slide under the ball.

Preventive medicine would be to splash a little flour on the bottom of the bowl and lightly on the sides before placing the ball in. Potential penalty is a slight increase in bitterness due to raw flour.

Pizzacrazy7,
Thanks for kicking off the crust challenge. After reading your comments perhaps we should add bonus points for anyone adding their reasoning as to why they rank ordered the crusts in the order they prefer.

Triple points if anyone can guess all four styles represented.

Quadruple points if they can guess which crusts are professionally made and which ones are made in the friendly confines of a home.

Grandmaster status is awarded to anyone who can correctly guess the maker of each crust.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 03:20:06 PM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything Youíd Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline tdeane

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #698 on: February 15, 2009, 04:18:37 PM »
I am going to guess #3 Chris Bianco?

Offline haybot

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #699 on: February 15, 2009, 04:41:19 PM »
Well actually ... the tool is use is my hand ^^. Since I'm a student and at the beginning of my quest for the perfect pizza the "bowl" that i use is this one right here http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90044467 . I'll tried adding some flour first and will take some pictures when the dough is still sticking.
Thanks for the advice.

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