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Author Topic: Journey to frank pepe's at home  (Read 519 times)

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Offline SamGreeman13

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Journey to frank pepe's at home
« on: October 24, 2022, 08:13:41 PM »
Greetings

I have made a few passes at trying to recreate NH style/Frank Pepe pizza in my home oven

recipe:
387 g bread flour
225 g water
2.053 g yeast
7.243 g salt
0.07 TF (makes two 311 g balls, which makes 2 14" pies)

Cold fermented for 22 hours, then fermented at room temp for the remaining 2 hours before baking

I used boar's head mozz, a canned sauce (didn't want to go fancy here since it was mainly a test), and the specific flour was Caputo 00 chef's flour.
I'm using a regular home oven which was set to 510F, with a stone preheating for just 15-20 minutes. broiler was on for roughly 85-90% of the baking time of around 15 minutes

My first pass looked like this:



Offline SamGreeman13

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Re: Journey to frank pepe's at home
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2022, 08:23:31 PM »
I thought the top looked great, the cheese looked and tasted spectacular, and the top part of the crust was not bad at all. However, there were a few obvious problems. Firstly, the bottom was pretty pale, and there was not much air/gluten development in the dough. I attributed these things to a) not preheating the stone well, and b) not enough time fermenting, and to a lesser extent c) the flour used was not great for low oven temps. For the second attempt, I made the following tweaks:
instead of caputo 00 flour, I used KABF which is about 12.6% protein. next, cold ferment was 48 hours, with the final 3 hours at room temp. finally, i preheated the stone for an hour before, same temp as last time. (Also i added pepperoni because, well, i like it). broiler was on for about 75-80% this time, in an attempt to have the undercarriage brown at a similar rate as the top. bake was a little longer, say 17 minutes. once again, the top looked pretty good, mainly the cheese. undercarriage had slightly more browning, but not as much as i though it would. gluten developed a bit more, but again, i craved slightly more

Offline SamGreeman13

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Re: Journey to frank pepe's at home
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2022, 08:33:21 PM »
tonight, the most recent attempt, had a couple more tweaks.
First, the cold ferment time was 43 hours, and 5 hours of room temp ferment. second, i made my own sauce from Bianco DiNapoli peeled tomatoes, salt, and a bit of oregano and black pepper. consistency was chunkier than any of the canned sauces. lastly, I tried using less of the broiler since i was finding that the top was browning and cooking too quickly for the bottom to get nice char. bake time was 16-17 minutes, and broiler was on for approximately 30% of the bake. what came out of the oven kinda puzzled me. as you can see below, gluten/air content is great! pretty spot on for my liking, so i dont think i will change anything on that end. you can also see that the cheese...went rogue. It browned in a really weird way, making it look burnt on top, but i assure you, the cheese tasted just fine! also, not much of an improvement was made on the underside. this puts me at a roadblock, since i used the broiler less, but got the top more brown? Here is where i need the help of you guys! what changes need to be made for me (a home cook with just an oven and a pizza stone at his disposal) to achieve more char on the underside, while keeping the cheese looking less like attempt 3, and more like attempt 1 and 2?

Offline johnnytuinals

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Re: Journey to frank pepe's at home
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2022, 08:37:40 PM »
None of us can tell you just by looks..
If you are Not using Grande WM Cheese,then you have 1 strike against you....JT

Offline SamGreeman13

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Re: Journey to frank pepe's at home
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2022, 08:42:39 PM »
None of us can tell you just by looks..
If you are Not using Grande WM Cheese,then you have 1 strike against you....JT

Appreciate the input but I'm a home cook making just above min wage, dont have the disposable funds or storage to drop $$$ on a case of cheese. besides, boar's head sliced at the deli is remarkably creamy and delicious

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Offline scott r

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Re: Journey to frank pepe's at home
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2022, 09:08:23 PM »
Your doing great!  Pepe's uses Poly-O whole milk mozzarella that you can get at Walmart, and that boars head is a great cheese too that will work and get you darn close.  Pepe's also hits their pies with some grated Pecorino Romano cheese (buy Italian not domestic).   

I would keep doing exactly what you did and change only 1 simple thing.  Turn your oven all the way up for this, and preheat it with the stone in there for at least an hour.  Honestly I do an hour once it HITS 550, but that can take 1.5 hours. This is going to fix the bottom AND the top of your pizza.  It sounds like overkill, but its not.  The Pepes oven is quite variable, and I have timed Pepe's bakes from 5-13 minutes, with the 5 minute ones being my favorites.   

Try this once with your stone as close to the top of the oven as possible.  It will be tricky to launch, but if its on the topmost rack you will probably get your fastest pizza.  Of course the broiler is not always your friend when you do this because its so close.  The other thing to try is putting the stone all the way on the bottom rack, as low as it will go, and then turn on the broiler after 2 minutes (or so) depending on your oven. 

Good luck. 
« Last Edit: October 24, 2022, 09:22:58 PM by scott r »

Offline Ovenray

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Re: Journey to frank pepe's at home
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2022, 12:22:49 AM »
By the looks of it your doing quite good allready :)
EffeUno P134HA 509

Offline ARenko

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Re: Journey to frank pepe's at home
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2022, 05:13:31 AM »
I agree with scott r -  preheat the stone for at least an hour.  Also, you can calibrate your oven to get it even hotter (check the manual).  My oven goes to 550F and is pretty accurate, but I can set it to +35F calibration and get 585F.  Just remember to set back to normal calibration before cooking something else.

When I cooked pizza in my home oven I did the above, plus hit the stone with the broiler for 20 min after that 1 hour (often it was more) heat up time.  My pizzas cooked in about 7 min with max 1 min on broil at the end.

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