Pizza Making Forum

Pizza Making => New York Style => Topic started by: giotto on August 17, 2004, 06:30:45 PM

Title: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 17, 2004, 06:30:45 PM
There's nothing like a topping that takes shape as a second thin layer to the crust, with a taste that says to you "you got it all right!"  I have spent as much time in search of quality toppings and techniques as any part of the pizza, because I thoroughly enjoy getting it all perfect.  

I'd like to hear first about experiences with cheeses, including those used for lactose intolerant reasons, since the texture and taste of cheese is essential to a great pizza experience.  They can start perfect or runny, remain excellent regardless of time out of the oven, or turn rubbery; some will stretch from two sides of the table, while others will melt at the bite or just refuse to melt.

Do you slice the cheese, dop it on, put it on first, last, and what textures and mixtures have worked and not worked (dry vs. fresh mozzarella, bufala vs. whole milk, mixing with cheddar, etc.)?

Here's a typical set of cheeses that have held up well to high heats, retained their texture even after cooling down, and provided great taste.  Some serve only as a complementary mixture.  

(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/ctoppings1.JPG)

From left to right:

1) Grande whole milk mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded as my base cheese (available at some Whole Foods).

2) Denmark's finest creamy Havarti cheese, used as a mixture (seen it around, got it while visiting Sonoma Cheese factory in CA wine country).

3) Edam, a dry cheese that I slice as a mixture (available at Trader Joe's).

4) fresh imported Pomella Rusticone buffala (buffalo) mozzarella (at some Whole Foods).

5) Aged goat and feta sheep over the peperoni (Whole Foods)

Grande is not real stringy; but holds well to heat and has a rich texture without being runny.  Bufalo mozzarella is light and has a great taste, and I do not run into problems with a runny nature.  

Regarding technique, the approach I take depends on whether I'm mixing or not.  When mixing, I always put the drier cheese down first, like EDAM, nearest the dough.  The rest depends on whether I feel like a Grandma's Long Island approach, where I follow slices of cheese with huge drops of sauce, or a more traditional approach.
 
On this recent pizza, I did a split.  The right hand side of this pizza was mixed with EDAM and Grande; and on the left side, I mixed Grande on the outside, followed by Di Bufala and Grande inside the center.  The blends were not overwhelming, just tasty.  It was a toss up on taste.
 
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/giustopizza1.jpg)
Title: Re:Quality cheese & NY topping techhniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 17, 2004, 08:57:58 PM
Giotto,

Ask and ye shall receive :).

Usually I try to get the best and freshest cheeses I can, whether it is mozzarella cheese (like buffalo mozzarella or a freshly-made or artisanal cow's mozzarella cheese), specialty cheeses (like Fontina, asiago, or Swiss), or hard aged cheeses (like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano and grana padano cheeses).  Since different pizzas call for different cheeses, I mix and match the cheeses as called for in recipes or as dictated by my imagination.  Sometimes I am left with primarily processed cheeses, particularly mozzarella cheeses.   Even then, I tend to work down the mozzarella food chain, trying to find the best form of the cheese and combine it with other cheeses to produce the desired end result.

As most experienced pizza makers know, processed mozzarella cheese come in many varieties, including full-fat whole milk (100%), part skim, and low-moisture/part-skim, each with its own qualities and attributes.  They are often combined together on pizzas (e.g., a 50/50 blend of whole milk mozzarella cheese and part-skim mozzarella cheese) or used with other types of cheeses, of which a mozzarella cheese/provolone cheese combination is one of the most popular (and one of my favorites) because the two cheeses have similar melting, flow and stretching characteristics (they are both stringy curd cheeses).  The provolone cheese (regular or smoked) also adds a distinctive flavor.  

While I haven't yet tried it or confirmed it, I understand that a popular cheese combination in the St. Louis area uses provolone cheese, white cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese. Other possibilities for combination with mozzarella cheese are Monterey Jack and orange or yellow cheddar cheeses. Where a buttery-rich flavor and good meltability is desired, I use whole milk mozzarella cheese. However, unlike its lower-fat cousins, it is subject to breaking down and releasing some of its fat during baking, producing an oily appearance which may not be visually pleasing (although New Yorkers love it, especially when the oil runs down their arm while eating :D).  The oiliness is one of the reasons why many professional pizza makers use whole milk mozzarella cheese in combination with part-skim mozzarella cheese or provolone cheese.  I avoid non-fat and imitation mozzarella cheeses altogether because they are the most inferior of all the mozzarella cheeses and there are much better choices from a quality and taste standpoint.

As between the various processed forms, I prefer mozzarella cheese that is freshly sliced from a large block or brick of cheese, usually at the deli counters of supermarkets and food specialty stores.  If I could get the Grande cheese in that form, that would be my first choice.  However, I have noticed that the "generic" mozzarella cheeses sold at the deli counter often have good parentage--some of the better known brands available.  If the deli mozzarella cheese is not available for any reason, then I use the packaged mozzarella balls, of which three well-known brands, the Polly-O (a Kraft Foods product), Stella (which also comes in a deli style and in a coarsely shredded form) and Calabro brands, appear to be among the better ones in that category that I have been able to find.  Pre-packaged mozzarella slices are also acceptable provided they are free of chemical additives.  As much as possible, or unless I have no other choice, I avoid the very finely shredded, finely diced, or minced forms of mozzarella cheese (which usually come in plastic bags) since the cheese tends to cook too quickly and brown prematurely when used on pizzas baked at high oven temperatures.  They are also highly processed with a multitude of additives to prevent caking, inhibit mold and prolong shelf life (usually measured in weeks).  

I tend to distribute meltable cheeses like mozzarella and provolone cheeses in small pieces or chunks, large dice or shreds, or as thin slices over a pizza rather than using a finely shredded, diced or minced form (although the roughly shredded versions are an improvement over the other shredded forms). In these forms, the pieces or slices of meltable cheese will melt in "puddles" and stay soft and chewy, rather than turning brown.  Alternatively, I withhold the meltable cheeses until a couple of minutes or so before the pizza is completely baked-- something I quite frequently do with Margherita pizzas and other pizzas with few toppings--or a pizza round can be baked without toppings until it sets, and then add the toppings, including the cheeses, and finish baking.  If I suspect a particular cheese I plan to use may be prone to premature browning, I will either use thicker slices or put it in the refrigerator to keep it cool and take it out of the refrigerator at the last minute just as I am ready to use it. Sometimes I will freeze the cheese for a few minutes to get it cold.

To the extent that other cheeses are available for use on pizzas, such as fresh ricotta cheese or goat cheese, I take advantage of that freshness.  I add such cheeses to pizzas by teaspoon or tablespoonful.  These cheeses tend not to have similar melting characteristics as the other cheeses described and, thus, will tend to stay in place on pizzas and not flow into the other toppings used. Since ricotta and goat cheeses are soft cheeses, they can also be combined with herbs or garlic (or bought as such) and lend additional flavor components to pizzas.  They should be used somewhat sparingly, however, so as not to overtake other flavors of the pizza (unless the pizza is built primarily around such cheeses).

As for the hard aged cheeses, like the "Big Three" Italian cheeses mentioned above, I prefer to grate them freshly and add them to the finished pizzas.  This is to maintain the sharpness and freshness of their taste.  Otherwise, they tend to "disappear" into the pizza.  I have also used one or more of the Big Three cheeses in sauces, and even in the dough itself (but in small quantity so as not to interfere with the various chemical and biological activities that take place within the dough).

All of the cheeses mentioned above are dairy products.  It is also possible to use a non-dairy, soy-based "mozzarella" on pizzas.  I have done this on several occasions with surprisingly good results considering that it is not dairy based.  Soy-based mozzarella is a firm, mild (but pleasant) tasting, vegetable form of mozzarella cheese made principally from soybeans.  It looks very much like regular mozzarella cheese, shreds and slices just like regular mozzarella cheese, and can be used on a pizza just like regular mozzarella cheese.  It will melt without any significant browning and it will be chewy and almost indistinguishable on a baked pizza from regular mozzarella cheese.  However, it will not be as flavorful as regular mozzarella cheese (although some will argue that it should have a neutral taste and serve a secondary role to the sauce and other toppings), and certainly not as tasty or flavorful as fresh mozzarella cheese.  But it is lactose- and cholesterol-free, so it offers clear advantages to persons who are lactose intolerant or are on low-fat or low-cholesterol diets.  Combined with a high-quality pizza crust and toppings, the soy mozzarella cheese allows those on restricted diets to be able to enjoy pizza along with everyone else.  While I have never done this before, sometime I would like to make and serve a pizza using the soy mozzarella cheese to friends or family just to see if they can tell the difference.  Soy mozzarella cheese tends to be sold at health food and organic food stores, such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats, which is where I have found it.

Peter


Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 17, 2004, 09:43:32 PM
Pete-zza:

It's always good to see the different experiences.  I have not had the same luck with soy-based cheeses as you.  I tried a soy based mozz from Trader Joes and it did not melt well.  I have not tried the Whole Foods brand; any particular one?

I get the Grande in 1 lb or larger slabs and then slice or shred it as needed.  I mostly use sheep cheese in the form of a dry pecorino, and do the same with sheep cheese, as shown on the pepperoni.  I normally like to add it toward the end, as a light topping for reasons you mention.  
Title: Re:Quality cheese & NY topping techhniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 17, 2004, 10:38:40 PM
Giotto,

I don't remember the name of the brand of soy mozzarella cheese I tried.   When I looked for it again at Whole Foods, it was no longer offered.  So I picked up another brand, Soy-Sation (Lite), Mozzarella Style.  I haven't tried it yet, but the label says it "Shreds, Melts and Tastes Great".   I hope the new brand will be as good as the last one.  I liked it a lot considering that it is not really a cheese.

I have observed that home pizza bakers are quite enterprising when it comes to devising solutions to problems they encounter.  And individual tastes and preferences vary so much that there are no really right or wrong answers, only choices.  It's no different with pizzas than anything else.  Otherwise there would be only one kind of pizza--most likely it would be pepperoni which alone accounts for over two-hundred fifty million dollars in sales annually.  

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 17, 2004, 11:40:10 PM
No wonder I like pepperoni so much; I'm always contributing!

I do find though that despite the differences in taste, it's a matter of awareness.  And sales are not always about saving a buck-- they can represent consensus.  That's what these forums are all about-- becoming aware of what is out there, and discerning how that applies to you.  

And if your lucky enough to learn some techniques as well, you're likely to save yourself an incredible amount of time, and end up with a better result.  

I'd be interested in a soy that melts properly, and as you said, is hard to differ in a blind test from other acceptable milk-based mozz cheese.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 17, 2004, 11:47:58 PM
Pete-zza:

I tried the Giusto's high gluten tonight.  It held the toppings with no problem, including the buffalo mozz; but without the stiffness of a vital gluten.  I added more oil.  It still needs some adjustments.

Now to find out if there is a decent soy-based mozz for all the people I know that are missing out on my pizza because their bodies are lactose intolerant.
Title: Re:Quality cheese & NY topping techhniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 18, 2004, 11:02:13 AM
Giotto,

I assume the Giusto flour you are referring to was the Giusto high-gluten flour in its au naturel state, that is, without fortification by the vital wheat gluten.  If so, can you tell us the differences between the two doughs and also if you made the rest of the second pizza like the previous one with the vital wheat gluten so that you would be comparing otherwise identical or nearly identical products?

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 18, 2004, 02:50:50 PM
Yep, I've made the crust with Giusto's flour in 2 different forms.  

Some background for readers:  Pete-zza brought to my attention that Chris Bianco, an incredibly passionate and intense pizza maker, originally from NY, trained in Naples, and praised by many for his endeavor to make the best pizza in the world, uses Giusto's flour.  Bianco goes to the extreme in everything he does, from selecting natural ingredients (sometimes from the garden) to mixing his dough by hand... Yes, by hand with no commercial Hobart, because he believes it is all in the feel.  For those of you that have made dough without a mixer, try to imagine doing this professionally with 50+ pounds of flour for 100's of people a day.  

High-gluten flour (over 13% protein according to manufacturer) can be difficult to get, and is expensive with some vendors to ship.  Getting it from your local pizzeria is a good choice.  Like many, I have had better success with high gluten flours to achieve NY Pizza crust than with lower gluten flours from the likes of Bob's Red Mill, Gold Medal Specialty, King Arthur, Arrowhead, etc.  Since Giusto's flour in San Francisco is accessible though the BULK BINS of "some" Whole Foods stores, I thought I'd give it a try.  

Flours tested: First, I tried a mix between Giusto's 70% vital gluten (just under 1 TBL) with Giusto's 11.7% Baker's bread flour (2 cups less 1TBL), resulting in about 13.5% protein.  Then I did a special order from Whole Foods for Giusto's ultimate performer (13 - 13.5% protein) and used 2 cups of it as well.  In both cases, they weighed close to 8.5 oz (240g).  

Differences: I only used 1 tsp of olive oil and NO sugar when mixing with Vital Gluten.  I used over 1 1/2 TBL olive oil and 3/4 tsp sugar with the Ultimate Performer.  In both cases, I started with 1/3 cup of water per cup of flour and mixed in additional fluid to reach a moist dough that is not sticky like glue when you touch it.  So slight differences may occur in water as well.  Both weighed just over 16 oz in dough.  I left each in the refrigerator for 12 hours, and warmed them for an hour before preparing them for the oven.

The vital gluten mixture gave me a stiffer crust that hid that slightly chewy texture that I look for in a NY style crust.  Both had elastic qualities beyond even the better pro doughs that I have tossed.  There were no noticable differences in the browing of the crusts using a flat pizza screen, with temperatures at about 530 F.  The tastes of both were similar; but I was able to enjoy the Giusto's ultimate crust more, because of its chewier and un-board like texture, which I contribute to the extra oil.  I plan on making some adjustments to the water content, and will show pictures later.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 18, 2004, 04:35:59 PM
Giotto,

Sometimes when I have a crust that seems a little too "cardboardy", I play around with the formulation of the dough to try to improve the extensibility and structure of the dough so that the crust is softer and maybe even a bit more "bready" but not overly so.  To do this, I have tried several things.  These include the use of olive oil, honey, dry milk (heat treated or regular mixed with water, scalded, and cooled), lecithin granules, and a long rise period, including a period of 18-24 hours in the refrigerator.  The lecithin, which is available in dry or liquid form from King Arthur, serves to improve the fermentation behavior of the dough, increase its volume and improve its structure.  It can also be substituted for all or some of the oil in the dough, on a volume for volume basis.  If lecithin is unavailable for any reason, it can be omitted.  

In addition to helping increase the extensibility of the dough, the olive oil, honey (which also provides additional food for the yeast and tenderizes the dough by delaying the coagulation of the gluten and the gelatinization of starches during baking), and the dry milk serve to promote additional browning of the baked crust beyond the browning provided by the Maillard reactions.  The lactose in the milk is a "reducing" sugar and, as such, contributes to browning of the crust through the Maillard reactions without itself contributing much in the way of flavor (since lactose has a low sweetness value).  What is unique about lactose is that it is the only reducing sugar that does not feed yeast.  So, it's a good choice if you don't want to feed the yeast yet get browning of the crust.  In that sense, it can be substituted for sugar or other sweeteners used in the dough ingredients.

If the milk takes the form of a dry milk powder (preferably a high-heat or bakery grade dry milk) combined with water, the recommended use of the dry milk powder is about 2 tablespoons per half-cup water.  Since the fat in milk can impede the proofing of yeast (unless a non-fat version of milk is used), it is better to proof the yeast in a small amount of water first (if active dry yeast is used), and then add the milk.  Most milk these days is pasteurized, but if it isn't for some reason, for best results it should be scalded and cooled before using with the yeast, to prevent certain enzymes in the milk from attacking the gluten in the dough and result in a gummy texture.  

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 18, 2004, 06:02:57 PM
Pete-zza:

This certainly makes sense, and I've found that many of these techniques in the past improve doughs, especially when working with higher glutens.  As I mentioned with the 13.7% protein in Giusto's high gluten flour, the addition of oils made a significant difference for me.   I've found the increased retention of moisture that results from adding olive oil and/or milk is even useful when working with the higher protein levels of bread flours.

When I mentioned additional adjustments with Giusto's high gluten flours, these are some key areas that I was planning to focus on.  It's good to see validity of these things.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 19, 2004, 01:01:39 AM
Pete-zza:

I've been thinking about your comment regardng whole milk and yeast.

You mentioned once that instant yeast is more tolerant with salt than active yeast.  Is this true also of milk-- is instant yeast more tolerant of milk than active yeast?  

Also, I can't get this one process out of my mind, where I saw someone once add active yeast as the last step at the very end of his mixing time... several minutes after he had added the 50 lbs of high gluten flour to hot water-- and he did not proof the yeast.  His dough rises fine, with great texture, taste, etc.  This reminded me of people I had seen make bread in a machine, where they start with water, salt, etc, then put in the flour, and add Active Yeast (dry & not proofed) on top of it all-- the goal is to keep the active yeast away from the water initially.  And when bread is done like this, it rises big time.  I tend to either let it proof in an initial water/flour mix, or I proof it separately with fine results. Once I added Active Yeast dry at the end, and it came out fine.  Not sure why someone would not use instant in these cases.  Any explanations?
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 19, 2004, 09:22:48 AM
Giotto,

I don't know if there is a particular correlation between milk and active dry yeast versus instant dry yeast.  Whole milk is mostly water but it also includes protein, fat, lactose (milk sugar) and various minerals.  I don't recall ever reading anything about a milk/yeast relationship per se, which I think I would have remembered since I tend to pay attention to that sort of thing and would have noted it in my personal writings.   Also, water is what is normally used in pizza dough recipes, so not much thought is directed to milk.  I have seen pizza dough recipes used in Italy that call for milk, but they are not anywhere near as common as those calling for water and, in any event, the yeast usually was a wet yeast, like a beer yeast.  

As for the proofing of active dry yeast, as you know, the classical approach is to proof active dry yeast in water, preferably warm water.  I think what has happened is that yeast producers have continued to develop new new yeast  formulations that don't require the same degree of proofing.  For example, this morning I looked at the packaging for SAF Traditional Active Dry (Perfect Rise) yeast.  A "traditional baking method" is recited in which the SAF active dry yeast is mixed with half of the flour and other dry igreadients.  The liquid used is heated to 120-130 degrees F and added to the dry ingredients.  Alternatively, the SAF active dry yeast can be dissolved in 110-115 degrees F liquids before adding to other recipe ingredients.  SAF's "bread machine method" simply refers the user to the bread machine manufacturer's directions as to the use of the yeast, but recommends room temperature liquids.  I also looked at the operating instructions for my Zo machine this morning, and, as you correctly noted, the dough recipes call for keeping the yeast away from the liquid.  This is consistent with what SAF gives as instructions for using its yeast, and it also looks like what the professional you observed was doing.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 19, 2004, 01:23:37 PM
Pete-zza:

Well, I'm happy to know that it's not my imagination.  Thanks for checking the instructions on your zo machine (a very highly-regarded bread machine I might add).  By the way, is it effective for mixing your pizza dough?  

Your point regarding the changes that manufacturers are making with active yeast is very well taken.  It reminds me, on the one hand, why this strategy which I much prefer works so well; but it also indicates that its effect may vary between manufacturers.  He used Dry Star in brick form; whereas I used Dry Star crumbled in a jar.  I followed this procedure last night and it seems to rise just fine.  The up side of proofing is that if the yeast is bad, I will know before I add it to my mix-- saving much grief.  But it sure does rise nicely when not proofed first in 110 F water.

Regarding the effect of milk on yeast, I was making a reference to a point that you made earlier in this session "Since the fat in milk can impede the proofing of yeast..."  I did not know that fat can impede yeast in any way, and was not sure if this was specific to milk fat vs. oil fat in a liquid.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 19, 2004, 04:23:11 PM
Giotto,

My comment about milk and yeast was based on the notion that it is a good idea to keep everything away from the yeast until it has been proofed (directly or indirectly) and ready to go when it is combined with the other dough ingredients.  I know that there are a lot of different theories and opinions about how and in what sequence dough ingredients should be mixed and combined, but I tend to follow the practice of isolating the various ingredients and adding them to the "process" at times and in ways that will not interfere with individual functions.  

As for yeast, this means not adding salt directly to the yeast (particularly active dry yeast and wet yeasts), not adding sugar (or any other sweetener) to the yeast (although a pinch might be OK as part of a proofing process), and not adding fat to the yeast--whether it is oil, a solid fat, or fat that might be in milk.  I know some people just throw everything into a bowl at the same time and just mix and knead.  The way I do it, if I am using active dry yeast, I proof it all by itself, then add it--along with the rest of the water--to all the dry ingredients except salt.   After an initial period of mixing and kneading, I then add the oil or solid fat (if I am using any) and knead it into the other ingredients (I do this so that the oil or fat doesn't impede hydration of the flour), and finally I add the salt and knead it into the existing dough mass until it is fully incorporated.  If I am using instant dry yeast, I add it to the other dry ingredients, although sometimes even then I keep the salt separated from the instant yeast.  To some I am sure this seems like a case of overkill, but I have been doing it that way for so long that it's second nature to me by now.

As for the Zo machine, I have done very little with it for making pizza doughs, although it has been my intention to explore using it more fully for dough production at some future date.  I know that others do use their machines quite successfully to make pizza doughs (including one member of this forum who specializes in doing this), but, for me, bread machines take away a lot of the control over the dough making process, from types of ingredients, sequencing of the use of ingredients, processing times, temperature control, etc.   I suspect that some of the loss of control can be compensated for by using the machine's programming functions, but doing so successfully would most likely take a fair amount of experimentation and trial and error.  A particular disadvantage of bread machines from my perspective is that they don't really let you make a single small pizza dough ball for one pizza.  The kneading elements of the machine are spaced too far apart to allow this. This, of course, is also a problem with most stand mixers, where it is almost impossible to knead a small amount of dough around the dough hook.  That is one of the reasons why I also have a food processor, which permits producing small amounts of dough.  Otherwise, I would make the dough by hand.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 19, 2004, 04:42:03 PM
That's an excellent point concerning mixers and their inability to properly work with smaller portions.  Fortunately, some mixers are starting to come with 2 bowl sizes, recognizing that not everyone works with the same old formula time and again where bigger batches are the norm.  I do avoid food processors with steel blades though, which are known to cut the very fibers that I am trying to put together.  

I follow a similar process to you when making the dough. Sometimes I add the yeast at the end as an alternative.  
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 19, 2004, 07:39:10 PM
Giotto,

I have a Cuisinart food processor which comes with both a metal blade and a plastic blade. I have tried both types of blades but have not detected any significant difference in the doughs prepared using the two different blades.  However, from a strictly technical standpoint, it would appear that the plastic blade, with its straighter-blade design as opposed to the serpentine S-shaped design of the metal blade, should be easier on the gluten in the dough and produce less frictional heat, which can cause the dough to ferment too quickly.  Because of my faith in science--which I admit may possibly be misguided--more recently I have gone exclusively to the plastic blade.

It may be of interest to some on this forum that one of the more recent Cuisinart models of food processors even has a separate dough cycle and a special metal dough blade with blunt edges and a curved surface to precisely incorporate and knead doughs intended to be used to make pizzas and other bread products.  For this model, the speed of the unit is reduced by 400 rpm during the dough cycle to prevent overheating of the dough.  I bought one of these models for my daughter-in-law (the 11-cup model) and she loves it.  Even my son, who for years suffered through my efforts to make pizzas that he would eat and actually like, says that my daughter-in-law's pizzas are just about perfect.  Having taught my daughter-in-law how to make pizzas, my son finally admitted that I have learned something about pizza after all these years.  I told him that I was pleased to get his approval of my pizzas at least once before I died  :).  

Peter

 
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 20, 2004, 01:37:28 AM
Pete-zza:

Isn't life strange... this song title comes to mind as I think about the need for children to look upon us for approval; only in time for the opposite to take place.  And now you can rest knowing he has good taste after all!
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 21, 2004, 05:13:21 PM
The Giusto's high gluten flour is very dry and is creating a fairly light crust for me.  It holds up pretty well; but I'm not getting the chewy texture.  I'm using my usual 1/3 cup of water per cup of flour and a TBL of olive oil.  I've tried more water, and it doesn't matter much.  This flour is very dry, that's for sure.  
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 21, 2004, 09:13:10 PM
The things we have to complain about... I prefer a chewier crust, while other's prefer this softer and lighter crust from Giusto's flour.  

Serving it with spinach & herb leaves:

(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/slice-it-up.JPG)

Trying it out:

(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/for-me.JPG)

Time to let the other's know it's ready:

(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/for-others.JPG)
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 22, 2004, 12:33:00 AM
Less is more when it comes to NY style pizza.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 25, 2004, 12:14:08 AM
WHEN THINGS DON"T WORK OUT...

There are times when the dough just doesn't work out...

I can tell whether or not the dough is right as soon as I take it out of the refrigerator and place my fingers into it.  And when the dough doesn't feel right, I don't even bother with it...

Instead, I grab me a big ol' loaf of San Francisco Sourdough, slice it horizontally, remove some of the inside bread, lay down my sauce, mozzarella, seasoned olive oil, and pepperoni.  Then I put it on a screen and cook it at 425 F for 3 minutes, 6" from the top of the oven...

AND when I hear that crispy sound as I bite into it, I know that I'm still eating better than frozen pizza, and I'm doing it for under $5-- it helps knowing that the night is not shot after all.

(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/pizza-bread.JPG)

Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 25, 2004, 12:25:06 PM
Giotto,

I know exactly what you mean about things not going right sometimes.  

Several days ago, I decided to try out Peter Reinhart's recipe for New York style pizza dough.  I scaled the ingredients to get the size of dough ball I wanted and carefully followed the steps laid out in the recipe.  I didn't want to play around with the ingredients or the processing techniques (which are different than mine) so that I would have a fair basis of comparison of the pizza made following the Reinhart recipe with my own.  Where I messed up was putting in salt measured in tablespoons rather than teaspoons.   I discovered my error as soon as the salt dropped into the bowl and I tried to scoop out some of it, but I wasn't sure whether I succeeded.  

As soon as the dough was finished and ready to be used the next day (after a 24-hour refrigeration period), I could tell right away that the dough wasn't right.  It had hardly risen and looked dead. (I usually put a 1/4-inch deep cross in the middle of my dough and when the dough expands and the cross starts to look more like petals of a flower, I know the dough is OK--a technique borrowed from Italian pizza makers).  I decided nonetheless to see if this lifeless dough could be shaped and stretched and tossed.  To my surprise, it could and I decided to forge ahead and make a pizza out of it anyway, even though the dough didn't have the usual characteristics I look for in the New York style dough, such as glossiness and percolating bubbles.  It wasn't one of my best efforts.  The crust was rather thin, harder and less flexible than usual and with few bubbles or blisters.  And it was very, very salty, with the salt overtaking just about all of the other flavors in the crust.  It was then that I knew I had failed to retrieve a good part of the salt I had placed into the mixing bowl.  

I don't mind sometimes making mistakes, and in this case it was no different.  I try to learn from my mistakes.  In this case, I learned first hand what happens when you use too much salt.  Ordinarily, people think about salt as something to give taste to their pizza crusts.  But it has a much more important function--as a regulator of fermentation.  An excessive amount of salt (above 2% by weight of flour) will hinder the activity of the yeast by pulling water from the yeast by osmosis and slowing down fermentation, and will make the dough too hard and result in a poor quality crust.  Too much salt can also inhibit the decomposition of the starch, through the action of enzymes to convert starch to sugar for the yeast to feed upon.  Consequently, the yeast will have less to eat and will not do as good a job with fermentation and you won't get the desired rise or the flavors from fermentation by-products.  Too little salt (below about 1.5% by weight of flour) and the dough may rise too fast (because fermentation is not restrained) and possibly collapse (due to the escape of carbon dioxide gas produced in excessive quantity), or result in a crust that will be flat tasting, yeasty, or sour or acid tasting (because of the overfermentation).   In my case, of course, it was the excess of salt that was my undoing.  And the results I achieved went exactly by the playbook.  It was a lesson well learned.  Which reminds me of Cher, who once said that she didn't learn from her mistakes.  She just made new ones :).

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 25, 2004, 05:31:23 PM
Oh, the differences between tsp and TBL.  His ratio of sugar is higher than salt, as is mine-- good thing you didn't follow suit, you would have had a sweet brick.  I use salt very effectively as a delay mechanism in the fermentation process.  I once dumped a salt container right into a long stewing dinner I was making; so I started to crack up when I saw your error.  Like Emeril once said, taking out a seasoning isn't the same as putting it in.

As for me, there's just certain flours that I just plain don't like for pizza or even focaccia bread, regardless of their availability.  One is a bread flour that's going off my list.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 26, 2004, 05:46:17 AM
There are certain considerations that I honor when making NY style pizza dough:

1) Keep the percentage of water very close to 60% of the flour weight, which will likely give just under 40% total weight of the finished dough.  When oil is added, I will keep it close to this factor.  With the high gluten flours from Smart & Final (LaRomanella), Costco (Conagra unbleached Full Power) and Whole Foods in the San Francisco area (Giusto's unbleached High Performer), I've found that anything more is too watery.  So for each cup of flour, I tend to work close to the ever so standard 1/3 cup of water (2.67 oz) + oil per cup of flour (approx. 4.5 oz).

2) Larger amounts of flour knead better when working with dough hooks and bowls, so when I work with less than 18 oz of flour, I get less consistency in the NY dough.  

3) Kneading for 4 minutes, resting to rehydrate, and then finishing after another 2 minutes doesn't fly.  Anything less than 12 - 15 minutes of kneading is not going to give me the type of chewy results that I have come to expect in NY dough.

4) Dough that twirls around the bottom of the bowl and sticks to your hands like paste is not okay.  The dough is supposed to be smooth.  I have yet to witness a respectable professional with dough stuck to his hands like glue.  It may stick to the bowl a little when you try to pick it up; but this is different than paste, where it is unable to move around the bowl with the mixer.

5) b]When I first pinch and then slowly tug at the dough[/b], I can pretty well tell whether the glutency is where it is supposed to be.  I have found that there are 3 distinct results that can occur:

a) The dough just breaks off, like your pulling on a piece of dry bread.  This can occur when the dough is overly dry, and in some cases, it can even occur when certain grades of flour contain the right amount of water (in which case, I do away with that flour because it's just not going to give me the pliable results I look for in a NY pizza).

b) The dough stretches like taffy, with almost zero difficulty, and it may or may not tear.  I've had my share of doughs like this, and when it doesn't tear, it can make for some good pizza.  This type of pizza can really simplify your job if you like to stretch your pizza into place when working on a flat surface.

c) The dough stretches, but tugs back like a fish that doesn't want to come out of the water.  If you like to toss your pizza like I do, or maybe hang a pizza horizontally with two hands and work it slowly along the edges, then you'll understand why this is my favorite style of pizza.  I can definitely form this pizza into a multi-dimensional thickness, where it starts with a medium thickness near the crust, and slims down and droops in the front even when heating it into a crispy crust.  The picture earlier reveals this point quite clearly.

6) I then validate the glutency with a final windowpane test, where I take the piece of dough that I pulled away, and with a dab of flour in my fingers, I turn it and gently pull it from side to side, testing for a dough that will remain in tact, and a thin middle that will form.

6) The dough will weigh about 16.5 - 17.5 oz  to give me a 14" pizza with a respectable outside crust.  Sometimes, the dough will weigh less when I want an even thinner crust.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 26, 2004, 12:07:17 PM
Giotto,

Your observations about technique for making your favorite New York style dough, and your recent commentary on "feel", together with Foccaciaman's recent comments about the unreliabillity of recipes in someone else's hands, come together nicely I think to make the point that you cannot slavishly follow recipes and expect to come out with consistent results time after time.  You have to have that added component of feel, and I think that this is especially true when working with dough, which is subject to so many variables.  Weighing the major ingredients, like flour and water, helps eliminate some variables but most people either don't have scales or don't want to be bothered and prefer volume measurements.  Also, many recipes try to be too helpful, I think, by including times for doing things, like knead times and cooking times.  If the recipe you are following is one used by professionals, the times specified will be different from what you might use in your own home with your own machines and kitchen equipment, and the results will differ accordingly if you slavishly follow those specified times.  And if you decide to scale down a recipe, say, by half, the times won't scale down in half too.  It's not linear.  You are on your own as to what the proper scaling is as far as times are concerned.

As Foccaciaman astutely pointed out, the same recipe in the hands of two different people will produce different results.  I don't have any solution to that problem, because what skills and knowledge people bring to the exercise is unpredictable or unknowable.   Julia Child once made some unflattering comments about a cookbook put out by Emeril Lagasse, saying that people apparently were having problems making the recipes in Emeril's book.   My recollection is that Emeril responded to the criticism by just sending her some flowers.  Since then, I have noted criticisms of some of Emeril's recipes posted on foodnetwork.com.  In one instance, FoodNetwork simply said that Emeril was not responsible for errors in recipes posted at their website.  Because of the proliferation of recipes on the Internet and their dubious origins and unreliablility, the food magazine Cook's Illustrated goes to great lengths to tell prospective subscribers that the recipes in their publications are thoroughly tested in their kitchens before putting them into their magazines and cookbooks.

In some of my own dough recipes, I have started to omit many of the times for doing certain things and, instead, try to give guidelines as to when something is at the right stage, like using the windowpane test, carefully describing what the dough should look and feel like, and measuring finished dough temperatures, to cite a few examples.  Sometimes I will give estimated times in relation to the specific machine I am using, including speeds, since people don't want to be left completely in the dark about how long they should be doing things.  The reality is that people use different machines and different speeds, and any times I might specify will most likely be wrong, even if I stand there with a stopwatch while I am following my own recipe and note the precise times.  I have also been trying to come up with food processor versions of some of my recipes, for use when a stand mixer is not available, in which case the times will be altogether different.  Using guidelines there obviates the need to specify times with precision.  With experience, people get to determine how long to do things and, if they take good notes, they are good to go the next time they decide to make the same thing.  If they are lucky and you are there by their side to teach and guide them to a successful landing, so much the better.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 27, 2004, 12:07:03 AM
Pete-zza:

Yep, guidelines along with explanations on why certain things occur can result in significant time savings.  When I suggest to purchase dough from a pro, most people are inclined to believe that I'm giving them an alternative to making dough.  The truth is that I'm passing on a methodology to learn.  I'm teaching them to eliminate a variable that will result in incredible time savings down the road.  

As suggested above, while some have an interest to learn, many do not.  Unfortunately, recipes can be like short cuts for newbies since all the elements associated with knowledge are precluded from them.  The end result is normally failure and intensive loss of time, which takes us back to your motto.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 27, 2004, 12:49:44 AM
I tried a cold water technique last night as another means to delay fermentation.  I added some proofed active yeast during the initial stage of the mixing process.  I then mixed the dough for a fairly long time to reach the right gluten level, and then put it in the refrigerator overnight.  As I suspected, the dough had doubled despite the cold water.  There were several reasons for this:

1) I added an even amount of warm water, which raised the temperature of the 40 F cold water.

2) The yeast was added very early on in the process.  Even with rest periods, the increased friction and temperatures caused by lengthy mixing may have offered the yeast an opportunity to ferment.

3) I proofed the yeast at 110 F, rather than 100 F.  This expedited the initial activation of the yeast.

4) I let the dough sit out for 1/2 hour before I put it in the refrigerator.  I should have put it in the refrigerator sooner since my objective was to delay fermentation.

5) The salt was higher than I normally use (1 Tbl for 20 oz of flour), and the active yeast was just over 1 tsp, so I doubt that these ingredients contributed to the problem (since salt prevents growth).

6) The sugar was also at 1 TBL.  Not too bad.  

The chewy texture and final rise of the dough came out pretty good though.  But the fermentation gave it a lighter color, with less of a sugar taste than normal for a high gluten flour.  I may play with this technique a bit more, with adjustments noted above.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 27, 2004, 11:59:43 AM
Giotto,

If your dough doubled overnight in the refrigerator, I suspect it must have been quite warm when it went in.  If you haven't done this before with your stand mixer, you might want to determine the friction factor for it.  You make dough quite frequently, so it should be fairly easy to do.  Just make a batch of dough in the usual manner and take note of the temperature of the room, the temperature of the flour, the temperature of the water (I would suggest the temperature of the main part of your water so as not to unduly complicate things), and, when the dough is done, the finished dough temperature.   Then multiply the finished dough temperature by 3 and subtract the sum of the flour temperature, room temperature and water temperature.  That should be the friction number, in degrees F, for your machine and the quantity of dough you made.  

The next time you make dough in the same manner, you can use the friction factor to calculate the temperature of the water to use to get the desired finished dough temperature (even if you change your knead times and dough amounts somewhat, my experience is that the friction factor doesn't change all that much for the same machine).  The finished dough temperature that is considered optimum for dough fermentation is about 80-85 degrees F.  As an example of how you would calculate the required water temperature, and assuming you want a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F, you would multiply 80 (the desired finished dough temperature) by 3 and subtract the sum of the room temperature, flour temperature and machine friction temperature (that you previously calculated as described above).   Using this technique, I have always gotten close to the desired finished dough temperature using my stand mixer or food processor (I use 80 degrees F).

As for the yeast, the proofing temperature you used and when you introduced the yeast into the process, I don't think those factors were primarily responsible for the faster rise of the dough.  The proofing temperature you used for your active dry yeast (110 degrees F), although it may have been a bit higher than what you normally use (100 degrees F) and could expedite the activity of the yeast, it was still close to the  recommended proofing range of 105-115 degrees F.   I don't believe that adding the yeast early in the process should have made much of a difference.  I do this all the time (albeit with instant dry yeast), without experiencing a noticeably faster rise.  I'm guessing that it was a combination of overall water temperature that was too warm, the frictional heat from your mixer (which usually isn't that high for a stand mixer), and the 1/2 hour rest before the dough went into the refrigerator.  The amount of yeast and sugar you used may have also contributed to the faster rise, but because the yeast was primed for action by the higher temperatures.

Sometime, you may want to repeat your cold water experiment but control the water temperature more carefully.  I would proof the active dry yeast in a small amount of warm water and use cool or cold water for the rest (at the temperature calculated as described above).  

On a related point, I recently made some pizza dough in my bread machine for the first time .  I used cold water there (right out of the refrigerator), yet the finished dough temperature was higher than I wanted.  I did a rough calculation for the friction factor and it was higher than for my other machines.  I will retest my bread machine again for the friction factor and if it comes out high again, this may necessitate cooling the water even further to be able to get to the desired finished dough temperature.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 27, 2004, 05:39:41 PM
The goal here was not to bring the dough to my usual friction factor; but instead to yield an even lower temperature as an additional step in delayed fermentation.  As mentioned in my notes, heat was a significant factor and I suspected that the original mixture of cold and warm water was incorrect.  Sure enough, I saw a 2nd edition of the formula and cold water makes up the a much higher percentage of the total water.

If delayed fermentation is a goal, then every minute counts including the temperatures associated with yeast and dough.  Otherwise there would be little need to place dough in the refrigerator immediately after making it (as suggested by Reinhart).  If you have 15 minutes of mix time + 5 or more minutes of rest time + 15 to 30 minutes of final rest time, this can be a long time before refrigeration takes over.  Adding yeast at the beginning, rather than the end, is a technique that I've seen successfully employed professionally, where mix times can be very long.  In the technique above, cold water is added as an additional measure to introduce the impact of refrigeration.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 27, 2004, 06:25:49 PM
Giotto,

I was aware that it isn't a good idea to shock yeast with cold water and that the better way to do it is to proof the yeast first in warm water and then to add the cooler water to the ingredients.  Tonight I saw an answer that Tom Lehmann gave in response to a question posed to him some time ago, and thought you might be interested in his reply:

"When using active dry yeast (ADY) it is important to remember to rehydrate the yeast in water at 105F. To use water at a lower temperature will only damage the yeast, leading to inconsistent results, especially in a refrigerated or frozen dough system. The best way to address your process is to hydrate the ADY in a small amount of water at 105F, allow it to hydrate for about 10 minutes, you can then add it to your dough, or dough water which can be at any desired temperature. By doing this, you will probably get better consistency in yeast performance."  

What intrigues me is how you use your yeast later in the process rather than at the beginning.  I recall reading something like that in an article about breadmaking.  Maybe I can find it again.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 27, 2004, 07:07:27 PM
Giotto,

I recalled where I read about putting yeast into the process later rather than sooner.  It was in the context of making bread dough, in which the flour and water are combined first, then subjected to a rest (autolyse), and then the addition of yeast and salt.  The site is http://www.progressivebaker.com/class/section3.htm.  I think you find the discussion of the breadmaking process at that site quite interesting and informative.  It's actually a basic course on breadmaking.  Pizza bakers say that making pizza dough is not the same as making bread dough, but there are a lot of common aspects.  I think the main difference is the degree of gluten development.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 27, 2004, 07:49:47 PM
Yep, the cold water technique still calls for yeast in warm water; but the corrected rendition suggests to add the yeast to a water mixture that is primarily cold water (rather than 50/50).  I'll be talking to the professional that shared this formula during one of his classes to get the low down.  I read somewhere that active yeast is much more tolerant of cold water; good to know it holds true.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 27, 2004, 09:04:06 PM
Giotto,

I gather that the greater tolerance of active dry yeast to cold water is because it has a larger particle size compared with instant dry yeast, making it harder for the cold water to penetrate the interior yeast cells of the active dry yeast.  I also understand that active dry yeast has more dead cells than instant dry yeast, which may also be factor.  There is an interesting article on yeast by Tom Lehmann at http://www.pizzatoday.com/production_articles.shtml?article=NzlzdXBlcjc2c2VjcmV0ODM=.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 27, 2004, 10:56:29 PM
Pete-zza:

Your recommended site, http://www.progressivebaker.com/class/section3.htm, provides important explanations for various colors, tastes, etc., that apply to just about any dough.  Gotta love those big holes.  However, fermentation and strength need to be kept in check for pizza dough (especially New York), where the rise of the dough does not need to be 4+ inches high, and the need to toss the dough can result in a preference of strength over extensibility (e.g., that elasticity where it tugs back when you tug at it).  It's interesting that there is no mention of taste related to natural sugars; but instead, only the acids and alcohol released.

The comments regarding the hydroscopic nature of sugar and later addition of yeast are in synch with techniques that I have mentioned.  

It looks like he is adding the yeast dry to the mix, which is what we've commonly seen with many bread baking procedures in bread machines, and something that I have seen professionally done with active dry yeast after the initial rest period.  The procedure to use salt to keep the yeast in check is one that I use; it's good to know that mixture can occur at the same time without an issue.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 28, 2004, 02:26:50 AM
The discussion about the creamy color of the dough at the progressivebaker site definitely caught my attention.  Oxidation is always an interesting topic as well.  Professional Hobart machines run at very low rotations. Even with 50 lbs of flour, I've seen them run only on the lowest level at all times.  Unfortunately, the smaller motors of Kitcheaids (including 400 watt pro models) request that you always run in level 2 to reduce the stress on the motor.  I'm buying my next one at Costco, which has metal gears, so I don't have to worry about it.


Here for example is a thing of beauty.  This dough never grew in the refrigerator.  It remained firm and elastic (if you tugged at it, it tugged right back), and if I pushed on it, it felt strong, yet pliable, and it was smooth, not sticky.  It had that creamy color mentioned above.
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/dough-beauty.JPG)


The dough weighted a whopping 25 oz; yet it was not at all a brick.  It formed bubbles as I formed it into a circle.  I didn't know what to do with something this size.  So I tossed it, then turned it in the air noticing that it remained strong, never wanting to droop to the floor-- this is very rare.  Then I turned it, and finally put it on a 16" screen, keeping it just inside the rim to get a perfect browning effect underneath.  Thankfully the screen made it into the oven.

Here's a short piece that was left.  What amazing color and texture it produced after "3 1/2 full days" in the refrigerator.  AND THE TASTE was exceptional.  I would love to reproduce this one.
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/bestever-slice.JPG)
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 28, 2004, 11:33:25 AM
Giotto,

That's a nice looking final slice.  Can you tell us what the "technique" was for that pizza, that is, high hydration, autolyse (and how long), yeast (I assume active dry yeast) added later rather than earlier, salt added after autolyse, knead time in your stand mixer, water temperature, etc.?

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 28, 2004, 03:53:21 PM
Giotto,

7:30 PM your time is 9:30 PM Dallas time.  I can be on anytime you suggest.  By that time I will have finished my pizza.  :)

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 28, 2004, 08:02:36 PM
Pete-zza:

So why do you think such a small amount of flour is used in an early stage?  

The cream color suggests that oxidation did not take place, and the low mixing time and slow mixture seems to contribute to this.  If you were to look at the URL you sent earlier, do you see this as a short, intensive, or mid-intensive?

The temp is not tested with the high gluten-- it's a standard procedure.  But I doubt the dough is that hot when the Active Yeast is added dry.  But this seems to explain a firmer dough, and seems to be a method used in bread making as well.  The difference of course is that bread is often baked in bread machines immediately after, or left out-- rather than placed in the refrigerator.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 28, 2004, 11:18:44 PM
Giotto,

I don't know what to make of the use of such a small amount of flour at the beginning, unless it is simply a way to get the mixing process going and making it easier to add more flour rather than throwing all the flour in at one time and trying to mix it.  There are also tricks of the trade that bakers use including some, I suspect, that don't always make much sense from a science standpoint.   I wonder, for example, if the guy running the Hobart knows that low speed of operation minimizes oxidation of the dough and protects things like beta carotene.  

If I were to choose among short, intensive or mid-intensive, I would pick short, since that approach is supposed to yield a more open crumb and be amenable to long fermentation.  With breads, other than artisan breads, the tendency is to try to rush things through even though the quality and flavor may suffer.  Hence, the fast kneading, short fermentation time, a much denser crumb, etc.   I would think that yeast reacts better to the short method.

You may be correct that temperature is not measured in high-gluten dough situations, but I think that is because the water temperatures are adjusted in advance.  I understand that the yeast companies provide charts to bakers to use to determine water temperatures based on the type of equipment (Hobarts, etc.) they use as well as other factors, including room and flour temperatures.  Otherwise, bakers would never be certain about the outcomes of their dough processing and they couldn't be sure of getting consistent results day after day.  I measure finished dough temperatures for the doughs I make, but having done so for a while I can pretty much tell what it will be based on the water temperature I use.  If I am using my stand mixer, the water temperature I use here in Texas this time of year is around 73 degrees F. If I am using my food processor, it is around 57 degrees F.  The finished dough temperature in each case is around 80 degrees F.  I measure anyway but I pretty much know in advance that the dough will be at the right finished dough temperature.  I can also tell by feeling the dough.  It won't be hot or even warm to the touch.  When cooler weather comes, I will calculate a new set of water tempertures (warmer) to use.  I suspect that bakers have the same instincts based on habit and long experience--and following the water temperature charts.  I can't imagine that they can operate without using the charts.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 29, 2004, 02:35:24 AM
Pete-zza:

I agree, I have no question that this has all been tested at some point in time.  As far as oxidation, the process sure does avoid it.  Although the end result did not look like that of a short mix, the end result has so many of its characteristics.  

My point regarding temp was to indicate that because the process is down pat for the owner (who runs the mixer), there was no way for me to know the temp at the time the Active yeast was added as a dry ingredient.  Since Active Yeast is added when the dough is near its final temp, it was hard to believe that the dough was at a temp where it should be added in this way.  I wonder what the exact correlations are between active yeast and various dough temperatures when adding active yeast dry.  I'll have to ask about the temp of the dough at the end.  

I also agree that no matter how much I read about the chemistry of the dough, your comment about the inital step reminds me that there are those that create technology, and than there are those who employ it-- big difference.  We often read everything from those who create and study flour, forgetting that they are "not" the ones who employ it every moment of their work life. Instructions on bottles, for example, are to serve a different purpose than delayed fermentation.  Interestingly enough, the intial step was one of the longest steps performed, and it was followed by a rest period.  It was also during this step that a comment was made regarding people's inability to get a proper mix at home.  The dough at the end is very typical of the form we see so often when professionals take their dough out to prepare the pizza.

Let me know if you can find any trace where dak comes from.  My searches turn up nothing worthwhile.  
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 29, 2004, 11:12:14 AM
Giotto,

I think a big part of the problem is that the equipment used by professionals is so much different from what we use in a home environment, which they look upon as being "toys" compared with what they use.  They have the Hobarts, the coolers which are different than our home refrigerators, they have temperature and humidity controlled proofing equipment, and so on.  Because of that, I suspect there are a lot of unique aspects of dough processing that we also will not know about or be able to replicate at home.  And, finally, there are the tricks of the trade and the "art" aspects of dough making.  And many of those are likely to be uniquely tied to their equipment.  If there was some technical revelation that we could identify, such as when is the best time to add the yeast and at what temperature to add it, then we might be able to incorporate that revelation into our home operations, but even then, we might not succeed because the home operating environment is so much different.   We may be more likely to improve our pizzas by looking at what other home bakers do rather than what the professionals do because the similarities among home bakers are greater than between home bakers and professionals.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 29, 2004, 05:03:14 PM
I learned a long time ago to pick up the secrets from the best.  In the case of certain ingredients of the pizza, I relied completely on my own family's instincts and non-professionals in general.  But with New York crusts, pros are often the best source to "leverage" to become the best at what we do.  Sometimes, though, it requires us to relate their techniques to our own environment and ultimately think out of the box to develop our own formula.  While some worry about temperatures of dough to achieve best results, for example, others worry about getting it in the refrigerator as quickly as possible to reduce its temperature and slow down yeast activity.  Putting the yeast in at a later state so it has minimal effect before refrigeration aims toward the same objective for me.  

For a professional though, this may be important to increase the amount of time that the dough will last; while I may leverage this technique to draw out more of the acids and sugars for the palate.  Putting the pieces together and watching them evolve into some great is the fun part for me.

Were you able to find any trace of the all purpose?
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 29, 2004, 11:36:13 PM
 I wonder what the exact correlations are between active yeast and various dough temperatures when adding active yeast dry.  I'll have to ask about the temp of the dough at the end.  

I don't know if the following answers your question, but maybe it will help explain the effects of temperature on yeast performance: http://www.theartisan.net/dough_fermentation_and_temperature.htm The information at this site would seem to suggest that if active dry yeast (or any other form of yeast) is added to a dough mixture, it is likely to work best when it is within the most favorable range for yeast multiplication, no matter when in the sequence of operations the yeast is added.  

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 30, 2004, 12:43:56 AM
The sequence of operation in and of itself is not at question here.  It's elapsed times when yeast hits refrigeration that's significant, since refrigeration slows down yeast activity.  Earlier notes give examples of elapsed times as such.

Thanks for the site, I'll check it out.

Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 30, 2004, 01:10:14 AM
Giotto,

Now I get it.  Adding the yeast at the end of the process and going to refrigeration would certainly affect the duration of fermentation and allow you to extend the time before you have to use the dough.  I wonder how the fermentation by-products would be affected.  

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 30, 2004, 02:28:06 AM
Pete-zza:

You got it.  And positive by-products should develop out of it.

Rehydration of the proteins in the flour start very early in the mix cycle, and if refrigeration causes a negative impact on their gluten formation, then it's a problem of refrigeration in general.

The same holds true with starches, which enable enzymes to release sugars from the starches very early in the mix cycle.  

While refrigeration slows down yeast activity, the structure of the dough continues to strengthen, and sugars continue to be released, while other tasty treats like acids continue to develop.  Since most of the sugars are released within 8 hours, the only remaining tastes are really associated with the acids that are produced.  I have witnessed this first hand in many cases.  The secret however is to make sure that the yeast activity develops enough to create those neat little air bubbles that we hope to see when first preparing the dough.  
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 31, 2004, 07:35:05 PM
I purchased some non-hydrogenated palm oil today (vegetable shortening without trans fats).  A raw dough that I purchase uses this ingredient, along with a flour with an industry standard of 14% protein.  It doesn't seem to deaden the dough, which can happen sometimes with oils.  The raw dough's texture is extensible (easy to stretch) with some elasticity (it will pull back a little).  Not the best tossing dough; but it forms a nice New York crust that is strong with a nice crunch.

I'll be using Giusto's high protein flour that I've been playing with for awhile (13.5%).  I'm switching out olive oil for the vegetable shortening to see if there is a difference.    
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 02, 2004, 02:06:04 AM
This New York style crust is worth a 2nd try in an effort to test the consistency for my own sake and others as well.  

(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/slice.JPG)

The following ingredients, realizations and processes were key to the end result:

- I used a palm oil (non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening) instead of my usual olive or canola oil.  Similar to what your experiences with how butter can impose on the dough if not applied properly, I had similar experiences with oils mixed in with the dough.  I remembered one of my favorite pro doughs using non-hydrogenated no trans fat vegetable shortening, so I pulled out my ol' calculator and decided that less than a TBL should do the job.  And it did.  

- As I studied sugar more and more, I learned a few things.  First, it was naturally feeding the very source that I was trying to keep in check (yeast), and I was unable to maintain that relatively flat texture in the refrigerator, without giving up the soft bubbly texture-- regardless of salt usage.  Second, it's hydroscopic nature was keeping the moisture in; but at the same time, I learned that it was shielding the moisture as well.  Last, by reverse engineering a favorite tasting pro dough, checking with another favorite pro and putting one and one together on a 3rd, I realized neither was using sugar.  

Since I was using a higher gluten flour in this recipe (Giusto's 13.5% high protein flour), I decided that I may actually get a better taste without sugar.  So I ditched it, and I got a really naturally good tasting dough.

- I've always worried about color of the outer crust.  But I noticed that a crust at one of my favorite small pizzerias was light sometimes.  I left this in the refrigeration for more than 14 hours, probably a couple of hours longer than I should have in this case.  It was a bit lighter on top than I'm used to at 530 F, but the taste, bottom, crispiness and ability to fold it was very satisfying.

- I have messed with salt proportions more than I've touched a frigin calculator.  When I reverse engineered a pro dough, I was amazed to find that it contained an amount that I've used in the past.  So without the sugar, I decided to stick with just a touch over 3/4 tsp of salt for the 11 oz (just under 2 1/2 cups) of flour that I employed.

- As far as the one ingredient I'm forever trying to tame, I decided to use maybe a pinch over 1/2 tsp of Active Yeast.  I proofed it this time, because it was a disaster the one time I tried not to proof it.  I also added it after my first rehydration (rest) period.  

1st Rehydration rest period, after dough starts to come together, and before yeast was added:

(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/rehydrate.JPG)

After active yeast and proofed water is added, and a couple of more minutes of mixing:
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/donedough.JPG)

- I like to include all fluids as part of the 60% calculation of flour, and I like to include the active yeast water & oils in this percentage.  I also like to avoid adding flour unexpectantly, since so many ingredients rely on it.  Knowing that I needed to include a TBL of water for the 1/2 tsp Active Yeast, and just under this for non-hydro palm oil, I went with 6 oz of room temp water (giving a total of about 6 1/2 oz of fluids).

Outside of ingredients, I worried about oxidization.  I know many pros use a lower level on their hobarts, so I decided to replicate mixing by hand.  I kept my kitchenaid at Level 1, mixed under 10 minutes total time (often stirring for a minute at a time which certainly mimics what I can do manually), and with room temp water, I ended with 78 F dough.  Well, I hope I didn't take you through all this unnecessarily, and I can get it to work a 2nd time; it will be worth posting as a summary recipe then.

I got a bit frustrated when I saw how extensible the dough was after an initial whirl in the air shortly after taking it out of the refrigerator.  Some people prefer this, since they extend it on the table.  I like elastic dough, where I have more control over where the dough is thin and thick.  

So I decided to flip it from top to bottom, and side over side, squash it gently to keep the bubbles in place, and wait another 15 minutes.  It made for a strong elastic dough and the final crust was well worth it.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 02, 2004, 12:00:03 PM
Giotto,

Thanks for sharing your efforts.  I felt like I was standing there looking into your mixer bowl ;D.

When you say "reverse engineer", what exactly do you mean?  Do you mean testing the dough somehow, dumpster diving :),  extracting information from the pro whose dough you have bought, or possibly some combination of these methods?  

I looked at the recipe I have been using for making New York style dough (which I previously posted) and, making rough estimates of ingredients, it looks like you have moved closer in the direction of the recipe I use, which includes no added sugar, very small amounts of yeast (instant dry yeast), a little oil and modest amounts of salt (just enough for the palate).  When I look at the recipe I wonder why it should work.  But it does, and the lack of added sugar is no drawback.  I have been able to get 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator without the yeast running out of food (I use the KA Sir Lancelot flour), although by the third day or so the dough will be more extensible and less elastic and the crust will be lighter.  Based on the temperatures you mentioned, let me ask you this: was the temperature at your place when you made your pizza around 76 degrees F ?  ;D ;D.

I notice that you proofed the active dry yeast this time rather than using it dry.  Yesterday, I decided to try a new dough recipe and put active dry yeast at the end--by just sprinkling the yeast dry on top of the dough that was pretty much done and kneading it in for a couple or minutes or so.  When I was getting ready to put the dough into a bowl, I noticed that I could see little specks of the yeast distributed throughout the dough.   I decided nonetheless to let the dough rise at room temperature to see what would happen.  After about 6-7 hours, the dough had hardly budged.  Rather than leave the dough continue to work overnight, and seeing that it had some spring to it, I decided just to proceed as usual.  The dough looked like it was dead, but it wasn't.  I was able to shape it (it was elastic and fought back) and make a pizza, but the crust was more like a cracker crust.   Maybe it didn't help that I used cool water and used only the #1 speed of my stand mixer (which minimized heat production).  I suspect I would have gotten better results if I had proofed the active dry yeast in a little warm water.  I may repeat the experiment again sometime just to see what the dough does if I let it run out for a day or so at room temperature.  If the dough starts to behave normally, even though it may take some time, it might prove out your theory that using the active dry yeast at the end of the kneading process can significantly extend the fermentation period, if that is the desired objective.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Foccaciaman on September 02, 2004, 08:36:50 PM
Thanks Giotto, for sharing that with us.  ;D

I really hope that you can have a repeat preformance with the crust/dough. The more I look at your pics the hungrier that I am getting.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 03, 2004, 01:23:03 AM
Today, I had the painters out-- not much fun doing that stuff.  I'm certainly looking forward to another try at it. By the way, with 11 oz of flour sited above, I am making somewhere around a 15" pizza on a 16" screen (excuse the clumsy finger mark with sauce at top left).
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/ovendough.JPG)

Here's responses to Q's:

Reverse Engineer... In this particular case, the professional (... Fornaio) labels their dough for FDA purposes and I got the label (no trash cans).  Because I've worked with the USDA & FDA before, I can convert ingredients to their relative amounts pretty easily.  The sugar was a no-brainer since they were not listed in the ingredients, and specs were 0g.

Proofing yeast... I got the same results, Pete-zza, when I tried to add the Active Yeast without proofing.  The dough texture had a bunch of ugly pimples in it-- this doesn't happen with another pro I got this from-- I don't know its dough temp; but I'm back to proofing from now on in 1 TBL of water. This works well with my procedure to add it after the first rest period, giving the dough additional rehydration.

House Temp... Interesting, my house temp is 76 F now, and the temp has not budged in a week at this time of night, which is about the time I made it.

Non-hdrogenated shortening... I tell you, this stuff makes a difference.  I would never have used shortening before; but the idea of non-hydrogenated shortening, listed as Palm oil seemed to feel right.  So when I saw the stuff sitting on a store's shelf listed as organic, no trans fat, non-hdrogenated vegetable shortening, with Palm Oil listed in parenthesis, I decided to try it.  1/2 TBL seemed low to me; but oil can deaden dough, despite its other benefits, so it made sense to try it.

King Arthur... Sir Lancelot is 14.7% protein, which is even higher than industry standards of 14.1%, and more than a full point higher than Giusto's 13.5%.  I'm wondering if the palm oil would need to be increased just a bit (maybe a tsp).

Mixing differences... I mix the ingredients in slightly different steps than you like to, Pete-zza.  

- I like the salt to make it all the way through the dough before the yeast is added, as a means to slow down the yeast fermentation.  I risk impact to rehydration since minimal time expires before I add the proofed water.

- I pre-warm the stainless steel bowl with warm water.

- I start by mixing the salt into the flour in the bowl, then add room-temp water with non-hydro vegetable shortening mixed in it.  I mix it with a dough hook just until it comes together, and let it rest for a few minutes.  

- Then I stir the proofed yeast and add it into the dough, and mix at intervals to simulate hand kneading (no more than a minute at a time).  

- I give it a tug to test it's glutency/elasticity.  It should never just break off (that would be really bad).  And it should slightly resist without breaking.  That's my windowpane test.  To get bigger holes in the outer crust, I let the gluten form during refrigeration, keeping my mix time to just a few minutes.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 03, 2004, 10:49:35 AM
Giotto,

Your mix and knead process is a little bit different from what I normally use.   My approach is more along the classic autolyse approach by keeping the salt away from the flour, yeast and water so that the salt, which is hygroscopic, doesn't interfere with hydration and doesn't slow down yeast growth.  In theory, this is suppose to shorten the time needed to develop the gluten and to shorten the hydration time.   Of course, if the objective is to increase fermentation endurance, then the approach you use is appropriate.  It shows that you have first determined what your objectives are and have adjusted the process accordingly to meet those objectives.  

I draw a distinction (which only registered recently, thanks to you) between slowing down yeast growth (and fermentation) and delaying the onset of yeast growth (and fermentation).  Adding the salt to the dough with the yeast already in it has the effect of accomplishing the former and adding the yeast after the salt has been added to the dough has the effect of accomplishing the latter.  I believe from our previous discussions that this is your understanding also and that was the rationale for adding the yeast after the salt.  

When I used to knead bread dough by hand and tried to add salt after the autolyse (with the yeast already in the dough), it was a bear to knead in the salt.  The dough would tighten, develop tears, and become more difficult to knead and stretch.  A machine does the incorporating job far faster and better, of course, but I still see the same effects moments after I add the salt to the dough.  The dough goes a little bit crazy and flails around all over the place until the salt has been fully incorporated.   Do you see the same effects of salt on yeast when you add the yeast after the salt?  

BTW, I used the standard equation to try to calculate your room temperature, based on what you said about the finished dough temperature and water temperature (room temperature water).  I assumed that your flour temperature was also at room temperature, as is almost always the case, and that your slow speed mixing and kneading was adding very little heat to the dough, maybe a few degrees.

Peter



Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 03, 2004, 04:39:26 PM
Pete-zza:

Yes in each of your accounts. I keep the flour within a couple of degrees of room temp, since our room temp is pretty much 73 - 78 F year round (no air conditioning) during the day.  I noticed that many pros around here make their dough in the afternoon for the next day.

Right now, the flour is 73 F and the room is 75 F.  By the time it's mixed in the warm bowl with the salt, it's equal to room temp.  Just as sugar added to grapes doesn't immediately make wine, I use the temp of the dough during mix, yeast timing and full incorporation of salt prior to yeast addition, all for the delay over time as you suggest, so I can develop the acids and other tastes.

I've reduced the problem related to adding yeast later by reducing it down to just 1 TBL of water (lukewarm by the time it is added), AND kneading by hand for a couple of times in the bowl before restarting.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 03, 2004, 07:54:07 PM
Giotto,

I read that most professionals make their dough in the evening for use the next day because the coolers are most efficient during that time period.  During the day, workers are much more likely to open and close the cooler doors and reduce its efficiency and raise the temperature of the dough balls.  

Your use of your hands raises a good point about the need in many cases to use your hands even when you have a mixer to do most of the work.  I'm sure we have all experienced having the dough rise up onto the dough hook and just rotate without really kneading, especially when the amount of dough is not all that great.   Some people recommend spraying the dough hook with a light oil spray, but I haven't found that approach to be infallible.  Usually, the best solution is to just stop the mixer and reorient the dough by hand--maybe several times to be sure that the dough gets enough kneading.  Stopping the mixer occasionally just to get a feel for the dough to be sure it isn't too wet or too dry or to test it to see if it has been sufficiently kneaded is also a good idea, if not a necessity.  And, like you, I will often knead ingredients like yeast, salt and sugar into a dough by hand before putting the dough into the mixer for further processing.  Most recipes are silent as to the need to occasionally intrude on the actions of the machines we use.  They basically say just mix things together and knead for specified times.  This may well be one of the biggest problems for beginning pizza makers or for those who didn't succeed even though they said "I followed the recipe exactly" ;D. The only way I know to avoid using the hands altogether is to use a food processor or a bread machine.   Then, you will have a different set of procedures and challenges to contend with to be sure that the dough comes out right.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 04, 2004, 01:33:49 PM
When the formula expands to accomodate more pizza doughs per run, I find it increasingly difficult to mix it in at later stages either by hand or machine.  In addition, the possibility of introducing dryness and machine oxidization goes way up in an effort to mix it in.

The use of colder water mixed with flour at the beginning stage intrigues me as a means to add the yeast at an initial stage (proofed in a very small amount of water that reaches room temp by the time it is added).  Based on the yeast temp tables, yeast multiplies at lower temps, just with a slower rate of appetite-- which is fine for me.

Regarding enviornmental temps, each region needs to consider its own seasonal temps (humidity, high heats, etc.) as well as how quickly they want the dough ready.  
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 07, 2004, 05:47:13 PM
I recently made a batch of dough using my standard New York style dough recipe (previously posted).  I divided the dough in half to yield two dough balls each weighing about 13 ounces.  One of the dough balls was refrigerated for about 24 hours, following which the dough was allowed to come up to room temperature for about 3 hours.  This was longer than I had intended (I was looking for a 1 1/2- to 2-hour rise), but I was interrupted by other matters as the dough was rising.  The dough was extensible and quite elastic but, with a little additional rest, it shaped nicely.   After shaping, the pizza was dressed with a mixture of 6-in-1 and San Marzano tomato sauce with a little Penzeys pizza seasoning; a mixture of mozzarella cheese slices, fresh mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese and freshly grated grana padano cheese; pepperoni; chopped green pepper; a high-quality olive oil; and fresh basil (added after baking).  The pizza was baked on a pizza stone preheated for one hour at 500-550 degrees F.

The crust of the finished pizza was a little bit breadier than I like and not quite as leathery as I usually strive for in my New York style pizza crusts.  This may have been attributable to the longer period of rising after taking the dough out of the refrigerator.  It  strikes me that to make a good New York style pizza dough it is best not to have long knead times and gluten development and to not let the dough rise too much before shaping and dressing.  Along with that, the use of a small amount of yeast and little or no sugar would seem to insure that the dough not rise too much and develop an open crumb structure, which is conducive to breadiness rather than leatheriness.  The next time I follow the recipe, I plan to omit the autolyse and knead only the minimum, and let the refrigeration do most of the heavy lifting.  

In any event, the photo below shows what the finished pizza looked like.
Peter

Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 07, 2004, 06:00:50 PM
In my previous post, I indicated that I had made enough dough for two New York style pizzas.  Whereas the first piece of dough was subjected to a period of refrigeration of around 24 hours, the second piece of dough was subjected to a period of refrigeration of about 48 hours.  When I removed the second dough ball from the refrigerator to come up to room temperature, I noticed that the dough had expanded in volume a bit more that the first dough ball.  After a rise period of about 1 1/2 hours, the dough was soft and easy to handle--moreso than the first dough ball.  As with the first dough ball, I had little trouble tossing the dough as I was shaping it.  The second pizza was dressed almost identically to the first pizza except that I substituted sauteed mushrooms for the green pepper and I baked the pizza on a pizza screen rather than the pizza stone.  

The photo below shows the results of the second pizza.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 07, 2004, 06:23:19 PM
In a previous post (Reply 27 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,524.msg4691.html#msg4691), I indicated that I had made my first batch of pizza dough for a New York style pizza in my Zo bread machine.  I disregarded the instructions for dough making that I found in the instruction booklet for the machine and just used my standard New York style dough ingredients and quantities.  As previously noted, the dough coming out of the bread machine was warm to the touch.  The dough, weighing about one pound, was refrigerated and used the next day.  The pizza was dressed with a 6-in-1 tomato sauce with fresh sliced tomatoes; mozzarella and provolone cheeses; pepperoni; chopped green peppers; a good-quality olive oil; and fresh basil (added after baking).  I intend to try the bread maker again, but this time use cool or cold water to try to keep the finished dough temperature down.  

The photo below shows the finished product.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 07, 2004, 08:55:52 PM
Pete-zza:

First and foremost, let me say, I am totally impressed that you took your talents beyond pizza making and into learning that digital camera of yours.

The pictures are very good and it looks seriously scrumptuous.   Maybe you can share the following with us:

1) you had talked earlier of combining screen & rock-- is this what you did the 2nd time, or did you just use the screen?

2) what was the difference in texture, taste (reduction in sweetness?) & color (browning looks similar despite additional 24 hours) between the 1st and 2nd?  

3) How did the 3rd differ in breadiness, chewiness, taste, browning, etc. (browning looks lighter; but maybe picture)?

4) What size pizza did you create with a 13 oz dough?

If you get a chance to photograph a cut slice for thickness, etc., that would be great.  

I noticed the comment suggesting an open crumb structure necessitates breadiness rather than a leathery texture.  Actually, I have had my share of San Francisco breads and NY pizza crusts with a nice airy structure and holes that have a wonderful pull and chew to them.

Thanks again for the pictures.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 08, 2004, 12:40:42 PM
Giotto,

I should be the one thanking you for coaxing me off of the sidelines with the camera, especially for a site like this one, where a photo conveys much more information than words alone.  Fortunately, after I got all of the photos out of the camera and onto my hard drive, I had some help from a friend who has the same model camera and a ton of experience using it.  He helped expedite the learning process, especially on how to size the photos so that they can be posted on this site.

As for the two pizzas I made on two separate days (the 26- and 48-hour versions), the first pizza had a diameter of about 14 inches (the largest size my peel and pizza stone can accommodate) and was baked directly on the stone; the second pizza was nearly 16 inches in diameter and was baked entirely on the 16-inch pizza screen.  So, the second pizza had a thinner crust.  The coloration of the top crusts for both pizzas was about the same, as you noted, however the bottom crust of the second pizza was darker than the first.  I attribute this to the close proximity of the pizza screen to the bottom electric coil (even though I was using a lower oven temperature than usual) and also to the thinness of the second crust.   Part way through baking, I moved the second pizza to a higher oven rack to keep the crust from burning.  In both cases, there was enough sugar left in the dough, along with the higher protein levels, to promote browning.  

I did not particularly notice any differences in sweetness.  I did not add any sugar to the recipe to begin with, and since most flours have only about 1 to 2 percent natural sugar bound up in the starch, I'm not sure that I would be able to detect the sweetness on the tongue (I understand that it takes above 4 to 5 percent sugar to detect it on the palate).

When I referred to breadiness, I was thinking more of the rims of the pizzas rather than the rest of the crusts.  The rims are thicker and that is where the open crumb is most noticeable, both visually and when eaten.  There was some openess to the structure of the rest of the crusts, but the crusts didn't quite have the chewiness and leathery character that I personally prefer in my New York style pizzas.  This is the reason I am thinking of slightly modifyng my original recipe to see if I can achieve those favored characteristics.  The previous time I made the recipe, I was using a food processor and it is possible that the dough formed using that machine was different from the one using the stand mixer.

With respect to the third pizza--the one made using dough processed by the bread machine--I found the crust of that pizza to be too bready also for my taste.  As I previously noted, I had allowed the dough to go through the full cycle of the machine, and it exhibited a faster rise than usual, both coming out of the machine and while it was in the refrigerator.  The more open character carried through to the baked pizza.  The next time I try the bread machine to make a New York style dough, I will remove the dough from the machine before rising and put it directly into the refrigerator.

When I checked the camera photos this morning, I noticed that I did take a photo of a slice--for the 26-hour version mentioned above.

Peter

Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 08, 2004, 05:41:07 PM
Pete-zza:

Your crust on the 14" doesn't look that thin and your outside crust is good.  It reminds me that a 14 oz dough (about 8.5 oz of flour with 60% liquid) used to meet my needs for a 14" pizza.    

I'm stepping aside from Giusto's 13 - 13.5% flour for awhile.  The flour is like dust when mixed with water-- oversaturates way too easily. The lack of pigmentation is an issue no matter how little/manual it is mixed (always white oxidized look to it).  

I'm trying a Pendelton Power hi-gluten unbleached flour.   I assume it's around an industry 14.1% protein.  Really easy to work with when it comes to a 60% fluid to flour mix.  Decent cream color when mixed, and easticity is created with minimal kneading.  It stretches, yet never over-stretches when tossing it.  Oven browning and rising were excellent with only 4g (1 TBL) of sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, 3/8 tsp active yeast (proofed) and 20 hours of refrigeration.  

Regarding the pizza screen, I would recommend starting near the top, and moving it to the bottom for close to a minute-- sometimes without the screen.  This will give the crust a slightly crisp bottom, without burning.

For those who wonder how little yeast is really needed, here's an example where a professional is using 4 tsp of instant yeast for 40 lb of high gluten flour, which is about the amount that I've seen used.  This is about 1/16 tsp per 10 oz of flour.  The owner's only crime is leaving the dough out a regular temperature too long according to Tom L at PMQ:

http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi/noframes/read/986
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 09, 2004, 10:53:47 AM
Pete-zza:

At 22 oz of flour, 1 tsp active yeast was more than I needed.  I'm down to 3/8 tsp active yeast for 11 oz of flour, and that is plenty for a good rise, bubbles, etc.  I expect that 1/4 tsp active yeast will be good for my next mix.  With my SAF instant, I'd feel comfortable with 1/8 tsp.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 11, 2004, 03:41:17 AM
Since 4 tsp of instant yeast is enough for 40 lbs of flour, this is what 1/4 tsp of active yeast will give you with 10 oz of flour:

Enough for a nice outer crust:
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/qtr-yeast.JPG)


With a nice medium thickness toward the end:
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/qtr-yeast-slice.JPG)
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pierre on September 11, 2004, 04:59:40 AM
very nice looking Pizza Giotto....

I wrote a long time ago after speaking to a Master Baker here in Germany that very little yeast is necessary, I've been using 1ml of yeast (1/5 tsp) for 250 grams of flour for quite awhile now.

I think the amount can be decreased even more.  

Pierre
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Foccaciaman on September 11, 2004, 12:50:04 PM
Giotto:

you get some very nice color in the edge of the crust.
To what do you attribute this to.

Do you brush it with oil?

How much, if any, sugar is in your dough?

At what temp., where in the oven, and on what was it cooked (stone/screen)?

How Long was it cooked???

Thanks ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 11, 2004, 01:04:38 PM
Giotto,

Is the pizza dough you made based on the Pendleton Power high-gluten flour that you mentioned in a recent post?  If so, it produces a mighty fine pizza, even with the algae :).

Peter

Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 11, 2004, 03:41:59 PM
Foccaciaman:

I attribute the color to many of the things you mention.  Although I don't like to rub the crust with oil before going in the oven-- it seems to deaden the texture for me.

Ingredients:
- ratio of salt to sugar, in this case 1 to 3 (1/2 tsp salt to 1 1/2 tsp sugar).  
- Low amount of active yeast (1/4 tsp Red Star active proofed)
- High Gluten Flour (Pendleton in Oregon, available at restaurant supply stores)

Refrigeration:
- Immediate refrigeration.
- Set in steel holder for first hour, before switching to a plastic bag (the free stuff from produce sections)
- Remove after 14 hours, in this case 20 hours.
- Let sit out 1 hour before preparing for oven.

Oven/Screen Technique:
- Screen only
- Oven 530 F (preheated only a few minutes)
- Heat 1 minute on bottom, no toppings
- Start 6" from top 6 1/2 to 7 minutes, with toppings
- Move to bottom 45 - 60 seconds (sometimes no screen)
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 11, 2004, 04:17:43 PM
Giotto,

Thanks for expanding on your efforts with the Pendelton flour.

I am curious about your 1 to 3 ratio of salt to sugar.  Is that a standard ratio, or something you came up with through your own work with doughs.  Also, I noted that you, like canadave, use a metal container (canadave uses cookie tins) for holding the dough before transferring it to a plastic bag.  I remember when I was into sourdough breads and following Nancy Silverton's recipes, she suggested that metal containers not be used to hold dough since metal conducts heat away from the dough.  For one hour, or even overnight, I can't imagine that this would be a problem.   Is there a particular reason why you have chosen to use a metal container?

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 11, 2004, 04:40:27 PM
Pete-zza:

Yes, Pendleton Power unbleached high gluten.  I was pleased as well when Tony G recommended it to me at a pizza party. Great guy who started the US Pizza team with PMQ.  Here's some of his other recommendations: http://www.pmq.com/mag/2002fall/dough.shtml

Pendleton is a breeze when using 60% water. Cost me a whopping $8 for 50 lbs at a restaurant supply store (United Cash & Carry).  Since I'm not working with all 50 lbs of flour at once or producing 70 doughs, I can mix minimally and get all the benefits of elasticity and airy crust while avoiding dough oxidization.  

I knead as follows:

- Low machine knead w/dough hook until put together.  
- Wait 3 minutes. Knead with hook another minute.  
- Hand knead 5 or 6 times, then finish off with just over a minute with the machine dough hook.  

I refrigerate with dough at around 81 F (discussed above) without any issues.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 11, 2004, 04:54:40 PM
Pierre,

I know from having read just about all your posts that you are a big fan and advocate of the use of small amounts of yeast and cooler temperatures (e.g. water temperatures).  Do you follow this practice with all types of doughs, or only certain ones?  

Having thought about this some, it strikes me that there is a continuum that runs from using large amounts of yeast and high temperatures at one end of the spectrum to using small amounts of yeast and low temperatures at the other end of the spectrum, and that as you move from left to right along the continuum, and with all other things being equal, the quality of the end product (the crust) should in theory at least improve because of the increased by-products of fermentation and more developed gluten.   In other words, the duration of fermentation, whether it occurs at room temperature or in the refrigerator, or a combination of both, becomes the most important determinant of overall quality of the finished crust.  I realize that there are many other factors that come into play, such as types of flours and the use and amounts of other ingredients, such as salt, sugar, oils, etc., as well as technique, but does the proposition that I have expressed above fit with your understanding and reason why you favor using small amounts of yeast and low temperatures, or is there something else I am not properly taking into account?  

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 11, 2004, 05:03:10 PM
Pete-zza:

Yes, I was taught 1 to 2 or 3 for 14% high protein as a standard, where consistency was everything.  I deviate from it every now and then with lower glutens, as you know, but it gives me the highest consistency in taste and color with the right flour.  

I've seen pizzerias throw out all their plastics, and switch to metal at a cost for the complete opposite reason.  It produces the coldest environment around the dough as quickly as possible.  I was told that if Neo style is what I wanted, then wood is preferable because how it affects hydration; otherwise, go for the cold.  Since I fold over the tops after an hour, I keep it loosely covered at first.

You'll notice that the one area where T. Lehman recommended immediate change in one of the URLs mentioned above was leaving the dough out for the first few hours, rather than cross stacking in refrigeration, and then restacking.  You'll also notice that he didn't touch the close to 1 to 3 ratio of salt to sugar or 4 tsp of yeast for 40 lbs of flour.  While some people like extensible doughs, others prefer elastic.  I like a combination.  And I know that it takes about 8 hours for enzymes to yield most of the sugars.  I get the best feel from lower yeast doughs, and prefer lower temperatures to reduce yeast activity from depleting the sugars in the dough, which in turn give the yeast enough time to churn out more acids.  In the end, I look to get great color and great taste without added ingredients over 16 - 48 hours.  I have seen 1 week without the use of any sugars work well with one pro's dough.  It will be interesting to see what longer terms yield with the new flour.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 11, 2004, 05:32:42 PM
Giotto,

Thanks for the added insights.  

I read that DiFara's, the well-known Brooklyn pizzeria, uses wood trays for proofing purposes.  Although I haven't yet been to DiFara's to see for myself, based on what I have read about the DiFara pizzas I would describe their pizzas as a cross between Neapolitan style and New York style pizzas.  The DiFara dough is apparently made from a mix of Delverde 00 flour and a high-gluten flour.  Having played around with such a combination a few times, I would say that the pizza leans more toward the Neapolitan style than the New York style, especially when there is no refrigeration of the dough.

I went back to Nancy Silverton's book to see in what context she suggested that one avoid metal containers.  It was in the context of a room temperature rise, not specifically the retardation part of the process.  I think you (and canadave) are right.  It would seem that a metal container in the refrigerator would promote cooling faster than a non-metal container.  

Earlier this afternoon, I posted a message to Pierre, one of the well-respected pizza "technologists" on this forum, about the role that time plays in the process of producing a high quality dough and crust.   Knowing that you are an avid experimenter, I would welcome your observations also.

Peter

Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 11, 2004, 06:17:43 PM
Pete-zza:

I have learned that there are professionals who know what they know because they bought a place from someone else; and then there are those who seem to be in a whole different ball game.  This latter bunch can come in all kinds too.  My favorites are the ones with families from Italy, who were willing to continue to develop beyond their family secrets by rubbing major elbows world-wide.  By speaking to the latter, and reading to learn more on the topic, I have experimented as you suggest to see how I can best attain my own preferences at home.  But it's only after a great deal of learning, and after starting to see certain things validated from others.

The concept of cold and its impact on fermentation is covered briefly in American Pie.  Lehman has entire dissertations on similar topics, and he covers the relationship between ingredients on thin vs. thicker doughs which vary quite a bit.  You'll find some of my comments regarding delayed fermentation above.  

In the end, it's like I was reminded of recently... there is just no one way to do things, except your own.  And I'm quickly arriving at that point.  But even this varies.  Last night, for example, I enjoyed a bready calzone that I enjoyed in a pizza sandwich format.  Yet, I often try to avoid such a crust.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 12, 2004, 12:35:10 AM
Oh man, I just saw a back yard wood oven to die for, apparently right out of Tuscany.  The owners love it and gave me this site.  There are reasons why the learning doesn't stop... just when I figure it out, the equation gets stuff added to it.  This is a trip that I can make though (compared to Italy anyways). http://www.mugnaini.com/
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: DKM on September 12, 2004, 09:02:46 AM
To quote my 4 YO, "I need, I need"

DKM
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Foccaciaman on September 12, 2004, 02:47:08 PM
 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
I know what I will be dreaming of tonight.....
I think I am going to have to start working on my wife now for next summer when I expand and redesign my deck. I will tell her she can have a hot tub if I can have one of those ovens delivered.
It may be a long shot but she has suprised me before. :)

Knowing myself the way I do though, I will probably spend more time trying to design my own version for fraction of the cost.
She'll love that even more. hahahahahahahaha ;D
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pierre on September 12, 2004, 07:01:44 PM
sorry, Pete-zza for the delay. We had some excitement over here in the night from Friday to Saturday. In our bathroom a corner valve just popped off sending the valve head flying thru the room. Luckily, I am a light sleeper and heard something abnormal and woke up from it.

At first, I hesitated to enter the bathroom due to the strange noise coming from within (it had no resemblance with anything I had personally heard before...it didn't sound like water  ???). When I finally opened the door, I was greeted by something similar to Niagra Falls!  :o

You'd be surprised at how much water can be pressed thru a small opening in a miniature valve when the pressure is high enough ! Since we live in an apartment house on the 4th floor, this was a massively critical situation. While I waded thru the gushing water to turn off the main valve, my wife placed everything we had on towels and bedwash she could find on the floors to hold up the water from trenching the neighbored apartments under ours. The water was 5 fingers high in the bathroom and poured quickly into the adjascent rooms.

We spent 3 hours wringing out the towels over and over and over again.... I'm not the type who uses expletives (I made an exception this time), but this is something I certainly "really needed", just like a hole in my head. Why do things like these happen on the Weekends, where no one from your apartment management can be reached!?  >:(

The neighbors under us are not home, I have no idea what happened below us. I'm already wondering what surprises our insurance company has for us when we report the damage tomorrow morning.... (nope sorry mr.Kiefer; see the exclusion paragraph § 3b, on side 24, section 12c, 4th sentence......)

Section 12c

sd asdfööösdf asd..asdf..a.sdfwer.we.r.wer.wer.w.erlkkksl ksdkl eksljels lejeriwoekl  Blue mooned evenings weljwejiw excluded for sure ew4 lkej34 lkjdklsj344llk skl34l3jlk skj3kl4j32kjk sd3.

Wait a second, let me get my magnifying glass (12" wide) out and then.....son $%&%#####&  !! :o :'(

It's very late right now here.... near 1am. I need to get some sleep and hope for the best tomorrow. I'll get back you all then. Wish me some luck guys. I need it!!

Pierre
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 12, 2004, 08:41:31 PM
Pierre:

Oh man, as soon as I saw the words "In our bathroom a corner valve just popped off sending the valve head flying thru the room," my head hit the computer.  I know exactly how much water can come through one of those things.  That's really scary to think that it happened in a complex where you are above others.  I don't even know where the main is on something like that.  Unfortunately, when I think of insurance, I am reminded of the comment "insurance is like wearing a gown in the hospital, you only think you're covered."  

Really sorry to hear about the disaster.  And to think that it occurred when you can't even get time off of work for it.  Best of luck!
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 12, 2004, 09:05:47 PM
Foccaciaman:

You gotta checkout these layouts just waiting to be architected on a deck:
http://www.mugnaini.com/ovens/gallery_unti_medio.html

Here's a do-it-yourself kit that appears to reduce one model's cost in half.  Scroll down to Medio 100 Al Fresco Kit:
http://www.mugnaini.com/ovens/ovens_medio100.html
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 13, 2004, 09:48:19 PM
Today, I decided to try my hand at pizza smoking and grilling.

Placed my ingredients on the table  8)
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/table.jpg)

Started with my 2 level chiminea.  But the pizza would not fit through the door  ???
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/chimney.jpg)

I moved onto my smoker   ::)
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/bbq1.jpg)

Pre-heated it in my oven to compensate for the lower temp smoker.  Then indirectly smoked it for a few minutes:
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/bbq2.jpg)

Performed the 3 second test to ensure coals/wood were at 500 F, then directly grilled it for less than a minute to brown the bottom.
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/bbq3.jpg)

All paticipants agreed, the spray of smoke over the Grande Mozzarella, tasty assortment of bell peppers, juicy sliced garden tomatoes, crispy pepperonis, and nicely browned bottom crust were a perfect match.  ;D
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Foccaciaman on September 13, 2004, 11:14:01 PM
Looks mighty tasty. ;D

Was the effort worth the results?
Would you do it again/what changes would you make?
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Giovanni on September 14, 2004, 10:18:39 AM
Giotto:

Where do you get your Grande Mozzarella? I tried emailing verns cheese as seen in previous posts but got nothing back. Did you have to call them to order it or did you get it somewhere else?
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 14, 2004, 12:43:42 PM
Giovanni:

I get the Grande whole milk low moisture at $3.99 lb on the shelf at Whole Foods in the San Francisco area.  Each section of Whole Foods (grocery/flour, cheese, bulk, etc.) has a list of "approved vendors".  If Grande is not on their shelves, then ask the cheese department if it is on their "approved list of vendors".  If so, they will order it for you (no shipping costs, available within a couple of days, and usually a 10% discount for bulk items if you ask).  I have done this effectively with flours in the past.  Another alternative is to ask any of your pizzerias if they use Grande (I found 3 in my area that do) and ask to purchase a couple of pounds from them.  Hope this works out!
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 14, 2004, 01:10:50 PM
Foccaciaman:

This time around, I went with what I know, which was indirect heat to smolder and direct heat only to brown the bottom.  I would go through this process when I wish to leverage the bbq for other foods (e.g., crispy wings, grilled vegetables), which was the case here.  It was a safe approach for making pizza, since the pizza was formed from the oven.  In the future, I know that if the bbq reads under 400 F when the lid is closed, I can run it indirect for a much longer time to get more of the smoldering smoke flavor.

There is also the tortilla approach.  Cook one side over the grill first (a screen makes it easy to handle), and then flip it over to cook the other side.  Next put on the toppings, and finish it up indirectly.  I prefer simulating the wood oven approach though to get a good outside crust.  But this requires you to turn the pizza toward the heat every so often.  I can't see into my bbq.  So the combined oven/grill approach is better for consistency of rise.  

I'm now researching how to convert my home fireplace into a wood oven, as a result of your comment to do something on your own.  I went through the wood oven videos from the URL that I provided above, and the concaved smaller pizza entry seems key.  Tiles along the floor may be used as well apparently.  Worth the investigation.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Foccaciaman on September 14, 2004, 03:01:49 PM
Giotto:

Nice thinking, the idea of turning a home fireplace into a workable pizza oven really intrigues me, keep me posted. ;D

Unfortunately when I moved into my current house I had purchased it without a fireplace (much to the displeasure of my wife).

So actually, the installation of a new fireplace into my home with some modifications may be the way to get my wood burning pizza oven idea past the little woman.
I think I may have to run this idea by some local fireplace installers and see if they can come up with a design from some sketches that I make. :)
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 15, 2004, 12:41:33 AM
Well, Foccaicaman, that idea has been smoked, or should I say smoldered.

Today, after I called Mugnaini, I was told that "code" requires the firelplace to be 40" high when used for cooking purposes.  Ya know, what a bunch of BS.  How does the government come up with this stuff.  It's okay to have sparks flying at a foot off the ground.   But somehow, cooking requires a different code?  

So I went to Home Depot and looked into fire bricks.   They told me their bricks are for walking a path... Where is the passion.  That's all I want to know.  I will assume it is in the pizza & brewing industries, as I check out what is in my refrigerator:

- Trinity Brewing Co, Chicago, as I notice they use malted rye in with their roasted grains.

- Good ol' Murphy's from Ireland.  Now, that's a place where you look in the dictionary under passion, and you see "Ireland".

- Mackesons Triple Stout-- they had to go through it 3 times.

- Wittekerke-- even the monks' in Beligium have more of a soul with their white beer than those bozos in the U.S. government.  

Passion and Pizza both sart with a "p', and I should never confuse those two with the "g" in government.  But hey, if there is a will, there is a way.  And tomorrow is another day.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Foccaciaman on September 15, 2004, 02:17:49 PM
What a bummer. Well I guess I will be back to my outdoor pizza oven idea. I am sure that my local restrictions are almost identical.

On the beer note:
Its funny, I just was mentioning Murphy's Stout on the beer bread thread.
Wow, someone who also keeps good beer in there fridge.  ;D
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 15, 2004, 06:29:07 PM
Here's some techniques to give you a crust with less density and more holes:

- First, I would recommend review of this excellent discussion in baker's toolbox regarding mixing methods and the direct impact that duration of mixing has on the airy level of the dough. http://www.progressivebaker.com/class/section5.htm

As you can see from one of its pictures, the amount of time that you mix the dough is disproportionate to the airy level you have in the dough:
(http://www.progressivebaker.com/images/toolbox/nbccourse/lnbc-48.jpg)

- Although pros require longer mixing times, it's important to keep in mind that they are working with 50 lbs or more of flour, while we work with cups of flour.  In the case of professional dough, you will note that their dough is usually an off-white color.  This is because they do not oxidize the pigments in the dough.  Unfortunately, for those who try to follow long mixing times at home, the dough tends to oxidize, resulting in a much whiter color and less taste from the loss of pigmentation.

- It's all in the handling.  You ever see those sites that suggest beating the dough up while preparing it for the oven?  The opposite is true if you want an airy crust.  I find tender loving handling of that dough to be extremely important to giving me that consistent chewy crust demanded in thin New York style crusts, along with an airy texture.  You'll notice that Naples DOC requirements prohibit the use of rollers.  The goal is to keep the bubbles in place by delicately stretching the dough.  

Shorter knead times and delicate handling give me a chewy airy outer crust every time, even when the rest of the pizza is characteristic of a New York thin style pizza: (http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/down-to-the-last-bite.jpg)

- Unfortunately, many contribute the strength of the dough to be directly attributable to long kneading times due to professional requirements when working with 50 lbs or more of flour.  However, salt is often the factor that will strengthen a dough.  The world champion tossing professional, Tony Gemignani, suggests using more salt to make a better tossing dough. 

- Since bubbles allow the top skin of the crust to separate from the bottom skin of the crust, try to bring the bubbles out as much as possible by following any of these methods
a) let the dough sit for 40 or more minutes after removing it from the refrigerator,
b) let the dough sit on the screen with no ingredients for 5 or so minutes,
c) place the dough in the oven with no ingredients (at 530 F, small bubbles should form within 35 seconds, middle to low shelf, without any burn marks).  The last step is critical as seen in this picture:
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/theres-those-bubbles.JPG)


Here's an example of an airy slice attained with the suggestions above to maintain bubbles. Farther down in this page is a thinner slice, which maintains the same airy texture:
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/Now-thats-a-slice.JPG)

As far as color and taste:

- I no longer abide by rules that suggest against the use of sugar, especially when leaving the dough beyond 24 hours; but for different reasons than some might think.  First, to put things into perspective, the use of 1 1/2 tsp of sugar (6g) gives each pizza slice 25% less than 1g of sugar. Hence, you will only get an additional 1g of carbs with 3 slices of pizza. Second, even with refrigeration, much of the natural sugar will be gobbled up in the dough after 1 day by the yeast.  There's nothing worse than a white-looking pizza crust, which you end up over-heating in an effort to gain some color.  In Naples, they do not use sugar.  But then, they often make the dough same day.

- With regard to taste, you need to extend the life of the dough to extract the natural bacteria and sugars from the starches of the dough that can only develop over time.  By adding a little bit of sugar, I can extend the life beyond 24 hours, and I can retain the color and obtain a taste that is clearly stronger from the bacteria by the 2nd day in the refrigerator.

- While separating out the ingredients may appear necessary to maintain the fermentation of the dough during the mixing process, I have found far more effective results with a more thorough mix that is achieved with with a much simpler process of mixing the salt, sugar and proofed active yeast into cooler water at one time, especially when working with a home stand mixer.  

Salt will not kill the yeast.  It only slows it down (which is the goal).  The same is true when adding proofed active yeast to cooler water.  And of course, by properly mixing the dry ingredients in the fluid first (water, milk, beer, etc.), you will get a very consistent even mixture with the flour.  

The 14" pizza shown below has a nice outer edge with slices that end in a New York style slender skin.  The following ingredients will yield a similar result:

10 oz of high gluten flour (e.g., Pendleton's unbleached flour just under 14% protein), 60% cool water (6 oz) , just under 1 tsp salt, just under 2 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp active yeast proofed in 1 TBL of 105 F water, and 1 - 2 TBL oil.  All ingredients, except yeast, were dissolved into the water.  The proofed yeast was then added, mixed gently, and then added to the flour for kneading:

(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/bubble-licious.jpg)
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/for-me.JPG)
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 15, 2004, 08:33:38 PM
I continue to be amazed at how helpful professionals can sometimes be in sharing what I would consider their deep secrets.  I have learned, however, that when you share questions in a constructive manner, the owners seem to appreciate your hobby.  

Recently, I decided to follow suit what I've done over time with pizza in my quest to better understand Mexican food.  I had noticed a sign in a window of a largely hispanic area indicating that it once again won rights to best food.  I'm an advocate of learning from the best and this was a serious hole in the wall.  So I stopped in and watched them put together my burrito in front of me-- the process was not at all hidden.  The line was long and I was hit with many questions, like black beans, etc. Sometimes out of respect, I responded with 'what do you suggest, everyone has their specialty?'.  When we got to the sauces, I asked if the green sauce was tomatillo-- he looked up and said "yes."

After I ate an entire meal wrapped inside a single tortilla, I couldn't help but wonder how all those ingredients meshed so well together.  But I decided to keep my questions narrow on this first visit.  So I went back and gave a thumbs up to the person who helped me.  He smiled. I then told him that the sauce didn't taste like the usual Pasilla or Ancho dried chile.  He then told me the name of the pepper they used, which caught me by total surprise.  He then asked me to follow him, despite the line and few family members to help.  Amazing.  He took me over to one of their bare bone shelves, grabbed a bag and told me "this one."  

It's always interesting to see how volume is handled, without skipping certain steps.  I realized that this pepper probably did not need to be skinned.  I asked anyways.  He then grabbed a metal strainer and said to push the rehydrated peppers through it after heating the skin.  I thanked him, and paid a dollar for the bag of peppers.  

This was a serious time-saving expedition, and I continue to learn that pros appreciate hobbies too.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: sohraix on October 15, 2004, 09:34:44 PM
Giotto,

In August, you indicated in a posting at http://www.pizzamaking.com/yabbse/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=524;start=20 that you felt you needed 12-14 minutes of kneading of dough for a NY style pizza.  More recently, you seem to be using much shorter knead times.  I was wondering what circumstances or ingredients changed that suggested that shorter knead times were better.

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 16, 2004, 01:28:44 AM
Sohraix:

Here's what led up to the change in direction of shorter knead times:

- You'll notice that the post you mention above was on Aug. 26th.  One day later, I commented on the progressivebakers site mentioned under your member name (http://www.pizzamaking.com/yabbse/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=524;start=msg4714#msg4714).  In a later section (section 5), I came across the same progressivebaker section that I point to above where I show the picture of the 3 breads.  

- Two days later, on Aug. 28th, I talked about oxidation differences as it related to pros and its coverage in the progressivebakers site.  In posts on Sept. 1st & 2nd, you'll notice that I was now suggesting shorter knead times, along with some hand kneading in between.  I was still working on techniques to strengthen the dough.

- I then took a class from the world pizza tossing champion and I realized that there were other things that influenced the elasticity (strength) of the dough, such as salt.  

Consistency is the name of the game.  But decisions need to change as new information comes along, especially when you know that things are not right at the time.  I have been able to reach a consistency in the structure of the crust with shorter knead times that I could never attain before, while leveraging other techniques to increase the elasticity of the dough.
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on October 16, 2004, 08:10:37 AM
Giotto,

I'm away from my home base and made a mistake in not logging in properly.  Hence the confusion in my post. (The site doesn't permit deletion or editing of a "guest" message.)

Since I ran out of KA Sir Lancelot flour, I have been using Giusto flour.  I thought your earlier comments may have applied to that flour.  I also have seen recipes that call for up to 15 minutes knead time for high-gluten flour doughs, to which your earlier comments may also have applied.  Thanks for clearing things up.  

Peter
Title: Re:Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 16, 2004, 02:27:11 PM
Pete-zza:

Since flours can be so distinct, including high protein flours, it's best to mix dough only long enough to reach the right characteristics (smooth, non-tearing, etc.) when an airy crust is of interest and oxidation is to be avoided.  The progressivebakers site gave me some useful things to think about-- thank you.  

I remember you mentioned an upcoming trip, which was to include some new pizza venturing opportunities.  Hope a taste of America has been good.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Menthol on August 30, 2005, 04:01:36 PM
Though this thread is practically a year old now, I could not be any happier to have found this thread and this message board!

After years of my living in a city only recently having an authentic NY-Style Pizzeria (only in the last 2 or 3 years) it did not take long for me to become addicted to their pizza and took even less time for me to look into attempting to make one myself...

After months of dismal pizza crust failures, one afternoon of reading through the posts on this thread rendered my first total success! Not to take away from what is obviously MANY others passing on tips and so forth on this board, I feel utterly compelled to thank the people responsible for this message board and this thread inparticular. ;)

Though one cannot avoid gaining some knowledge through practicing making their own dough (if you even have the patience and drive to do it period) I still feel that if it weren't for the tips here, the following photo would have ever come to pass. And though a photo cannot be tasted, I assure you my pizza-making life is forever changed for the better! :)
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 30, 2005, 04:20:44 PM
Menthol,

Welcome to the forum.

I couldn't agree with you more about this thread. I went back a while ago and reread it and was amazed at how much good information there was at the thread--and how much I had forgotten, even of my own posts. And what a wonderful job giotto did on the thread. I really enjoyed the exchanges we had. He really taught me a lot and made me think more about what I was doing with my own pizza making.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 30, 2005, 06:57:18 PM
Menthol:

The fact that you uncovered this particular thread is a testament to your own research capabilities.  Reaching a point of satisfaction in your New York pizza making at home, especially when your expectations were high, makes all the effort on this thread worthwhile. 

It's amazing when I think about the knowledge that Pete-zza has gained since we first joined, and here he is saying that he's still able to extract some good stuff from this thread.  Amazing... Welcome, Menthol, to where we never stop learning, even from our past.

Even though the internet doesn't quite have our human senses incorporated (yet), I can tell from your picture that I missed out with your pizza... great stuff. 

What flour and toppings did you end up using? And what modifications, if any, will you likely attempt next time?  AGAIN, welcome aboard and thank you for your post. 
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Menthol on August 31, 2005, 02:00:50 AM
I seriously, seriously, did not even think that I was going to pull this off as I could not locate a high gluten flour. The mention of the industry standard (14.1% Protein?) in this thread is what really struck me more than anything...

So, in the end, I settled on buying wheat gluten enriched with vitamin C... I saw a recipe by Alton Brown (Good Eats on FoodNetwork) that had this little blurb about using 1 crushed childrens vitamin C with no explanation, but I never typed those two search terms in to any search engine to figure out what that was all about. I had to assume acid. Whatever the case, all of the strange 'remixes' of yeast, water and flour that I have read on any thousands of pizza dough recipes on the net just did not make me feel that this was going to make that 'magical difference'...

I do though really feel that the vitamin C enriched gluten was what did the trick, but it did not hurt for me to pay attention and set my baking stone at the VERY bottom of my oven and crank the oven up practically to its maximum setting--actually only to 520 degrees, but higher than I ever punched it up to for any other recipe.

As far as ingredients, seriously nothing fancy, remember, I had little faith in the small adjustments... Unbleached white flour and the vitamin C enriched wheat gluten (Hodgson Mills Brand on both) to get me somewhere in the neighborhood of the industry standard of protein. The rest was just about 'as lame' as far as quality (not that Hodgson Mills is bad, just a lot of pre-packaged, common, store-bought stuff) but my idea was to not only save money but enjoy what I am doing from front to end. It was exactly that, so I continue to thank you guys for this board and your time to point out what you did here!

Edit: As for adjustments, I did note that, though the crust and the pizza overall was leaps and bounds over anything I had ever created before, it was just a tad salty and the thickest part of the crust was a little too crisp. I used kosher salt and I have always understood (you can tell I'm no baker) that you need to reduce the salt measurement when you use 'flaked salt' like that...
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 31, 2005, 04:03:21 AM
Menthol:

Any number of factors can help tame your overly-crispy result:

- wheat gluten can certainly toughen the end result; so you may need to reduce it a bit.

- sugar is directly responsible for the amount it is browned, so if it is over-crisping, you can decrease the sugar.

- fats (oils, milk, etc.) soften the crust-- an increase is often needed to soften higher gluten flours, esp wheat gluten.

- time in the oven may be a factor, especially if the cornicione (outer edge) is the crispy issue.

Vitamin C contains ascorbic acid, a conditioner used in flours.  With respect to dough conditioners, they generally serve to reduce the variability of your end result, and support that American mentality to speed things up.  Vitamin C facilitates bonding that is required for a stronger gluten.  I've used flour that combines Vitamin C with another conditioner to ensure a strong dough with added spring.

Good luck on perfecting your crust.



Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 31, 2005, 09:45:16 AM
I happen to have a box of the Hodgson vital wheat gluten with Vitamin C and wondered what the Vitamin C was for. I know that some bakers specify Vitamin C for their flours (it helps produce a greater volume), and Vitamin C is also often used with instant dry yeast (it provides an acidic environment for the yeast and helps it work longer and faster), but I couldn't tell why it would be used with vital wheat gluten. When I couldn't find the answer through a Google search or on the Hodgson Mill website, I called Hodgson Mill and spoke with a customer service rep. She said the Vitamin C is used for the same reasons it is used with flour and yeast.

Menthol, sometime you might want to try using some dried dairy whey along with the vital wheat gluten. I did this recently with an all-purpose flour and liked the results (which I reported on at the Lehmann NY style thread). I used the whey more to increase the browning of the crust, but it also seems to have certain dough "conditioning" effects that improves the handling and manageability of the dough.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Rubino on August 31, 2005, 12:45:40 PM
Pete-zza:

Regarding the use of dried dairy, are you talking about adding something like powdered milk? I used to work with a recipe that called for as much, but I never really knew what purpose it served. Also, the same recipe called for potato flakes. Strange, no?

Lastly, I just want to share that I really enjoy this site and have found it quite useful. So, thanks.

- Michael
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 31, 2005, 01:14:56 PM
Michael,

Welcome to the forum.

The dried dairy whey I am talking about is a dairy product (it's a by-product of cheesemaking) but it is not dried milk, although dried milk (preferably high-heat baker's grade) is often used by professionals as an alternative to the dried dairy whey. I found my dried dairy whey in the bulk bins at Whole Foods but I believe Bob's Red Mill (and others) sell it in packaged form. It is quite inexpensive. I use around 3% by weight of flour for the doughs I have made.

Potatoes are sometimes used in deep-dish doughs. The potatoes can be fresh or dry (usually in potato flour form). Potato flakes (like the kind sold in the supermarket) usually have bisulfites added. The bisulfites prevent discoloration of the potatoes but they can also impair yeast activity. It's not surprising to find potatoes in one form or another in baked goods. When I was at the supermarket the other day, I found potatoes (potato flour) listed as an ingredient in several brands of breads, buns and rolls, and donuts. Of course, gnocchi (pasta) is based on potatoes (fresh, not in powder form).

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: pizzanapoletana on August 31, 2005, 04:49:27 PM
Vitamin C = Ascorbic acid.

I am sure you can find many ionformation on the use of ascorbic acid as an improver in dough.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 31, 2005, 09:10:05 PM
When working with dairy products such as milk, keep in mind that lactose can help brown the crust, and the fats soften the dough.  So you need to account for these things if complementing sugars (for browning) and oils (for softening).  Although dairy (cheese) whey did not give me much of a softening effect, it was employed also for the browning process within the A16 Neapolitan project, where no sugars and Caputo flour were employed.  Potato bread is good stuff, often soft.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 31, 2005, 09:22:00 PM
giotto,

You raise a good point. When I used the dairy whey (apart from the Caputo 00 doughs), it was in a dough recipe that called for no sugar and only 1% oil.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 31, 2005, 09:31:15 PM
Pete-zza:

As you mentioned, dairy whey could not be consumed by yeast, which is another advantage I look for.  Apparently it's the lactose in dairy whey that can't be consumed by strains of commercial or wild yeast...
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 31, 2005, 09:58:22 PM
giotto,

The dairy whey includes lactose, which I believe is the only simple sugar that is not metabolized by yeast. It also has one of the lowest sweetness factors among sugars so it doesn't contribute much to sweetness. You get better color in the crust but very little sweetness. That's a nice combination, especially for supplementing flours with protein levels too low to provide much browning.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on August 31, 2005, 10:32:09 PM
While it is not consumed by yeast, it is converted to lactic acid by bacterial fermentation, which potentially adds character to taste over time. 
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 21, 2005, 08:54:12 PM
Just picked up a new book, Pizza More than 60 recipes for homemade pizza, by Tony Gemignani. I covered it under the book reviews, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1909.0.html.

My review of this pizza book is simple, it sure helps when you you have Tony's World Champion team stature to bring insights from top pizzerias into New York and so many other styles.  There is a lot of talent wrapped inside this book.  I'm excited to try recipes that were first reviewed by top pizzerias in the nation.  I think Peter Reinhart has an excellent point regarding Tony's passion to spur the pizza renaissance in America to greater heights.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 23, 2005, 10:31:46 PM
I thought that I would update this thread with pictures addressing the desire for more of a Ciabatta feel and voids in the cornicione (outer edge), since many other points regarding this topic are mentioned in this thread.  Here's some guidelines that have helped me here.

After the dough first comes together, I give it a short rest so I can gauge the water saturation of the dough (nothing worse than prematurely adding flour or water, especially since all ingredients are based on the flour weight). I try to simulate hand kneading with very short spurts on my small kitchenaid, run at the lowest level, which is interweaved with hand kneading.  This avoids friction and the less you knead, the more Ciabatta-like the feel (as shown in pictures earlier). The dough is smooth, and it gives a decent stretch when I pull at it.
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/New-York-pizza-dough.JPG)

I pushed down the dough once and kneaded it during refrigeration to release alcohol and move food sources around for fermentation. 24 hours later, I removed this dough and let it come to room temp.  I don't expeet a rise or much activity from the yeast while in the refrigerator.  This has been my experience with many Ma and Pa pro dough that I have purchased as well. Since this dough contained 25% Caputo, I wasn't too worried about this short time in the refrigerator since Caputo produces a great taste. I wasn't looking for a sour taste, which is more likely over 3 days or better yet with a starter.   
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/New-York-pizza-dough-24hrs.JPG)

After leaving it out for about an hour, I stretched it in the air.  Since our ovens are run at lower temps than brick ovens, I like to pre-heat the dough at 550F first to ensure separation of skin (Ciabata feel) among other advantages.
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/New-York-pizza-dough-oven.JPG)

I use a screen, because it gives me control over exactly how I want to get the pizza.  In this case, I expected to get a lighter upper crust since I didn't use Sugar.  But I wanted a fairly well done bottom.  You can even take the pizza right off the screen and put it on a rack, upper or lower.
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/New-York-pizza-bottom.JPG)

I expected a bit of breadiness as per a friend's request since the other 75% of the crust was made of regular unbleached Bread flour.  Fats help provide softness, such as oils and milk (which also provides some browning with its lactose).  I used about 1 TBL of fats.  I prefer Active yeast for delayed fermentation. I only had Instant, so I used just over 1/4 tsp.  As you can see, I still got more of an outer edge than I prefer; BUT it immediately drops down to a thin slice, which is good with an airy crust... kind of a Neapolitan look with a New York Meatball pizza outcome.
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/New-York-pizza-slice.JPG)

 



Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 28, 2005, 04:40:20 AM
Pete-zza:

Trump is good stuff.  I tried a dough from a Pro nearby that used it, 100%. He tamed it a bit with milk fat along with oil though. 

Good to know that the 25% used at DiFara's is Trump, along with his 00 flour.  Mixing is pretty prevalent with 00 flours apparently... According to Reinhart, the DOC approved pizzerias that he visited in Naples all mixed with American flour.

Based on what I hear of Chris Bianco's time, I'm still blown away that he took time to talk to you.  He mentioned to you that he mixes with Giusto's... which is very unique, since he says that it feels like a disservice to give out secrets since people might think they are the reason it comes out sooo good.  Albatardi told me it was real good... thin and crispy, with the best toppings. I just founds out that Chris uses heirloom tomatoes... a favorite of mine from local farmers. 

Have you had a chance to visit Bianco's? I want to try the Wiseguy. I don't see his classes online; wonder if they are available still... Don't see a web site.  Although, based on his James Beard Award ceremony, a comment was made when he did not put pizza on the menu "It is a testament to his integrity that, without his signature wood-fired oven, there will be no pizza." 
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 28, 2005, 08:54:13 AM
giotto,

It was Marco Bianco, Chris' brother, that I spoke with. Chris was unavailable at the time, so I might have spoken to him if he had answered the phone instead of Marco. Apparently Marco and Chris get calls all the time to talk about pizza, often from reporters and writers, so Marco seemed used to it. But we talked for a long time, and he didn't try to cut the conversation short, which he could have easily done. I have discovered time and time again in talking with people in the business that there is a certain kinship that develops out of the love of pizza, and they love to talk about pizza as much a I do. And if you have a good grounding in the subject, they don't talk down to you. They talk to you like an equal.

I haven't yet visited Pizzeria Bianco. My son and his family have a home in Scottsdale, but my last several visits with them have been in Mexico.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 28, 2005, 01:48:37 PM
Along those lines, the lesson that I've learned over time is that there are those owners who are into it, and willing to exchange accordingly, and then there are those owners who only know their recipe.  There's no guarantees in either case; but you can pretty well tell the difference.

In Reno, I stopped by a place that bragged of their NY authenticity.  It took awhile; but the owner finally warmed up, and then he decided to leverage my knowlege by asking if I thought it was authentic.  He had no idea because he bought the place some time ago and had never been to New York, nor researched the subject.  He was using a good flour; but the pizza suffered accordingly, including some really thick bad tasting sauce.  I wish I had ordered their Meatball sandwich, which looked much better. 

At A16, the first time I sat at the bar in front of the oven, I introduced my interests and the pizzaiolo said that anything I wanted to know, he'd be happy to answer.  What an exchange.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 30, 2005, 09:20:08 PM
After having made a Lehmann NY style pizza recently, and while it was still fresh on my mind, I decided to try Peter Reinhart’s NY style pizza dough recipe as set forth in his book American Pie at page 114. I wanted to see how that recipe compares with those I have been using to make Lehmann doughs for over a year.

According to the book, the Reinhart NY style dough recipe makes three 12-ounce dough balls. Since no baker’s percents are given, and since no pizza size (diameter) is specified for the dough balls, I decided to calculate the baker’s percents for the Reinhart recipe and to modify the recipe to produce a single dough ball sufficient to make a 16-inch pizza. To parallel the Lehmann NY style, I assumed a thickness factor (TF) value of 0.10, which is characteristic of a NY style and a common value I frequently use to make the Lehmann doughs. The baker’s percents I calculated for the Reinhart recipe are as follows:

100%, Flour (high-gluten)
2.81%, Sugar
1.75%, Salt (regular)
0.71%, Instant dry yeast (IDY)
6.58%, Oil (Bertoli light olive oil)
62.4%, Water (70 degrees F)

Just looking at the baker’s percents, I concluded that the dough would be on the sweet side and with a soft and tender crumb. By contrast, the basic Lehmann dough recipe uses no sugar (unless the dough is to be held beyond 48 hours) and the oil is at 1%. Once the oil gets above 6%, it will usually manifest itself as a soft crumb in the crust. Additionally, the yeast level of the basic Lehmann dough recipe is about a third of that called for in the Reinhart recipe. This is not per se a problem, although it will increase the amount and rate of fermentation of the dough. In other words, the dough will rise more and faster, even while in the refrigerator.

In making the Reinhart dough, I followed the Reinhart instructions exactly, including the specified mixing procedure (4 minutes at low speed), the 5-minute rest, the final kneading step (2 minutes at medium-low speed), and a one-hour rest before putting the dough (in a sealed storage bag) into the refrigerator. The finished dough weighed 19.90 ounces and had a finished dough temperature of 78.4 degrees F. The dough remained in the refrigerator for 24 hours. During that time, the dough rose substantially and spread out to fill the storage bag completely, as I expected it would do.

After removing the dough from the refrigerator, I placed it (covered with a sheet of plastic wrap) on my countertop for 2 hours before shaping. The dough was extremely extensible (stretchy), far more, in fact, than the Lehmann doughs. However, I had no problem shaping and stretching it into a 16-inch skin to fit my 16-inch pizza screen. The skin was dressed in simple pepperoni style, and baked in a 500-degree F preheated oven, at the second rack position from the top, for about 5 minutes. The pizza was then shifted off of the screen onto a pizza stone (a rectangular stone) that had been placed at the lowest oven rack position and preheated for an hour at the abovementioned 500-degree F temperature. The pizza finished baking on the stone for about 2 to 3 minutes.

The photos below show the finished product. As I expected, the crust was very sweet--far more than I personally like. Also, the crumb was very soft and tender rather than chewy. I attribute this to the high levels of oil in the dough. If these are characteristics that one enjoys, then the pizza will be satisfying. The crust did exhibit most of the characteristics of a NY style, including crispiness of the rim, drooping tips in the slices, decent browning (at the rim and on the bottom) and a good flavor. I am always hesitant to comment on matters of personal taste, but I personally prefer the Lehmann NY style. I guess that is to be expected. I have been making Lehmann pizzas for over a year, and my taste buds have been programmed and sensitized to the Lehmann style.

I will be happy to provide the specific ingredient list I used to anyone who would like it.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 30, 2005, 09:23:28 PM
And...slices

Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 30, 2005, 10:14:56 PM
Actually, his 12 oz dough balls are supposed to make 12" pizzas, as provided in each of his NY style recipes starting on page 194 to 196.  Since the end result may vary based on the cornicione you choose to create, I see no problem with this size.  He gives exact ounces of flour and water to for calculation.

You can validate your calculations of dry ingredients by seeing if they conform to the ratios he provides, once tbl or tsp is determined for any one ingredient when working with a small amount of flour.  If your calculation produces 1 TBL olive oil, for example, then sugar should be 1/2 of that amount.  Salt should be close to 1/2 sugar, etc.  If this conforms, then you know your % are in the range.

These things are so close in proximity that it reminds me of a recipe that I saw in an old cookbook that called for 1/3 c water to 1 c flour (about 60%), 1 tsp salt for 10 oz of flour, double the sugar, etc. In the end, it depends what you are looking for.  If you want softer crust, for example, you soften it with fats accordingly.  If you want to toughen the structure, you increase the protein level, etc. You can even increase the effect of steaming potentially by increasing the proportion of water.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 30, 2005, 10:47:48 PM
giotto,

When I calculated the total weights for the ingredients specified in the recipe at page 114, I got closer to 39 ounces, or about 13 ounces per dough ball. I suspected each dough ball would make a 12-inch pizza, but the instructions at pages 114-115 do not specify a size, as one might reasonably expect.  All that is said at pages 114-115 is to roll out the dough balls. The preamble to the recipe says the dough should be rolled out to 1/4 inch. Since I wanted 16 inches, it didn't much matter once I got the baker's percents and selected the thickness factor (0.10) that I use for the Lehmann doughs. Using 12 inches for a 13-ounce dough ball would have given me a thickness factor of around 0.115.

As for the baker's percents, the flour is given by weight (22 1/2 ounces) but the rest of the ingredients are specified in volumes. I weighed the water (1 3/4 cups) but otherwise used my standard conversion factors to convert the remaining ingredients from volumes to weights. I then calculated the baker's percents. Some people have criticized the American Pie book because they wanted baker's percents laid out in black and white, as Peter Reinhart has apparently done in previous books on breadmaking. I would have preferred that also, but I don't expect it in a book intended primarily for home pizza makers.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 30, 2005, 11:03:10 PM
Pete-zza:

The way the book is layed out, he first shares the dough making, then he shows you how to use it in later recipes.  As mentioned above, on pages 194 - 196, his NY recipes tell you to use the 12 oz dough balls to make 12" pizzas.  I agree, it would be nice if he just told you up front; but I wanted to assure you that his goal was to provide 12" pizzas with 12oz doughs, as provided in each of his NY recipes later in the book.  He takes you through the same process for each of his doughs (e.g., Neapolitan 6 oz doughs make 9" pizzas in his recipes).
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 30, 2005, 11:23:08 PM
giotto,

You were editing your earlier post as I was replying to it. You are correct that you can use rough ratios for the small, lightweight ingredients. Since I decided to use a spreadsheet to do all the work, I simply selected the pizza size (16 inches), thickness factor (0.10), and the baker's percents as I calculated them from the Reinhart recipe. I even embedded the conversion factors into the spreadsheet to convert from weight to volume for the salt, sugar, yeast, water, and oil. So, everything was laid out in front of me to use.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 30, 2005, 11:29:20 PM
I was suggesting to use his dry ratios to validate the end calculations.  I used to do this with his recipes.  After I performed the calculations, and I created the 1st recipe in TBL/tsp, I checked if my ratios were comparable to his recipes, which they should be.  If so, then I knew the % were what he had in mind.  Your oil for example is more than double the sugar, which is different for him potentially if this occurs once you break it into TBLs.  If it does, then you need to lighten the oil.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 30, 2005, 11:38:01 PM
giotto,

You may not remember, but I tried the Reinhart recipe once before but made the mistake of using tablespoons of salt instead of teaspoons. That's when I should have done a check like you suggested. Needless to say, the pizza was a disaster :).

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 30, 2005, 11:41:37 PM
Pete-zza:

LOL... I do remember that one quite well. 

So what do you attribute the dough extensibility to?  How does his salt compare to your preference in the Lehman recipe?  Did you find that with the sugar, you received additional browning? 

You'll notice that Reinhart prefers the New Haven crust, and he uses 4.4% oil and 2.2% sugar... still a bit high for my preference as well.  If working with a flour that uses malted barley, the sugar could be even more noticable.  And since many may use bread flour, the oil would make even a softer crust.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on October 01, 2005, 12:39:49 AM
giotto,

If I had to point to possible causes of the extensibility, I would say it is the high levels of sugar (2.81%), yeast (0.71%, or a bit over 3/4 t. for the 16-inch), and oil (6.58%). Once the sugar and yeast get going, I think the dough ferments faster than where little or no sugar and small amounts of yeast are used. I know I am preaching to the choir, but I have always been an advocate of using very small amounts of yeast and have been able to get good results with a long, cool fermentation. I still don't know why so many dough recipes call for so much yeast--sometimes a full packet for a single pizza. Maybe it's because everyone is in a rush and wants results almost instantaneously. Using large amounts of yeast will do that, but at the expense of flavor and texture.

It is well known that oil contributes to the extensibility of a dough, by coating the gluten strands. Maybe 6.58% oil provides too much lubrication and results in an overly extensible dough. The hydration of the Reinhart dough is about the same as I use for the Lehmann dough so there has to be another reason why the Reinhart dough was considerably more extensible than the Lehmann dough. The finished dough temperatures were about the same for the two doughs, except the Reinhart dough was kept at room temperature for about an hour before it was refrigerated. I think that increased the dough temperature and, along with the sugar and yeast, caused the dough to ferment faster, and this continued even in the refrigerator. I go to the refrigerator as soon as possible with a Lehmann dough.

The salt level in the Reinhart recipe is the same as with the Lehmann recipe. I can't say that the sugar contributed all that much to the color of the crust. I thought it would be more. My last Lehmann crust had more color, yet no sugar was used in the dough. I know that there was plenty of sugar in the Reinhart dough because I could taste it in the crust.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 01, 2005, 03:43:48 AM
Pete-zza:

I know what you mean regarding over usage of yeast in pizza recipes.  It sure doesn't help when I see more and more professionals continue to propagate ridiculous amounts of yeast when publishing thin pizza recipes to consumers.  Man, a packet of yeast for 1 dough... I wish I could get a dollar for each recipe that has that one in it!  When Cheese Board Collective published a commercial yeast recipe, I was reminded that starters are certainly their forte. The good news is that I'm starting to see more recommendations for placing dough in the refrigerator.

The extensibility difference is very interesting to me.  I've watched dough practically hit the floor because I messed up somewhere in one of my recipes.  Once I forgot the salt.  Einstein would have been proud. I didn't test an old yeast once and sure enough it was bad; yet the puppy was really extensible to boot. 

Your salt was no different between the 2 recipes, which surprised me.  I know one pro who uses more than double sugar to salt with % similar to yours.  And he has nicely elastic dough, not extensible.  His use of oil though is comparable to your Lehman recipe.  Additionally, I met a vendor tonight who doesn't use sugar, and I noticed their dough was quite extensible (just pushed it out by hand) and their use of active yeast had almost no rise in their wood fired oven. 

Your point about oil leads me to suspect it the most. If you ever pinpoint it, I'd like to know. Thanks for covering the differences in more detail!
 ::)  



 

Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 04, 2005, 02:02:04 PM
I'd like to summarize what is happening in a recipe under the American Style thread, which is relevant to various applications discussed earlier in this thread.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1707.msg17248.html#msg17248

What is happening here chemically is that increased amounts of sugar are being used to assure browning of the top of the crust to compensate for lower levels and lower temps in the oven.  In turn, some toppings become more presentable with decreased heat exposure, which can be advantageous with elongated times of 6+ minutes in home ovens. And the bottom of the crust is left with an increased exposure to heat, which is often welcome for a crispy screen bottom. 

While honey equates to about 50% more carbs than normal sugar of equal amounts, its refined nature is often preferred for kids, since it takes more of a delayed effect in the body.  At 2 tsp total sugar, we're only talking 1g sugar per slice.  The amount required for desired browning can vary by flour employed.

As a kid, this was a means that was often employed when working with lower temps. My aunt used to take the pizza off the pan and place directly on the lower racks.  To this day, she still employs sugar and lower racks and temps to get her result... an idea that I have often employed with New York pizza.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 07, 2005, 10:31:48 PM
I was reading Tony Gemignani's latest book, and noticed the incredibly high hydration levels for New York Pizzas.  I'm not a huge advocate of hydration levels over 70%.  But he gave me a list of personal names that suggested it was definitely worth taking another crack.  Since I was in the midst of returning to old habits after reading Randy's thread under American style, I decided to give Tony's suggestion a try since I had not experimented with over 70% hydration in quite some time.

Man, talk about nailing it on the head, despite a few mistakes on the way. 

- I started with over 75% hydration level accidentally, and compensated with additional flour to get it down to a manageable level.  I know from experience that some of the best breads in the San Francisco area get some awesome moisture with elevated hydration levels. 

- I was in the early stages of a starter. It was still mostly an organic rye flour, mixed in with some Caputo flour. So instead of tossing 1/2 of the starter away at this stage, I decided to break-up a small portion of it for this pizza and mix it in with enough King Arthur Bread Flour to give me a total of about 9 oz of flour.

- I added my usual tsp of salt, a small amount of sugar/honey (about 1/2 TBL combined) to 6 oz of cool water.  I FORGOT that I had proofed a 1/2 tsp active yeast (which by the way is more yeast than normal for me) with 1 or so ounces of water.  SO now I was up to 8 oz of water with the amount that was in the starter.

- I added the water + the proofed yeast into the flour mixture.  Brought it together, let it rest a few minutes.  Added a tad of palm oil/olive oil, and gave it a 1 minute mix. When I went to lift it out to hand knead it... forget it.  Then I realized my error with the proofing of the yeast.  So I added enough flour to bring this beast to over 19 oz.  In all, I was at around 10.5 oz of flour and 8 oz of water.  I was thankful for the rye flour in the starter.

- Normally I don't like to add flour once I start to mix, since all ingredients are based on the weight of the flour.  So I evaluated my dry ingredients.  Well, I wasn't worried about the sugar level, since malted barley is in the King Arthur flour.  And I just figured with this much water, I would not be tossing this puppy anyways... so I left the 1 tsp of salt go.

- I kneaded about 50% by hand to establish the right amount of flour.  I left it out for an hour or so.  It was getting late so I decided to put it in a stainless steel container and leave it with the lid loose in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to dry it out a bit.  I then re-established it into a ball, put the top on, and left it in the refrigerator.

- The next day, 1/2 tsp active yeast proved to be a lot as I suspected.  The thing had ballooned out.  I remembered the same happening with Pete-zza under Randy's American thread.  What the heck, as pointed out in the A16 Neapolitan thread, I don't mind kneading it a small amount to strengthen the structure during fermentation. I then re-formed it into a ball and put it back in the refrigerator.

- 48 hours later, I wondered what to do.  I wanted a 14" pizza, so I cut it down to about 16.5 oz.

It was slightly moist on the inside with a wonderful dry presentation on the outside (just like a wonderful old world levain bread in San Francisco)... and it was crispy on the bottom, with great spring in the cornicione... I cooked it at 515F, 1 minute no toppings, 6.5 minutes with simple prosciutto/pepperoni toppings, using a screen sitting in the middle of the oven.  The camera darkened the background and slightly lightened the foreground.

(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/rye-starter-and-KingArthur-bread-flour2-resize.JPG)

Even after it was cooled off, I sat back in the living room and enjoyed the last of my cornicione... That's when you really know you got it right... when you can enjoy a crispy outside with a moist inside even when it has cooled off.  The taste was undeniable... it wasn't sweet, it wasn't sour, it was simply right.  Accidents happen, and sometimes it all works out for the best!
 :o
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: JF_Aidan_Pryde on October 07, 2005, 11:49:22 PM
giotto,
That crust looks awesome. I haven't had much luck with high-hydration in low temp ovens. Maybe I'll give it another shot.

Which strain of starter did you use? How was the taste? How was the handling of the dough at such high hydration levels?
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 08, 2005, 01:47:59 PM
JF_Aidan_Pryde:

The rye appeared to play a vital role in containing the hydration levels.  It created a firmness, which remained intact while the hydration enabled a steaming effect on the inside.  When combined with the awesome effects of the honey/sugar mixture, the heat attracted to the crust, giving it a dry crispy layer on top of a moist texture on the inside.

The S. exiguus (wild yeast) did not have much time to form, since my starter was relatively new and had not shown much of a rise on its own.  So I was left with a commerical and more aggressive dry Active yeast to do the job.  My experience in the past is that while Active yeast does not multiply as quickly as Instant yeast, a 1/2 tsp of Active yeast for 10 oz or so of flour will produce incredible spring; but at a cost of dealing with dough during refrigeration that will still grow like a fire in an old dried out barn on a very windy day.

My goal was to create a wholesome taste, with a complexity just slightly stronger than 2 days of delayed fermentation in the refrigerator.  The strain that forms during bacterial fermentation (Lactobacillus) can actually have the greatest impact on taste.  Since my starter was new, I knew that even in the San Francisco area (where the Lactobacillus is named after the region), the sourness would remain in check.  This is something you can easily control.  For those into more of a sour taste, there are some excellent wild yeasts commercially available from the San Francisco area that you can ferment according to your tastes in your region.  For a simple natural taste, an alternative would be to create a two day sponge with 2 oz of rye flour, or simply mix it with 10 oz of King Arthur or other bread flour (some friends prefer Gold Medal's yellow bag bread flour), along with honey and other ingredients mentioned above, and leave it to ferment for 3 days in the refrigerator (kneading once a day).

Salt along with manufactured flour ingredients and kneading techniques can play as much a role in the structure of a dough as the protein levels of its flour. Recently, I worked with only a King Arthur bread flour, and I was able to toss and stretch it in the air without a single tear using salt, sugar/honey, a 63% hydration, and kneading techniques mentioned above, with very good results.  In this case, I only used 1 tsp of salt with Bread flour because my initial plan was to create a 16 oz dough.  This is exactly why I don't like to haphazardly add flour while mixing my dough.  Everything (salt, water, etc.) is a percentage of the flour.  So when I ended up with 19 oz of dough, and over 70% hydration, I knew this puppy was going to stretch into place without ever lifting it from my board.  And that's exactly what it did... after I left it out in a ceramic bowl, with a sprinkling of flour, for 2 hours before finally forming it into a crust (and of course, it started floating toward the ceiling again). I'm going back to using less than 1/2 tsp dry active yeast in the future when employing a commercial yeast.

My mother starter is formed now, which is now comprised of Rye flour, Caputo flour, a touch of pineapple juice (to protect the wild yeast from the effects of acids produced by bacterial fermentation), and a 50% hydration level completed with spring water.  So it will be interesting to see what happens when I mix it in with King Arthur's flour this time around. 

 



Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on October 08, 2005, 02:55:51 PM
giotto,

Your last post reminded me of a couple of well known people in the dough and food-related trades: Amy Scherber, of the Amy's breads fame, and Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse fame. One of the first starters I ever made was an Amy Scherber one using rye flour, which apparently creates a hospitable environment for wild yeast. Alice Waters uses rye flour in one of her basic pizza dough recipes, specifically, in a sponge. I have seen the recipe many times on the internet and have cut and pasted it below for informational purposes. There's no reason that I can see why less yeast and refrigeration can't be used. Or even a longer sponge fermentation.

Make a sponge by mixing together
     1/4 cup lukewarm water
     2 teaspoons active dry yeast
     1/4 cup rye flour

Let it rise 20 to 30 minutes, then add
     1/2 cup lukewarm water
     1 tablespoon milk
     2 tablespoons olive oil
     1/2 teaspoon salt
     1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour.

Mix the dough with a wooden spoon, then knead on a floured board.  It will be soft and a little sticky.  Use quick light motions with your hands so the dough won't stick. Add more flour to the board as you knead but no more than is absolutely necessary. A soft moist dough makes a light and very crispy crust. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes to develop strength and elasticity in the dough. Put in a bowl rubbed with olive oil, and oil the surface of the dough to prevent a crust from forming. Cover the bowl with a towel and put it in a warm place, approximately 90 to 110 degrees F.  An oven heated just by its pilot light is a good spot. Let the dough rise to double its size, for about 2 hours, then punch it down. Let it rise about 40 minutes more, then shape and bake it. This recipe makes one 12-inch to 14-inch pizza, or several small ones.


Peter 
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 08, 2005, 08:23:23 PM
Pete-zza:

Interestingly enough, Alice Waters, ACME bread and the Cheese Board (Pizza) Collective are all related through their Berkeley (across the bay from San Francisco) backgrounds.  The owner of ACME (Sullivan) was first mentored from Alice Waters when he was very young.  Now Alice serves Sullivan's Levain bread (although Rye is recommended, whole wheat is used for the natural levain... both are excellent to begin a starter).  They all have one motto, keep it as natural as possible (similar to Bianco). Giusto's organic flour is employed.

The Cheese Board collective serves only 1 pizza every day, which varies widely and always stems from their sour dough starter...  They have buckets of starter each labelled to show their fermentation stages.  A line always forms and no one knows what they are going to get until they enter inside... They only know the international cheeses are excellent and no meat is employed.  Places 5 miles from them can't survive under these conditions.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 12, 2005, 09:10:56 PM
Higher fiber flours produce some interesting results.  Because fiber is initially counted as a carb, it is one of those ingredients that needs to be subtracted out to show a lower net carb since it is handled differently by the body.  I noticed that Rye flour can have a relatively high fiber content, from 4x to 7x that of regular unbleached flours. 

This time around I decided to see what would happen if I immediately mixed 10% rye flour with King Arthur Bread flour, and then after 2 days in the refrigerator, compare it to my experience above with a 2 day old poolish/starter comprised of rye flour which was later mixed to the same flour.  Although when I mixed in the poolish with the flour, I did leave it in the refrigerator for an additional 2 days, and I did use a touch more yeast (1/2 tsp vs. 3/8 tsp this time for 10 oz of total flour), and the hydration of the dough was a bit higher with the poolish as well... so I'm not exactly comparing apples to apples. 

In both cases, even though the rye flour used was not much different from my bread flour in protein, the increased fiber is basically like adding a significantly stronger wheat flour into the end result... even with only 10% rye, the crust is stiffer and denser, even though the dough felt light after minimal kneading (mostly by hand).  The color of the dough is noticably different when even 10% rye is used.  Rye in general seems to produce a denser loave in breads.  I felt that the poolish was more moist, with a little better overall results; but that's likely due to the increased moisture, yeast and time in the refrigerator.  I like the way Rye can stiffen-up the outside of the crust and hold-up to more toppings. But not everyone agreed who tried the experiments because flours like Rye do come at a cost of feeling heavier and sturdier in the end.

(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/rye-pie.JPG)

It will be interesting to see companies continue to work with net carb products.  I've worked with a lower net carb flour before and suffered from a much different level of stiffness. In general, I'd use Rye much as I would use a vital gluten flour... sparingly, and increased yeast does help.
   
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 15, 2005, 02:51:41 AM
I am partial to some of the bread flours due to taste and ease of modication for softening (e.g., King Arthur, Gold Medal Better for Bread), and I've worked with various highly recommended high gluten flours (Giusto's, Pendelton/Fischer, etc.). 

After tossing this puppy a few times in the air, this KA bread flour (with just over 60% water) was then stretched real thin with nice elasticity... never a rip.   

I like to have a good outer edge to chew on.  So a 16.5 oz dough creates a real nice thin pizza with an enjoyable outer edge, as illustrated here. I like how honey seems to darken crust much less than sugar, and yet accents the taste. 
(http://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/KA-slice.JPG)

The result was certainly light and airy, despite just some drops of oil and under 1/2 tsp active proofed yeast:
(https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/KA-whats-left.JPG)
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: chiguy on October 15, 2005, 05:10:14 PM
Wow, Giotto
You are making some great looking pies with bread flour and your techniques. I have tried the using starters a couple of times with average results. Thanks for posting the pics and description of your process.  Chiguy
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on October 18, 2005, 02:19:41 PM
Thanks, Chiguy. 

A few words of inspiration keep things progressing forward.  I'm a firm believer that all things are not always what they appear to be.  And sometimes convenience paves an incorrect path.  But that's not to say that the toughest bout with inconvenience produces the best advice.

By studying commercial yeast preferments from some of the highest quality dough manufacturers here in the U.S., in addition to flour milling break throughs, I have realized that some of my own pizza dough views have certainly been short-sighted by what appears to be righteous and utlimately cool to shun. 

One small company, for example, advertises that stone is the only way to retain the minerals when breaking the wheat kernel.  But the reality is that roller setups are not equal.  While some take several large rollers and types to extract the flour, others now create marvelous results by ensuring their extract rate with just 2 sets of rollers. Interestingly enough, this has given less civilized nations throughout the world an opportunity to perform their own quality functions otherwise not feasible. 

In other cases, technology related to flour conditioners and various ingredients employed by manufacturers are not relied upon by companies like Sonoma's Artisan Bakery to meet their exact structural requirements. Instead, procedures are employed with simple delay-fermented dough and commercial yeast poolish mixtures to "control" their own gluten structure, acidity, and taste.  While ACME also follows this procedure, wild-ass yeast is made from wine grapes to produce a strong sour dough. I fully appreciate the need to control the precise nature by knowing the rules that enable customization... Only then can one reach freedom. So I was pleasantly surprised to see companies identify their exacting cream-colored requirements for an 11.5% protein flour, so they can basically build their own structure within 1 to 2 days. Top this off in another case where the weather bureau is contacted before making final adjustments, and I realize that short cuts are not the end objective.

What's most impressive about all this is that our next generation is requiring manufacturers to bring things up a notch. When I see chemists who know how to make a better quality flour join General Mills with break throughs that revert to more simplistic processes, then I have some hope.

Here's an example of a 16 oz New York dough made with a simple King Arthur (KA) bread flour that has already been given a board stretch and a couple of tosses.  And now it's being checked in the air to validate the varying degrees of thinness from the back (where the crust will start) to the front (middle of dough) for a New York pizza.  Nice elasticity and no ripping even at the thinnest point-- very similar to a much higher protein flour that was used on a previous day.  The primary difference was KA had a better taste.  This step was a prelude to the final pizza shown above.

https://home.comcast.net/~localyokel/dough-in-air.AVI
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on November 06, 2005, 12:51:05 AM
It's always interesting what we can learn by eating out.  And I'm still caught by surprise every now and then at the low numbers I hear regarding yeast.  Tonight I learned from a nearby wood-fired Pizzeria that they use 2 oz of fresh yeast for 30 lbs of flour.  Hmmm... that's about .8 oz of active yeast... So for a medium-sized Pizza, I would use about 1/30 of 2.5 tsp for 8 oz of flour... 

As I watched them TOSS, SPIN and Re-TOSS , never using more than one hand (Tony Gemignani style), I enjoyed the chewy texture that they are known for... Only to find out they use an ALL-Purpose flour.  I then heard my friend hit the floor... Must have been the heat of the oven...

I'll never stop eating out... If for no other reason, just to see friends sit in awe before hitting the floor.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on November 18, 2005, 01:03:36 PM
Having recently analyzed the NY style dough recipe in the book Pizza by Diane Morgan and Tony Gemignani, I decided to make a 16-inch version of the dough in order to compare it with the typical Lehmann NY style dough I make. In order to do this, I first had to convert the Morgan/Gemignani recipe to baker's percents, which I did by weighing the flour and water called for by the recipe (I used KASL instead of bread flour) and converting the remaining ingredients from volumes to weights.

The basic recipe calls for making three dough balls, each weighing 15 ounces, or enough to make a 12-inch pizza. From this information alone, I was able to calculate a thickness factor of 0.133 (TF = 15/(3.14 x 6 x 6). This thickness factor corresponds to a "thick" pizza on the scale of thickness factors that I (and Tom Lehmann) use. By contrast, a Lehmann NY style dough has a thickness factor of about 0.10-0.105. So, I knew that the crust would be quite a bit thicker than the Lehmann crust. Using the thickness factor I calculated for the Morgan/Gemignani NY style dough, together with the baker's percent, I was able to scale the recipe to the 16-inch size.

From the baker's percents I calculated, I observed that the hydration was over 70%--which is considerably higher than most NY style dough recipes I have seen. The last time I saw a baker's percent that high for a NY style dough was in a recipe posted on the forum eons ago by member Pierre. And I recall at the time telling Pierre that the hydration couldn't really be that high. But I digress. Sticking with the 70+% hydration, I calculated that I would need 26.7 ounces of dough to make my version of the Morgan/Gemagnani dough for a 16-inch size. A typical Lehmann dough for a 16-inch is around 21 ounces. Again, the numbers told me to expect a thicker crust using the Morgan/Gemignani thickness factor and recipe.

In making the dough, I followed the Morgan/Gemignani recipe as closely as I could. In so doing, I initially ended up with a dough that was too wet to handle. I gradually added flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough was capable of being handled without sticking all over my fingers. I estimate that I added a bit less than 1/4 cup of additional flour to get to this state. I calculated that the additional flour also lowered the hydration from over 70% to about 69%--still high but less than what I calculated from the recipe. It also increased the final dough weight to 27.7 ounces.

Since the recipe calls for using part of the water as ice cold water, the finished dough temperature came to a bit over 77 degrees F. That suggested that the fermentation would be restrained somewhat. And that turned out to be the case. For the first 24 hours in the refrigerator, the dough hardly rose at all. It spread out fairly quickly into a large pancake-like mass--which I blamed on the very high hydration and resultant extreme softness of the dough. Part of this subdued behavior no doubt was also because my refrigerator compartment was just under 40 degrees F, which is several degrees lower than normal and which I attributed in part to the fact that we were hit with a cold snap in central Texas that lowered all temperatures, inside and outside. The dough didn't really start to expand in volume until sometime between 24 and 36 hours. Even then, it didn't rise by more than 25%. After about 46 hours, I removed the dough from the refrigerator. It was a bit difficult removing the dough from its container, a plastic storage bag, but I managed to remove it without mangling it in the process. In light of this experience, I would recommend that a rigid container be used in lieu of the plastic storage bag recommended by the instructions for the recipe.

I let the dough sit at room temperature (covered with a sheet of plastic wrap) for about 2 hours before shaping it into a skin. By that time, the dough was very soft with signs of a few large bubbles in the dough. But the dough wasn't wet. As I tried to shape and stretch the dough, I immediately saw that it was extremely extensible, so extensible, in fact, that I couldn't pick this dough up and toss it and stretch it. It had to be shaped and stretched entirely by hand on my work surface. But that wasn't a real chore, and I was able easily to stretch and shape it into a 16-inch skin and place it on a 16-inch screen. After dressing the skin in a standard pepperoni style, I baked it on the top oven rack position for about 6 minutes and then shifted it onto a pizza stone that I had placed on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degree F. The pizza remained on the stone for about 2 minutes.

The photos below show the finished product. The pizza was very good. As expected, the crust was light with a nice open and airy crumb. The crumb was also very tender, no doubt due in part to the fact that the recipe calls for an amount of oil that is almost 4% (by weight of flour). The high hydration also undoubtedly contributed to the nice crumb and texture. The crust itself was chewy at the rim and had good flavor. I was surprised that the rim wasn't considerably larger than it actually was. Maybe the high hydration was a factor, much like a high-hydration ciabatta bread can be flat like a slipper.

The biggest difference between the Morgan/Gemignani crust and a Lehmann crust is that the Morgan/Gemignani crust is considerably thicker than the Lehmann crust and more "bready" because of the greater thickness and the soft and tender crumb. A NY style purist might even argue that it is too thick and too soft and not leathery enough to be an "authentic" NY style. But for those who actually prefer a thicker and soft crust, and pay no attention to labels, then the Morgan/Gemignani dough is a very good choice in my opinion. As for myself, I would be inclined next time to use the NY "thin" thickness factor I usually use (around 0.10) and rework the Morgan/Gemignani formulation using the baker's percents I calculated to achieve results that are more in line with what I usually get in making the Lehmann doughs. Another possibility would be to just make an 18-inch pizza out of the dough. But there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Morgan/Gemignani recipe. It is a good recipe and I liked the results it produced.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on November 18, 2005, 01:06:33 PM
And the slice photos:
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on November 18, 2005, 06:15:29 PM
Pete-zza:

As I've said before, this thickness formula knows nothing about size of cornicione (depth or height of outer edge), nor does it take into consideration thickness changes from one end of a slice to another.  I would not assume that a 15 oz for a 12" is comparable to producing a 27 oz (or even 26 oz) dough for a 16" pizza.

Just by  eyeing it, I can see that a 15 oz dough for a 12" pizza is a 1.25 oz to 1" ratio.  This is equivalent to a 20 oz dough for a 16" pizza.  Your formula has jumped from a ratio of 1.25 oz to 1" of crust to over 1.6 oz to 1" of crust when you resized it.  By working with ratios, I have been able to maintain comparable pizzas as I go from 14" to 15" and down to 12".

I have found that weight of dough is not a deciding factor in the end result and should not be used to determine actual thickness.  For example, I generally use 16.5 oz to 17 oz for a 14" pizza, and I put most of the weight into the cornicione/outer edge, which immediately forms a slender slice with an even thinner ending as posted in the past.  Recently, I have switched to a 14.5 oz because I wanted a much shorter and smaller cornicione; but no one can tell the difference between my pizzas in the thickness factor. 
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on November 18, 2005, 07:58:07 PM
giotto,
 
The thickness factor approach I use is not of my creation. I learned about it from reading several articles and from questions posed to Tom Lehmann and Dave Ostrander by pizza operators who wanted to know how to determine how much dough to use to make pizzas of different sizes. I use the term “thickness factor” for convenience and because of its simplicity but Tom Lehmann says that the technical term is “dough loading”. It is not a linear system and is based on surface area. Surface area has mathematical meaning and precision. The dough for a pizza with a large surface area and given thickness will weigh more than the dough for a pizza with a small surface area and the same thickness. But the scaling is not linear. I don’t know the precise origins of the approach but I suspect that somewhere along the way pizza makers experimented with different dough weights and once they got the results they were looking for in terms of crust thickness, they were able to come up with thickness factors that could then be used to calculate the weights of pizzas of different sizes (and styles) but with the same thickness characteristics. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I can only assume that factors such as the rims and the way they are shaped and sized were taken into account in the process. In a sense, those factors are subsumed in the thickness factors themselves.

For those who are interested in how the thickness factor, or dough loading, works, they can take a look at these items (from PMQ.com):
http://www.pmq.com/mag/2004november_december/lehmann.php
http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi/noframes/read/8095
http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi/noframes/read/15360 .

I will admit that if the recipe I followed produces a dough that is shaped and stretched differently from the way I normally make my NY style doughs, or the rim is of a different shape or size, then it is possible that my thickness factor calculation could be off. However, I don’t think that such is the case. I shaped and stretched the Morgan/Gemignani dough the same way as I do with all my Lehmann doughs, rim included. I have made Lehmann pizzas from 9 inches up to 18 inches using the thickness factor approach and gotten consistent results in terms of thickness characteristics. I sometimes joke that a lot of my pizzas look alike. And that is the reason why. I might add that I have never suggested that anyone lock themselves into fixed thickness factors. I have suggested that they experiment with different thickness factors to get the results they want. Thickness factors are guidelines but, in my view, they are a good thing, and with a solid mathematical underpinning.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on November 18, 2005, 10:55:56 PM
Pete-zza:

I'd simply describe a 15 oz dough for a 12" pizza quite differently in the way of thickness based on other experiences.  I'd describe it as closer to my 17 oz dough for a 14" pizza as well as to Tony's own New York style pizzas, which consist of a slender line crust that ends thin, with a pronounced outer edge.  And I would recommend closer to 21 oz of dough to get the same results for a 16" pizza.

Your description of the breadier result is interesting because it is similar to what Tony produces. I often contributed it to his Pendelton flour, which even at lower proteins and lower hydrations is just bready.  The higher the hydration, the better the environment for yeast and potentially the better the spring.  Rustic breads, such as Ciabatta, are often over 75%.  I recently tasted a thoroughly hole-driven airy Ciabatta bread that used 78% by one vendor, and I've had the same result in my own breads.  But that's because Ciabatta is handled very carefully after huge rises with incredibly high hydrations.  But it makes sense to explain a breadier result with higher percentages as well, since pizza dough will go through tougher handling, less proofing, and will be more dense (and therefore breadier).
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on November 18, 2005, 11:23:47 PM
giotto,

Your examples of using 17 ounces of dough for a 14-inch and 21 ounces for a 16-inch are more in line with what I use for a NY style. Sometime I'd like to repeat the recipe but using 21 ounces for a 16-inch. I am pretty confident that the resultant pizza will be good because I can tell from what I made that the good features will carry over to the thinner pizza. That would be the best test to compare against a 16-inch Lehmann pizza. I might also learn more about the effects of high hydration. I wondered whether too high a hydration can actually work against a high oven spring at some point, simply by force of the weight of water.

Peter

Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on November 19, 2005, 12:41:08 AM
Pete-zza:

I totally understand your thinking of high hydrations; but interestingly enough, the wetter the environment, yeast does better in a higher hydration environment according to bread books.  In fact, you'll have a hard time finding a book where 75% - 80% is not used for rustic breads, where rise and spring are very important.  A couple of examples of these high hydrations are KA's Baker's Companion (where they suggest their Ciabatta is so wet, you can't knead by hand) and Reinhart's Crust & Crumb.  As mentioned in another post, I recently got a first hand chance to visit a San Francisco all natural bakery, and sure enough, their rustic breads were almost 80%, and they had good rises and amazing air holes (from trapping bubbles) with lower amounts of instant yeast than recommended by various authors.  They did use starters, but only for their sour doughs. Otherwise, delayed fermentation was used with lower yeast amounts.  Over-fermentation is something to be careful of to reduce spring.

In breads, however, the high hydrations make sense because they want moisture in the rustic bread environments for a more moist interior and yeast fermentation.  I'm finding, however, that 65% - 67% to be plenty for pizza dough to give me a great texture, combined with longer knead times to give the chewiness as I believe you've noted as well. When I work at higher hydrations than this, I'm not sure if I am seeing enough of a result with pizza crust to justify the additional effort. 
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on November 19, 2005, 10:08:13 AM
giotto,

I fully agree with what you say about hydration. Some time ago, I attended a King Arthur event held locally where I saw one of their bakers make a ciabatta bread dough. He said that the mistake most people make is to add too much flour, so that they can handle it, and he showed how to use a bench scraper to turn the dough rather than use his hands.

When it comes to using very high hydration for pizza dough, the fermentation is faster than normal and, if you hold the dough too long, you can experience extensibility problems. I held the Morgan/Gemignani dough for about 2 days, the maximum mentioned in the recipe, and it was very extensible even though it didn't rise much during fermentation and used some ice cold water (about half of the total water) and was held at a colder than normal refrigerator temperature. On the surface it looked like little was happening, but beneath the surface there apparently was a lot going on. But because the dough was dry I had no problem shaping and stretching it to the desired size. Next time it might be better to use a cold fermentation somewhere between the specified minimum of 10 hours and 2 days.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: RockyMarciano on January 08, 2006, 11:33:42 PM
its all about the cup n crisp margarita pepperoni
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 22, 2006, 08:10:58 PM
Craig Ponsford is a preeminent baker in the SF area and a big proponent of yeast preferments for non-sour dough breads. I really respect guys like Craig and ACME bread's Sullivan because they work with more variations in a week than I can work with in a life time. Craig employs different temps, aging, and flours (rye, wheat, all purpose, etc.) to produce such a myriad of tastes.

Craig was forced into commercial yeast-based preferments when he helped the US win the specialty breads category in France in 1996 (Ciabatta, baguettes, etc.). His goal initially was to strengthen the French flours to meet his needs. Since then, he believes a poolish is almost the purest if you wish to bring out the closest taste to the real wheat. That’s an important distinguishing element, since these guys use natural starters for their sourdough.

Because the Ciabatas are so special, I decided to follow Craig and Sullivan's yeast preferment recommendation for a similar rough crust, amazing inside crumb, and natural taste of the Ciabatta.

Commercial yeast is aggressive. SO the amount of yeast they use is negligible in their preferments (between 1/16 tsp and 1/364 tsp). The goal is not to change the taste in the flours. But to bring them out. The yeast impacts rise and texture, while the change in temperatures result in acidity from bacterial fermentation.

These guys get way up there in % hydration, since they take about 18 minutes to produce their results at lower temperatures (about 425F). So I opted for a final result under 70%, which will be used with a higher temp in my oven.

I went with a cross between Craig’s Biga (which is stiffer, includes some whole wheat and sits in cold temperatures), and Sullivan’s poolish (which is more watery and left at room temp for a milder flavor). Their unbleached flours stay within the 11.5% protein levels. I went with a 12.7% KA bread flour, and later mixed it with a small amount of Giusto’s all purpose.

ACME shoots for a higher ASH rating and ensures that minimal oxygen is injected during his mixing period with rest periods to give an amazing cream coloring. Resting actually breaks down the tight gluten structures at this point, and reduces long kneading times which can introduce oxygen and oxidize the flour’s unsaturated fats and bleach its pigments. When these are oxidized, you lose the vitamin E content and alter their flavor.

I mixed 10 oz each of water and KA Bread Flour by hand with 1/32 tsp active yeast. After a couple of hours, it went into the refrigerator to keep the yeast activity down, and improve the chances for some minimal acedic acid.

In the AM, I left it out for 2 hours and then mixed it with about 50% more flour and a water hydration that would bring it to 67% hydration. I started with about ½ the flour and gave it a 20 minute rest period before adding the yeast and just under 3% salt with the rest of the flour. Turning the first hour, I turned over the dough a few times on a floured board, which minimizes any stickiness. I put a couple of doughs in a tin in the refrigerator, and left out a 13 oz dough.

Amazing color, and check out this amazing extensibility with a lower protein flour.

https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/extensibility.JPG

https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/poolish-mix.JPG

Well, it’s sitting out at room temp now, and tonight I’ll give the left out dough a shot. I’ve worked with similar procedures before and have no question of their results. So if it doesn’t come out right, I only have myself to blame. Commercial yeast is not what develops the taste. But it can compete with the sugars extracted from the starches, and this can adversely impact the minimal bacterial fermentation process; when over developed, the structure also weakens. So the important thing is to not over-ferment, and enjoy the natural taste of the wheat.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 22, 2006, 11:33:13 PM
Well, these slices pretty well sum it up (oven was brought to 540F and screen was immediately put in):

https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/poolish-slice1.JPG

https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/poolish-slice-last.JPG

The upside: It was light and definitely had a chew to it. It smelled like a good artisan bread and tasted like a good pizza crust, without any tainty or sour taste. During the dough making process, I added 1/4 tsp active yeast and made over 39 oz of dough. It never took on an alcohol smell and had no visible bubbles after leaving it out 7 hours today. I was planning on making this 13.3 oz dough into a 12" pizza; but it stretched so quickly that I turned it into a 14.5" pizza. It held the toppings very well: 2 small organic heirlooms diced up fresh (no need to remove skin or pre-cook these), pancetta, 4 oz of Grande mozzarella and a light sprinkle of thin white sauce.

The downside: Hard to believe; but it was a bit too chewy. I normally pre-bake my dough for 1 minute; but I skipped this step; I was supposed to wait 45 minutes after laying out the dough, which I've never done. Either of these could have made it even more airy. Then a friend reminded me of another important point... man are we screwed after Heirloom tomato season is over. I wait every year for them. Maybe I can smoke them to preserve them like I saw on Tyler's show in Italy.

Conclusion: All in all, I'm able to come close to the taste and airy texture when very little yeast and all steps are combined at once and then followed by delayed fermentation in the refrigerator. HOWEVER, even though I normally follow the same procedure for adding flour in baby steps as I did here in the final phase (including a 20-60 minute rest time), the chewy texture is much more pronounced when you go through this process, which was the reason that Ponsford implemented it in the first place.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on September 23, 2006, 11:23:55 PM
giotto,

I couldn't quite figure out all of the quantities of ingredients you used to make your pizza dough, but the approach seems to be one that is gaining in favor. Some while back, acting on an approach described by Tom Lehmann, I made a home version of a take-and-bake pizza dough in which a "biga" (my best description) was used to increase the crust flavor in a dough that was not subjected to a prolonged cold fermentation. I, too, noted a chewy character to the finished crust, as well as a crust flavor that seemed to me to be reminiscent of a baguette. While I was pleased with the results overall, I am still not certain that that is what I want in a pizza crust. If you are interested in the results of my efforts along these lines, please see Reply 362 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg23239.html#msg23239.

Peter
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: giotto on September 24, 2006, 05:20:50 PM
So often, I find people tainting the heck out of their crusts, over acidifying them, adding milk, beer, etc., just because they can't get a decent taste to begin with. Oh, what I would have done for a taste akin to a good baguette when I first started out. The chew though is something to tame.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: jamesw6777 on August 20, 2008, 09:33:01 PM
Pete-zza when you let the dough rest for one hour then refrigerated for twenty four hours, would it make a difference if you just let the dough rest for 15 minutes before refrigerating ? I am a newbie and I plan to make this recipe and I want to get it right.
Title: Re: Quality NY toppings & techniques
Post by: Pete-zza on August 20, 2008, 09:54:32 PM
James,

I assume that your question is in reference to my 16" version of Peter Reinhart's NY style dough as discussed in Reply 112 in this thread (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,524.msg17203.html#msg17203). If so, I don't think it will make much of a difference if you use 15 minutes as the rest period before placing the dough in the refrigerator. In fact, that is what the Reinhart recipe specifies (at page 115) for a cold fermented dough. To be honest, I don't really recall why I gave my dough an hour rest. In re-reading the instructions for the Reinhart recipe, it is possible that I erroneously followed the instructions for the same-day dough, which calls for an hour rest. That helps explain the increased stretchiness I experienced with the dough. Your dough may do better in that regard because it won't ferment as fast as mine did.

Good luck.

Peter