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Author Topic: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.  (Read 18600 times)

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Offline Scagnetti

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My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« on: February 07, 2010, 01:15:06 PM »
I have a real love/hate relationship with my NY pie. I have fought through the dough issues, toppings, sauce, etc. and my last hurdle is getting the crust crisp.

I have an electric oven and I've tried different rack positions. The lowest cooks the crust unevenly and generates hot spots. I do a long preheat at 550 degrees and use a screen which I like. It makes handling the pie easier.

My ingredients for this pie are Cento Pizza Sauce (dosed with salt, pepper, basil), Precious Whole Milk Mozzarella, lightly sauteed green bell pepper, and best of all, pan fried sausage from Jimmy's in Dallas.

For a 16" pie.

KA Bread Flour (100%) 361 g
Water (63%) 228 g
IDY (.3%) 1.08 g
Salt (1%) 5.41 g
Oil (1%) 3.61 g

TF = .105

Any suggestions? Will adding sugar help? Do I just need to cook it longer?
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 01:32:45 PM by Scagnetti »

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2010, 01:26:53 PM »
Scagnetti:

Are you cooking your pizza in the pan, on a stone, on a screen, or some other way?

A little sugar may help, but I think there are some other possibilities such as what you cook your pizza on that would help before delving into the recipe for your dough.

-ME
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Offline Scagnetti

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2010, 01:34:26 PM »
I'm cooking it on a screen.

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 01:45:58 PM »
Your pie certainly looks well browned so I am thinking baking method too rather than a longer bake.  I use a screen to make pies for the kids who do not appreciate any char or crispness and stone or the cast iron thing for the adults that do.  So maybe a stone would help, or even trying the screen on the lowest rack again but rotating to even out the hotspots.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 03:17:39 PM »
Scag,

I think your best bet is to use a pizza stone, much as NY style pizza operators use the stones of their deck ovens. Even if you decide to continue to use your screen, you should be able to get a greater degree of crispiness in your crust using a combination of your screen and a pizza stone. However, even then, you won't get all the way to the degree of crispiness of a real NY style pizza. I discussed a few possibilities along these lines at Reply 45 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg20965.html#msg20965.

Adding sugar will help produce more crust color, which doesn't seem to be necessary in your case, but it will also work against getting a crispier crust because sugar helps retain moisture in the dough during baking. Also, when sugar is used in the dough, there is a tendency to pull the pizza from the oven sooner to keep the crust from browning too quickly. So, you can end up with a more tender crust and crumb but not enough crispiness.

If, despite our urgings, using only a pizza screen is your final decision, you might try leaving out the oil and using a lower bake temperature and a longer bake time. For example, you might try a bake temperature of around 475 degrees F and monitor the bake time to get both a properly browned crust with (hopefully) the desired degree of crispiness. At a hydration of 63%, you should be able to lose more moisture in the dough while retaining softness in the finished crust.

If the abovementioned methods don't produce the desired results, one final thing that occurs to me to try is to remove the pizza from the oven just before it has finished baking, leave the oven on, and let then let the pizza cool down for about 7-10 minutes or so. Then put the pizza back into the oven, in either the lowest or middle oven rack position. The pizza will be rigid so you shouldn't need the pizza screen anymore. After a couple of minutes or so, the crust should become crispier without the top of the pizza being overdone.

Please let us know what, if anything, you decide to do and with what results.

Peter


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Offline Scagnetti

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 04:09:54 PM »
Peter, I've been considering a square FibraMent Baking Stone. What do you think of that?

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 04:26:48 PM »
Peter, I've been considering a square FibraMent Baking Stone. What do you think of that?

Scag,

I would say that the FibraMent is a good choice and is one of the most popular among our members. However, you might also investigate Cordierite and other comparable stones that many of our members use, including a few that are thicker than the FibraMent stones with greater heat retention capacities. But, whichever stone you might decide on, be sure that it is big enough to make the largest size pizza you are likely to make while still being able to fit the stone in your oven (with the door shut) and with a little space around it. One member (Jack) decided on a round 19" FibraMent stone and ended up cutting off a piece to make it fit in his oven. Some people prefer the rectangular shape to the round shape in order to be able to bake baguettes and other long-form breads that might not be possible using a round stone.

Peter

Offline Scagnetti

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2010, 11:10:20 AM »
Peter,

Do you think any of the restaurant supply places in Dallas would carry cordierite pizza stones for home use? I've gotten all my screens and pans at Ace Mart.

If not, I think I may get it from this place.

http://www.akitchen.com/store/am-pizza-stones.html

Thanks again for all of your help.

Scags

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2010, 12:28:52 PM »
Scags,

According to the Ace Mart website, at http://www.acemart.com/, they apparently carry an American MetalCraft pizza stone, at http://www.acemart.com/prod8235.html. If that stone interests you, you might call their Dallas location (listed at http://www.acemart.com/store-locator.ep) and inquire whether they have that stone in stock at that location.

There are a couple of things that you might want to keep in mind about the AM stone. As you will see from the Product Details, the AM stone has a thickness of 1/2" but has an overall height of 7/8" because of feet or pedestals molded into the stone (I once called AM and confirmed this). By contrast, according to the FibraMent website, at http://www.bakingstone.com/order.php, the FibraMent stones are 3/4" thick. In my opinion, thicker is better even if it means using a slightly longer preheat. You should also consider that the FibraMent stone prices include shipping. I am not pushing FibraMent or any other stone. A FibraMent stone or an equivalent quality Cordierite stone, or other types of stones discussed on this forum, should last a long time if properly used. So, if you are going to spend the money, you want to be sure that you have the best stone for your purposes and not have to revisit the decision some time down the road.

Peter


Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2010, 12:35:53 PM »
Scags,

I forgot to mention in my last post that there is also another Cordierite stone that is called Old Stone. It has a thickness of about 5/8" but, it too, has pedestals or feet that makes the overall height closer to an inch. You can see that stone at Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000E1FDA/?tag=pmak-20 although it is sold in many other places.

If you scan or search the stones board at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/board,49.0.html, you will find other alternatives.

Peter

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Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2010, 03:27:45 PM »
If not, I think I may get it from this place.

http://www.akitchen.com/store/am-pizza-stones.html

I used this stone (American Metalcraft) about a week ago and it was one of the most anemic pizza baking experiences I've ever had to suffer through.  I pre-heated it for an hour at 550, then put the broiler on for 20 minutes (a modified Nearlypolitan technique for a NY pie).  I didn't put it on the very top shelf, so the broiling may not have been effective as it could have been, but, still, an hour at 550 should be enough to sufficiently pre-heat a 1/2" stone.  8 minutes cooking time and the cheese was cooked but the bottom was still white.

Certain forms of firebrick have extremely poor conductivity.  This means that they take a very long time to heat up, but stay hot for a very long time (WFO oven firebricks can be like this).  In theory, this could be one of those bricks, but having to heat a 1/2" stone for longer than an hour is ridiculous.

And, according to numbers that I've seen, Fibrament is fairly weak in the conductivity department as well. Conductivity is a vital player in the home baked NY style pizza equation.  You need a stone that's conductive enough to properly pre-heat within an hour as well as conductive enough to quickly transfer heat to the pizza for a short baking time.  Short baking times translate into better oven spring/superior crusts.

So, I'm definitely not a fan of the AM stone and the specs on the Fibrament are pretty weak. If you are willing to put some time into it, get the best baking stone there is: Soapstone.  Soapstone runs circles around Fibrament/Cordierite.  It's twice the conductivity of cordierite, but, more importantly, it's resistance to thermal shock is in a different universe.  You can put a soapstone on a grill without a diffuser.  You can clean it with water right before you bake with it (Fibrament will explode if you do this). Just about everyone I know who's owned a Fibrament has had it crack at some point or another.  With a soapstone, unless you drop it, this is not an issue. The other huge advantage of soapstone is that if you get cheese or other oily toppings on it, the fat doesn't absorb and envelope your house in smoke.

Finding a soapstone distributor who sells remnants at a reasonable price and then cutting the slab down to size- that takes some work.  I ended up chiseling mine, but you really need a tile saw to do it right. It's well worth it, though, if you have any DIY inclination. For $23, I bought a slab of soapstone that's 18 x 21 x 1.25.  I can't do Neapolitan pies, yet, but I can do NY pies in a blistering 2 and half minutes.  I've actually had to turn my oven down a bit because I was getting too much charring.  I never dreamed that I could have a home oven setup that was a little too powerful for NY style pizza- all for 23 bucks (and a few hours of chiseling).

Edit: Math was off on Fibrament's conductivity. It's actually not that great. Better than quarry tile, but that's not saying much.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 05:02:03 PM by scott123 »

Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2010, 03:51:22 PM »
Edit: Math was off. See above.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 05:05:30 PM by scott123 »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2010, 04:14:07 PM »
scott123,

Because of threads like this, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5645.0.html, I am not prone to promote one type of stone over another. I am not smart enough to sort through all of the arcane aspects of materials used for pizza stones, and there may be a natural hesitancy for others like me to investigate these matters before purchasing a stone. At the same time, I was hoping that you would respond to Scags because of your recent posts on the subject.

Peter

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2010, 04:25:07 PM »
Is this the soapstone you are talking about http://www.doradosoapstone.com/_Tile/index.htm. I wouldn't mind getting one if it is as good as you say it is. I want to get a rectangle stone instead of my round one.

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2010, 04:37:15 PM »
Put oil on the outside of the dough, not in it. Start on a screen, for about 4 minutes. Use a peel to move the pie to a stone for another 2 1/2-3 minutes. Bake at 550 or higher. Make sure the stone is clean and preheated. And don't be afraid of regular all-purpose flour, with less gluten.

My stone is whatever they had at Bed Bath & Beyond on the day I walked in. Works great. I want to try one of the Fibrament stones, though.

I've gotten good results with only a screen, but it's hit or miss. Using the screen first makes semolina unnecessary, and the end results are 100% consistent.

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2010, 04:51:14 PM »
The members are generally aware of the use of soapstone for pizza making. In fact, it is specifically mentioned (along with Cordierite) in the forum's Pizza Glossary under the Pizza Stone entry at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html#P. FibraMent is also listed separately in the Pizza Glossary.

I also once looked into soapstone for pizza use, as I discussed at Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1488.msg13580/topicseen.html#msg13580. It was the high cost that discouraged me from pursuing it further.

David, you might take note of the fact that Dorado has a location in Shrewsbury, MA (http://www.doradosoapstone.com/vermont/index.htm). That's a bit of a drive from where you are but not so far as rule out a trip altogether. I would call first, however, to see if their products are suitable for baking or whether they are treated in some way as to make them unsuitable for baking applications.

Peter

Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2010, 05:11:24 PM »
Because of threads like this, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5645.0.html, I am not prone to promote one type of stone over another.

Thanks for the link. I'm very glad you posted it. My numbers were way off. Fibrament's conductivity is actually pretty poor.  I modified the posts above to reflect this.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2010, 05:22:40 PM »
scott123,

In case you are interested, the composition of the FibraMent stone was discussed in this patent document: http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=21&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&p=1&p=1&S1=((MARK+AND+%22OTOOLE%22)+AND+baking)&OS=MARK+AND+%22OTOOLE%22+AND+baking&RS=((MARK+AND+%22OTOOLE%22)+AND+baking.

Peter

EDIT (2/5/2013): For an alternative link to the above link, which is no longer operative, see http://www.google.com/patents/US6190450
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 05:39:34 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2010, 06:50:21 PM »
I am interested Peter, thanks.  So Fibrament is unfired? That's fascinating.

David, yes, that's the soapstone I'm referring to. Soapstone, as Peter mentioned, can be pretty expensive, but... that's in the huge slab form that they use for counters.  Just about every counter job has waste- waste that's almost always large enough to get a baking stone out of. I pay $10/sq. foot for remnants here in NJ.  There's probably a regional component to pricing (my distributor might be close to the port where it's coming in), but I doubt that the price of remnants would fluctuate that much.  Even if it's as much as $30 sq. foot, that's $70 for a stone of my size- well worth it, imo.

A distributor will probably give you the best price on remnants, but a contractor might give you a decent price as well, and there's a much better chance you'll find a contractor that's local.  Check the pages under kitchen remodeling. The pieces that they cut out of slabs to put in sinks are pretty much perfect for baking stones.

Soapstone has a long history of food use in other parts of the world.  When they install it for counters, they'll rub it with mineral oil to darken it, but, other than that, soapstone is never treated with anything. They just slice it into slabs in the quarry and ship it. It is almost pure talc, so you want to be careful not to breath in any dust when you're cutting it, but, other than that, it's perfectly benign.

I've been hearing about the wonders of soapstone for years, and, I have to admit, it took me a long time to warm up to the idea.  Since my goal was/is NY style pizza, I was a bit of a deck oven purist. Now that I bit the bullet and bought a slab, I really couldn't dream of using anything else.

Peter's advice is spot on- call and confirm that they sell remnants, that the price is reasonable, and that they have a decent selection of smallish slabs. If they'll make a cut for you, confirm a price on that too.  Ideally, it would be nice if they would take a look at the remnants and tell you if they have a piece your size, but that's not probably something most distributors will do.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 07:08:48 PM by scott123 »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2010, 07:19:15 PM »
scott123,

I think it has been natural for our members to gravitate toward the Cordierite and FibraMent stones because they are also used for commercial applications. For example, as I noted at Reply 4 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5254.msg44612/topicseen.html#msg44612, Bakers Pride uses Cordierite stones (see, for example, http://www.bakerspride.com/specs/SDECK-STUBBY-07-05.pdf), although they are much thicker (1 1/2") than the home oven versions. And FibraMent makes replacement stones for various types/brands of ovens.

I did a search this afternoon and see that there is a Dorado licensee in Austin, TX (http://www.doradosoapstone.com/_DS-Texas/index.htm). I might give them a call to check on their soapstone products. It appears that their soapstone is imported from Brazil.

Peter

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