Author Topic: My First Post: 16" NY Style  (Read 2626 times)

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Offline JoshThePizzaFreak

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My First Post: 16" NY Style
« on: December 08, 2010, 11:54:28 PM »
First I really want to thank everyone on this board, especially the regulars (you know who you are!).  I've been lurking for a while and picking up tons of tips.   I got into pizza making several weeks ago after getting the book "American Pie" as a present along with a pizza peel and stone.

I feel my pies are really starting to improve (with the help of this forum).  I've picked up a lot of tips.

Today I made my first 16" pie (previously I only made 12 or 9").  I made the dough yesterday using the Lehman recipe for two 16 inch  (20 oz I believe) dough balls (I used the Lehman calculator from this site) and 65% hydration.  I used some generic bread flour (Raley's brand) and I use IDY (the lowest % recommended on the Lehman calculator).  I didn't add any sugar.  I used the lower range of salt and oil from the calculator.  I weighed the flour and water using my digital scale.  I mix the dough completely by hand (total of about 7-10 min).  I did the window pane test and then I lightly brushed with olive oil and placed them in 2 plastic containers covered in plastic wrap in the fridge for about 24 hours. They just about doubled in size.

My oven is an electric GE with self cleaning feature.  It goes to 550 F, but it also has a feature where you can adjust the thermostat up or down by 35 degrees. Therefore, I have adjusted it to be 35 degrees higher.  I also started using the "Frozen Towel Mod" recently in order to get higher heats.  This has really helped me get more spring and chewiness in the crust. I am able to reach 700 F on the stone.  However, if I go up much higher than 700 the oven turns off (some kind of safety feature?) and doesn't let me turn it back on for an hour.  Therefore, I watch to make sure I don't go over 700. 

I have a 16" round Old Stone Pizza Stone that I just got to replace an Oneida which cracked after only 2 weeks (of making pizzas almost every day).   (BTW it cracked before I started doing the frozen towel mod --I think it cracked from taking it out of the oven while it was still hot and cutting pizza on it).  I have an infrared thermometer gun and I just picked up a 16" pizza screen.

I followed a procedure in one of Pete-zza's posts on using the 16" screen first to set the dough, followed by using the stone to crisp the bottom.  Trying to slide a 16" pizza off the peel onto a round 16" stone would be way to sketchy! 

Here's are some details on how I cooked this pie:

I took out the dough ball from the fridge 2 hours ahead and at the same time preheated my oven to 550 (really 585 because of the thermostat adjustment).  After 2 hours the stone read 610 on my infrared thermometer and the side of the oven was 600. I began shaping the dough and it became thin very fast (I was only able to toss it a couple times and it was already larger than 16" and really translucent in the middle (I was worried it would tear or leak sauce).  The pizza was actually a little bigger than 16" and hanging a quarter inch over the edge of the 16" screen.

Right before dressing the pizza I put the frozen sleeve on the oven thermostat with tongs and turned it to broil for 3 minutes.  I went easy on the sauce and cheese because the dough was so thin in the middle.   I used my home made sauce (uncooked crushed Cento tomatoes, fresh garlic, red wine vinegar and fresh basil, salt and pepper) and I used a combo of fresh drained mozzarella, low moisture full fat mozzarella and parm reggiano.  I topped it with turkey pepperoni (that's all I had - but it turned out to be good-- not too oily).

After 3 minutes with the broiler on I was done dressing the pizza, and the stone (in the middle rack) was up to 680.  I turned off the broiler and put the pizza on the screen on the lowest rack below the stone for 2 minutes.  The crust had started to spring but was still white.  I pulled it out and put the broiler back on for a minute while I made sure the pizza wasn't stuck to the screen.  It moved easily (I had pre-sprayed the screen with pam -thanks Pete).  I turned off the oven again and slipped the pizza off the screen and onto the stone (which was now about 670) for 4 minutes.  At that point it was a mildly browned on the top and perfectly charred (for my taste) on the bottom. 

Pics are attached.  It came out really good.  Very thin in the middle and very crisp.  The crust was a little less airy and chewy than I have achieved in the past on my Neapolitans (with higher hydration levels) but it was a lot crispier which I liked.  It was definitely my best NY style to date and I loved the 16" size.  Attached are some pics.

I really owe much of my success on this pizza to the folks on the forum.  Thanks everyone!
Some pictures are attached. 
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 12:26:47 AM by JoshThePizzaFreak »

Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: My First Post: 16" NY Style
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 12:26:55 AM »
using the wrong type of peel for screened pizzas

or the wrong type of launching for the peel you plan to use
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Re: My First Post: 16" NY Style
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2010, 02:18:52 AM »
Josh, that's a pretty nice pie for someone with 'several weeks' experience. Something tells me that you're attacking this new hobby with a vengeance  :) I'm also impressed at how quickly you've acquired tools that most beginners tend to be hesitant to purchase, namely an IR thermometer and a digital scale. Well done.

While I applaud your desire to produce a traditional 16" pie, I think your workaround to achieve that diameter might be a bit counterproductive. Screens are notorious for insulating the dough and extending bake times and that's using them on a stone.  Using them on a rack, imo, is the kiss of death for oven spring, even on the lowest rack with a red hot bottom element. If you absolutely have to use a screen, put it on the stone straight away, and then, once the bottom is set, make the transfer from the screen to the stone. Ideally, though, you'll want to remove the screen from the equation.

I know you just bought the new stone and the last thing you're going to want to hear is that it's not big enough, but if you truly want that coveted 16" diameter with the classic puffy chewy NY style crust, you've got to get a bigger stone and nix the screen.  The good news is that, with your frozen towel expertise/willingness to push your oven to higher temps, you have some options when it comes to stones.  If your oven can fit it, I'd go right out and get an 18" x 18" x 1" cordierite kiln shelf.  If that's too large, get a 17" x 17" x 1" one. Both will put out a 4 minute bake time @600 with a peel delivered pie. The nice thing about that 600 degree stone temp is that you'll be able to use the broiler during the bake time and not exceed that critical 700 temp.

You could, in theory, pick up some less conductive, cheap quarry tiles, but that's going to require closer to 650, and, imo, with broiling, put you too close to the turn off temp. Having the machine shut down during one pie might not be the end of the world, but if you've got a second pizza to make, that's going to be a problem.

Re; windowpaning.  Windowpaning is suitable for same day/unrefrigerated doughs, but it's too much kneading for anything that's cold fermented. I'm not all that familiar with your flour, so I can't say for certain how long to knead it, but I'm relatively certain that you're going to want to dial the kneading back for ideal extensibility.

As far as the thinning in the middle goes, that's something dough has a tendency to want to do and that you have to actively work against.  Here's a good video on forming (ignore the rolling pin stuff):

Lastly, it's always a good idea, especially since you're using the dough calculator, to copy and paste your recipe here.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 04:12:34 AM by scott123 »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My First Post: 16" NY Style
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 07:43:39 AM »

I agree with scott123 that you are off to a good start. I can tell that you have been doing a lot of reading on the forum and soaking things up like a sponge.

I frequently use a combination of screen and stone in my unmodified oven to make pizzas larger than 14" because 14" is the largest size that my pizza stone can handle. What I have found in my oven is that I get better results if I place the unbaked pizza on the screen at an upper oven rack position and let it bake there until the rim swells up and starts to turn brown (and the cheeses start to get bubbly and develop some color), and then move the pizza off of the screen onto the stone, which is on the lowest oven rack position and preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degrees F. I found that this approach worked better in my (unmodified) oven than placing the pizza on the screen directly on the preheated stone. Maybe you have already read this, but I described both methods plus a few more at Reply 45 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg20965.html#msg20965.

In general, I can't quarrel with scott123's advice. Adopting his recommendations should serve you well. You should also feel free to play around with the values entered into the Lehmann dough calculating tool, including thickness factor. For example, if you are after a NY street or slice style, you might try using a thickness factor of around 0.085 to start.


Offline norma427

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Re: My First Post: 16" NY Style
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2010, 07:52:22 AM »

You did a great job for only making pizza for a few weeks.  :)  My results making pizzas the first few months weren't as good as yours.

Welcome to the journey of pizzamaking!