Author Topic: Learning Curve  (Read 2993 times)

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Offline Gorgonzolla

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Learning Curve
« on: May 01, 2005, 08:42:53 PM »
I bought a peel and a pizza stone with hopes of turning out homemade pizzas. This seemed more difficult than I had planned. The dough gave me trouble and it took me a while to figure out you dont need a quart of sauce on the pizza. The pizza would stick to the peel and would haphazardly end up mostly on the stone. whatever didn't make it fell to the oven floor and set every smoke detector off in the house. I became adept at chiseling off burnt pizzastuffs of the stone with the dough knife. Things have been improving. I fixed the dough and now they land right in the middle of the stone and surprisingly they are desired within the household over the local pizza joints. My biggest nut to crack was getting rid of the rolling pin that was needed to form the pizza shell. I have been trying to handform them but for the mostpart the results have to considerd failures. I am proud to anounce that I have recently made six pies in sucession without the rolling pin and I am pleased with the results. I must admit it takes me a bit of time to get it to streach out in a satisfactory manor. I think my next big investment will be a digital scale so I can refine the dough some more and concentrate on consistancy. I think the discovery of this forum is just the ticket I needed to break through the brick wall and develop some pizza making skill.

Offline Nathan

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Re: Learning Curve
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2005, 11:14:18 PM »
I used to have an extremely hard time getting my dough to stretch out without tearing.  It was when I was using the original New York recipe posted on this site (it's also posted on another site, not sure where the recipe originated, but anyway).  I think it was because of the long kneading time (full 15 minutes).  I could be wrong about that though because I have totally abandoned that recipe and now almost exclusively use the Lehmann formula using percentages. 

I have two digital scales now.  One for the flour and water and another one that I use to weigh the salt, yeast and oil.  It is much easier than trying to measure everything and as I'm sure you know a lot more accurate. 

I have never used a rolling pin for pizza.  As far as everything I have read or seen on TV and whatnot it's a major no-no.  The funny thing about this is that the best pizza place in the town I live in uses one.  You never get any bubbles or anything because of it but they still have the best tasting pizza in town.  They use a deck oven and they also use escalon products for their sauce. 

I too had a problem getting the peel figured out but I have it figured out now.  The biggest thing I have noticed is using enough flour (or whatever it is that you like to use, personally I like semolina flour) on it to keeping the dough from sticking (without using too much).  That and assembling the sauce, cheese and other toppings as quickly as possible to keep the dough from wanting to stick. 

As far as your dough not stretching out easily I have the opposite problem now.  It stretches almost too easily.  I really can't "hand toss" it because it would be too big.  I am going to experiment with using less dough soon to see what happens though.  Right now I am using about 19.6 ounces of dough for about an 18" pizza. 

If your pizza is better than the local joints then you are on the right track for sure.   8)

Oh by the way, I use about 7 ounces of sauce for the my pizzas.  I'm not sure what everyone else on here uses but for the size I am making it seems to be about right.  Not too much but enough.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2005, 11:18:50 PM by Nathan »
"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline bakerboy

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Re: Learning Curve
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2005, 12:12:20 PM »
Dude, i feel your pain!!.  Ive done the same thing only on blodgett deck ovens and its no fun as you know.
You mentioned that you were having trouble stretching your dough.  One thing i would suggest if your dough gets real tight and your having trouble stretching without tearing, don't force it, it only gets tighter.  i take a plastic trash bag and cover the dough well and walk away for 10-15 min.  you will return to a different dough which is nicely relaxed and easy to finish stretching.

Offline snowdy

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Re: Learning Curve
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2005, 04:06:17 AM »

i too had problems stretching my dough for the longest time.

i just recently changed my mixing techniques as described on the reverse engineering patsy's thread.

Here's my post with my latest results:

i went from having a dough that took a good 20 minutes with all my knuckle strength and stretching to get out to 14 inches to a dough that feels like soft butter and stretches out as fast as i want.. and its all because of the difference in mixing.

i followed this exactly:
Preparation Didactics
Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add approximately half the flour. Add yeast and preferment (optional). Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute with hook attachment. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Mix on stir speed for 5 minutes, adding in remaining flour gradually. Scrape dough off hook if riding high. Add oil and mix on 2 for 5 minutes. Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area. Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, drop dough into bowls, cover with shower caps or plastic wrap. I use no oil to coat the balls and have not noticed a problem removing balls from stainless steel bowl. Place dough in the refrigerator. Ferment for approximately 24 hours. On the following day, remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (approximately 60 - 120 minutes). To ensure light crust and proper cooking, dough must be at room temperature before cooking.

i followed post #211 on this thread:

give that mixing technique a try (with the resting period, and adding flour gradually later, etc and i think youll notice drastic changes) :)

keep it up!


Offline Gorgonzolla

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Re: Learning Curve
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2005, 07:56:46 AM »
I can't  thank you guys enough! This is great info. What started on a whim has developed into a hobby for sure. I reviewed the reverse engineering thread and will spend some time there the next few days. I can see that going on to the next level I should consider a mixer. I'll do some looking around to see if I can't find one to go along with the scale. At this point why stop here. I figure between the installation of the Foro Bravo brick oven, The 1200 sf patio to go along with it... A mixer and scale I'll be turning out $300 pizzas in no time! Gotta love it though.
 Bakerboy, I see in one of the threads your into making sourdough breads. I think this is where it all began. I captured some wild yeast and began baking some mind boggeling Calamatta-Sourdough and Jalapeno-Sourdoughs with it. I had to stop because I was growing faster than the National Deficiet. The culture died and I havn't fooled with it since but I'll be back for sure once the oven is up and running. Nathan, I can't imagine a comercial pizza parlor wielding a rolling pin. But I found that bubbles wern't a probem. Even after rolling out the dough I was able to make pizza crust with lots of bubbles. But I'm doing ok without the roller now and that one of the goals I have set is to go roller free. I'm able to streach 12 oz of dough out to cover almost all of my 16 inch stone without one now. Snowdy, Those are some awsome pics of your refined pizza! I was looking at that thread the other day and was amazed at how "Pizza Perfect" it was in every way. I could only hope to come close one day. The thread surely is an inspiration!