Author Topic: What style do I like?  (Read 1083 times)

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Offline wotavidone

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  • Location: South Australia
What style do I like?
« on: August 14, 2012, 05:13:58 PM »
Perhaps a strange subject title, but let me explain.
I've been making pizzas on the stone under my griller (broiler in the US?) in the kitchen.
The stone is over 300C/572F when the pizza hits it, and with the flames cooking the top and the stone baking the base, I get a pizza in under 4 minutes.
To my taste, these are nearly perfect. The guys at work agree. The consensus is "man you have the dough nailed, how do you do that?"
Essentially, the style I can produce from my stone really suits the South Oz palate.
Thinnish base, certainly not a deep dish style but not so thin as to be classic Neapolitan either, with a nice browned and puffed up rim around the outside. In particular, I manage to get the underside browned with a thin crisp layer, with a layer of soft, moist but cooked, dough sort of merging into the toppings.
My DIY brick wood oven (29.5 inch dia. 14.75 inch high dome, 0.63 door to height ratio - very conventional proportions in a compact oven) is up and running, and I'm cooking pizzas for dinner this evening. To be frank, the pizzas I have produced so far are OK, but IMO not as good as my pizza stone offerings.
I've been surfing the forums, looking for clues to the right way to go.
I have so far gained the impression that I'm probably looking for "New York" style - and the way to get this is to tone down the heat a bit so that the crust sits on the floor, browning for longer, before the top is cooked.
I've made two batches of dough for this evening.
One is the same as usual - unbleached supermarket plain white flour ($1.89 / for 2kg, 10.4% protein), 60% water, yeast, salt. This the mix that has earned me 10 out of 10 from the resident pizza addict at work.
The other is imported Italian Tippo "00" ($3/kg, 11.4% protein), same water, yeast and salt. Never used this before.
Anyway, I gain the impression that this stuff would be best for 90 second Neapolitan style, whereas the other one would be better for 3-4 minute New York Neapolitan style.
I am an untravelled man, raising a family and working left little time and money for travel, but I believe the New York style would be browner underneath, I'm looking for a little "char", and less floppy in the middle?
Grateful for any advice.
P.S. The resident pizza addict at work used to be in the navy and is a well travelled man. It just occured to me that he actually has eaten pizza in both Naples and New York. I shall ask him how he would characterise my stone pizzas. In the meantime, I'd still appreciate any tips on wood oven management for the different styles.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 05:18:45 PM by wotavidone »


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Re: What style do I like?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 11:37:32 PM »
Mick, could you post your recipe? Also, how much, in grams, do your dough balls weigh and what is the width of the pizzas you're making?  That will go a long way in determining what style you're making as well as help us to help you fine tune it for your makeshift oven.

I have to admit that I'm a bit concerned about the use of pavers in the oven.  Are you 100% that they are kiln fired?  Here, pavers are just cast cement. Cement can be dangerous in an oven. Even if the pavers don't crack, I'm still concerned that they might transfer heat a bit strangely, especially on the hearth.  You are using them both on the hearth and ceiling, correct? In your current scenario, which part of the pizza is finishing first? Top or bottom?

Even in Oz, you should have access to bread (high gluten) flour.  Assuming that you are indeed striving for NY style, this is what you want. In 100g you should find 13g protein.

11.4% protein is not the type of 00 flour you should be seeking out for Neapolitan.  You want an 00 flour in the 12.7% range.

« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 12:42:37 AM by scott123 »

Offline wotavidone

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  • Location: South Australia
Re: What style do I like?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 07:01:55 PM »
Hi Scott.
We get both types of pavers over here. Us poor people use concrete pavers, the wealthy use fired clay pavers.
The ones I used are most definitely fired clay pavers from PGH and the Littlehampton Brick company. They are pretty much bricks, but with no holes and no frog.
I burned them in a wood fire and over a butane flame when I got them, getting them hot as quickly as possible, and cooling them as quickly as possible. No spalling or cracking, so I used them.
The oven is homebuilt, but certainly not makeshift. 2.5 to 3 inch thick hemispherical brick dome running off a brick arch, 2 inch thick floor (looking for pizzas, not 2 weeks supply of bread), slab made from insulating scoria based concrete formulated to the relevant standard, extra insulation under the floor and insulation over the dome. Fabricated stainless steel vent, stainless flue.
Much better pizzas last night. Once I got the dome white, I kept the fire roaring for a while, then I let things cool off a bit and cooked a little longer (back to 3 to 4 minutes per pizza).
I've checked the bread flours available at our local shops, and the best I can find is high elevens for gluten/protein.
Recipe is pretty simple. All weighed on digital scale.
1000g flour, 620g water. Mix and autolyse for twenty minutes or so. Add one teaspoon, 5g according to my digital scale, of instant dry yeast. Mix it in and knead a couple of minutes. Let it sit for twenty, add 20g (~3 teaspons) salt knead until a smooth dough ball. Slow rise overnight on the kitchen bench in winter, in the fridge in summer.
250g doughball, spread over 11 inches.
Works very well on the stone. My stone really is a stone, BTW. A slice of wet sawn rock.
I guess my question is about what style I'd call my pizzas, so as to match oven management to style. I guess I got a bit hung up on the whole 60-90 sec Neapolitan thing. My oven certainly does that no worries, but I reckon toning it down for the slightly thicker crust and higher toppings loading has worked well.
Photo of today's lunch attached. Looks OK considering it's been in the fridge all night. Just all the leftover bits from the cutting board, so some olives, tomato chilis, spinach leaves, etc. Tipp "OO" based dough  worked OK.
I'm going to have to get a light, hard to see what colour your dough is turning when cooking at night.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 07:06:07 PM by wotavidone »