Author Topic: introduction  (Read 3271 times)

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Offline gabriel

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« on: May 21, 2006, 12:27:47 AM »
hello everyone,

i have been reading this forum for about 4 months and it has been so useful! thank you to many of you.
well i have finally reached some satisfaction with my pizza, which i try very very strictly to achieve "pizza napoletana" day.
i go to school in pittsburgh and visit roberto's pizzeria quite frequently. at the end of this year, i am actually going to take pizzaiolo lessons with him.

anyway, my introduction contains two informations...
a) what is the preferred canned san marzano tomatoes (of anyone who cares to reply)? i particularly like 'la valle' and 'taste.' i have tried to find the raw tomatoes but no grocery store, at all, seem to carry them. i have found a website which sells the seeds, however.
b) im attaching some photographs. three are of a pizza bianca (with arugula), another of a margherita before baking.

in order to bake these pizzas, i heat a grill to 700F with pizza stone placed on the lowest rack.
i slide on the pie and it bakes to my satisfaction in about 3 minutes.
however hard i have tried, my crust has never browned like it should. occasionally, a few attractive brown spots appear near the very edge of the cornicione, and underneath, but never atop. regardless, i find the texture and flavor successful (especially the bubbles).
i experiment almost daily for pizza (even when not hungry), so i have achieved a certain consistency, but the above issue continues to irk me (among other small things, too, of course)

i appreciate your comments! and again, thank you all for your help and inspiration.

« Last Edit: May 21, 2006, 12:29:35 AM by gabriel »

Offline tonymark

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Re: introduction
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2006, 07:25:26 AM »
If your problem is your recipe, I will leave that for Peter.  He is really good at fixing those type of problems.

Let's suppose your problem is equipment and not recipe.  There always seems to be a problem with heat reaching the top of the pizza on a grill.  The stone is plenty hot, but there is really nothing to hold heat and radiate it back down to the top of the pizza.  A metal grill is bad for this.  I even have trouble with my ceramic grill cooking the tops of pizza.  So you are attempting to cook the pizza with hot air, which is difficult on a grill when you have to open the lid so often.

Does you cheese bubble and brown nicely. I really don't see much browning on the bianca.  It does look fairly melted though.  The bottom of the crust seems a little pale also.  How long did you grill your pizza?  You may consider a longer bake time.

I have found that this to be one of the best grilled pizzas that I have seen on this board.,3035.msg25846.html#msg25846.
Do you use a setup similar to that one?

Making Pizza is not cooking, it is Performance Art!

Offline gabriel

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Re: introduction
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2006, 10:38:09 AM »
thank you! i am going to try that ceramic-lined grill method in the next few days. seems promising..ill let you know!

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: introduction
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2006, 12:06:40 PM »
In Pittsburgh you must visit Il Pizzaiolo in Mt Lebanon.

Offline DKM

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Re: introduction
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2006, 05:54:13 PM »

We could help more if we knew the recipe and technique that are being used.
I'm on too many of these boards

Offline gabriel

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Re: introduction
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2006, 09:30:52 PM »
my dough recipe (sorry for non-standard measurements), for 4 pizzas

2 2/3 cup flour, caputo 00
1 1/3 cup water, warm
1/8 oz dry yeast
sea salt

a bit of the water, a bit of the flour, and all the yeast are mixed together and let to rise for 30 min. then that yeast liquid is gradually mixed in with the rest of the flour and water. it is kneaded for 20 minutes and then sits to rise for about 4 hours and is kneaded again. after that, another 4 hours of rising (at 72F room temp).
i often see recipes with higher hydration, but it always becomes way too sticky to handle, so i have to add more flour.

when baking, i always remove the pizza before the cheese starts to look like its burning, or getting bubbly and almost transparent. this short time probably does not let the dough get brown, but i refuse to let the cheese burn.

i appreciate your help!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2006, 09:32:42 PM by gabriel »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: introduction
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2006, 12:01:01 PM »

I think you answered your own question. So, unless you can get a higher temperature out of your grill, you may want to experiment with other possible solutions--such as oiling the unbaked rim of the dough with olive oil, pre-baking the pizza (undressed) for a short while and then dressing it and finishing baking, or using cold cheese, sauce and other toppings. The last two approaches allow for a longer bake time so that the crust can brown more completely before the toppings are done or the cheeses have started to brown. I have no idea if these "solutions" will work with your grill, so some experimentation may be required.

BYW, your recipe as you described it is a sponge-based recipe. I researched this approach some time ago and found references to it through Google searches. However, according to pizzanapoletana (Marco), sponges (and poolishes) are not authentic Neapolitan approaches. According to Marco, "Poolish or wet sponges have never been used in Naples for pizza. The only application for that technique in Naples is for a dessert called Rum Baba, of Polish origins. Poolish is indeed used from Rome to North, but NOT in Naples".

As far as San Marzano tomatoes are concerned, you will find wide swings of opinion on the subject. My personal overall favorite is the LaRegina DOP San Marzanos because of their high quality fruits and thicker than normal puree. The LaValle DOPs are also good and, in fact, that brand was the first brand of DOP San Marzanos I tried when I first started experimenting with the 00 doughs some years ago. At the time, my pizza crusts were also light like yours (my recipe was quite similar to yours but for the sponge method). I was using my standard home oven and the Bel Aria 00 flour (the Caputo 00 flour was not then available at retail), and I assumed that a light crust was perfectly normal. It took me many months to learn that to get authentic crust coloration I would need a very high temperature Neapolitan style oven. However, I enjoyed the pizzas with the LaValle DOPs, fresh mozzarella cheese, olive oil and fresh basil even though the crusts were quite light in color.

You are also correct in your observation that San Marzano seeds are available in the U.S. Although I have never tried growing the SMs from seed, I am fairly confident that you will get tomatoes that are of like quality to other good home-grown tomatoes. However, you are unlikely to get the same tasting product as obtainable from Naples and its environs because the authentic SMs are grown in volcanic soil. The French wine producers would refer to this unique and distinctive environmental characteristic as "terroir". As U.S. wine producers have discovered, it is possible to import the grape vines but impossible to import the "terroir".

Good luck with your aspirations to become a pizzaiolo.