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Author Topic: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning  (Read 1363 times)

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Offline brianpearl

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Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« on: July 29, 2019, 04:17:29 PM »
Hi everyone -

Last night was my 2nd attempt at making Sicilian pizzas using the dough recipe in Peter Reinart's Perfect Pan Pizza book.

My first attempt went great, but last night both pizzas (one parbaked, one not) were both a little soggy through the middle and the bottom didn't really get very brown.

Oven at 475, cooked in a sheet pan on top of a baking steel on the middle rack in the oven.

Dough recipe below (80% hydration).

Any pointers?  Maybe lower rack next time? Higher oven temp?



GRAMS        INGREDIENT
567 g          unbleached bread flour
11 g             kosher salt
4 g             instant yeast
454 g         water, cool (about 60)
28 g           olive oil


Offline megan45

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2019, 08:30:11 PM »
a little soggy through the middle and the bottom didn't really get very brown.

What kind of sheet pan? Aluminum? If so, try a heavy gauge dark steel pan (not stainless (unless you heavily season it first), and not the cheap, thin gauge cookie sheets: they don't have enough mass or stiffness to resist buckling when heated). I've done side-by-side comparisons of Sicilian and Taglio-style pizza in steel and various aluminum pans (different gauges, bare/teflon/anodized/hard anodized) two or three times a year since the early 1980s, and I've yet to have what I consider acceptable results straight from the pan in terms of crust crispness, texture and coloration with aluminum. Even with hard anodized 10 gauge aluminum, I have to unpan the pizza and crisp on the stone for 5-6 minutes to get any crunch and bottom color that approaches what I get straight from the pan with steel, so for my money, steel beats aluminum hands down, and it isn't even close. YMMV.


Offline brianpearl

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2019, 12:40:37 PM »
What kind of sheet pan? Aluminum?

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I used a Nordic Ware aluminum half sheet. It worked great the first time but maybe I just got lucky.  Looks like I should invest in a dark steel pan.... Do you have one that you would recommend?

Offline megan45

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2019, 03:41:18 PM »
I've been using Winco for several decades.

Winco SPP-1218 12" x 18" Sicilian Pizza Pan

Winco SPP-1616 16" x 16" Sicilian Pizza Pan
($17.99 and $19.99, respectively, at my Restaurant Depot; maybe a buck or two more from local restaurant equipment supply houses.)

Allied Metal's Black Buster pans are very nice, but they're 3-4x the price of Winco, and don't perform appreciably better for me.

Offline apizza

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2019, 04:18:10 PM »
I think in the book Peter uses 500 deg, middle rack. Did you dimple the center and rotate after 5 minutes? I'd try to follow the book exactly, no baking steel.
I just got the book and have not tried anything yet so I'm not speaking from experience.
The comment on pans really aren't too specific. Not counting depth he's kind of saying any pan will do.
Since I will be giving this a try if it ever cools off a little I will be looking forward to your comments.
Marty

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Offline brianpearl

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2019, 04:34:16 PM »
I've been using Winco for several decades.

Winco SPP-1218 12" x 18" Sicilian Pizza Pan

Winco SPP-1616 16" x 16" Sicilian Pizza Pan
($17.99 and $19.99, respectively, at my Restaurant Depot; maybe a buck or two more from local restaurant equipment supply houses.)

Allied Metal's Black Buster pans are very nice, but they're 3-4x the price of Winco, and don't perform appreciably better for me.

Awesome, thank you very much!

Offline brianpearl

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2019, 04:38:32 PM »
I think in the book Peter uses 500 deg, middle rack. Did you dimple the center and rotate after 5 minutes? I'd try to follow the book exactly, no baking steel.
I just got the book and have not tried anything yet so I'm not speaking from experience.
The comment on pans really aren't too specific. Not counting depth he's kind of saying any pan will do.
Since I will be giving this a try if it ever cools off a little I will be looking forward to your comments.

So I emailed Peter and asked him a few a questions. He actually advised doing it at 475 on the baking steel in the center rack, and the baking steel actually helps bake it from below more thoroughly than just throwing the pan in the oven. I did everything else following the directions in this book very closely. Again, the first time I did it it really came out perfect, but looks like it's worth investing in a steel pan if I want to do Sicilian style pizzas regularly.

FWIW, I have done NY/Neopolitan-style round pizzas on the baking steel 4 times now with fantastic results every time. The other night was the first hiccup in my new pizza-making hobby

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2019, 05:23:19 PM »
Not sure this will help, but I have made a few dozen pan pizzas from the Reinhart book in my Breville oven and found the most balanced bake is from setting the deck temperature at 700F and the top temperature at around 450F for a total bake time of ~10 minutes. The crust gets golden and crispy on the bottom and sides; the interior is light and tender.   

Offline apizza

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2019, 07:06:50 PM »
So I emailed Peter and asked him a few a questions. He actually advised doing it at 475 on the baking steel in the center rack, and the baking steel actually helps bake it from below more thoroughly than just throwing the pan in the oven. I did everything else following the directions in this book very closely. Again, the first time I did it it really came out perfect, but looks like it's worth investing in a steel pan if I want to do Sicilian style pizzas regularly.

FWIW, I have done NY/Neopolitan-style round pizzas on the baking steel 4 times now with fantastic results every time. The other night was the first hiccup in my new pizza-making hobby
So I guess this is revision one. Why write a book with tested recipes and then modify them? I'd like to know why his method didn't work out. I know there are variables in pizza making and you have to go with a little brain input, but why this change? Glad I got it with $5 off digital.
Marty

Offline brianpearl

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2019, 07:17:46 PM »
So I guess this is revision one. Why write a book with tested recipes and then modify them? I'd like to know why his method didn't work out. I know there are variables in pizza making and you have to go with a little brain input, but why this change? Glad I got it with $5 off digital.

So I had emailed him to ask specifically about the baking steel because I was surprised that his book made no mention of using a steel or stone. His response was try it middle rack, 475 (obviously not knowing anything about my oven), with the pan on top of the steel.

I also found another strange thing in his book where he claims the difference between a Sicilian pizza and a Grandma pie is whether you parbake it or not. I have not seen ANYONE ever distinguish the two that way....



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Offline Fiorot

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2019, 10:15:35 PM »
So I had emailed him to ask specifically about the baking steel because I was surprised that his book made no mention of using a steel or stone. His response was try it middle rack, 475 (obviously not knowing anything about my oven), with the pan on top of the steel.

I also found another strange thing in his book where he claims the difference between a Sicilian pizza and a Grandma pie is whether you parbake it or not. I have not seen ANYONE ever distinguish the two that way....
I have since 8 years old in the Bronx NY watched the Pizza Guy par bake the Sicilian.  Grandma's?  was actually Grandma's   I use the  starter version of the LB Brooklyn detailed it in the Pizza Bible.  I follow those directions and use Steel Pans.   Amazing!  and you can make the par bake a day ahead too.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2019, 10:19:22 PM by Fiorot »

Offline nanometric

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 04:30:10 PM »
So I emailed Peter and asked him a few a questions. He actually advised doing it at 475 on the baking steel in the center rack, and the baking steel actually helps bake it from below more thoroughly than just throwing the pan in the oven.

Have you tried the pan-on-baking-steel method yet? Results? I am having the exact same problem, BTW. 6" diameter round steel pans (Chicago Metallic) "by the book" baking method. Middle is soggy every time.

Offline Gene in Acadiana

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Re: Sicilian - soggy in the middle, bottom not browning
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 05:10:59 PM »
Maybe this was mentioned but you probably want to remove the pizza from the pan as soon as it's out of the oven and slide it onto a cooling rack for a few minutes. All of the initial heat and trapped moisture underneath will add to the soggy middle problem.

As for home ovens, I'm a firm believer of baking pizza (of all types) at the highest temperature the oven will reach, no matter what a particular recipe calls for. Also, those heavy non-stick copper-coated casserole pans they advertise on TV a lot work great for Detroit, Sicilian and gramdma-style pizza and allow for very even browning from edge to edge. 

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