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Offline Eager2Learn

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E2L's chasing the dream
« on: July 22, 2020, 10:29:44 PM »
Hi all, going to use this thread to hope chronical my journey from complete newbie, to being able to turn out some decent NY style pizzas like so many of the greats that post here regularly.

I have been reading here for years, but would often get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of info posted, that I would give up, before I started. 

After having a tumultuous year and a half, it has finally pushed me over the edge, to chase this little passion of mine.

Watching members like Norma, TxCraig, HammettJr, Pete, etc, constantly growing and turning out such phenomenal pizzas, served as a huge inspiration for me.

  My thought in order to maximize my time, learning is to tackle 1 area at a time, before moving on.  So first, I want to really try and get used to working with dough.  I want to get good at managing and opening dough balls, etc.  So that is my focus currently.  I will then focus on things like sauce, cheese, melt, etc..  I have been cooking various tomato sauces since I was a little kid, so I am fairly confident in that regard. 

I am going to aim to make dough every single day, as there is no replacement for doing.


So here is the first pizza I made using TxCraigs dough formulation. I did a 24hr CF. Let it sit on the counter at room temp for 2 hrs.

My initial thoughts are opening a dough is not easy LOL  Watching the experts do it, it seems so effortless.   I had some issues getting uniform thickness.  I had some thick spots and some thin spots.

 I balled the dough, oiled it, and stuck it in bread bags to CF, but when I dumped it out, the dough was kind of messed up looking, rather than a nice disk like I see in most videos, so I think I need to be more mindful when removing the dough.

I tried a 5 min bake at 550, then hit it with a quick broil, but think the stone could have used a touch more heat, as the bottom could have stood to be a touch darker.  I have a steel enroute as well.

I have 3 more doughs from the same batch I will open up tomorrow morning(will be at about 36hr CF) as practice, and probably just bake them without sauce or chees to try and get the temp dialed in.

I would love any helpful insights, or tips. Be gentle  :-D


D


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2020, 11:54:57 AM »
E2L,

I can't tell you how many members have come to the forum and struggled at first with their pizzas but who then went on to make pizzas that looked so professional that they would make everyone proud, including themselves. The key is not to get discouraged but rather keep plugging along until you find the keys to your success. They will eventually be found. Then, like many of our other members, you become a teacher. 

Peter

Offline Eager2Learn

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2020, 11:58:23 AM »
2nd pizza:

Woke up this morning, pulled another dough ball out of the fridge, and started preheating the oven.  This was the same TxCraig dough, but now at 36hrs CF.

One thing I noticed immediately, is this one was MUCH easier to work with.  The dough was really supple. I was able to try to work on "edge stretching" and actually was able to get a pretty uniform thickness, and make it almost round lol.  I got this one pretty darn think.  I wish I measured the diameter but forgot, and wanted to get it in the oven asap before it stuck to my peel.

The objective of this morning, was just to practice working with the dough.  So I just used some sargento WM mozz I had on hand, as I didn't want to waste more expensive cheese.  I have some WM Boars head I will use this evening, as I will be eating that pizza.  I feel pretty bad wasting food right about now, but there is only so much I can eat, and in order to get the hang of this, I need the practice, so I am faced with the conundrum :(   Not sure how to handle the waste as it just doesn't feel right.


Thoughts:
1. This dough was much easier to work with.  The dough at 24hrs was still kind of elastic.  I don't know if some of that was me being careless when removing it from the bread bags? Or if it just needed more fermentation.  This one I was delecate removing from the bag, and was rewarded with a nice, smooth disc.

2. The bottom still is not getting dark enough.  This might get remedied once my steel arrives?  I am not sure. Or maybe I just need to heat the oven longer.  I set this one to "convection bake" for 2:30, then switched to "convection roast" for 2:30, then hit it with the broiler for about 30 sec.  The crust was nice and crisp, but the bottom needed more.

3. I did taste a little sliver and this pizza was solid. Just needed to get a bit more doneness on the crust.




Questions:
1. Any tips for getting a uniform crust width?  Is the width of the crust dictated by how you form it with your fingers? Or is it solely dictated on how close to the edge you apply sauce?

2. Any thing I might be missing in terms of getting the bottom to brown?




Wish I took a few more whole pie pics as I picked the worst possible angle.


Thanks for any help,
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 12:03:44 PM by Eager2Learn »

Offline Eager2Learn

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2020, 12:02:47 PM »
E2L,

I can't tell you how many members have come to the forum and struggled at first with their pizzas but who then went on to make pizzas that looked so professional that they would make everyone proud, including themselves. The key is not to get discouraged but rather keep plugging along until you find the keys to your success. They will eventually be found. Then, like many of our other members, you become a teacher. 

Peter
Thanks a bunch Peter.  I appreciate all your hard work here.  Your threads, and advice has proved a large help for me.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2020, 12:44:49 PM »
Questions:
1. Any tips for getting a uniform crust width?  Is the width of the crust dictated by how you form it with your fingers? Or is it solely dictated on how close to the edge you apply sauce?
E2L,

Are you referring to the size of the pizza (width = diameter?) or the width of the rim?

Peter

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Offline Eager2Learn

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2020, 01:12:01 PM »
E2L,

Are you referring to the size of the pizza (width = diameter?) or the width of the rim?

Peter
Just the width of the rim/outter crust. Ie does the amount that puffs up relate to how wide the space is after the sauce is applied? Or does some of it have to do with the way its formed into a skin?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2020, 01:46:27 PM »
Just the width of the rim/outter crust. Ie does the amount that puffs up relate to how wide the space is after the sauce is applied? Or does some of it have to do with the way its formed into a skin?
E2L,

There are many factors that go into forming the skin so that it has the desired rim width and size. To give you an idea of what the factors are, including some of the techniques some pizza chains use, you may want to take a look at these posts:

Reply 60 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=54120.msg545440#msg545440, and

Reply 747 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=6758.msg325482#msg325482.

There is also a pretty good video by a Domino's expert pizza maker Diana Cline, a 5 time Canadian Pizza Baking Champion, working an American style dough, done in slow motion, at:



To be sure, there are many other videos that show how to open dough balls to form skins while controlling rim width and height for different types of pizzas. An advantage that home pizza makers have over professionals is that they can take more time opening dough balls to achieve the desired end results than professionals who are often under a lot of pressure to make their pizzas, especially when they are being slammed.

Peter




 

Offline Eager2Learn

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2020, 04:01:38 PM »
Pizza #3:
I had 2 dough balls left so decided I would try one on the gas grill.  This one, like the earlier one opened up beautifully.... Unfortunetly, TOO good lol.  My 18" peel isn't here yet, so all I have is a peel I found in my grandmothers garage the other day, which is small, so the dough was larger than the peel :(  Unfortunate, as I had thought I had made some progress getting the outer crust formed better. I had to cut the dough with a cutter to fit the peel, and thus lost some of the cornicone.

I got this skin really thin, and it came out super good.  But I think the bottom still needs more heat :(  It had a light crisp to it, but I would love MORE color and crisp.

Overall I am pretty happy with this one. Moving in the right direction.

 I might stick with the grill for a bit as this is closer to the result I am looking for.   I have one more dough ball, I will grill for dinner.   Then I will make another batch of dough, and try and figure out why I had so much issue with the 24hr CF dough. The 36+ was far easier to work with.

My parents grew up in MT Vernon NY, so I have been eating Johnny's since a kid, so I am kind of going in that direction with the sauce on top of cheese.  I really love the pies where the sauce and cheese become an emulsification.  I will keep playing with this dough, and then once I feel more comfortable try TXCRAIGS johnny's clone with pre-ferment.





E2L,

There are many factors that go into forming the skin so that it has the desired rim width and size. To give you an idea of what the factors are, including some of the techniques some pizza chains use, you may want to take a look at these posts:

Reply 60 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=54120.msg545440#msg545440, and

Reply 747 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=6758.msg325482#msg325482.

There is also a pretty good video by a Domino's expert pizza maker Diana Cline, a 5 time Canadian Pizza Baking Champion, working an American style dough, done in slow motion, at:



To be sure, there are many other videos that show how to open dough balls to form skins while controlling rim width and height for different types of pizzas. An advantage that home pizza makers have over professionals is that they can take more time opening dough balls to achieve the desired end results than professionals who are often under a lot of pressure to make their pizzas, especially when they are being slammed.

Peter
Thanks Peter, will read/watch those now.  That should help a ton.

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2020, 07:39:48 PM »
That is some fine-looking pie.
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline jsaras

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2020, 08:46:04 PM »
Thatís likely the best NY pizza Iíve seen coming off a grill.  Whatever youíre doing, keep doing it!
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

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Offline Eager2Learn

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2020, 10:23:12 PM »
Made the last dough from this batch. Did this one in the oven. Came out really well. Best one yet. Starting to get the hang of opening the dough balls.

I want to try another same day room temp ferment dough. I'm not sure why my first one was so hard to work with. I'm thinking it just needed another hour or two, to ferment more. Now I feel I have a better idea what to look for as that was the first pizza I've ever made in my life lol



That is some fine-looking pie.
Thanks GB! Hope to try your dough recipe next!
Thatís likely the best NY pizza Iíve seen coming off a grill.  Whatever youíre doing, keep doing it!
Thanks a bunch! Think I got lucky   :-D 

This forum is super inspiring to me. So many great resources. Hardest part is trying to pace myself. So many good styles I want to master.

« Last Edit: July 24, 2020, 10:24:46 PM by Eager2Learn »

Offline hammettjr

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2020, 10:09:36 PM »
From your first post it looked like you had the mindset necessary to make great pizza.

It's impressive how quick your improvement has been, and I look forward to seeing more of your experiments!


Matt

Offline Eager2Learn

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2020, 09:56:22 PM »
Pizza number #6.  Finally got my steel.  Made a huge difference on the bottom.

Did this one with GlutenBoy's recipe.  Also wen't cheese on top instead of sauce on top as I had been doing.  Starting to get better at shaping the pizza. It got a little oblong when I launched it, but overall getting easier and easier. 

Made 2 new batches of dough today, and will be trying some different stuff. 1. Want to try .080 TF vs .075 I have been using.  Also made 1 batch at a higher hydration to see how that goes.


From your first post it looked like you had the mindset necessary to make great pizza.

It's impressive how quick your improvement has been, and I look forward to seeing more of your experiments!
Thanks man. You all are such a huge help!

Offline hammettjr

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2020, 11:34:15 PM »
That's my kind of melt!
Matt

Offline Quebert

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2020, 04:15:51 AM »
A lot of them look good, that last one looks outstanding.

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Offline Glutenboy

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2020, 06:48:33 PM »
Pizza number #6.  Finally got my steel.  Made a huge difference on the bottom.

Did this one with GlutenBoy's recipe.  Also wen't cheese on top instead of sauce on top as I had been doing.  Starting to get better at shaping the pizza. It got a little oblong when I launched it, but overall getting easier and easier. 

Made 2 new batches of dough today, and will be trying some different stuff. 1. Want to try .080 TF vs .075 I have been using.  Also made 1 batch at a higher hydration to see how that goes.

Thanks man. You all are such a huge help!

Perfection!
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline deb415611

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2020, 08:06:58 PM »
great progress.  Looking good
Deb

Offline Eager2Learn

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2020, 12:54:07 AM »
Had a little "pizza party" tonight. First time ever making pizza's for anyone but myself/wife. Was super nervous I'd screw it up and ruin dinner. Lol

I made 2 batches of dough. And 2 sauce variations to kind of blind test. Feel like I got some good data tonight. Made 4 pizza's. Didn't have a ton of time to take pics but here's what I got.  Did some sauce on top and some cheese on top.

I increased the tf to 0.080 but think I might prefer 0.075. I'm torn.




That's my kind of melt!
Thanks! Your posts were super helpful regarding melt.
A lot of them look good, that last one looks outstanding.
Thx!
Perfection!
Thanks GB. Your dough recipe was excellent.
great progress.  Looking good
Thx!

Offline hammettjr

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2020, 11:41:48 AM »
Looks amazing!

What are you using for sauce? I need more ideas  :chef:

Matt

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: E2L's chasing the dream
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2020, 01:40:15 PM »
Had a little "pizza party" tonight. First time ever making pizza's for anyone but myself/wife. Was super nervous I'd screw it up and ruin dinner. Lol

I made 2 batches of dough. And 2 sauce variations to kind of blind test. Feel like I got some good data tonight. Made 4 pizza's. Didn't have a ton of time to take pics but here's what I got.  Did some sauce on top and some cheese on top.

I increased the tf to 0.080 but think I might prefer 0.075. I'm torn.



Thanks! Your posts were super helpful regarding melt. Thx! Thanks GB. Your dough recipe was excellent. Thx!

Three questions:  What kind of flour are you using?  Where did you settle on the hydration?  How many days in the cooler?   Again, Kudos!

Edit:  Okay, fourth question.  What's the cheese?  :chef:
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

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