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Pizza Question

t
TomDel Jan 20, 2011 05:37 AM

I’ve been making my own pizzas now for quite a while. They come out good but the crust isn’t the consistency that I’m trying to achieve. The crust is thin, but bread like in its consistency. I’m trying to achieve a crust that snaps cleanly when you break it apart, rather than tearing raggedly like a piece of bread.

I assume that I’m developing too much gluten. I usually use unbleached all purpose flour. I recently tried Tipo 00 flour imported from Italy with the same results. My dough recipe is as follows:

INGREDIENTS

1 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
3¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. fine sea or table salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1¼ cups water @ 75 degrees F.
2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

DIRECTIONS

1. Place the dry ingredients in the food processor bowl and mix for 10 seconds.

2. Mix the water and EVOO in a measuring cup.

3. Slowly pour the water/oil mixture into the feed tube of the processor with the motor running.

4. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, process for 10 more seconds.

5. Place the dough onto a floured board and form into a ball.

6. Place the dough ball into a bowl and rub or spray it with EVOO. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours. The ball should double in size.

7. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the floured board. Form the ball into a log and divide into two equal pieces.

8. Form both pieces into two balls. Return one ball to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Put the other ball into a zip lock bag and freeze it for later use.

9. Remove the first ball from the refrigerator and place it on the floured board. Pat it out into a disk approximately 6 to 8 ins. in diameter. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it come to room temperature and rest for approximately 1 hr.

10. Carefully stretch the dough into a pizza form that is between 12 & 14 ins. in diameter. Place the dough onto a floured (or cornmeal) peel. Add the toppings (tomatoes, cheese, etc.)

11. Place the dough onto a baking stone in a 500 degree oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown with a slight char in some spots.

I was thinking of using 3 cups of flour and a 1/4 cup of corn starch instead of all flour or maybe use some pastry flour to reduce the total gluten.

Should I use less yeast or maybe reduce or eliminate the first rise? Any suggestions will be appreciated.

  1. p
    praianogirl Feb 23, 2011 12:28 AM

    How do you use Lievito Fresco. I am living in Italy and this yeast is a mystery to me? Anyone have any experience with Italian fresh yeast?

    1. b
      Bryan Pepperseed Jan 23, 2011 06:39 AM

      I could be wrong, but I believe when making Tomato Pies (a la Delorenzo's or Papa's) the cheese goes on the dough first to keep the dough from getting "soggy" from the sauce. I would try that first, and if that doesn't crisp up your dough, I'd probably try adding olive oil as a topping (again, as kind of a layer between the sauce and dough) and not include it in your dough recipe.
      Beyond that, I'd have to ponder some more.

      1. ipsedixit Jan 20, 2011 02:59 PM

        Your oven is not hot enough.

        Try this.

        Do you have a Cast Iron pan?

        If so, do this.

        Turn on your broiler to the highest level it will go.

        Then heat up your cast iron pan on the stovetop so that it starts smoking.

        Flip your pan over and then place your pizza dough on the bottom of the cast iron pan.

        Then stick your pan (which is now upside down and has the dough on top) into your broiler.

        Should be ready in a minute or two.

        And you'll have the best pizza crust ever, chewy in the center nice and bubbly and crusty on the edges.

        Posted about this earlier here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/683259

        1. monavano Jan 20, 2011 10:49 AM

          I think the water is interesting, but I attribute taste more than texture to water.

          1 Reply
          1. re: monavano
            b
            bobfxd Jan 20, 2011 11:47 AM

            Try this site,http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

          2. t
            TomDel Jan 20, 2011 09:55 AM

            Thanks All for the advice. It's hard to describe in words what I'm looking for but cracker like isn't it. If any of you ever had a pie at JoJo's Tavern located at 5 points in Hamilton Twp., you'd know what I'm seeking. I may actually be looking for a more tender or biscuit like crust as Chowser described. I'm starting to feel like I'm in a Dan Brown novel, searching for the Holy Grail of Pizza.

            3 Replies
            1. re: TomDel
              c
              CocoTO Jan 20, 2011 10:08 AM

              I know exactly what you mean because I'm no novice pizza maker but often have the same "bread" texture you describe ... the explanation above that resonates for me is from ESNY ... we may be going too light on the water ... I'm going to try more water next time.

              Many of the other suggestions are possibilities too, but it just seems to me it shouldn't be as complicated as some suggestions ... the cheap pizza place down the street seems to get their dough right and I'm sure they're not doing anything elaborate

              1. re: TomDel
                chowser Jan 20, 2011 01:10 PM

                If you could find a picture of what you want, it might help.

                1. re: TomDel
                  b
                  bobfxd Jan 22, 2011 12:47 PM

                  Tom,I know what you are looking for,unfortuately I have not been able to create the homemade tomato pie either.Although they share the same ingrediants,pizza dough and tomato pie dough are not the same.It also seems to me tecnique makes a big differance in the finished product.Progress cotinues with each pie ,getting closer but still not quite there yet.Here is what I have learned so fa

                  1) The dough needs to be much wetter than one would think.If it pulls free from the bowl and forms a ball it is to dry.This kind of trickey and takes alittle practice.Dough should be soft and stickey but not too skickey that you can't handle it.

                  2)Easy on the yeast.The best pie I have made so far was a mistake.I put the yeast in water that was too hot,dough hardly rose at all,thought I killed the yeast.Almost threw it away but figured what the hell,how bad could it be?Best pie so far.

                  3)Put dough in an oiled plastic container and put it in the fridge right away.Do not rise dough at room temp and punch down.Let dough cold rise in fridge for 24 hrs.Take out and bring to room temp 1-2 hrs. before cooking.Do not put in plastic bag.

                  4)Never add sugar to dough.Yeast,sugar,oil,rise and knead=bread.Oil will let the dough brown,no oil will give you a whiter crust.

                  5)Put your pizza stone as low as posible in your oven,I take the racks out and put the stone on the bottom of the oven.Heat oven on highest setting for 1 hr. to heat up stone.5 min. before you are ready to cook turn oven to broil,this will let the run constant while cooking.Strech dough on to peel and let it cook for a minute or 2 then remove and add sauce and toppings.Your dough will be thin and soft,pre cooking makes it much easier to handle esp. if you are going to add toppings other than sauce and cheese.Also it will give a more well done dough and help compensate for the fact that your home oven is not as hot as a commercial pizza oven.

                  Hope this helps,let me know if you have any ?'s , Bob

                2. s
                  smtucker Jan 20, 2011 09:04 AM

                  Look for Lavash recipes if you want that cracker crust.... should give you some tips on ways to modify your recipe.

                  1. chowser Jan 20, 2011 09:03 AM

                    If you replace the flour w/ cornstarch, you won't get the texture of pizza dough but a more tender crust, along the lines of a biscuit. I agree w/ the others about a longer rise in the refrigerator, overnight is ideal and heating the pizza stone for as long as you can, as high as your oven will go. It shouldn't take 7-10 minutes for the pizza to cook--mine cook in about 5-6 minutes. It also seems like your recipe is light on olive oil. The thinner you get the dough, the better if you want a snap.

                    I like Peter Reinhart's napoletano pizza dough. I think this is the right one:

                    http://pizzarecipes101.com/doughs/best-pizza-dough-recipe.htm
                    http://pizzarecipes101.com/doughs/bes...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chowser
                      p
                      pizzageek Jan 22, 2011 09:09 AM

                      This site looks like a gem. also has some interesting pizzeria recipes.
                      check this out:
                      http://pizzarecipes101.com/pizzeria/c...
                      another recipe from peter reinhart which is years after he published the napoletano pizza dough.

                    2. rcspott Jan 20, 2011 08:27 AM

                      Cracker crust pizza forum

                      http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

                      1. todao Jan 20, 2011 07:41 AM

                        Everything you ever needed to know about pizza making:

                        http://www.fornobravo.com/pizzaquest/

                        1. c
                          clint1245 Jan 20, 2011 07:21 AM

                          Ive been experimenting for the exact crust you are looking for for the past month. I think I found one that seems promising with high gluten flour and a twenty four hour rising period in the fridge then docked. I just got the high gluten flour from king arthurs yesterday, had to order the sir lancelot online. I tried with a bread flour a few days ago came out good I had to brebake crust on stone for a few minutes before toppings. I was planning on making dough tonight and trying it tomorrow night I'll post how it comes out.

                          1. m
                            Maggie19 Jan 20, 2011 06:39 AM

                            Try prebaking the dough first - for about 5 minutes with some brushed on olive oil. Then add toppings, bake for another 5-7 minutes....

                            1. e
                              ESNY Jan 20, 2011 06:34 AM

                              Seems like you want thin, cracker type crust? I'm not sure how to achieve it but based on my typical dough and my fairly basic pizza knowledge, it seems like you are a bit light on the water but that should make the dough more cracker like. Also, seems like an awful lot of sugar. Most recipes that use sugar, keep it to a pinch or a teaspoon. Maybe you are getting overactive yeast since you are giving them so much sugar to feed on?

                              If you are going to let it cold rise in the fridge (you don't say how long but i'm assuming at least overnight), you don't need to let it rise on the counter. Just put the dough directly into the fridge after forming.

                              I also agree that maybe your stone isn't hot enough. I preheat mine at 550 for at least an hour which makes sure its completely hot throughout the stone and it doesn't lose alot of heat when the dough is placed on it.

                              1. monavano Jan 20, 2011 06:23 AM

                                Are you allowing to pizza stone to heat for a while in the oven? The yeast seems too little to me. I use a packet, or 2 1/4 tbsp for my pizza dough, which uses 3 cups flour.
                                I can get a crispy, crackly pizza with 00 flour and my outdoor grill cranked to 650 and cooked in just 2-3 minutes. Cooked on a pizza stone.
                                I think you need more heat. Also, the second rise in the fridge may not develop the yeast as well as it would in a warmer climate. My second rise is only 10 min at room temp (covered with a towel).
                                Try this- use a baking sheet to bake your pizza. Generously slather evoo on it before you place the dough on. The evoo will help to crisp the pizza.
                                Good luck!

                                1. f
                                  fourunder Jan 20, 2011 05:49 AM

                                  TD,

                                  I've got no experience with home pizza....although another (t) does, and I'm sure he will weigh in......my suggestion is this. Since I know you are a Jersey guy, next time you venture into the Northern part of the state, i.e., around Newark and above......bottle some tap water. In the bread business, that's the demarcation line for what is believed to make the best crusty bread. Just a thought.

                                  btw.....one of my favorite pizza places for thin crust uses shortening in his dough. Maybe subsitute that for the EVOO.

                                  Try researching here:

                                  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

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