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  1. Respectfully, you absolutely 'weighed in on this particular debate' by calling it a 'potential carcinogen.' Approximately 50,000 American pizzerias use bromated flour. By calling it a 'potential carcinogen,' you're implying that an entire industry is potentially putting their customer's lives in jeopardy. If that's not 'weighing in,' I don't know what is.
  2. In the pizza world, excess flour on the finished crust is considered a serious defect due to it's bitter taste. I think part of this might relate to the color you take the flour to, but if you don't believe me about how undesirable this flour actually is, scrape some off and taste it- you'll immediately know where I'm coming from. I'm well aware that for some types of bread, excess flour provides an important aesthetic, but I might argue that there are other ways to achieve a beautiful loaf without sacrificing taste.
  3. You're not seeing paranoia because you're only skimming the surface. What you came up with took, what, about 2 minutes to google? Good science is about digging deeper- about getting all the facts. First, there's never been a connection between bromate and cancer in humans. Humans are not rats, and rat based studies have been shown, time and time again, to produce different results in humans. The links you posted even references the fact that the findings for rats aren't even applicable to mice. If the findings aren't applicable moving from rats to mice, how the heck are we going to know how humans will react? Milling workers in the Eastern half of the U.S., where bromate is the standard for commmercial flour, have historically been exposed to high quantities. If there was a connection between bromate and cancer in humans, you'd see it in this population. You don't. Again, look at the links you posted. Even if the link between bromate and cancer in humans could eventually be proven, a good scientist comprehends the connection between dosage and risk. They don't feed rats bromated flour bread. They don't even feed them bromated flour. They feed them pure bromate- in massive quantities. Bromate is added to flour in quantities below 20 parts per million. That's per million *pinky finger tip to mouth*. After baking, the residual bromate in bread typically measures 1/1,000th of that- parts per billion. That's billion, with a 'b' Bromate is naturally occurring. It's in the water you drink- bottle or tap. As we speak, California, the land of paranoia, allows more bromate in water than the quantity that ends up in bread. In other words, if you sit down and eat a slice of bromated flour pizza, the glass of water you drink with the pizza will likely have more bromate than the pizza does. That's the dose that we're talking about. A trace of a trace. To put this in further perspective. black pepper tea coffee cocoa cinnamon nutmeg all contain known carcinogens. Not potential carcinogens. Not carcinogens for rats that may be carcinogens for humans. Known carcinogens. We consume these foods without batting an eyelash because the quantity/the risk, like bromate, is so infinitesimally small it doesn't matter. Bromate phobia is completely and utterly ridiculous. It stems from a bunch of short sighted WHO bureaucrats, who, 50 years ago, when confronted with the possibility that bromate might be a carcinogen, instead of actually figuring out if it actually was dangerous, just made the decision that it couldn't remain in the finished bread- which at the time, it didn't- with the technology they had to measure it. Instead of actually doing their job and protecting the public, honestly, they just said "maybe it poses a risk, maybe it doesn't. Who cares? It's not in the final product, anyway, so we can just pass a regulation that it can't be." Fast forward 20 or so years to a point where technology improves and instruments can measure the parts per billion in baked bread, and, rather than look at the misguided logic that brought them to their previous ruling, they just doubled down with the 'can't be in bread' regulation, and combined with 'we now know it's in bread,' and, voila, ban. And, then, once you have a ban, the public, rather than figuring things out for themselves, looks at it, and assumes that if it's banned, it must be unsafe- the tail wags the dog. Beyond it's innate safety, nothing can touch bromate as a dough enhancer. Anyone that tells you that ascorbic acid is just as good is talking out of their behind. Ascorbic acid will never give you the same volume or dough handling ability. There's a good reason why you can't buy a slice of unbromated flour pizza East of the Rockies, it's because it creates a vastly superior product. I'm a pizza guy, not a baker so I can't unequivocally say that bromate always makes better bread, but the best bread that I've ever had, in my entire life, used bromated flour. Nothing else I've ever come across had that level of volume and tenderness of crumb.
  4. Is this the few paragraphs, a synopsis of the few paragraphs or just a snippet? I have certain pizzeria clients in various parts of the world that, for different reasons, can't obtain strong enough flour, so they increase the strength of their dough with ascorbic acid (AA). I've managed to make 10% protein flours act like 13%. The one downside that I've seen is that, like the prevention of gray mentioned above, AA's preserving effects seem to prevent the desirable flavor byproducts one strives for in extended fermentation. In other words, extended fermentation is a kind of controlled spoilage and AA seems to work against that. For this reason, and because there are other oxidizers, such as bromate, that are FAR superior dough enhancers, I only recommend AA if you have absolutely no access whatsoever to stronger flour- at least for the home baker. In a commercial setting, the extensibility gained in a lower oxygen mixing environment is something I hadn't heard of and will have to test. How do the Modernists fall on bromate? Are they furthering the paranoia or, like the scientists they paint themselves to be, have they looked at the science to understand it's innate safety?
  5. I agree. While Nathan's team has, I'm sure, invested a vast amount of time into this, and ink and paper, of which this has plenty, costs money, the final price tag feels a little ibready to me. This particular sneetch has no stars upon thars- and never will. Bread knowledge should be for everyone. This is not the pre-rerformation Catholic church, where only a small number of priests have direct access to the divine.
  6. Nutella.......mmmm, Nutella

    I don't get it. Powdered milk is more expensive than sugar or chocolate. My best theory is that they're trying to lighten the color to make it look nuttier, so that when they dial back the hazelnuts (the most expensive ingredient), the color will still provide a psychological association. Whatever the reason, this is extraordinarily dumb. The knockoffs have already considerably cut into Nutella's market share, so messing with the recipe is only going to drive more customers into the arms of their competition.
  7. You seem to be under the impression that science only brings forward progress. THIS is not progress: The idea that you can take traditional Neapolitan dough, bake it longer and have the same stellar results has misguided neophyte pizza makers in the thousands. I have met thousands of beginning pizza makers who have been misled by this garbage and who've paid the price in sub par pizza. And this is not hyperbole. And, just to be clear, scientists have the power to redefine all regional specialties? Stephen Hawking could, tomorrow, come out and say, champagne should only be made with strawberries? Wouldn't you think the French would have something to say about that? Even if strawberries made better champagne than grapes, he would certainly have to sell the French on the idea in order to change the definition. It really shouldn't be a hard concept to grasp that the people of the region where a product was developed have the right to define it. Lawyers or not, governmental intrusion or not. That's just common sense. You live in a town. Nathan lives in a town. Chris Young lives in a town. If any of your science produces a better mousetrap, name your pizza style after your town. Enough with the appropriation.
  8. See, there's the problem. You're going down the same rabbit hole as Heston. You're mistakingly assuming that there's multiple routes to the same destination. I don't have that flour, so I can use this flour and achieve the same result. I don't have that oven that can bake pizza that quickly, but I can bake it a little slower, I don't have that much time to ferment my dough, but I have this much time. Every aspect of the Neapolitan definition has been engineered to perfection. Every aspect has been honed to work with every other aspect. It's all interconnected. If you change the flour, you make something drastically different- and not just different to the obsessive's eye, but different for everyone. If you extend the bake time, you ruin it. Period. Unmalted Neapolitan flour has been engineered to be explosive and puffy and not burn too quickly at extreme temps, but, all of the traits that make it work perfectly at a super fast bake cause it to fail miserably at a slower one. It never really browns well, and takes on a crusty/stale texture. There's a reason why Wisconsin parmesan knock offs don't taste the same. They don't have the same cows, the same terroir, the same old country approaches. They can't achieve the same results. If you don't replicate the formula, you don't get the same results. Garbage in, garbage out. And Neapolitan style is the same way. If you change an aspect, it betrays the other aspects and it fails. Now, some people like stale textured pizza. Not many. But some. But stale texture Neapolitan pizza didn't give it the prestige it has today and it's not what the people that toiled to develop it intended it be redefined as. It's a cohesive unit that deserves to be preserved for posterity, like Parmigiano Reggiano, Champagne, and Balsamic Vinegar. Just because the organization attempting to preserve it doesn't have a cadre of lawyers suing everyone on the planet that serves up a defiled version of it, it doesn't trivialize it's value.
  9. The official definition has been honed for centuries by master craftsman to achieve the best representation of the finished product- the qualities that put this product on the map. Let me ask you this. Does the manner in which one arrives at Parmigiano Reggiano matter? Are you really enjoying those Wisconsin knock offs? The manner in which Neapolitan style pizza is defined is just as critical to the quality of the finished product. You can achieve great pizza without any kind of road map whatsoever. But Neapolitan pizza has a great deal of wisdom and science behind it that makes it so beloved. You can respect Neapolitan culture while innovating simply by losing the 'Neapolitan' label. Just make pizza- any kind of pizza. The sky's the limit! But if you're going to make Neapolitan, then the road map is critical, just as it's critical to Parmigiano Reggiano.
  10. Leoparding, huh? How can 'leoparding' be an attribute of traditional Neapolitan pizza when it's missing from the official definition? Kidding aside, 6 years ago, Nathan accused me of judging his book prematurely, and, while, in that instance, my criticisms, for the most part, all stood the test of time, perhaps, in this instance, I am jumping the gun. If given the opportunity, though, I will always take the chance to remind all those sycophants who mercilessly tore me to shreds years ago, that they were wrong and I was right. In other words, to all my haters, past and present "na na boo boo stick your head in doo doo."
  11. Jimmy Beard used to think that if you added soy sauce to a dish, it would make it Chinese. You couldn't really fault him for it much because it was a very different time. But chefs have historically had problems with cultural awareness. They exoticize, they oversimplify, they guess, they throw figurative darts at dartboards to see what sticks, and the end result has always been ignorance. As time goes by, and cultures mingle, and native representatives set the record straight, this kind of myopia is far less pervasive, but it still exists. Heston Blumenthal is the patient zero of the most recent incarnation of the Neapolitan pizza ignorance virus. Much like Reinhart almost a decade before him, he donned his outsider goggles, peered at this cultural treasure that he had almost no knowledge of, made a bunch of very wrong guesses, and the modern misperception of Neapolitan pizza was born. The viral vector tracked from Heston to Chris, Chris to Nathan/Modernist Cuisine, then to Andris (Baking Steel) and Kenji, and collectively, these voices were able to spread this misinformation to millions of ears. Sure, you have quite a few domestic Neapolitan pizzerias creating authentic offerings, and you also have an online obsessive pizza community that knows their stuff, but this is all just an infinitesimally small drop in a bucket compared to the millions of page hits Serious Eats sees in a month. If Modernist Bread were the first book, and they presented the idea of 'fixing' the handling ability of Neapolitan dough with novel ingredients, I might say something along the lines of "Ummm... are you sure that Neapolitan dough needs to be fixed?" and left it at that. But Nathan and friends have played a very critical part in the dismantling of Neapolitan culture, and this further hubris only excavates an already deep wound. Nathan, to his partial credit, took most of my criticisms to heart and eventually (and quietly), made corrections to his book, and, while I'm happy to be vindicated, even quietly ;), it doesn't alter the overall damaging impact on the collective knowledge of pizza. Reinhart, as I mentioned, did a great deal of damage in his own way with American Pie, but, imo, he gets to play the Jimmy Beard it-was-a-different-time card, and, to his vast credit, he has, for the most part, atoned for his sins. Until Nathan and friends recognize the impact they've had and publicly come to terms with the part they've played, I am going to continue to go out of my way to shine a light on their cultural insensitivity, regardless of how slight the current infraction might be. The idea that Neapolitan pizza dough needs to somehow be 'fixed' is preposterous, but there is far more to this than just that.
  12. Respectfully, Mitch, when I was getting my ass handed to me the last time I criticized Nathan for attempting to redefine Neapolitan pizza, this was your response: What happened? Did you evolve on this issue?
  13. *face palm* And here I thought that, without Chris Young, the Modernist team would have a little more common sense when it came to pizza. Now, just to be clear, I've been championing polydextrose for about 15 years. At the time, commercially, it was all over the place, but, I was the one who put it on the home baker's map (in a low carb context- google it if you don't believe me). Even though I moved away from low carb many years ago, I still use polyd once a month, and, while I've never made pizza with it, the way it alters the temperatures for starches to gelatinize and proteins to denature, the possibilities for baking have always fascinated me. But anyone with half a brain in their head would clearly know that the millisecond you add polyd and lecithin to pizza dough, it's association with Neapolitan pizza is no more. It's not resting, it's not stunned, it's not pining for the fjords. THIS IS AN EX-NEAPOLITAN PIZZA!!!! I guess that if you have zero respect for Neapolitan culture in your first book, it only makes sense that you're going to continue to crap on it in your second. I really thought, and continue to think, that Nathan is better than this.
  14. 20% off at KAF

    Klutzy Arthritic Frychefs is currently 80% off, but the in-store, they break it, you buy it policy tempers some of the savings.
  15. Salt is a gluten enhancer, not an inhibitor. Fat is an inhibitor. To a lesser extent, particulate matter (small pieces of olive) will inhibit gluten as well, although it won't inhibit it as much as bran, which, because of it's sharp edges, bran cuts holes through the gluten. When it comes to inhibition, bran and fat are the big players. Did you puree dry or wet cured olives? Both will require very different approaches because of the varying composition- dry will have less water and more fat. If the recipe is tailored to one, using the other will effectively break it. Dry cured olives in a wet cured tailored recipe will produce a dough that's too dry, wet cured olives in dry cured tailored recipe will produce a dough that's too wet. In a previous post, you talked about building an 'experience base.' This is one of those areas where experience goes a long way in resolving issues. A precise recipe helps, but, if you know you're adding water (wet cured) or fat (dry cured), and you've added water or fat to doughs before, you're in a better position to course correct. The simple answer is 'earlier.' Assuming you've adjusted the formula properly for either wet or dry cured olives, then, you'll want to add a wet cured olive puree pretty early- possibly even close to the start. For a dry cured olive puree, with the inhibition the extra fat brings to the table, then you might want to go a little later, such as when the dough starts coming together. In some high oil pizza doughs, they incorporate the oil about 1/3 to 1/2 into the total mixing time. If, say, you're mixing a total of 10 minutes, then 4 minutes might be the happy place. If you're up for the math, you might want to calculate how much fat you're adding with the puree, and how much total fat the dough will have. In my experience, anything below 6% fat, with a strong enough bread flour (see below), requires no late addition. One other thing you might look at, both from a perspective of potential overmixing and elevated fat content, is a higher protein flour. You don't need to necessarily go crazy high with something like Sir Lancelot (14% protein), but, if, say, you're using Gold Medal better for bread flour, which clocks in around 12%, that's going to break down more quickly than KABF (12.7%). Even 12.7% might not be ideal for a higher fat loaf like this, and a slight bump to, say, 13.2% might perform better. You can't knead any dough forever, but, it sounds like if you had the right protein flour, you could have worked your dough quite a bit longer without having it give up the ghost like it did. Edit: My strong flour advice is only applicable to commercial yeast leavened formulas. As you move into the gluten enhancing effect of natural leavening, you won't need quite as much protein in the flour. Natural leavening doesn't give you unlimited strength, though, especially with less detectable acidity, so, for an especially high fat naturally leavened dough, a stronger flour might be beneficial there as well. Edit2: I remembered something else. Water + flour + time = gluten development = more difficult addtional ingredient incorporation. Since the recipe you use states 'direct,' I'm assuming there are no rests involved prior to adding the puree. For any late addition, you want to stop the mixer, immediately incorporate the ingredient, and then return to mixing.