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scott123

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  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. I am not anti-innovation. As I said before, I pioneered poydextrose for the home baker. I pioneered steel plate for pizza. I'm as pro innovation, pro science as you can get. You can fall in love with a regional delicacy and have a desire to preserve it for future generations by clearly defining it while still pursuing progress. The two are not mutually exclusive. Open source software authors get this. If you have what you believe to be an improvement in a piece of software, but the rest of the team isn't in agreement, you create a fork. The fork then stands as a separate entity, and succeeds or fails on it's own merits. Neither tradition nor innovation are integral to this process. It's just a matter of "this is something different, we're calling it something else.:"
  5. 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.
  6. You'll find trivial changes, such as Da Michele's substitution of seed oil for olive oil, but, I've never come across a Neapolitan pizzeria, domestic or abroad who varied substantially from the standard. The flour, the fermentation regime, the dough handling, the dough ball size, the mixing technique, the oven, the bake time- it all matches up across the board. Neapolitans, and the people that have learned from Neapolitans, know exactly what Neapolitan pizza is. There's practically no dissent whatsoever- and for pizza, that's insane. It's only the outsiders, the carpetbaggers, the, for lack of a better word, the gringos, who are hell bent on transforming Neapolitan pizza to their will- who ride the backs of the multitudes who've labored anonymously before them, but when asked to show some respect for these ancestors, they get pretty peeved.
  7. That's incredibly kind of you to say, but, if you look around, I am not beloved. This has been, and always will be Nathanville, and, as far as the fanboys go, I'm the village idiot
  8. Whether something is inferior or superior is your opinion. While I have talked about the inferiority of the results from Nathan's teachings, that's just my opinion. What's the phrase? Opinions are like... something? At the end of the day neither of our opinions matters when it comes to allowing Neapolitans to define their regional food. When San Diego comes up with the best ___________ in the world, then, perhaps, you'll have a little more empathy. And I'm not talking about all food. There's many pathways to gumbo. But certain foods, certain products are very well defined, and deservedly so, because, if they were not well defined,, their evolution would most likely be their ruin. There aren't multiple paths towards Parmigiano Reggiano- only one. And while I grumble just about every time I take out my wallet to pay for it, I'm grateful that someone, somewhere took the time to meticulously outline that path. Will Parmigiano Reggiano eventually be improved upon? I certainly hope so. But they will have to call it something else. This very simple rule where you can't call something Parmigiano Reggiano unless it's been made a particular way helps to make sure that when I walk into a store and buy some, I'm getting the king of cheeses, and not some pale imitation. The Champagne region's zealous protection of their trademark has always felt a bit more mercenary than culturally reverent, but that's a single path as well. The Californians can tell you that the sparkling wines they produce are comparable, if not superior, but I think it's appropriate that they have to use the term "sparkling wine." To their credit, the Neapolitans haven't tried to enforce their definition on the rest of the world. But it still doesn't change the fact that it's an incredibly well defined 'thing,' that has standards set forward by the people from the region that created it. I'm not Neapolitan, I don't get to say what Neapolitan pizza is and isn't. Nor are you. Nor is Nathan. If you know of any Neapolitans who feel differently, I'm all ears.
  9. It takes an unbelievable amount of hubris to assume that no one has ever tried other flours for Neapolitan pizza, that no one has ever turned down the heat and tried baking it for longer. That kind of no-one-existed-before-me thinking is something that I'd expect from Kenji, but, as I've said before, I expect more from Nathan- and Heston- and Chris (Young ). When a large city devotes most of their efforts towards a single product for 150 years, chances are that they've worked through most of the permutations. Have they tried working with polydextrose? Of course not. But that's not what I'm discussing here. I'm talking about Nathan and Friends ignoring a massive chunk of wisdom in their first book, and the price home bakers have paid, and are continuing to pay. And the most frustrating aspect of all is that every successful aspect of Neapolitan pizza is firmly rooted in science- not that the Neapolitans who developed it were scientists- at least not by title, but they were able, through vast trial and error, to figure out what works and what doesn't- and the science supports it all. So, if ANYONE should understand the science behind Neapolitan pizza, it should be people that are calling themselves scientists.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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."
  14. 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.
  15. 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?
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