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Everything posted by scott123

  1. Any chance this could be a muffin top?
  2. Unless I'm reading it wrong, "Every one of these artificial (even supposedly naturally derived) sweeteners seems to have some issue or another" seems to imply that all sweeteners have issues. Here is the patent for Whey Low http://www.google.com/patents/US6777397 Based on the examples at the end, I'm reasonably certain that Whey Low is 25% lactose, 50% sucrose and 25% fructose.
  3. While I agree 100% that the fructose, sucrose and lactose in Wheylow are not healthy, and to be avoided, I think that grouping all sweeteners under the 'have issues' umbrella is painting with a pretty broad brush. From the studies I've seen, there's a good chance that fructose increases insulin resistance, ie, that fructose can lead to diabetes. That's an absolutely massive difference with other sweeteners who's worst side effect can be laxation. If you get past the tin foil hat wearers, sucralose seems perfectly safe, and, when combined with other sweeteners, both tastes better and requires far less to be used, due to the synergy involved. Erythritol is generally very well tolerated, and when combined with sucralose, has a good synergy. Acesulfame Potassium is pretty nasty stuff, BUT, you can use microscopic amounts and get another boost in quality and sweetness, while remaining safe. Inulin can be laxating if you overdo it, but nothing is better for providing the texture of sugar, and it provides well known probiotic benefits. You can't just mix up a batch of sucralose, ace k, erythritol and inulin and use it like sugar, but, when combined in recipes, there's nothing that can touch it from a perspective of quality of sweetness and safety.
  4. It means that during baking, the thermostat cuts out at 450F, and, when set to broil, the thermostat cuts out at 500F. Put another way, when you plug your desired temp into the keypad, the highest it will let you enter for the bake setting is 450, and 500 for the broil. I can't speak for these elements, but, in a normal oven, the element just turns on 100% until the desired temp is reached, and, then to maintain the temp, it's just cycles off and on. In a properly insulated oven and at the temps normal ovens reach, the power (wattage) doesn't dictate how hot the oven will get, but, rather, how fast it will get there. The thermostat dictates peak oven heat. You do find some poorly insulated, low wattage countertops that lose too much heat to the outside and don't have the power to add enough heat to actually hit the top temp on the dial, but that's neither this oven nor your normal full size oven. That's why, when people mod their ovens by cutting off the lock and using the cleaning cycle (for things like pizza), they can hit temps as high at 800- because the thermostat never turns the element off and the heat just keeps collecting.
  5. Selmelier? *shaking my head* Proof that the culinary world needs the equivalent of a razzie. An anti-Beard award for culinary stupidity.
  6. Oh, no, $3K is way too cheap for the Air Force. They're probably buying ovens at $20K a pop. And most likely buying hundreds more than they'll ever need, because the company that builds them has a Senator in their pocket who sits on the armed services appropriations committee.
  7. Thanks I missed that. Here's the exact quote http://support.juneoven.com/article/51-what-s-the-highest-temperature-the-june-oven-cooks-at It looks like my suspicions are confirmed. I'm sorry, but a 450 deg bake temp for pizza is a joke.
  8. I'm seeing a lot of brains, but not a lot of brawn. Pizza is, as I'm sure many of you are aware, my religion, so it's pretty much impossible for me to not look at it from that perspective. First, I'm not seeing any published specs related to maximum temperature setting. Seriously? They're telling me the GPU model, the CPU model and the speed and quantity of RAM, but nowhere do they say how hot this friggin thing gets? Based on the quantity of electronics involved, especially the electronics that have to be exposed to the baking chamber, such as the camera, I get a very strong feeling that this doesn't go any where 550, which, is imo, where you need to be for the best pizza. Even if it does have a thermostat that goes up to 550, great pizza is a wattage game. You need to be able to use the broiler, and the amount of IR the broiler can pump out is directly proportional to the watts. I don't see a cord anywhere, but, just that fact that it's a countertop points strongly towards 110 v, and 110 v, by it's nature is going to have wattage limitations. And speaking of ridiculous specs, they tell me the wattage of the speakers, but not the oven itself? The speakers! *shaking my head* If they made no mention of pizza, I could sort of get my head around someone buying an oven for other purposes (not me). But they're clearly making references to pizza in their ads, which, to me, without publishing the actual specs that bakers care about, is a little cheesy- pardon the pun
  9. It might have potential around Christmas time. I'm catching a strong pizza wreath vibe.
  10. This is what the Blackstone can do: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=28721.0
  11. I can't speak to the smoking aspect, but, for pizza, the thermodynamics are off with this oven. This is how the heat flows through this oven The concept of redirecting heat around the bottom of the stone and up the sides is very sound, but... where the heat returns in this scenario is completely wrong. In a traditional gas deck oven, the heat goes up the sides of the oven and then goes back into the baking chamber (towards the top). Like this: In the eco que, the heat returns in the chamber on the top- the smoking chamber, not the pizza baking chamber. Since heat travels up, the top of the chamber where the heat comes in will get the hottest. In this instance, since the heat is coming in through the smoker, the top of that will be the hottest, while the top of the pizza oven will be considerably cooler- far too cooler for a balanced bake. When you have these kinds of top/bottom heat imbalances, you can, to a point, even out the heat a bit if you dial the heat way down. But baking pizza at really low temps completely defeats the purpose. Generally speaking, the hotter the oven, the puffier the crust, the better the pizza. Home Depot and Lowes both carry the Blackstone Pizza Oven. It's $400 and it'll run circles around this (pizza-wise). Amazon has it as well, but this is one of those items that you want to purchase in person, as they can get really banged about during shipping.
  12. This. It's like trying to paint a glossy surface. This is why you sand between coats of paint- so the next layer has something to grab on to. When producing regular non stick pans, they sandblast the metal to a relatively porous state, so the non stick coating has something to attach to. This is why you don't want to sand down cast iron to be seasoned to too smooth of a surface. I don't see much of a point to it, but if you were willing to sacrifice the surface of your steel pan, you could take a page out of the non stick book and scratch it up a bit before seasoning. Or you could take an older pan that perhaps was already scratched up a bit. Same for aluminum. Both will get a bit grabbier, seasoning wise, with a courser surface. But, like I said, I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. Seasoning isn't the same thing as non stick, so the oil you need for a seasoned pan will most likely be comparable to the oil you need for an unseasoned stainless pan. And, FYI, the instructions for seasoning in that video are absolutely horrendous. Seasoning = polymerization. The process she's using barely polymerizes the fat. She's just basically working with an oiled pan (initially).
  13. The concept that wood fired ovens impart flavor to pizza is a myth. Any potential flavor compounds emanating from the wood are traveling through the smoke. The pizza bakes well below the smoke line and thus is unaffected. The only time wfo pizza comes in contact with the smoke is during doming, and it's never long enough to make an appreciable difference in smoke flavor. Coal is the same thing. The smoke from the coal runs along the top of the chamber, while the pizzas bake at the bottom. If you can match the heat of a coal oven and replicate the bake time (which can definitely be done with steel plate in an oven that goes to 550 and that has a broiler in the main compartment), then you can make flawless New Haven pizza at home. Here's one example of what steel can do in a home oven: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=88ad2e1046539a37f903483aa400c035&topic=23827.0
  14. The recipes found in American Pie leave a lot to be desired. My thoughts on this matter can be found in a conversation I had with Peter here: http://www.fornobravo.com/pizzaquest/peters-blog/44-peters-blog/412-peters-blog-august-8th-alright-controversy.html (warning: very long read) The cliff notes: basically, I felt that his recipes played far too fast and loose to be considered representative of the regional styles he was attempting to showcase. At the time of the conversation, I was focusing primarily on his shortcomings portraying NY style, but, since that time, as my knowledge of NH style has increased, I feel the exact same way on the New Haven front as well. The travelog component of American Pie is a pretty good read, but I highly recommend avoiding the recipes at all cost. While Peter has figured out a few things since American Pie was written, that Neo-Neapolitan recipe still drops the ball in a few key areas. First, 00 flour most likely plays a role in NY coal pizza (most likely as part of a blend), but, 00 is not used in New Haven. Ever. It's recommended use in that particular recipe is especially self defeating, as 00, due to it's lack of enzymes/malt is a very powerful browning inhibitor. The recipe already has issues with browning, due to the insane quantity of water, predominantly heat agnostic approach and potentially insulating effects of a baking pan. Add 00 to that and you've got an extremely long bake- which, in my experience, produces leather. Second, I know that he's trying to make it easy for the home baker, but the exponentially superior/more consistent results of working with an actual fermentation schedule far outweigh the, imo, extremely slight hassle of having to plan pizza in advance. I know that we all lead busy lives, but the difference between a properly fermented dough and improperly fermented dough is night and day. A fermentation window of between 6 hours and 3 days is like playing darts blindfolded. Sure, once in a while you might hit the actual dartboard, but it's not like using your actual eyes. "Hey, it's Wednesday, if I want to make pizza on Friday, I have to make the dough today"- that's vision, understanding- that's going to give the beginning pizzamaker the best possible chance for success. Lastly, I know some famous bread bakers who use very high amounts of water, so that's probably where Peter is coming from, but, pizza isn't bread. Pepe's uses a relatively wetter dough than your average pizzeria, but it's only slightly wetter. 75% hydration + bread flour is basically soup. It takes forever to bake, is extremely difficult to work with, and has no connection in any way to New Haven (or East Coast pizza in general).
  15. Thanks for the Crepes, ascorbic acid cannot be substituted for bromate. If it could, the American baking industry wouldn't be fighting so hard to prevent bromate from being regulated and they would all just voluntarily make the switch. Some larger entities with national distribution (ie, west of the Rockies) have voluntarily moved away from bromate due to California's overbearing labeling laws, but bromate is still a very key player in the baking industry. While both ascorbic acid and bromate are dough strengtheners, ascorbic acid just doesn't posses bromate's volumizing effects. In addition, from my own experimentation with ascorbic acid, I've noticed that ascorbic acid has a preserving effect on dough. For a product where controlled spoilage produces a great deal of flavor/maillard friendly compounds, preservation is not ideal. I've had clients in other parts of the world where higher protein flour (anything above 11% protein) was impossible to find. A great portion of the planet is, unfortunately, in these shoes due to the lack of climate/technology for growing strong flour. It's in these areas where ascorbic acid can come to the rescue- providing crucial strength and structural augmentation. Are you familiar with the yogurt traditionally used in Naan? That's a perfect example of a culture using acid to overcome climatically/technologically challenged wheat to make bread. So, in other words, ascorbic acid does have a role (outside the U.S.), but nothing can compensate for the effect of bromate. As far as bromate's safety is concerned, the parts per billion found in pizza are completely and utterly harmless. California, the scarediest cats of them all, allows as much bromate in their municipal water supplies as one finds in pizza. Gargantuan quantities have been known to give rats cancer, but a lot of foods, if consumed in large amounts, can hurt you. Salt, if you eat enough of it, can kill you. Even if there was incontrovertible proof that bromate is a carcinogen for humans (and, believe me, there isn't), it would be incredibly shortsighted not too look at pizza from a perspective of dosage. I'm not much for cracker crust either (although I have friends who do cartwheels over it). Oven spring has been my paramount goal for all the pizza I make, regardless of style. Which is why bromate is so important to me- because it provides that extra little bit of volume. Within the general scheme of things, though, bromate is pretty low on the 'factors that impact oven spring' list. Top of the list is heat. Next is properly fermented dough (not too little not too much). Next is probably the acumen at which you form the skin. After that, maybe bromate. As I said, before, everyone East of the Rockies should be looking for bromate flour if they want to kick up their pizza a notch. But lack of access to bromated flour shouldn't stop anyone from making pizza at home. Btw, I don't do it all the time, but I have had times where I've fallen asleep with the oven on. With a working thermostat, this is generally quite safe, depending on what's in the oven. Without one, though, it could easily produce a dangerous situation. I have a 1970's GE electric oven of my own that I couldn't live without- most modern ovens just don't pump out the same amount of heat. I've never had any issue finding replacement parts on ebay. I highly recommend finding a thermostat and repairing it. It's probably something you could do yourself for pennies.
  16. Technically speaking, the big names (Pepe's, Sally's) use flour that's been labeled specifically for them, so their flour isn't available anywhere. That being said, NH flour analogs (same protein content, bromated), are available in many places East of the Rockies, so I wouldn't necessarily consider 2/3rds of the country to be 'regional.' You can't walk into a supermarket and purchase these analogs, though. Restaurant Depot carries them, some Costco's, as well as some restaurant suppliers that are willing to sell to the public. There's also very limited online options, but I wouldn't trust those due to the exorbitant shipping prices and questionable turnover. NH pizza utilizes bromated medium high gluten flour- 12.7 to 13.2% protein. The bromated aspect is the tricky part, and, unlike the lack of a coal oven (which can be worked around), bromate is, imo, kind of critical. King Arthur Bread Flour is 12.7%, which falls in place perfectly protein wise, but, alas, it isn't bromated. I wouldn't necessarily tell Dante to give up on DIY NH pizza if he can't find bromated flour, but I would highly recommended that he pull out all the stops looking for it, before he compromises and ends up with KABF- because there is a tangible difference in oven spring. In an industry where bones have been broken and lives have been taken for betraying/stealing pizza making secrets, I think what Evelyne Slomon was able to glean was nothing short of miraculous. That being said, though, we are talking about a book written 30 years ago, and a considerable amount of knowledge about pizza has been acquired since then. In addition, Evelyne's exposure was to the legendary NY coal oven pizzerias, not NH. I wouldn't necessarily say NY coal and NH are apples and oranges, since they are both coal, but there are some pretty stark differences, once you dig beneath the surface.
  17. Respectfully, Jason, in regards to the temperatures, I disagree. For quite some time, I labored under the impression that most styles had fairly narrow, fairly static temperature ranges (NY=500-600, NH=700-800, Neapolitan=850-1000). While NY and Neapolitan do generally fall into these parameters, a couple years back I did some consulting with a NH mobile pizzeria, and, the extensive research that I put in on NH style pizza revealed a far greater spectrum of baking temps than what I was expecting. I'm not really sure what causes it, maybe it's the larger size of the ovens (more opportunities for cool spots) or maybe it's the forced air aspect of coal, but, whatever the reason, the classic NH places see pretty widely fluctuating oven temps from day to day (and possibly even from hour to hour). I've had trusted sources clock 3 minute bakes all the way up to 11 (yup, 11!). While a 3 minute bake, for a fairly well hydrated dough like Pepe's, could translate into 700-750, an 11 minute bake isn't going to be a degree above 550, and most likely not even above 500. And, as far as I know, this is not a new phenomenon either. The highly changeable nature of coal oven baking makes New Haven style pizza very hard to define. One could argue, as I have many times that 700 makes a puffier/superior version of NH style pizza, but it wouldn't be completely fair to those trying to recreate the pies from their favorite place- a place that might be consistently working with a cooler oven. I also disagree in regards to the necessity of coal. Coal burns a bit drier than wood, gas and electric, but the dryness of the baking environment, can, to an extent, be compensated for with a slightly less hydrated dough. Coal also tends to create very directional heat. Most NH style pies one sees have one side that's a bit more colored than the other. In a wood oven (using drier than normal wood), this can be achieved quite easily. In an electric oven, I've played around with foil wall(s) in an attempt to bounce some radiant heat and that's helped a little with side heat, but, as far as the price one pays for a home baked NH style, I think the lack of uneven baking could be a very small price, indeed- besides, what you pay for in lack of uneven baking, you more than get back in the ability to fine tune your dough making process. Pepe's, for instance, might cold ferment, but, they don't go to anywhere near the lengths that a home cook can go to achieve the perfect dough. Lastly, if you've ever read Sam's brilliant and timeless Understanding Stovetop Cookware tutorial, you'll know that temperature is completely relative to the baking material. While 700 deg, firebrick does, imo, make the best NH style pizza, 550 1/2" steel, combined with broiling during the bake, can perfectly match those results and hit that magic 3-4 minute bake- and, if one wants something slower, the oven can be turned down as well. So, in summation, 1. Typical NH baking range is far greater than 700-800 2. (Dry) wood can create perfect facsimile in a WFO 3. 550 1/2" steel (with broiler) will also recreate the same effect 4. Home bakers have a BIG leg up on commercial pizzerias, as they can devote a lot more attention to their dough- as well as apply additional knowledge to the process.
  18. NY style cheesecake absolutely has to be dense and heavy- which is why making a meringue is contraindicated. In fact, I pound all my poured cheesecake batters quite aggressively in an effort to get as much air as I can out of them.
  19. Regarding starch (flour/cornstarch) in cheesecake. The temperatures that eggs denature are generally lower than the temps starches gelatinize at, so, in the areas where you have less cooked egg, such as in the center, you're also going to see uncooked, ungelatinized starch. The other ingredients will most likely hide the horrible flavor and texture of the small amount of raw starch, but why add even a little bit of something that you know is impairing the flavor? If you don't believe me, wet some cornstarch or flour with water and taste it. You don't want to eat that. Also, regarding browning. Temps that induce browning are typically high enough to inhibit undercooked, unset centers, which is the key to the creamy first bite, which is, imo, the foundation of this style.
  20. Junior's makes an, imo, world class cake, but... I wouldn't necessarily say that it represents NY, nor would I even go as far to say that it represents Brooklyn. I can't really speak for NY cheesecake in a historical perspective, but, for at least 25 years, graham cracker crusts have been the norm. I've had some truly sublime pastry/shortbread crusts, and I'd never scoff at a crustless cake, but I think when most people think of NY cheesecake, they picture graham. Sour cream toppings are outside the canon. They are insurance policies against cracked tops used by paranoid inexperienced cheesecake bakers. If you bake a cheesecake at the right rate- not too fast, not too slow, and to the right level of doneness- jiggly in the center, it shouldn't crack. Water baths are unnecessary. You use a water bath for baked goods that are inherently unstable, like a custard. Cheesecake is far more stable than custard. Traditional cheesecake should be gooey and undercooked in the center and crumbly and cakey at the rim. The first gooeyest bite has always been my favorite part of the cake, as I'm sure it's been others, and I spent a great deal of time attempting to create an entire cake of that consistency. While I'm reasonably certain it can be done with sous vide, I eventually came to the conclusion that the traditional range of doneness in a classic cake is preferable- that the gooey bites are just as integral to the character as the cakey ones.
  21. Your batter is, without a doubt, thicker. This could be cause by: Variations in volumetric measuring (the compactability of flour) Variations in flour protein content Just +/- 1% protein in the flour will be sufficient to change the flour's absorption value and thus make slacker/tighter batter. It's always best to state which brand of flour you used, as well as always measure the flour with a scale.
  22. Not necessarily. The technology already exists for removable oven walls. Put the camera behind a removable glass plate, and, when the plate gets dirty, soak it in a baking soda solution overnight. That's pretty low tech and a bit labor intensive, but it would work. Self cleaning (heat cleaning) is also old technology. Localized heat (concentrating only on the camera glass area) would be viable and would not be, imo, a 'new generation' of cleaner. Ovens as a whole, though, need smarter approaches to cleaning. Self cleaning is incredibly hard on ovens and wastes fuel. Chemical oven cleaners are incredibly noxious and messy. They need to make more ovens with walls that can be removed and soaked in mild alkaline solution (baking soda) to remove the grease.
  23. Every upgrade he's describing involves considerable additional expenditure. If he really wants to build a better oven, build it for everyone- not just for him and his millionaire friends- at the price point it is now. Anyone can throw money around. It takes a true inventor, a true engineer, to be innovative enough to take cost into consideration.
  24. If you're going to spend more than $1k on an oven, it had better be able to do a picture perfect Neapolitan pizza, and, of the hundred or so pizzas I've seen come out of this oven, none have been anywhere near picture perfect. Propane doesn't have quite as much romance as wood, but a $400 Blackstone oven is capable of producing Neapolitan pizza as good as any you've seen in Neapolitan wood fired ovens 25 times the price. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=28721.0 Beyond the questionable quality of pies it produces, the Pizza Party has a pretty serious safety flaw, imo. The front of the oven is just brick- no insulation, no weatherproofing. If you get it hot enough and then it gets wet (ie, it starts to rain), best case scenario it only cracks, worst case scenario, boom. Any quality brick lined oven will have a layer of insulation to keep the heat in (and not waste fuel) along wiht a weatherproofing layer (sometimes stucco, but can be other materials) to keep the water out, since very hot bricks and cool water is not a good combination.
  25. These clamshell type pizza ovens have seen many incarnations over the years: Ferrari, Deni Bella, Bestron Alfredo, Delizia, Forno Magnifico (Costco), just to name a few. The ones made in Italy have a better build quality, are more powerful and can be modded to do Neapolitan, but you have to be pretty comfortable re-wiring small appliances. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=19732.0 Not that the build quality is great on the Italian ovens, just considerably better than the Chinese models, which, besides looking like garbage, as Mitch pointed out, actually are garbage. This model, being made in China, fits firmly in the garbage camp. If you pray to the pizza gods regularly, click your heels three times and say a few hail mary's, you might be able to get a half decent, albeit postage stamp sized NY style pie from a Chinese oven, but, based on the amount of sheer luck, virtuoso tinkering and inevitable agita the Chinese ovens encapsulate, the most you'd ever want to spend is $20 on ebay- and that's fully understanding that you might be throwing your $20 out the window- and you could be spending the better part of a year futzing with it to get a great pie out of it. These aren't ovens, they're time sucking vortexes. On the other hand, if you've got a regular home oven with a broiler in the main compartment and that will go to 525, as many people have, a locally purchased $50 (or less) steel plate will get you incredibly consistent flawless 16+" NY style pies- time after time. Steel has a learning curve, but it's nothing like these clamshell ovens.
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