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scott123

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Everything posted by scott123

  1. Owen, once the oven you're building is realized (2" thick hearth, 3/4" thick ceiling, up to 800 degree heat), you will have very close to the same capabilities as a Vulcan style pizzeria oven. I think since you're matching their oven, you should really try to see if you can match their ingredients/procedures as well - within reason. A Kitchenaid would, to an extent, mirror the effect of a pizzeria Hobart mixer, but, being in a similar financial situation myself, I understand your reluctance to spend that kind of money. Until I get a KA, I knead my dough by hand. The bread machine's biggest flaw, imo, is that it's completely based on dry yeast and warm proofing. As far as the proofing goes, I can say that since I have only seen finished pizzeria dough coming from the refrigerator and haven't witnessed it's initial stages I don't know if the dough gets a warm proof/punch down or not. Since it does come from the fridge, I get a strong feeling that pizzerias might implement a long cool rise. Maybe one of the pizza makers in this forum could tell us more about the proofing process. The yeast they use, I'm fairly certain is fresh, really fresh, not those cubes you get in the supermarket. And their flour is definitely high gluten. High gluten flour, in my experience, is the only flour that allows me to pull pizza dough thin enough to see through it - without ever tearing. At least with the good high gluten flours I've used. It's quite possible that you aren't quite as driven as I am to recreate Vulcan style oven pizza at home, but if you are, I highly recommend finding a good bakery that will sell you bread flour and yeast (a lot do). My bakery sells me a 1 lb. block of incredibly fresh yeast for $2 and phenomenal bread flour for 50¢/lb. The 1 lb. block of yeast is not that cost effective - you'll never use the whole thing, but the results you get will far outweigh the cost. The flour I get from my bakery is this: http://www.progressivebaker.com/products/spring/spking.htm Made by this company: http://www.horizonmilling.com/index.html I've was a big fan of King Arthur's for many years until I found this. Compared to my bakery flour, King Arthur's, at least the King Arthur's that I get in my supermarket, is garbage. Smell, taste, crumb, and most importantly manageability are all far superior with the commercial flour I get. I love this stuff. Of the multitude of ingredients I cook with, there are certain ones that bring a smile to my face every time I work with them. This flour is one of those ingredients. I know that the picture I'm painting involves a lot more work/complexity than a bread machine with supermarket flour, but, as I said before, if you've put in the time to build a kick ass oven, why not go the extra distance for the ingredients as well.
  2. Oh, and if you're going to take the time to boil down milk (make khoya) for carrot halva, you should definitely think about making gulab jamon. Gulab jamon, made with khoya (mawa) and some chenna, is to die for.
  3. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...ndpost&p=227758
  4. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...ndpost&p=227758
  5. I've corned my beef a couple of times but was never satisfied with the result. I think I need a better recipe. The garlic in my recipe makes my corned beef taste like pastrami. Delicious pastrami but not corned beef.
  6. Is this true? Not according to Corriher, McKee, Brown et al. What you're after with searing is the flavor and crispiness from the Maillard reactions. As the roast rests (seared or not), you will see the juices come out and then (partially) go back in as the meat relaxes. Cheers, Squeat Harold McGee did a series of interesting experiments and found that not only did initially seared meat not hold in the juices, roasts done in this fashion lost more juices than those that were unseared and roasted at a consistent temperature.
  7. I'll be looking forward to hearing about it. I'm also about a month away from making pizza myself and will post those results as well.
  8. I certainly don't doubt your expertise in this subject. I think we might have crossed our wires a bit when referring to "NYC-style" pizza. I'm sure this has been debated many times before here and elsewhere, but for me, NYC-style pizza is John's. I've had pizza from wood burning ovens and coal burning ovens but have always preferred John's (during the years I lived there). I consider their product to be definitive NYC-style pizza. We all do have our own tastes, though. Reproducing John's pizza is my goal. Although your tomato example certainly displays beautifully the role that radiant energy plays in a masonry oven pizza, I still think that if one were to compare the radiant energy being absorbed by the tomato with the energy being conducted into the crust, the conduction aspect would win handily. If the ceiling is 950 degrees and the hearth is 800 (not uncommon) then there is little probability, given the distance from the ceiling to the tomato that the tomato would be getting anywhere close to an equivalent amount of energy. Conduction/radiation ratios aside, do you at least agree that the most inconsequential role of all in pizza thermodynamics is played by convection?
  9. I agree. A boule may initially rely on the conduction of energy from the initially pre-heated hearth for the oven spring, but after that, the greater impact is coming from the radiant ceiling/wall energy and convective rising air. Which is why a baking stone with less thermal mass works perfectly for bread. But with pizza, radiation certainly plays a role but nowhere near the role as conduction plays. I wouldn't use a frying pan to roast a turkey nor would I use a roasting pan to sear a steak :)
  10. I am most certainly trying to reproduce a NYC-style pizza. Wood burning ovens are successful for two reasons. Intense heat and thick, heat retentive brick. I am capable of reproducing both in my home oven. The only limitation I might have is that because I'm not dealing with multiple layers of brick, my hearth will not stay hot for hours at a time. I also may have to allow a few minutes for my stone to reheat between pies. I have been pondering this for decades and intensely researching it for weeks. I still have a little tweaking to do before I set sail, but believe me, my dream is about to become a reality :)
  11. Phaelon56, sorry, I re-read your post and think I might have misunderstood it. If you're thinking about using the 3/4 inch stone as a ceiling with a 2" thick hearth, that sounds like a brilliant plan.
  12. I agree. I was just bringing it to your attention since the author had a 35,000 BTU grill and wasn't that happy with his results. But as I said, I'm not sure he knows what he's talking about. I hate sounding like a pessimist but I don't think you're going to get the thermal mass you want from a 3/4" stone. 3/4" inch stones work wonderfully for bread, but for pizza, I'm skeptical. I also don't have a heck of a lot of faith in those "grill-safe" metal clad stones that were mentioned in the article. The metal is supposed to protect the bottom of the stone, whereas my concern is more with thermal shock to the top of the stone when you open the door on a potentially cool early/late summer night.
  13. Okay, I'll admit that I'm wrong about Vulcan-type ovens going to 800+ degrees, but the idea that commercial ovens recover faster because of air circulation is completely false. Recovery is not about circulating air, it's about the heat retaining properties of stone. When you open the door on any oven the hot air rises and is lost. The constantly hot, thick, stone walls/ceiling/hearth in a commercial oven is what allows for quick recovery. If you have the same size thickness of stone at home, your oven will lose the same amount of heat when you open it. Take another look at the Montague oven link you posted. Under features and benefits it says: o 1 1/2" cordierite, three piece deck for hearth baking o Sides, back, and top lined with fire brick for heat retention and quick recovery time The recovery comes from the brick/thick hearth.
  14. I've been thinking about having a herb garden for years now, well, ok, decades and was wondering what's the easiest herb to grow in Northern New Jersey. Either outside or in. Besides mint, of course :) I am a pretty big fan of cilantro but from what I hear cilantro is tough to grow, especially in our climate.
  15. scott123

    Bagels

    I know exactly the ones you're talking about. I'm ashamed to say that I used to eat 3 of those for breakfast. Not that I adored them, persay, but they were convenient, and relatively fresh. Which, for me, is a huge selling point, no matter what the bagel. Finding those in NJ could be tough. To be honest, if I had found them, I probably would have immediately crossed the store off my list. Sorry. Hopefully there's a fan of lighter, less crunchy, paler bagels in this forum that can help.
  16. I don't know much about Vulcan ovens nor can I find any info doing a web search, but I have done a substantial amount of research on wood burning ovens. From the pizza cooks that I've spoken with, wood burning ovens can and do reach temperatures exceeding 900 degrees. My 800 degree optimal temperature originated from Jeffrey Steingarten who went around testing ovens with his non-contact thermometer. The 500-550 Vulcan temperature does intrigue me. Although I do believe that 800 will produce a moister/more porous/crispier crust, if Jason is correct, 800 may not reproduce your favorite pizzeria pie. Without a contact thermometer, I'd say spending a few minutes at your pizzeria and clocking the time for a pizza to be cooked would give you a good idea for the time to match. When cooking your own pie, adjust your temperature to finish your pizza at a similar rate. While doing research on Vulcan in a failed attempt to discredit Jason's claim :) I did happen across an interesting article relating to using a grill for pizza. Here's the link: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...son/6263572.htm Although the author doesn't sound like much of a pizza connoiseur, he does bring up an interesting point about heat emanating from the top of your oven. I've purchased quarry tiles to place on the oven shelf above my stone but I'm not entirely certain they'll be necessary. An excess of top heat may not be essential. If you've ever looked at a pizzeria oven the distance between the top and bottom shelf appears to be enough to mitigate the impact of heat radiating down from the top stone. I may be wrong, though. If I am, I have the quarry tiles to play around with.
  17. Phaelon56, it sounds like you've got a winner there. A thought occured to me regarding the fire brick I recommended earlier. You might want to track down some of the 12 x 12 x 2 fire tiles that I ended up using rather than the half brick. Your grill shelf should be able to support it without a problem. Depending on the height of the interior a two inch brick might cramp you a bit for large loaves of bread though. You also might want to try grilling without the brick, directly on the grill. Some of the best bread I've ever made was naan on a Webber grill.
  18. After doing a web search and finding some info about him, yes, that's the author. Thanks for the name - I wasn't aware of the books he has written, I'll have to check those out. And regarding Jeffrey Steingarten's grilling success that I mentioned, it was a charcoal grill, not gas. I am fairly certain, though, that he wasn't on to the thermal properties of fire brick. Fire brick preheated to 800 degrees should do very nicely for pizza.
  19. In the other dulce de leche thread on this forum someone speaks of simmering the can of condensed milk for longer periods of time than normal. Apparently if you simmer it long enough, it becomes thick enough to slice. I think your baking experiment took it farther than that. You've basically entered the world of candy making. I don't know that much about candy but it sounds like you've made a variation on a butterless toffee.
  20. Except for a few years as a New Yorker, I've lived in Morristown all my life. As a new member reading through old threads, I found this one very close to my heart and regret not being able to participate in the earlier stages. Here are a couple of things I'd like to add. If you like Dublin Pub, you might enjoy Hennesey's (by the train track underpass). They have a very similar ambiance/sense of comradery, but Hennesey's has better food for lunch - at least they used to. Regarding the German butcher shop behind Epsteins (Market St.) that the previous author mentioned. I grew up eating top notch meat from there, but in recent years my financial situation has necessitated other venues for purchasing meat:) I was there about a year ago to splurge on a chunk of sausage. The meat in the case looked pretty impressive, the sausage (hunter) was magnificent, but the smell of the store wasn't all that up to snuff. If you do happen by, I highly recommend the sausage. It's a flat sausage that he has hanging. He also had a homemade pepperoni that looked impressive. For fish, I'd say try either the new Asian grocer in east hanover on rt 10 (across from Home Depot) OR Top Quality (formerly maxims) on rt. 46 in Parsippany. Both places smell horrid, but... they do have what appears to be some pretty lively fish swimming in tanks for sale. That seems like fresh fish to me :) One restaurant I haven't seen mentioned is Settebellos on Cattano St. Although I think some complacency has crept in over the years, I still consider them to be one of the better Italian restaurants in the area (in it's price range). The same family that owns Settebello owns Sebastian's Steak House - down the street from Dublin. I have never been there but I have heard good things about it. As far as general shopping is concerned, if you're willing to go as far as Bridgewater to go to Wegmans, I'd highly recommend a trip to Wharton to go to the 24 hour Shoprite there. Being one of the newer(read: cleaner) shop rites in the area, it's where I do most of my shopping for meat and produce. Being right off of 80, it's surprisingly quick to get there (20 min). Their small Irish food section is worth noting as well. And lastly, a note on Tim Schaefer's. My mother, owner of a palate almost discerning as mine, went there two years ago and describes it as one of the "worst meals of her entire life" Tim Schaefer, is, as my mother puts it, "living proof that the CIA doesn't have the slightest notion of how to train a good chef". I, personally, have never been to his restaurant, but I have had the opportunity to sample his pulled pork sandwich at a town fair. And that... was to die for! There you have it.
  21. Hmmmm... that sounds like something worth looking into. In my experience finding really good italian sausage at a pizzeria is not that easy. Soupy? That sounds like the kind of pie that might "age" well :) Sauce heavy pies are usually the best right out of the fridge for breakfast.
  22. Hmmm... that looks like a really good deal. It's strange, though, that with all of those specs they don't list BTU output. I would look into that. If it truly does live it up to the 800 degree claim then you might be looking at some great pizza :) A long time ago I read an article in Vogue about a guy on a quest for the best home cooked pizza. He tried everything he could but had problems getting enough heat. I think he had good results with the grill, though, and that was without the thermal retentive properties of fire brick! I'd be very curious to hear about your results.
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