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mroybal

Pizza Dough

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:


What I'm getting at is, if people in an area love the pizza from the local "Neapolitan Style Pizza" place, most of them aren't going to care if it's 100% authentic or not. No matter how much you or me or anybody else tells them they should care. They're going to eat it, they're going to post a picture on facebook captioned "loving the Neapolitan pie" or something similar... and they're not going to care if nobody in Naples would recognize it as what they call pizza. And there's no realistic effective way to prevent that sort of thing from going on. But I'm not trying to convince you not to soldier on... we're just discussing the topic here, not trying to convince you you're wrong.

 

Well, first of all, I've never come across a Neapolitan pizzeria who wasn't approaching the pizza authentically.  As I said before, if you mess with the recipe, it fails- miserably.  Aspiring owners tend to be smart enough not to mess with perfection.  So this imaginary pizzeria we're discussing doesn't exist.  But I understand the possibility for adulteration on a commercial level.

 

This isn't about what people like or don't like.  You're not going to find me standing outside that Vermont pizzerias waving a placard :) My beef is with the authors.  The Reinharts, the Modernists, the Kenji's, and the Forkishes who are perpetuating the misinformation.  If you write a book or a blog, you should be doing your homework.  As an educator, you should start from a position of being educated.

 

My beef is also with forums like this one who should be holding these educators to task, but who aren't.


Edited by scott123 (log)

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10 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Though the smaller steel would fit into either oven!

 

 

Imagine how a Christian would feel if you told them you were considering worshiping satan.  That's about how I feel about a 10" baking surface :) I'm going to do my best to try and save you, but, if a 10" steel is your pathway to bliss, so be it.

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Well, if I so chose I could place two 10 inch baking steels side by side in the big oven.  But try as I might I couldn't fit half a 20 inch steel in the CSO -- at least with the metal working tools at my disposal.*

 

*Though with my carbide bits I could sure poke a lot of holes in it!

 

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12 hours ago, scott123 said:

 

Within the last 15 years, I've come across maybe 3,000 people who've tried making Neapolitan pizza at home.  Do you know how many of these people had the 'right kind of home oven?'  Three.  Yes, it's possible to make Neapolitan in a home oven, but framing conversations in the context of a 1 in 1000 chance for success doesn't serve the home pizza maker.  Had you said, 'taking pizza in a Neapolitan direction with the right oven', I would have agreed with you.  But you made the implication that home cooks can strive for Neapolitan- all home cooks and that this direction is somehow okay.  Considering your vast exposure to 60 second pizza and your innate knowledge of it's superiority (as compared to unmalted flour dough baked for 4 minutes), if anyone would be able to grasp the concept that it's absolutely not okay for the vast number of home cooks to strive for Neapolitan, it should be you.

 

There's hybrid toppings but, as you pointed out, there are no hybrid bake times.  I've talked with Paulie Gee (king of the Brooklyn Neapolitan, imo) extensively about this,and he understands it unequivocally.  If you lower the heat and extend the bake time with a Neapolitan dough, it suffers.

 

And self clean cycles, besides being potentially oven damaging and dangerous, have no correlation to making Neapolitan pizza at home.  You said it yourself, it's all down to the broiler, and, if the broiler is too weak at 550 (which pretty much all home oven broilers are), it will still be too weak at 700.

 

 

Yeah, it's hard, but this is eGullet, and plenty of people here take things farther and more seriously than the average Joe. I never addressed anything to "the vast number of home cooks ... "

 

In the post of mine that you first responded to, you may recall that I gave up on Neapolitan pizza (or my intended variation) because my oven wasn't up to the task, even with all the tricks. So we're not disagreeing on the need for the right oven.

 

That said, you may be paying too much attention to oven temperature. What cooks a pizza fast is the rate of energy transfer. Ambient temperature is only one factor. The top of the pizza cooks by radiant heat, and temperature does not directly tell you the radiant heat output (a bed of 1000°F glowing coals kicks out more radiant energy than a 3500°F gas flame, for example). And the bottom cooks by conduction. So temperature differential is one factor, conductivity the other. Steel has 80 times the thermal conductivity of fire brick. Remember that we're not trying to incinerate the dough at 900°F; we're trying to get the inside to 212°F and the outside to (roughly) 400°F quickly enough that it doesn't dehydrate. There's a range of ways to get there.

 

And keep in mind that a steel slab set 6" under a high-powered infra-red broiler is going to get a lot hotter than the ambient oven temperature. It's these related variables: radiant energy from the broiler, and temperature/conductivity of the steel, that will determine the cooking speed. 

 

And even cooking speed offers a bit of wiggle room. Because dough composition offers another set of variables. Traditional Neapolitan dough recipes are formulated specifically for traditional Neapolitan oven conditions. If we're changing one set of variables, it's reasonable to assume we'll want to change another set to compensate. The most obvious compensation for a slower oven is higher hydration. The next compensation is to ditch the 00 flour and use something that can handle the hydration and conditions you're creating. Unbromated Italian flour isn't magical, and doesn't really do anything besides respond in a predictable way to certain baking conditions. 

 

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I like Roman pizza.  And I need an apple tini.

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The proper pairing for Roman pizza is a cosmopolitan.

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22 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Well, if I so chose I could place two 10 inch baking steels side by side in the big oven.  But try as I might I couldn't fit half a 20 inch steel in the CSO -- at least with the metal working tools at my disposal.*

 

*Though with my carbide bits I could sure poke a lot of holes in it!

 

 

 

Well, New Haven pizza can get pretty oval, but I think 10 x 20 (two 10 x 10 plates) isn't really viable.  Unless you bought four 10 x 10 plates.  I grew up on 21" slice pies, and, if someone asked me what the perfect sized pizza is, I might say 21" (the slices really are perfectly shaped), but, with the bow of the shelf, you'd have to remove the shelf from the equation entirely and suspend the plates on bars- which is probably way more involved than you want to get.

 

Steam does some pretty amazing things to melting cheese, and I've always been curious about adding steam to the pizza equation, but, bottom line, 450 is the death of puffy. There's nothing you can do with the ingredients, process or the formula that will counteract the effects of that cool of an oven.

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13 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

Yeah, it's hard, but this is eGullet, and plenty of people here take things farther and more seriously than the average Joe. I never addressed anything to "the vast number of home cooks ... "

 

In the post of mine that you first responded to, you may recall that I gave up on Neapolitan pizza (or my intended variation) because my oven wasn't up to the task, even with all the tricks. So we're not disagreeing on the need for the right oven.

 

That said, you may be paying too much attention to oven temperature. What cooks a pizza fast is the rate of energy transfer. Ambient temperature is only one factor. The top of the pizza cooks by radiant heat, and temperature does not directly tell you the radiant heat output (a bed of 1000°F glowing coals kicks out more radiant energy than a 3500°F gas flame, for example). And the bottom cooks by conduction. So temperature differential is one factor, conductivity the other. Steel has 80 times the thermal conductivity of fire brick. Remember that we're not trying to incinerate the dough at 900°F; we're trying to get the inside to 212°F and the outside to (roughly) 400°F quickly enough that it doesn't dehydrate. There's a range of ways to get there.

 

And keep in mind that a steel slab set 6" under a high-powered infra-red broiler is going to get a lot hotter than the ambient oven temperature. It's these related variables: radiant energy from the broiler, and temperature/conductivity of the steel, that will determine the cooking speed.

 

My reference to oven temperature had nothing to do with ambient temps.  I was referring to the temperature of the ceiling of the oven and how a 700 degree ceiling isn't going to have that much more radiative impact than a 550 ceiling.  Temperature, in this context- not a bed of coals vs. a gas flame, but, rather, the exact same ceiling at two different temps- in that context, temperature dictates radiative impact. Perhaps if the broiler wasn't present, and the pizza was in far greater proximity, you could detect a difference between the radiative impact of a 550 ceiling and a 700 one, but you'd still fall incredibly short for the necessary top heat for Neapolitan.  The radiative impact of a 700 degree ceiling in a self cleaning hacked oven is, from a Neapolitan perspective, completely inconsequential.  For Neapolitan in a home oven, everything hinges on broiler strength- and a self cleaning hack doesn't increase broiler strength.

 

Undercrust leoparding can be achieved with aluminum plate at 600. Undercrust leoparding in a home oven is feasible.  It's not the easiest to achieve, but when there's a will, there's a way (and it need not be a self cleaning cleaning cycle).  But that's all for naught if you can't leopard the top of the pizza- and to achieve that, you're completely at the mercy of your broiler.  A 1 in 1000 broiler, and you're all set. A 999 in 1000 broiler, and, if you're smart, you're making something else.

 

For the record, I've never seen a high powered infrared broiler produce a Neapolitan bake time.  I've seen literature that talks a good game, but I have yet to see results.  It might be possible, but, if someone is reading this conversation, I'd hate to see them spend a huge amount of money on this kind of oven, only to have it fall short.  Time should help clear this up- unless you can point me towards a success story that you're aware of.

 

Quote

And even cooking speed offers a bit of wiggle room. Because dough composition offers another set of variables. Traditional Neapolitan dough recipes are formulated specifically for traditional Neapolitan oven conditions. If we're changing one set of variables, it's reasonable to assume we'll want to change another set to compensate. The most obvious compensation for a slower oven is higher hydration. The next compensation is to ditch the 00 flour and use something that can handle the hydration and conditions you're creating. Unbromated Italian flour isn't magical, and doesn't really do anything besides respond in a predictable way to certain baking conditions.

 

My thoughts on water can be found here (cliff notes; extra water won't compensate for lower heat), but, if you extend the bake clock and switch to malted flour, you're clearly making NY style pizza, not Neapolitan.  Up until yesterday, I hadn't heard the term 'Brooklyn Neapolitan.' I like it, and, with your permission, I'm going to start using it.  I'm especially impressed by the fact that you recognized the innate difference, and, rather than just boorishly expanding the Neapolitan definition (like so many people feel oddly compelled to do) you graciously created a unique substyle.  Now, if you're going to try to shoehorn 4 minute malted flour pizza into the Neapolitan spectrum, then all that good will is going to evaporate quickly. And, no 4 minute malted flour pizza is not a hybrid.

 

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Posted (edited)

We're talking past each other Scott. I think I understand what you're saying. When I mentioned ambient temperature of the oven, I was talking about the temperature of the surfaces, and contrasting them with the radiant heat thrown off by a broiler. The former can be measured by temperature and emissivity of the surface; the latter can't. 

 

I don't know what's a "1 in 1000" broiler." I'm just talking about a powerful one. Nathan Mhyrvold has had success with some electric broilers; I've seen success with the kinds of gas infra-red broilers you see on BlueStar, Wolf, and DCS consumer ranges. I wouldn't worry too much about someone spending too much money on these ranges just to start a pizza hobby. Anyone who's that single-minded will just get a pizza oven. Or hack their self-cleaning ovens like Jeff Varasano, or do it outside on a steel in a kamado. 

 

I've read your thoughts on dough hydration. My short reply is that I disagree. My more nuanced reply is that I hate working with high-hydration pizza dough, so it's not a point I care too much about. I'll just suggest you'll have no trouble finding examples of extremely puffy focaccia and other hearth breads made with 80%+ hydration, and made this way for sound reasons. 

 

Go ahead and use the Brooklyn Neapolitan term. I'm pretty sure I didn't coin it. But know what I'm referring to. I'm thinking of places like Roberta's and Motorino and Wheated, which may even be following VPN rules (I don't know because they don't talk about it; Naples isn't part of their identity). But they go for a slightly different crust texture. The main difference is that it isn't quite as thin and soggy and self-destructing in the center. The slices have some substance, and won't completely flop into a puddle of soup when you pick them up (with this pizza knife and fork are optional). All these shops use wood or wood-hybrid ovens, because they're cool, not because they're mandatory. My favorites use natural leavening. They all use 00 flour because of the high heat, and they're all pulling 60 - 90 second pies. Roberta's at least in its incarnation from 5 years ago, was making the best pizza I've ever had.

 

Edited to add: upthread I mentioned substituting bromated flour, but I meant partially malted flour. It's the lack of malting that keeps Caputo pizza flour from browning at lower temperatures. Another compensation is to ferment longer, which creates more sugars. Some people just throw some honey in the dough. I don't work with Caputo flour so I don't know how longer than normal fermentation affects texture and flavor. 


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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On ‎8‎/‎6‎/‎2008 at 12:44 PM, paulraphael said:

The only thing that surprises me about mroybal's recipe is the 25 minutes of machine mixing. That seems way excessive. I can't help but think that results would be better with a 20 minute or longer autolyse, much briefer mixing (maybe much of it with only a portion of the flour but all the water) and a decent amount of time retarding in the fridge.

 

The stand mixer (aka KitchenAid) Neapolitan dough recipe from MB calls for mixing at low speed, then 4 minutes on medium and then a further 4 minutes on high.  This is a guideline.  I found my dough required even more mixing.  The only time I recall my poor KitchenAid dancing on the countertop.  MB says the dough must be fully developed.

 

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The last of my MB Neapolitan dough I baked tonight.  I used the big oven.  At five minutes the bottom of the crust was blackened and the cheese was, to my taste, somewhat overdone.  Leopardizing might be a euphemism.  Not that this kept me from enjoying it.

 

I think I may be on track for a 3 or 4 minute pie.

 

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