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Anyone here used one of the cast iron 'stones', and if so, comments, regarding effects on outcomes?

Yes, I got one of these about two weeks ago. I've cooked 5 pizzas on it so far and I will never ever use the pizza stone in a max oven method again (which is what I had been doing for the last 4 years). I also happened to change my pizza dough and sauce recipe at the same time so I won't confirm that the taste is better purely because of the pan but just the speed and ease of it makes it worth while and I did get better rise and browning than the stone method.

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/09/how-to-make-great-neapolitan-pizza-at-home.html

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  • 6 years later...

Plain old slabs of steel work best if you're going for anything in the direction of Neapolitan pizza (and I no longer acknowledge the existence of any other kind. End rant.)

 

The most economical way to get a slab of steel seems to depend on geography. In rural places you can visit a scrap yard or steel fabricator. You'll probably have some work to do, removing sharp burs and rust and scale. In NYC I found the fabricators more expensive than just buying a steel on Amazon. I got this one back when it cost less. There may be better options today.

 

Consensus seems to be that 3/8" thick gives better results than 1/4". 1/2" offers advantages over 3/8" only if you're baking several back-to-back. Beware that a 1/2" steel weighs over 30 lbs. It can put a lot of stress on oven racks and on cooks, and if you were to drop it on a toe, goodbye toe. And of course a fatter steel will take longer to preheat.

 

Pages have been written on how to get the best results out of these things. They seem to offer the most value if your oven has a powerful broiler element at the top. The usual method is to preheat the oven with the steel on  a high rack, then blast it for a few minutes under the broiler, and then with the broiler still on, slide the pie onto the steel. All preheating and broiling is done with the knobs at 11. The biggest variable is the distance you put the steel from the broiler. Managing ratio of conductive heat from the bottom to radiant heat from the top is 90% of pizza baking. 

 

If you have an oven like mine, with the broiler in a separate drawer, you're probably out of luck. Even with a 1/2" steel, there's nothing I can do to get baking times below 4 minutes. Which means, lousy pizza. 

Notes from the underbelly

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17 hours ago, paulraphael said:

Plain old slabs of steel work best if you're going for anything in the direction of Neapolitan pizza (and I no longer acknowledge the existence of any other kind. End rant.)

 

https://www.fornobravo.com/vera-pizza-napoletana/pizza-napoletana/

 

Quote

Cooking time: 60-90 seconds.

 

Broiler or no broiler, 60-90 second pizza isn't happening in a typical home oven- with or without steel.  If you're going to be a purist- and I applaud your zealotry ;) then you should be aware that there is no Neapolitan pizza 'direction.' Either you have an oven that can do 90 seconds or less, and, along with an unmalted flour, you make Neapolitan pizza, or, you don't have the right oven, and you work with the temperature you're able to reach and make other styles- with other flour. 

 

I'm not pointing the finger at you, but this whole Neapolitan pizza is whatever we feel like it is thing has got to be finally put to bed.  Reinhart was patient zero for most of the misinformation, but he's been penitent.  The Modernist team had very little idea what Neapoitan pizza was 7 years ago, and they missed the mark in Modernist Bread, but, I think they're finally beginning to grasp the cultural ramifications.

 

In Naples, and in Neapolitan pizzerias across the globe, less than 90 second pizza has been/is the norm.  You might find one or two 2 minute outliers, but, VPN membership or no VPN membership, Neapolitan has historically been prepared within tight parameters- and to continue to extravagantly paint outside these lines is a huge slap in the face to Neapolitan culture and history- and a disservice to great pizza  (Continuing rant indefinitely ;) )

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On 7/15/2018 at 1:33 AM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Do you perchance have an updated link for this?

 

 

As Paul pointed out, if you're the right candidate (hot enough oven, broiler in the main compartment), steel is better than iron or stone. Here is my guide to sourcing steel locally.

 

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=31267.0

 

Edit: Link already provided.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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1 hour ago, scott123 said:

 

Could it be this?

 

As Paul pointed out, if you're the right candidate (hot enough oven, broiler in the main compartment), steel is better than iron or stone. Here is my guide to sourcing steel locally.

 

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=31267.0

 

@scott123 thank you for the link!  However you have me confused with someone who knows what they are doing.  My desire is to bake pizza (as well as bread) in my Cuisinart Steam Oven, a small toaster oven.  A small toaster oven with steam and convection bake.  Forgive me if you are familiar with this miraculous device.

 

I've achieved almost acceptable pizza from my DeLonghi griddle but the crust ends up crisper than I'd like.  For better or worse the CSO heats only to 450 deg F.  But the broiler goes higher.  Pizza stones don't thrill me (I have one) and I am thinking of purchasing a 10 inch by 10 inch steel sheet which will fit the CSO.

 

My main oven goes much higher than the CSO but I am an old woman turning 70 this summer and the idea of thick steel much larger than 10 by 10 inch turns me off exceedingly, gender bias or no gender bias.

 

The plan is that I can compensate for lower oven temperatures by higher hydration dough.  Thoughts?

 

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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

@scott123 thank you for the link!  However you have me confused with someone who knows what they are doing.  My desire is to bake pizza (as well as bread) in my Cuisinart Steam Oven, a small toaster oven.  A small toaster oven with steam and convection bake.  Forgive me if you are familiar with this miraculous device.

 

I've achieved almost acceptable pizza from my DeLonghi griddle but the crust ends up crisper than I'd like.  For better or worse the CSO heats only to 450 deg F.  But the broiler goes higher.  Pizza stones don't thrill me (I have one) and I am thinking of purchasing a 10 inch by 10 inch steel sheet which will fit the CSO.

 

My main oven goes much higher than the CSO but I am an old woman turning 70 this summer and the idea of thick steel much larger than 10 by 10 inch turns me off exceedingly, gender bias or no gender bias.

 

The plan is that I can compensate for lower oven temperatures by higher hydration dough.  Thoughts? 

 

 

I'm sure I don't have to explain to you the amount of energy it takes to heat water, but, for those that may not know, it takes a lot.  In the same sauce pan, try timing how long it takes to boil 1/2"  of water and how long it takes to boil 2" of water. One is a matter of seconds, the other minutes.  I can't speak for bread, but the rate at which pizza dough heats up in the oven is a big part of it's leavening.  The water in the base of the dough quickly boils and turns to steam. This rapidly expanding steam is driven upward, which heats the rest of the dough and expands the gas that was formed during proofing. If you load the dough with water, it takes what should be a quick rise in temperature in the dough, a somewhat explosive reaction, and slows it way down. If dough doesn't get hot quickly, oven spring is sacrificed.

 

Gluten needs water to form.  Every flour has a fairly exact amount of water that it can absorb which professionals call it's absorption value.  Any water you add beyond that is just adding free water to the dough.  And this water that the gluten has no use for, this excess water, takes considerably more energy to heat, and that kills the oven spring.

 

Beyond impairing volume, excess water impairs the texture of pizza crusts in other ways. Cooler ovens have issues with pizza because, as they extend the bake time, the dough dries out and gets hard.  You might think that you're adding moisture and softness to the final product by adding water to the dough, but, in reality, by adding water, you're just increasing the bake time, and, in order to get the crust to eventually brown, you're drying it out just as much. 

 

Excess water is not your friend.  Up until the point you reach the absorption value, it's your best buddy, playing the ultra critical role of hydrating the gluten, but beyond that, it's just a literal and a figurative wet blanket.

 

Those are my thoughts on water :) I don't know exactly what kind of pizza you're striving for, and, perhaps, with a considerable amount of extra oil and sugar, you can do something American-ish or maybe something foccacia-ish, but if you want pizza that's soft, chewy, puffy, and has good color, I just don't see it happening in the Cuisinart.

 

10" x 10" x .375" steel has the same surface area- and the same weight, as 7" x 14" x .375".  If you're willing to work with 10" x 10", just get two pieces of 7" x 14" steel to make a 14" x 14" surface for your main oven.   If 7 x 14 is too heavy/too unwieldy for you, you can even break it down into three pieces- maybe three 5 x 15 pieces.

 

Like I said, I'm not really sure what you're striving for, but, from your description of your DeLonghi pizza, it certainly sounds like you want puffy.  If that's the case, I strongly recommend using your main oven.

 

How hot does your main oven get?  Does it have a broiler in the main compartment?

Edited by scott123 (log)
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8 hours ago, scott123 said:

 

 Neapolitan has historically been prepared within tight parameters- and to continue to extravagantly paint outside these lines is a huge slap in the face to Neapolitan culture and history- and a disservice to great pizza  (Continuing rant indefinitely ;) )

 

 

Man, I wonder how you feel about an apple-tini.

 

By the way, some/most of us get it. Some/most of us just want to produce pizza at home that's better than what 99% of the pizza joints in this country try to pawn off on their customers as pizza. Which, Naples or not, does exist in other variations.

 

Me - when I want Neapolitan, I can pretty much take a 10 minute walk, and it's at my disposal. Some/most everyone else; they may not be as lucky. But I bet they can get an apple-tini anywhere they go.

Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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12 minutes ago, weinoo said:

By the way, some/most of us get it. Some/most of us just want to produce pizza at home that's better than what 99% of the pizza joints in this country try to pawn off on their customers as pizza.


That's what I was thinking. When people start talking about the cultural ramifications of calling a pizza Neapolitan when it took 92 seconds to cook instead of 90, I don't even know how to be part of the conversation.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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1 hour ago, weinoo said:

 

Man, I wonder how you feel about an apple-tini.

 

By the way, some/most of us get it. Some/most of us just want to produce pizza at home that's better than what 99% of the pizza joints in this country try to pawn off on their customers as pizza. Which, Naples or not, does exist in other variations.

 

Me - when I want Neapolitan, I can pretty much take a 10 minute walk, and it's at my disposal. Some/most everyone else; they may not be as lucky. But I bet they can get an apple-tini anywhere they go.

 

 

An apple-tini doesn't ruin a martini.  It's just a personal preference.  It's like someone who likes to top their pizza with corn or another person who likes pineapple.  I don't get involved with that stuff.

 

On the other hand... if you take Neapolitan dough and bake it in a home oven, because the flour is unmalted, it will take forever to brown, which will dry out the crust, resulting in something bordering on biscotti. Martini's aren't really engineered.  Neapolitan pizza is. Neapolitan dough baked for 4 minutes isn't better than the mediocre pizza most people can get locally. Neapolitan adulteration and misinformation ruins home baked pizza.

 

Producing better pizza at home is the end all be all.  And authors that push their readers towards unobtainable Neapolitan ambitions do them a terrible disservice.

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1 hour ago, Tri2Cook said:


That's what I was thinking. When people start talking about the cultural ramifications of calling a pizza Neapolitan when it took 92 seconds to cook instead of 90, I don't even know how to be part of the conversation.

 

This is obviously not about 90 second pizza vs 92 second pizza. The fastest possible bake with Neapolitan dough in a home oven is going to be around 4 minutes.  It's 90 seconds vs 4 minutes.  550 vs. 850.  Pushing Neapolitan pizza to 4 minutes is like making a fat free croissant.  Without the fat, it's not a croissant any more. And trying to sell people on the viability of a fat free croissant is pretty unforgivable.

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1 hour ago, scott123 said:

 

An apple-tini doesn't ruin a martini.  It's just a personal preference.  It's like someone who likes to top their pizza with corn or another person who likes pineapple.  I don't get involved with that stuff.

 

On the other hand... if you take Neapolitan dough and bake it in a home oven, because the flour is unmalted, it will take forever to brown, which will dry out the crust, resulting in something bordering on biscotti. Martini's aren't really engineered.  Neapolitan pizza is. Neapolitan dough baked for 4 minutes isn't better than the mediocre pizza most people can get locally. Neapolitan adulteration and misinformation ruins home baked pizza.

 

Producing better pizza at home is the end all be all.  And authors that push their readers towards unobtainable Neapolitan ambitions do them a terrible disservice.

It's funny how you decide what's engineered and what isn't. A martini is a simple drink, just a few simple ingredients, same as your coveted Neapolitan pizza dough. And things with very few ingredients, as you well know, are the hardest to make properly, be it a classic cocktail or pizza.

 

And an apple-tini might not ruin your martini, but's it's not a martini; it's just called one.

 

 

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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14 hours ago, scott123 said:

If you're going to be a purist- and I applaud your zealotry ;) then you should be aware that there is no Neapolitan pizza 'direction.' Either you have an oven that can do 90 seconds or less, and, along with an unmalted flour, you make Neapolitan pizza, or, you don't have the right oven, and you work with the temperature you're able to reach and make other styles- with other flour. 

 

My purism is about the pizza being awesome and have certain qualities I like. It's not about following arbitrary rules, whether the AVPN's or anyone else's. And I precisely mean taking pizza in a "Neapolitan direction." Because the best pizza I've had has been a hybrid style. I've had purist AVPN-compliant pizza, and I've had variations that I think of as "Brooklyn Neapolitan," and I like the latter better. So that's what I go for. 

 

The differences aren't relevant to my points above, because the Brooklyn variations are no easier to make, and are just as demanding of a blazing hot oven.

 

With the right kind of home oven, however, people have been able to get into 90-ish second territory. Because the high-powered infra-red broilers on the pro-sumer ranges kick out serious energy. Between this and the heat capacity/conductivity of a 30lb slab of steel, you can recreate wood oven conditions.

 

Incidentally, the Modernist Cuisine crew has put to rest the idea that there's anything magical about a wood-fired oven (besides ambience). It doesn't matter what the heat source is. As long as you have enough power, and can balance the conductive energy delivery from the deck and the radiative energy delivery from above,  you can do anything. Including a perfect Neapolitan pie. Even if VPN rules say you have to use wood. People who have hacked their home ovens to cook on the self-clean cycle figured this out decades ago.

Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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7 hours ago, scott123 said:

 

This is obviously not about 90 second pizza vs 92 second pizza. The fastest possible bake with Neapolitan dough in a home oven is going to be around 4 minutes.  It's 90 seconds vs 4 minutes.  550 vs. 850.  Pushing Neapolitan pizza to 4 minutes is like making a fat free croissant.  Without the fat, it's not a croissant any more. And trying to sell people on the viability of a fat free croissant is pretty unforgivable.


That's a fair point but I was more thrown off by the idea that their would be cultural ramifications. I think the only cultural ramifications would be the people who do it by the book looking down their nose at those who don't. And that's fine, they're making the effort to do it by the book, they have the right to take pride in that. But I don't think there's going to be any impact on the Neapolitan culture because some guy in downtown East Overshoes, Vermont calls his 4-minute pie "Neapolitan style". Those who know better and care will laugh in his general direction and those who don't know better or care will buy his pizza and enjoy it if it's good... even if it isn't authentic. To run with your example, the idea of a fat free croissant is pretty silly and obviously incorrect but there won't be uprisings in France over cultural injustice if someone does it and still calls it a croissant.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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My take is that in Italy, the cultural ramifications will amount to zero for Romans, Perugians, Genovese, Florentines, Milanese, et al. They'll all do it there own way, caring not a wit what a Neapolitan might think.

Edited by weinoo (log)

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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34 minutes ago, weinoo said:

My take is that in Italy, the cultural ramifications will amount to zero for Romans, Perugians, Genovese, Florentines, Milanese, et al. They'll all do it there own way, caring not a wit what a Neapolitan might think.

 

 

Worst pizza I remember was in Genoa.

 

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In the interest of fairness, I'm not belittling scott123's take on this. If it's as important to him as it seems, more power to him on getting the word out. It's just a little deeper into pizza than I've wanted to dive so far. Maybe someday I'll jump in with both feet and be better able to understand the cultural dangers of unpoliced Neapolitan pizza. And no, I'm not being flippant or back-handed rude with that last remark, it was sincere.

Edit: although , as the conversation continues, I'm finding the level of anger and arrogance is rapidly depleting my reservoir of attempted understanding.

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)
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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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On 7/16/2018 at 4:12 PM, Tri2Cook said:


That's a fair point but I was more thrown off by the idea that their would be cultural ramifications. I think the only cultural ramifications would be the people who do it by the book looking down their nose at those who don't. And that's fine, they're making the effort to do it by the book, they have the right to take pride in that. But I don't think there's going to be any impact on the Neapolitan culture because some guy in downtown East Overshoes, Vermont calls his 4-minute pie "Neapolitan style". Those who know better and care will laugh in his general direction and those who don't know better or care will buy his pizza and enjoy it if it's good... even if it isn't authentic. To run with your example, the idea of a fat free croissant is pretty silly and obviously incorrect but there won't be uprisings in France over cultural injustice if someone does it and still calls it a croissant.

 

Do you know many Neapolitans? I do.  They're fiercely proud of their pizza- and rightly so. If you came up with arguably the best food on the planet, wouldn't you want the whole world to experience it- and not a shitty adulterated version of it?  I guarantee you that the folks that wrote this document care about what happens in Vermont. And they're not looking down their nose on the adulterators, nor are they laughing at them. They're sad and angry because the perversion is robbing the uninitiated of the cherished experience their forefathers worked so hard to cultivate.

 

The French care pretty deeply about champagne, how do you know they wouldn't care about the adulteration of a croissant?  The protection of champagne, of parmigiano reggiano, of balsamic vinegar- these protections have very obvious financial aspects, but there's also a substantial cultural component as well.  "We, the rock star Reggio Emilians have come up with the pinnacle of cheese, we know that you, the rest of the world, are going to want to screw it up- are going to want to culturally appropriate it and commodify the crap out of it.  Don't. And pay us."

 

Atrophy is the way of the world.  If you make something truly wonderful and you don't find a way to protect it, to educate the rest of the world, it's not going to be around forever.  I don't really enjoy paying 14.99 a pound for Parmigiano Reggiano, but I am unbelievably grateful that the Reggio Emilians went to/are going to such great lengths to make sure that I get to experience their cultural treasure.  Just because the Neapolitans don't have lawyers attacking adulterators, it doesn't make their culture any less worthy of protection.  In fact, I would argue that, without the mercenary component, Neapolitan pizza is more worthy of protection- that instead of lawyers threatening to sue, it's just people, like you and me, spreading the truth.

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7 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

My purism is about the pizza being awesome and have certain qualities I like. It's not about following arbitrary rules, whether the AVPN's or anyone else's. And I precisely mean taking pizza in a "Neapolitan direction." Because the best pizza I've had has been a hybrid style. I've had purist AVPN-compliant pizza, and I've had variations that I think of as "Brooklyn Neapolitan," and I like the latter better. So that's what I go for. 

 

The differences aren't relevant to my points above, because the Brooklyn variations are no easier to make, and are just as demanding of a blazing hot oven.

 

With the right kind of home oven, however, people have been able to get into 90-ish second territory. Because the high-powered infra-red broilers on the pro-sumer ranges kick out serious energy. Between this and the heat capacity/conductivity of a 30lb slab of steel, you can recreate wood oven conditions.

 

Incidentally, the Modernist Cuisine crew has put to rest the idea that there's anything magical about a wood-fired oven (besides ambience). It doesn't matter what the heat source is. As long as you have enough power, and can balance the conductive energy delivery from the deck and the radiative energy delivery from above,  you can do anything. Including a perfect Neapolitan pie. Even if VPN rules say you have to use wood. People who have hacked their home ovens to cook on the self-clean cycle figured this out decades ago.

 

 

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.

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15 hours ago, scott123 said:

 

I'm sure I don't have to explain to you the amount of energy it takes to heat water, but, for those that may not know, it takes a lot.  In the same sauce pan, try timing how long it takes to boil 1/2"  of water and how long it takes to boil 2" of water. One is a matter of seconds, the other minutes.  I can't speak for bread, but the rate at which pizza dough heats up in the oven is a big part of it's leavening.  The water in the base of the dough quickly boils and turns to steam. This rapidly expanding steam is driven upward, which heats the rest of the dough and expands the gas that was formed during proofing. If you load the dough with water, it takes what should be a quick rise in temperature in the dough, a somewhat explosive reaction, and slows it way down. If dough doesn't get hot quickly, oven spring is sacrificed.

 

Gluten needs water to form.  Every flour has a fairly exact amount of water that it can absorb which professionals call it's absorption value.  Any water you add beyond that is just adding free water to the dough.  And this water that the gluten has no use for, this excess water, takes considerably more energy to heat, and that kills the oven spring.

 

Beyond impairing volume, excess water impairs the texture of pizza crusts in other ways. Cooler ovens have issues with pizza because, as they extend the bake time, the dough dries out and gets hard.  You might think that you're adding moisture and softness to the final product by adding water to the dough, but, in reality, by adding water, you're just increasing the bake time, and, in order to get the crust to eventually brown, you're drying it out just as much. 

 

Excess water is not your friend.  Up until the point you reach the absorption value, it's your best buddy, playing the ultra critical role of hydrating the gluten, but beyond that, it's just a literal and a figurative wet blanket.

 

Those are my thoughts on water :) I don't know exactly what kind of pizza you're striving for, and, perhaps, with a considerable amount of extra oil and sugar, you can do something American-ish or maybe something foccacia-ish, but if you want pizza that's soft, chewy, puffy, and has good color, I just don't see it happening in the Cuisinart.

 

10" x 10" x .375" steel has the same surface area- and the same weight, as 7" x 14" x .375".  If you're willing to work with 10" x 10", just get two pieces of 7" x 14" steel to make a 14" x 14" surface for your main oven.   If 7 x 14 is too heavy/too unwieldy for you, you can even break it down into three pieces- maybe three 5 x 15 pieces.

 

Like I said, I'm not really sure what you're striving for, but, from your description of your DeLonghi pizza, it certainly sounds like you want puffy.  If that's the case, I strongly recommend using your main oven.

 

How hot does your main oven get?  Does it have a broiler in the main compartment?

 

 

The idea of higher hydration was not my own.  I saw it in Modernist Bread:

 

"We bake our Neapolitan pizza at a lower temperatures than some pizza makers.  When you change a product's baking temperature, though, you also have to adjust your hydration.  Why?  Because water is a very good conductor of heat, so if you have too much of it in a very hot oven, your pizza is probably going to burn.  The hydration should be low if the oven is going to be really hot.  Decrease the oven temperature, and the pizza dough requires more water."

 

My main oven can be set up to 550F and there is a broiler in the main compartment, but I have not measured at this setting.  For baking baguettes I use a temperature of 470F.

 

And, yes thanks, chewy and puffy is what I'm after.  I confess I don't make pizza dough, I just use leftover bread dough.  (Though I am not above trying.)  I bake bread at least once a week, as I am doing at the moment.

 

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1 hour ago, scott123 said:

I don't really enjoy paying 14.99 a pound for Parmigiano Reggiano, but I am unbelievably grateful that the Reggio Emilians went to/are going to such great lengths to make sure that I get to experience their cultural treasure.

 

Wow, I pay $53 a pound for Parmigiano Reggiano on sale.

 

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1 hour ago, scott123 said:

Atrophy is the way of the world.  If you make something truly wonderful and you don't find a way to protect it, to educate the rest of the world, it's not going to be around forever.  I don't really enjoy paying 14.99 a pound for Parmigiano Reggiano, but I am unbelievably grateful that the Reggio Emilians went to/are going to such great lengths to make sure that I get to experience their cultural treasure.  Just because the Neapolitans don't have lawyers attacking adulterators, it doesn't make their culture any less worthy of protection.  In fact, I would argue that, without the mercenary component, Neapolitan pizza is more worthy of protection- that instead of lawyers threatening to sue, it's just people, like you and me, spreading the truth.


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.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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3 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

The idea of higher hydration was not my own.  I saw it in Modernist Bread:

 

"We bake our Neapolitan pizza at a lower temperatures than some pizza makers.  When you change a product's baking temperature, though, you also have to adjust your hydration.  Why?  Because water is a very good conductor of heat, so if you have too much of it in a very hot oven, your pizza is probably going to burn.  The hydration should be low if the oven is going to be really hot.  Decrease the oven temperature, and the pizza dough requires more water."

 

My main oven can be set up to 550F and there is a broiler in the main compartment, but I have not measured at this setting.  For baking baguettes I use a temperature of 470F.

 

And, yes thanks, chewy and puffy is what I'm after.  I confess I don't make pizza dough, I just use leftover bread dough.  (Though I am not above trying.)  I bake bread at least once a week, as I am doing at the moment.

 

 

I added too much water to my pizza and it burned.

 

Hey, the fire's going out, add water! xD

 

I've been hard on Nathan, Chris, and, more recently Francisco.  At the end of the day, I don't think this is a conspiracy to ruin pizza, it's just bakers looking at pizza through a bread lens.  Baker's gonna bake :)  I really wished they'd, at some point, consulted with people in the industry and learned to approach pizza as pizza rather than bread, but it looks like they might be doing that now.

 

Three 5 x 15 x .375 slabs of steel.  Each slab will weigh 8 lb.  Since oven shelves tend to sag in the middle a bit under weight, run the seams from side wall to side wall. I'm a big proponent of larger surface areas, because bigger pizza is better ;) but, if you were going to be happy with 10" pies in the Cuisinart, you might not need to go larger than 15".  Even if you do end up making 12 or 13 inch pizzas, the bigger target is nice for launching. A 15" steel surface @ 550 will completely blow any kind of 450 degree Cuisinart setup out of the water.

 

As much time as I've spent in the past highlighting the distinct differences between pizza and bread.  If you're working with a reasonable hydration bread dough (60%ish with bread flour), that should be fine for pizza. Leftover dough, if it's refrigerated can be tricky to ball as it can be hard to seal well, but if you're conscientious to make sure the seal is nice and tight and give it at least 6 hours before stretching, you should be fine.

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