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Pizza--Cook-Off 8


Chris Amirault
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has anyone tried barbequeing pizza? I seem to remember reading somewhere (probably on eG) about someone rigging a barbeque to sort of approximate the effect of a wood oven.

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Sorry I didn't get online last night to add to Jason's comments about our pizza. The mozzarella cheese was indeed plain old Polly-O, but it was combined with some good provolone and parmesean (all home grated). This boosts the cheese flavor considerably. I don't really care for fresh mozzarella on pizza, unless it is a totally fresh topped pizza, like a margarita, with fresh tomato slices perhaps. As you can see from our pictures, above, I try not to overload the pizza with cheese, and the sauce is spread very thin. To the novices: you will be tempted to put too much on your pizza -- RESIST THE URGE !!!

Salami is a really good pizza topping. I don't know why I've never seen it offered at a pizzaria, but you'd think they would, considering how they have it on hand for subs and it is easy to prep for pizza. Some pieces are chewy and others get crisp, mmm. If you don't have any parma ham on hand, salami is an excellent alternative (but do try parma ham sometime).

In recent weeks we made pizza from dough bought at a local pizzaria ($3.50 for a portion enough to make a large pie) and frozen at the supermarket ($1 each, stretched thin, about the size of a medium pie). The first time we cut the dough into quarters and made smaller pizzas. Each one was about the size of two slices, so it was fun to make many with different toppings. Last night we kept the dough intact and made pizzas as large as our peel could handle. It was nice being able to slice actual triangular slices, and there was less end crust to interior crust/topping ratio. I was surprised that the large pizzas took the same amount of time to bake as the smaller ones. The eggplant pizza was first, I had set the timer for 6 mintutes and it was just in time before burning (removed from oven at about 6:35 (minutes:seconds not PM)). The veg combo & salami pizza was removed at about 5:20 and was less charred, but still quite well done.

I have not yet perfected my rolling/stretching out and transfer to and from the peel yet, so the large pizzas aren't perfectly round. How much cornmeal should I be using on the peel? We give it a good sprinkling and spread it around with our hands, but after assembling the pizza one part always sticks a bit and a few pieces of topping go flying when trying to put the pizza in the oven. Tips appreciated in all aspects of pizza transfer. Here's a tip for peel storage... I drilled a hole in the end of the handle and hung it off a nail in the garage.

Oh, and since the next pizza is ready to go on the peel by the time the first one is done baking, I've just been using tongs to yank it onto a pizza screen when removing from the oven. We allow it to cool for a minute or two before slicing.

I'm intrigued by NealH broiler suggestion, perhaps we'll move our tile lined rack up higher and try that next time.

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Hrm i'll have to get in on this cook-off, but i'm wondering why my pizza only takes 6-7 minutes in my preheated oven..preheated to 500, for about 1 hour. I'm guessing my grust is thinner...

As soon as passover is over, i'm gonna get in on this...

And i'd like to hear how to build a brick oven in your backyard.

jason

Go to this thread on Brick Ovens for a short discussion link to plans for a brick oven.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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One more tip, especially for the veg pizzas. Instead of just drizzling the pizza with olive oil, we coat the prepped toppings with olive oil (mixed up in a bowl) before topping the pizza. This helps items like garlic, onion and mushroom cook quicker, since the oil transfers more heat directly to them.

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Rachel, are you putting the toppings on before or after you put the crust on the peel? I have the same trouble as you do with at least a little bit sticking, and I've tried it both ways.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I'm really excited about this pizza cook-off; at least I will be once Passover is finished. Right now I can only plan. I did testing for American Pie and enjoyed trying lots of different crusts. Peter's theory is that we love the pizza we had as children and i think he's got something there.

My favorite to make at home is pizza on the grill using a crust recipe from an old issue of Cooking Light. That'a during the summer. SO I will read this thread until Sunday and then get started.

And Rachel, I love genoa salami or sopressata slivered and scattered lightly on. Another wonderful combination, grilled, is nectarines, baby arugula and gogonzola. Maybe some prosciutto or salami.

Hurry up sunday1

If more of us valued food & cheer & song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. - J.R.R. Tolkien
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Rachel, are you putting the toppings on before or after you put the crust on the peel?  I have the same trouble as you do with at least a little bit sticking, and I've tried it both ways.

After putting the pizza dough on the peel, I shake it to make sure it moves freely.

Then I paint the oliveoil on, and shake it again to make sure it is mobile.

Sauce on, shake again to keep it mobile.

Meat on, shake.

Cheese on, shake.

Mozz on, shake.

Then it always slides right off onto the stone.

No problemas.

doc

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Oh--the dough!  I forgot one more thing about the dough.

So far, I have been unable to stretch out the dough completely by hand.  Invariably I'll open up a hole in the dough.  I've resorted to using a rolling pin on the last two attempts.

Anyone else have this problem?

Three things that work for me:

1: Don't over-knead. I used to use a recipe straight out of the Joy of Cooking and it called for kneading the dough for ten minutes. By the time I finished pounding that stuff into shape, the gluten was so high-strung that the dough was almost impossible to work.

2: Another trick is to make sure that the dough is realtively warm. Think how hot it is in the kitchen of a pizza joint -- at that temperature the dough is pretty malleable. I usually let the bowl sit on a slightly warm oven to finish rising (especially if it's store-bought or had been chilled.

3: Make sure it rises long enough. That first handful of dough off a well-risen ball is the easiest to work. Again, think about a good pizza place: they probably aren't making dough every couple of hours through the night -- letting the dough set won't hurt it and, in fact, gives it a nice yeasty taste.

PS: We're probably making 'za this weekend so we'll post something Monday.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I'm really excited about this pizza cook-off; at least I will be once Passover is finished. Right now I can only plan. I did testing for American Pie and enjoyed trying lots of different crusts. Peter's theory is that we love the pizza we had as children and i think he's got something there.

I have American Pie and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make pizza from scratch. So far I've tried two different crusts and they've both worked really well.
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I will share one of my families favourite pizzas...We have made so many pizzas over the years, this one seems to be the general favourite (without spending tons of money for a truffle pizza :raz: )

Smoked Potatoe Pizza

Buy pizza dough

Cube yukon gold potatoes, fried ala hash browns.

Roasted Garlic

Caramalized onions

little chili

home made tomatoe sauce

smoked mozerella

Assemble with Sauce - garlic - onions - potatoes - cheese

Enjoy!

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has anyone tried barbequeing pizza? I seem to remember reading somewhere (probably on eG) about someone rigging a barbeque to sort of approximate the effect of a wood oven.

I can't compare it to a woodburning oven, but I have made grilled pizza many times. I am not a total purist, in that I have a gas grill (I think getting the temp right w/ charcoal would be really difficult, though I am sure others have managed). It is not difficult at all to do as long as you have fast reflexes! :raz:

Basic method is this (can be done with any crust recipe in my experience):

- Preheat grill on high

- Get all pizza components ready to go... sauce, toppings, crust (all rolled/tossed/spread as you like it)... but not assembled. Crust should be on a peel or rimless baking sheet w/ plenty of cornmeal beneath, same as for oven.

- Get a nice long-handled spatula ready to go

- Brush hot grill rack with plenty of olive oil

- Slide crust onto grill rack, and close grill. Don't go far.

- After about 2-4 minutes, use spatula to remove crust back to peel, grilled side up. Step away from the grill, and quickly sauce and top your crust as desired.

- Carefully slide topped pie back onto grill, close. Again, stay close.

- 2-4 minutes later, check to make sure cheeses are melted, and bottom is nicely baked w/ grill marks. Remove to peel using spatula, and dig in ASAP!!!

We love using this method with a BBQ chicken pizza. Made with local Texas BBQ sauce, leftover rotisserie chicken, red onions, and smoked gouda or mozzerella. Yum! :wub:

Best crust recipe overall, IMO, is Wolfgang Puck's: http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/recipedetail.php?Alias=RE_WP0096

I also have a good, easy whole wheat crust if anyone is interested.

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Can we talk about specific ingredients? For example, what exact brands of flour do you get? Where do y'all get it?

Oh, and those of you who have steady and consistent recipes of your own are encouraged to post same at RecipeGullet!

edited to add RG ref -- ca

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Rachel, are you putting the toppings on before or after you put the crust on the peel?  I have the same trouble as you do with at least a little bit sticking, and I've tried it both ways.

I put the dough on the peel before topping it. And I do try to shake it as it is assembled, but somehow, some always sticks, and then some topping ends up on the oven tiles. Oh well. Still tastes good, even if not a perfect circle.

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Oh, I love this cook-off!

When we went to New York last fall we had pizza at Grimaldi's. It was the best pizza I ever had and after that, I became obsessed with pizza baking. I was very much a pizza-novice at the time and I still am: no pizza stone, no baker's peel.

Still through trial and error and weeks of pizzabaking I learned a lot. Guess I should go and look up the notes I made and see if i can recreate the Final Version that I came up with!

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I was very much a pizza-novice at the time and I still am: no pizza stone, no baker's peel.

Instead of a stone, you can get tiles cheaper, and the peel is totally worth it. They're not expensive, got mine in a restaurant supply store, I think we paid around $20 for a medium-large one. Smaller ones can be had for less. You look at it and go, "where am I going to store that???" But it was easy to drill a hole in the end of the handle to hang it on the wall of the garage, if you have a pantry with some available wall space, you could hang it there, or even in back of a clothes closet (if you clean it off first). :wink:
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you guys are mean, mean, mean!! :angry:

I want pizza too!

The doctor said because of the place I broke my foot I am unable to use a walking cast and will be off my feet for the rest of the month...

I can pm my address to anyone who wants to send pizza my way..... :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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gallery_23695_426_1102020022.jpg

gallery_23695_426_1106440442.jpg

these are my last 2 pizzas actually a few months ago. The first one is a rip on California Pizza Kitchen with toasted garlic, sauteed onions, butterflied shrimp and mixed cheeses well dressed with olive oil.....

The second one was "sicilian" because I just couldnt be bothered turning out multiple thin crust pies and damn was this one even better than usual. It was one of the snowstorm weekends and I only had a teaspoon of yeast so I started early in teh morning with a sponge and then in the afternoon cut that in half and made the dough for the pizza nice and soft let it rise once then punched it down into a roasting pan. After a second rise I dimpled it and baked for 15 min...pulled it out and dressed it then finished baking the toppings. Next day the rest of the sponge became a killer sesame boule.

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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garden state motorcyle association

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The best pizza I think I have ever had is from a local brewery/restaurant called 'Iron Hill Brewery' (they also make incredible beer, which goes well with the pizza). It was basically shrimp lejon (a dish that should show up on far more menus) in pizza form, I might try my hand at creating something like that.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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This is the dough recipe I use:

Click here

I made this at work a few weeks ago. Topped with pesto, red peppers, black olives and sundried tomatoes for a pissaladiere-type effect. (I didn't think the girls would go for anchovies, so I didn't bother adding them.) The dough is chewy-crisp if baked on a stone, a little less successful baked on half-sheet pans.

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here are a few pizza axiums my teacher gave me at school. he was a born and raised neopolitan so i trust him

As a Neapolitan myself I would really like to have a few words with your teacher :smile: , quite a lot there I don't agree upon.

1. the crust must be foccacia

Definitely not. Neapolitan pizza crust is just flour, water, salt and yeast (eventually sourdough). All the pizzerias I personally know in Naples use such a dough with slight changes in water percentages and rising times, which are usually quite long. No oil, milk, soy flour or stuff like that. And since there's no oil in there it is not a focaccia dough.

2. the sauce must never be cooked

Absolutely agree on this one. Especially when baking in a home oven that takes longer than the traditional wood fired brick oven. It's important to spread the sauce really thin though.

3. the sauce must have anchovies

This is the first time I hear such a thing. In Naples you don't even use a sauce per se, just chopped canned tomatoes. I personally find it makes little sense: if I'm topping my pizza with grilled vegetables or meats I wouldn't really like to taste anchovies there.

4. pizza must never have seafood of any kind in it

5. pizza must never have raw white onions as a topping

6. vegetarian pizza must never be eaten in his sight

I'll leave those, toppings are really a matter of choice. I agree on the raw onion thing though.

7. when in doubt go for the olive oil

Yes and no. A nice drizzle of olive oil before the pizza goes into the oven is a must, but too much makes the pizza heavy.

8. if it doesn't taste like momma's then it's not pizza

I have to admit that this is one of those sentences I've learned to dread. Unless his mom was a "pizzaiola" (pizza baker) then I'm pretty sure there's plenty of better pizzas around. The "like mom didi it" concept is something many Italians believe in, at times with a reason. But remaining stuck with that is IMO a great limit in extending your gastronomic horizons.

Definitely count me in on this one, I just bought a special pizza flour last week and was waiting for a good chance to use it. I'll be making the dough tonight so that I can bake on Friday.

hmmm. i don't know who to believe now. although i'm not italian myself but i'm pretty confident about the anchovie thing. i've seen and have been told by so many people. i don't mean that the anchovie should be a main ingredient but it should be used as a seasoning. this is the way i've been taught. i even looked it up in my larousse. but then aain larousse is a french reference and i know how the french and italians get along when it comes to food.

bork bork bork

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