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Cheated on my WFO - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Cheated on my WFO

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  • Cheated on my WFO

    Don't tell! We visited our local VPN place last night for the first time since WFO completion. It was fun to have the reality check on how my own pizzas compare since we really hadn't had anything other than homemade since early summer. From the get go I've said if I can produce pizzas that are at least as good as the local place, I feel like I'm doing great.
    First off, it was DEFINITELY the B team on last night but as we all know, it's hard to make a bad pizza from a WFO and if I hadn't been to this place so many times AND become my own pizzaiolo at home, I'd never notice any of this. The dough guy was, IMO, way over handling the dough...more than the A team guy and more than I ever would. Kind of painful to watch, actually. And it seems like the oven hearth to dome temp was a little off, but maybe I've just gotten used to my own pizzas where I shoot for a bottom crust that is browned with some char vs. utterly pale with char which is what was coming out last night.
    Still, a super tasty pizza. The biggest thing I noticed was in the chew of the crust. I use KA bread flour with the 500/375 FB recipe, and I get a nicely chewy but not tough crust that's very tasty and with great oven spring/biggish bubbles. I've also done about 10kg. of Caputo red bag and found the end product has no detectable differences other than being less tasty than with KA flour. What I had last night was noticeably less chewy and less crusty, equal but not better flavor than what I make. I don't know what flour they use, but I'm certain the chew difference is due to a a lower protein content than either KA bread or Caputo red which makes me want to try the KA Italian style 00. Anyway, I didn't think it was as good as mine(!!!)...quite surprising, because I figured we'd go there and I'd leave feeling like I have major work to do to get my skillz up to par. Instead, now I feel like a rock star. The only thing that's better is that they also make a wicked good salad that I didn't have to prep any ingredients for and I don't have a mess to clean up, but they also don't do dessert pizzas or smores and I don't get to play with fire
    Of course my disclaimer for all of this is that I've never been to Italy for VPN. That would be the true test.

  • #2
    Re: Cheated on my WFO

    Originally posted by splatgirl View Post
    and I don't get to play with fire
    Now that is what I'm waiting for! Guess I will stick with the fire pit until the wfo is done.

    Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America


    • #3
      Re: Cheated on my WFO

      Hi Splat!

      Great report. Ask them what flour they use. Probably Caputo or it should at least be Italian if they have VPN status. You might also want to ask them what mixer they use - probably spiral and that does have some interesting impact on dough quality!



      • #4
        Re: Cheated on my WFO

        I happen to know an ex employee and of course the first thing I asked was what kind of flour. Evidently the flour and recipes are a tightly kept secret and as of a few years ago they switched their dough production to a central, off site location that services all of their restaurants (it is a local chain). AFIK, the individual restaurants don't have any contact with the dough prior to receiving it already portioned in proof boxes.
        I would love to know where this production kitchen is, if only to camp out and see what deliveries they get. Even better, a tour!

        Is a spiral mixer different from the fork mixer in the Polaine YouTube video that was linked the other day?


        • #5
          Re: Cheated on my WFO

          The spiral mixer is different but gives very similar results - very gently worked and amazing dough. The fork folk seem to be a bit more "forks rule" oriented than the spiral people but there seems to be no tangible difference in result based on anything I have heard.

          The VPN folk require Italian flour and they required a friend to buy a spiral mixer (I am sure they would have accepted a fork but they really don't like Hobarts). The change in his dough was stunning with nothing changed but the mixer. Made a big believer out of me! I am hoping for a spiral for Christmas!

          I should note: I find the impact of the spiral more significant in the tactile quality of the dough than in the pizza itself. And, like you, Splat!, I actually have a minor preference for KA over Caputo for flavor. (I wonder if that could be water related????)



          • #6
            Re: Cheated on my WFO

            will look forward to a full report on the hoped for spiral mixer, Jay! Which one?
            I've looked and looked at the larger-capacity and more dough specific alternatives to my ~20 year old Kitchen Aid, but I just can't decide what to buy. I think until or unless my KA dies I'm not going to be able to make a decision. In the mean time, I'm mentally redesigning my kitchen to make a place to put something so big.