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mrgweeto 10-05-2009 07:56 AM

Crispy Pizza bottom
My brother and I are no newcomers to cooking. We have been making pizza for years in a conventional oven using a pizza restaurant dough recipe that we got from a friend that owned a very successful restaurant. Now that we have a WFO we have been making pizza just about every weekend to showcase our labor of love to family and friends. The pizza comes our ourstanding. The crust (bones as we call them) are crispy yet light and airy. The overall texture is fantastic. The only thing we would like to do is get the underneath a little crispier. We don't overload with toppings or sauce. The oven floor is between 750 and 800 degrees and the internal temperature is slightly higher. We slide the pizza on the floor and let the steam dissipate and then rotate so as not to burn the edges. We will slide the pizza away from the flames to even give the pie longer cooking times without burning (2mins instead of 90secs. We will also rake the coals on the floor after a few pies have been made to keep the temperature hot. Maybe it's just us because everybody raves about it but I would like to get that bottom a little crispier. Any suggestions or am I just your typical cook that always has a hard time judging their own work.

texassourdough 10-05-2009 08:06 AM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
I would suggest trying different dough recipes/flours. Oil can, for example give you a crisper bottom for you will effectively fry the dough on the hearth. KA Italian flour is, in my experience, crisper and more like Roman pizza dough.

Think of pizza is a journey, and not as a destination. You will be learning and experimenting forever! There is always something to do better!

Good Luck!

mrgweeto 10-05-2009 08:40 AM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
We are currently using an all purpose unbleached flour. 1 1/3 cups water, 3 cups (1lb) flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sugar in the water with 1/2 + tsp of yeast, 1 tbs oil. Water in the mixer and then adding the dry. We get a nice sticky yet managable dough that we proof at 100 degrees till it doubles in size (about 45mins) the we cut in half form ;in a ball and let proof out in the refridge till it is piza time. We then take it out and let it rest for a good half hour or more and then make our pizzas. We tried a fine Italian flour right from the Mother land but saw no difference. You don't want to use high gluten and I don't think bleached would make a difference. It is pobably just the difference between the gas restaurant ovens and the WFOs. The pizzas are nice and light and the dough has a great flavor. Thanks for the advice. OH!!!!!!!! Italian bread dough is the same as pizza dough without the addition of sugar is it not?

texassourdough 10-05-2009 01:12 PM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
Italian breads have more variability in a given name than the French. Pane Pugliese is in my experience a simple yeast bread with no oil or sugar, just commercial yeast, flour, water, salt. Also, not slashed.

Since you are using oil you might try simply increasing the heat of the hearth a bit but you are running your oven pretty hot to begin with.

I don't use oil in my doughs unless I am using bread flour and not always even then.

Looking up Roman dough online suggests you need some semolina - say 1/4 cup for your three cups and that the semolina will make it crisper. Some people also replace some of the AP with pastry flour to make it more tender at the same time as they make it crisper. Other advice is don't overmix.

RTflorida 10-05-2009 01:19 PM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
Jay is far more the expert than I, but I agree with changing up your dough mix.
Many of us have had poor luck with all purpose flours and the high temps of a WFO. All purpose works fine in your home gas/electric and you neighborhood pizza shop, but you only talking around 500 degrees.
I've got to say, Caputo flour works fantastic and is well worth the cost. No comparison to the readily available all purpose and bread flours I've found.
The Caputo will give a crispy bottom, poofy cornice with nice char, and an overall texture that is light, slightly firm (not tough), and airy. To top it off, the most basic recipe works the best. 62%-65% hydration with no oil or sugar (regardless of yeast type). Just a bit of experimenting with salt and yeast content based when I intend to use it. I've gone high on the yeast in order to use the dough in a hurry (within a couple of hours) and used very little when doing an overnight refrigerated proofing). I've seen very little texture difference, but better taste (and much less a yeast taste) with the overnight.


david s 10-05-2009 01:50 PM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
Try adding a couple of tablespoonsful per 4 cups of flour, of semolina to your dough. It makes the base more crunchy.

mrgweeto 10-06-2009 06:48 AM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
Jay, RT, Dave,
Thanks for the input. I have been reading about the addition of semolina flour. I am going to give that a try. The dough, like I said, is delicious. I just want to get the bottom a little more done. It is amazing how much better pizza tastes in the WFO. A friend wanted to go out for pizza last week and I just started to laugh. We went for sushi. Does that mean I have turned into a pizza snob?

texassourdough 10-06-2009 09:17 AM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
>Does that mean I have turned into a pizza snob?

YEP! Welcome to the club!

david s 10-06-2009 01:35 PM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
We used to cook the pizzas on trays instead of directly on the floor. This method results in a soggy base presumably because moisture is trapped between the tray and the base. Cooking straight on the floor produces superior results.

mrgweeto 10-06-2009 01:41 PM

Re: Crispy Pizza bottom
These pies go right on a 750+ degree floor and it is great watching them "let off steam" and then start to rise around the edges and bubble in the middle as the sauce actually boils. Love It.

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