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  #21  
Old 11-04-2011, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

After reworking the dough to get rid of the thin spots I managed to get the very floppy pizza into the oven. It browned quite extensively but no sign of leoparding. The the oven was at 400 C.
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  #22  
Old 11-04-2011, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

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Originally Posted by heliman View Post
Recipe is: 66% water
Ah, there's your problem. Elevated hydration will promote leoparding, but only if you dial up the temp accordingly, and you definitely wouldn't want to dial up the temp that much on a 66% hydration dough, or, as I said earlier, you'll have major gum line issues.

You're still using the Superb Bakers Flour, right? Since protein, for the most part, dictates absorption, you want to base the hydration on that. At 11% protein, that's almost identical to Neapolitan flour. There's not a Neapolitan pizzeria on the planet using that much water. I highly suggest trying a more traditional Neapolitan recipe. I've heard of some places going as low as 54% hydration, but I think 58%-60% is a good target. With the right hydration and a high temp, you should see plenty of leoparding.

And, yes, that's parmigiano reggiano in the Da Michele video.
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  #23  
Old 11-05-2011, 03:49 AM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

Yes - still using superb baker's flour. What would you suggest as the final recipe then?
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

Rossco, although many people, myself included, have strong feelings about the mercenary nature of the Neapolitan associations, I think, as far as traditional Neapolitan recipes go, they did a pretty good job with the regulations put forward here:

Vera Pizza Napoletana Specification | Verace Pizza Napoletana

Da Michele, even with their old dough approach, isn't going to be too drastically different than the product outlined there. Because of flour and environmental variables, they're smart enough not to dictate an exact hydration, but, like I said, for your flour, I'd go with 58%-60%. If you want a figure to try first, then I'd go with 60 and see how it feels.

They're also, imo, going with a bare minimum of fermentation time. I get the feeling this is geared more toward Neapolitan pizzerias with rigid schedules. For those of us have the time, I'd go with a range of 12-18 hours bulk and then 4-6 balled. That's long enough to avoid generating too much residual sugar, while still allowing for a crust with good digestibility.

The yeast is going to be enough for the final dough ball size to double in volume. As I'm sure you're aware, the only way to dial in the quantity is through some trial and error.

It's also important to be aware of the fact that they're working with very slow moving fork mixers. If you're using a different type of mixer or kneading by hand, I'd trim that 30 minute total mix/knead dramatically. I would recommend shooting for a post-knead consistency that's somewhere between cottage cheese and smooth. Depending on your equipment, that could be as little as 6 minutes total.

Lastly, take note of their thickness factor. From what I can tell, their regulations restrict dough balls to be no larger than 250 g for a 35 cm pizza. For 32 cm, I'd try 230 g.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

My neighbours daughter got married yesterday so was asked to supply six pizzas for the after party. I was happy to oblidge and thought this a good opportunity to try this dough making method.

I started by making a standard 60% hydration biga the night before with a miniscule amount of IDY in it. That was left on the bench for an hour then placed in the fridge over night. Made the main batch of dough around 10:30 the following day - 60% hydration as per the suggestion. I used the KA to prepare the dough and it battled a bit. I kneaded it for about 5 minutes and it was pretty firn and the strands of gluten were visible. I added the salt after combining biga water and flour and kneading it for a few minutes first. I bulk fermented it on the bench for about 5 hrs and balled for 4 hrs. When balling I observed that the gluten strands were still quite prominent and i was concerned that it wouln't stretch correctly later. My concerns proved to be unfounded and it stretched perfectly with a few air bubbles in it.

I had a fire going since Friday evening so the oven was running well. I got the temp up to around 400 C and cooked the 6 pizzas. The results were excellent - even some leoparding present as a bonus! This will be my official method from now on.

Just to clarify a few thing if I may...
- Should the final dough have a rough texture to it?
- What % salt should be used?
- Da Michele doesn't use olive oil on their pizzas but a "seed oil". I have seen much speculation on what oil it is. Many believe it is grape seed oil. Do you possibly know what oil they use?

Thanks very much for this excellent advice. It has significantly increased my understanding of the "Da Michele" method - which I believe is the standard that one should emulate in the pursuit of pizza perfection.
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Last edited by heliman; 11-19-2011 at 03:22 PM.
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  #26  
Old 11-20-2011, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

Rossco, I'm happy that the lower hydration worked out well for you.

As I've mentioned before, 400 C is a little low for Neapolitan, but I think a very active/large/long fire on the side and an extremely hot dome are both bigger players in the leoparding equation.

I'm curious, what percentage of your total dough is your biga? I think, rather than fermenting a part of the dough overnight and another part of the dough only 9 hours, I think you'd be better off taking a page out of the Da Michele playbook by making all the dough at once and fermenting the whole thing overnight in bulk.

As far as the rough texture of the post kneaded dough goes... traditionally, Neapolitan pizzerias knead their dough to a relatively smoother point, but, they don't cold ferment and they're using stronger flour than you are. Even with room temp bulk fermenting and stronger flour, I still think there's a tremendous benefit to minimal kneading. Smooth/windowpaning is the old school, classic approach, but with the advances in breadmaking knowledge of the last 25 years, minimal kneading (along with longer ferments) seems to be catching on, thanks to no knead breadmaking pioneers like Jim Lahey. One of the most lauded pizzamakers in the U.S., Chris Bianco, although he doesn't talk about his doughmaking process, from the extreme extensibility of the finished product, is most likely using a minimal knead technique. You, yourself, noticed how the dough was a bit ropy post kneading, but handled beautifully during stretching- that's classic minimal kneaded dough behavior.

Now, I'm not necessarily saying that less kneading is always better, nor am I advocating no-knead approaches for pizza. The idea that I am putting across is that erring on the side of caution can be beneficial for dough. It's also vital to keep in mind that fermentation time is a kneading equivalent- the longer you ferment a dough, the more gluten is developed, the less kneading is required at the onset. A dough fermented 12 hours will require far less kneading than one only fermented 3 hours.

Which KA model are you using? Is it spiral or C hook? The 5 quart artisan, is, imo, worthless for kneading dough. The 6 quart pro 600 series, with the spiral hook, is a little better, but I still think, as far as mixers go, it leaves a lot to be desired. If you're making small-ish amounts of dough (6 dough balls or less), I think it's worth giving hand kneading a try. If you ferment the dough overnight, you really don't have to break much of a sweat with long kneads. The power of the Italian fork mixers is that they mimic the effects of hand kneading. As you get into larger amounts of dough, the Bosch Universal Plus, although inferior to a fork mixer/hand kneading, is far superior to the KA (albeit a bit expensive).

2.5% to 3% salt is typically used in Neapolitan formulations.

Da Michele uses Soybean (Soya Seed) oil

Quote:
Many use Sunflower oil, it is true, but this is not the tradition. The fact is the long time ago', when the pizza was exclusive to Naples, the only two fats available in the city were Rendered pork fat and Olive oil from the Sorrento peninsula. The olive oil from the Sorrento peninsula is very mild, and now too expensive, so most pizzeria have turned to sunflower oil both for a mild taste and especially for cost. "Da Michele, which produces the best dough in Naples by any standard, top it with Soya seed oil.... But as I said is because of the mild taste.

Last edited by scott123; 11-20-2011 at 02:13 AM.
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  #27  
Old 11-20-2011, 05:27 AM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

Really getting to the bottom of this process now. Again, thanks very much for the continued input. It is all coming together in my mind now... at last!!

I've kept with the 400 C temp as I have had burned based with anything above that. That said, my fire is a shortish pyramic setup so perhaps I need to spread it out a bit. I feed it with quick burning "flame" logs though so hopefully it is fit for purpose.

I have been using 40% biga. In emulating the Da Michele method - would it be best to make some "old dough" that I can keep going? If so, at what stage do I keep a bit for the next baking? With salt added? Do I need to use fresh yeast? Do you perhaps have a summary of the overall process one can follow in this regard?

As far as a "stronger" flour goes ... does that mean a higher protein content? The Superb Baker's Flour I use is 11% as a point of reference.

I have a Hobart 20 Qt planetary mixer with a spiral hook which I use for the larger batches of dough, but for the most part I use the "useless" Kitchenaid Artisan with a C hook. Unfortunately the Bosch you refererred to is not available in Australia as I would certainly have considered buying one. The reviews look excellent. What about a spiral mixer with a rotating bowl? I've seen a few being sold second hand - but are a bit pricey around the $2,000.

One area that I have had a problem with in the past is thin areas in the pizza - caused, I believe, by too much yeast. I am wondering if I do the whole batch overnight, al la Da Michele, if I won't experience that problem again. This was largely when IDY was used, and it wasn't as apparent when using a biga.

Thanks again for this input ....
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by scott123 View Post
It would be nice if you could measure the dome height, but I think the ferocity of the fire will make or break the precious pox. Are you maintaining a strong, ceiling licking flame and bright red embers?

Lastly, could you post your recipe?
Sorry - I seem to have missed replying to these questions... just went outside to measure the oven.

Oven Measurements:

100 cm - front to back (floor)
85 cm - left to right (floor)
38 cm - dome height

Dough Recipe:

Flour - 100.00%
Water - 60.00%
Salt - 2.75%
Biga - 40.00%

Biga Recipe:

Flour - 100.00%
Yeast - 0.25%
Water - 60.00%
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Last edited by heliman; 11-21-2011 at 03:18 AM.
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  #29  
Old 11-21-2011, 05:18 AM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

Rossco, thanks for the measurements. Everything seems to be in order from a leoparding perspective. Btw, nothing's special about the material for the floor, correct? It's just regular firebrick, right?

I'm attaching a photo of what the inside of Da Michele's oven looks like. I don't think you have to be that extreme, but I would aim for the biggest inferno that you can get, while the pizza is baking.

Regarding Da Michele's leavening, since we've talked last, some new information has come to light:

A PHILOSOPHY OF PIZZA NAPOLETANISMO!

The author of this post, Marco Parente, has fairly close ties to the Neapolitan community, so his feelings on this subject carry some weight. Basically, he's saying that Da Michele uses what 99.9% of the Neapolitan pizzerias use- cake yeast, and that their use of the term 'crisceto' doesn't signify adding dough from the old batch to the new, but actually making the dough and letting it sit overnight.

Based upon this information, I would recommend going with a small amount of cake yeast and an overnight bulk rise- no biga. Start with cool water, dissolve the yeast before adding the flour/salt and do the bulk rise in a cool-ish place. 12 hours bulk. Ball. 6 more hours. 18 hours total.

The spiral mixers are good, but, from the ones that I've seen, they seem to run a bit larger and don't work well with small amounts of dough. Try kneading by hand- if you toss in, say, a 30 minute autolyse after the mix, you can cut the kneading down to only a couple minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heliman View Post
As far as a "stronger" flour goes ... does that mean a higher protein content? The Superb Baker's Flour I use is 11% as a point of reference.
'Stronger' does traditionally signify more protein, but when you get into Italian flours, it gets a bit more complicated. I think you might have missed my post regarding the strength of Caputo vs. Allied and my recommendation to give the Allied Perfection Bakers Flour a try:

http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f41/...tml#post123487 (Tony Gemignani - Pizza Making Fundamentals)
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  #30  
Old 11-21-2011, 05:54 AM
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Default Re: Leoparding - The Discussion Continues...

That is a mean fire. I have a very large bed of coles which probably makes the floor pretty hot and with the added flame it is probably the wrong balance. It seems that DM is more flame than coals - is that a reasonable assumption?

Floor is standard fire bricks - nothing fancy there...

OK, will get some cake yeast from the Italian shop tomorrow and do a test run. From memory, the cake yeast should be about double the IDY ratio so I will work on that. Will do a test run later in the week to see how it performs.

So, based on Gemignani's recipe using fresh yeast, these are the ratios:

Flour 2500.0 100.00%
Water 1450.0 58.00%
Salt 284.0 11.36%
Yeast 85.0 3.40%

Salt looks a bit on the high side so I may tweak that - and also up the water to 60%... how does that look?
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