#21  
Old 06-14-2010, 08:15 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

Hi Rossco!

The comments are my pleasure. Sourdough and pizza are like a puzzle and we are all trying to find the right solution - for ourselves.

The owner of my local pizza place of note prefers his "one shot" IDY dough between day 1 and day 2. I don't know how much yeast he puts in - probably .2 or .3 percent. By day 3 the dough is losing strength. I agree with his assessment and can usually tell the age of his dough when I eat there. (His dough is REALLY consistent so the only variable is age!) (First day dough is a little denser and less flavorful, second day a bit lighter and more flavorful, third day is lighter yet but the flavor is muddied.

With the biga you can probably go three days if you want to but it will probably start losing strength and you probably won't be improving your flavor after that.

Look forward to your experiment!
Jay
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  #22  
Old 06-15-2010, 07:34 AM
heliman's Avatar
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Location: Perth, Australia
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

...Update ...

This just keeps getting better ... and tonight ... this seems like the elusive "sweet spot" has been reached. I don't think that I can top this evening's dough, and don't think that I want to! It was silky, malleable, didn't have andy thin spots, cooked evenly with good spring and it had a subtle sweetness. Perfecto!!

So, 24 hr biga and 24 hour cold fermentation for final dough. Left on the bench for 1.5 hrs to warm up prior to baking.

One thing that I am looking at now is the tomato sauce. I used canned tomatoes this evening, drained and simmered for about 30 mins to reduce and remove excess water. Made a big difference to the moisture level on the top of the base. Also, I kept toppings to a minimum, making for an all round very tasty pizza. All that is left now is to try this recipe in the WFO. Maybe this weekend it will happen...
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Last edited by heliman; 06-15-2010 at 07:36 AM.
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  #23  
Old 06-15-2010, 05:02 PM
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Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Location: Northridge, CA
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

Rossco, these sets of pizzas are amazing! The last pic is a perfect amount of toppings and your crust is beautiful.

On your 1st post, the mushroom/anchovy/caper/chili; isn't there a tomato base on there? I see red. I've got a big summer pizza party next month and this sounds good and different for me.

Also, when you prepare or make the biga for it's 1st 24hr, do you just use your sour dough starter and make it thicker with flour thereby making it a biga (as opposed to a poolish or just plain SD starter) or is the biga just flour, water and the very small amount of IDY and there is no other natural levain in there?

We were having such a good time in the pool last night looking at your pizza pic and really enjoyed this thread of yours. That's your pizza in my yard,
Thanks, Dino
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  #24  
Old 06-15-2010, 06:49 PM
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Smile Re: Personal Best Pizza

Wow Dino - I am honoured to have my pizza featured on your laptop by the pool. Thanks so much for that, and for the kind comments too. Much appreciated, and particularly generous coming from a skilled baker like you!

This has certainly been an interesting exercise for me, and spurred me to now look critically at toppings (types/quantities) and most importantly, the tomato sauce. I guess with the focus on the dough in the past, I have neglected this area to some extent.

I have switched to canned Roma tomatoes due to the season being over for the fresh ones (due to start again soon though) and whilst not as good, the convenience offered is great. I should actually remove the seeds with a siev but have been a bit lazy in that regard.

In relation to the anchovy, mushroom, chilli etc pizza - yes it had a tomato sauce base. I limit quantities to one scoop of a large stainless steel serving spoon so at not to over sauce it. I then spread it over the base in a circular motion, leaving the base still visible underneath.

The starter is a just a new batch of flour, water and a miniscule amount of yeast all mixed together at 60% hydration and allowed to bench proof for about 1 - 1.5 hrs. Into the fridge for 24 hrs after that. I chop it up with a dough knife to facilitate it being incorporated into the main mix. When making the main batch I add the water, flour, salt, olive oil and biga together, mix for a few mins and then hydrate for 20 mins. I machine knead for 5 mins and then do another few minutes of kneading on the bench. The inclusion of the olive oil of course means that I am deviating from the authentic Neapolitan recipe, but I decided to pursue a product that I actually prefer, over slavishly following a predetermined recipe that is not exactly how I and others like it.

This decision was made after my visit to Da Michele a few weeks ago. Whilst their pizza was fantastic I reasoned that if I am deviating on the topping (according to my and other's personal taste), then it is not authentic anyhow so I may just throw away the rule book and pursue a product that my guests and I enjoy. That, hopefully, is what I have done. My wife incidentally was of the same view and echoed my sentiment on the Da Michele and the many other pizzas that we sampled in Italy. She is quite fussy about pizzas too so her input was certainly helpful in deciding on which path to follow.

For Aussie pizzaiolos, I am using Allied Mills Superb Baker's flour - a great, well-priced, locally available product that is perfect for pizza. Definitely worth trying if you haven't already done so. Variety Foods in Bayswater is the local Perth supplier (no I don't work for them!!!!!). ;-)
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Last edited by heliman; 06-16-2010 at 05:54 AM.
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  #25  
Old 06-16-2010, 06:09 AM
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

Well I can't help myself ... started another biga this evening...

Bought 2 x 12.5 kg bags of flour so I won't run short of supplies. Looks like a Friday night bake ... plus maybe a Sunday session in the WFO. Rain should have cleared by then...
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  #26  
Old 06-16-2010, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

Peter Reinhart also points out that Italian flour produces a more naturally silky dough, and other flours benefit from the addition of the olive oil. If the local flour + oil combo works, then go with it!

I never heard back from Allied Mills - might have to try a bit harder to track them down.

I did have really good results with my same-day dough on Monday (in honour of the Queen). I basically followed the FB recipe but increased hydration. 2 hours fermenting in the bowl and 2 hours proofing as balls on the bench. The balls stayed really round and were very easy to work with - that was the second attempt in the WFO and all 10 pizzas were great.

I'll definitely be trying your biga formula soon - look forward to flavour improvements.

On the sauce front, I'm preferring to cook the tinned tomatoes when using electric oven, but raw for the WFO. Either way I add oil, dried oregano, garlic, and sugar.

Cheers,
Mick
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  #27  
Old 06-16-2010, 07:15 AM
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

Yes I did try Reinhart's Neo-Neapolitan (or should that be faux?) but didn't have much success. To me, the biga has a mild affect on the dough - unlike the very powerful IDY.

Drop Variety Foods in Perth an email and ask them about other outlets. I'm sure they will point you in the right direction.

Whatever your preference in tomato sauce preparation I guess the key is to remove any surplus moisture to prevent sogginess. I only add salt and olive oil to my sauce as I don't want any overpowering flavours like herbs/garlic pre-loaded as I prefer to introduce that later acording to the toppings used.
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  #28  
Old 06-17-2010, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

Biga about to be added to pizza mix. This is the batch that I made last night and will be making pizza dough this evening. Hopefully I will be able to the repear previous success of the new recipe...

More later....
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Last edited by heliman; 06-17-2010 at 03:05 AM.
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  #29  
Old 06-17-2010, 03:54 AM
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

I'm just making the biga ready for the weekend.

One question - are you adding any IDY to the dough? It doesn't sound like it, but all the bread-with-biga recipes I've seen still seem to add yeast to the final mix.

Cheers,
Mick
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  #30  
Old 06-17-2010, 04:28 AM
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Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: Personal Best Pizza

Hi Mick...

No additional yeast added to the pizza dough - and only .1 gram in the biga when I prepare for 3 x 270 gram pizzas.

The tiny amount of yeast is an important reason for the success of the recipe in my view....
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