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Breven 08-25-2008 08:35 AM

First pizzas!!!
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As some of you know, I had plans to make my first pizzas on Saturday. In reading through everyone else's experiences, I knew it was probably not going to be perfect, so I didn't invite a lot of people over, except my parents. I started making the dough a little late, about 4:00. I used two recipies to see what I liked better- one had EVOO and more yeast, the other had no EVOO and half as much yeast. After I set the batches aside for the first rise- I noticed they wern't rising!!! I checked over the ingredients...I think I did everything right. Another hour goes rise. Called the folks told them not to come over. I realized later that I used COLD water instead of warm water- so the yeast didn't activate. Total bummer.

Last night however, I started making dough in the morning. I figured if I screwed things up I would have plenty fo time to make additional batches. This time...great success! Long story short, I managed about 10 small personal size pizzas. I had mixed success, gave myself a B- on this try. I didn't burn anything, but they just didn't taste great. Good, not great. I'm sure I didn;t get my oven hot enough. They after the first couple, it was taking 4 minutes to cook. Also, the group all agreed that the second batch of dough (without EVOO and less yeast) was the better of the two. I'd like to try a little sugar next time. I think I'll play around with dough recipies and sauces until I can give myself an A. What a blast though...had a great time.

Ken524 08-25-2008 08:52 AM

Re: First pizzas!!!
Congrats on the pizza!
By the way... I am SO loving that castle thing you did. Just saw the pics in the photo gallery. That is going to be awesome with the stone and slate.

Breven 08-25-2008 08:56 AM

Re: First pizzas!!!
Thanks Ken. Yeah, I think I may have mentioned before, the castle thing wasn't really part of the original design- but I was really pressed for space. If the foundation was rectangular, I woul dhave only had about 1 1/2 feet from the corner of the oven to the spa- not enough room to walk by. My only idea was to round it off0 gave me a little over 3 ft. Plenty of room.
As it turns out, I'm glad I did it (not that I had much choice). It should look great in the end.

christo 08-26-2008 01:10 PM

Re: First pizzas!!!
Sounds like a better first pizza experience than I had!!

Be careful of the sugar - it will cause the dough to brown/blacken faster and the heat at which we fire our ovens it's not necessarily a good thing.


Breven 08-26-2008 01:29 PM

Re: First pizzas!!!
Do you have any suggestions?

I liked James recipe o.k., the one on Forno's home page- I used the Tipo 00 flour and canned San Marzano's for the sauce. Like I said, the overall opinion was that it was just average. Not bad getting average on the first try, but what do I have to do to get to GREAT? I personally did not like the sauce. My mom thought it was great. I made a Margharita, didn't like it at all. Just too boring for me. Made a ham and pineapple, thought it was the best pizza of the night. I guess for me, the toppings make the pizza.

Of course, I realize that everyone has their own vision of what great pizza is...and sometimes it's tough to even identify.

I know so little about bread and baking, I'm jsut wondering what modifications I can try that might make the dough more appealing. I think I'll try just a little sugar in one batch, maybe a little honey in another. See if either of those are better.

james 08-26-2008 01:42 PM

Re: First pizzas!!!
Way to go Breven,

It's great getting it right the first time.

You can always try experimenting with the dough and sauce separately -- to see which one impacts the pizzas and your tastes more. My guess is that you will settle on a dough recipe and technique that doesn't have anything added (like sugar, EVO or honey), and that you will vary your sauces a lot. The basic San Marzano recipe is, well, basic -- and it focuses your taste on the basics. You can always add more elaborate tomato-based sauces, pesto, white pizzas, etc. as you go. Plus, different people like different things, so your guests and always pick what they like -- if you give them a choice.

Keep it going and keep having fun!

All that said, my guess is that the basic Caputo dough will be everyone's favorite.

Breven 08-26-2008 02:47 PM

Re: First pizzas!!!
Thanks James...

It sure is fun to cook in that thing! I'm looking forward to many, many nights of cold beer and experimental pizzas- until I get just the right combination. I'll let you all know when I find something that gets a lot of compliments.

Aside from sauce and dough practice, this Saturday's specialty pizza is going to be my personal favorite...the BBQ Chicken.

DrakeRemoray 08-26-2008 05:48 PM

Re: First pizzas!!!
Congratulations on your first pizzas!!

What did you do with the dough that you made the first night? Did you just throw it away? I make my dough with cold water the night before and let it retard in the the fridge, no first rise at all...Your dough would probably have been fine (even excellent) the next day. I would always make it ahead of time...

I am using the recipe in the Reinhardt's recipe from the "Bread Baker's apprentice", but I cut down on the evoo and the yeast. I suggest checking out some of the popular bread books from the library and start reading and experimenting. I love the Hamelman for bread.


Breven 08-27-2008 07:42 AM

Re: First pizzas!!!

I think I must have spent some time retarding in the fridge...

I am so lost when it comes to dough, well, baking in general. I threw two batches of dough away on Sat because I used cold water and it didn't rise. I just assumed that it wouldn't work since there was no rise. Darn it.

I wen't out and bought the bread baker's apprentice last night. THis looks like a great book- I'm definitly going to have to practice baking bread while I'm perfecting the pizza. Thanks for the advice here. I think I'll use this pizza dough recipe this weekend and see how it goes. I'll let you know!

asudavew 08-27-2008 08:36 AM

Re: First pizzas!!!

Just keep practicing. Your dough skillz will improve and your oven performance will improve.

You got it going now!

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