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Old 09-11-2007, 07:24 PM
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Location: Davis, California
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Default The size of the pie

I grew up in New York on large cheese pizzas. Moving to the midwest forced me into years of experimenting to arrive at a recipe that rivals my childhood neighborhood pizzaria (on my 16 inch round pizza stone). Going beyond the confines of the stone is what brought me to this great site and community, but I never see examples of 18" pizzas, and most recipes I read on site calls for 10-12". Assuming the opening is large enough are there other factors about the oven or process that make 18" pizzas problematic?

Last edited by jcg31; 09-11-2007 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:58 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Arroyo Grande - Pismo Beach, California
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Default Re: The size of the pie

There are a number of people here who are more experienced than myself, but I think it is important to understand that the high temperatures at which mos of us work works best for thinner pizza than one finds in most current pizza establishments. (But then I've never had an NYC pie, so anyone can correct me on this.)

Of course you can moderate the temperatures to accomodate a thicker pizza.

Pie diameter is largely an issue of ease of handling. If your oven door is wide enough, you can work with the larger pie. But it is just easier to shape and handle a smaller pie. I believe those are the issues at hand.

But these ovens are a kick to use, and don't take long to master. Go for it!

Okay, you NY-style pizza pros. Let's hear from you guys!

Michael
aka PizzaMan
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:20 PM
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Location: Ravensdale, WA USA
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Default Re: The size of the pie

I've seen large oven openings at the local "approved" Neopolitan pizza joint and I'm sure they could make an 18" pizza if they wanted to but I think the limiting factor with these ovens is the formula regarding oven diameter/height and the best size for the initial opening. I think the generally accepted opening size, that best retains heat for good operation, is roughly 19"W x12"H. I'm guessing you won't make many 12" high pies but an 18" pie going through a 19" hole is going to be a close call every time, especially when your other hand is holding a nice glass of red wine. We make some really nice 12" pizzas with the recipe that James has on this site.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:23 PM
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Default Re: The size of the pie

I like the 11" personal pizza. It is very traditional, and everybody gets to order what they want. I think the size of the pizza has less to do with the size of the oven opening, and more with the size of the dough ball, how it stretches, and how the perfect pizza bakes in about 90 seconds. You eat it with a knife and fork, and it is light and flavorful, where you can taste the mozzarella, the olive oil and the tomatoes, and the dough is crunchy on the crust, and moist and light in the crumb.

For me, that's the perfect pizza.
James
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: The size of the pie

For me it is largely a skill factor. I don't make pizza every day and I am more comfortable with the 10" to 12" size. I am still perfecting my dough skills - and I am sure that I will keep learning [especially from this forum].

And as I tend to cook for a crowd [instead of just the family], this gives more people more choices. And more time for me to drink another glass of wine while managing the peel.

J W
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: The size of the pie

Agree 100%! The recipe for Tipo 00 makes 4-5 dough balls which magically turn into 4-5 11"-12" pizzas. Lately my wife forms the dough balls and lets the guests put their own toppings on and I stand around the oven door with a bottle of EVO and glass on nice red wine. Everybody has something to do and the guests are in on the deal too.
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: The size of the pie

while my baking skills with my WFO are quite good, my pizza shaping skills leave much to be desired. I usually end up with something that more resembles an ameba (13 long x 8 wide) than a 12 inch curcle.

However the taste is still great as James points out and I like to thin of them as truly all handmake and unique.

Will try for a lrager ameba next time!
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: The size of the pie

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcg31 View Post
I grew up in New York on large cheese pizzas. Moving to the midwest forced me into years of experimenting to arrive at a recipe that rivals my childhood neighborhood pizzaria (on my 16 inch round pizza stone). Going beyond the confines of the stone is what brought me to this great site and community, but I never see examples of 18" pizzas, and most recipes I read on site calls for 10-12". Assuming the opening is large enough are there other factors about the oven or process that make 18" pizzas problematic?
Is a large cheese pizza from NY baked on a pan or do they slide it directly onto the oven floor? I would think they use a pan but I am no expert. The larger the pizza, the harder it is to maintain it's shape when you slide it off the peel. You certainly could make a wood fired oven for NY style pizza with a larger opening and a plan to use it at slightly lower temps as you would want for a thicker, more heavily topped pizza than pizza napolitano.
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Old 09-12-2007, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: The size of the pie

A pan? heaven forbid! Although they do have what they call Siscillian 1-1.5" thick that is cooked in a rectangular pan. But what I originally referred to is windowpaningly-thin and placed right on the oven floor. With my current recipe, 16.5 oz dough ball at room temp, one round of sretching around the left fist (using fingers in right hand) one round stretching across both fists and three good tosses and I have a near perfect 16" round pie (with minor adjustments), which after years of practice gets placed properly on my 16" stone, thanks to liberal amouts of cornmeal. To the cornmeal, last weekend I tried for the fist time semolina based upon posts I read on this forum - - much better.

You folk are great! Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: The size of the pie

Hey, if you are going for windowpane thin, then all you really need is skill to slide it off the peel - you should be able to bake at the same temps as pizza napoletana. I usually use 280-330g (about 9.5-11.5 ounces) and stretch to 12 inches. Before the wood oven I used larger pizza on the stone. The little specifics I recall of NY pizza (only a few trips as a hungry college kid more than 10 years ago) was of it being a little thicker in crust and toppings. With the WFO I make more but smaller pizza - some of the same reasons as James posted. Even in a wood oven with more room to work I imagine an 18" pizza will take substantially more finesse than a 16" pizza. If you are as committed to this as most of the lunatics here then I think you'll manage just fine.

Marc
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