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What this crust has taught me

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    What this crust has taught me

    So, like everyone, I love Pizza, never remember a time I did not. But, my attempts at making them have been half assed, as pizza is always good. Last year I decided to learn a bit more about pizza, and while silently lurking on all the pizza forums, I found a consistency in positive opinions on the book "The Pizza Bible" Sounds legit. and really what this crust has taught me, is if you like Pizza, buy this book. This guy may seem to have a monster ego, but, after reading it, he is a perfectionist, with like 13 world titles in pizza, So, what I have learned mostly started with him.

    Here are the secrets that you would not think of.
    all but the small amount of water to activate a starter, is ice water, slower maturation of the crust and flavor. I have found it to be good at 48 hours, but better in 72 hours. It is a start it 3 days ahead type of pizza

    He prefers Pizza Steels, so I have two of them, I am running a regular electric house oven, but, you get a steel on each shelf, one is close to the bottom burner to heat up the bottom steel, the other is the upper rack, to get that steel by the broiler. You USE BOTH of them to cook. While this pizza is in there for roughly 6-10 minutes, it is not just sitting still. you work the broil and the bake, to adjust to what steel you are moving too. I start on top with broil, to get my crust moving the direction I want it, and I rotate it once in the first 3-4 minutes, then you move it to the bottom steel with the bake on, and then back to the top steel, to get the finish right.

    Tricks, I have found:

    I put the bare pizza dough on the top rack as a pre bake for a minute or so, so that I can get a stronger crust for the sauce and toppings. I find it much easier to off load a pizza from the peel of to the steel loaded, if it has a quick prebake. Plus the pre bake, strengthens the top crust, to keep the sauce on top of the crust, where it belongs, not saturating my crust. When it starts bubbling with the gas expanding, take it out, pop all the bubbles and push the top center crust back down.

    Pizza Peel trick, definitely use semolina on the peel, it is like ball bearings, but, I also use flour, but more secretively, I add diastatic malt powder to my peel. It is not only one of the Hidden secrets in this book, and is a crust game changer, It is the perfect browning agent. so, adding a bit more as I work the dough on the peel, it adds that extra touch of browning agent for texture and visual appeal. I cant think of a time going forward where I would make pizza with out using it. It is a home oven home run when paired likely even with stones, but on steels, it is awesome for sure.


    So, the things I have learned so far and I am really only proficient in this dough, 2 Steels, constant moving, the Pre bake for me, is super important, Diastatic Malt powder, allows you to get the browning of a high hydration dough cooked in a high heat pizza oven, but in a lower hydration crust so we can actually work with it, in a low heat home oven. Like I said, I ramble. ..

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    Last edited by Richard Chrz; January 7, 2021, 07:41 PM.

    #2
    Your pizza looks Amazing!! ...Diastatic Malt Powder?? I've never seen that in the baking section...lol What is it? Why does it work?

    Comment


    • barelfly
      barelfly commented
      Editing a comment
      If I’m not mistaken, you use this powder in pretzels as well. I thought it helped a bit with that pretzel chew, but it’s been years since I’ve made pretzels.

      Then again, I could be wrong....I’ll let Richard correct me if needed.

    • RonB
      RonB commented
      Editing a comment
      It's also used to make bagels. I never thought to add it to pizza dough, but it makes sense.

    • Richard Chrz
      Richard Chrz commented
      Editing a comment
      barelfly you are correct, it is used in lot's of baking processes, just not talked about in pizza, the recipe calls for 10 grams, for 2 370 gram dough balls. I recently started using it on the shaping side, just to see if I got a better crust, and it did, it improved it more. such a great chew.

    #3
    That’s some pizza right there, my friend! Man! Excellent work!

    Comment


    • Richard Chrz
      Richard Chrz commented
      Editing a comment
      I stumbled with this pizza, but the pre bake saved it, and now, I am no longer intimidated by this bake. Once you get a feel for this crust, it becomes pretty amazing.

    #4
    interesting tidbit while discovering pizza. I used to be about the cheese, it had to be loaded with cheese, less sauce the better, the crust was just a carrier. Now, the Crust is the star, and the sauce I could eat it with a spoon it is so good. Actually in his book he says. The theory of Pizza relativity, is there are only a few ingredients, so they are all relative. I will add one more tip. I prefer to bake with warm hand torn mozz, almost to where it is almost like ricotta, it melts faster, and leaves no water on the crust. I will probably remember a few extra things. you wait until the dough is about 60 degrees before you bake with it.
    Last edited by Richard Chrz; January 2, 2021, 09:14 AM.

    Comment


      #5
      I don't really need another pizza book, but it looks like I'm gonna get this one...

      Great post Richard.

      Comment


      • Richard Chrz
        Richard Chrz commented
        Editing a comment
        My recommendation comes with a warning.... it creates more want....

      #6
      I’ve had very good success with preheating the steel on the top rack then sliding the pizza in and using the broiler to get the top. Goes maybe 3-5 minutes. Got the idea from Kenji.

      https://slice.seriouseats.com/2010/0...a-at-home.html

      of course your dedication to detail and process I’ll have to try.

      Comment


      • Richard Chrz
        Richard Chrz commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh, I think Kenji is awesome. I love his book and site, this is his vodka sauce. I would say the difference, this guy promotes 2 steels, that way you always have a hot steel, and as you switch, it allows the last one to recover from the heat loss and performance of a home oven. One would definitely work, and yes, you would use the broiler.
        Last edited by Richard Chrz; January 2, 2021, 09:13 AM.

      • Polarbear777
        Polarbear777 commented
        Editing a comment
        Right I don’t see how it takes 14 minutes though. I’ve been as long as 7 max before I get too much scorching. I’m missing a detail here.

        I seem to remember when you were asking about the baking steel. I do have two. Now I’ll have to do this way as well.

      • Richard Chrz
        Richard Chrz commented
        Editing a comment
        Polarbear777 I knocked that down to 6-10. I start on top, 3 minutes or so, spinning it once, then drop down to bottom, for another 3-4 minutes, then back to the top to get my last bit of crust if I need it still.
        Last edited by Richard Chrz; January 2, 2021, 05:07 PM.

      #7
      Fantastic Richard! Thanks for posting.

      Comment


        #8
        Richard Chrz If you stop rambling, we will have to have a conversation! I was just going to ask you to follow up with the pizza thoughts. Thank you for this! Since you called me/us out on this the other day, I am looping HouseHomey in.

        Comment


          #9
          Tony Gemignani, the author, has a Pizzeria in San Francisco near the ballpark and another location in the park. His pizzas are definitely fantastic.

          Comment


          • SheilaAnn
            SheilaAnn commented
            Editing a comment
            Reading about this book and the guy and finally looking at pictures on their website. It clicked. I have been here every time I did a job in SF. My old partner and I actually walked from the Marconi Center to this place for meatballs, spinach salad and pizza!

          #10
          Pizza and beer--PBR.

          Comment


            #11
            that's some damn fine pie!!!

            Comment


              #12
              Wow.. spectacular.

              SheilaAnn whoa, hey .... How did I get thrown under the bus🤦‍♂️ I don’t eat pizza. 🤷‍♂️

              Comment


              • SheilaAnn
                SheilaAnn commented
                Editing a comment
                Oh dang! My bad! I guess because we have had so many conversations of late, I thought it was you who was curious about the whole dough process. It was Mr. Bones.

              #13
              My pizza needs an upgrade--thanks for the tips!

              Comment


                #14
                Wow, that looks amazing!

                Comment


                  #15
                  I have found that for me a rack in the center of the oven with a stone, heated to 500 F works beautifully.
                  I am delighted that you have found a new way of doing pizza!

                  Comment

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