Okay, this is the webisode many of you have been waiting for, where Tony Gemignani shows us all four of his ovens and also, as a bonus, explains the difference between the various types of Double Zero flour — it’s a whirlwind of information and I think you will want to watch it more than once and take notes. One of the joys we’ve had in traveling and meeting all these pizza masters is seeing how deeply they look into all their choices, whether it be flour, tomatoes, cheese, or other ingredients, ovens, heat sources, etc. They all have their own reasons for the choices they, which is great for all of us pizza hunters, as this attention to detail is what distinguishes them as artisans, and that’s why we celebrate them.
I was mistaken last week when I said the Margherita that Tony made was his World Championship version. Actually, this week is the version that won it all. As it turns out, last week’s pizza was made with Caputo flour and this week’s is made with San Felice flour. When Tony won the World Championship in Naples, which he’ll talk about a little in this week’s segment, he used the San Felice flour so that’s the one he reserves this flour for at his restaurant. He uses Caputo on all his other Napoletana pizzas and, as he indicates here, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart and he loves both brands. But, because he won the title with the San Felice, that’s the one you get if you order the Championship pie, served on the special pedestal platter. Tony told us that he tries to replicate the Margherita exactly as he did it for the judges, and he only makes 73 each day and when the dough runs out he stops taking orders for it. The number has special meaning for him but now I can’t recall what it signifies so be sure to ask when you eat there.
See people? I get on here and blab blab blab about how great Central Milling flours are, even post pics and recipes using the new Germania Pizza Flour blend, and ta-da! Peter Reinhart picks up a sack for himself and loves it! I’ll let you know just as soon as Peter calls to thank me for the incredible tip off. Until then, maybe take a peek at his blog and his experiences/recipes with Central Milling flours.
Here’s what Peter is doing with his bag of Central Milling Germania pizza flour:
The Pizza Quest Challenge Dough (makes five 8 ounce/227 g dough balls)
For best results, this dough should be made at least one day in advance–it will also hold in the refrigerator for up to 3 days with good results. Any longer than 3 days and the dough will weaken (start to break down), though it can last for months if shaped into dough balls and frozen in small freezer zip bags.
22 ounces (624 grams) Germania flour or a blend of 20 oz./567 g of your favorite bread or Double Zero flour and 2 oz./56 g of pumpernickel or coarse rye flour or rye meal). If you don’t have a scale, this will be approx. 4 3/4 cups of flour.
0.5 oz/56 g. salt (a scant 2 teaspoons or 2 1/2 teaspoons if using coarse kosher or coarse sea salt)
1 oz./28 g crystal beer malt (light or dark–I use amber) or 1 1/2 tablespoons barley malt syrup
0.11 oz/3 g instant yeast (1 teaspoon) OR, 1 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast dissolved in 4 ounces of the water for about 3 to 5 minutes
16 oz/452 g water, room temp. (if using Caputo or another Italian Double Zero, reduce the water to 14 oz/399 g)
It’s been a while since my last post, and in the period of radio silence a lot has happened! We bought a small house with a gas oven, I found a new and exciting job, and perhaps most exciting of all, we traveled to San Francisco and had some world-class pizza. Also while in San Francisco, we had a chance to visit with your good friend and mine, Nick from Central Milling. Not only did I buy 100lb of their new ’00’ Normal Pizza Flour, but I also have in my possession 20lb of their newest experimental pizza flour “Pizza Germania.” Between new ovens, reports and reviews from Pizzeria Delfina and Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, and results photos from my experiments with the new Pizza Germania flour, you can expect this blog to roar back to life in the coming weeks.
Hello. Have I extolled the virtues of contacting and subsequently ordering fabulous flour from Nick over at Central Milling lately? Well let me tell you, I just received four bags of his latest and greatest “00″ flour – two bags reinforced, two bags normal – and can’t wait to get started putting it through the pizza paces. I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve completed a few test pies, until then, how about to email him and order some of your own?
Recently I’ve purchased Peter Reinhart’s fabulous pizza book, American Pie, and let me tell you: best – pizza – book – ever! The book details Peter’s travels through Italy, New York, California, Chicago and other locations in search of his most favorite pizza in the whole world. The first half of the book is his tales of pizza travel. The second half of the book, however, is a giant pizza resource center wherein Peter tries to re-create all of the various pizzas he had across the world and shares his recipes and findings with you. This would be cool enough for me to pick up a copy, but then you consider that Peter is a professional baker AND recipe product developer and suddenly his collection of dough, sauce and toppings recipes seem like the Lost Arc of the Pizzanant! I guess what I’m trying to say is that Peter’s book was not only a mouthwatering good read, but also has become my #1 go-to guide for new dough and sauce recipes.
I wanted to share with you a recent recipe I made from his book, as well as some photos of the results. This dough was much different to work with than my dough that I usually make, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly, and the flavors and texture (not to mention the great big bubbles that formed out on the crown of the pizza) were well worth the learning curve. I would highly recommend you go spend $15 and pick up this great resource!
Peter Reinhart’s Neo-Neapolitan Dough
The dough to use for making New-Haven-style pizza and/or pizzas in the style of Lombardi’s, Totonno’s, or Grimaldi’s. Makes a “thin, crisp crust with airy pockets in the crown”. Slightly sticky and may be tricky to work with. Requires high-gluten flour.
Makes 4 10 ounce dough balls ( but I like to make 13.3 ounce balls)
With a big metal spoon, stir together all the ingredients in a 4-quart bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer until combined.
Fit mixer with dough hook; mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until all the flour gathers to form a coarse ball.
Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on med-low speed for 2 more minutes, or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom.
*If the dough is too soft and sticky to hold its shape, mix in more flour by the tablespoonful; if it is too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the tablespoonful.
The dough should pass the windowpane test—snip off a piece of dough and gently tugging and turning it, stretching it out until it forms a paper-thin, translucent membrane somewhere near the center; if dough does not form this membrane, it probably needs another minute or two of mixing).
Immediately divided the dough into 4-equal portions; round each piece into a ball and brush or rub each ball with olive oil.
Place each ball inside its own zip-lock freezer bag; let the balls sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then put them in the refrigerator overnight or freeze any pieces you will not be using the next day.
The next day, remove the balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to roll them out to take the chill off.
I was very intrigued by the LONG mixing time for Sunset Magazine’s “Pizzetta 211” pizza dough, so I did some testing and here’s what I found so far (the dough is still rising, so not finished results yet) Following the instructions, I first bloomed the yeast. As a side note, many chefs today do not believe that this step is necessary any longer. It used to be that dried yeast came to us in such a poor state that it needed this short developmental period to reactivate (and so you could tell if you had just purchased dead yeast or not.) These days, it is perfectly safe to skip this step – especially when you are planning on a long, cool rise time. Anyways, I did it despite my modern learnin’. Then I started the mixer in to its half an hour long trek – stopping once to snap a photo at five minutes. As you can see below, the difference between 5 minutes of mixing and 30 was pretty dramatic. As the dough came out of the bowl after thirty minutes, it was very soft and very smooth. I placed it directly in the fridge where I plan to rest it for the afternoon before pulling it out, resting it on the counter for an hour or so, and then tossing it up.
After a few hours in the fridge, and then one more on the counter, the dough had risen substantially. What I had thought would make just one pizza turned out to be two sizable pies. The dough was extremely elastic and spread very evenly and nicely. I baked a pizza both on a baking stone as well as in my normal pan and each of them came out very nicely. Overall, I felt the recipe was a bit too salty, and the yeast was a bit too active if I wanted to give it a 3 day rest in the fridge. I am going to experiment with using less yeast and less salt and see if I can hone in on the flavor I prefer. As for texture, this was tried by my testing staff (alicia) and was deemed “the best crust yet” by a mouth that knows Once I get the salt/yeast thing figured out, and try it out with a nice long rest, this dough just replace Tony’s dough that I have sworn by for the better part of 2009.
So it’s been a long while since I purchased flour, mainly because my last purchase was firect from Central Milling and in the form of two 50lb bags of flour! The other day, I finally cracked into my second 50lb bag and started thinking, what would my next order be? Since Central Milling has always been so good to me, I knew I would definitely stick with them, but as you read on further, you’ll see why I had a bit of trouble deciding. They offer SO many flours in SO many different grades and varieties, the choices are endless! I thought I would share the list with you – enjoy browsing and let me know if you have any questions. If you’d like to contact them with an Order, hit Nick up at firstname.lastname@example.org, he’ll get it right out to you.
I’ve recently found it necessary to explore yeast-free pizza dough and so I’d like to offer this recipe up as a jumping off point for those celiac disease or are taking Isoniazid. I would suggest using double-acting baking powder as all the chemical leavening may just leave this dough if you let it rest for any amount of time. If you use double-acting baking powder, you’ll get an initial boost of CO2 when the powder is first incorporated into the dough, but you’ll also get a second burst of gas when you apply the heat a couple days later.
2 c. bread flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl or your stand mixer. Mix until everything has come together and looks like a rough dough. Then stop, cover the bowl with some plastic, and let sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, start that stand mixer a-mixin again and mix for 5-8 minutes. Then, you guessed it, stop the mixer and re-cover it – let it rest for another 20 minutes. Lastly, place the dough in the fridge and let sit for a day or so – pull it out an hour before baking and let the dough return to room temp. Make a pizza and place it in a 550+ oven for a short amount of time.
The only thing I’m unsure about here is the rest in the fridge. Normally this would give the yeast time to develop flavor and begin to convert the dough into yeast by-product (CO2) but in this case that won’t be happening. My theory is that a day-long rest in the fridge might still be nice for the overall texture of your dough, and if it went into the fridge as a tight, tough ball of dough, the rest should give the gluten network that has formed time to relax and slacken so you can spread/toss your dough more easily. I’ll report on my findings here.
Good luck – and good eats!
I found the proportions for the ingredients listed in this recipe here. Thanks!
For a long time, I was an impatient pizza chef. After all, a recipe that required almost a week to prepare sounded ludicrous! Who could plan their eating habits that far in advance, I wondered? Well my friends, you and I have to become those exact people if we are ever to reach our lofty pizzaiolo goals. Time, after all, is the number one secret ingredient in pizza dough.
There is no one bigger ingredient in a dough recipe that will affect the flavor and depth of your dough. Brand of flour, oil or no, salt or no… all of these options are minuscule compared to the choice you make when you prepare a dough half an hour before you bake it.
I have found this one rule to be true for almost all home pizza making: If the recipe calls for two hours of rise time in between mixing and baking, place your dough in a covered bowl, place the bowl in the fridge, and leave it there for three to five days. If the recipe calls for twelve hours of rise time, place your dough in a covered bowl, place the bowl in the fridge, and leave it there for three to five days. A long, slow, cold rise time will do wonderful things to your dough. In fact, about a day or so into the rise, pull the dough and and punch it down – then place it back in the fridge of course. This will further develop the flavor and texture (not to mention redistribute the bubbles which have formed in your dough).
So there you have it. I know, it’s kind of a bummer. As you read this article, the spark went off in your head “How about pizza tonight!” But what you need to retrain yourself to think is this, “How about pizza five days from now??”
It’s time to start paying attention to time, the secret ingredient in all pizza dough.
So about two weeks ago, I took delivery of 100 lbs of Central Milling flour, and wow, 100 lbs is a LOT of flour! It came in two 50 lb bags: One bag of Beehive Organic Unbleached Malted AP and one bag of their Artisan Bakers Craft Organic Wheat Flour. Both flours have produced nothing but amazing results so far, with only one negative side effect: Where does one store a hundred damn pounds of anything in one’s little apartment kitchen?? In the end, I got a great 12 qt glass storage container to store a usable amount on the counter, and I shoved the rest in next to the fridge to use as a refill as my container gets low. I’m happy to have my new favorite flour so proudly on display, and my wife is happy to have those huge sandbag-esque bags of flour out of the middle of the kitchen! It’s a win-win!
So I know, if you read this blog with any regularity, that you know I am all gaga about Central Milling flour. They seem to have a great selection of specialty flours and they are semi local to me so I can pick and choose new flours each time I get a hold of them. I also wanted to let you know that I’ve been making pizzas recently with just the Beehive Organic AP flour
(see Basil Pizza Photo) and I am just so surprised at how well the flour/dough sets its gluten structure up. Because it’s not a bread flour per-se, the dough isn’t rubbery or hard to stretch. But to my surprise, this simple AP flour also holds up really well to the bubbles and stretching produced by the CO2 from the yeast. It seems to be a perfect blend of a decently high gluten network with the soft, easy to toss feeling you may be looking for in your dough. Just thought you’d like to know WHY I like this flour so much
Anyhow, enjoy the photos, enjoy laughing at me and my inappropriately large bags of flour, and most importantly, go out and enjoy making some of the best pizza of your life for yourself tonight, would ya? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment – I’ll get right back to you with some hopefully helpful tips
This was posted a year or two ago in the New York Times and I thought I would pass it along because I’ve never stumbled upon a recipe that used WINE in the dough! If there was ever a pizza dough that was perfect for me, it would be a dough where I pour a glass of wine for me, and a glass for the dough
Makes two pizzas
¼ cup white wine
¾ cup warm water
1 ½ ounces yeast (1 yeast packet)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
Combine wine, water and yeast in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Add the honey, salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. Start by adding 1 cup of flour and make a wet paste. Add remaining flour and incorporate.
Place dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 2 to 3 minutes.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for 45 minutes.
Central Milling, a company I choose over Giusto’s, King Arthur’s, and all others, is now set up to ship flour to the likes of you and me. For years, the good people at Central Milling have been supplying commercial baking establishments all over the west coast as well as filling the bags of Whole Foods‘ 365 brand flour. They have an INSANE list of organic and traditional flours to choose from, and with the advent of the flat rate shipping box from the USPS, they have an easy and convenient way to get their fine product directly from the mill to your front door. It doesn’t get much more fresh than that!
I’ve been talking a lot with a certain manager at Central Milling, a California/Utah based flour mill, and am happy to report I am soon going to be offering In Search of the Perfect Pie coupons here on the blog for you guys to order their previously only commercially sold flour directly from the mill. At the moment, Central Milling is responsible for the fine organic flours you find in every Whole Foods 365 brand bag, your favorite bakeries up and down the California coast, and even many of the largest casinos out in Las Vegas. If you are interested in finding out more about the company, check out their (albeit simplistic) web site at http://www.centralmilling.com/.
If you’d like to be the first to find out when these coupons are available, subscribe!
I’m posting this list (and hopefully expanding on it soon) to help out those of you that may be looking to pick up some harder (higher in protein) flour, but aren’t quite sure what to buy. In general, these percentages are reported by the companies themselves, but when not available, I did the math for you using the nutritional numbers on the packaging. Hope this is helpful!
While I’m on the topic of flour – If ever you are looking to have a little more precise control over the protein percentages in your flour, or if you are looking for great organic pizza making flour, check out my friend’s company: Giusto’s Vita-Grain Flour. They supply LOTS of commercial bakers and restaurants up here in Northern California, but the public can order their AWESOME flours off the website. They also carry organic spices, sweeteners, oils, and more. Give them a try and I’m sure you’ll never go back