Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pizza pie

I have a migraine this morning, fortunately took ibu quick and it's not that bad. But I feel like making pizza. My buddy Mike from Cleveland gave me his pizza recipe a few years back, and it was pretty good. When we had it at Rashied's house, Mike made some and it was very good: crust was chewy and crisp, nice mild flavor.

Decided to do some research and came across a pizza recipe of a guy trying to emulate Papa John's pizza. Looked interesting so I thought I'd give it a shot. Here goes:

3 cups flour (I used 2.5 cups unbleached AP and .5 cup Bob's red mill semolina; original calls for King Arthur bread flour, or another high(er) gluten flour)
1 cup + 2 tbsp water
1/8 teaspoon instant dry yeast
3 tsp kosher salt
3tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
2tbsp + 1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 cups mozzarella, frozen a tiny bit and diced in food processor into small dice/pellets
About 40 pepperonis
  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix with wooden spoon, then hands to combine, so there are no crumbs floating around at the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Let rest for 20 minutes in a covered plastic tub on the counter.
  3. Knead for 5 minutes on lowest setting with dough hook on stand mixer
  4. Form into round, cover and refrigerate in plastic tub. It should stay there at least 3 days, (5 days is better) and can stay up to 8 days.
  5. Remove from fridge, and let rest on the counter for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees
  6. Using a HEAVILY floured board (preferably a combo of semolina and unbleached AP), push down & stretch for form a 10" disc.
  7. Dock whe whole thing using a dough docker (preferred), fork, or other homemade implement
  8. Stretch to shape over a 14" pizza screen.
  9. Sauce the pizza: start in the middle, and use a ladle to spiral outward.
  10. Sprinkle the cheese: start around the outside edge, going in a circle. Continue to sprinkle in concentric rings, going inward.
  11. Bake on the pizza disk in 500degree oven for about 8-9 minutes, watching carefully starting at 6 minutes.
Compare to Wolfgang Puck's pizza dough recipe from the Food NEtwork site:
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees F
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
Less sugar (honey instead), less oil, different oil (olive vs. vegetable), and much more yeast. That makes sense, though, because his is meant to rise in 2 hours!

Compare that to Jamie Oliver's "Jamie At Home" pizza recipe (halved):
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1.5 teaspoon raw sugar
  • 1.25 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees F
  • 3.5 cups flour (2.5c high-gluten or 00 flour, 1.5c semolina)
  • 1.5 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Jamie uses more oil, more sugar, more salt, and a tiny bit more flour. Same amount of yeast, similar rise times to the Wolfgang Puck recipe. Probably similar level of hydration. The PJ recipe has more hydration, which should lead to bigger holes. Lower yeast and longer ferment; I have found that it usually results in better flavor!

Incidentally, here's the breakdown of the PJ recipe by weight:

Flour (100%)
Water (56.5%)
Yeast, instant dry (0.14%)
Salt (1.75%)
Vegetable (Soybean) Oil (7.3%)
Sugar (4.8%)

We'll see how all this end up soon! :)

ED NOTE: After a rise time of about 5 days, it was barely risen, but it was soft. Did not brown very well; flavor was OK. Was not very chewy (need to add gluten and/or use high-gluten flour) and not much hole/porous structure. What I did learn is that adding a lot of sugar and oil to the dough really helps with the flavor of pizza crust.

Using a quick recipe (3 cups AP flour, 3 tbsp gluten, 1 cup + 1 tbsp water, 2 tsp instant yeast, 2 tsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey) yielded much better results with a less than 2 hour rise time. I think the biggest trick is using a rimless cookie sheet, parchment paper, and sliding the parchment + pizza direct onto pizza stone on lowest rack.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Grandma's Bread #10

OK, I've decided to use a numbering scheme for Grandma's bread instead of the year. Although the best one so far has been the 1st of 2009, this may be better, and will make it easier to track.

Grandma's Bread #10 - February 1-2 2009

1-1/4 cups water
2 cups buttermilk
1-1/3 cup rye flour

6-1/4 cup AP wheat flour
2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup honey
3-1/2 + 1/8 tsp table salt

1. Over medium-low heat, warm buttermilk and water, stirring occasionally, just until it curdles and remove from heat. Stir in all rye flour, cover tightly and leave at room temperature overnight (at least 12 hours).

2. Into dough mixture, add white flour, yeast, honey. Mix on speed "2" for 2 minutes, until the dough is uniform. It will look like a thick, uniform batter at this point. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. NOW ADD THE SALT ALL AT ONCE. Mix using dough hook set to "1" or "2" (low speed). You may need to clean the dough hook once ina while. Dough will be very thick and sticky; it will never clear the sides of the bowl; while mixing, maybe 50% will clear the sides while the other 50% adheres to the bottom. It will not stop sticking! This is why the stand mixer is so handy. Total kneading time is 6-7 minutes. You will see some gluten strands when you're done.

6. Grease two bread pans with butter, and dust them with white flour. Using a wooden spoon or stiff bowl scraper, turn out the sticky dough onto a very well floured board. Form into a single round; dough will be very soft but with a well-floured board, won't be very sticky and will form a smooth surface. Cut dough into 2 equal pieces, shape dough into loaves (they will feel pretty soft, not quite baby's bottom but close) and place in bread pans. Press down on dough to get loaf to expand across the bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and towel, and leave in warm place to rise for 1 hour. Refrigerate covered for 7-8 hours; you can leave it up to (but not more than) 24 hours.

7. Remove loaves from fridge, and REMOVE PLASTIC WRAP carefully; it may be sticky (if it sticks, try pulling gently from the opposite direction). The loaves will have just about doubled in size.

8. Cover loaves with a towel, and let rise again at room temp (~74F) for 1 hour (645-745). Preheat oven to 450, adjust racks to put bread on 2nd to lowest rack, and put an empty broiler pan at the bottom. Slash loaves down the center, and place bread pans on rack in the oven. Add 1 cup hot water to pan to steam and close door. Bake at 450 for 40 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped; they will look dark chocolate brown (almost black, but not!) on top. Alternately, should be done somewhere around 190-210 degrees.

8. Take bread from oven, remove from pans, and brush tops with butter. Let cool on rack, uncovered, for at least 30 min; will still be warm 2 hours later.

9. Store in large Ziploc freezer bags when cool; this will help promote a soft crust.


  • Crust color, evenness and flavor:
  • Salt/honey amount:
  • Texture/crumb:
  • Rye flavor: good, but mild

Notes/Next time:
  • Dough is very sticky while mixing; maybe use beater instead of dough hook in mixer? Still use low settings 1-2. It doesn't clear the bowl, EVER. Using a spoon or a scraper to make sure flour at bottom is incorporated as well is important.
  • Turning out onto WELL-FLOURED board is the key; then it comes together and shapes very easily and smoothly before forming into loaves.
  • I ran out of honey, so I used a little less than 1/2 cup of honey and added about 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
  • I ran out of table salt, so I did 1tsp table salt + 3 tsp kosher salt. I don't know if this will work out the same way, we'll see.