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marzsit
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Dork
PostTue Feb 09, 2010 3:40 am 
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lots of cornmeal on the peel so the pie slips off the peel onto the stone, or cheat like i do.

use a pizza screen. no cornmeal needed so the oven stays clean, and the results are the same as baking directly on the stone.
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joker
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PostTue Feb 09, 2010 10:44 am 
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Part of what's working for me is the dough. I now make a fairly wet dough of the "no knead" variety, which sits in the fridge a few days after the rising (can sit up to a few weeks, and I make a mix of delicious if not-super-healthy white bread, cooked in a dutch oven which is covered for half-ish the time to get a great crust, and it takes about 5 minutes of actual activity per loaf outside of the initial mixing... but that's another story) and pizzas from a big batch. The gluten develops while sitting in the fridge instead of while kneading. Oh, and bread flour seemed to give me a little better consistency than unbleached white flour, but I've not experimented a bunch there - if swapping bread flour, you need to add a little more water versus using unbleached white flour.

Part is realizing that even if I can't do that nifty "pizza toss" to get the crust stretched out, I can at least grab an edge and start working around in circles, grabbing and letting the weight of the dough stretch it out, while keeping a somewhat thick edge (versus using a rolling pin or doing with my fingers). I also have a fair bit of flour on the cutting board and ensure that the bottom is well dusted - especially important since I use a wet dough. You can also let it rest a little in the middle of the stretching and then go at it again.

And part is indeed lots of cornmeal on the pizza peel, using sharp brief motions with the peel, praying a little, and having a dough scraper or big BBQ style spatula handy to coax it if I've not lubricated adequately with the cornmeal.

I also don't leave it on the peel for long - I have the toppings ready before stretching, put it on the cornmealed peel once stretched (and the bottom is dusty with flour) and I assemble it as quickly as possible to minimize time on the peel. I have been tending to get a little cheese onto the stone but it doesn't seem like a big deal unless you are a neatnick (it leaves black spots on the stone but doesn't seen to impact the function of the stone - big deal).

And I'm not worried about a perfectly round pie - it has ended up a little stretched/squished as it exits the peel, but not enough to change the basic thickness enough to bother me.

I set the oven to its hottest temperature and let it preheat with the stone for a long time. I want to try out my gas and wood grills too, as commercial pizza ovens are HOT - something like 900 degrees, and my kitchen oven only goes to 500.
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Allison
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PostTue Feb 09, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Once I get some mastery in the oven, I will move on to using my Kamado for pizza baking. That should be able to see 800 degrees or so.

Kamado
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Mace
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PostTue Feb 09, 2010 10:56 pm 
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Cracker Crisp Thin Pizza Crust

Make a sponge by mixing together:

1/4 cup lukewarm water  105 f
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup rye flour. Rye flour is critical for getting near cracker-like crispness. You will get a fine crust without rye flour, but it will not be as shatteringly crisp.

Let rise 20-30 minutes, then add

1/2 cup lukewarm water  105 f
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the dough in a bowl with a wooden spoon (I prefer a silicon spatula).
Knead on a floured board
It will be soft and sticky. (Flour your hands and) use quick light motions so the dough won't stick. (It will still stick to your hands).
Add more flour to to board as you knead but no more than is absolutely necessary. A soft moist dough makes a light and very crispy crust.
Knead for 10 to 15 minutes to develop strength and elasticity (gluten, it's called gluten).  You can also do this kneading in about 7-8 minutes with a dough hook in a powerful stand mixer.

Put in a bowl rubbed with olive oil, and oil the surface of the dough to prevent a crust from forming. (Or seal it up in a dough fermenter container such as  a large snap lidded container from Rubbermaid or Tupperware - this is easier and no need for oil.)

Cover the bowl with a towel and put in a warm place, approximately 90 to 100 degrees. Let the dough rise to double its size, for about 2 hours, the punch it down. Let it rise another 40 minutes. (Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 450).

Remove the dough from the bowl or fermenter. Punch it down one last time, halve and roll into balls.  Roll the dough thin on a well floured surface with a well floured rolling pin. Using a dough scraper is a great help in lifting thin dough off a counter or board. Poke the dough with a fork to reduce deforming bubbles in the crust.)

Top and Bake. Toppings are of your own devising. This will work with the full spectrum from proletarian projects of red sauce with greasy sausage and some cheese-food product to the most effete efforts involving pear, Gorgonzola, caramelized onion and chopped rosemary.

I bake on a screen mesh pan to get a super crisp crust. (Sorry, no peel or pizza stone hereabouts.)  Bake your pizza at 450  on a middle rack for about 8 -11 minutes depending on what your toppings are.  You will need to turn the pan/screen halfway through unless you are using a convection oven.

I usually get two 10 to 12 inch crusts out of a single recipe. I have successfully doubled and tripled the recipe. I have never tried to quadruple it.

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joker
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PostWed Feb 10, 2010 9:50 am 
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Interesting and fun to see both the variations in what people like in pizza (e.g. I prefer a thin-ish but pliable crust, rather than a "shatteringly crisp" crust, and some people clearly love Pappa John's). It's all good (to someone....).

I should add two more things to the comments I made above. First is that I use the recipe to which I linked all the way through shaping the round and letting it rest a bit. That's where I diverge into stretching out a pizza instead of slashing and baking a bread loaf. The second is that this approach may seem quite odd to anyone who has done lots of kneaded doughs, and used sponges, punching down and second risings, and so forth. All I can say is "give it a try, and you might find you lose little or nothing in final result, yet gain a bunch of time back."
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joker
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PostSat Feb 13, 2010 1:04 pm 
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As to hassles with pizza peels, I wonder how well the super peel actually works...

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joker
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seeker
PostMon Feb 15, 2010 10:06 am 
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I found another approach to getting the pie onto the stone - put the crust on a sheet of parchment paper (on top of a peel, the back of a baking sheet, or a cutting board) before loading it with toppings, and slip both the parchment paper and uncooked pizza onto the stone. 30 seconds to a minute later, the crust will be "set" enough to allow you to pull the paper out from underneath, and the pie will finish cooking directly on the stone. This worked well for me with last night's pizza (and I was able re-use the same sheet of paper for a few pies). Seems like a handy approach for those of us who are never going to get a lot of practice with the nuances of pizza prep.
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slickhorn
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PostTue Feb 16, 2010 1:32 pm 
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we tried the shatteringly crisp crust recipe above this weekend -- it is superb.  Best flavor of any of the recipes we've sampled over the last 2-3 years, and the crispiness is magnificent.  just roll it out thicker if don't want crisp thin crust, it works plenty fine as crust for a calzone or thicker pizza.  We made it once with regular flour, and another batch with 00 flour,  both were great.

thanks for sharing!

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touron
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PostTue Feb 16, 2010 3:17 pm 
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This thread needs pictures!  Here.  Here is one I made the other day...



Actually it is a jpg from the Wikipedia paranoid.gif

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Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain.
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joker
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seeker
PostTue Feb 16, 2010 7:10 pm 
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slickhorn wrote:
we tried the shatteringly crisp crust recipe above this weekend -- it is superb.  Best flavor of any of the recipes we've sampled over the last 2-3 years, and the crispiness is magnificent.  just roll it out thicker if don't want crisp thin crust, it works plenty fine as crust for a calzone or thicker pizza.  We made it once with regular flour, and another batch with 00 flour,  both were great.

thanks for sharing!

So is 00 flour worth buying? And if so, do you know of a local source?
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slickhorn
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PostTue Feb 16, 2010 7:45 pm 
seems to work well
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we get ours at Pacific Food Importers in Int'l Dist.  great place for random imported goodies

the dbl zero flour has been giving us the most consistent texture and reliable thinness.  it had become staple, until this rye recipe.

have to say the rye works better.  our first attempt, with normal flour, the crust ended up almost too thin as we tried to go thin as possible.  we were amazed it held up to sauce and toppings. so good and crispy. round 2 included the 00 flour, but we didn't try to go nearly as thin, so we haven't pushed this as crispy thin as it'll go.  both seemed satisfactory with the rye, but without the rye, i'd definitely want 00.

closest thing I've have to this rye crisp recipe is papa murphy's delite's, baked til crispy.  this tastes much better and has better texture too, but that's a similar crispiness and thickness.

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innermountain
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PostWed Feb 17, 2010 1:55 pm 
heck yeah!
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{spam kleeted}
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touron
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PostWed Feb 17, 2010 11:57 pm 
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Making the perfect pizza

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Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain.
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Wazzu_camper
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Go Cougs!
PostFri Feb 19, 2010 12:08 pm 
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I always liked the saying:

"Pizza is like sex, even when it's bad it's good"

But seriously, Flying Pie in Issaquah and a couple places around Portland is absolutely awesome, but it comes at a stiff price.

I typically hit the Costco food court in an effort to save some money. $10 for a very generous size pizza, and it actually has a ton of toppings/cheese and what not. Not the greatest, but I think you would be hardpressed to get more food for less money, at least food that is palatable.

By the way touron, that little pie you got there looks mighty scrumtous. I was going to be very impressed till I read the fine print. smile.gif

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Dante
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PostFri Feb 19, 2010 12:27 pm 
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Northlake Combo  up.gif
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