Well, this story starts no different. I can't really remember what made me think to start obsessing on pizza. I can only imagine I saw some writing about it somewhere, or maybe its the fact that I now have a pizza stone (which I actually purchased to cook my Christmas turkey, but that's a different story), either way, I decided I wanted to crack New York style pizza - specifically, the thin base with bigger crust.
Being as dough is such a scientific beast, I turned to a few recipes to get started with to try and benchmark my findings so I could start experimenting further.
Attempt 1: 4 day cold rise before a few hours at room temperature - I didn't seal the dough sufficiently so it dried out. I was using a non-kneading food processor approach recommended by the FoodLab RESULT: In the bin!
Attempt 2: Similar timings as my first attempt, but remembering to keep the dough in a ziplock freezer bag and with an amended recipe (but still using the food processor technique). RESULT: No visible rising, but was more or less edible (well, it served as the most basic of vessel for the tomato sauce and cheese!)
Attempt 3: I switched to a less pizza-purist dough recipe and tried a Jamie Oliver recipe that only took a few hours to rise also switched to traditional kneading (via freestanding mixer) rather than food processor. RESULT: The dough tasted so-so, but was well risen with decent crust, the dough wasn't as strong as I had wanted and tore occasionally whilst stretching it out.
Attempt 4: Continued with Jamie Oliver's recipe, but adjust the quantity of salt to improve the flavour. RESULT: As expected, it did not rise as well as 3) but disappointingly no meaningful improvement in the flavour
And this is where we are up to so far - the good news is that I have a presentable pizza that tastes fine, but definitely still a long way to go.
ObservationsThe two main goals I am aiming for are: 1) be able to make amazing New York style pizzas (regardless of time) 2) make decent tasting pizzas in a day.
A lot of yeast sold in the UK is Instant Dried Yeast - which is different to Active Dried Yeast, that a lot of recipes will use. It's worth being aware of the differences - The dried yeast needs warm water to "activate" the yeast, and can take up to twice as long to work(!!)
I was originally using my measuring jug for the water (basically one of these), and decided to weigh the water - on repeated experiments filling the jug to the red line (by eye, leaving the water to settle before confirming) for 150ml I found a variance of +/- 10grams, which seems remarkably high to me!
I believe the Food Lab is onto something with the theory behind the food processor technique, but I think for now I will stick to the kneading technique - even if only because it should more consistently work with any recipe, plus sticking the dough in the mixer and leaving it to knead on a low speed for 10 minutes really doesn't take much effort on my part.