New York Style Pizza: Experiments


If you have read more than a few of my posts here, you will probably come to realise that I am a fairly suggestible guy. It takes just the briefest of mentions of mac & cheese during the week to get be obsessing about it right up until the weekend when I inevitably have to turn my thoughts into reality.



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.


Observations

The 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.
rob hinds Shambolically fumbling my way around the kitchen

3 comments:

  1. I didn't know that about the yeast sold. I shall have to check what I've got. the pizza looks good though. But now I'm thinking about macaroni cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't know that about the yeast sold. I shall have to check what I've got. the pizza looks good though. But now I'm thinking about macaroni cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, my resting state send to be thinking about mac and cheese. I think bread machine yeast might be the same as instant, but don't quote me on that!

    ReplyDelete