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Pizza Stone Corn Meal Question

This is a good thread and I appreciate everyone's passion for pizza. A link to my pizza dough recipe for advanced pizza makers is attached. A version of this I posted on a pizza site inspired a very successful pizzeria.

Give it a try!

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May 18, 2012
Steveinoakland in Home Cooking

Pizza Stone Corn Meal Question

This is actually a technique that works well with some very wet forms of pizza ( e.g. A desert form). I don't often do it, but par-baking a pizza crust can be an effective tool. Just don't over cook.

May 18, 2012
Steveinoakland in Home Cooking

Pizza Stone Corn Meal Question

If you are not preheating your stone you are doing the opposite of the stone's purpose. The stone is meant as a 'heat capacitor' to speed cooking. You must preheat the stone well for to to do its job. Otherwise you are better off cooking on a cookie sheet.

May 18, 2012
Steveinoakland in Home Cooking

Pizza - why high temperature?

Scott nailed it, but I would add that if you think about the dough's internal structure, you might like to compare it to bubble wrap. Layers of protein reenforced starches are created by the kneading, which rolls and folds the dough repeatedly. Fermentation of sugars and starches by the yeast creates CO2 and alcohol, with some of the CO2 getting trapped between the dough layers (called the gluten net). The alcohol contributes to flavor by facilitating creating more complex molecules out of dead yeast, etc.

When the dough hits the oven, three forms of heat transfer occur, conductive, convective, and radiant. The heat transfer causes the moisture and CO2 remaining in the dough to expand rapidly (oven lift), but also rapidly dry and start to harden the outer skin (which can prevent expansion). This is why you dont want too much wet stuff on top of your pizza, pushing down and creating the gum line.

Balancing the expandion process to produce what you want is part of the art of pizza construction and baking. For example, one can coat the outside of the cornice of the dough (crust) with an oil which may help expansion a bit, but also impacts flavor. If you want to try a secret of mine, coat the outer crust with duck fat on some pizzas (ideally one with duck) and notice the flavor and rise impact.

Have fun and yes, use the stone, but heat for at least 30 min to soak up the heat. That is critical. Using Parchment paper to prevent sticking at pizza start is a huge help to home chefs.

May 18, 2012
Steveinoakland in Home Cooking

1st Wedding Anniversay Dinner while visiting Bay Area

A quick tip if you go the Chez panisse. Their menu is on the web site and is a fixed meal. You might want to check out the web site to see what they plan to serve. For me it is almost always good, but some meals may not be your thing. Tend towards food on the fresh, seasonal not overly fancy presentation side. The upstairs cafe is great, fun, but a less special setting (a casual setting for great food). @ susan, I think Bay Wolf focuses on simple, perfectly prepared food, but it is not as "fancy" as some. Duck usually is usually a perfectly done breast half, thigh and leg with a reduction sauce and seasonal veggies. I think their use of great use of grilled seasonal veggies (fennel, fava beans, wild mushrooms, etc.) is one of my reasons I like them, but they are subtle. Agree maybe less for a special meal than CP.

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Bay Wolf Restaurant
3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

Aug 01, 2010
Steveinoakland in San Francisco Bay Area

1st Wedding Anniversay Dinner while visiting Bay Area

Wow. Suprised you were dissappointed at Bay Wolf, having been there recently and enjoyed it after not going for a while. What did you order? I usually find some menu items are much more interesting then others (e.g. have never found beef all that interesting). Always have good success with their duck and lamb shank dishes, and usually the fish. Side veggies usually excellent as well. Curious, because I often recommend it to foodie types who are not into ethnic.

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Bay Wolf Restaurant
3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

Jul 30, 2010
Steveinoakland in San Francisco Bay Area

1st Wedding Anniversay Dinner while visiting Bay Area

You are correct, I had a brain freeze. We even cook bastilla at home. What was I thinking? Must have had hummas on my mind.

Jul 30, 2010
Steveinoakland in San Francisco Bay Area

Visiting San Francisco 4 1st Time...Major Foodie!!! Need Help!

Note for visitor. FYI, Bocadillos is a tapas-oriented, more casual feeling restaurant by the same chef as Pipperade, Gerald Hirigoyen one of my cook book heros and master of Basque food (mispelled in my earlier post...sorry Gerald).

Whoops, noticed your have already visited. How did it go?

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Bocadillos
710 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Jul 30, 2010
Steveinoakland in San Francisco Bay Area

Visiting San Francisco 4 1st Time...Major Foodie!!! Need Help!

Agree strongly with Piperade for superb Basque food, Aziza for california-influenced amazing lebanese, SPQR for "roman tapas" or A16 for southern italian done right. Among the most consistently excellent. For wow factor Hiroyen is often among the tables at Piparade, which should get you excited if you ever needed the perfect duck confit recipe (buy his cookbooks!). If you want new and hot, try to get into Commis on Piedmont Ave in Oakland. Hard booking though.

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A16
2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

Piperade
1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

SPQR
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

Commis
3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

Jul 30, 2010
Steveinoakland in San Francisco Bay Area

1st Wedding Anniversay Dinner while visiting Bay Area

Agree with prior posts. Would add the Piedmont Ave. are of Oakland has a lot of nice options, from one of the better bars, a nice persian restaurant, a favorite chinese, french bistro and to a solid artisan pizza place. Two stand-outs are Bay Wolf (think fit your criteria well, and super consistent excellence) and Comis (which is more a small plate place, but among the countries hottest places). Downtown Oakland has a lot of good spots. Consider B (especially sunday fixed price...solid comfort food). I like Pizzaiolo in Temescal area (Telegraph Ave.). Former Ches Panise chef who is picked best in oakland. Great artisan pizza and solid italian-california food with nice prices and portions. Just off Highway 24. Many, many many more nice neighborhood places and tons in Berkeley. Will you be in a particular part of the east bay? If you go into SF and like lebanese inspired upscale, I had one of my favorite romantic anniversary dinners at Aziza. They treat you wonderfully, plenty of food, good wine and very romantic for me.

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Pizzaiolo
5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Bay Wolf Restaurant
3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

Jul 30, 2010
Steveinoakland in San Francisco Bay Area