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How to make a lot of orange chicken sauce and store it?

It may be a good recipe, but some of his comments raise a few questions in regards to authenticity.

"A balanced sauce has plenty of vinegary kick to balance out the cloying sweetness that most restaurant versions have."

and

"We add vodka to our chicken coating."

Both comments seem to support a "this is better than the restaurant version" philosophy. Personally, I find that when you get into reverse engineering, improving on the original is a slippery slope. The OP seems to want what he or she gets locally, as do I.

Jul 30, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

How to make a lot of orange chicken sauce and store it?

I've spent most of my time developing my brown sauce, but orange sauce is pretty much the same wheelhouse. It's basically brown sauce - oyster sauce + vinegar + zest.

I took a look at a few recipes, and nothing really jumped out at me. This one isn't bad:

http://www.food.com/recipe/panda-expr...

I would tweak it the following ways:

1. Make sure you use boneless skinless dark meat, not white meat
2. Absolutely no sesame oil
3. Less salt in the breading- maybe 1 t. rather than 1.5 (the sauce has plenty of salt).
4. Simmer the garlic and ginger, don't saute
5. No oil in sauce (keeps a bit better).
6. Way less zest- maybe 1/4 of an orange's worth

The quantity of zest is really critical, as too little, it won't be orangey enough and, too much, and it will get very harsh, like an industrial cleaner. It's also important that it balances with the sweetness of the sugar.

It should scale up perfectly fine. If you want to make it in advance, I'd mimic the restaurants and make a base with all the sauce ingredients except for the corn starch slurry and the zest and combine the three when you're making the dish. At least, I'm pretty sure you want to keep the zest separate. You could try a batch with the zest in the base. As long as you bring the garlic and the ginger to a boil, you should be able to keep this for a few weeks, no problem.

It's a little tricky to do, but try to dial back the water in the sauce as much as possible, and add it day of instead- less water, higher salt content, longer lasting.

Vinegar is volatile and soy sauce seems to lose a bit with prolonged cooking, so, even though you want to boil the garlic and ginger, don't cook it too much longer than that.

Lastly, the sugar might dissolve initially, but then precipitate out when chilled. Corn syrup should stay dissolved better.

Jul 28, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

sourdough flavoring?!?

It contains the two predominant acids that sourdough bacteria generate- lactic and acetic (vinegar). Save yourself the money and just add some vinegar and some form of cultured milk (buttermilk, yogurt- maybe greek yogurt) to your dough. You can't use that much or the baker's yeast is going to be unhappy, but, good sourdough, imo, shouldn't have that much acid anyway.

I've done considerable research on dough, and everything I've seen points to these two acids as being the vast bulk of sourdough compounds being generated- these two acids and the traditional alcohol and co2 that cultivated baker's yeast provide. To me, it only makes sense that baker's yeast + acids = sourdough, but I've run into more than one sourdough fanatic who's disagreed :)

Jul 27, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Kind of a crazy sugar question...

Cook sugar to a hard crack stage and then spread over silpat. Spread it very thinly or it will be too hard to eat.

Or, if you want to go a bit thicker without being so hard on the teeth, make brittle without the nuts. That has other ingredients that help tenderize it.

Jul 25, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Reseason De Buyer Carbon Steel pan completely or is it ok?

No worries WD. It's all good :) I'm glad it worked out for you.

Jul 22, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

total rise of pizza dough volume. Pizza expertise appreciated 100 or 50%???

Jeff is wrong :) The actual volume increase is flour dependent, but it's never going to be as low as 50%. I work with special wholesale pizza flour that contains dough enhancers, so I get 3x out of it, no problem, but I think for your average supermarket bread flour, 2x is a safe bet. Bear in mind, the 2x advice is more geared to a beginner and is just a ballpark. As you work with dough, you should be pushing it further and further, and watching when it collapses and getting a feel for predicting when it will collapse, so you can gauge how much you should let it rise. I'm sure there's different theories on this, but I feel you should let dough rise until it's almost at the point of collapse, but not quite. This allows for further expansion in the oven. I haven't really tested any other points on the volume spectrum to see how they react in the oven, though, so perhaps a bit less might work better.

But, I can tell you unequivocally that 50% will never be the ideal volume expansion for dough.

No More Fried Foods or Whole Milk in Navy Chow Halls

Hundred bucks says that the oven roasted 'french fries' they make will end up fattier than properly made fries.

Edit: And another hundred bucks say that this change will impact the number of re-enlistments. Not dramatically, but enough to be able to see this on a graph.

You don't mess with people's fried chicken. That's unamerican :)

Jul 22, 2015
scott123 in General Topics
1

Built-In convection KA oven does not have a bottom burner. Making Pizza is a big issue

The ratio of ingredients looks excellent. The water should be specific to the protein content/brand of flour, and I don't know the brand of all purpose you're using, but it shouldn't make a difference if you're switching to bread flour as advised. Once you do track down bread flour, I think 62% hydration should be a pretty happy place. If you want to use up you're all purpose, 60% should be fine for that.

Autolyse

Autolyse schmautolyse :) Autolyses can be very helpful in giving the flour some time to absorb the water, which, in turn, will trim kneading times, but, beyond that, it's not doing all that much. It's not going to hurt your dough to incorporate it, but, at the same time if you're fermenting the dough for a couple days (which you should be), 20 minutes give or take isn't going to make much of a difference.

Windowpaning

Thanks to the bakers that pioneered no knead breads, we now know that overnight cold fermentation develops more than enough gluten in dough. Windowpaning is a very advanced stage of gluten development, which occurs after quite a lot of kneading. Gluten can be kneaded too much and overdeveloped, especially when you're dealing with weaker flour, such as AP. For a same day dough, windowpaning is fine, for an overnight cold ferment, windowpaning is way too much kneading.

Thickness factor

I see you're using the pizzamaking.com dough calculator. That's fantastic. The calculator has one major problem, though. It recommends a .1 thickness factor for NY. .1 produces an adulterated, midwestern, chainified version of NY style that has to be pretty thick in order to hold a boatload of toppings. The people from places that care about thin crust hand stretched pizza ;)- NY and Naples- they stretch the dough a lot thinner. Going thinner is going to make a world of difference to you, because the thicker the dough, the longer it bakes, the longer it takes to brown.

Fermentation

Basically, the denser the dough, the longer the bake. I spoke about water earlier. When it comes to baking pizza, water is a great big debbie downer. It's because it take SO much energy to heat- and even more energy to change phases (to boil). So, the bigger the bubbles in the dough the greater the distance between the layers of wet dough. Apart, these layers will brown up faster than they will closer together. The reason I bring this up is that, the biggest bubbles/maximum volume in the dough is about proper fermentation. And a window of 1 to 4 days isn't it. One of the hardest aspects of learning how to make pizza is learning how much yeast to use for a given fermentation time. As much as I'd like, I can't tell you to use x flour, use x amount of yeast, use x water temperature and your dough will be ready in exactly x hours. Your water might have slightly different chemistry, your refrigerator might run a little hotter or a little colder and/or something else might be different for you. There's all these little environmental variables that are specific to you. I can give you a ballpark, but it's up to you to fine tune your yeast quantity so the dough is ready, is doubled (or even tripled) right when you need it. This might mean that the first time you make a particular recipe, it might be ready a day before you planned on baking it, or even a day late, and you have to be flexible. This is the nature of becoming a great pizza maker. Beginners will frequently never make it to this stage of complexity and generally just throw a lot of yeast and a lot of time at it, but, from everything you've talked about, I'm pretty sure you're past being a beginner and are ready to watch your dough a little more closely. This includes repeating everything you do the same way each time you make the dough. The big thing, obviously, is water temp. I recommend room temp in my recipe, but if cold water works for you, that's fine, too. The most important thing is that once you choose a temp, as you're fine tuning the yeast quantity to hit a fermentation time target, stick to that same water temp every time.

Temper

Someone with a stronger oven could probably get by with an hour warm up between fridge and stretch, but the colder the dough, the longer it takes to bake. 2 hours is typically what I recommend, but, 3 wouldn't hurt. Just keep in mind that the dough should reach the doubling point right before you stretch it, so the longer the time between fridge and stretch, the warmer the dough's going to get and the more it will rise, so you may need to adjust the yeast quantity for a longer temper (time between fridge and stretch).

I've been keeping it all pretty theoretical, and avoiding specific instructions because pretty much everything that I'm recommending is incorporated into my recipe, and it's easiest just to give you a link to that. I'm normally pretty reticent to give people my recipe unless they ask for it, but formula wise, you're current recipe is almost identical to mine, so, you're pretty much already making recipe. My handling instructions (no autolyse, less kneading, smaller dough ball/thinner crust, more precise fermentation, longer temper) are what's going to be different, although none of these alterations are that dramatic different from what you have.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

This is a handy calculator for resizing that same recipe:

http://doughgenerator.allsimbaseball9...

Since it looks like you've been making 10" pies, to get the right thickness, I recommend plugging 190 in for the dough weight into the generator and that will give you the proper ingredient quantities for the thickness I'm recommending (which is .085 thickness factor rather than .1).

Jul 22, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Built-In convection KA oven does not have a bottom burner. Making Pizza is a big issue

You're welcome!

"1)I use Jeff's method, not his recipe."

Good :) I just remembered one other thing Varasano related. Are you using sourdough starter? Sourdough is a browning inhibitor, and may not be ideal for your oven.

"2)I was thinking of stone/steel placement from what I read from Serious Eats (top 1/3 of the oven being the hottest place)"

That's where I keep my steel (2nd shelf down). For me, the placement is less about heat and more about broiling intensity. If I go top shelf the broiler tends to brown the top unevenly.

"5) I'll be looking for organic ascorbic acid free bread flour)"

+malt (or enzymes)- check the ingredients. Also make sure there's no vital wheat gluten or gluten flour. Some unscrupulous millers like to add that.

"6) getting 1/2 in steel, I hope I can carry it home :)"

Like I said, cut it in two pieces. 20 lb. each hand, no problem :)

"7) need that IR gun as soon as I can get to a hardware store."

Good idea! They're pretty cheap on Amazon also- like 20 bucks or so.

"I'd like to post my recipe and method to see what else I can improve."

Please do. As you've seen by comments there's two ways to attack this- getting the most heat out of your oven, as well as making sure the recipe is tailored for your oven setup.

Jul 21, 2015
scott123 in Cookware
1

Fun things to do with huge basil leaves?

Slightly off topic, but does a huge basil leave taste any different than a smaller one? Is it more fibrous?

Jul 21, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

$500 on the line with a friend in a steak cook off

Not the OP, but sous vide is just a way of cooking meat that produces a juicier, more tender end product. It's a bit novel to some, but not flair-y, imo. And you really think 'garlic herb butter' is flair-y? :) I've never heard of putting sugar on a steak to promote browning, but there's already some sugar in steak that's responsible for the browning one normally gets so encouraging more with a little more sugar, yes, a bit flair-y, but, on the same level as whiskey in pumpkin pie? No.

Jul 21, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Built-In convection KA oven does not have a bottom burner. Making Pizza is a big issue

Okay, a few things :)

First, if you've got an oven that runs a little on the cool side, extra water (in the dough) is NOT your friend. There's a common misconception that water creates puff/oven spring. It doesn't. You need enough water to properly hydrate the flour so it can have enough extensibility to puff up and hold shape with the expanding gas, but, if you add more water than the flour can absorb, it acts like a dead weight and slows down the rate at which the pizza bakes, which, in turn slows down the gas expansion. More water, less 'explosion.' And explosion is what you want.

Varasano is at 65% hydration. That's a little high for bread flour (62% is better), but, for all purpose, it's incredibly high.

Excessive hydration makes working with a peel a LOT harder as well. The drier the dough, the more time you have before it's starts to stick. You can't go do something else when the skin's on the peel, but you also don't have to worry about blinking and coming back to find stuck on dough- as you would with high water doughs.

Next, sugar is an important component to the browning equation, but protein is important as well. Lower protein AP flour browns more slower than higher protein bread flour. If you're making pizza, you want bread flour- and preferably one with malt (or enzymes, which is the same thing) and without ascorbic acid (I noticed the other day that Robin Hood adds ascorbic acid). Malt (or enzymes) is absolutely critical for good texture and fast browning, and ascorbic acid, while good for developing the gluten, inhibits browning to an extent. Malt good, ascorbic acid, for you, bad.

As of right now, you might be able to walk into a Williams Sonoma and buy a steel, maybe (at a premium price), but that's about it for a retail source. If you absolutely do not want to put in the time/labor sourcing steel locally, and don't mind a premium price, I'm pretty sure bakingsteel.com ships to Canada. With your oven, and your recovery issues, I'm recommending two things very strongly.

1. Do not get their stock 14 x 16 x .25 steel. The thinner steel holds less heat, so you can't bake as many pizzas continuously as you would with 1/2". The 1/2" won't resolve your recovery issue, but it will help.

2. Get the largest size plate your oven can fit. The specs I've seen for your show a 19" depth, but the fan probably sticks out and there might be a lip on the shelf. If you can fit an 18" steel that would be fantastic. The reason why bigger is better for you, personally, is that if you're looking at long recovery times between bakes, say, 10 or maybe even 15 minutes, a large pie can satiate that many more people. Read the guide I linked to. It's a long read, but, you won't regret it.

18" x 18" x 1/2" is going to be super heavy, but if you cut it into 2 pieces, it should be manageable. Again, read the guide. In case you missed it, here's the link:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

Even if you buy steel online, the guide is invaluable for sizing.

The broiler is not a very effective way of pre-heating a baking stone. Pizza bakes from the heat stored throughout the stone. When you broil, the surface temp rises, but the temperature of the bottom of the stone drops. As long as the stone/steel is located close to the broiler (within 4") a few minutes of broiling right before baking, as long as the broiler element stays on/red, tend to help a bit, but broiling for the entire pre-heat just doesn't work.

The constant fan is the convective aspect of a convection oven. It's moving air around inside the oven so food bakes faster and more evenly. Don't be annoyed by it, be happy that you're getting better baked goods from your oven because of it :)

)

Unless you're making pan pizza, which is an entirely different animal, pans and baking sheets don't hold enough heat for the type of pizza you're trying to make. Thermal mass/thickness is key, and, with the oven you're working with, even more important than for someone else with more powerful equipment.

All ovens that thermostats that cycle the temp off and on to maintain the desired temp. Increasing the insulation won't create overheating issues.

Summing up,

1. Bread flour, with malt (enzymes) and without ascorbic acid
2. 62% water
3. Steel - go large, go thick
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...
4. Bakingsteel.com
5. Minimum broiling during the pre-heat
6. Convection fan good
7 Insulation good/safe.

Edit: I also just noticed that Varasano is at 3.5% salt. That is INSANE. If you haven't already backed down to something more sensible, like 2%, I highly advise it.

Jul 21, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Built-In convection KA oven does not have a bottom burner. Making Pizza is a big issue

Okay, I'm beginning to see a clearer picture here.

This oven is weak (I know, big surprise :) ). It has less than half the power of my comparably sized GE oven. It's not the kiss of death for good pizza, but, it's going to extend your pre-heat time and most likely require additional recovery time between pizzas, depending on how many you're baking in a setting.

When you combine the underpowered aspect AND the heat it's leaking, that's not good at all. I know that what I'm about to propose is akin to telling you to pull teeth, but, how about bringing a contractor in and see if they can insulate it a bit better?

Even if it's weak and poorly insulated, you should be able to pull a half decent pie out of it.

First thing you do is calibrate it. From the manual:

"To Adjust Oven Temperature Calibration:
1. Touch TOOLS and then “5” to set the calibration.
2. On double ovens only, touch UPPER OVEN or LOWER OVEN
to select oven.
Each oven calibration can be independently set.
3. Touch “3” to increase and “6” to decrease the temperature.
4. Touch START to end calibration."

It can be calibrated 30 degrees higher. That should help.

Next, I checked, this oven has an element under the floor. Again, from the manual:

D. CleanBake™ bake element
(hidden beneath floor panel)

Does your oven have vents in the floor? If it does, by blocking those, you might have prevented heat from flowing into the oven chamber. Even if it doesn't have vents, this oven relies heavily on the convection aspect to bake. By putting the stone on the floor, you're exposing only half the stone to the hot convective air flowing around the inside of the oven.

In other words, as other commenters have already mentioned, place your stone on a shelf- preferably towards the top.

So, summing up,

1. See if you can add insulation
2. Calibrate
3. Stone on upper shelf
4. Pre-heat longer- at least 80 minutes (how thick is your stone?)
4. Use bake w/ convection (and use convection for the pre-heat also)

That should come pretty close to reproducing the browning you were achieving previously. If you want to take your game a notch higher, again, as mentioned, you should look into steel. Steel won't get you a Neapolitan bake time, but it will give you something considerably puffier and more lightly charred than what the stone is capable of doing:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

Btw, if you happen to be using 00 flour, don't. It has a really hard time browning at the temps you're working at.

Jul 21, 2015
scott123 in Cookware
1

$500 on the line with a friend in a steak cook off

Nice memory. And Bourdain is one of my personal heroes, so it's not without a considerable among of soul searching and angst that I'm telling him to suck it (on this particular point).

I'm not telling anyone that they can't enjoy their steaks rare/med rare. I'm just trying to buy a little wiggle room for the concept that some cuts can be better well done, and that those people that choose well done aren't all morons to be spit upon by those that know better.

In other words, I'd like to see a little less testosterone and a little more allowance for complexity in the food business. The Iron Chef is fun to watch, but life should have a lot more gray area.

Jul 20, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

$500 on the line with a friend in a steak cook off

Eesh, I did study ballet, although, in my defense, a big part of the reason why I took the class was the attractive women :) And I did fail it- for sleeping through it twice. So I should get some points.

Believe me, 'well done is a crime against a good steak' has been a deafening roar for foodies for at least 3 decades now. I can't recall what he said, but Bourdain has had some pretty choice nuggets about well done steak eaters. And THERE'S a man for you :)

I've heard this, a LOT. But if you also put your ear to the ground, you'll hear about how amazing burnt ends are. Yes, when you look at people that love food as much as I do, my perspective is probably .001%. But sometimes the .001% gets it right.

$500 on the line with a friend in a steak cook off

My point was that I sensed that there would be someone who'd 'outman' me- which, is really not that hard. Just a little humor.

So, 13 hours ago, you'd try my steak, but now, it unequivocally 'ain't it?' What happened in 13 hours? Rough night? :)

Jul 20, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

$500 on the line with a friend in a steak cook off

Haha, I knew someone would chime in with better stats. For what it's worth, neither of us are Jean-Claude Van Damme :)

Jul 19, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

$500 on the line with a friend in a steak cook off

Low and slow or high and fast, it makes no difference, if the meat is sufficiently fatty, it will be burnt end level unbelievable.

The next time you get a relatively well marbled ribeye, it will have a small arc of cap on it. Cook the steak, as normal, then remove the cap and cook it longer- until it's pretty dark. It will only be about a bite, if that, but, after you taste that, this will all make sense.

Jul 19, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

$500 on the line with a friend in a steak cook off

"If you cook a steak to well done you render all the fat... straight into the flames of your grill and out of the steak.."

This is absolutely not true. Not with an extremely well marbled steak. I'm not going to lie, you lose some fat, but the fat that is absorbed by the areas that use to contain water- it's unbelievable eating.

Burnt ends. Go to Kansas city and try them. Or just buy a ribeye cap, brown it well and taste it. You will never eat a med. rare well marbled steak ever again.

Jul 19, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

$500 on the line with a friend in a steak cook off

3) I'm 6'3", most likely in the 250 realm. I played a little football college, and, at one point, I could bench 250. I know, nothing to really brag about, but I think enough stats to at least claim to be a little bit manly, whatever that is :)

As far as I'm concerned, there's no bigger lie foisted on the foodie milieu than the supposed superiority of a rare steak. Rarer meat is juicy, because muscles are 75% water. But who the heck wants extra water in their steak? I sure don't.

Tests have proven, beyond a doubt, that very lean beef tastes exactly like very lean pork, which tastes exactly like very lean lamb- all three containing copious amounts of meat juice that is still remaining when rare- and still very much tasteless. I don't think it can be more universally known that fat = flavor. And fat doesn't start giving off it's magical elixir until you start rendering it- until you start driving off the water in the muscle and replacing that missing water with rendered fat.

The rare steak concept was born out of the necessity of having to deal with vastly inferior lean beef, caused by a healthy lifestyle trend that began a few decades ago. Fat acts as a barrier to protein strands trying to latch on to either. Much like the butter/shortening in pie crust makes it tender, fat makes beef tender. Without fat, and cooked well done, the protein strands grab onto each other for dear life, squeezing out every drop of juice in sight, producing a hockey puck. For absolute garbage lean beef- which is pretty much almost everything you can buy nowadays, sure, there's no other option than rare.

But once you have enough fat, if you want the best flavor, you have to render it, and you're only going to render it with sufficient cooking.

Case in point. Burnt ends. Burnt ends, done by someone skilled, will make the eyes roll back in your head with ecstasy. Not a bit of pink in sight, but one of the best tasting pieces of beef you will ever taste.

Another cut that blows my freaking mind is the ribeye cap.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/05/me...

Cooked to well done it's an orgasmic experience.

If you're going to win this, you WILL not do it with rareness. You will win it with fat. Rendered fat- which completely rules out tenderloin. As far as Wagyu ribeyes go, I've spent a lot of hard earned dollars on Wagyu ribeyes in hopes of finding one that's fatty enough, only to be disappointed every time.

You might end up spending most of your prize money on it, but, if you want to win, go with a rib eye cap and go deep dark and well done.

Jul 19, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking
2

Reseason De Buyer Carbon Steel pan completely or is it ok?

Ummm, I hate to be 'that' guy, but you're kind of talking like roughing up the steel was some kind of Eureka moment for you and that this is 'your method' when I recommended the technique a month before you posted- in the post right above yours.

I'm just saying :)

I'm not claiming that I invented this. I've never seen anyone else talk about it, so I'm not completely ruling that out, but, considering how frequently seasoning is discussed online, I can only assume it's come up.

Linseed oil has been the base for paint for centuries, and no one would ever think about painting something shiny without lightly sanding it first so the paint has something to grab on to. The linseed oil in paint polymerizes over time. We are just accelerating the process by using heat, along with other fats.

Jul 16, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Built-In convection KA oven does not have a bottom burner. Making Pizza is a big issue

What model oven did you purchase?

Also, what's the peak temp that the bake and broil settings go to?

The model number will tell me the wattage. Between the wattage and the peak temps, I'll be able to tell you exactly what quality of pizza you'll be able to bake with this oven.

Jul 16, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Help me pick a kitchen range!

I've worked with 2 home ovens and 3 professional ones that had convection. In all cases, the convection worked really well- much more even browning and faster bakes than a non convection version.

This all being said, I've worked with quite a few home pizza bakers and have seen photos of plenty of convection oven fans, and it doesn't seem like they're all created equal. I don't know for certain, but I wouldn't be surprised if the more expensive ovens had larger, more powerful fans.

Jul 16, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

CLAD pizza "steel"

Thank you for your kind words.

Aluminum for pizza is still very virgin territory, so I have tremendous respect for the pioneering work that you and Sirrith are doing in this arena, and very much look forward to hearing about your further adventures.

Jul 16, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Help me pick a kitchen range!

Yes, steel is a popular rung on the pizza obsession ladder :) Another less popular rung is larger baking surfaces to accommodate larger pies. Some people never get the big pizza bug, but, for those that do, larger ovens can be important- specifically the distance between the back wall and the front door, since width is generally never a problem.

Even if you never get the big pizza bug, if you think you might be entertaining semi-large groups, larger pizzas can feed a crowd considerably quicker.

Jul 16, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

Help me pick a kitchen range!

It's not an easy task, because most manufacturers don't publish these kinds of details, but, for whatever model you're looking at, try to find out the peak temperature they can be set to on the dial. And try to get a peak setting for both the bake feature and the broil feature, as, for newer ovens they tend not to be the same.

The reason I bring this up is that, for pizza, ideally, you'll want an oven that goes to 550 on bake and 550 on broil.

Also, relating to pizza, make sure the oven has a broiler in the main chamber, and try to compare broiler burner BTUs and bake burner BTUs from model to model. Range BTUs are heavily publicized, and you obviously want to get the most bang for your buck out of those, but try to get as much BTUs as you can in the 2 burners in the oven as well.

That is, if you think you might get serious about pizza (or already are).

Jul 16, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

CLAD pizza "steel"

Sounds good, if you have any trouble sourcing Pendleton, there's always King Arthur bread flour. At 12.7%, it's a little weak for me, but, between 12.7 and 15, I'd recommend the 12.7.

If you have a lot of the Lehigh left, you could always try diluting it with something really soft like unbleached pastry flour.

A friend coined the term "lo-knead" which I think is a bit more apropos, considering there's a tiny amount of kneading involved. But, yeah, why exert yourself when time will do it for you?

Jul 15, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

CLAD pizza "steel"

You're welcome, Alex.

If I set my oven to 500, I end up with 1/2" steel that's almost exactly 525 (my oven runs a little hot) and that gives me just about 4.5 to 5 minutes.

Re; 'ramping' methods. With steel, a lot of people lose sight of the fact that pizza bakes with the heat stored throughout the plate, and not just the surface, and try to drive up the temp of their steels with the broiler. The broiler just heats the surface, and, while the surface temp is rising, the temp on the bottom of the plate generally drops- at least to an extent. People might get a small decrease in bake time from the broiler, but it's never as consequential as they're expecting based on what they're seeing in the surface temp. And it's always a bit erratic. Aluminum might be a little different, in that the heat may penetrate further, but I find a traditional slow pre-heat on the second to top shelf very consistent and predictable. I could be wrong, but, at this point, I think you could benefit from a little more predictability.

Jul 15, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

CLAD pizza "steel"

Thank you for your very kind words.

It probably depends on the oven, but I find I get a bit more even color with an early turn, and I also really like my peel, so I'm probably a little turn happy :)

Thanks for bringing this up because I forgot the instructions for turning in my post to Alex. Once you start turning, because the broiler really favors the back, more turns are necessary, as you are pointing out.

I'm not familiar with the Lehigh Mills Utah winter wheat. Just to confirm, this is white flour, right, not whole wheat, correct? 15% feels a little unnatural. No 'vital wheat gluten' or 'gluten flour' in it, right? I know a mill in Vancouver that pulls that garbage. Evil.

If it is white flour, it depends, to a point, on your recipe. If you severely underknead very high protein flour, you can get some tenderness from it, but if you dial back the kneading too much, you risk undermixing and having pockets of dry flour in the dough. In addition, a lot of sugar and/or a ton of oil will promote tenderness as well. In a typically fast baked NY pie (59-63% hydration, 1% sugar, 1-3% oil), though, such as one achieves using steel... I think 15% is too high. I even think 14% is too high for NY. 13% allows a very wide range of kneading times without getting tough, and will still provide the perfect level of chewy puffiness that characterizes the best NY pies.

A good way to tell if your flour has too much protein is to taste a fully chilled slice. Cold, it should have a little tooth, but you shouldn't be fighting it at all.

14 and, especially 15- that's better for bagels.

You might be able to find Pendleton Power flour where you are, which is 13.5% and has quite a few fans. I haven't really seen enough results with Giusto's to pass judgement, but the unmalted options they seem to be pushing rub me a little wrong. They really should be educating their customers a bit better as to the applications each type is best suited for. Caputo is better about that kind of thing.

I recently acquired a client with a bromaphobic partner, so, at some point, I'll probably be testing the Giusto's Malted High Performer (13-13.5) and I'll know better then how it stacks up.

I generally prefer 13 over 13.5, so, in theory, High Performer might be a tiny bit better than Power flour, but, until I try it, I won't know.

Jul 15, 2015
scott123 in Cookware

CLAD pizza "steel"

Between the sprouted flour you're using and the unmalted flour, I think it's especially difficult to compare your results with the people I'm familiar with. If you're happy, though, that's all that matters.

The method that I use for baking on steel works very well for me, and for the people that I train. There's nothing steel specific about it, so it should translate just fine to aluminum.

Place the aluminum about 5-6" from the broiler. This usually translates into the second shelf from the top. Pre-heat for 30 minutes at 525 and set the timer for 5 minutes. Before launching, take a reading of the surface of the aluminum with an IR thermometer and right it down in your notes. Launch the pizza and start the timer. After about 1.5 minutes has passed, give the pizza a turn (180 degrees) and turn on the broiler. If the broiler turns off, crack the door. Monitor both the top and bottom periodically (every 30 seconds, for the next two minutes), periodically turning the pizza as necessary, and turning the broiler off if the top starts taking on too much color or, if the bottom starts getting dark, lifting the pizza off the aluminum a fraction of an inch so the top keeps cooking (aka doming).

If you use the timer, and you sit in front of the oven, after a few times, it's not hectic at all.

Btw, something like this is invaluable for turning the pizza in a home oven:

http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Spatula-Li...

Also, unmalted flour is really not engineered for longer bake times. Unless you're hitting sub 90 second Neapolitan bakes, you'll see much better texture and color with the malted version of the High Performer.

Jul 15, 2015
scott123 in Cookware