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Pizza Stone ... Which one?

If you read the earlier posts in this thread, you'll see that baking steel has been discussed extensively. My thoughts are the same as they were two years ago, steel plate is great (for most people), but baking steel is a price gouging company that lacks honesty and forthrightness in their advertising.

For those that are considering steel, FIRST, look at your setup and your desired style (steel is not for everyone) and, then, if you're a good candidate, save yourself a load of money and get it locally. The details on what steel can and cannot do can be found here:

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

Jul 20, 2014
scott123 in Cookware

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

I think I found the problem. Callebaut is around 20% fat. That's double the fat of Hershey's cocoa. The fat is clumping and giving you textural issues.

Work with a fat free cocoa- you should be fine.

Jul 13, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Baker's chocolate contains more fat than cocoa. When you pour melted chocolate into a cold smoothie, it will immediately set up, and you'll have little hard chips.

Jul 13, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Ah, okay, I think we're getting somewhere. It sounds like your cocoa isn't hydrating properly. It could be that there isn't enough available water in your smoothie to hydrate it or that it hasn't seen enough heat.

One piece of good news :) As long as these undissolved cocoa particles are relatively evenly distributed throughout the smoothie, I can pretty much guarantee you that a gum will do nothing to solve the problem.

How are you tempering the cocoa with water? I looked at DIY Hershey's syrup recipes and they all involve bringing cocoa and water to a boil. This leads me to believe, much like dissolving peanut butter in water, cocoa, a fatty dry particulate, requires heat. You want to be really careful when bringing cocoa/water mixtures to a boil, as cocoa is really easy to scorch, not to mention, high heat will most likely drive away some desired volatile flavor compounds. You could probably avoid boiling altogether by exposing the water/cocoa mixture to some heat, but letting time do the work- maybe leaving it at 150 for a couple hours.

I would also, just as a test, give Hershey's syrup a try. the sugar most likely won't work for your formula, so you most likely won't be able to use it in production, but, for testing, it should show you that cocoa + water is feasible.

Btw, there's no chance that your cocoa is gritty, right?

Jul 12, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Halleyscomet, I'm still not getting a clear idea of what you're trying to do.

Over the years, it seems like chocolate ice cream has lost a lot of it's chocolateyness, so I've been adding cocoa to shakes. I don't even use a blender- I add it just with a spoon.

I also make a homemade hot chocolate where the cocoa will have a tendency to sit on the top of hot milk, but some quick whisking tends to resolve that. If I let it sit for a while, the cocoa butter will have a tendency to rise to the top, but I've never seen this happen in cold settings.

As far as blending goes, as long as you're blending the right quantity of liquid for your blender and maintaining a good vortex, I see no reason why cocoa shouldn't incorporate just fine.

Could you describe the problem in further detail?

Jul 12, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Some brands of guar taste beanier than others. Smell the jar, if it smells beany, it'll taste beany.

How are your smoothies not holding together? What's in them?

If your clients have issues with more than 1 odd ingredient, you can tell them you're adding 'vegetable gum' and add both guar and xanthan.

Jul 11, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking
1

Regional Pizza Styles - Are there any missing?

It's not an official style, and most likely never will be, but I think the world would be a better place if people could start making the distinction between NY area NY style pizza, and the debased Dominos-ified McPizza that the majority of the rest of the nation/world seems tragically compelled to call 'NY style' pizza.

Jul 05, 2014
scott123 in General Topics

Neapolitan pizza - is is supposed to be soggy in middle?

Calling Neapolitan 'soggy' is like calling expresso beans 'burnt.' It's a pejorative perspective typically stemming from limited cultural exposure.

Traditional Neapolitan pizza is typically soft and wet in the center- at least, when a sauce is present. On some white pies, where you might find only oil and cheese, the lack of water from the tomato causes the undercrust to crisp up much faster, producing a dramatically drier end result.

Some people like their pizza soft and wet, others prefer it crispy. To each his/her own. A restaurant reviewer should have a more expanded perspective than to throw around terms like 'soggy' when describing Neapolitan pizza, especially when it doesn't even sound like they're attempting to denigrate it.

Jun 22, 2014
scott123 in General Topics
1

Brooklyn or Queens pizza joints

You're going to find different opinions on this, but, for the classic NY style slice, I think Williamsburg does a slightly better job than New Park.

Stuart, if you do go to New Park, be very careful with the 'well done' request they talk about in the Slice review. The last time we asked for it 'well done' it was pitch black on the bottom. I was part of a big group, and we were on a schedule, but if I was there on my own, I'd have sent it back. They should be able to give you a pie that's charred, but isn't incinerated.

Jun 12, 2014
scott123 in Outer Boroughs

pizza stone vs. steel

Liquidy, the best NY style pizza (ideal color, ideal oven spring) occurs in 4-5 minutes. With traditional cordierite baking stones, this requires from 600-625 degrees, but for steel, this magic bake time can be achieved at as low as 525. Since almost no home ovens can break 600, this makes steel an especially useful tool for home bakers seeking the best possible NY style pies.

But that fast 4-5 minute bake at 525 on steel only covers the rate at which the bottom of the pizza bakes. To match this fast bottom bake, a top heat source/broiler is absolutely essential. In situations without a broiler, steel is the worst material you can use, because the bottom will always burn before the top is finished baking.

Companies like Baking Steel and the websites shilling for them (such as Seriouseats) have done a tremendous disservice to the public by not informing people of steel's shortcomings and by giving home bakers the impression that steel is for everyone. It absolutely is not. You've witnessed, firsthand, that steel is absolutely not ideal in every setting.

As far as successfully baking pizza in your BBQ, the lack of top heat makes things a big complex. Ideally, you should have a BBQ that can comfortably hit 650, which you combine with a few things.

1. The false ceiling Sirrith was speaking of.
2. A low conductivity hearth (basically the opposite properties of steel), such as quarry tiles or fibrament (bakingstone.com).
3. Deflection under the stone, to force the heat away from the stone and up towards the ceiling, where you want it.

This is a pretty good introduction into the concepts of deflection and false ceilings:

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

I haven't written it up yet, but I'm about to come up with a version using aluminum foil as both a ceiling and a deflector in gas grills. The lack of emissivity of the foil might hinder the top heat a bit, but, as long as the burners are going full blast during the bake, and the false ceiling is nice and low/close to the pizza, I think it should work. No matter what, a foil based setup will be tremendously better than a grill with only a stone.

No matter what, when you have a bottom heat source, and no top, you have to start getting creative.

Jun 08, 2014
scott123 in Cookware

pizza stone vs. steel

Sirrith, while you're 100% correct about the lack of heat from above being the problem, a false ceiling won't solve the problem. Steel has no place in a BBQ whatsoever, even with modifications- at least not as a hearth. It can fill the false ceiling role, although, for that application, I think it's a bit expensive and overkill.

Jun 08, 2014
scott123 in Cookware
1

Brooklyn or Queens pizza joints

Williamsburg Pizza

Jun 06, 2014
scott123 in Outer Boroughs

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

Alliegator, as I said before, steel will not give you the pizza in the photo above, and, if used with traditional Neapolitan dough in a home oven, produces especially bad pizza- if you read through all the comments, you'll see I'm not alone in this opinion.

If you've given up your quest for Neapolitan and are seeking the best possible NY style pizza, then steel is a good choice (if your oven has a broiler), but you generally want thicker than 1/4" and much wider/deeper than 14". A 14" hearth will limit you to 13" pies, which, for NY, is postage stamp size. Small pies and minimal thermal mass is going to make it extremely difficult to bake pizza for a group of people. 2 people should be okay (one 13" pie per person), but for any pizzas beyond 2, you'll be looking at a pretty long recovery time.

If you're going to spend that much money on a piece of steel plate, you might as well get a dimension that will allow you to comfortably entertain with.

Jun 05, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

00 Pizzeria flour (make sure it's Pizzeria, since 00 only dictates the grind, not the protein level) is the standard flour for Neapolitan pizza. The easiest way to know if it's pizzeria flour is to look for an image of pizza on the bag.

Don't get too caught up with water worries. They are predominantly myths. Different regions have varying micro-organisms that the local people have developed a tolerance to. This is why travel advisories tell people not to drink the water. It has nothing to do with pizza though. For pizza, the water doesn't really matter that much. Chlorine isn't great for yeast. If your tap water is heavily chlorinated, use bottled or boil the tap water before you use it. Extremely soft water might be an issue, maybe, if one is trying to duplicate pizza from regions with moderate to hard water (NY and Naples), so if someone's water is exceptionally soft, they might want to supplement it with calcium sulfate, but your hard water should work perfectly fine.

Jun 03, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking
1

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

Yes, Naples imports a great deal of Canadian wheat. Canada and America have climates that are able to produce a quality and a strength of wheat that very few other countries in the world can match.

Jun 03, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

BCC, malted flour (KABF) is not a 'tweak' to the Neapolitan recipe. Malted flour, baked for 3 minutes or longer (which, I'm guessing is about what your setup can achieve), is no longer Neapolitan pizza in any way, it's NY. NY style is my favorite style. I love it. But, because of the malted flour and longer bake, it browns differently and has entirely different texture than Neapolitan pizza.

If it walks like a duck... ;)

As far as Di Matteo goes, their blend is really not that far outside of the canon (and kind of silly when you understand wheat varieties). Italy doesn't have the climate to grow strong enough wheat for pizza, so they have to import it. Manitoba (Canada) wheat is a predominant component of a typically multi-national 00 Pizzeria flour blend. Spring wheat is stronger than winter. Winter usually falls in the 13% protein range, as does Neapolitan 00 pizzeria flour (12.7%). Long story short, Di Matteo, by blending the 00 with Manitoba, is basically combining the same flour. They may be increase the final protein content ever so slightly, but, the impact will be negligible and nowhere near the vast disparity of swapping out unmalted flour with malted.

Jun 03, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

Most home cooks, thanks to people like Reinhart and publications like Saveur, might be seeking something quazi-Neapolitan (sadly), but not the original poster of this thread. Alliegator specifically asked for assistance in recreating 'true' Neapolitan pizza and posted a photo of the real thing. All of the ensuing 'close enough' related advice (not by you, but by others), is incredibly counterproductive towards her goals.

Jun 03, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

Neapolitan pizza is neither horseshoes nor hand grenades. There's no such thing as "not quite the real thing, but still pretty good." I wish there was. I've witnessed hundreds of home bakers follow Reinhart's heinous quasi Neapolitan advice and end up with barely edible results, scratching their heads as to what they did wrong.

Every aspect of Neapolitan style pizza has been meticulously engineered for the oven environment. The ingredient ratios, the flour choice, the hydration, the gluten development, the fermentation regime. All these roads don't lead to Rome, they lead to Naples :) Unmalted Neapolitan flour will not brown properly with longer bake times. It will not puff up without the intense heat. Without the enzymes in the malt, long baked (typical home oven baked) Neapolitan dough is lifeless, tasteless and has the texture of cardboard. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

NY style, on the other hand, IS engineered for slightly longer bake times- bake times that can be achieved, with the right equipment, in most home ovens. But it's an entirely different approach, an entirely different animal. Different ingredients, malt vs. unmlated flour, cold fermented, varied stretching techniques. If one possesses an oven that can do a 4 minute bake (most home ovens), a NY dough MURDERS a Neapolitan dough in that setting.

These style definitions exist for a reason. They didn't just manifest out of thin air. The Neapolitan people have honed and fine tuned their masterpiece for many decades, just as New Yorkers, with their deck ovens, have honed and fined tuned their contribution to culinary greatness over a long period of time. By subscribing to a "close enough" mentality, you're being oblivious to the accumulated wisdom of thousands of masters, and, in the process, paying the price of having to endure far far less than ideal pizza.

There is no 'close enough' when it comes to Neapolitan pizza. If you don't have the oven, if you don't have the right tool for the job, you choose the job that you have precisely the right tool for-NY style- and that's an entirely different ball game.

Jun 03, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

Steel will NOT produce the pizza in the photo you've posted above in an unmodded home oven.

In most ovens (not all), steel is the ideal material for NY style pizza, but if you buy it expecting Neapolitan bliss, you will only find sorrow, as there's nothing worse than Neapolitan dough baked in the wrong oven setup- no softness, no puffiness, no ethereal quality- just dense, stale, flavorless cardboard.

Jun 03, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

I'm not overlooking that in the slightest. That's the core of my beliefs. Either you're staying true to the culture, to the history, and making Neapolitan style pizza, or you're making something else. If you don't have the equipment, you can't make that style of pizza- but you can make many other wonderful styles.

If someone doesn't own a waffle iron, and they just pour the waffle batter on a flat griddle, are they still making waffles? A 450 C oven is as integral to Neapolitan style pizza as a waffle iron is to waffles.

May 31, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

:-D Yes, I am very passionate about this subject. And, for what it's worth, a little angry. Not with you, of course, but with the influential authors that should know better than to convey these adulterated perspectives of other cultures.

Peter Reinhart, a man who I respect a great deal, went to Naples, spent time in Naples, knew exactly how Neapolitan pizza was made, and then came back, wrote a book and put a recipe in it for something entirely different. And then you've got Nathan Myhrvold, who ended up correcting a great deal of the pizza section of Modernist Cuisine, but, imo, didn't go far enough in regards to the Neapolitan related material. For a man of his brilliance to be so blissfully unaware of Neapolitan culture, it boggles the mind.

Banana hootch, huh? I'm in for a glass :)

May 31, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

The DOP standards didn't just manifest out of thin air. They were created to document and protect a treasured regional cultural legacy going back more than a hundred years. To a Neapolitan, their pizza is a cultural treasure. Just like the French don't want people messing with their champagne and the Emilia-Romagnian's go to great lengths to preserve the beauty of their parmigiano reggiano, the Neapolitans, by crafting their standards, are attempting to preserve their cultural identity as it crosses the globe.

By stating that you don't care about standards, you're basically telling the Neapolitan people that you don't care about their culture or their history.

Making Neapolitan style pizza with oil and sugar would be like making champagne with apples instead of grapes. To an extent, you do find slight variations in toppings in the Naples region (more so now than in years past), but the dough ingredients are extremely well established in the region- as is the fast bake time.

Can you imagine a world where the French didn't protect their heritage and the champagne recipe ended up being tweaked and modified so much that champagne no longer existed? How sad would that be? Can you imagine a world without parmigiano reggiano- a world with only Kraft parmesan? I wouldn't want to go on living. Neapolitan style pizza is just as valuable.

American chefs and authors have a long history of adulterating food from other cultures. It's a cultural bias that I find extremely offensive. The world is WAY too small and WAY too connected for this kind of cultural insensitivity. Americans don't have the right to redefine Neapolitan heritage.

If you enjoy dough with oil and sugar, that's great, call your pizza 'Linguafood style' or anything else you like, just not Neapolitan. The people of Naples, past and present, deserve better.

May 31, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

There is no oil or sugar in Neapolitan pizza dough.

May 30, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

Lovely, tongue tickling Neapolitan style pizza at home. Tips?

Neapolitan style pizza is characterized by the charring and puffiness that occurs when a pizza bakes in between 60 and 90 seconds. To achieve this fast of a bake, the heat has to be intense- from above and below. Bottom heat has a little flexibility- you can, to an extent, bypass temperature restrictions by using more conductive materials. I've yet to see someone do this, but based on the numbers, I'm certain that at 575, 1/2" aluminum plate will give you flawless Neapolitan undercrust charring (also called leoparding) in 90 seconds or less.

Top heat is far far less forgiving. Based upon the home ovens that I've seen and the people that I know who've been successful making Neapolitan pizza at home, I guesstimate that less than 1 in 300 home ovens have the necessary broiler power to provide the intense top heat necessary. And those successful home bakers have all owned electric ovens. I've never witnessed Neapolitan in a gas home oven. While I think it's probable that there's a commercial salamander out there that's up to the task, I'm relatively certain that there are no gas home oven broilers that can rise to this challenge.

If you had an electric oven, I'd have you look at the wattage and/or the number of element passes to see if it might cut, but, since you have gas, I sincerely believe it's not worth the effort. A gas oven simply won't serve your needs in this regard.

You're going to need to look at other equipment. A real Neapolitan wood fired oven costs around $15K, but there are domestic ovens that can match the thermodynamics for as little as $5K (installed), and, if you're handy, you can build your own wood fired oven for considerably less. No matter how you break it down, though, a wood fired oven is a considerable investment.

The other option is the Blackstone.

http://www.blackstoneproducts.com/vid...

The Blackstone oven is relatively new to the market (it came out last year), but, in that time, it's been extensively tested by the members at Pizzamaking.com

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

and proven to have the 'goods,' so to speak, when it comes to Neapolitan pizza.

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

A $400 oven that can match the results of a $15K oven is a pretty revolutionary feat. There are a few downsides to the Blackstone, though. First, the exterior is powder coated steel, and the interior is cordierite and uncoated steel, so durability is a bit unknown. Within the year since people have purchased these ovens, none have rusted out, but it will be some time before we fully understand how durable they are. On the plus side, Blackstone offers replacement parts at very reasonable prices.

The next downside is packaging. The ovens have a history of being packaged poorly and being damaged during shipping. Blackstone is working on these issues, but, in the mean time, they've been on the ball regarding sending out new parts to replace broken ones. Ovens purchased in stores (such as Lowes) tend to have a much better track record with damage, most likely because they are shipped via pallet and aren't being tossed around by UPS workers.

One important caveat regarding damage. Some valves have gotten damaged during shipping, and, when connected to the gas supply and turned on, they've shot flames out the front of the unit. At least, this was happening for a time, but hasn't happened since they upgraded the oven. While it's a serious potential flaw, as long as you're aware of the propensity and soap test the valve (as one should with any propane device), you'll be fine.

The last downside is that, to a point, it's a bit of a hobbyist's oven. You can't press a button, launch a pizza and expect perfect results every time, although in all fairness, a wood fired oven has a longer learning curve in comparison. It helps to be a bit of a tinkerer. Some people have pulled flawless Neapolitan pies out of it without modifications, but others have incorporated some small tweaks. The popular tweaks have been very minor- 5 stainless steel washers placed under the bottom stone to create an air gap/slightly better heat balance and a $2ish stainless spatula head bent and placed under the top stone to deflect the flame a bit more evenly. The upgrade they performed a couple months back involved swapping out the regulator for a lower psi version (5 vs. 10) and there's been some conjecture that this might lower the burner intensity when cranked to the max, but that hasn't been tested sufficiently to confirm. If it does impact the intensity, replacing the 5 psi regular with a sub $30 10 psi regulator will resolve the issue.

Overall, there is a level of complexity to the blackstone, but, as long as you're aware of the shortcomings listed here, it's a pretty amazing oven for the price.

Lastly, if money is less of a concern, there's the 2stone.

http://www.2stonepg.com/

The 2stone is similarly technology to the blackstone (some believe blackstone's design infringed on 2stone's patent, but that's another discussion). The biggest differences are that the 2stone runs around $2K and it's made from stainless steel. The stainless should make it more durable than the blackstone. Until we see a blackstone actually rust out, though, it's very difficult to determine how much more durable the 2stone will be. At 5 times the price, personally, if I had to bet money on it, I don't think the 2stone will last 5 times longer than a blackstone, so when people are shopping for Neapolitan pizza capable ovens, I tend to steer them towards blackstones. For some folks, though, an extra $1600 is not that big of a deal. For them, sure, the 2stone's a great oven.

Summing things up, I strongly believe Neapolitan in a home gas oven is a lost cause. If you're willing to make the investment, wood fired ovens are the tools of choice for Neapolitan pizza, but a far cheaper blackstone oven, with a conscientious approach, will perform the same task- with flying colors.

May 29, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking
2

NYC With Sister

Well, first of all, I'm coming to this from a typical obsessive perspective that says crust is the most important part of pizza, and, since it's extensively proven that fermentation time equals crust flavor, and that DiFara's 1-2 hour ferment is public knowledge, I'm comfortable calling DiFara's one of the worst pizzas in the city (from a crust-centric perspective).

For Joe's, sure, once you start venturing into unispired generic McPizza, there's certainly shades of gray, and if you wanted to split hairs, Joe's is towards the top of that heap, but, for me, McPizza is one gargantuan lump group. If someone were to say "hey, should I go to dollar pizza or to Joe's?" I wouldn't talk about Joe's being a bit better. I'd tell them to avoid both. For me, there's a LOT of 'worst' pizza in NY. I don't lie awake at night pondering Joe's place in that spectrum :)

May 04, 2014
scott123 in Manhattan

NYC With Sister

With all due respect to the other posters who recommended coal pizzerias, but coal pizza, in NY, is in an abysmal state. The coal places are all tremendously historically significant, but, unfortunately, because of this history, their fame has driven substantial sales for many years, and without the need to compete, the impetus to maintain a world class product has, for the most part, faded and apathy is the norm. Lombardi's and Grimaldi's are the worst offenders, and thankfully, from what I can see, no one here is recommending those. But John's, Patsy's and Totonno's are still a shell of what they once were.

DiFara's, unlike coal's glorious past, was never truly great pizza, but Dom has managed to become one of the city's most iconic pizza makers because of his mastery of pizza theater. Personally, if you want theater, go to off Broadway, but if you're on this web site, you want the best possible food, and DiFara's is high end delicious toppings on top of a notoriously flavorless crust- combined with a typically long wait in line. Avoid.

Speaking of shells of what they once were, please, do NOT go to Joe's. Joe's used to sell the best NY style pizza in the history of NY style pizza, but, when the lines are going out the door year after year, just like the coal places, apathy sets in and it's all downhill from there.

Generally speaking, you can't base NY pizza itineraries on fame, since, even the most conscientious place is eventually going to trade in on their fame, get lazy and the pizza will suffer. To be honest, this tends to hold true for restaurants in general. If you really care about food, you want to get to places long before they're famous- while they still have a lot to prove- while they're still hungry. Are there exceptions? Sure, but, for pizza, right now, the older famous places (coal, DiFara's, Joe's, etc.) are putting out some of the worst pizzas in the city.

Neapolitan and Neapolitan inspired places are new, and, still, for the most part, very hungry, but, Neapolitan pizza, with it's char and wetter than NY quality, is a bit of a niche product. It's also not hugely different from pizzeria to pizzeria. Hailing from London, you have access to great Neapolitan pizza- Franco Manca. In terms of a classic Neapolitan margherita, Franco Manca is going to match or better the quality of anything you find in NY.

What you won't get at Franco Manca, though is specialty toppings. Paulie Gee's (Brooklyn) has one of the best Neapolitan inspired pies in the city, the Hellboy (hot honey, spicy soppressata). Motorino has a brussels sprouts pie that, if you like brussels sprouts, will knock your socks off.

Don Antonio's, in midtown, offers a solid classic Neapolitan pie (and a mind boggling number of special toppings). I'm not wholeheartedly endorsing it, but it's accessibility is good for people staying in midtown hotels. It's also open until very late as well as during the day.

Neither coal style nor Neapolitan are authentic NY style pizza. Joe's is, it's just bad NY style. If you're coming to NY, it would be horrible if you didn't have a chance to try a good NY slice. For the first time since Joes started going downhill 20 years ago, a great slice is now available in Manhattan. At least, I'm relatively certain it is. Williamsburg Pizza, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just recently opened a Manhattan location. I haven't been, nor have a spoke to anyone that has, but their Williamsburg location could easily be the best NY slice in the city, and, if the Manhattan location can match it, it's a game changer for the typical tourist that doesn't venture into the outer boroughs.

Paulies it worth the trip, if you can make it out to Greepoint. If you like brussels sprouts, don't miss Motorino. But Williamsburg pizza, in the lower east side (277 Broome St., at Allen St.), if you come to Manhattan and miss out on that, it would be tragic.

May 04, 2014
scott123 in Manhattan

Pizza steel

The Steel Plate Buying Guide:

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

If you're certain about what size you want and that you have the right oven for steel, you can skip to the sourcing section, but I highly recommend starting from the beginning, as quite a few people that purchase steel don't really have an oven that's suitable for it and even more people buy too small of a plate and end up regretting it.

May 04, 2014
scott123 in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Does NY pizza dough need olive oil?

One of the greatest myths perpetuated on the home pizza baking public is that 00 pizzeria flour is great for everyone. It isn't. It's lack of browning ability is ideal for extremely hot environments, such as wood fired ovens, where pizza can be baked in 90 seconds or less, but, for the typical home oven that can't produce that kind of intense heat, 00 flour is the worst flour you can buy.

May 04, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking
1

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

CimraLT, first of all, I would steer clear of fructose. It's insignificant blood sugar impact makes it appealing for low carbers, but it's connected to a host of other health issues (such as diabetes),

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22...

health issues that far outweigh it's low glycemic impact, so it's best to avoid at all costs.

Fructose does provide a considerable amount of freezing point depression and sugary mouthfeel, though, which is going to be hard to compensate for in a sugar free formula.

Just about anything that adds sugary mouthfeel/bulk is going to potential mess with your tummy (aka gastrointestinal distress). Erythritol is generally far better tolerated than other sugar alcohols, but, in order to prevent it from re-crystallizing in desserts (and tasting odd because of it's cooling effect in it's crystallized state), you can't use much of it, and, in small amounts, you don't get much textural benefits, if any. From a quality of taste perspective, though, erythritol has a beautiful synergy with splenda, so, no matter what sweeteners you end up going with, I highly recommend always adding some erythritol (maybe 1 T. in this recipe).

Beyond erythritol, all the other sugary bulking agents are potential tummy troublers. I have found that a tolerance to these types of ingredients can be developed if you consume a little each day and work your way up. This kind of acclimation works well if it's just you consuming the ice cream, but acclimating a family gets a lot harder and acclimating party guests is out of the question. If it's just you, I would try consuming a little xylitol each day and see if you run into any issues. Like erythritol, xylitol can have crystallization issues as well, but you should be able to use a bit more before you run into them.

While you're acclimating yourself to xylitol, I highly recommend acclimating yourself to one of the polysaccharides as well. Polysaccharides kick major butt in sugar free ice cream. Polydextrose is the key ingredient in carb smart, but inulin (far more expensive, but a bit easier to track down) will work just as well. Polydextrose and inulin provide all the textural benefits of sugar, without the carbs/glycemic impact, along with the probiotic health benefits of fiber. Like xylitol, though, they can be laxating, so a tolerance has to be built up over time. Polysaccharides can be a bit tricky to work with, because they tend to be sticky/hygroscopic and don't dissolve well, but if you can master guar, you can master polysaccharides. It's been a few years since I've checked, but I believe Trader Joe's has inulin. If you find that you like the inulin, polydextrose, in bulk, is probably 1/20 the price.

While there are some pretty good tasting stevias on the market, I'd avoid stevia, as splenda + erythritol + a tiny bit of a third sweetener (such as ace K) will give you a quality of sweetness that will put stevia to shame.

Apr 22, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

New ShopRite in Cedar Knolls

Curlz, have you tried one of the Indian grocers for cauliflower? I guarantee you that it won't be 4.99 there.

Nov 22, 2013
scott123 in New Jersey