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wondering where I can buy an IR thermometer in Toronto in person?

thanks everyone!!

Jul 27, 2015
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

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

I'm trying to improve my pizza skills.
most recipes keep stating pizza dough will double in size.
Jeff Varasano says pizza dough should not rise more than 50%.
Can some pizza keeners please advise?

Jul 22, 2015
Idas in Home Cooking

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

I wish I was organized enough to get a tasty starter.
Here is my recipe. Love the feedback and so grateful.
My last batch was over fermented. Is my problem allowing the IDY in the autolyse phase? thanks!!!

Flour (100%): 685.11 g | 24.17 oz | 1.51 lbs
Water (60%): 411.07 g | 14.5 oz | 0.91 lbs
IDY (0.5%): 3.43 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.14 tsp | 0.38 tbsp
Salt (2%): 13.7 g | 0.48 oz | 0.03 lbs | 2.45 tsp | 0.82 tbsp
Total (162.5%): 1113.3 g | 39.27 oz | 2.45 lbs | TF = 0.1
Single Ball: 222.66 g | 7.85 oz | 0.49 lbs

1 AUTOLYSE PHASE: (combine and rest)
Into the KA mixer bowl, add all the water and salt yeast. BUT only ¾ of the total amount of flour. It will be wetter than dough but thicker than cake batter.
Put it in the mixer bowl, mix it with a spoon until fully combined but do not knead it at this phase.
Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20 minutes.

2 WET KNEADING : Scrape down the bowl every minute or so of this kneading.
Add the dough hook to the mixer. Attach the bowl.
Knead for about total of 3-4 minutes to start.
Add 1 tbsp of flour every minute after that. Dough should be very wet until the very last few minutes of kneading.
Kneading should go for a total of about 10-15 minutes at a speed of 3-4 on the Kitchen Aid mixer.
Keep scraping down the sides every minute of this mixing.

What you look for to know when you have kneaded enough:
It should ball up but not the sides of the bowl.
Pinch a ball off. Tuck ends under. Use thumbs to test elasticity. If it cracks, knead more. Test again.

Take out dough hook
Cover and rest 20 minutes. It should pass window pane test (stretches thin without ripping)

Pour dough out on a lightly dusted silpat mat.
Split and weigh into 6 equal small containers (very lightly oil using a paper towel across the bottom of the container).

Rest 10 minutes in containers.
Put them into the fridge for at least overnight. Dough develops better flavour after at least 1 day.
Use by 3 or 4 days. Take out of fridge at least 1 hour before using.

I use a very little sauce, light amount of cheese and a drizzle of oil.

Lastly, I guess with a build in oven (hidden bottom element) I can kiss no-knead dough goodbye?

Jul 22, 2015
Idas in Cookware

First time in Toronto

Korea town (Bloor Bathurst)
Korean: cheap and cheerful: Yummy's on Bloor fast and filling
Korean: Korean Village very tasty bbq, soon du bu jigaea, quality Korean food.
Dumplings on Bloor St.: Chinese Dumplinng House

All on Bloor St, West, near Euclid Ave.

Dupon & Spadina: Roti Cuisine of India. Huge Roti. Very casual

Also I second Rolsan.
For very casual Chinese on Spadina: Golden Stone.

Jul 21, 2015
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

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

Hi Scott,
thanks again for all the good advice.
1)I use Jeff's method, not his recipe.
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) and in Kenji's experiments with pizza stones in the top third and his baking steel test " heated up the baking steel on the second-to-top shelf of my oven set at 550°F until it was holding a steady temperature (this took about half an hour, the steel held steady at around 500°F). Then just before sliding the pie into the oven, I cranked up the broiler to high. (I have an oven with a broiler on the top shelf. ".
4)I'll read up more on
5) I'll be looking for organic ascorbic acid free bread flour)
6) getting 1/2 in steel, I hope I can carry it home :)
7) need that IR gun as soon as I can get to a hardware store.

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

Jul 21, 2015
Idas in Cookware

wondering where I can buy an IR thermometer in Toronto in person?

I want to hit the hidden element on the floor and my future baking steel.

Jul 21, 2015
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

wondering where I can buy an IR thermometer in Toronto in person?

looking to see if I can get my hands on an instant read non-contact thermometer locally (Toronto) (I'm desperately curious about my oven temperatures).
Any model recommendations to get or avoid?
Shall I just amazon it?

Jul 21, 2015
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

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

thanks everyone.
All the advice is methodical, logical and very intelligent.
I also called the 1800 number today and they offered to send someone for a service call in case the bottom element is weak. I doubt it. It bakes sweets and roasts just fine.

FWIW, I had put the pizza stone on the floor as a test (one of my many experiments). I wanted to test conductivity from the bottom element to verify how not hot the bottom was. I should get a thermometer to test temps.

Pans: I've tried heavy dark pans directly in the oven, and parchment paper to get the pizza on the stone, then removed it after the base was not longer sticky. That was useless. I basically was using the stone to set the bottom enough so I could remove the pizza from parchment and cook it right on the oven racks. That was an improvement but risks making my racks a mess plus cooking on chromed metal...questionable.

Dough: I adapted Jeff Varasano's method. I only tried 00 once and that was educational enough. I just use unbleached white AP. I autolyze and rest twice and refrigerator proof at least one day. I try to have a decently hydrated crust but I'm still struggling with getting off the pizza peel (I can't use semolina or corn meal, its a flavour or texture issue for me on pizza)

Out of desperation my last baking time, I've also placed it under the broiler. This was about 1/2hr after the oven had been heating an hour already at 550. It was marginally better blasted under the broiler but not worth the sweating in the kitchen. The stone had a long recovery time under the broiler for the next pizza. Tedious at best.

That said, I did not heat it for an hour under the broiler so maybe that would have helped??
(It's not a thick pizza stone just a 1/2 inch )
Because the built-ins make my kitchen kick out an infernally hot amount of constant air, preheating 1 hour under broiler heat will have to wait until chilly days are here.

After all the reading I've done, I am going to try baking steel as suggested and as Serious Eats recommends as well.

I agree insulating the oven could be a good idea.
However I have to wonder where the heat sensor is for the oven that prevents the cabinets from overheating. If I insulate it more, won't the fan just keep kicking out more heat? I don't understand the fan engineering logic for when it vents the air out the front, why it runs the WHOLE BAKING TIME. ugh.

I really appreciate your amazing insights.
1) Thermometer & recalibrate (I hear I can reset it by turning off the breaker for a few minutes too?)
2) Baking steel
3) Wait for fall.
4) Pray the broiler on the KA is gutsy enough to heat the baking steel enough to crisp pizza.

Any tips on getting a baking steel? I live near Bloor Bathurst.
Maybe Nella Cucina?

Also, maybe a well darkened steel baking sheet (alone in the oven) to try in the meantime before the fall?

Molto grazie!!
con tutto cuore (deeply from my pizza loving heart)

Jul 21, 2015
Idas in Cookware

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


Jul 21, 2015
Idas in Cookware

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

Hi, my crappy oven is: KEBS109 BWH00.

Jul 21, 2015
Idas in Cookware

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

any advice or a miracle? I have a newish Kitchen-Aid convection oven built-in (nothing but regret about it, see my other thread about it being so poorly insulated it heats the whole house).
I've finally figured out it only has a top element. Meaning making a pizza with a brown bottom is impossible without burning the toppings. (My dough works fine in old fashioned non-convection ovens at my mom's house.)
I've placed a pizza stone on the floor for an hour (at max temp)to test this out. Still no base is under-cooked.
I've placed the pan directly on the FLOOR of the oven. Still no under-cooked base.
All the pizza stone advice out there is for people with elements on the bottom of the oven.
What do the rest of us with convection ovens that use only an upper element and air movement to cook?
All I get is a soggy base and overcooked cheese and toppings.
Any advice is much appreciated.
I'm desperately trying to avoid buying a countertop pizza maker(one trick pony) Being Italian, it's shameful not to be able make a decent pizza.
Is this truly impossible and should I just suck it up and get the countertop pizzamaker appliance (ugh)?
I'm not into using a cast iron pan for making pizza, it's too much hassle for making pizza for a group of adults.

Jul 16, 2015
Idas in Cookware

Casual and traditional Italian Restaurant recommendations please near College & Bathurst?

Save room for their olive chocolate cake! Insanely delicious.
I judge an Italian restaurant for a simple meatless pomodoro sauce. If that's no good, I never return. If they take care to do it right, the rest of the menu is rarely disappointing. Marinella's does it right.
I had (late winter) the mushroom pappardelle, truly a wonderful dish. I also recommend their garden salad, so light and lovely.

Jun 15, 2015
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best doughnuts in Toronto 2015

I googled Donuts and The Saint and Toronto but nothing popped up.
Can you provide details?
and thanks for the thread!

Jan 11, 2015
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best doughnuts in Toronto 2015

I can vouch for their donuts. Amazing.
Custard filled. Mind blowingly fresh.

Jan 11, 2015
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)


It really depends on the style of Okonomiyaki you are seeking.
I prefer the style served at the very modest Okononomi house here in downtown Toronto (near Bay/Charles).
I've had the okonomiyaki at Guu and found it super greasy.
The Okonomi house on Balmuto is more omlette style served with the brown sauce and a dollop of the "mayo". It's conservative in its preparation and toppings. I really love it.
The Guu version, I could barely stomach and kept thinking I'd rather have a giant basket of superb hand made french fries than their fatty dish. cheers,

Jan 10, 2015
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Downtown Chinese?

This is a late reply however +1 for Xam Yu on Spadina.
Their food, especially if you know how to specify your dish preferences, are very good.

Dec 26, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Via Mercanti Pizza - best in Toronto? Really?

Unfortunately Via Mercanti pizzeria (on Augusta St.) does not serve authentic Neapolitan pizza.
Sadly the pizza is super doughy and not (IMO) tasty. Not even close to the crisp cornicione that authentic VPN requires.
I went there many months ago and I was pretty sure that the pizza was different back then. Could anyone confirm if this is possible? I thought the pizza was better but the recent reviews out show a very dense chewy crust.

However, if you are looking for drinks and atmosphere this place has a lovely buzz.
If you want a VPN, I would avoid it. For the prices, the food should authentic and tastier.
If they upgraded their pasta and pizza I would return to try again.

I really like the location.

edit: For what it's worth, I looked at the VM website and the photos taken at their Elm St. location show a VERY different pizza than what the August St. location was making tonight...
best wishes,

Dec 26, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sotto Sotto gutted by fire tonight!

I will miss them.

Dec 26, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Casual and traditional Italian Restaurant recommendations please near College & Bathurst?

thanks everyone. So helpful!

Sep 09, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Casual and traditional Italian Restaurant recommendations please near College & Bathurst?

We are looking for a casual traditional Italian restaurant near College/Bathurst.
We live near Bloor/Bathurst and sadly NO decent pasta near us.
We have kids so we normally head to Marcello's on St. Clair but we would love to walk to College or something even more local.
thanks so much!!

Sep 07, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

TO Chowhounders: favorite brunch places?

If you ever head up to Eglinton Ave, The Abbot is so yummy!!

508 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M5N 1A5
(416) 487-8350
truly my fave.

Sep 07, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Milagro - Yonge and Lawrence

I agree. The food is very good.
However I have also noticed 3 different dinners that the margaritas had no tequila :(
I really get fed up been cheated.
too bad.

Sep 07, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cheap breakfast near Yonge/Eglington

Pickle Barrel? Or Sunset Grill?

May 10, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Red Sauce - 50 Clinton Street

I'd love to see a full review soon.
I love anyone who will make me rapini.

Feb 08, 2014
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Rice cookers... a revelation?

I finally bought a Tatung old school style rice cooker.
From all stainless steel.
Turns out, in fact the "non-direct heating" is in fact the best way to cook rice.

It has water under the rice pan and inside as well.
It balances the heat so no waste stucky rice on the bottom.

It's a bit noisy but the results are amazing better than any super fancy super tech rice machine..

Jan 29, 2014
Idas in Cookware

Rice cookers... a revelation?

I am rice obsessed but too busy a home cook for the amazing steamers that sit on top of a pot (to die for in flavour) so I need a rice cooker but truly the indirect contact rice cookers are indeed different.
Normal modern absorption rice cookers all have heat contact with the bottom element. Induction models might differ slightly in that the heat transfer is magnetic and might radiate better if the pot was a very good conductor of energy. ....otherwise mainly at the bottom boiling the rice much hotter in one area causing that rice to overcook. Some folks are cool with rice a bit sticky and that's cool. All the fuzzy logic in the world won't change that amount of direct heat overcooking the bottom grains.
The Tatung (and other original design rice cookers) have a significant amount of fluid poured outside the rice pan to buffer the heat and carry the heat up the sides and over the top.
Yes, part of the cooking is through absorption but a significant amount of cooking is from steaming above and the bain marie style bathing of the sides to even out the heat. This makes for a more even cooking imo.

I would love to hear from Chowhounders with family experiences in cooking rice for a generation or two who have used various rice cooking machines. On the plus sides, they look easier to clean (no valves or gaskets to wash nor replace.

Dec 30, 2013
Idas in Cookware

Rice cookers... a revelation?

I have been researching getting a stainless ricecooker (to avoid aluminum and non-stick chemicals) and almost bought a Buffalo smart cooker.
Then I went to our Auntie's house for dinner and she made rice in her ancient Tatung indirect (double pan) rice cooker.
Then it hit me, her rice is light and perfectly cooked with no sticky bottom because it's STEAMED!!
Darn, I wish I had realized this difference 30 years ago, upgrading modern ricecooker one after another trying to find the best steamed rice. Modern rice cookers don't steam rice, they boil it until it evaporates, recycling moisture sort of steaming it.

Am I nuts to donate my fancy rice cookers for a simple stainless Tatung?
Sure, it's not a cool looking but the difference in rice texture was a revelation. It will take my chau fun to a new level.

I feel silly for not realizing this before.
Any thoughts?
yours truly, a fun fan,

Dec 30, 2013
Idas in Cookware

wall oven I regret getting one it is overheating my kitchen

I feel ya.
I hate my oven all summer long and you are right on about spreading the cooking smell.
My old kitchenaid was a slide in so it passively vented through the vents and never kicked out odours nor heat on convection.

the new damn kitchenaid not only kicks out way too much smell, it kicks out tonnes of heat from the cabinet area ALWAYS even when NOT using convection.

Brutal choice. Never again.
I hope more people pass on the built in knowing what I wish I had.
edit: oh, I'd buy one that vents out for a pretty penny used if I could find one to fit my I am going to scour kijiji....oh please!!

Dec 30, 2013
Idas in Cookware

New Resto: Napoli Central 964 Bathurst St. Toronto (Near Bloor)

I've now been twice.
owners are very nice. Decor is simple and neat.
I've had pizza and salads and they recently offered lasagna.
Their pizza is very tasty however I like a dryer cornicone (crust) but if you are crust lover and use it for dipping into their lovely complementary olives, then you'll love it. I find it a bit overly heavy and I like to save room for desert.
They offer meatballs and some panini options and a small appetizer list of rapini iwth meat.
I liked the beer on tap and their tiramisu is near identical our family recipe.
If you like to be nice and toasty, sit near the oven, if you suffer heat, sit near the front of the house where it's comfortable but not summer warm. (I love the oven area, my SO does not)
The espresso is well made.
I'd recommend that they offer more vegetarian appetizers (as this neighbourhood does well with healthier and veggie options.
They would also do well to offer more pasta dishes for people who like pizza but not that often. They would also do well with adding pureed dips and a soup for the winter.
I wish them success. So far I've seen lots of pizza boxes for winter days being picked up.

Dec 26, 2013
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO Buffalo Smart Cooker II rice cooker in Toronto?

thanks both of you!!
If the icy conditions prove untrue, I'll try to nab one!
So excited.

Dec 21, 2013
Idas in Ontario (inc. Toronto)