There are so many variables that go into making a PIZZA. The hydration of the dough, flour, yeast and many more.. Amounts of any kind of yeast in a pizza can make a big difference. Most recipes posted on the web, use too much yeast in their recipes. What I have found out so far, is either bulk fermenting the dough or cold fermenting the dough will give a better flavor in the crust. I am still experimenting to find different flavors in the crust of pies. In my opinion pizza is all about the best flavor you can achieve in a crust. I still am on the journey about flavors in the crust. Even differences in temperatures in you home or times of the year can influence how much yeast to use. If you want a pizza to develop flavors in the crust, there are many ways to go about achieving this.


Preferment for Lehmann Dough Pizzas

Crust of Pizza

Crust of Pizza
Rim of Preferment Lehmann Formula

Adventure in Pizza Making

There are many ways to go about trying to make any kind of pizzas you want to create. PIZZA making is fun and also you get to eat your finished product. I learned to make all my pizza on http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php If you look on pizzamaking.com you can see all the beautiful creations of pizzas members make on this site. Members and moderators help members and guests achieve almost any kind of pizzas they want to create. Since joining this site, my pizza making skills have gone from non-existent to something much better. I invite you to take a look at this site.

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Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian Pizza
Sicilian Pizza with Preferment for Lehmann Dough

At my mom's home getting ready to bake in her gas oven

At my mom's home getting ready to bake in her gas oven
click on picture to go to post

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some Trail or Trials doughs in a Universal Bread Maker 4/25/2010

I had a Universal Bread Maker in my one shed for awhile.  I never used it, but I think it was made about 1904.  Since I like to try out different ways to make pizza and bread, I thought I might give this bread maker a try, after I clean it up.  It says on the top of the bread mixer it saves time in mixing dough and the dough comes out better.  I don’t know about that, but I guess in older days this kind of bread mixer was popular. The Universal Bread Maker does have a dough hook, that is turned by hand.

In the recipe book it has many recipes for breads.  Most of them call for lard.  I know lard isn’t like it was years ago. After posting on the forum at pizzamaking.com Peter helped me about what kind of lard to look for.  I then went to the Mexican store near me.

After talking to the Mexican lady that owns the store she showed me this Manteca Pura, (rendered Pork Skin Fat).  It looks kinda yucky, but I guess this is the right kind since it liquid.  I guess it is also time to clean up my Universal bread machine and try some Lehmann dough with the Manteca Pura.  Do you have any idea of how much of this Manteca Pura I should add to the regular Lehmann dough?  I wonder if Tom Lehmann ever added the Manteca to one of his doughs or ever used a Universal hand cranked bread machine to mix one of his doughs

The dough is going to be made Sunday and the pizza baked Tuesday.


Two New Experiments with the Dough Enhancers 4/26/2011

The Lehmann dough with the 10% blend I used before and the Lehmann dough with the 10% Dairy blend were mixed/.  Both of these doughs were mixed the same, but they turned out much different in texture after mixing.  The final dough temperatures were almost the same, too.  The Lehmann dough ball with the blend I had used before felt about the same, as it was somewhat stiff.  The Lehmann dough ball with the dairy blend was very soft after it was mixed.

Both of these dough balls are already cold fermenting differently.

The two pizzas were made Tuesday at market with the two different blends.  The Lehmann dough with the added 10% blend (this was the blend I had used in a lower percent before) was the winner again today.  The pizza made with the dairy blend was also good, but didn’t get the oven spring that the other blend dough did.  Also the dairy blend wasn’t as moist in the rim.  Steve and I both liked the 10% added blend  better in the taste of the crust.  We both thought this was a very good pizza.  The crust was somewhat crispy and stayed that way, even after it cooled.  The dough ball did get softer after the cold ferment and warm-up.

The diary blend Lehmann pizza crust did have somewhat of a dairy taste, something like using dairy whey in dough. The dairy blend dough was easier to open.  

The first set of pictures are the regular blend I was using before, but with the upped blend to 10% in the Lehmann dough.  The second set of pictures are the dairy blend pizza.  The last picture is both pizzas sitting side by side with the regular blend on the right and the dairy blend on the left.


Another Experiment with the Real New York Pizza Dough 4/26/2011

The last RNYPD frozen dough ball was taken out of the freezer 4/22/201 around noon time on Sunday.  I left the frozen dough ball in a plastic ziplock bag for 50 minutes to start to thaw.  Since it was warm in our area yesterday, and I was baking in the oven, the ambient room temperature was about 84 degrees F.  The dough ball started to defrost on the bottom and top of the dough ball.  It was slightly soft on the top and bottom, but was still frozen in the middle of the dough ball.  Then I highly greased the dough ball and placed it into the refrigerator in a plastic container.

I would like to get the bests results possible, Tuesday when I baked this RNYPD dough ball into a pizza.

The RNYPD dough ball was left at the ambient room temperature of about 84 degrees for 6 hrs. at market Tuesday.  It still wasn’t fermenting very much, so I placed it on top of a container on top of the oven again for another two hours.  It fermented a little.  I did flip the dough again, because the edges looked drier again, too.  This was after I even oiled the dough ball heavily.  The pizza was made in the late afternoon.  Steve opened the dough ball and it was easy to open.  The pizza baked something like a NY street-style pizza and also tasted like one.  The taste of the crust was good, but not as good as other doughs I have left cold and room temperature ferment as long as the RNYPD dough ball.  I still don’t understand why this dough ball didn’t ferment more.  I gave it almost every chance to ferment more.  When Steve and I smelled the dough ball, it didn’t smell like it had much yeast and almost just smelled like flour.  The final pizza was good, but I still don’t understand how a regular person that doesn’t make dough all the time, would have the same results.  It even looked like a NY street-style pizza.  It can be seen on the one picture of the opened skin, how dry the edges were, on the one side. This didn’t hurt the bake though.


My Pie Monday: Ramps, Kalbi, Cheeseburger Pizza and More! 4/25/2011

Slideshow http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/04/my-pie-monday-20110425-slideshow.html

Norma427's Blend Pizza: "Blend: lecithin granules, high heat milk powder, Knox gelatin, vital wheat gluten, Diastatic Malt powder, and Vitamin C. I used the basic Lehmann dough and made two pizzas. One with the “blend” and one without. The clear winner was the Lehmann dough with the added “blend”. It had better oven spring and moistness in the crust."



Pizza Obsessives: Pete-zza of Pizzamaking.com, a Real Pizza Hero 12/14/2010

International man of mystery? Secret rock star pizzaiolo? Just an ordinary guy who is a pizza obsessive, willing to help virtually anyone who needs it? A behind-the-scenes mad scientist somehow plugged into the pizza industry? Something else entirely? Just who is this guy?
Whatever the case may be, it seems that if you want to push your home pizzamaking to a higher level, you'll eventually find your way to Pizzamaking.com. And after spending even a short time on the forums, you're bound to run into Pete-zza — either while digesting information from previous threads or as a direct answer to whatever pizza perplexities you are struggling with.
While it is likely some of you have not heard of Pete-zza, rest assured that Peter is a bonafide home pizzamaking MVP. The number of people he has directly helped is large, and even after years on the site, he's still tirelessly ready to assist with concise, detailed explanations.
Back in 2005, the now popular Caputo "00" pizzeria flour was a relatively unknown flour in U.S. homes, but Peter was already exploring its unique characteristics through trial and error. There was recently a poll here about egg pizzas, but Peter was already experimenting with egg pizzas and writing about them six years ago. His trip to Di Fara back in 2005 resulted in one of the earliest detailed descriptions of the Di Fara recipe and process that I can remember. This is just the tip of the iceberg of information that Peter has helped to uncover and share with fellow members on the Pizzamaking.com forums.

I'm humbled to have captured a Q&A session with Peter, who has taught me as much about various aspects of pizzamaking as any person or any reference material I have encountered. I'm one of the many who owe a lot to him. I could go on and on here, but you get the point.
So enough with the rub and tug, let's get Peter in the hot seat!
How long have you been making pizzas at home now?
Actually, it hasn't been all that long. Over the years I did make pizzas at home from time to time, but the demands of work (I was a classic workaholic), plus a lot of travel and several job-related moves, prevented me from seriously tackling pizzamaking. It wasn't until about seven years ago that I started to study the subject of pizza seriously and to make pizzas at home on a regular basis.
You have made a variety of food products at home. What was it that sparked your interest in homemade pizza?
I have always been intrigued by the physics and biochemistry of dough. I thought it would be fun and interesting to see if I could wrap my mind around, and demystify the science part of, dough-making and use the knowledge gained to make better pizzas than those I had bought or made previously using the typical run of recipes from pizza cookbooks and magazine and newspaper articles. But if it weren't for the science part of the exercise, I don't think I would have embarked on making pizza at home. I wanted to eat good pizza, of course, but it was equally important that I learn something from my efforts.

While for many of us it's all about the end product and that we might confine ourselves to a specific pizza style, you seem motivated by the process itself and what can be learned from it. It's all about the why. What part of the process do you learn the most from? And is there anything that continue to surprise you?
I think it's fair to say that I'm far more passionate about the process than the end product. That will perhaps always be the case and will no doubt stop me from ever perfecting any single type of pizza. My end game has always been to make several different styles of pizzas well and to move freely among them and to enjoy myself without worrying about whether they are perfect. I try to make the best pizzas I can, but I'm satisfied with less-than-perfect pizzas. I will usually work at a given style until I am satisfied that I understand it and can replicate it and be able to tell others how to do the same. Then I am likely to move on to the next style.
Although I read a lot of technical material to increase my knowledge about pizzamaking, one of my best teachers is the dough itself. Doughs are living things that change and evolve with time. How we make the dough programs what it will do. I just watch, learn, and adjust. To me, the most surprising part of the process is how difficult it is to control the physical and biochemical processes to produce the outcomes you want. Even when I think I can predict the outcome of a given dough or pizza I make based on what I think I know, the dough sometimes has a mind of its own and can confound me. I accept this as part of the challenge and use the feedback to try to do better the next time.
You've mentioned that you "are always looking to the next pizza on my dance card and what I can learn from it." What's the next pizza on your dance card, and what do you hope to learn from it?
Since 2004, when I joined the pizzamaking.com forum, I have conducted so many different experiments in so many different areas, or helped many other members with their own experiments, that it is getting harder for me to find experiments that really excite me. As a result, my current dance card (to-do list) is populated mostly by pizzas that I want to tweak or by popular pizza recipes of other forum members that I want to try. There are a couple of things on the project side, however. One is to do more on making frozen pizza dough in a home environment, simply to learn more about the physics and chemistry of frozen doughs. I would also like to see if I can improve the thermodynamic performance of my standard, unmodified electric home oven to get better results.

Is there any specific project that you have learned the most from?
There are actually several broad areas from which I learned a lot, in different ways. A lot of the fundamentals I learned from my work with the Lehmann NY-style over a period of several years and dozens of experiments as well as the experiments I conducted to make cold-fermented doughs that could last from five to more than 20 days of cold fermentation.
I also learned a lot about naturally and commercially leavened Neapolitan-style doughs from the experiments I conducted on that subject shortly after Marco Parente, an expert on Neapolitan doughs, joined the forum in early 2005 (see here and here).
Learning how to make long, room-temperature fermented doughs at different times of the year with changing room temperature environments also taught me a lot.
What part of the pizzamaking process comes easiest for you?
I would say creating, modifying, and deconstructing/reconstructing dough formulations and manipulating the math required to make all kinds of pizzas under different conditions and requirements (such as numbers and sizes of pizzas, crust thicknesses, using pre-ferments, etc.). I think I have also become adept at using, and helping other members use, the dough calculating tools at the pizzamaking.com forum. Also, because my experiences have cut across so many different types and styles of pizzas, I have been able to transfer knowledge and insights gained in one place to help me in another. I think that has made it easier for me to help others diagnose, correct, or avoid problems with their doughs and pizzas.

There are a couple areas. The first is trying to optimize the use of my modest home equipment to produce the best pizzas possible, given the limitations of that equipment. I have a basic KitchenAid mixer with a C-hook, a basic pizza stone, and a standard builder's grade home electric oven. The mixer and oven are more than 20 years old. I also try as much as possible to use regular supermarket flours, cheeses, and other ingredients from local sources, even though they may not be the best possible choices. In this respect, I think I am just like a lot of home pizzamakers trying to make a decent pizza using basic equipment and readily available ingredients.
The second area that presents some of the greatest challenges to me is reverse engineering and cloning pizza doughs and pizzas of others. It is very hard and tedious work and forces you to bring just about everything you know to the task, but I have found that the payback in terms of increased knowledge to be enormous and satisfying, much more than I ever imagined.

You have responded to many questions from beginning or intermediate home pizzamakers looking to step up the quality of their pizzas. What advice would you offer to help them immediately improve their pies?
For those who don't have one, I would say get a decent digital scale, since there are now so many dough formulations on the forum that recite ingredients by weights and bakers' percentages. Using a quality digital scale to weigh flour and water will, in most cases, result in a more uniform and consistent product, and fairly quickly. If the individual is not interested in investing in a scale, I (and others) can still help the person but it takes more time and is a lot harder to do from behind a keyboard, especially with the large numbers of new, inexperienced members that join the forum seeking advice and help. So, for purely selfish reasons, I would prefer that members use scales. It's the last piece of pizza making gear that I myself would give up.
I also try to discourage new members from starting out with complicated dough making exercises, such as using starters and preferments, particularly if they have never used them before (as in making bread dough). I think the better course is to pick a good basic recipe and master it before moving on to more elegant strategies. As they learn, they should keep reading and learning more about the pizzamaking process.
What do you think are the most misunderstood aspects of making pizza?
At the most basic and general level, I would say the failure to understand and appreciate that dough is a living thing governed by the laws of chemistry and physics. In that context, I would single out the failure to understand the effects of yeast quantity and temperature on the fermentation process and overall dough performance, management, and longevity. Next would be the concept of hydration, both in respect of formula hydration and in relation to different types of flours. Once people understand these concepts and relationships and are able to incorporate them into their pizzamaking, their pizzas almost always improve rather markedly.

Kraft Mac & Cheese and buffalo chicken pizza.
Which type of pre-ferment would you use to make pizza and why?
Having tried just about all types of pre-ferments, and having worked with other members with pre-ferments, my preference for pizza dough would be poolish. The reason is that the poolish works fast, because of its high hydration (100%), it produces many favorable byproducts of fermentation and signals when it is ready to be incorporated into the final dough by receding after peaking. A sponge behaves similarly, but the other forms of pre-ferment do not.
You have made both bread and pizzas over the years. What do you feel are the most noticeable differences, if any, between making the two products?
I think the major difference is the form factor. A pizza is flat, and bread is not (unless you are talking about flatbreads or pita and the like). Steam is also frequently used in making breads, but not particularly helpful with pizza (although some have tried). Many principles of bread making, such as autolyse; turns, stretch, and folds; multiple punch-downs; and using naturally or commercially leavened pre-ferments, can be used in pizza dough making, but these methods tend to be more time-consuming and require more attention than methods used to make the straight doughs that most pizza operators specialize in. The fermentation protocols for bread making will also often be different than for pizza dough.
As a pizza eater going out to a pizza joint, not as a pizzamaker, if you had to choose only one style of pizza to eat, what would it be and why?
One of the things I discovered when I made all of the different styles of pizza is that the more time I spent with them, the more I became attached to them. So, I can like just about any style of pizza. However, if push came to shove and I had to choose only one style of pizza to eat in a pizzeria, it would be a New York–style or, more precisely, a New York "street" or "slice" style as might be made by an independent or mom-and-pop operation. I like the large form factor, so I would perhaps select an 18-inch pizza.

Say I'm a beginning pizzamaker looking to improve my technique. I've just found pizzamaking.com. What are the most important posts I should read?
I would start by reading the forum's Pizza Glossary at the pizzamaking.com website. I would read it a few times. Then, I would study the indexing system used to index posts on the forum. That should allow beginners to get a lay of the land and, if they decide to post, enter their posts in the right/best places. Then, I would learn how to use the forum's advanced search feature. That will allow a person to find answers to many of their questions not already answered by the other sources. Using these simple tools saves a lot of time for everyone. It also makes my job as a moderator easier.
Outside of pizzamaking.com, what reference materials (books, URLs, etc.) do you feel should be in every pizzamaker's library?
For anyone willing to spend quality time on the forum, I would pick the content of the forum over any pizza cookbook that I own (I have over a dozen of them gathering dust) because I think that many of the dough recipes on the forum are better than what I have found in pizza cookbooks. For someone unwilling to spend time on the forum finding better recipes, I would suggest Peter Reinhart's book American Pie, mainly for an understanding of the different pizza styles, history, and basic dough preparation and management. The Correll Encyclopizza is also a good source of pizza information, but mainly for the commercial side. For those who are interested in using natural starters/pre-ferments in their pizza dough making, I would recommend Ed Wood's book Classic Sourdoughs.
The resources that I have found most useful aren't even pizza-related. They include just about anything written by Didier Rosada of Uptown Bakers (for example, these two articles) and the late Professor Raymond Calvel's book The Taste of Bread. I wouldn't buy that book for its pizza content. There is only one pizza recipe in the book, and the book costs around $100 the last time I looked.

You've had the pleasure of talking with many persons in the pizzamaking industry, whether well-known pizzamakers or industry consultants. Have any left a particular impression on your pizzamaking process or on your way of thinking?
The major influence on my development was Tom Lehmann, of the American Institute of Baking. When I "found" Tom Lehmann, I learned that he had spent most of his career on the pizza side, was generally recognized as an expert on pizza, and he was one of the very few people who wrote regularly and authoritatively on the Internet about the science and technical aspects of pizza dough–making and management. Even to this day, there are few writers like Tom who regularly write on the technical and science aspects of pizzamaking.
The second major influence was November, a very talented member of the forum. He taught me to question conventional wisdom and not to post conclusions as fact without doing the research or experimentation to support the conclusions. He also opened my mind to scientific and technical aspects of dough that I would never had found on my own and which transformed the way that I would thereafter look at pizza dough (I have become more analytical). A final influence was Marco Parente because of his contributions to the forum on the authentic Neapolitan style. He set the stage for major advancement of that style on the forum.
It seems that more and more home pizzamakers are pondering opening up their own pizzerias and that a few pizzamaking.com members, such as Jeff Varasano and Peter Taylor, have made this leap. Do you have any insight into any one potentially overlooked area which may benefit such a person?
Although I regularly read posts entered by pizza professionals at the PMQ Think Tank forum, I am not particularly qualified to speak on the business side of pizzamaking. It just seems to me that there are many more ways to fail than to succeed, even with a superior product. The product, the location, the demographics, the business climate, the capitalization/financing, the staffing, and the front and back of the house business know-how apparently all have to be in place and well understood to succeed. We have had forum members who have succeeded with their pizza businesses but we have had some failures also, with a few more struggling because of the current state of the economy.
You use a standard kitchen oven, with maybe some firebricks placed inside of it, to cook your pizzas — no other "hacks." Do you have any aspirations to get a hotter oven?
No. I might at some point try a soapstone stone instead of my cordierite stone to do a better job with the New York style, particularly in the large sizes that I enjoy making (16-inch and 18-inch), and I may try to improve my current oven's performance in a user-friendly way, but that would be about it.

What are some of your favorite retail pizzerias?
Since I make my own pizzas so often, I have not found much need to eat outside pizza. So I don't have any favorite retail pizzas.
What are your most memorable pizza-eating experiences?
Of the pizzas I have made, the most memorable ones were those that were based on using natural starters and pre-ferments and those based on the "geriatric" doughs (over 10 days old) I made. But even those weren't as good as those that Scott Riebling ("scott r" at pizzamaking.com) made for me in his Boston basement apartment a few years ago, using his rigged oven to defeat the clean cycle. He could have started a pizza business with those pizzas. They were that good.
Your go-to toppings combination?
As part of my extensive experimentation with the Lehmann NY style pizzas, I went through a lot of pepperoni. I did this mostly to keep variables at a minimum from one pizza to the next. As a result, I favor pepperoni on my pizzas. It also fits the New York "street" or "slice" style quite well. But I have tried all of the usual suspects as toppings. I even made a chicken-liver pizza, which might have become one of my favorites but for the fact that none of the supermarkets around me stock fresh chicken livers anymore. But I do like buffalo chicken, seafood (like clams, oysters, and salmon), eggs, and even pasta on my pizzas.
Who would you like to see interviewed next?
Scott Riebling. In my view, he is the quintessential pizza Renaissance man. He makes just about every type of pizza, he knows more about flours, tomatoes, and cheeses than anyone I know, he works as a consultant in the pizza industry, he is bursting with secrets that we all want to know, and he has eaten in just about every place that has a pizza sign above it. Plus he is a down-to-earth musician and knows a lot of cool people. He is one of the most respected members on the forum.

We know that you are private, from Texas, tend to travel relatively regularly, have excellent deductive powers, are highly analytical and able to precisely describe and lay out your thoughts in detailed posts on pizzamaking.com. I won't even grill you about multiple specifics about who you are because I know that's pointless. But could you give us one small nugget about yourself which can at least keep us all guessing exactly who you are?
LOL. I guess I am an anachronism in many respects. However, I have always viewed what I write to be more important than who or what I am, with people being free to accept or reject what I write as they see fit, unencumbered by that personal information. There are some who think that I am famous and hiding that fact or that I am a current or former professional in the field. That is flattering but I can assure everyone that I am not famous nor have I ever done anything with pizza professionally. I am just a pizza hobbyist, nothing more.
Peter, many thanks for all of your selfless help and dedication to making a better pizza at home.

Interview by Pizzablogger.


Thanks Peter (Pete-zza) and pizzamaking.com for taking me places I never thought I could go with learning to make pizza! :)

A few of Peter's pies.  He has so many pies on pizzamaking.com

A Problem Pizza Night! with using a frozen Preferment Lehmann Dough 4/29/2010

Well, tonight was one of those pizza making nights that everything seems to go wrong.  I had wanted to try out my steel pan to bake a pizza on that I had purchased last Saturday.  I hadn’t thought of measuring the steel pan, before I defrosted one frozen dough ball.  When I went to place the steel pan in the oven it was 1 ½ inches to big for the oven.  I tried every which way to place it in the oven, with no luck.  I then was thinking of some other way to try out the defrosted dough ball.  I decided to try a combination of my pizza stone and another steel pan I have.  I placed the pizza stone on the middle rack and put the steel pan on the top rack, just to see what would happen.  I let the oven heat for over an hour and even had the broiler on some of the time.  I don’t know what was going on with that combination of pizza stone and steel pan, but this was the longest bake of a pizza in my home oven.  This pizza took over 11 minutes to bake.  That is a long time.  I also tried something else I hadn’t tried before with this pizza.  I loaded the pie into the oven with my metal peel.  That almost was a disaster.  The pie almost slid onto the oven rack instead of the pizza stone.

The pizza was dressed with my regular tomato sauce, my regular blend of mozzarella cheeses, EL Abuelto mozzarella cheese and Dietz &Watson pepperoni.  The pizza was okay, but not like I would have like it to be.