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Argentinian Fugazzeta

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 March 2018 at 17:40
Really good tips, G-man. A couple of things I'll add, more in the way of clarification that anything else.

1. Forget the adequate vs anything tag. Fact is, great pizza cannot be made in the home oven. It just won't get hot enough. So, don't worry about it. Do the best you can, and, if you're happy with the results, that's all that matters.
     To put this in perspective, low-temperature pizza ovens operate in excess of 800F. Wood- or coal-fired ovens run about 1,200F, and can fully bake a pizza in as little as three minutes. Home ovens max out at 500F, and cycle below that in 25F increments.

2. And more serious: Italian (as opposed to Italian/American) tomato sauces are much thinner than we're used to. Those thick, almost gelatinous, Sunday-gravy sauces we think of are all but unknown in Italy. If you think of a puree made with fresh tomatoes, that's just about where you need to be for a pizza sauce.

3: Cooking. There's one exception to that. In Italy, many chefs make their sauces in part or in whole with partially dehydrated cherry tomatoes. Although labor intensive, this really intensifies the tomato flavor.

4. Retarded fermentation: Absolutely! One reason pizzeria pies taste so much better is that the dough is made up the day before, then left to sit in temperature-controlled proofing trays until needed the next day. Chances are if you ask the pizza chef about delayed fermentation you'll get a blank look. But that's what it amounts to.
     For a full discussion about why retarded fermentation makes a better dough, see my bread making primer.

5. For the best results, pizza dough should be stretched, not rolled. All that fancy flipping in the air makes a good show, certainly. But its purpose is to stretch the dough.

Back to the regularly scheduled program.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 March 2018 at 19:31
I agree on all points but will also add.  And this only applies to the home cook.

I roll and stretch but have never gotten the airborne fling down.  Not that I haven't tried.  But I would need more practice which is something I don't get enough of. The stretch is all in the knuckles.  If your dough is good, there should be no problem.  I also use DOP San Marzano tomatoes run through a food mill with a little garlic and olive oil.  That's it.  It's a thin sauce.  Thin to win. We are on the same page

Commercial establishments have food safety rules to follow in the US as well as having a business to run. I believe pizza shops in the US do an overnight fermentation in the fridge whereas in Italy it is an overnight fermentation at close to room temperature.  To generalize is usually a mistake so I may be all wet about all of that. Back in the old days, when I was living in CT, most pizza shops had a windowed commercial refrigerator filled with pre made dough balls in plain view. Order a pizza and the pizzaiolo grabs a ball and goes to work.

Home cooks can more easily pull off a 3 day dough fermentation in the fridge and that is not uncommon.

One of the reasons I bought a ceramic cooker is the high temperatures it can achieve and stabilize at.  1,000+ degrees is possible and the ceramic mimics the evenly radiated heat of a wood fired pizza oven.  Especially with added ceramic mass like ceramic deflector plates and 1 or 2 pizza stones. Get that sucka heat soaked and your ready to rock and roll.  That is the hype.  The reality is a bit different.

I can and have cooked 16" pizzas in 3-5 minutes at 600+ degrees (I don't like going much higher) but that's where the similarity ends.  The chimney is really a good sized hole dead center in the dome.  It must be opened almost all the way to reach such high temps but can be partially closed after the target temp has been reached. This chimney hole is a cool spot directly over the pie.  For the pizza top to char in sync with the bottom char, it must be placed high in the dome for reflected and radiated heat to do its job.  But there is that pesky hole to deal with.

Margherita pizzas do pretty well in this environment since they aren't overloaded with toppings.  The trick is to get the top where you want it before the bottom burns.  A pizza screen on top of a heavy duty pizza stone helps solve this problem. 

Next is the problem with opening the dome to check or spin the pizza for even cooking.  Lifting the dome drops the temperature in the entire cooker.

After removing the first pie, it takes about 5 minutes for the temp to rebound then the dome must be opened again to place the next pie.  So you see it is not the ideal pizza cooker it is advertised as.  It does pretty well but I find I have better results at cooler temperatures and placing the pie lower in the cooker.

This is a better set up than a home oven but its far from perfect.

One of these days I will build an honest to goodness outdoor pizza oven with refractory cement.  If I do, something will happen and I'll have to move back East and I won't need it anymore.
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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2018 at 06:30
I should explain why I start with a short roll because it goes against the rules. 

The pizza I grew up with never had a large end crust.  It was there, don't get me wrong about that, it just wasn't the large thick pillow you see in pizza photos.  Often so large the rest seems crowded out.  If you want that type of crust don't start with a roll.  You'll want to keep the gas in there.  I find starting with a quick roll easier and if I stretch it correctly I barely notice the difference. 

"Real" pizzas are also smaller than pies I grew up with.  They are 12-14" in diameter.  To me, 18" is where its at.  14"would be considered a small.  This is not Italian.  It is Italian-American NY style pizza-belt pizza.

So please excuse my eccentricities.  Heck I also make pizza cones so what would you expect LOL
 


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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2018 at 09:14
Yeah, size is another area of contention. Has more to do with mass production and profit margins, I reckon, then any attempt to make great pizza.

Where I grew up (Brooklyn & Queens), 16" was the standard size, 18" a large. I'd never even seen a 14" pie until I left New York.

Another exception to the do-not-precook the crust. For home cooks, if you preheat the oven to it's highest setting (usually 500F), then cook the crust on the stovetop, using a griddle (or outside over charcoal), you can then add the toppings, pop the whole thing in the oven, and leave it until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This will take you as close as possible to a real pizza made at home.

Because I am rolling-pin challenged, you'll never see a round pizze in my house. I roll, then stretch with my knuckles, as G-man does. But always wind up with amorphous shapes.

That's ok. I just don't call them pizza. Flatbreads, after all, are the in thing anyway.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Tom Kurth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2018 at 12:29
I'm gonna comment here just because it's my nature to be opinionated, not because I really know anything. To be sure, I've never been to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut and I envy those who have sampled those various pizzas. I'm sure I can't even imagine what I'm missing. Kinda like people who've never had prime rib at a Nebraska steakhouse. Or those who have never had summer sausage from Kleoppel's in Alma, Mo.

But I do have an observance about pizza as it is commercially available here in the agricultural Midwest. I was in college in Seward, Nebraska forty-some years ago, and while trying to impress a new girlfriend, I took her to eat at a new pizza restaurant in Lincoln that I had heard so much about--Godfather's. As best I can figure the name came about because they were offering a Chicago style pizza and sought to tie in with a gangster theme. It was OK though I had no basis to compare it to the real thing, either then or now. It was about an inch deep, single crust, cheese on the bottom, sweet tomato sauce and a beef topping. Not great, not bad, but we got my money's worth.

Fast forward about five years. I had dropped out of school, returned home to Missouri, and then came back to Nebraska to attempt to finish a degree. Just about a half block from my apartment was a Godfather's Pizza, which you can imagine I visited frequently being the young and single sort that I was. The pizza place that had started out in Omaha and then expanded to Lincoln had now become a chain. The pizza was an entirely different beast. Chewy crust, spicy tomato sauce, choice of toppings, smothered in a thick layer of cheese. And I fell in love with it.

Fast forward another ten years. I still haven't finished college, but I have returned home to Missouri and am once again trying to impress a new girlfriend, now my beloved of thirty years. We're out for the evening in the nearby college town of Warrensburg. We're looking for a place to eat when what to my hungry eyes appears but a Godfather's Pizza. The chain restaurant has now become a franchise. Worst pizza I've ever had in my entire life except a few that came out of the freezer section of the grocery store.

My point here is that there was something that happened to pizzerias and to food in general when so many eateries became chains and franchises and generic Mexican and Chinese restaurants. Anything that was original, superlative, ideal, special or unique has often been ruined by owners trying to commodify in the name of greater profits. Kinda like sequels at the movies. Ate at an Appleby's once, tried their riblets--poorest excuse for barbecue I've ever come across, and their headquarters were in Kansas City. They should know better. The little abbatoir here in Alma tried to expand to serve high dollar restaurants in Kansas City with their wonderful steaks. Over extended and then went broke. Reopened now as the previously mentioned Kleoppel's--they've still got the old fashioned summer sausage recipe, thank God. I have referred to the "pizza wars" when speaking of this phenomenon. Cheese got thinner, toppings got sparser, crust got cardboardier. But the price was only ten dollars for a large. We are averaging our way down to the very bottom.

Read a book many years ago by a fellow who wrote under the name of William Least Heat Moon. He was a social studies professor at the U of Missouri; the book was a sort of travelogue about the little towns and out of the way places he had come across while rambling about here in the Midwest. He opined that you could tell the best small town diners by counting the number of calendars on the walls. Makes perfect sense; salesmen and businesses know to put their advertising where the most people will see it. Poodle's Café here in Alma always had about seven or eight calendars and the best home made pies around.

Rant over.
Best,
Tom

Escape to Missouri
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2018 at 14:25
Yes, of course, Tom. You're perfectly right on all counts. It's not only pizza and food stuffs. That syndrome applies to almost everything.

Who here remembers Boodles gin? They ruined it the exact same way.

That said, keep in mind that in our discussion about the pizza belt we're all but ignoring the chains. Most of them never had good pizza, and have gone down hill through the years. We're talking, primarily, about individually owned and operated pizzerias. And that's a horse of a different color.

It's a simple equation, though. If you're not from, or haven't lived in the pizza belt it's likely you can find a pie that satisfies you. But, once you've tasted the true gelt, you're spoiled forever. Alas!
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2018 at 09:16
I went to Godfather's pizza. Once. In the early eighties.  After hearing raves about it.  Never went back.  LOL

This hole runs deep.  I have a computer Pizza folder with quite a few bookmarks I have made over the years.  Some are very interesting.  Pizza is serious business.

From Vera Pizza Napoletana FAQ's:

What is Vera Pizza Napoletana?
Vera Pizza Napoletana is a movement whose goal is to promote and protect the name and the product Pizza Napoletana; a style of pizza and tradition found in Naples. The term Vera, or Verace, means true, genuine, or real......  Supporters include the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (Naples) and their U.S. partner Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas (Los Angeles), Antico Molino Caputo (Naples), Italy’s finest and most famous pizza flour producer, and Pizza Consulting (Naples), Italy’s premier pizzaiolo training school.

Guidelines are strict and even include pizza oven specifications. 

Regulations for obtaining use of the collective trade mark "Verace Pizza Napoletana" - (Vera Pizza Napoletana)

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