Occasionally aspiring “pizza chefs” decide to create their favorite pizza pies at home. Firstly, the home pizza maker proceeds to gather all necessary ingredients for the highly anticipate pie. Once all ingredients are carefully arranged on the kitchen counter, the pizza maker prepares to commence the master pizza creation process.
Emphasis is placed on selecting the “perfect” blend of cheese and toppings. Also the precise blend of ingredients for the savory pizza sauce is selected. Typically, all eyes are on the pizza pie as it evolves in the kitchen. Once the pie has been carefully crafted, it is placed on a “pizza pan” and the master pizza baker slides the pie into the oven. Yes, into the oven it goes!
Some 7-12 minutes later, the pizza pie is removed from the oven. The master home pizza maker grabs the pizza cutter…. only to find that the crust is “doughy”, soggy, somewhat soft and certainly not representative of the great tasting pizza crust that you hoped to create. This is not the mouth watering pizza crust that you remember from the pizza parlor. What happened? Where did you go wrong?
If this sounds familiar, today is your lucky day because we’re going to take a look at the factors associated with this type of pizza phenomenon. There are 3 main factors that we need to examine with respect to making great pizza at home with respect to the pizza crust you desire…
1- Dough Selection & Proofing
2- Oven Temperature
3- Moisture content
Let’s take a closer look at the factors that contribute to these critical elements of creating the perfect pizza crust.
Selection of Dough:
Back in Italy when pizza makers select dough classification system. Flour is classified b way of numbers. 1, 0, or 00, this refers to how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ have been removed from the final flour product.
To give you a better understanding of this, 00 flour is the most highly refined flour available and is comparable to talcum-powder. Most Italian 00 flour is made from Italian grains and sometimes blends of Italian and imported grains to achieve a range of protein somewhere in the 10–12.5% range.
Lucky for us, common brands of 00 flour can be found at the retail level in standard U.S. grocery stores. One such flour is a brand called King Arthur Flour, the company produces a “clone” of the 00 flour (some call it Italian-Style flour) with a protein level of approximately 8.5% which is somewhat lower than the imported Italian 00 flours. Though it’s not exactly an authentic Italian flour and can produce varied behavioral characteristics, it’s a good flour for baking pizza at home.
This type of flour refers to flour with a protein level between 10-12%. All purpose flour is ideal for general baking purposes.
It’s important to note that higher protein flours make firmer, stronger doughs while lower protein flours produce softer, weaker doughs. Protein values differ as a cake flour is somewhere around 7-9% protein, whereas pastry, or cookies tend to hover around 9-10%. Bread typically yields 12.5-13.5% protein, whereas clear and high-gluten yield 14-15% protein and gluten “flour” (actually refined gluten) yields somewhere around 45%.
So why are we making such a “fuss” about flour type. Glad you asked! That leads me to another important factor with respect to making pizza crispy at home.
As defined by many baking experts, absorption is simply a measurement that was established by flour producers to describe the capacity of a particular flour to absorb water and achieve a specific and desired dough consistency. The value is often times expressed in terms of percent of water absorbed by a flour sample during the measurement test. The measurement is a laboratory measurement. This is important to keep in mind because this value is not identical to what’s called the hydration ratio actually achieved in commercial applications at pizza parlors, though it is usually quite close.
(Excerpt from The Secrets Of Making Home Pizza)
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