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Margherita Pizza questions

BjorgBjorg Posts: 241
edited June 2012 in EggHead Forum
Tomorrow I am trying my first Margherita pizzas for a party with the family. I have a dilemma: To cook or not to cook the tomatoes prior to putting them on the dough? 

Here is what I have researched, tell me if I am mistaking.

I would heat a mini pan with oil and infuse garlic in it. 
I would use san marsano canned tomatoes, slat them and drain them properly. Chop em up.
Do the dough on parchment paper.
Slightly baste it with the garlic infused oil (just the exterior, or the whole pie? some say it helps keep it non-soggy)
Sprinkle a little parmegiano regianno on it to help keep it dry
put  a little drained tomatoes
rub oregano in hands to release flavor and add on tomatoes (fresh or dry?
put the chopped basil
put the Mozarella di buffallo cut in squares over the basilic so it doesnt burn (having drained the cheese as well)
Bake at 550? on ceramic stone
Pull out, add a little garlic infused EVO and cut basil, let rest on a grill for 2-3 min before serving. 


If I do need to cook the tomatoes before, here is the ultimate recipe from Elena Faita, THE specialist here in Montreal. 

Put 2 tbs ov EVO in a heated pan
Put 2 garlic cloves chopped in half and let them get lightly golden
Add a can of Aurora San Marasano tomatoes (small can as bigger one is a different type of tomato)
It is supposed to splash for a few seconds because of the oil and high heat
Salt
let simmer a while to take out water
take out garlic, crush it with fork, put it back in
Add fresh basil once the sauce is done (5-15 min depending on temperature)
NO PEPPER (if you put basil)

Also read a tip to put an onion cut in half  same time as garlic and take it out after the sauce is done for added taste.

Extra tip: put the above sauce in blender and add 35% whipping cream for sauce rosée on pasta. 

Quebec - Canada

Comments

  • BjorgBjorg Posts: 241
    Also my setup:

    woo2 with 17.5" Stone on the spider
    16" ceramic stone on either standard grid at gasket level 
    image

    (or highest grid on adjustable rig?) 
    image

    Quebec - Canada
  • rickHPrickHP Posts: 49

    I prefer to use cooked sauce. I tried once an uncooked recipe and didn't like it, but the problem might have been the quality of the tomatoes - I thought it was too acidic. Your cooked recipe is similar to what I do. Half an onion is a lot for a small can of tomatoes, of course it depends on the size of the onion.

    Not sue what you mean by brushing the whole pie or just the exterior. I would brush only the top crust before you put the tomatoes on.

    Your instruction to rub the oregano would apply only to using dried.

    I think there might not be a point to the two additions of basil. I might skip the chopped basil if I were going to sprinkle fresh on after the bake.  

  • BjorgBjorg Posts: 241
    Thanks Rick. Yes, I meant basting the crust or the whole center of the pie as well. 

    Correct for the dried oregano rubbing. 

    You are right, adding basil twice doesn't make sense. However, I think I would prefer the basil to be cooked so it infuses the flavor in the pizza more. Just make sure to put it under the cheese so it doesn't burn. 
    Quebec - Canada
  • 70chevelle70chevelle Posts: 278

    If you are looking for a true margherita pizza, it is

    -  San Marzano tomatoes (DOP certified) - uncooked

    -  Fresh Buffala mozzarella

    -  Fresh Basil

    -  A drizzle of good EVOO (in a backward "6")

    The basil & EVOO come after you pull the pie.

    Also, for a true margherita pizza, the dough should be only;  flour (00), water, salt, & yeast, cooked at 800* +-.  Italy has a government agency to assure the authenticity and also certify the San Marzano's, etc.  Other than that, you can do whatever tastes best. 

    I rarely cook my sauce anymore.  I take either fresh tomatoes, or canned San Marzano's and chop & crush them by hand.  I add either Penzey's pizza spice or my own pizza spice to the tomatoes with S&P and let it marry for a few hours.  I add a minimal amount of sauce.  I really enjoy the fresh & bright flavor.  Good Luck!   

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,653
    As above, neapolitan  style pizza is cooked quite hot. But that is because the dough is really wet. A guy down the road has an oven where the stone is 900F.

    Based on that guy's product, the top of the crust is basted w. oil, the tomatoes are crushed, whole basil leaf is mixed w. the mozzerela. Because the air above the stone is about 1400F, the tomatoes turn to cooked sauce (in no more than 90 seconds).

    If you are using a more ordinary dough, and 550, pre-cooking the sauce, and adding it warm to the pie might give a better result.
  • 70chevelle70chevelle Posts: 278
    I make pizza in my home oven at 550* and the crushed tomatoes cook nicely. It's personal preference, but as I said above I prefer the tomatoes uncooked in the oven, my egg, or my wood fired oven. Give it a try both ways and report back!
  • BjorgBjorg Posts: 241
    I went with 550, semi cooked sauce, grid level second stone (larger one on the spider) . Turned out awesome! This pic was the last one where I dumped more cheese than usual and the garlic from the evo. 

    imageimage

    Home Made pizza peel to pull them off. Super peel to put them in (I love that product although parchment paper does the job as well)
    image
    Quebec - Canada
  • Looks good! Aurora tomatoes are "San Marsano Style". Really hard to find real San Marsanos in CA. When I have found them they have been like six bucks a can. Small Italian markets are where I've found them in Toronto area
  • NDGNDG Posts: 1,547
    image
    Columbus, Ohio
  • NDGNDG Posts: 1,547
    Trying to get exact, dough in fridge for 3 day rise - just Caputo flour, salt, yeast, h2o . . . Pics later in week!

    Columbus, Ohio
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    Trying to get exact, dough in fridge for 3 day rise - just Caputo flour, salt, yeast, h2o . . . Pics later in week!
    If you want to be exact traditional is a room temperature rise of 12-24 hours. :D
    XL BGE
  • NDGNDG Posts: 1,547
    Gotcha, I will have to try room temp rise next batch - I really like the look (size & crust ratio) of bjorgs pizza, I was planning on temp around 650-700 but after reading this ill try lower at 550. The magazine in my picture said slow rise is fridge develops deeper flavor but also have 24 hr rise version with higher yeast ratio. Ill pick up some buffala/basil after work tmrw - anybody have a good go-to olive oil brand? Not crazy high end but nice quality you can find at kroger like store . .
    Columbus, Ohio
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 2,761
    edited August 2012
    @NDG - With the recipe you are using you can go as hot as you want... It's when you use sugar/oil in the dough that you have to use lower temperatures. 650-700 is perfect with your recipe, especially with the Caputo flour. I'm sure some other people will chime in and recommend that you go to an even higher tempetature like 800-900 but in my opinion 650-700 is fine. Try to raise the stone in the dome if you can.

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • NDGNDG Posts: 1,547
    Great, thanks for the response and I will keep it around 700.  Do you think I should put the stone on top of my grid extender?  Here is a pic . .. 

    image
    Columbus, Ohio
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 2,761
    NDG said:

    Great, thanks for the response and I will keep it around 700.  Do you think I should put the stone on top of my grid extender?  Here is a pic . .. 


    image
    It's exactly how I do it. The thermometer may touch the toppings with that setup. I usually remove the clip to be able to remove the thermometer. Or leave it in and don't panic if the temperature is super low on the thermometer...


    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    edited August 2012
    Gotcha, I will have to try room temp rise next batch - I really like the look (size & crust ratio) of bjorgs pizza, I was planning on temp around 650-700 but after reading this ill try lower at 550. The magazine in my picture said slow rise is fridge develops deeper flavor but also have 24 hr rise version with higher yeast ratio. Ill pick up some buffala/basil after work tmrw - anybody have a good go-to olive oil brand? Not crazy high end but nice quality you can find at kroger like store . .
    Paqman is right. I don't know that you can get the egg hot enough to be too hot with a classic dough - especially if you're using the blue bag Caputo pizzaria flour. It's non malted and does not brown as easily as American flours.

    I was just teasing you a little about the room temperature rise. While it is indeed traditional, this time of year it would be really tough to control. You need very little yeast and temperatures hopefully in the neighborhood of 65° and a cool dough to start with. If you're mixing with a planetary (kitchen aid type) mixer you're already going to be behind the 8 ball because it will put too much heat in the dough. Without a proof box to do a controlled "room temperature" rise I would definitely go with a cold rise in the fridge. It's much more predictable. 

    Here are a couple of more small bits of advice. I don't know if the formula you have recommends an autolyse or not, but I would highly recommend it. if you're unfamiliar with what that is, you just mix the flour and the water without the yeast and salt for a minute or two just until they're combined then cover your mixer bowl with a damp towel and let it sit for 20 or 30 minutes. This allows the flower to fully hydrate before you move into the development phase. Mixing will go faster and the finished dough will be better quality. After the end of the autolyse fire up the mixer again and start kneading. Add the yeast and once that's fully incorporated add the salt. 

    What is the hydration level and the yeast amount of the formula that you have? What is the weight of the dough balls that you're supposed to end up with?
    XL BGE
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 2,761
    chuff said:

    NDG said:

    Gotcha, I will have to try room temp rise next batch - I really like the look (size & crust ratio) of bjorgs pizza, I was planning on temp around 650-700 but after reading this ill try lower at 550. The magazine in my picture said slow rise is fridge develops deeper flavor but also have 24 hr rise version with higher yeast ratio. Ill pick up some buffala/basil after work tmrw - anybody have a good go-to olive oil brand? Not crazy high end but nice quality you can find at kroger like store . .

    Paqman is right. I don't know that you can get the egg hot enough to be too hot with a classic dough - especially if you're using the blue bag Caputo pizzaria flour. It's non malted and does not brown as easily as American flours.

    I was just teasing you a little about the room temperature rise. While it is indeed traditional, this time of year it would be really tough to control. You need very little yeast and temperatures hopefully in the neighborhood of 65° and a cool dough to start with. If you're mixing with a planetary (kitchen aid type) mixer you're already going to be behind the 8 ball because it will put too much heat in the dough. Without a proof box to do a controlled "room temperature" rise I would definitely go with a cold rise in the fridge. It's much more predictable. 

    Here are a couple of more small bits of advice. I don't know if the formula you have recommends an autolyse or not, but I would highly recommend it. if you're unfamiliar with what that is, you just mix the flour and the water without the yeast and salt for a minute or two just until they're combined then cover your mixer bowl with a damp towel and let it sit for 20 or 30 minutes. This allows the flower to fully hydrate before you move into the development phase. Mixing will go faster and the finished dough will be better quality. After the end of the autolyse fire up the mixer again and start kneading. Add the yeast and once that's fully incorporated add the salt. 

    What is the hydration level and the yeast amount of the formula that you have? 
    Adding the yeast at the end would only be possible with instant yeast right? As far as I know, active dry yeast has to be activated (proofed) in warm water 10-15 minutes before mixing in.

    I hear that some people will use instant yeast to be able to use cold (as in refrigerated) water when using kitchen aid mixers to avoid over heating the dough. A book I read recently even recommended to use refrigerated flour... Did not try it yet.


    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    Yes. Instant yeast. I've been known to freeze my flour and use ice water to keep from overheating my dough in a kitchen aid or to give me a longer rise. 

    Forgot to mention that I would let the dough bulk rise for a few hours then divide the dough to the desired number of dough balls for the rest of the fermentation period.
    XL BGE
  • NDGNDG Posts: 1,547
    Great tips, I have no idea about autolyse so gotta look into that but I used fleschmans bread instant rise yeast proofed at 105 f for 10 mins until creamy - then used caputos recommendation for mixing via kitchen aid mixer. I got lots to learn and try
    . . . My pics should come tmrw
    Columbus, Ohio
  • NDGNDG Posts: 1,547
    Also used spring water as I read tap can kill the recipe - didnt see anyone mention this on the post yet . .
    Columbus, Ohio
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 2,761
    @NDG - The autolyse is simply a fancy word for the resting period after you mixed the flour, water and salt... The purpose it to let the flour absorb the water before starting the kneeding process.  It gives a better texture as well as some elasticity to the dough.

    As for using spring water, I guess it depends on the water quality in your area...  I have used tap water and spring water without noticing a difference.

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    An autolyse is not traditional in neopolitan dough, but there's a reason I believe we need one. The Italians use very slow speed fork mixers or diving arm mixers. They can mix the dough for as long as 30 minutes, and obviously the flour is hydrating all of that time. In American style mixers the mixing / kneading time is much much shorter - usually ten minutes or less so the mixing phase is complete before the flour is fully hydrated, as opposed to the dough being fully hydrated before the mixing phase is complete in an Italian mixer. Hopefully that makes sense and explains why I believe we need to autolyse the dough even though you won't see many instructions that call for it. 
    XL BGE
  • NDGNDG Posts: 1,547
    I am starting to realize that this could be a LONG road . . used top end ingredients (buff motz, caputo flour, marzano sauce) but end result did NOT cure my itch - pizza was very good but far from true margherita pizza on many levels - first off couldn't get my dome temp over 550 to save my life (assume I had egg air flow block) and crust was tasty but heavy instead of chewy, airey, crunchy. 

    Great flavors and everyone enjoyed the pizzas, but I gotta make changes. This is what I know and think . . Definitely didn't get egg hot enough, Definitely didnt go thin enough on base of crust under sauce, Definitely went too thick on outer crust ring, Definitely should have strained matzano sauce to be less liquid . . .Perhaps I got dough too hot during kitchen aid mix, Perhaps used the fleishmans bread machine rapid rise yeast incorrectly. 

     Anyway, made two pizzas and only took 1 pic - please critique or suggest . . . thanks.

    image

    Columbus, Ohio
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 2,761
    How was the outer crust ring?  Was it also "heavy"?

    Please describe step by step how you prepared the dough.

    Too much water from the ingredients could prevent the dough from baking properly but the outer crust ring should be good anyway...  Maybe the yeast or the technique are the cause.

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    edited August 2012
    Bread machine yeast does not need to be proofed in warm water first. You can knead it straight into the dough or dump it in with all of your other dry ingredients with no problem. Proofing it in water first won't cause you any problems with the dough other than starting out already too warm - but it isn't necessary. I just thought I'd put that out there.

    How thick was the cornicione before the bake? It looks like you got a really nice amount of oven spring, which would indicate a good healthy dough. How did the dough balls look after the rise? Did they still have a nice tight skin on top? I'm guessing they weren't overly bubbly since I don't see big bubbles in your pizza. It's pretty tough to tell what's going on there without a picture of a slice where you can see the crumb inside the crust, but it looks pretty darn good in the photo.
    XL BGE
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