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Thin Crust Pizza - some useful hints and tips !

jfine1jfine1 Posts: 80
This past weekend I fired up the egg for my 2nd attempt at pizza. First time out, results were pretty good tastewise, but I had some issues with transferance from my pizza peel which led to less than ideal aesthetics. So I researched some ideas online and came up with a couple of solutions that contributed to a much better outcome. Full recipe, including the tips discovered below. Definitely wanted to perfect my pizza technique this summer, and while I'm not ready to claim victory, things are getting a heck of a lot closer.

For the Pizza Dough: I am lucky enough to own a Zojirushi bread baking machine, which has its own dough making setting. Makes life very easy in producing beautiful dough. Ingredients are 1 1/4 cups of water, 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 3 3/4 cups bread flour (I find AP flour to do a pretty good job), 1 1/2 tbsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I used pizza crust dry yeast which I do prefer on the margin)

For the Tomato Sauce: I sauteed a finely chopped yellow onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. I then added a carton of strained tomatoes, and half a dozen chopped fresh tomatoes and simmered until the sauce started to thicken. I then seasoned with salt, garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a couple tablespoons of dried oregano. I also added a tablespoon of sugar post a quick taste test. This was then removed from the heat, and briefly liquidized (I wanted some chunks to remain)

Preparing the Pizzas: After dividing the dough into 4 equal portions, i laid each mini ball onto a well floured surface, floured my hands, and proceeded to press out the dough gently to form 12" circles. Lifting the dough and working both over your knuckles, as well as using your thumbs to stretch from the outer third of the circle I find to be the most efficient way of creating good circles. Here's where the important tips start - once each circle was finished, I placed it on a square of parchment paper slightly bigger than the pizza, and with a dusting of cornmeal on top. Important that you use enough cornmeal to create some separation away from the parchment paper (think of the cornmeal as acting like a ball-bearing), but not too much so that you impact the taste of the pizza. Then brush the top with olive oil and - tip number two - place straight into the refrigerator. I do think that keeping the dough cold helped both with the finished product as well as with the transfer from the paper/peel.

To prepare the egg, I lit a hardwood charcoal fire with the bottom vent fully open and the top completely open. I let this get to 600 degrees or so, then inserted the plate setter legs down, a cast iron grid on top, and the pizza stone on top of that (I find elevating the pizza stone helpful in ensuring that it heats evenly and quickly). I then closed the lid and let the temperature get up beyond the point that the egg gauge will measure before regulating the bottom vent to maintain a circa 750 degree temperature. Once this had been maintained for a good 20 minutes - at which point I knew the stone was hot throughout, we were ready to cook

The pizza assembly comes next - working with the cold pizza from the fridge, ladle on the cooled tomato sauce (spreading from the center on out), add your chosen toppings and finish with grated cheese. Given the cheese can act as an insulator against the extreme heat these pizzas are baked at, it definitely helps to order your pizza as follows: sauce, toppings, cheese. I went with hot pepper rings and pepperoni - but as you can see from the photo attached, I did not follow the order - thus the pepperoni was a little more well done than I wanted. I will remember this for my next attempt !

Working with one pizza at a time, and placing the parchment on the pizza peel, the transfer was easy - all that was needed was a thumb at the back of the parchment and a quick shake of the peel and it slid beautifully onto the stone. In the time taken to go back to the refrigerator, take out and prepare the next pizza, the one already in the egg was cooked perfectly (around 7 minutes)



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Comments

  • SmokyBearSmokyBear Posts: 371
    edited August 2014
    Ah, a fellow Zo fan.  Doesn't it make AWESOME dough?  SO much easier than a stand mixer or other method.

    Try the 00 [vs AP] flour if you can find some.  I do a 20% whole wheat (freshly ground) with the 00 and run it on the "dough" cycle in the Zo.  Awesome every time.

    Didn't follow why you were using cornmeal AND parchament.  We use "only" parchament paper and all is easy.
    Mini BGE, KJ Classic - Black, Cookshack SM025, Weber Gasser (mostly for Kamado storage!)
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,699
    I find that semolina works better than cornmeal since it doesn't burn as much.  I only use the semolina and do not use parchment paper.

    One of the important steps is to wait for the pizza stone to co me up to temperature - can take 30 minutes or so.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • anzyegganzyegg Posts: 1,104
    Great pizza and recipe and all. I don't think any cornmeal is needed with parchment paper. It works great by itself and no mess.
  • KiterToddKiterTodd Posts: 2,072
    edited August 2014
    Thanks for the tip on keeping it cold.   The problem I run into is I usually let the kids make up their own pizza...the dough sits out for longer and if it gets too moist I get condensation on whatever pan/peel the dough is sitting on and then it sticks. 

    I have seen the peel that rolls the pizza off on a fabric conveyer belt, but that seemed lot more of an expense than an occasional cook warrants (for me).

    So...anzyegg, you're saying if I just make it on parchment paper and refridgerate, it'll slide right off?

    I did error last time with using too much corn meal and it affected the taste a bit.  I didn't mind it but the kids complained.
    LBGE/Maryland
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,012
    Build the pizza on parchment. The kids can build their own. Sitting on parchment you can move them around the counter as needed. Just slide the peel under the parchment when time to transfer to the egg. The pizza and parchment will slide off the peel onto the pizza stone together. After a minute or so the parchment will release and can be pulled out from under the pizza. Some people will leave the parchment under the pizza for the entire cook.
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • KiterToddKiterTodd Posts: 2,072
    Thanks, jtcBoynton.   I didn't realize you could slide it out from underneath.

    I've seen pizzas cooked the entire time with parchment and the exposed paper can get dark brown and brittle...and then flake all over the place when you try to remove it.  A quick pull after a short cook sounds like a great plan.
    LBGE/Maryland
  • SmokyBearSmokyBear Posts: 371
    We cook our pies for 10 min - first 5 parchament on stone..then pull the parchament for the last 5.
    Mini BGE, KJ Classic - Black, Cookshack SM025, Weber Gasser (mostly for Kamado storage!)
  • jfine1jfine1 Posts: 80
    I definitely found a little cornmeal to be helpful in release, even from parchment. One of my pizzas had less cornmeal on the parchment and was a tougher release. Think I will stick with the combo !
  • jfine1jfine1 Posts: 80
    I definitely found a little cornmeal to be helpful in release, even from parchment. One of my pizzas had less cornmeal on the parchment and was a tougher release. Think I will stick with the combo !
  • stv8rstv8r Posts: 615
    the pepperoni look delicious to me! nice pizza
  • SmokyBearSmokyBear Posts: 371
    Dough slides right off parchament..not sure why yours wouldn't.
    Mini BGE, KJ Classic - Black, Cookshack SM025, Weber Gasser (mostly for Kamado storage!)
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,699
    I use 2 peels. I have a wooden one where we build the pizza and put t on the egg. The dough slides off the wood better than metal. The m,etal peel is used to remove the pizza from the egg which my wife is building the next pizza on the wooden peel.  Works great for us.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • KiterToddKiterTodd Posts: 2,072
    Shiff said:
    I use 2 peels. I have a wooden one where we build the pizza and put t on the egg. The dough slides off the wood better than metal. The m,etal peel is used to remove the pizza from the egg which my wife is building the next pizza on the wooden peel.  Works great for us.
    Thank you.  I was just looking at a nice big metal peel yesterday trying to justify why I needed it when I already have a wooden peel.   Now, guilt free, I will make that purchase!  :D
    LBGE/Maryland
  • GATravellerGATraveller Posts: 5,144
    Great post.  Thanks!!  

    I had the opportunity to travel to New York last week for a family reunion.  Cousin has a Forno Bravo brick oven in the back yard.  Ohhhhhhh man was this thing sweet.  Built the fire and checked with IR after about 1 hour.  690 on the floor and 980 up top.  Pizza cooked in about 2 minutes.  One of these bad boys would make a perfect addition to my outdoor kitchen.  Check you their website if you get a minute.

    "Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community [...] but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It's the invasion of the idiots."

                                                                                  -Umberto Eco

    2 Large
    Peachtree Corners, GA
  • hondabbqhondabbq Posts: 1,944

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1169228/who-needs-a-stinkin-pizza-stone#latest

     

    I started doing thin crust pizza instead of the pan pizzas in my CI.

  • BBQJIMBBQJIM Posts: 106
    I have never done a pizza but plan to.  As to the cornmeal, there are several grinds from flower to fine to medium to course.  Which one.  I would think medium but need help before I buy.  Thanks
  • blind99blind99 Posts: 4,102
    I use the regular Quaker Corn Meal.
    Chicago, IL - Large BGE - Weber Gasser - Weber Kettle
  • jfine1jfine1 Posts: 80
    Medium should work just fine
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,012
    BBQJIM said:
    I have never done a pizza but plan to.  As to the cornmeal, there are several grinds from flower to fine to medium to course.  Which one.  I would think medium but need help before I buy.  Thanks
    I would recommend using semolina instead. It works just as well as cornmeal for sliding the dough, don't burn as easily, and doesn't give your crust a cornmeal taste.
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • BBQJIMBBQJIM Posts: 106
    Thanks  jtcBoynton and jfine.
  • peggycpeggyc Posts: 54
    Do you think your dough recipe would work in a kitchen aid mixer?
  • jfine1jfine1 Posts: 80
    @peggyc‌ Honestly I don't know - sorry. I would think combination of ingredients is right but I think the stand mixer method would be pretty important to hone
  • For dough I use a recipe from Allrecipes -- Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Crust. I have found that building the pizza last minute before it goes on the egg to work well. Otherwise the liquid in the sauce seems to make the dough stickier. 
  • MikeeMikee Posts: 831

    Making pizza is tough. I'm not so sure I would consider this one thin.  Thin to me is 3/16" or less.

    While I do not doubt it tasted great, work on your dough.

  • stemc33stemc33 Posts: 3,567
    Mikee said:

    Making pizza is tough. I'm not so sure I would consider this one thin.  Thin to me is 3/16" or less.

    While I do not doubt it tasted great, work on your dough.


    C'mon @Mikee‌, what do you mean "work on your dough"? You're killing me. I'm sure your gonna flag me as a Troll for asking a question, but is that all you have for feedback?
    Steven
    Mini Max with Woo stone combo, LBGE, iGrill 2, Plate Setter, 
    two cotton pot holders to handle PS
    Banner, Wyoming
  • MikeeMikee Posts: 831

    @stemc33

    Are you agreeing that is a thin pizza? The OP has a bit of leaning to do.

    If your are not flagging me as a troll, who is. I have been here 5 years with not a negative feedback. In the last week it has gone insane.

  • stemc33stemc33 Posts: 3,567
    @Mikee‌, if you look at your flags you will find that I haven't flagged anything you have posted. I did flag one of your posts as abuse, but the Mods removed the post so it must of been just. I will say that I have messed with you on a few posts though. The only reason I've done that is due to the negativity you displayed in some of the forum members threads. And as far as flags go, I also have had a rough week with the flags. I only had a few negative flags until this week and then some guy named @mikee got flag happy. This is a great forum for sharing ideas and learning how to improve egging skills. It sounds like you've been Egging for a while and can contribute some great stuff. You should put your energy into starting great threads that can help the EggHeads as opposed to looking to flag or demean forum members posts.

    Just to keep this on topic- the argument of what's thin vs thick is enough to drive a guy crazy. I know I'd be going crazy if I had to measure my pizza in sixteenths to correctly categorize it into thick or thin. It's just like asking people to judge other people, some will argue a gal/guy is too thin or too thick.
    Steven
    Mini Max with Woo stone combo, LBGE, iGrill 2, Plate Setter, 
    two cotton pot holders to handle PS
    Banner, Wyoming
  • I am a big thin crust grilled pizza fan too. After long search I found a great book and great thin crust dough recipe (easy, do it the night before and it keeps for several days). Two step cook--You actually grill just the dough up on the adjustable rig, and then flip it and the grilled bottom becomes your top--gives you a firm crust you can load with ingredients and then cook second time on the pizza stone like normal--and I do second step lower than most pizzas due to thin crust--maybe 400- 450 dome or so.   (this crust is super thin, when you first grill one side you "flip" it on off the pizza peel--no way to slide it due to thinness--but once the first side is grilled it is very firm and slides on and off peel)

    Here is link to my pizza quest and the book--with photos, recipes etc:

    http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=1184253&catid=1#

    And a second follow up post:

    http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=1186719&catid=1#

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,644
    I use parchment and pull it about 45 sec's after placing on the stone. Works fine for me. Something else is you can cook pizza very high in the Egg with one stone only.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • stemc33stemc33 Posts: 3,567
    Mickey said:

    I use parchment and pull it about 45 sec's after placing on the stone. Works fine for me.
    Something else is you can cook pizza very high in the Egg with one stone only.

    Parchment paper makes launching so much easier. If I was launching into a big oven, I wouldn't need the parchment paper.
    Steven
    Mini Max with Woo stone combo, LBGE, iGrill 2, Plate Setter, 
    two cotton pot holders to handle PS
    Banner, Wyoming
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