Pizza Failure

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Phaedrus, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Phaedrus

    Phaedrus Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Military Contracting
    Well, my first pizza of the year tanked, completely last night. It was a really, really humid day, and it took about 1/3d more flour to get the dough down to a manageable level. The dough didn't rise right, and to make matters worse, I put too many toppings on my chicago style deep dish pie.

    I also forgot the hard salami, so went with onion, pepper and feta cheese. Not a bad topping combination, but the humidity plus the overloading toppings sealed my fate.

    Anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with humidity? Do you just cut down on the water when you know it's going to be humid? If so, how much?
  2. jumbopackage

    jumbopackage Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2007
    I have no idea what this thread is about, but since it's nearly lunch time I'm going to endorse it.
  3. cloneu

    cloneu Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    Financial Analyst
    I don't think pizza and failure go together, unless it gets burnt. Like they say about "other stuff", any pizza is better then no pizza.
  4. Jerry1982

    Jerry1982 Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    NE Iowa
    I have a hard time believing that humidity would make such a percentage difference in your flour. As for it not rising, I doubt you can blame the flour, unless you used wheat. Check your yeast age, and monitor your temperatures more closely. Not too hot, not too cold. Somewhere between 70 and 90 degrees F. :cool:
  5. Juggercy

    Juggercy Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    Ames, IA
    (homer simpson style) mmmm pizzaaaaaa ::drool::
  6. CycloneTony

    CycloneTony Active Member

    Nov 3, 2007
    Concrete Finisher
    I Like burnt Pizza I can't stand doughy Pizza
  7. iceclone

    iceclone Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    I only make thin crust at home - preferably over real fire - so I'm limited help. Unlike pastry crust, where it is always a good policy not to put all the water in at once, I think it would be trickier for pizza crust. How would you know the right amount until the dough has already been worked? Letting the dough rest for an hour or so in the fridge may help, but that requires planning and I usually want my pizza right now.
  8. Phaedrus

    Phaedrus Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Military Contracting
    iceclone - do you have a stone oven, or do you use something else for your "real fire?" When I return to the house we own, the stone oven is the first "improvement" we're putting in.

    I'm using Brother Dominic's recipe for deep dish pizza dough, and he calls for all the wets to go in first. It's possible I brain-farted the quantities, somewhere.

    And I agree - 4-6 hours is a loooooong time to wait for pizza.
  9. Phaedrus

    Phaedrus Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Military Contracting
    I bet some of the draftiness of our house had something to do with it. Need to find a more protected place to do my "dough".

    thanks for the tips. This is my fourth or fifth pizza using this recipe and my first failure.

    Well, kind of failure. We still ate the pizza.:biggrin:
  10. cycopath25

    cycopath25 Well-Known Member

    Sep 8, 2006
    If you still ate it, it's not a failure! :)
  11. Nick

    Nick Active Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    I've been making homemade pizza for about 4 years now and have got a good hand-tossed recipe down. Here's a few key points I've discovered (through a whole ton of trial and error):

    1. Water temperature should be around 105 degrees. Way my mom always told me to find this temperature was to not make it so hot that you can't stick your finger in, but hot enough that you don't want to leave it in there for very long. Or use a thermometer :)

    2. Mix your sugar into the water and then the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes before you add it to the dry ingredients. This will activate the yeast and make the dough rise much more.

    3. When letting the dough rise, I put it in a bowl covered with a damp dishtowel to keep it moist as it expands. I turn on my oven for about a minute so it gets slightly warm, and then I put the covered bowl with the dough in there to rise for about an hour. I then punch it down and let it rise for another 30 minutes. For this 30 minutes you can optionally put it in the fridge - the cool dough will be easier to work with when you stretch/toss it.

    4. Cook the pizza in a HOT oven! I cook at 500 degrees. If you cook at lower temperatures you will get a very evenly cooked pizza that comes out more like bread. The hot temperature will cook the outside much quicker creating a slightly crispy crust with that great chewy inside.

    5. Even at 500 degrees which is significantly less than a pizzeria's oven, I found that the toppings were cooking much quicker than the dough. To get around this, I recommend a pizza stone for your oven. Let the stone heat up for 15 minutes to get it hot. Then, put in JUST the dough without any toppings for 5 minutes. This pre-cook will make the dough much firmer and will give it the head start needed. Take it out of the oven, add your toppings, and slide it back in for 5-8 more minutes (you'll also find it's MUCH easier sliding a pizza onto a pizza stone when the dough is precooked and firmer than if you have it loaded up with toppings).

    6. I highly recommend making your own sauce from canned crushed tomatoes - I started doing this and it makes all the difference compared to canned pizza sauces. Use a can of crushed tomatoes, and I like to add fresh garlic, oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper for a bit of spice. You won't go back to pre-made sauces if you do it this way.

    Again, some of these tips are specially hand-tossed related, so I can't help you on some of the specifics with a deep-dish pizza. Let me know if you have any questions, I'd be glad to share my discoveries.
  12. Phaedrus

    Phaedrus Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Military Contracting
    Pre-cooking the dough is a master-stroke, sir!

    I like the hot oven, too, but was unable to get the deep-dish pizza to full cook.

    Plus, I like a lot of sauce on the deep-dish, to make it more of a "tomato pie" than a "pizza". I, too, used the crushed canned tomatoes. Beats the dickens out of the second best alternative.

    But pre-cooking the dough will liberate my pizza cooking. I can go absolutely ape with toppings if the dough is pre-cooked.

    I must return to the oven....
  13. taco2000

    taco2000 Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Holy foodies. Thanks for the inspiration. Not a big fan of the deep dish myself, except for Gino's east. Anyway, you may want to look into a cornmeal crust. I'm pretty sure that Pizzeria Uno here uses a cornmeal crust. That crust would surely stand up to whatever you top it with.
  14. Phaedrus

    Phaedrus Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Military Contracting
    I'm guessing by your post that you are in Chi-town? I worked pizza there for 3 years. I'm a BIG Uno's fan.

    I'm using a cornmeal crust. Actually, Brother Dominic's recipe, which as far as I can tell, is the exact replica of the allegedly accurate Uno's recipe floating around the internet.

    Despite the superior crust recipe, I still managed to fall on my face. I don't expect it to happen again; It's my first big failure, and I just need to execute the small things better.

    I envy your proximity to the best pizza in the world.

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