New York Pizza – Attempt 3

…or Third Time’s The Charm!!

Look at that beautiful pizza pie!!
Look at that beautiful pizza pie!!

     Some of you may remember my first attempt at New York Style Pizza. Didn’t quite go as well as planned, namely due to an oversight on my part. All purpose flour is NOT the same as bread flour, just so ya know. So what about the second attempt? Well, that one never got documented (although I’m sure I have pictures floating around somewhere). When letting my Egg come up to temperature, the plate setter (which had gone through several low and slow cooks with nothing to protect it from drippings) literally caught on FIRE!! I wish I had pictures of that part. So we had to resort to the oven. That and I took the amount of dough for one pizza and tried to stretch it out for two. Ended up overworking the dough while forming the crusts. While it still tasted good, the extra stretching and overwork caused it to be thin and flat and had no rise when cooked. But the third time…well the third time was the charm!

Remember this recipe called for the dough to be mixed in a food processor?
Remember this recipe called for the dough to be mixed in a food processor?

     Once again, I have to give credit where credit is due. The recipe for this New York Style pizza came from Serious Eats, a website that has a whole section dedicated to different styles of pizza. They have put in a ton of time and effort reproducing regional variations of pizza (and burgers if you are interested)

Ingredients

  • 22 1/2 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • .35 ounces kosher salt (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 ounces lukewarm water
  • 1 batch New York Style Pizza Sauce
  • 1 pound grated full-fat dry mozzarella cheese (about 4 cups), placed in freezer for at least 15 minutes
Yes, a scale really does help in making pizzas (and baking and sausage making)
Yes, a scale really does help in making pizzas (and baking and sausage making)

Directions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in bowl of food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times until incorporated. Add olive oil and water. Run food processor until mixture forms a ball that rides around the bowl above the blade, about 15 seconds. Continue processing 15 seconds longer.
  2. Transfer dough ball to lightly floured surface and knead once or twice by hand until smooth ball is formed. It should pass the windowpane test. Divide dough into three even parts and place each in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least one day, and up to 5.
  3. At least two hours before baking, remove dough from refrigerator and shape into balls by gathering dough towards bottom and pinching shut. Flour well and place each one in a separate medium mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at warm room temperature until roughly doubled in volume.
  4. 1 hour before baking, adjust oven rack with pizza stone to middle position and preheat oven to 500°F. Turn single dough ball out onto lightly flour surface. Gently press out dough into rough 8-inch circle, leaving outer 1-inch higher than the rest. Gently stretch dough by draping over knuckles into a 12 to 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to pizza peel.
  5. Spread approximately 2/3 cup of sauce evenly over surface of crust, leaving 1/2 to 1-inch border along edge. Evenly spread 1/3 of cheese over sauce. Slide pizza onto baking stone and bake until cheese is melted with some browned spots and crust is golden brown and puffed, 12 to 15 minutes total. Transfer to cutting board, slice, and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining two dough balls, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.
My dough ready for toppings
My dough ready for toppings

     Kenji didn’t mention anything about “docking” his pizza dough. I worked in numerous pizza joints in high school and college. In some, we “docked” the dough, in others we didn’t. Basically, its poking holes in it to prevent bubbles from forming when cooking the pizza. Where I worked, we had a roller that did it, now at home I just use a fork.

Top it with freshly grated mozzarella
Top it with freshly grated mozzarella

     We’ve discussed it before, but I’ll mention it again. Please grate your own mozzarella. Do NOT use the pre-grated stuff. It’s coated with “stuff” to prevent it from clumping in the bag…which also prevents it from melting nicely. And not part-skim or low-fat, get the full fat stuff. The other kinds don’t give you that stretch when you take a bite. Come on people, it’s pizza! Live a little. You’re already cheating on your diet, might as well go all the way. One last thing, don’t use the fresh or buffalo mozzarella. This isn’t a Neapolitan pizza, its NY Style. Save that for a pizza Margherita pizza.

All that hard work pays off.
All that hard work pays off.

     Ovens vary and cooking times will be different for everybody. Kenji suggests 12-15 minutes. I slid my pizza in the oven on my pizza stone that had been warming for one hour using the parchment paper trick. After 5 minutes, I opened the oven, slid the parchment paper out from under my pizza and gave it a 90 degree spin. Reset the timer for another 5 minutes. When it went off, I brushed some melted garlic butter on the edges of the crust and gave it another spin, almost done. Keeping an eye on it, I let it go another 2 to 3 minutes and it was done.

Check out those air pockets!
Check out those air pockets!

     Just what I was shooting for. Thinner than a pan pizza, but thicker than a Neapolitan. The bottom layer was crispy, but not cracker like with a soft, chewy bread like layer that was nowhere near a bland, flavorless crust. The sauce played along wonderfully with its balance of sweetness and acidity, not too strong or over powering in herbs and spices.  This has got to be one of my favorite pizzas I’ve made to date. And the best part…Mrs. G is out of town so I got to eat it all by myself. 😉

Odd Tidbits of Information

  • This dough requires a night in the fridge before its ready to use. Not saying that it’s not good the next day, but try leaving it for 2-4 days. The dough will have even more flavor.
  • Life gets in the way and for whatever reason you aren’t able to make your pizza in 5 days? Vacuum seal it and pop it in the freezer for another day. Whenever you are ready, take it out of the freezer the night before and allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge. The next day, let it rise at room temp for at least 2 hours (I went for about 3.5 hours) and it will come out just fine. That exactly what I did with this one.
  • The sauce also freezes just fine.
  • Please allow at least one hour for your pizza stone to come up to 500F. It will benefit you when cooking pizzas.
  • Do you find pepperoni to be too greasy? Pop it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds and then blot away the grease with a paper towel.
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New York Style Pizza – Attempt 1

Pizza on the Egg

     I’ve been wanting to branch out and try my hand at making other kinds of pizza lately. My biggest problem is that I don’t plan ahead well, and a lot of doughs take time to prepare. Not something you can come home from work and whip up. Now there’s nothing wrong with buying store bought dough when in a pinch (or from a local place) or using a bread machine dough (I do both all the time), but there are other types of pizza I’ve been wanting to try, one of them being New York style. I decided to go with the recipe on the Serious Eats website for my first attempt.

     I made the dough the day prior after work so that it would have time for a cold fermenting in the fridge for 24 hours. Interestingly enough, their recipe calls for making the dough in a food processor.

A first for me…making dough with a food processor.

     The next day, I took the dough out of the fridge and allowed it to warm up for two hours in the oven with the light on. Dough was a little stickier to work with at first than what I’ve been used to, but with a bit of flour it became easier. Kept the sauce light, went with fresh grated mozz, a bit of Asiago, some parm-regg and just a sprinkle of cheddar and then topped it with pepperoni. Figured I would keep it simple as I was focusing on the dough, not the toppings.

Onto the Egg at 500F

    The recipe had it going for 12-15 minutes at 500F. This is about halfway through. I didn’t like how the crust was coming along, so I brushed it with some olive oil with some garlic powder mixed in.

Halfway through

     After 15 minutes, I went ahead and pulled the pie. Wasn’t quite happy with the top, but was afraid the bottom was going to get burned, so I brought it inside and popped it under the broiler for a minute of two. Hope you don’t consider that cheating, I call it being smart.

Done

     You can’t just judge a pizza by how it looks on the top, you have to take a peak at the crust, too.

Crust came out a beautiful color

     And finally, the mandatory side view of the pizza.

Mine

Not quite what it looked like on The Serious Eats site.

Theirs

     Wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but getting closer. And some of that is my fault. I didn’t read the recipe carefully and when I went to make the dough, I saw that it called for bread flour. All I had was All Purpose flour. Didn’t feel like a trip to the store, so I thought, “What the hay?” That probably made the most difference.

     Second, at this I’m not sure on, the recipe calls for Instant Yeast. What I had was Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast. I really don’t know if they are the same, but when I looked in the store nothing said Instant Yeast. So I don’t know if that was a factor or not.

     Third, the recipe says it will make 3 12-14″ pies. I generally make my pies in the 12″ range (as that’s how big my pizza pan is which I carry it on out to the Egg). I thought the dough was a little bit on the thick side when I stretched it out to 12″. Maybe if I had stretched it out more so that it was thinner, but then would it have fit on the Egg? I think I’m gonna cut some of the dough out of the next ball and try to get it thinner.

     I still have two dough balls to play with, so I think I’m gonna experiment and see how a 3 day fermenting process works out (and a 5 day after that). I think I’m on the right track and next time for sure I’m going to make sure to use bread flour. Half the fun in making pizzas is trying over and over again to get that perfect one, right? 😉