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Pizza Praise

Feb 7, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

HANK QUESTION

Feedback: Last night we had some friends over towatch the Super Bowl game. I decided to try the pizza recipe on page 189 of The Bread Bible. Although it contradicted everything I thought I knew about making pizza dough, it turned out to be the best pizza I have ever made. My guests all agreed. I strongly recommend it to all.


ROSE REPLY

Thank you so much Hank for sharing your experience and encouraging other people who might be doubting Thomases to experience this amazing pizza!

Comments

dear rose / all i want to say is that you and you alone bring something special to the saying bread is the staff of life/ thanks rose you are awesome

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
07/ 1/2010 02:43 AM

Hi Will,
Sounds like more flour is in order. Hector follows Roses recipe. If you look at his message with the pictures not too far down this thread. He has a picture of some dough that looks quite stiff. What method are you using to measure?

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I've made the dough on page 189 of The Bread Bible twice now and both times it has come out a sticky mess. I have used the exact amounts listed as well as King Arthur Italian-Style flour. The dough seems very stick and wet and after it is allowed to rise it is just a wet, sticky mess that is impossible to form and just spills out on the pan when I transfer it. Should I be mixing in more flour (it appears that it would need a lot more flour, which is why I am confused)? What should the consistency be before and after the rising part. When baked they had a nice flavor but the consistency clearly affected the final pizza (including the amount it produced). Help, please.

Thanks so much for the help! What a wonderful book!

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physics prevents pasta to absorb salt after cooked! salt the water depending on how much the pasta has already, most has zero.

if you need to cut down on salt, try Alessi's new method which is actually an ancient method. works well for most sauces, try it. I love it, and it is very energy efficient! I've just made the ultimate penne with sauted pistachio sauce.

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Yes, it's all about the flavor. I've heard a few chefs claim that you can never add enough salt to pasta after it is cooked. Best to salt the water properly before hand, and remember, most of the salt will go down the drain in the end.

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I also think of you, Patricia when I'm adding salt to my pasta water, but why should there be such a lot? Is it for flavour or is there another reason.? As a general rule I am using less salt in cooking than I used to for health reasons and I never use it at the table but I do admit pasta tastes better for the saltiness!

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THAT is a gold rule, and I always think Patrincia when I am doing it!

I am moving this weekend, so making spaguetti with lemon sauce to feed the batalion of movers staff: my friends... they move... I cook! Also making panettone bread pudding (yes, cleaning up my freezer).

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And don't forget to add enough salt to you cooking water - it should taste like the sea.

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Hi Ariel, Garofalo is a new brand arriving to the USA. De Cecco has been around much longer in the USA. Both are very comparable, I think some De Cecco shapes are better than Garofalo, and viceversa. There are more shapes of De Cecco in the USA, than Garofalo. Garofalo is distributed thru Costco, and other large wholesalers, so it is cost efficient.

Again, they are comparable. HOWEVER, a few of my friends from Italy (who still live in Italy) prefer Garofalo because of taste and texture. It does take a few minutes longer to cook, but they know from their granparents the saying "good pasta takes longer to cook." They are also a bit bias with De Cecco, because it is a brand that is mass produced and has invaded the international world. Garofalo remains somewhat more regional, and Italians love this. One bad example of De Cecco, is that they make some pasta shapes for the USA market, that do not exist in Italy, some which do not taste well and do not adhere to any suitable pasta sauce preparation (shape is important, shape is specific for certain pasta sauce). Garofalo is starting to do this, too.

Whichever pasta you choose, I find SUBSTANTIAL better taste with pasta made with grain grown in Italy. Garofalo is. De Cecco, too (I haven't noticed any De Cecco boxes that are manufactured in the USA, but I may be wrong since I haven't hunted it at every store in the USA!).

So you know, a box of Barilla USA, is made in the USA. The same box in ITALY, tastes much better.

Ok, sorry, I write so much, but I am training so much on pasta, first hand with my Italian family, that the above is just a small tip on making good pasta dishes.

Oh, one more thing, the above is just for the dry pasta varieties (also known as durum semolina dry pasta), does not contain eggs. Fresh pasta is another chapter, and contains eggs. Spaguetti #9 and Penne Rigate are my favorite dry pasta. Fettucine and Pappardelle are my favorite fresh pasta, and these I make myself! as well as Lasagne.

Before I let you go, I need to stress the importance on properly cooking your pasta (boiling, draining, immediate mix with sauce), and choosing a proper type of sauce specific for type and shape of pasta.

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Garofalo VS De Cecco
Garofalo VS De Cecco
08/27/2008 12:19 PM

hi, Hector, the reason for the ep-mail is to ask you why in your personal opinion Garofalo is better in De Cecco, i'm trying to by better pasta for my stablisment and i want your personal opinion.
Thank you very much
Ariel

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My July 4th was a pizza party, and we ended up with 3 blank pizza crusts. I froze them.

Today, I threw them on the little $20 toaster oven at work with just a few slices of Asiago Pressato cheese.

I found heaven from The Bread Bible, again.

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I love the picture, too, and literally makes me home sick!!!

FYI, Barilla found in the USA is NOT the same as in ITALY. Barilla USA is for the most part made in the USA (read the packaging). The same spaghetti or penne tastes better/different when made in ITALY. Once I brought a suitcase full of Barilla ITALY, they thought I was crazy or lived in some deserted hungry island, but for 1 Euro for 3 pack, why not? Made wonderful Christmas gifts.

De Cecco and Garofalo are imported from Italy. Garofalo is for many THE BEST in ITALY.

I haven't found any advantage of using a wood fired clay pizza oven for Bread Bible's pizza. Indeed my German friends built one and they make wonders with it, but the pizza from THE YELLOW KITCHEN is still the winner. Bread Bible's overnight refrigerated rise and 2 step baking adds so much flavor to the crust, plus makes it more manageable to host a party. In fact, some of my friends in ITALY are using Bread Bible! You do need a lot of storage space to keep 30 or so pizza crusts =)

Cousin's wedding will be with a quarter size Cadco convection oven lined with La Cuisine's carbon steel baking sheets or either Home Depot quarry tiles cut to fit.

Happy Pizza.

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Great pantry photo Hector... I love to see that we can get the same pasta brands that people eat in Italy. Btw, I love Muir Glen tomatoes!!!

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
06/ 9/2008 09:55 PM

Just enough time to build that wood fired clay pizza oven you have been dreaming about.

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superpeel copy? share your engineering drawings!!!

hmm, not sure what to say about the bitter rancidity.

busy now, just got the floor plan of the house my cousin Elaine is getting marry at, it is on September, but I am doing all the catering. Pizza included!

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
06/ 9/2008 07:11 PM

Thanks Hector,
Nice pictures as usual. I am just wondering about the freshness of the Caputo I bought. The final crust was fine but the raw flour has a tiny bitter aftertaste. I was hoping someone could tell if that was normal or not.
By the way I am really in love with my superpeel copy. The more I use it the more I appreciate it. I can pick up a fully loaded pizza with raw dough and set it in the oven. No muss no fuss no hassle. Truly a revolution!

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Hello Gene, never did, but do use 00 generic brand, but only in Italy.

The flours from Italy are so great, so different than in the USA, they make great ciabatta and other breads made with wet doughs, so full of holes. For some reason they never turn out spongy!

In the USA, I don't justify the cost and capriccio. Rose's Perfect Pizza Dough made with Gold Medal Unbleached Bread Flour (Better for Bread, or Harvest King), is PERFECT.

You may enjoy these pictures in Italy. Pantry and rising dough which you can click for closeup.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/ItaliaMajare2007/CasaPantry.html

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
06/ 9/2008 08:20 AM

Hey Hector,
Have you used the Caputo flour?

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Gene, thanks for the updates. I love Muir Glen organic tomato sauce, too, and so economical.

I've been using a half-half blend of boxed Italian San Marzano puree with The Bread Bible oven dried grape tomatoes. But now, I am using 100% oven dried grape tomatoes, after letting them sit for about 1 week in the refrigerator so to release more sauce.

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
06/ 8/2008 08:39 PM

Pizza Update...
We had friends over for pizza last night and I tried some recipe variations I have been thinking about for a while.
Sauce:
I have been using crushed San Marzano tomatoes. I like the tartness and the slightly bitter finish. I kind of missed the robust sweetness of the California tomatoes in the Muir Glen though. Also the San Marzano have a little too much water for pizza topping. The solution then was to sweat the San Marzanos in a sauce pan on low for 2 hours stirring occasionally. Then combine with the Muir Glen.
I also augmented the usual spices with a small clove of shallot and a tiny amount of rosemary. The shallot highlights the garlic and adds a nice undercurrent of onion without overpowering. The bits of rosemary were delightful surprises.
Dough:
I found a local supply of Caputo 00. I couldn't completely abandon my potato and buttermilk however. So I reduced the amount of each by half since the Caputo has less gluten than the unbleached all purpose. I made two batches of dough. I like the Caputo it has a wheatier flavor than my American flour. I am slightly suspicious of my source however. The Caputo had a slightly bitter finish that I normally associate with rancidity. It wasn't unpleasant but I don't have enough experience with this flour to know what is normal. The Caputo dough didn't absorb the oil as readily as the normal batch. Probably due to the decreased amount of buttermilk.
In the end both doughs were nearly identical in texture and cooked identically. My guests didn't notice a difference in flavor but I thought I could detect a slightly more robust flavor from the Caputo batch. It was a subtle difference though.
In summary this sauce will become my standard. Half San Marzano half Muir Glen shallot and rosemary. The Caputo? Improvement was marginal at best I probably won't try it again.

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Gene, you just gave me an idea to try. Next time I should knead the divided dough a lot by hand or in the mixer and then let it rest. May be that will help stretch better into the pizza.
Thanks

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
04/20/2008 06:56 PM

Must be something about the way the machines that form the balls of dough at the factory work. They probably have some sort of taffy pull like mechanism that creates long strands of gluten around and around inside the dough.
Hi Cheryl,
I am working on refining the recipe so I am curious how it works for people.

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Gene I haven't tried your recipe yet. I just need time to try many different things. I hope to get to your recipe soon.

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Very uneven stretch, like its not the same dough.
I could live on bread alone!

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
04/20/2008 02:43 PM

I am glad you enjoyed the dough.
Intuitively I would have expected the divided dough to work just like the larger piece. In what sense did it not stretch the same? Too stretchy? Not stretchy? Uneven stretch.
Yeah that diet thing. This damned sourdough has me eating so much bread I have gained 10 lbs in four months.

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Hi Gene
The crust did not taste quite like the pizza parlor crust but it was delicious and crusty. Actually I like to stretch the dough rather than roll it because I find it bakes better that way. This dough was very easy to stretch. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I will make it again.
A friend, who first got me started on pizza making, found dough purchased from Whole Foods worked best. I liked it but if I stretched it as big as my stone would accommodate, it is not thin enough. When I cut it into half (or even tried cutting it into 6 to have make-your-own for a party) and let it rest, it somehow did not stretch the same. Any thoughts on that problem?
I do enjoy different tastes and textures of the pie, including California Pizza Kitchen's sweeter, softer crust. Can anyone come up with that recipe?
I have to take a break from breads for a week, so its a good time to go on a diet.
Thanks again,

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
04/19/2008 10:04 PM

Hey Cheryl and Salma,
How did those pizzas turn out?

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gene Russell
gene Russell
03/11/2008 12:17 PM

Go Brian Go!
Nothing better than breakfast pizza. MMMM

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Gene,

Thank you for keeping track of your measurements - that's very helpful to know. I was also making the dough again this past weekend. I did it before you posted the detailed instructions, but I was able to incorporate some of the feedback you provided earlier last week. I used the Kitchenaid and really liked the way it came out. I also baked the pizzas with convection and it helped the crust to get a nice golden brown.

The other thing we noticed last week was that the leftover pizza was very good. Although the texture is not quite as good, the flavor continues to get better over the next couple of days.

Thanks again for the additional info.

Brian

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I have been reading all these wonderful blogs re pizza. I am definitely going to try Gene's recipe.
Rose, you 1/4 the recipe and gave the exact ingredients. Did you use 1/4 c buttermilk and 1/4 oil?

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I have been reading all these wonderful blogs re pizza. I am definitely going to try Gene's recipe.
Rose, you 1/4 the recipe and gave the exact ingredients. Did you use 1/4 c buttermilk and 1/4 oil?

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Thanks for the update Gene. I will give it a shot. I'll be using my KA mixer.

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
03/ 9/2008 02:13 PM

Hi,
Pizza update.

I made two batches of dough by hand.
Large mixing bowl wire whisk spatula.
Potato Puree
10.3 oz diced yukon gold potato
2 cups water
boil medium heat 30 minutes
let cool
Blend potato and cooking water together

combine
1 cup puree
1 cup water
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp fine sea salt
Add two cups or 8oz all purpose unbleached flour. Beat that up into a paste with the whisk.
Drizzle 1/2 cup grape or canola oil while beating with the whisk until incorporated.
Add 3 1/2 cups or 11oz more flour. Use the spatula to clean up the whisk and work in the flour. Knead into a smooth dough.
Let rise at 65 overnight. Punch down knead lightly as needed. Try not to let it rise past double at each rising but it is not a disaster if it does.
So that is what I am calling Gene's classic dough. It was well received.

I made a second batch as an homage to Hector. I substituted 1 cup of classic runny sourdough starter for the buttermilk and I omitted the yeast. Oh and just to throw in another variable I used 1/8 cup olive oil 3/8 cup grapeseed oil blend. This produced a delightful crust. It was crunchier and the crusty bubbly bits were flakier. I liked the flavor best with the experimental Thai pizza we made. I found the extra sourness of the dough distracting with classic ingredients. A tasty treat in any case I think I will be making it again.

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gene Russell
gene Russell
03/ 5/2008 10:03 PM

Hi Cheryl,
I will endeavor to come up with a more reproduceable recipe. I can't say when that will happen. I urge you to have a go with what is posted here in the meantime. It won't be inedible no matter what you do. I promise. So make some small batches and have fun seeing how the pizzas turn out.

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I am not very experienced when it comes to making bread. I wonder if the instructions for Gene's pizza dough could be written with precise measurements and detail? I would love to try making the dough.

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gene Russell
gene Russell
03/ 3/2008 05:46 PM

Hi Brian,
There is no wrong with tasty pizza. There are a couple of pretty good youtube videos on shaping pizza. One by a New York guy who is a wizard. He is using some very elastic dough however and my dough never comes out as elastic as his.
Oven temps are tough because ovens vary so much. My oven has a convection fan and an element for the stone. I bake at 470. Preheat your stone as hot as you can get it then bake @450?

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Gene,

Thank you - that is very helpful. I might try using the Kitchenaid - that may make it easier for me to try to get the right consistencies.

I made 3 - 12" pizzas with about half the dough, so I probably would have had enough for 6 or 7. I don't think I got the dough quite right because my dough was fairly elastic - I had trouble shaping it. I'll definitely be trying again and I have about half the sauce left.

Final question (for now). I assume you have your oven at 500 or as high as it can go?

Thanks again,

Brian

P.S. Rose - thank you - I did also have your post and was trying to use it as a guide altough I was making a whole batch just to try it for the first time.

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brian: i posted this above:
gene, i made it this morning to eat tonight and it is a fantastic crust--just perfect. no need for some specialy flour, even after kneading, gold medal unbleached made a tender, crisp crust with soft light interior.

for anyone concerned with exact amounts, i made 1/4 the above dough for 4 pizzas. after peeling the potato it weighed 60 grams. after cooking the potato i had about 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid. i used a total of 200 grams of the flour and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. for the yeast, i used 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast and added it to the flour.
by the way, when i beat in the oil it emulsified perfectly but was thinner than heavy cream.
i kneaded the dough until it was fairly smooth but it was still quite sticky. when shaping it i added just enough flour to the counter to keep it from sticking.
the buttermilk adds greatly to the tenderness and flavor. otherwise it is quite similar to the potato pizza dough in my book except that it has double the oil which is a good thing!

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gene Russell
gene Russell
03/ 3/2008 01:54 AM

Forgive me Rose this recipe thing is harder than it looks.

Hey Brian,
1.Sounds like you got the potato puree about right. The consistency of the paste should be thick enough to emulsify the oil but thin enough that you can still whip it. Clear as mud? In fact I guess mud is about the right consistency. When the oil emulsifies into the mixture it will turn a lighter shade of white.
2.Do knead. Oiled container to rise is a convenience.
3.I punch, turn, and knead a little bit. I think it helps redistribute the yeast and makes the final dough lighter.
4.To shape I pinch off a piece of dough by hand. Then I fold under and fold under to make a smooth ball. I set the folded side down on a floured board and press it out by hand and rolling pin. The advantage of this dough is that it is inelastic compared to most doughs. Most times a brief rest (30 secs) or a toss in the air to impress the guests is all that is necessary to shape it out to whatever thickness you like.
No need for further rising after shaping.
I usually make my pizzas about 12" in diameter because I can fit two in my oven that way. I can make more variety for my guests and they are easiy to handle.
I have never counted how many pizzas I get from a batch. I would guess 6?8? How many did your batch make?

The problem with my recipe is that I make my batches start to finish in a 5qrt Kitchenaid. I start with the whisk attachment to mix the liquids and emulsify the oil. Then I add enough flour until the whisk clogs up. I put in the dough hook and add flour slowly until the dough clings to the hook. Hows that for precise?
I am going to be making pizza next week. I will endeavor to measure this time and I will make a batch without the mixer to see how that works.

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Gene,

Thank you for sharing your recipes. I finally got around to trying your potato dough and your sauce recipe. The sauce was very tasty as was the dough. I had a few questions as I'm not an experienced baker. Based on your posts, it seems that you've made dough a few times, so please forgive me if some of the questions are pretty basic.

1. I wasn't sure how much flour to add to make a paste after adding the yeast/buttermilk to the potato. The potato puree was like very runny mashed potatoes and this became more liquidy with the water/yeast/buttermilk. As I added flour, I wasn't sure where to stop as it started becoming almost dough-like vs. a paste.

2. When you add the flour after the oil, do you take the dough out of the bowl and knead it? Do you place it in an oiled container to rise?

3. After each rise, do you just punch it down or do you turn it?

4. How do you go about shaping it? Do you just turn it out and divide it? Do you let it rest as you're shaping? Do you let it rise at all after shaping before putting on the topping?

5. How many pizzas of what size do you generally get out of a 1 potato dough batch?

Thank you for your help - I look forward to trying it again.

Brian

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3 times per day if you don't refrigerate, absolutely.

BB stiff starter, refrigerated, once a week feeding, tastes great, but it is mild, the beauty of this is that you can use this starter for all breads without making them "sour" dough bread. Honestly, BB starter is so mild, most people have told me "your bread tastes good" what is it? I like that.

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gene Russell
gene Russell
02/28/2008 01:11 AM

Sorry I didn't check the other threads on this topic before posting. That sounds almost human. Nancy recommends to feed three times per day but she allows that you can get away with once per day if you don't mind slightly inferior bread. I shall check out the BB.

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Hi Gene, I use The Bread Bible and keep stiff starter refrigerated. Feeding is just once a week.

All you do is keep this little piece of dough in the refrigerator, and once a week you discard some and add more fresh dough to it. I start with 125 grams, without discarding anything, after 2 feedings I have sufficient dough to make pizza.

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gene Russell
gene Russell
02/28/2008 12:29 AM

Hi Hector,
You got me thinking about sourdough so I have been reviewing Nancy Silverton's instructions from the La Brea book. I just don't think I can make that much of a commitment to baking. How often do you feed your starter?

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Rose - please do post soemthing about the superpeel... I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

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Gene, thanks for the treat!

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gene Russell
gene Russell
02/25/2008 08:45 PM

Sourdough should be tasty.
http://www.iamnotanumber.info/crumb.jpg
My camera won't take a very good close up and this crust has been in the refrigerator for a day now. What I like about it is the neat bubbles and the softness of the crumb. I kept track of my proportions for a change and this is what I used.
1 cup potato puree
1 cup water
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp SAF yeast
dissolve all that together and add enough all purpose unbleached flour to make a paste
Whip in 1/2 cup light oil grape/canola until emulsified
add enough more flour to make workable dough
I let it rise overnight at counter temp @65.
After the first punch down it pretty much goes nuts so by the afternoon when I started baking it was on its third rise.

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I am experimenting on making pizza crust with 100% stiff sourdough starter. The taste was great and the texture too. Here pics of an underbaked pale crust.

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I am experimenting on making pizza crust with 100% stiff sourdough starter. The taste was great and the texture too. Here pics of an underbaked pale crust.



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Gene, the superpeel looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing your pizza with us.

San Marzano here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Marzano_tomato

It is a variety name of tomato, and the one I like best is grown and packed in Italy. San Marzano grown elsewhere does not taste the same.

Rose's oven dried grape tomatoes is my "pizza sauce" of choice as is or with a little San Marzano mixed in.

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Gene, the superpeel looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing your pizza with us.

San Marzano here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Marzano_tomato

It is a variety name of tomato, and the one I like best is grown and packed in Italy. San Marzano grown elsewhere does not taste the same.

Rose's oven dried grape tomatoes is my "pizza sauce" of choice as is or with a little San Marzano mixed in.

I am experimenting on making pizza crust with 100% stiff sourdough starter. The taste was great and the texture too. Here pics of an underbaked pale crust.



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Gene, the superpeel looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing your pizza with us.

San Marzano here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Marzano_tomato

It is a variety name of tomato, and the one I like best is grown and packed in Italy. San Marzano grown elsewhere does not taste the same.

Rose's oven dried grape tomatoes is my "pizza sauce" of choice as is or with a little San Marzano mixed in.

I am experimenting on making pizza crust with 100% stiff sourdough starter. The taste was great and the texture too. Here pics of an underbaked pale crust.




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i love the superpeel and have been meaning to do a posting on it for what is now probably over a year!!!

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
02/25/2008 12:05 PM

Pizza update!
Saturday we made pizza for 20. This is what dough for 20 looks like.
http://www.iamnotanumber.info/dough.jpg
I didn't keep count but we baked pizzas for 5 hours. I only used the two large bowls of dough. We ran out of dough at a pizza party once and I will never let that happen again. The last pie looked like this.
http://www.iamnotanumber.info/cheese.jpg
Hector, I found San Marzano tomatoes. Though I admit to some confusion. Is San Marzano a region in Italy? a brand? a tomato variety? When I looked I found cans that seemed to reflect all three. I finally settled on Cento brand because they sell an organic product that is from San Marzano. In any case it made a very delicious pizza sauce.
My major discovery however during this production cycle is the SuperPeel.
http://www.superpeel.com/
I was shopping online for pizza peels and spotted the link. I watched his video and was entranced. Being an inveterate tinkerer I had to try making my own version. It is on the table next to the dough in my first picture. It really really works! No cornmeal, no blowing air under the crust, no precooking, no spilled ingredients on the pizza stone, no worries about overloading the toppings, just a light dusting of flour. Now I haven't actually used the superpeel since I made my own. But, if I was able to make a version that worked on the first try the commercial version must work well indeed. Has anyone else tried the superpeel?

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Thanks Gene. I am a baker and food stylist!

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gene Russell
gene Russell
01/24/2008 07:22 PM

Hector,
What are you doing cooking? You should be a photographer.

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Patrincia, Rose's Perfect Pecan Pie (tart), baked on my sleep a few hours prior to my 7 am flight. Hand carried thru many airplanes for about 24 hours, arriving Venice. Then by train arriving Rome. After a couple of days having it for breakfast, I've decided to take this picture from the window of our apartment overlooking some old building.

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Hector - would that be the first picture in the middle row?... looks like upside down pecans on a crust, covered in chocolate to me (no pie pan, maybe a rustic pecan tart?).

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what an honor to have a real italian like my pizza dough!
refrigerator temp usually stales bread but 32F is just at freezing so probably that's why it works. i don't have a frig that can hold that temp though.

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I've been reading your delicious pizza comments.

Luca loves to make ahead Bread Bible's pre-baked pizza crusts. Keeps for about 1 month at 32oF refrigerated, or much longer frozen. I've reported a while back that the taste increases while in ultra cold refrigeration, tightly wrapped. It has become a staple ... generalizing rudely... rice for Chinese, potatoes for Americans, pizza crust for Italians. A copy of Bread Bible is on its way to Luca's Mom in Italy, she liked Rose's pizza crust!

I have 5 favorite pizzas. Note: the basil on the margherita is-never baked. If you can find Taleggio from Italy, you will be in heavenly-cakes. My favorite combination of mozarella is half fresh di bufala and half cubed low moisture. I've posted before regarding 'tomato sauce' and regarding the sauted mushrooms, too. One additional secret, is that for the patate pizza, I use golden potatoes; I store them in my refrigerator for about 1 month, they turn sweet, and I steam them for 1 hour with skins on.

Enjoy the pictures, including a few in Italy 2007. I proved with my own eyes that mozzarella is di giorni (daily delivery mozzarella truck); also that it is frequent Italians enjoy pizza at restaurants in the amount of one large pizza per person, no pizza wheel please knife and fork!

And, if you recognize that the first picture on the second row is not pizza, but it is ____

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PizzaGladysBabyShower.htm

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gene Russell
gene Russell
01/24/2008 12:56 PM

Hi Patrincia,
What a cool name. Good ideas are universal. I like the way the provolone cuts the stringyness of the mozzarella.

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Gene - that mozzarella/provolone combo is pretty popular and is sometimes called "provella".

In St. Louis they use another mix called "provel" which includes provolone, white cheddar, and swiss.


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gene Russell
gene Russell
01/24/2008 10:58 AM

I have never tried to keep that dough over for so long. I shall have to try sometime.
On the subject of cheese. I like to add about 1/4 provolone to my mozzarella. It adds a little sharpness and smokiness.

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thank you! that entirely makes sense. so now i can report two things: i don't double the mozzarella--i use about 2 ounces per little pizza which is enough for 1 person. put the most important thing is that the dough i made on monday was still viable today in fact it puffed even a little more. what a fabulous dough gene! a real keeper. it's really amazing that you can knead it and yet it doesn't become tough.

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gene Russell
gene Russell
01/23/2008 07:54 PM

OK so I resorted to Google.
And I talked to an actual microbiologist/brewmaster that I know.
After he chastised me for my poor scientific method, he explained. Its not that the salt kills the yeast it is that it inhibits reproduction.
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=241914&pageindex=3#page
From this study I think we can infer that the effect is negligible until salt concentrations reach 3%. Very Very salty. Of course the other thing this study points out is that not only is the final biomass of the yeast inhibited but the metabolism of the yeast changes and the yeast produces different byproducts. I suspect that the effect may be compounded in bread dough because the formation of gluten may have the effect of sequestering liquids which may tend to concentrate the salt in small regions. This last is all just wild speculation and an attempt to explain the observed effect that salt has in bread dough.

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try baking a bread with salt and one without salt such as tuscan bread and you will really see the difference in how much faster the tuscan saltness bread rises!

it may not make a difference adding the salt to the yeast in the water but i hedge my bets by adding it later!

hector i always use san marzano tomatoes in my tomato sauce for meatballs but only my oven dried grape or plum tomatoes for the pizza though a little sauce wouldn't hurt--just i don't find it necessary. i do double the mozarella from what i wrote in the book though!

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gene Russell
gene Russell
01/23/2008 01:21 PM

Ok first let me say I don't mean this topic to be argumentative. I have a questioning nature however and I like to experiment. So...
I have always harbored doubts about the effects of salt on yeast since in all my 40+ yikes! years of baking I have combined the salt and yeast with no apparent ill effects. Yesterday I conducted this experiment.
2 cups of cold tap water.
3 tbsp salt
1 pkg Fleischmann's ActiveDry yeast
I combined these until dissolved and then let them sit uncovered on my kitchen counter at @65°. This was 8 am. I went skiing. At 5 pm the yeast had risen to the top and it was slightly frothy with a yeasty smell. I added another cup of water and then enough flour to make a fairly stiff dough. Into my oven on proofing cycle @100°. Three hours later the dough had doubled in volume. Now I bake frequently and I would normally expect a bread dough similar to this formula to double in about an hour.
I conclude that 1/2 to 2/3 of the yeast died due to my harsh treatment. Did the yeast die from 7 hours of exposure to the brine? 7 hours of starvation because I didn't provide any sugars for it to metabolize? Who knows but I think we can conclude that short exposures to salt have almost no effect on modern yeast cultures.

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Hi Gene, tomatoes in Hawaii are next to worse! The grape tomatoes I use are imported by Costco, on the sweet side. I've haven't tried cherry tomatoes.

San Marzano from IT is it!

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gene Russell
gene Russell
01/23/2008 12:14 PM

Hi Hector,
Tomatoes are a dilemma here in Seattle. Home grown is just plain spotty. The only reliable producers are cherry tomatoes and I find those too sweet for my taste on pizza. I generally use Muir Glen which is at least reliable although once again I find it a little too sweet. I shall try to track down some San Marzano. I do favor the Italian.

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Gene, I must try your recipe, it sounds wonderfully accessible and delicios, and break my stone:

I am set in stone to use only 2 possible sources of tomato sauce for pizza: Rose's Oven Dried Grape Tomatoes. Let these age/sit/disintegrate in the refrigerator for about 1 week sitting on its own juices and/or optionally add 1/2 amount by volume of imported San Marzano tomato puree from Italy.

Somehow my plain, lightly seasoned sauce, brings up the flavor of Bread Bible's pizza crust (which I stretch thin) with a thin layer of toppings.

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gene Russell
gene Russell
01/22/2008 08:54 PM

Hi Rose,
I have some red sauce ideas some might find useful.
I start with 1/4 cup olive oil
to the oil I add all of the spices
1 small bay leaf crushed
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp basil
2 large cloves of garlic pureed with a tbsp salt
1 28oz can of tomato puree

I put 1 cup of tomato puree on top of the oil spice mixture and blend with my immersion blender. No need to be overly vigorous with the blender. Just bruise the spices into the oil and disperse the oil. The sauce will turn kind of orange but the color will return to normal in the oven. Stir the blended mixture into the rest of the tomato.
This can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a week or more. There is no need for precooking this sauce. The flavors will intensify on the pizza. I sometimes keep it on hand as a quick spread on toasted bread with cheese.

Many cooks don't think of the bay leaf which adds a nice complexity to a simple sauce. The oil of course communicates the flavors of the spices better than plain tomatoes. Don't quote me on the exact amounts as you know I seldom measure.

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you must work quickly as salt can kill yeast when in direct contact with it. and you must make a lot of bread to remember the taste of how salty the water needs to be!

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gene Russell
gene Russell
01/22/2008 01:35 AM

I know I am a bad boy. I just dump salt into the liquid with the yeast until it tastes right to me. Then I dump in enough flour to make a dough. Not the best way to communicate a recipe.

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the problem with not specifying the amount of flour for bakers less experienced than you is that by adding more you are throwing off the salt balance. one way around that, of course, is to add 2 to 2.3% salt to a specific amount of flour so that whatever amount you need to add is correctly salted.

i think it is the buttermilk and the oil that accounts for the wonderful tenderness. the acidity of the buttermilk no doubt helps to promote the stretchyness. at any rate i'll be making it many time again and in two days i'll use up the rest of the dough--it will be a good test to see how well it works after two days in the frig!

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
01/21/2008 09:17 PM

Wow thank you Rose,

The potato does tend to make the dough sticky but it is easily overcome by a dusting of flour. I have never kept exact measurements. The formula seems quite tolerant of variation.
I have tried potato flour instead of the cooked potato a few times. It didn't have the same flavor and I think the cooking water adds something also.
I believe it is the buttermilk which promotes the emulsification. My memory is hazy but when I began experimenting with the potato alone I didn't get that effect. The even dispersal of the oil seems to add to the smoothness and tenderness of the crust.

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gene, i made it this morning to eat tonight and it is a fantastic crust--just perfect. no need for some specialy flour, even after kneading, gold medal unbleached made a tender, crisp crust with soft light interior.

for anyone concerned with exact amounts, i made 1/4 the above dough for 4 pizzas. after peeling the potato it weighed 60 grams. after cooking the potato i had about 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid. i used a total of 200 grams of the flour and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. for the yeast, i used 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast and added it to the flour.
by the way, when i beat in the oil it emulsified perfectly but was thinner than heavy cream.
i kneaded the dough until it was fairly smooth but it was still quite sticky. when shaping it i added just enough flour to the counter to keep it from sticking.
the buttermilk adds greatly to the tenderness and flavor. otherwise it is quite similar to the potato pizza dough in my book except that it has double the oil which is a good thing!

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
01/11/2008 12:10 PM

Hi Rose,
Yes I like Bob's Red Mill Organic all purpose. But whichever your favorite is will do fine. If I intend to do an overnight rise I use half the amount of yeast because the starch from the potatoes will have the dough all over the refrigerator otherwise.

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Gene, thanks for offering your pizza crust again. I must say it sounds very appealing and I intend to try. Am I safe in assuming that you are using unbleached all-purpose flour?

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Gene, thank you for visiting! I've just got a pair of yellow Crocks, too!

Asparagus is well used in Italy.

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
01/ 9/2008 06:11 PM

Hi Hector,
Yellow is my favorite color. My kitchen is yellow also.
At our last pizza party a vegetarian friend demanded asparagus as a topping. I spread pesto as a base on the crust then the asparagus spears with a liberal sprinkling of scallions. I was astounded how tasty the combination was. When you have a nice crust the toppings can be more simple I think.

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Gene, thank you for sharing the recipe and for pointing out the advantage of using potato 'flour' as a low gluten option.

I am sure it is a tasty and crisp crust.

I am happy with Rose's recipe, pre-bake, and indeed my Italian people from Italy are too =) I love having pre-baked pizza dough in my freezer or for big pizza parties.

If you like potato, try a potato white pizza as toppings. No sauce. Place a loose layer of sliced boiled potatoes, then taleggio cheese, then a little pancetta and rosemary. It is LOVELLY

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
01/ 8/2008 08:49 PM

I guess no one ever tried my recipe from last year so I will post a slightly modified version. I like it so much I just wanted some feedback to see if others like it as well as I.

Gene's Pizza Dough

1 large russet potato
1 Pkg yeast
1cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
water
all purpose flour
salt to taste

Peel and roughly dice the potato.
Cover the potato with water in a small pan and cook until tender.
Puree the potato in the cooking water.
Dissolve the salt and yeast in 1 cup warm water.
Add salt/yeast/buttermilk to potato puree.
Add enough flour to make a thick paste.
Beat in the oil slowly. The oil will emulsify and the dough will take on a sort of thick mayonnaise look.
Add enough flour to make a workable dough.
Let rise once in a warm place.
For optimum results refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise.
I recommend at least two rises for best flavor.

Most American flour has too much gluten to make a nice workable pizza dough. The potato starch and buttermilk acidity soften the gluten just enough to make this dough easy to roll out. The starch from the potato gives the yeast extra boost to overcome the salt, buttermilk, and oil. It also aids browning for a delightful crunch and adds a nice flavor. The buttermilk adds a hint of acidity which rounds out the flavor on your tongue. The oil aids in browning and mouth feel. I do not prebake these crusts. With a well heated stone in a hot oven the oil and the potato are enough to eliminate that step in my opinion. Of course different ovens may vary.

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i'm not sure i ever actually posted the recipe bc it's such a non recipe! all you do is cut the tomatoes in half horizonally and set them cut side up on a sheet pan. sprinkle with salt and a little sugar if they are not sweet and in season, maybe some herbs such as time, and let them sit in an oven until they start to wrinkle. you can use 200F for several hours or 350 for about 45 minutes.
i store them frozen in canning jars all winter.

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Zach Townsend
Zach Townsend
05/22/2007 10:32 AM

Hi Elizabeth,

Try this link: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2006/08/. I believe you might find it there. There are several references on the website to the tomatoes. If this isn't the information you're looking for, use the "search" feature (the text box) under "search" in the left column of the blog - type in oven dried grape tomatoes. It will result in several listings from the site.

Zach

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Hi, Where can I find the recipe for oven dried grape tomatoes on your website? Thanks

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p.s. start with a little more water so you don't have to give it extra stirring--maybe just 1 teaspoon. or you might try replacing a little of the flour--say 1 tablespoon with cake flour instead. that will give it more tenderness as well.

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all-purpose is a higher protein and absorbs more water so you need to use more so that it's the consistency described.

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I made the pizza dough from the Bread Bible for the first time today and really enjoyed the way it came out. I was wondering, however, what the proper consistency was after you initially mix the water into the flour. Mine was not very wet - in fact there was still a little bit of flour that didn't get absorbed (maybe a teaspoon or two?) The dough wasn't at all sticy so I was able to easily transfer it to the bowl with oil for the initial rise. Should it be stickier? I weigh everything very carefully (to the gram with a My Weight scale) and I was using King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour ( I couldn't find the Italian). It was not a very humid day here in NJ, so that may have impacted it - I just wasn't sure whether to add a bit more water or not.

Thanks,

Brian

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SURE--WHY NOT?

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Matthew, glad you had your Oven Dried Grape Tomatoes!!! Aren't they good and simple. Honestly, after making them about 3 times in a row in a week, and each time was a Costco sized box, I wish there was a tomato cutter-flipper-placer just for this recipe.

Rose: shall I try subbing the yeast with sourdough starter?

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by the way, before i left for europe, i tried making my pizza recipe, which is indeed a no knead dough, with the slow rise no knead method. i used just 1/16 teaspoon oflittle yeast and let it sit at room temp. for the 18 hours. it was great!

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phone rings: Matthews Pizzaria

caller: Uh yeah hi... I'd like the #1 special please.

(That's how good they look!)

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Rose,
Isn't it marvelous when the easiest things are the best? I've been having a lot of fun with your pizza dough recipe in the Bread Bible. It is so easy to throw together and tastes wonderful! I wanted to share a couple of pictures:


Pizza 1

Hector's description of your oven-dried tomatoes prompted me to make this one, and my they are wonderful (and easy too!). It also has mozzarella and ricotta.

Pizza 2

This is a recreation of my favorite pizza at California Pizza Kitchen: Caramelized Pear Gorgonzola. I topped the pizza with 1/8 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts, scant 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 large pear sliced and caramelized in clarified butter, and 1/2 medium onion, diced and caramelized in butter. It is somewhat monochromatic, so it is not as beautiful as the other pizzas, but the taste is wonderful. I served the pizza topped with a field-green salad as they do in the restaurant (also like your arugula pizza), so that livens the color.

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Mushroom topping for pizza. (makes regular mushrooms look like thinly sliced and diced curly Italian porcini mushrooms).

On a stock pot, put 3 tb extra virgin olive oil with 1 garlic clove finelly chopped. Add 4.5 cups of mushrooms sliced with the 2 mm disc in the food processor (whole, steams and all, you want the slicing to be not so perfect, so up to 50% of broken or over sliced pieces is good). Cook over low heat stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (not so much pepper please, just an invisible hint). Add 2 tb of finelly chopped flat-leaf parsley (dried parsley works well, if not better). Cover and simmer over very low heat for about 30 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week. Use this as a topping for Rose's pizza dough (Bread Bible). Also, you must try making a plain "Pizza Ai Funghi" which is just putting these mushroom on the pizza dough without any tomatoe sauce or any cheese... be brave. /H

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hector, i wish i had more time to respond but the equip. chapter of the new book is taking SO much time....i love your e-mail address-reminds me of my nephew who's 1/4 japanese--i called him inky when he was little bc his eyes were so black--still are.
i spent 3 hours making a pork shoulder braise with = weight onions from lydia bastianich's show. now the entire house smells like carmelized onion. she uses the left over onions for pasta. i'll use them for many a soup. my only justification for spending this time when so immersed in the book is that in addition to the future soups there will be two more dinners from the pork so it's really like only an hour per dinner.
pls post the recipe for the silver spoon mushrooms--not sure if you mean silver palate but at any rate i don't have time to look through my 1000 plus books. oh the whole reason i started this is to tell you all the treats that await you in the pastry bible. the pecan pie with lyle's golden syrup--the gateau basque===the engandine walnut---back to the cake book for me.

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I've just finished the pizza party, winding down before going to bed. 1 am, not bad. The rectangular oven-rack-fitted pizzas were a hit. People loved your oven dried grape tomatoes, this is the second time I make these raving simple tomatoes. Sometimes I also make your tomatoe sauce recipe, love it specially by using a mix of dry and fresh oregano; or to save time I use the boxed San Marzano tomato sauce. I had a crowd of International people today, some of my astronomer friends, people from France, Canada, Italy, Hawaii, and California. Loved it. Other topings of success were the sauted mushroom from the Silver Spoon (Rose, you must try it), I make them at least 2 nights in advance so the mushroom soak on its own juices; people can't believe these are plain mushrooms. And from the same book, try the Potato Pizza. I am still working on a good seafod pizza recipe, haven't ventured for the right combination of fresh seafood from Hawaii waters (sometimes I go spear fishing and think fresh octopus from Hawaii is really good). Ok, don't want to brag more (but isn't this blog to brag things out?), want to say that for dessert we had Rose's Triple Chocolate Cake (I sliced it in small cubes and spread them apart on a flat white plate with some extra caramel hazelnuts; the dark cake cubes looked stunning against the white plate). Second desert was a flan topped with Rose's caramel cage from the Golden Cage. One of my beverages were this herbal tea I make with dried horse tail, barley, and flax seed, I cool it with a ring of ice from Rose's Celebration book (look at the champange punch recipe). By the way, I make sure that my guests notice my bookshelf where I have The Bibles. One question today was "have you tried anything from The Pie and Pastry Bible." I answered "not yet, just enjoy reading it and review techniques... for now I am still busy exploring The Bread Bible now." Another comment was "you have 2 Cake Bibles" refering to the newest revised ingredient edition I just got last week. Ok, good night for now... "life is too short to keep your oven off." P.S. I took a short break from typing this long post, went to feed Keiko (my sour dough starter).

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you are heroic!!!

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Situation 1: What do you do when you decide to have a pizza party? You multiply Rose's recipe times 10 and get 5 sixteen inch pizza pans. Then you garage sale your pizza pans swearing never to get in this kind of slavery work again. Situation 2: What do you do when you decide to have another pizza party and you miscalculated your proportions and end up with 4 times that many pizzas? You swallow your pride, and get heavy duty aluminum foil in lieu of the pizza pans, make rectangular pizzas about 2/3 the size of your oven racks, and use your oven in convection mode to bake 2 o 3 pizzas at a time (one on each oven rack). I bake my pizza doughs a day before the party or up to one week ahead and keep them in my fridge inside a big plastic bag. I swear the doughs get tastier stored ahead of time. On the day of the pizza party, I lay my oven with quarry tiles, and bake the finished pizza as Rose mandates. Page 190 of the Bread Bible, good explanation of this technique, it works!!!

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Gene Russell
Gene Russell
06/22/2006 02:19 PM

I have been baking pizza at home for 30 years and I was never satisfied with my crust until about a year ago when I hit upon this recipe...
Peel and cube 1 large potato cover with water and boil until tender. Puree the potato in the boiling water. Dissolve 2 tbl salt and 1 tbl yeast in 1 cup water. Combine potato puree saltyeast and 1 cup buttermilk. Add enough all purpose flour to make a wet paste. Beat in 1 cup of light vegetable oil canola/grape. Add enough flour to make a workable dough. Let it rise once to get the yeast started then refrigerate the dough overnight. Watch out this dough rises very quickly.
What I like about this dough is that you can bake it with the ingredients on and it will be crunchy, bubbly, yeasty and slightly bready around the edges.

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yes--increase it proportionately. thought it's fine to use 1 T instead of 4 teaspoons for the original amount and increase proportionately fromt hat. it also adds crispness to the crust.

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I would like to know if one should proportionately increase the amount of oil to your pizza dough recipe if doubling or tripling it. Is the oil there just to prevent it from sticking to the bowl, or is it integral to the whole amount of dough?

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I love this pizza too. The crust is fabulous and I especially love the sauce recipe. I've actually doubled this recipe and made larger pizzas with great success.

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