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Stella Culinary School

Jan 29, 2018

In this episode, we take a deep dive into pizza, discussing Neapolitan, New York, and Chicago style. Since great pizza is all about the dough, we tie together everything learned in our bread series, and discuss why we apply certain formulations to achieve specific results.

To get the most out of this episode, you will need a basic understanding of the baker's percentage.


Discussion Segment

Neapolitan Pizza - 12:30

  • Vera Pizza Napoletana
  • 14:40 - What VPN regulations say about how a good Neapolitan Pizza should look, smell, and taste.
  • 15:45 - Neapolitan Pizza Dough
    • 00 Pizza Flour - A finely ground flour used for making Neapolitan Pizzas baked in a hot, wood fire oven.
    • 17:30 - Why bread flour shouldn't be used when making a Neapolitan Pizza dough (it gives a bitter, burnt, flavor).
    • 18:40 - It's difficult to get a Neapolitan Pizza to brown properly in a home oven.
    • 19:45 - Jacob gets pedantic and starts splitting hairs on the definition of sea salt.
    • 20:10 - The proper type of yeast to use when creating a traditional Neapolitan pizza.
      • Cake Yeast / Fresh Compressed Yeast
    • 21:50 - NO FAT!
    • 22:05 - Proper hydration rate of Neapolitan Pizza Dough, and why it contains less water than other, standard pizza doughs and breads.
    • 25:25 - The importance of long, slow, fermentation, and why it's important when working with a low hydration dough like Neapolitan pizza dough (besides the fact that slow fermentation creates a better flavored pizza crust!).
    • 26:40 - Quick refresher course on mixing dough and using the autolyse step.
    • 27:55 - The fermentation process.
      • Bulk Fermentation = 16-14 hours
      • Proofing = 1-2 hours at room temperature, or retarded in fridge for up to 24 hours.
      • If retarding dough, allow to come to room temperature for at least 1 hour.
      • 29:55 - The effects of water & room temperature on your doughs proofing time.
      • Bulk ferment until 2-2.5 X original volume, proof until 1.75 - 1.9 X original volume.
      • 32:50 - Neapolitan Pizza Dough workflow from start to finish.
      • 35:30 - Hydration rate of Neapolitan Pizza = 55-59% (based on the Baker's Percentage)
      • Video: How to Make Neapolitan Pizza Dough
  • 36:15 - How to stretch dough by hand and why you should never use a rolling pin or mechanical sheeter.
  • 43:25 - Neapolitan Pizza Toppings
    • Sauce - Fresh tomato, only the following variations can be used: San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-nocerino D.O.P., Pomodorini di Corbara (Corbarino), Pomodorino del piennolo del Vesuvio DOP".
    • Cheese - Fiori di Latte (fresh cow's milk mozzarella), or Buffalo Mozzarella, (certified mozzarella di bufala campana, D.O.P).
    • Toppings -  Oil, oregano, basil, cheese (grated hard cheese), garlic
    • 45:35 - Sounds like Jacob say's "San Marzano Tomatoes are grown in Volcanic Oil," but chef mumble mouth really meant to say "Volcanic Soil."
    • Video: How to peel and blanch tomatoes
    • Video: How to make pizza sauce
    • 47:45 - Properly topping a Neapolitan pizza.
  • 48:10 - Let's talk wood fire ovens and how to properly fire it for Neapolitan Pizzas.
  • 52:00 - Video: How to Bake a Neapolitan Pizza in a Woodfire Oven
  • 53:50 - Video: Neapolitan Pizza Work Flow
  • 59:45 - The two true VPN Recognized Neapolitan Pizzas.
    • Marinara
      • Canned, peeled tomatoes
      • Olive Oil
      • Garlic
      • Oregano
      • Salt
    • Margherita
      • Canned, peeled tomatoes
      • Olive Oil
      • Mozzarella / Fior di latte
      • Fresh Basil
      • Hard Cheese (grated)
      • Salt
  • 1:01:20 - Remember, it's all about the crust! You're toppings are just a garnish to enhance the dough.

New York Style Pizza - 1:02:00

  • Book: American Pie by Peter Reinhart
  • 1:03 - Reinhart and Jefferey Steingarten eat New York Style Pizza
  • 1:03:45 - Genaro Lombardi opened up the first pizza restaurant in 1905, and launched the style of New York Pizza.
  • 1:04:40 - Old School veresus modern New York Pizza Ovens.
  • 1:06:06 - New York Pizza Dough Formulations
    • 1:06:15 - Why bread flour is used in New York Style Pizza Doughs
    • Oil - Aids in browning and exstensibility of dough. Also gives a little bit of softness, and keeps the dough from drying out during re-heating when sold by the slice.
    • Sugar - Enhances flavor and assists in browning.
    • Sauce - Kenji from the Food Lab describes a good New York Style Pizza Sauce as "Emphatically Tomatoey, with the slightest hint of herbs and alliums."
    • Book: The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani
    • 1:11:00 - Understanding the pizza dough ingredients and hydration rate (we use the Baker's Percentage in this discussion).
    • 1:11:00 - Why oil and fat is used in dough.
    • 1:12:25 - Diastatic Malt Powder
      • Helps convert complex starches in flour to simple sugars. This enhances the dough's ability to rise, and adds a sweet, wheaty aroma.
    • 1:14:30 - Salt, and why it's important in pizza dough that is tossed and spun.
    • 1:16:20 - The Mixing and Proofing of New York Style Pizza Dough.
  • Video: How to Make New York Style Pizza At Home
  • Tools you'll need:

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - 1:24:32

  • Chicago style pizza, just like all pizza, is all about the dough!
  • Video: How to Make a Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
  • 1:27:00 - Fat makes the dough.
  • 1:27:25 - Cornmeal in the crust? Yay or nay?
  • 1:28:50 - Chicago Dough Formulation
    • 1:30:45 - The Maillard Reaction and how it effects the formula for Chicago style deep dish dough.
    • 1:32:45 - Why Jacob's Chicago Style Dough has a high fat percent and low hydration rate.
  • 1:40:00 - Building a Chicago Style Pizza
    • What type of cheese should you use for a Chicago style pizza?
      • Sliced (not shredded) high fat / low moisture mozzarella and provolone.
    • 1:40:40 - Should you pre-cook you're Italian sausage?
    • 1:42:05 - Chef Jacob's Italian Sausage recipe that he uses in his Chicago Style Pizza.
    • 1:42:30 - Chicago sauce is really just seasoned, diced tomatoes. A classic choice is 6-in-1 Brand Tomatoes.
    • 1:43:40 - Cooking the Chicago Style Pizza.

Honorable Mentions


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