Pizza, What Went Right/Wrong?

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Chief Longwind Of The North

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I made a pizza last night, inspired by a youtube video of a Chicago pizza that made a two-crust pizza with a thick layer of cheese between the crusts, and toppings then on top of the 2nd crust. Here's what I did, and the results of my work.

Crust:
1 1/2 cups bread flour + 1/4 cup
2 tbs. SAF Red Instant yeast'
1 tsp. salt
4 ts. EVOO
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup water

Heat cold water to about 100' F. Add sugar and yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast mixture proof to make a rich foam on top. Add the remaining ingredients. Knead doe ten minutes, or until you get the window pain consistency. I found the dough became a bit too stick, and so added the additional 1/4 cup of flour, and kneaded it in.

Heat a bowl of water in the microwave until steaming. Pace the bowl containing the dough into the microwave, on top of the water bowl, close, and let rise until the dough is doubled, about 20 minutes.

While the dough was rising, I grated colby-jack, sharp cheddar, and gruyere cheese in equal potions to make a cup of shredded cheese. I then made a sauce of tomato paste, with added dried oregano, onion and garlic, and a touch of red pepper. I thinned it with enough water to get it to the proper consistency, about 3 tbs. of water.

Sliced deli ham was torn into pieces for DW's side of the pizza. I thinly lsiced some of my home-made smoked kielbasas, and got out thin-sliced uncured pepperoni. The pepperoni of this brand is very mild, and I usually lay it out, sprinkle with red pepper and fennel, put it back into its container, and let it set for a week int he fridge to give it good flavor. I didn't want to wait a week for my pizza, and so used it straight from the package.

To assemble the pizza, I punched down the dough, and divided it into equal halves. I put 3 tbs. EVOO onto a 9 X 15 cookie sheet, and spread 1 ball of dough to cover the sheet. I then covered the dough with a layer of shredded cheese,leaving a half inch of dough at all sides uncovered. I then pulled and stretched the other dough ball to the approximate size and shape of the cookie sheet. I laid it on top of the first layer and carefully spread it to the sides, where I pinched it with the edges of the bottom crust. i then spread a layer of sauce, and topped one half with the ham, and the other side with the sausage, and pepperoni. I then covered all with the remaining sauce, folloed by the remaining cheese, which formed a thick layer.

The pizza was baked for 30 minutes at 475' F. The crust came out perfect, slightly crispy, fried by the olive oil, and cooked through. It was light, and not too chewy, but with enough chew to make it a true pizza crust. The flavor, however, was not what I wanted. I now understand why Mozzarella is the best cheese for pizza. The cheddar, Parmesan, ans Colby-jack were far too assertive. They drowned out the other flavors. The kielbassa, also, was overpowering. The flavors of pepperoni, and that really good sauce were just lost.

The concept was good. The execution was good. The ingredients were wrong. If I make this kind of pizza again, I will use Mozzarella cheese, and omit the kielbasa. I;ll use Italian sausage, good pepperoni,ham, and include seet bell peppers (orange and yellow), onions, and mushrooms, and maybe sliced black olives. The other consideration is to use enough sauce so that I can taste it, as I love sauce.

This concept is a good one. I believe that if executed with proper ingredients, it will make one fine pizza. The other take away from this is that I didn't use a pizza stone, or pizza steel, just a steel cookie sheet, with a coating of loive oil, and my crust came out perfect. The pan was tin enough, and conductive enough that it absorbed the oven heat and transferred it to the crust effectively, cooking it though, while lightly browning, and crisping the surface. Cooking time ws 15 minutes at 475 degrees F. The pan has a dark patina from years of use, which absorbs and releases heat faster than a shiny, silvery pan. That helps too.

Learn from my mistakes, and from what went right, and make your own perfect pizza.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

Termy

Senior Cook
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
303
Location
Parma, Ohio
Wrong cheese and kielbasa id that one in. You sseem to have don everything right.

BTW I call it what it is - PRESSING the dough into pan. Never try to stretch it, you moosh it so it expands. After a few times it'll stay. Spinning crust in the air does not impress me, it serves no purpose. Well except it is cool to watch.

Now if you want kielbasa on a pizza it is going to be radical if it is to be any good.

First of all no cheese. Kielbasa goes with cabbage, in fact sauerkraut. Onions on it. Could maybe be topped with sour cream.

Oh,, I GOTTA start a thread, lame but..l

T
 

john2007

Assistant Cook
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Kansas
I disagree about the kielbasa. That's one of the favorite toppings in my house, and we use it with other "traditional" pizza toppings (particularly caramelized onions), not sauerkraut.

The kielbasa we buy has a smoky flavor and lots of tasty fat. Similar to bacon in that regard; bacon is very popular on pizza lately, but the texture and flavor of kielbasa is much better for a pizza, in my opinion.

But the way I do it is to pre-cook the kielbasa, then slice it into smaller pieces it and then add it on top of the cheese. That way it gets a little firmer and crisper.
 

Termy

Senior Cook
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
303
Location
Parma, Ohio
If you like it great. But I don't know how many other people would like it.

If I had a bug up my dupa to I might try my hand at making a pizza with kielbasa. I would have to make the sauce, and I think the thing is not going to have cheese. Kielbasa and tomato sauce, I don't even know what to spice it. Maye ind a little cabbage for slaw, you know - in a bag. And then nice size chunks of little onions. And have it with sour cream for dipping.

Now if you want to get away from tomato sauce (like a white pizza) you can do that. But make your own, the usual stuff is too white.

T
 

karadekoolaid

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
1,317
Location
Caracas
Personally, I wouldn´t go to all that fuss to make a pizza dough; but hey, it worked for you, so great.
The first thing I´d consider makes a good pizza topping is " Less is more". Drown the dough in litres of sauce, cover it with layers of cheese, add all sorts of extras on top... you end up with a pie, rather than a pizza.
Second thing -I´d stick with good old mozzarella, because it´s fairly bland. Ricotta might work ( I´ve never tried it) and any Latin American cheese ( queso blanco, cotija,Oaxaca, etc) just might be ok. Cheddar, Parmesan and Colby Jack are assertive in flavour, so you won´t taste the delicious crust.
Ham, kielbasa, pepperoni? Firstly, meagre amounts. Secondly, sliced really thin.
Anything else on top? No; you want to bake the pizza, not have a casserole on top of bread in the oven.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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What I've learned, a good, yeast crust, not too thick is paramount. I like it in a cast iron pan on top of some good EVOO to give a a nice crispy bottom. I'm a sauce fanatic, but have found that too much sauce prevents the top of the crust from cooking properly. I like a variety of toppings, sliced onion, sliced bell pepper, browned Italian sausage, sliced black olives, and spicy pepperoni. However, these must be put on sparingly. You should still be able to see the crust. To get the sauce flavor I like, I make a thick sauce, over spiced with oregano, basil, and thyme, with red pepper flakes. Cheese too must be added so as not to hide the crust. Rather than shredded Mozzarella, I like thin slices of fresh mozzarella to dot the top here and there.

This build insures a fully cooked crust, with all the flavors I crave. No pineapple, or anchovies on my pizza thank you.

I still think it's best cooked over screaming hot lump charcoal, in my Webber kettle, with the lid on, and all vents wide open.:yum:

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
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Sep 13, 2010
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near Montreal, Quebec
I like a small amount of chopped anchovy on a pizza. But, the one time ordered pizza with anchovy as one of the toppings, they put an entire can of anchovies and they weren't chopped up. It overwhelmed the pizza. Not ordering that again.
 

karadekoolaid

Head Chef
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Jul 16, 2006
Messages
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Caracas
Interesting about the anchovies. Anyone ever eaten a pissaladière? Caramelized onions, black olives, piles of anchovies?
 
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