This latter trait is something I've been striving for more recently, having noted it as a goal in many of the pizza crust making articles I've read. This started me looking at my crusts, which often seemed airy on the untopped and thicker edge, but more compressed and wettish on the rest. It didn't look wonderful, just studying it, but, frankly, it didn't really have a noticeably negative effect on the taste or eating experience. But still, I wanted it all, and maybe I was missing something in the experience I just didn't know about yet!
|The best photo I have of the compressed crust. I|
hadn't taken many profile shots of the crust. It just wasn't pretty.
Sooo...what was different this last time?
It's funny to realize that impatience uncovered that, probably, patience is the key.
I actually had a little time on my hands at mid-afternoon. I meant only to set the bucket of dough out of the fridge, as I've come to think that it being closer to room temperature may lead to a better rise. But I was impatient, and wanted something to do, so started in on making the pizzas early.
I placed balls of dough on parchment, and let them rest, while I placed the steel in the oven (on the rack, 2nd position from the top, as instructed). I turned the oven to its hottest setting (550 degrees), and used the mode with full bottom and full top heat. On the Gaggenau oven's display, this is shown with a black line in 3 sections across the top and bottom.
|Last week's Chicken Garlic with White Sauce|
I then set in spreading the dough, making the sauce, and preparing the toppings. I assembled the pizzas.
The oven was still coming to temperature, and the pizzas were ready to go... The oven would take a bit longer to heat the stone, and the family would be even longer in arriving home to eat after sports practices and such. So I went away and busied myself otherwise for well over an hour.
When ready to bake, I switched the oven to
500 degrees, and full bottom heat, partial top heat.
Right away, I saw a good 'pop.' There was an immediate rise and bubbles formed in the crust. I could see active bubbling inside the translucent crust bubbles! It's hard to describe and impossible to get photos of to share with you.
I found that the oven loses heat pretty quickly... I got a significant drop (like 50 - 75 degrees) when I put in pizzas or took them out. This meant I had to wait between each pizza for the oven to regain heat. This would be a big problem during a sports team pizza feed. But for every-Friday pizza night, it's a small annoyance.
My impatience at starting the pizzas taught me that patience, in letting them rest and rise, is the key. Funny that I needed to do this, when pizzerias, and most pizza crust recipes, don't have a long rise time. As for the difference in experience, the taste is the same, but the light crunch over the lighter interior is nice.
Not that I'm fully done experimenting, but I'm pretty happy, for the second week in a row, with this kind of result:
|Tonight's Sausage-Mushroom-Onion with Classic Red Sauce|