Friday, November 26, 2010

Par for the Crunch

   I just bought another 50 pounds of high gluten flour. What I'm hoping to do is change some of the ways I have been traditionally making pizza. In other words, not so much by the book. After visiting Pizzetta 211 in San Francisco and talking to the server about their pizza it opened my eyes to the fact that good pizza can be made to taste right even without the world class ingredients. This too, has been re-enforced by Chef Ramsay on Hell's Kitchen where the contestants are challenged to create and cook a  meal using only standard and inexpensive ingredients such as ox tail, liver and such to serve as a high end plate. Although I'm not ready to give up the high gluten flour (since I just bought another 50 lbs.) or the Stanislaus County tomatoes in which I purchased another case but to experiment with technique and procedure.
   Crunch! That was my next goal. To find the massive crunch in the thin crust pizza that hasn't always been there for me. I had been experimenting with different temperatures on the BBQ oven and the kitchen oven. Build the pizza, slide it in and hope for the crunch when it comes out. Yes, no and sometimes seems to be the result. Then it dawned on me, crunch could come from pre-baking the pizza skin, then assemble it and finish baking it. I tried that procedure the first time and over cooked it although it was super crunchy. Next time I tried again for about half the time as the first skin. This one again was appearing to be crunchy while looking good through the glass oven door. I pulled it out after about a minute, popped the bubbles and laid on the sauce, cheese and toppings. I slid it back into the oven and finished baking it at my regular temperature of about 550º.  I thought, this is going to be good so I rushed over to get my camera, set it on video and turned on the mic. This is what I was hoping for! Turn up your speakers so you can hear it:
video   Par-baking I believe, is what this technique is called. I don't know the exact definition of Par but as far as I can tell from the English language it seems to define when something is not quite the whole deal. An example might be: Para-legal which wouldn't quite be the attorney but an assistant. Para-professional: not quite the professional;  paranormal of course would be: not quite normal etc. I'm just not sure where a paramecium, parcheesi, parachute and other Par words would fit into that theory. Oh well, my hobby is making pizzas, not dissecting the English language.

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  3. Excellent post! I have tried pre-baking my pizza with mixed results.
    Vincent, sounds like (and I heard the sound) you have unlocked a secret to the the ultimate crunchy pizza!
    Loved the video...especially the crunching sounds!
    pizza forever,
    albert
    pizzatherapy.com

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