Saturday, November 20, 2010

Paul's Pizza Tips: Double Pizza Stone Method

Paul writes:
Hi Albert, I was just browsing your website, in search of a brilliant tomato sauce recipe.
I've been trying to reverse-engineer pizza for a number of decades now.

Here's a tip I didn't see on your website:
Don't buy just one Pizza Stone. Buy TWO.

Use the first stone normally (i.e. put the pizza on it).

Put a second oven rack in its highest position and put the second pizza stone
on it - i.e. above the pizza. Now there is a stone above and
below the pizza. It makes a huge difference - pizzeria oven quality. Keeps the oven
temperature steady as a rock (:-) - something which electric ovens can't
otherwise achieve. The toppings brown nicely and the crust puffs up
delicately. Obviously, you have to put both of the stones in the oven before pre-heating
(which takes longer with the two stones).

Here is another tip, told to me by a food chemist who consulted with the bread industry - season your dough at least overnight.

I use a bread machine to knead the dough. After it's done its 1hour-10minute knead-rest-knead cycle, I plop the dough into a clear plastic bag and put it immediately into the refrigerator.

The internal heat generated by the yeast, allows the dough to continue rising in the refrigerator. It's quite surprising the first time you see it happen!

I make the dough this way the night before, so that it rises in the fridge for 24 hours.

Seasoning the dough gives a marked difference to the dough - the glutens have time to form and you get better "stretch", there is no trace of yeasty flavor, and the crust browns with a thin outer layer, like great bread. In fact, I make my own baguettes using seasoned dough, too.

Try it, you'll love it.

Best pizza in Toronto (and, therefore the world [*]):
Capi's Pizza.
See Capi's review here:

Best International Pizza in the World

My Response:

You know for a number of years, I did have two pizza stones and my pizzas really came out well.
I did not understand why, but you have certainly explained a lot to me!
The tip about proofing your dough overnight is a great concept. I have stated this idea here before, and it is worth repeating.

Thanks so much Paul.
And by the way, I can't wait to get to Capi's!

Albert Grande
Student of Pizza and
The Pizza Promoter

You can find great pizza stones, here:

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