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I’m pretty picky about my pizza crust.  It’s got to be light, not biscuit-y, flexible but also with enough structure to hold the toppings safely on their journey from the plate to their doom in my mouth.

Having said all that, if I’m going to be making it, it’s got to be easy!!

I’ve got a bread-machine recipe that I’ve tweaked until it’s just right for my tastes and exacting requirements:

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It also survives freezing and thawing nicely, so the spare ball (if I cook 2 pizzas) goes into the freezer for later use.

 

The flour is super important – this 00 brand works well for me:

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I had to buy this special little scale off the interwebs to weigh the salt and the yeast.  Probably got put on a DEA watch list, as it’s also used by “freelance pharmaceutical providers” :-D :-D.  This thing is insanely sensitive – accurate to 1/100 of a gram.  I’m not going to share how long it took me to get it to read .50 for the pic, but there was quite a bit of pinching and sprinkling involved…

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Chuck all the stuff into the bread bucket:

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Bucket into bread machine, press the go button, and walk away

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After it's done, I pull the dough out and divide it up into 3 equal balls.  One into the freezer, and the other 2 rest under a towel for an hour or two to allow them to rise and become all they can be.

 

While the bread is doing its bready thing, I head out to the KJ to prep for the impending feats of culinary excellence (hopefully).

Oh look, that pizza stone is disgusting and covered in burned stuff from the last pizza session…

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All good – let’s flip it and let the self cleaning Kamado do its thing :P

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As with the easy-bake dough, I’ve got better things to do with my time than muck around scrubbing down stones…  At the pizza cooking tempst, that dirty side will be as sparkly as new (sort of) when tonight’s cooking is done.  Also, you may notice the chip at the top of the stone…  I dropped it from head height onto a tile floor a while ago – chipped a bit off it, but that was about all the damage done.  It’s a genuine Kamado stone, and is solid as a rock (well, as a stone).

 

Load up the bowl with as much lump as it can hold, and we’re all done here until it’s time to light it up:

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For me, pizza cooking has to be smooth and by the numbers (yes, I know the LT was a douche at that point, but he did redeem himself later).  When I was starting out cooking pizzas, I rigorously documented times & temps, and have arrived at the following, which works every time (NOTE - All temps in Celsius!!!):

1)      Light lump in 5 places, lid up for 10 mins with rack & heat deflector in place.

2)      T+10, drop the lid, vents wide open

3)      T+55 – dome temp should be around 400C (at least).  Stone goes on.  Stone temp should be around 100C

4)      T+70 – dome temp should be around 420C, stone temp MUST be at (or a bit above) 400C.  If not, wait 5 and remeasure stone temp.

5)      Pizza #1 goes on – slide off peel is easy, thanks to parchment paper

6)      After 1 min, lift the pizza with the peel and slide the parchment paper out.  This helps with crust browning and avoids accidentally leaving bits of parchment on the cooked pizza!!

7)      Pizza #1 usually done after 3 mins or so – pull it off when crust looks done

8)      Wait 5 mins or so for stone to come back up to 400C+

9)      Pizza #2 goes on, rinse & repeat above until done

 

When I’ve lit the lump, and had a glass of mummy’s special grape juice :-D , I do my topping prep.  

These are the main toppings for pizza #1. Not in the pic are the olives, fresh mozzarella, roasted red pepper strips (jar, not home roasted – if that’s an issue, then write your congressman) and anchovies.20180609_173957.thumb.jpg.88c3d2f8a6819172bafffad648f9cb17.jpg


 

Here’s the stuff for pizza #2 (margarita):

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Grate the mozzarella ball:

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Chop up the fresh mozzarella (half for Pizza 1, half for P2):

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Time’s passing, and dome temp is tracking nicely as expected:

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Whip out my trusty laser thermometer (a super-important bit of kit for cooking at these temps), and yep, the stone is right about where it should be at the start. (btw it’s really tricky to take pics while trying to measure temp above a 400C Kamado :-D :-D)

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Once the stone goes on, it’s all systems go in the kitchen.  OK, there’s probably time for one more wine, but seriously, after this glass, we’re going to crack on with a vengeance!!!!

 

Parchment paper, lightly floured, onto the peel:

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Dough stretched out on the peel

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On go the salami, pepperoni, red peppers:

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Then the anchovies and olives

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And last (but certainly not least), the prosciutto:

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OK, now we’re ready to rock n roll with pizza #1.  Pizza #2 is basically pizza #1 without the toppings

 

Once Pizza #2 is prepped on its peel, its time to grab the laser probe and check the stone temp:

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Oh yeah, baby; it’s go time!!!!!!

 

Pizza #1 slides neatly off the peel, bless the heart of whoever invented parchment paper.  That paper gets pulled out from under the pizza at the 1 min mark.

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As luck would have it, it starts to dump down with rain!!!  No probs though, Kamado is hot enough to handle a bit of moisture.  After 2 more mins, Pizza #1 comes off:

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Check the underneath, and I’m very happy:

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Now I check the stone temp and see how much heat’s been lost.  This this was 400C+ when pizza #1 went on…

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Wow, amazing how much that temp drops!!  No probs, KJ is flaming like the lead float in the San Fran Pride Parade, so it won’t be long until we’re good to go for P2.

 

 

3 mins later:

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Yeah, close enough…  By the time I go back inside, grab P2 and come back out, stone should be nice n toasty.

 

P2 goes on.  Here’s a pic of the parchment removal process, just before I grab the paper.  BTW, I invested in some welding gloves, which have made these sorts of high-temp hi-jinks a lot easier!!!

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Also, I was very careful not to let the wet bits on the peel touch the precious pizza!!

 

P2 cooks for 3 mins, and comes off looking like this:

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Yeah, baby :-D :-D 

 

Let's dig into P1:

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Pretty happy with the P1 crust, holding up nicely and is still light and easy to eat.  Good traction on the toppings, nothing sliding around.  Dogs aren’t happy about this last bit, but hey, nothing’s stopping you canines from evolving opposable thumbs and cooking your own pizzas!!!

 

 

OK, now let’s grab a slice of P2 and see how the traditional margarita turned out:

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Yeah, turned out OK!!  Now time for me to scarf these down, and relax…

 

I’ve learned heaps from all y’all here about various cooking techniques, so thanks to everyone here for their open sharing and great fun.  Hope you enjoyed the read and for those who haven’t done pizza cooks on the Kamado – I hope this month’s challenge will inspire you to give it a shot.

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12 hours ago, Billy Grills said:

Do you home deliver?  :P

 

To "Central Eastern Oz"???  Does anyone deliver there?  :rofl:

 

 

8 hours ago, Herman Munster said:

Nice job well done (looks like some pricey ingredients. Herman :good:  

Thx!!

And yeah, it's not a budget cook, but my mum taught me "buy cheap sugar and good coffee".

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3 minutes ago, daninpd said:

Great looking pizza.  And that one shot of the pie sliding right off the peel leaves me shaking my head asking "what am I doing wrong?"

Thx!!

 

I had a bunch of failures where the pizza would stick to the peel and I'd be shaking it like a psycho, trying to get it off before the peel or my hand caught fire; or it would stick to the stone.  Then I covered everything in cornmeal, and that helped to slide it off but really didn't taste great.

 

Then I discovered the magic of parchment paper :-D :-D  (I also left it on for the full cook for first few tries, and ended up eating more than my fair share of it, as it was baked into the crust :rofl:)

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8 hours ago, daninpd said:

Great looking pizza.  And that one shot of the pie sliding right off the peel leaves me shaking my head asking "what am I doing wrong?"

 

Successfully launching a pie straight off a (wooden) peel mostly has to do with the hydration level of the dough. My Neopolitan dough is around 60% hydration and I can hand launch it every time. Most people are working with hydration levels closer to 70% which is too sticky and will not successfully launch straight from a peel. Parchment paper is the best solution. 

 

Don't beat yourself up it's probably not you. 

 

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I wondered what that was on the stone... at least overheated parchment paper is well behaved (Teflon is not).

 

I learned most of what I know about bread working in an Italian bakery. One of the key skills was throwing corn meal; enough to cover the peel, so the dough slid off, but not so much it dirtied the ovens. You don't need much.

 

I just test dough friction from the start and add as needed. If the dough won't slide when you first put it on the peel, fix it while you still can. Then, as you add toppings, check that the pie still slides when you giggle it. Overloading a pie will make it stick, sure as stretching too thin will make a hole! This accommodates @ckreef point about hydration; sticky dough will need more corn meal. I'll admit mine are on the dry side. 

 

Have fun,

Frank

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