New Pizza Flours from Central Milling

Hello. Have I extolled the virtues of contacting and subsequently ordering fabulous flour from Nick over at Central Milling lately? Well let me tell you, I just received four bags of his latest and greatest “00” flour – two bags reinforced, two bags normal – and can’t wait to get started putting it through the pizza paces. I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve completed a few test pies, until then, how about to email him and order some of your own?

Talk soon,
Ryan

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Plotting My Next Flour Purchase – Central Milling Here I Come!

So it’s been a long while since I purchased flour, mainly because my last purchase was firect from Central Milling and in the form of two 50lb bags of flour! The other day, I finally cracked into my second 50lb bag and started thinking, what would my next order be? Since Central Milling has always been so good to me, I knew I would definitely stick with them, but as you read on further, you’ll see why I had a bit of trouble deciding. They offer SO many flours in SO many different grades and varieties, the choices are endless! I thought I would share the list with you – enjoy browsing and let me know if you have any questions. If you’d like to contact them with an Order, hit Nick up at ngiusto@centralmilling.com, he’ll get it right out to you.

Enjoy!

ORGANIC PRODUCTS
CERTIFIED ORGANIC UNBLEACHED FLOURS

  • Beehive Organic Unbleached Malted All Purpose Flour
  • Artisan Bakers Craft Organic Wheat Flour
  • Artisan Old Country Organic Type 85 Wheat Flour
  • Artisan Old Country Organic Type 85 Malted Wheat Flour
  • Artisan Organic Stone Ground Type 80 Wheat Flour
  • Artisan Organic Old Country Type 70 Malted Wheat Flour
  • High Mountain Organic High Gluten Wheat Flour
  • Artisan Organic Low Ash Flour
  • Organic Unbleached Pastry Flour
  • Organic Unbleached Pastry Flour with Germ
  • Wheatland Organic Unbleached Flour
  • Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour with Germ
  • Artisan Bakers Craft PLUS Organic Wheat Flour with Organic Malted Barley Flour

CERTIFIED ORGANIC WHOLE WHEAT FLOURS

  • Organic Whole Wheat Flour Fine
  • Organic Whole Wheat Hi Pro Flour Fine
  • Organic Whole Wheat Flour Medium
  • Organic Whole Wheat Flour Coarse
  • Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • Organic Hard White Whole Wheat Flour

ORGANIC SPECIALTY FLOURS AND GRAINS

  • New!!  THE ONE Organic Baguette Mix
  • New!!  Organic Cracked 6 Grain Mix *special order
  • Organic White Spelt Flour
  • Organic Type 85 Spelt Flour
  • Organic Whole Spelt Flour
  • Organic White Rye Flour
  • Organic Whole Rye Flour
  • Organic Crushed Wheat / or Heavy Bran
  • Organic Crushed Rye
  • Organic Spelt Berries
  • Organic Rye Berries
  • Organic Pumpernickel Rye Meal
  • Organic Soft White Wheat Berries
  • Organic Hard White Wheat Berries
  • Organic Hard Red Winter Wheat Berries
  • Organic Dark Northern Spring Wheat Berries
  • Organic Spelt Bran *special order
  • Organic Bakers Wheat Bran
  • Organic Bulk Mill Run
  • Organic Buttermilk Pancake Mix
  • Organic 100% Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancake Mix
  • Organic Buckwheat Pancake Mix

CONVENTIONAL PRODUCTS
CONVENTIONAL FLOURS

  • Golden West Bleached All Purpose Flour Enriched
  • Golden West Unbleached All Purpose Flour Enriched
  • Red Rose Bleached All Purpose Flour Enriched
  • Red Rose Unbleached All Purpose Flour Enriched
  • Red Rose Artisan Unbleached Malted Bread Flour
  • Red Rose Unbleached Keith’s Best Malted Bread Flour with Ascorbic Acid
  • Red Rose Electra-Light High Gluten Malted Unbleached Wheat Flour
  • Red Rose Bakers Special Type 70 Malted Wheat Flour
  • Red Rose Bleached Bakers Special Flour Enriched
  • Red Rose Unbleached Bakers Special Flour Enriched
  • Gilt Edge Bleached All Purpose Flour Enriched
  • Gilt Edge Unbleached All Purpose Flour Enriched

CONVENTIONAL WHOLE WHEAT FLOURS

  • Golden West Whole Wheat Flour
  • Red Rose Whole Wheat Flour
  • Red Rose High Gluten Whole Wheat Flour
  • Wheatland Whole Wheat Flour Fine
  • Wheatland Whole Wheat Flour Medium
  • Wheatland Whole Wheat Flour Coarse

CONVENTIONAL SPECIALTY FLOURS AND GRAINS

  • New!! Coarse Cracked 7 Grain Mix *special order
  • New!! Medium Cracked 9 Grain Mix *special order
  • Red Rose Crushed Wheat
  • Red Rose Crushed Rye
  • Extra Fancy Durum
  • Golden West Germade
  • Red Rose Pancake and Waffle Mix
  • Red Rose Chipped Wheat
  • Wheatland Hard Red Wheat Berries
  • Wheatland Dark Northern Spring Wheat Berries
  • Red Rose Raw Wheat Germ
  • Clean Bakers Wheat Bran
  • Bulk Mill Run

A Great New Use for A Shower Cap?

Ever feel weird using plastic wrap for a bit to raise your dough, just to throw it away a bit later? Here’s what you do: take a brand new shower cap, stow it in your cupboard, and when you need to cover a bowl with plastic wrap, just pull that cap out and and strap it down on the bowl! It works like a charm and you can re-use it over and over and over again.

Pizza Sauce Tips from Jeff Varasano Himself

I feel like I’ve published a good many options here for pizza dough, so in an effort to provide you with a more in-depth pizza resource, I will be beginning to bring you sauce tips and recipes as well as any new dough information I may find. Since Jeff Varansano pretty much got me started my pizza journey, I thought I would bring you a small selection from his novelish site on his pizza process dealing with sauce specifically.

Oh! And as an aside, I noticed that Jeff has a photo with Keith Giusto from Central Milling about 3/4 of the way down his page… I told you that Central Milling flour was some good stuff! Take a tip from Jeff and I and pick up some Central Milling flour already!

Please to enjoy, sauce and tomato tips from Jeff Varasano:

  • Always buy Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes and crush them yourself.
  • Be careful of marketing tricks like cans that say Italian ‘Style’ instead of Italian. Italian Style means nothing. It’s subjective. If I grew tomatoes in Chernobyl I could still claim they are Italian Style.
  • Similarly there’s a San Marzano ‘Brand’ which is grown in CA. I hate marketing gimmicks like that. The put the word ‘brand’ so small that you can barely read it.
  • Shake every can as you buy it. If it sounds watery, it is likely to be more bitter. Try to get cans which sound more viscous.  The sound will vary a bit by season. They try to pick and pack in just one season, but still there are seasonal differences even within the same brand.
  • If you have a local tomato supplier, try those too.
  • One time I bought a jar of tomatoes at a farmers market – no can. These were hand packed and they had no tin can taste. They were excellent but all the major suppliers use cans.  Be on the lookout for jars someday…
  • If you want to go crazy and make your own, try ‘ugly ripe’ heirloom tomatoes. The taste of these are amazing and I use these when I need whole tomatoes.
  • When I open a can I taste it. Every can is a little different. About 10% of the cans I just throw out because they are too bitter and I put too much effort in the dough to waste it on a $2 can of bad tomatoes.
  • DON’T make a sauce. That is, don’t pre-cook the tomatoes. The tomatoes will cook on the pizza.  If you cook a sauce first, it will cook again on the psizza, turning it brown and yucky.  No need to make a sauce.  Look at how overcooked many sauces are. The best places don’t do this. This is actually the one step  in this whole process that you can save yourself some time.
  • I strain the seeds. This is really optional. If you do choose to do it, follow these steps, which seem obvious now, but took me a long time to flesh out:
    • Pour the can out into a bowl
    • Cut the green/yellow stem ends off the tomatoes with your hands or a paring knife, then discard.
    • Squeeze out the seeds into the puree and then Dip the tomato into the puree. You can even cut the tomato open to get out any remaining seeds, by essentially rinsing them with the puree.  This will have all the seeds fall into the puree.
    • Put the flesh back in the can
    • At the end of this process you have a can of flesh and a bowl of watery puree and seeds. Strain this, pouring the puree back into the can.  In the strainer are then 90% of the seeds, all by themselves. Discard the seeds.
  • Now crush the tomatoes. This is one of those areas where I made a recent change for the better and it’s really helped a lot. I used to crush the tomatoes by hand. But it was always a bit chunky. Now I blend them with an  immersion mixer (“boat motor”). I cannot tell you exactly why this has made a huge improvement  in the TASTE of the tomatoes, but it has. I’ve done side by side taste tests. The tomatoes should be crushed but not pur ed. Go Easy. I have nothing against using a food processor or mill, but I will say that you should not crush by hand.
  • Tomato Rinsing: All cans have some bitterness. You need some bitterness and you don’t want to strip all of it out. But if the can is too bitter it’s not good. I have a procedure I call tomato rinsing to remove some of the bitterness. But you have to taste the can and determine for yourself if it needs it. The better brands on my list don’t.  Here’s the Tomato Rinsing procedure: Strain the tomatoes in a fine mesh strainer..  If the mesh is fine, the water will be mostly clear with very little tomato escaping. If the water escaping is very red, pour it back on top of the tomatoes and continue straining. Eventually the water will run almost completely clear.  Here’s the key. The water that comes out is completely bitter. Taste it.  What I do is pour fresh water on top of the strained tomatoes and strain them again. Taste this second batch of water.  It’s also bitter but less so. You are removing bitterness and acid without losing a drop of red tomato. Instead you are replacing this bitter water with fresh water. You can repeat this several times if you like, but once or twice is usually fine. The net result is that what is left over, which is all the red tomato solids, is sooooo sweet and yummy.
  • Here are some other things you can do to remove the bitterness. But don’t go crazy adding tons of spices and things. It’s mostly just tomatoes.
    • Add some grated Romano cheese directly into the tomatoes.  I use Locatelli Romano. Some have criticized this, but I like it.
    • A bit of sugar will also help 1/4 – 1 teaspoon.  Taste and see.
    • A pinch of salt
    • A pinch of dried oregano, crushed by hand to release the oils
    • If you are used to putting garlic in your sauce, try these steps once without it.
    • Taste and taste
  • So you are removing and then adding back water. In the end though you should have less water than you started with. The total weight is probably about 1/3 less than you started with. But the exact amount of water you remove depends on the overall temperature of the oven and the temperature differential in the oven.. There is not much time in a hot oven to evaporate the sauce, so the hotter the oven, the drier the sauce must be going in.  But if the top differential is high, the sauce will evaporate too quickly and needs to start wetter. You have to test. Surprisingly, if the sauce is too dry, it’s not as sweet. You don’t want it soupy but don’t overstrain either. This will take real practice with your oven. Sometimes after the first pie I add more water to my sauce. Again, this is another area where recent improvements have really transformed the sauce. I think that when the sauce is chunky (hand crushed) it’s harder to get the amount of water right.

100 lbs of Central Milling Organic Flour

100 lbs of Central Milling Flour

100 lbs of Central Milling Flour

So about two weeks ago, I took delivery of 100 lbs of Central Milling flour, and wow, 100 lbs is a LOT of flour! It came in two 50 lb bags: One bag of Beehive Organic Unbleached Malted AP and one bag of their Artisan Bakers Craft Organic Wheat Flour. Both flours have produced nothing but amazing results so far, with only one negative side effect: Where does one store a hundred damn pounds of anything in one’s little apartment kitchen?? In the end, I got a great 12 qt glass storage container to store a usable amount on the counter, and I shoved the rest in next to the fridge to use as a refill as my container gets low. I’m happy to have my new favorite flour so proudly on display, and my wife is happy to have those huge sandbag-esque bags of flour out of the middle of the kitchen! It’s a win-win!

So I know, if you read this blog with any regularity, that you know I am all gaga about Central Milling flour. They seem to have a great selection of specialty flours and they are semi local to me so I can pick and choose new flours each time I get a hold of them. I also wanted to let you know that I’ve been making pizzas recently with just the Beehive Organic AP flour

A Basil Extravaganza!

A Basil Extravaganza!

(see Basil Pizza Photo) and I am just so surprised at how well the flour/dough sets its gluten structure up. Because it’s not a bread flour per-se, the dough isn’t rubbery or hard to stretch. But to my surprise, this simple AP flour also holds up really well  to the bubbles and stretching produced by the CO2 from the yeast. It seems to be a perfect blend of a decently high gluten network with the soft, easy to toss feeling you may be looking for in your dough. Just thought you’d like to know WHY I like this flour so much 🙂

Anyhow, enjoy the photos, enjoy laughing at me and my inappropriately large bags of flour, and most importantly, go out and enjoy making some of the best pizza of your life for yourself tonight, would ya? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment – I’ll get right back to you with some hopefully helpful tips 🙂

Happy baking!

-Ryan

The GreenBox: Sounds Awesome, Now Where Can I Get 50?

Check out this handy dandy and eco-friendly pizza themed product. This is kind of one of those “Duh!” products where you ask your self, “Why didn’t I think of that??”

Pizza Stone Resources

Whether you are looking for square, round, thick, or even made for BBQs, here is a good list of pizza stones you may want to check out.

Baking Stone, 14 x 16 x 7/8 in Thick, No Lead Fire Brick Material – CordieriteLarger Image

Baking Stone, 14 x 16 x 7/8 in Thick, No Lead Fire Brick Material – Cordierite. Perfect for snall restaurants and bars. Ideal where hearth baking is not possible. Keeps pizzas warm in heated display cases. Made of Corderite; a no lead fire brick material. FDA approved for oven use. Perfect thickness and porosity for heat retention.

Old Stone Oven Pizza Grill Stone Shaped For Weber BBQ GrillOld Stone Oven Pizza Grill Stone Shaped For Weber BBQ Grill 4471

Give a delicate crispy, restaurant-quality crust to any pizza, focaccia or bread on your backyard Weber grill using this Old Stone Oven™ Pizza Stone. These were the first baking stones introduced in 1973 and are still considered the best by pizza experts, including Cook’s Illustrated Magazine (October, 2003) where they ranked #1.

Kitchen Supply Company’s Pizza Grill Stone can be used to line your Weber barbecue grill for a true stone hearth effect without the weight of one heavy stone. Brown box includes a recipe booklet.

Kitchen Supply Old Stone Oven Baking Tiles, Set of 6Kitchen Supply Old Stone Oven Baking Tiles, Set of 6

Over 25 years ago the Old Stone Oven Company first introduced the original baking stone for home use, designed by international pizza expert, Pasquale Bruno. It is still the best on the market. It has a porosity and heat retention that is unmatched for giving a delicate crispy, restaurant-quality crust to any pizza, focaccia or bread in a standard home oven. Stone is a pure ceramic product made of clays fired at over 2000-degrees Fahrenheit. Set of 6 Tiles, 6-inch by 6-inch each. Use tiles individually or together for just the right size for you recipe. Can be used in the Oven, Toaster Ovens or can also be used in the microwave by preheating for 5 minutes. Perfect for recrisping last night’s pizza, baking frozen pizza slices or made-from-scratch mini-pizzas. Complete instructions and recipes are included. Made in the USA.

Old Stone Oven 16″ Round Pizza StoneOld Stone Oven Pizza Stone Round

Our Old Stone Oven 16″ Round Pizza Stone is a great choice for making outstanding pizza with a crispy crust. Old Stone Oven Pizza Stones are also great for evenly baking breads, rolls, and even some cookies.

Central Milling: Now Shipping to You and Me!

cmillingCentral Milling, a company I choose over Giusto’s, King Arthur’s, and all others, is now set up to ship flour to the likes of you and me. For years, the good people at Central Milling have been supplying commercial baking establishments all over the west coast as well as filling the bags of Whole Foods‘ 365 brand flour. They have an INSANE list of organic and traditional flours to choose from, and with the advent of the flat rate shipping box from the USPS, they have an easy and convenient way to get their fine product directly from the mill to your front door. It doesn’t get much more fresh than that!

If you’d like to check out their wide array of flours, check out the 2009 Product Listing.

If you’d like to order up some flour for your very own, send an email to Nick at ngiusto@centralmilling.com or call him at (707) 849-6788 and he will get it straight in the mail for you.

If enough of us home enthusiasts are interested in his flours, we may be able to offer a “In Search of the Perfect Pie Coupon”. I guess we’ll just have to see what everyone thinks 🙂

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of your experience with these new flours. Thanks!

-Ryan

Central Milling – The New King of Flour?

cmillingI’ve been talking a lot with a certain manager at Central Milling, a California/Utah based flour mill, and am happy to report I am soon going to be offering In Search of the Perfect Pie coupons here on the blog for you guys to order their previously only commercially sold flour directly from the mill. At the moment, Central Milling is responsible for the fine organic flours you find in every Whole Foods 365 brand bag, your favorite bakeries up and down the California coast, and even many of the largest casinos out in Las Vegas. If you are interested in finding out more about the company, check out their (albeit simplistic) web site at http://www.centralmilling.com/.

If you’d like to be the first to find out when these coupons are available, subscribe!

Dairy Free Pizza – My Favorite Cheese Alternative

When I first met my wife, my plan was to woo her with food. I was going to be that cool guy who would cook for her. Then I found out that she had a nasty food allergy. To what? Dairy. She can’t eat cheese, yogurt, milk, butter, you know, any of the good stuff. At first, I panicked. My plan to woo through cooking seemed a distant possibility in the face of this new development! What we found, though, is there are a lot of manufacturers out there making products specifically for the lactose intolerant – and we tried them all! The cheeses, especially, were tough to find one that accurately replaced the real thing. After years of sampling, we would like to submit to you our favorite cheese replacement for pizza and all other Italian cooking: Lisanatti Mozzarella Style Almond Cheese. It melts well, doesn’t give off too much liquid, and even kind of looks like normal cheese! My wife swears she can’t even tell the difference (although I have to admit I can – if you can eat real cheese, please do!).

Below you can check out a recent, 100% dairy free pie that she enjoyed. I believe this one dissapeared in twenty minutes flat!

ap3

ap1

ap2

Hope this tip helps you lactose intolerant folks out there to rediscover the joy of pizza. I know for sure that when I open my restaurant, every item on the menu will be available in dairy/non-dairy versions using this brand of cheese.   It’s great!

Oh, and this crust was made by following my how-to video.

Enjoy,
-Ryan