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An Interesting 'Experiment' Demonstrating How Pizza Blisters Form

I got this email from Foolish Poolish last night, with the subject line, "You might find this interesting." Well, FP, I think the Slice'rs would find this interesting, too, so I hope you don't mind me sharing it. And, how apropos, given the NYT story that ran this morning. Observe and learn! The Mgmt.

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[Photographs: Foolish Poolish]

Here is a dough ball. The dough was mixed from just 160g flour and 100g water (no leavening) and left to rest for 20 minutes.

During that 20 minutes, the broiler has been directly heating a pizza stone sitting xx" away from the heating element.

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Here's the same dough ball rolled into a flat disc of about 12" diameter using a rolling pin (no stretching required for this experiment).

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Here is the flattened dough sitting on a pizza peel with some tomato sauce slopped over it ready for the oven.

Since the broiler element is clicking on and off periodically (thanks to the oven thermostat), I had to wait a few minutes before it clicked on and heated up sufficiently to slide the 'pizza' onto the stone.

Once on the stone, the 'pizza' cooked for about ~2 minutes (I didn't keep an eye on the clock but it can't have been much more than 2 minutes)

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Here's the baked (broiled) result. During the baking process, the pizza puffed up a bit like a pita bread, albeit unevenly and predominantly around the edges Upon removal, the larger (steam-filled) voids collapsed leaving the charred blisters around the edge.

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And a close-up.

I deliberately placed the pizza stone further from the broiler element than normal to allow for the fact other peoples' ovens may be somewhat larger than mine and hence a greater distance between top shelf and broiler element. Adjusting this gap or in other words bringing the pizza closer to the broiler, will hasten and intensify the blistering effect.

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Thank you, FP! This was brilliant and super helpful. May the DIY masses put it to good use.

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