A little back story before I delve into the actual detail of my attempt today at replicating Tommy's pizza
I, (like Meg and others) grew up in Upper Arlington. My very first pizza in life was Tommy's, when I was around four years old. I was HOOKED!
Pretty much my entire childhood, we had Tommy's for dinner on Friday nights. When I had my first date, I took the lass to Tommy's for dinner. When I graduated from UA, we went to Tommy's. When my mom died (seven years ago next week), at her memorial service we had ten large Tommy's pepperoni pizzas for the reception after the service. She was beaming at us from above as we destroyed those pies in short order. She loved Tommy's as well.
Every pizza I have ever had is instantly compared to Tommy's. I realize there are many different styles of pizza out there and there are some good pizza choices elsewhere. I always come away from eating "other" pizza with a wistful sigh of "It wasn't Tommy's".
I ran across this forum a couple of years ago and found Aimless Ryan's thread. At the time, I didn't have the opportunity to try and follow his work
This past January, we bought an old house and started the remodel. To say it has been a nightmare would be a gross understatement. I won't bore with the sordid details. When we were looking at this house, I had a four foot space to the left of the oven. I envisioned a 48"x24" bakers table for that space. We closed on the house and I ordered the table (a John Boos butcher block), put it together and installed it where it sat very nicely next to the oven. I knew I would be doing a lot of pizza making and also starting to make bread from scratch as well. We bought a Samsung dual door convection oven and an extra "beater" fridge to hold my dough and meat (I do a LOT of smoking of brisket, pork, ribs, chicken, my own bacon from scratch, and much more. I also compete in BBQ competitions) so I would have plenty of room to create.
I had ordered a marble rolling pin, a bench knife ( I have one somewhere but have not unpacked it yet), a bowl scraper, the same pan Meg has (Calphalon 16" non stick pan) and other assorted pizza making equipment. I went today to the Restaurant Depot and got the Bel Gioioso mild provolone ($3.24 a lb. vs. the $9.99 a lb. Meg paid at Giant Eagle). Meg, there is a R.D. on N. Wilson Rd in CBus. If you are interested, I can let you know how to get a membership. I saw a slot for the pizza sauce Ryan suggested but they were out of stock. I will look for it next time I go. It was $5.28 for a #10 can, not bad at all. I ended up getting the 28 oz. Dei Fratelli crushed tomatoes from Wal Mart.
I have the KitchenAid 600 series stand mixer with the bowl that raises. I followed the instructions to the letter but used the lard Meg suggested in her thread. I have used my mixer only twice prior to today for brioche hamburger buns and that dough is very wet. I didn't have the bowl raised up enough and I had some flour that didn't get mixed in, much to my chagrin. I proofed it for four hours and put it in the fridge overnight, actually for two nights; couldn't get to the dough yesterday. I followed the instructions and rolled and rolled and rolled...lol. I had my wife pinch hit for me for a while on the roller and she muscled the dough nicely. I was not happy with the shape of the dough but soldiered on. I did the folding and more rolling and got the shape where I wanted it to be. I used the pan and cut around the edge as instructed and got to 16 3/8 oz. I rolled again and cut but the dough weighed 14 5/8 oz. Oops. Instead of adding the dough back in, I just covered it and put it in the fridge. I was only able to leave it in the fridge for two hours as my daughter had to be at work at 4:30 and she INSISTED on being able to taste my first Tommy's endeavor. I told her "You can have the leftovers when you get home" but she rolled her eyes and said "Yeah, sure there will be leftovers". She knows me well
I fired up the Samsung range and set the pizza stone on the second to lowest rack. I let it heat for 70 minutes. I shredded the provolone on my KitchenAid food processor. I was using that product for the first time and didn't read the instructions (insert male joke here). I will put the cheeses in the freezer for 15 min. next time. The cheese wasn't very shredded but since it was going to melt, I wasn't overly concerned. I weighed out the cheese, around 11 oz. I sauced the pizza with 266g. I applied 11 oz. of the provolone cheese. I weighed out 161g of the Ezzo pepperoni and was rather shocked at how many pieces of pepperoni 161g of pepperoni actually looks like. I ended up using 128g of pepperoni. I would be curious to know the actual physical count of individuals pepperoni's on a Tommy's pizza (paging Meg, paging Meg). I added the Parm-Rom cheese. I put the pan on the stone and set the timer for seven minutes because my oven was set at 550 degrees. I turned the light on the oven and didn't see any bubbling at all. I was a a bit disappointed after what Meg had experienced. I cooked the pizza for 7 minutes, popped the oven open to take a look and let it go another minute. I was looking for the well done pepperoni curled up with puddles of grease pooling. I did as Meg did and put the pie under the broiler for a minute. I liked the way the pie was looking so I put it back in for another minute under the broiler. Big mistake, went 30 seconds too long. I got a few burnt spots but not too bad.
Taste: the all important factor. I lost my sense of smell 4+ years ago (still can taste but smell is an important aspect of taste) so I relied on my wife and daughter for input. I thought the crust wasn't as crispy as Tommy's and they agreed. The flavor was pretty close and they both commented on the smell as authentic Tommy's.