Author Topic: NY Pizzeria making protocol?  (Read 3124 times)

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Offline sonofapizza

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NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« on: August 22, 2010, 07:10:55 AM »
Let me first introduce myself... Hi my name is Theo.

I have been a long time lurker around here and just now thought I should officially join the ranks of you helpful people.  So this is my first post...

I am an ex coporate drone who has always dreamed of opening a small "hole in the wall" pizza joint that pumps out some great pizza.  I have fooled around in many a Pizzeria, behind the counters of gracious proprietors, to work on my skills.  Even had a few stints as a pizza guy - two weeks here, two weeks there....  I'm no pro, though I do make a decent NY style pie....er....in their ovens.  I have a decent gas oven at home.  Got the everyday, run of the mill  15" ceramic stone.  I make a sauce I really like now (6&1 tomatos).  A lovely wife and daughter who critique my every pie (they're all pizza'd out)

That said, I remember making dough in 50lb batches for the Pizzerias.  They never actually "proofed" the dough before baking.  We usually mixed the dough in the Hobart, weighed out dough balls on a stainless table.  Then we'd put them in the dough trays (stacked), and into the fridge they went.  No proofing times (not actually certain what proofing is still)

My specialty pies come out great at home...It's the simple "Cheese n' Sauce" pizzas that are struggling.  I've used flours from Kyrol to Whole Foods HiGluten.  Even snuck home some Jersey tap water (yikes), that didn't seem to make any real difference.  all the places I like (even in NY) use filtered water anyway.  Also, at the pizzeria, we would use fresh (wet type) yeast and salt, and a couple cups of olive oil to the water.  Mixed that up really good with a wisk, and then in went the flour.  12 minutes later, great dough....

I guess my question is: Why is it so difficult to replicate a great tasting, authentic NY pie at home?  Even when we are using the same "everything" in the process?  So much care goes into all of your measurements here on this board, but these pizzeria slobs just throw things together and, Voila! Great NY style Pizza!....Cold water temps, salt with the yeast.. No proofing..Lots of oil in the water - and they still get great consistent results.......It's so frustrating to me...  I measure out all my ingredients, yet it still varies each time.  Same KA mixer, same times, sames speeds. 115 degree water, the works...

I thank you in advance...

Cheers,
Theo








   





   
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 08:17:59 AM by sonofapizza »


Offline StrayBullet

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2010, 09:45:51 AM »
My meek opinion suffering from a short time here says it's all about the cooking medium; I think true reverse engineering plays a major role as well but in the end, it's cooking.  One of the major things I've learned here is not to pick a recipe then try to recreate it at home, but first determine the cooking method/tools and achievable temps, then find a recipe that will perform well given those settings.

Offline norma427

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2010, 09:57:54 AM »
sonofapizza,

I agree with the suggestions and advise StrayBullet gave you.  I have a Bakerís Pride deck oven and have a small market stand where I make pizzas. My home oven, BBQ grill set-up and my deck oven all bake differently.  There are many formulas and oven set-ups on this forum.  If you want you can do a search on the search button.  You will find a lot of information here.  I find my commercial mixer at market (Hobart) does mix my dough a lot differently, but I also can get good results by mixing dough at home by hand.  Every thing just has to fall into place.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2010, 12:05:03 PM »
I was about to say the 2 main differences I see b/t the home and pizzerias is 1) the commercial mixer and 2) the oven.   More even mixing and more even top and bottom heat make a world of difference.  Plus making pizza all day everyday helps a bunch too.

Chau

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2010, 12:10:58 PM »
Theo,

Like Chau, I have always felt that the weak links in a home environment insofar as trying to recreate pizzeria pizza are the mixer and oven. A basic home stand mixer like a KitchenAid mixer can cost from about $250-$350. A basic home oven can cost from a few hundred dollars to several hundred dollars (and higher for a top of the line model). A commercial mixer like a Hobart mixer can cost several thousand dollars, even used ones, and commercial ovens, whether deck ovens or conveyor ovens, and whether new or used, can cost even more, usually considerably more. If it were possible to make pizzeria style pizzas using home stand mixers and home ovens, then pizza operators could simply get banks of mixers and home ovens with basic pizza stones and use them, at far lower total cost than commercial equipment. Remember also, that commercial deck ovens are designed only for making pizzas, with large, thick slab stones for heat retention purposes and little overhead space and, in the case of conveyor ovens, designs that cause warm air to be directed to both the tops and bottoms of pizzas. A home oven has a lot of top space since it is supposed to be able to bake all kinds of things, including jumbo turkeys with all the fixings on different racks. Some home ovens have convection features but it has been established that the results are not the same as what one might achieve using an air impingement conveyor oven.

To further buttress my thesis, I have read of several accounts where pizza operators have made pizzas at home using dough from work, or where pizza operators took dough made at home and baked the pizzas at work, and the results were always different, sometimes to the point where the pizza operators were shocked at the differences.

I don't want to go so far as to say that it is impossible to come close to pizzeria pizza in a home setting, but one has to be creative in finding ways overcome the deficiencies of home mixers and ovens, whether is is using hand kneading (which might be impractical for large dough batches), soapstone stones, multiple stones, cast iron pans, broiler techniques and rack positioning schemes, and other such solutions.

Peter

Offline Bobino414

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2010, 01:15:13 PM »

Peter

In comparing commercial equipment to home use equipment, in your opinion is there a countertop mixer-any brand, any model, any price that would produce the same or similar quality(quantity aside) of the kneaded dough from a  Hobart floor mixer. 

Thanks,

Bob

Offline Matthew

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2010, 01:21:04 PM »
Peter

In comparing commercial equipment to home use equipment, in your opinion is there a countertop mixer-any brand, any model, any price that would produce the same or similar quality(quantity aside) of the kneaded dough from a  Hobart floor mixer. 

Thanks,

Bob

http://www.tmbbaking.com/sp5.html
http://www.santos.fr/18.html

Matt

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2010, 02:07:54 PM »
In comparing commercial equipment to home use equipment, in your opinion is there a countertop mixer-any brand, any model, any price that would produce the same or similar quality(quantity aside) of the kneaded dough from a  Hobart floor mixer. 

Bob,

Since I rarely make more than one dough ball at a time, using my basic KitchenAid mixer with a C-hook, I am not the best one to ask this question. However, from what I have read, one of the better models of mixer for home use that does not cost an arm and a leg is the Bosch Universal mixer. I might have considered that for myself except I understand that it might not do the best job for an individual dough ball.

Peter

Offline sonofapizza

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2010, 06:33:37 PM »
Thank you very much for the prompt replies, everyone.  I figured that commercial equipment played a crucial part to the end result.  I was just wondering if anyone had found a "sure fire" type method, utilizing Kitchen Aids, Gas ovens and general pizza knowledge....  I wonder if my wife will let me splurge on a double deck Blodgett?!  probably not... 

Also, I think it says alot that all you good human beings have banded together to found this symposium regarding my favorite subject.  I have an addiction.....  My name is Theo... And I am a NY Pizza junkie...

thanks for creating such an informative site.  I am learning alot.  My next move is to take some homemade doughballs and sauce to my friend's Pizzeria,  Got that idea from Pete-zza, Thanks!  I will post findings with pics.  I live in the hot, dry desert (Las Vegas) so our pizzas aren't exactly NY by nature. 107 today..  But there are a handful (term used loosely) of decent pizzerias.

Thanks again,
Theo

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2010, 06:46:12 PM »
Theo...your quest for NY pie in a home oven is very achievable so don't despair!

As for Vegas, one my favorite cities, I like Metro (albeit greasy), Grimaldi's (although being so far from the East coast, quality varies) and I visited a certified Naples place way North and that was pretty amazing!

Mark


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2010, 07:42:04 PM »
I live in the hot, dry desert (Las Vegas) so our pizzas aren't exactly NY by nature. 107 today..  But there are a handful (term used loosely) of decent pizzerias.

Settebello in Henderson is run by a member of this forum and is highly regarded. Not New York style. Neapolitan.

Offline jever4321

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2010, 07:53:31 PM »
Did you make that pizza in your opening post in your home oven? That pie looks AWESOME. I can't imagine a better looking pie out of a home oven....
-Jay

Offline onemsmom

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2010, 09:20:12 PM »
To Peter:  If you are wanting to find out......If you give me the amounts for one dough ball, I'll mix up a single for ya in my Bosch & see how it turns out.  I have found that when not a lot of ingredients are being added, I sometimes have to scrape the sides with my spatula a little until fully incorporated, but I can't imagine it not doing well with a single ball.  I'll be happy to try it.   :)

Offline PizzaSean

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2010, 10:22:20 PM »
Wow, Theo...

That pie looks delicious... can you tell us all more about it?

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2010, 11:03:34 PM »
Settebello in Henderson is run by a member of this forum and is highly regarded. Not New York style. Neapolitan.

WOW!  That's the one I was thinking of in my post above...

scott123

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2010, 12:25:28 AM »
Theo, the biggest obstacle that home bakers face when trying to duplicate NY style pizza is the tragically widespread belief that one can walk into Bed Bath and Beyond (or Walmart or Target or Williams Sonoma) and purchase a thin baking stone and expect to create authentic NY style pizza at home.

The second biggest obstacle is the belief that one can easily make authentic NY style pizza with supermarket flour.

It sounds like your head is in the right place when it comes to the latter, but an "everyday, run of the mill  15" ceramic stone," without oven mods, will not give you the same moist puffy crust that you find in NY/NJ pizzerias.

It all hinges on bake time.  The faster the bake, the greater the oven spring, the puffier/better the pizza.  In order to match their pizzas, you have to match their bake time.  For most of the better pizzerias in the NY metro area, this is 5 minutes or less. For your average 550 peak temp electric oven owner, this can be achieved with a thick conductive pizza stone (1" cordierite or 1 1/4" soapstone).  If you've got a gas oven with a separate compartment for the broiler and/or an oven that doesn't hit 550, then it get's trickier.

Does your oven go to 550?  If 525 is the most it will go, then you'll need the most conductive stone you can get- soapstone.  For a soapstone slab with the necessary breadth to do justice to a NY style pizza (minimum 17 x 17), it will run you 100 to 150 bucks.  Considering you're duplicating the effects of a commercial multi-thousand dollar oven at home, I don't think $150 is that much. If your oven only goes to 500, then it's oven mod time.  I have extensive experience repairing oven wiring and am not a big fan of extreme mods. I think most ovens can handle 50 degrees above their peak temp without a problem, but, as you go higher, it can potentially stress them.  With this in mind, I still recommend the thick conductive stone combined with a reasonable and sane 50 degree mod.

Does your oven have a broiler in the main compartment?  If it doesn't, then you'll need to create a two stone environment. For the top stone, iron or steel is ideal. 1/4" Steel slab will run you about $80 shipped for this size. As comfortable as I am recommending spending $150 for a piece of soapstone, $230 for a total oven solution feels like a lot to spend. I've been looking at less expensive options.  Cast iron skillets are usually about 1/8" thick, but members seem to have success with them.  You'll need a minimum of 16" wide, though, and that's still a good chunk of change.  I'm presently looking at rebar.  Expect to spend some time with a grinder or a hacksaw, but I think you could cover your top oven shelf with 1/2" rebar for about $20.

What flour are you working with right now?

Offline sonofapizza

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2010, 02:29:13 AM »
Did you make that pizza in your opening post in your home oven? That pie looks AWESOME. I can't imagine a better looking pie out of a home oven....

No that was an aquaintance's joint..  No longer in business :(

Offline sonofapizza

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2010, 02:50:40 AM »
The second biggest obstacle is the belief that one can easily make authentic NY style pizza with supermarket flour...

It sounds like your head is in the right place when it comes to the latter, but an "everyday, run of the mill  15" ceramic stone," without oven mods, will not give you the same moist puffy crust that you find in NY/NJ pizzerias....


Does your oven go to 550?  If 525 is the most it will go, then you'll need the most conductive stone you can get- soapstone.  For a soapstone slab with the necessary breadth to do justice to a NY style pizza (minimum 17 x 17),

What flour are you working with right now?


Hey Scott, I have a gas oven.  Goes to about 565 - not bad.  I can't estimate rough cook times of the top, but I'd say around 8-12 minutes?  I heat the stone up for about an hour before I put any pie on the stone.  Just made 2 x 9 ounce dough balls with flour I just picked up from "Sunflower Markets" tonight.  They have HiGluten flour at 9grams of protein per 1/2 cup..  That's around 15% protien right?  It's my only local source of the Hi-G in this town... People are like Kyrol Nazis around here >:(  I am making 2 plain cheese pies tomorrow night to test between the Nina canned crushed tomatos, and the 6&1's.  I'll definitely snap few pics of my process and explain to the best of my ability what I'm doing.  I will post some pics tomorrow night

I appreciate all the great advice - Thank you

Offline sonofapizza

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2010, 03:01:59 AM »
Theo...your quest for NY pie in a home oven is very achievable so don't despair!

As for Vegas, one my favorite cities, I like Metro (albeit greasy), Grimaldi's (although being so far from the East coast, quality varies) and I visited a certified Naples place way North and that was pretty amazing!

Mark

Thanks for the laugh...I cant believe how many pizza shops you tried while you were here :-D.  No insult intended, I just know Vegas is definitely NOT known for our Za.  Most people never leave the Strip while visiting.  Metro Pizza varies greatly with which store you visit.  Grimaldi's aint too bad.  But I can go to virtually any corner in NY and land some great pie.  I always order a plain cheese the first time I visit anywhere, because if they can't get that right - then I don't expect too much from their specialty pies.  Just my little school of thought.  there is one dive in town who gets it right, They are called Di' Amore Pizza, and the are from Boston of all places.  They have their water flown in as some sort of gimmick though.....  Unfortunaley, I think they went under too..  Vegas is at 20% unemployment rate as per the Sunday paper's claim.  So unfortunately, alot of people are losing their butts.  We have been fortunate though.

Offline sonofapizza

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Re: NY Pizzeria making protocol?
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2010, 04:06:09 AM »
Here is a pie from last week..  More Traditional Italian type crust

The Philly Cheese Steak Pizza...Yum!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2010, 04:24:02 AM by sonofapizza »