Author Topic: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?  (Read 3877 times)

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Offline gabaghool

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SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« on: September 07, 2011, 12:32:33 PM »
Well here it is folks......

CAN A NY/NH HYBRID STYLE PIZZA BE MADE IN A WOOD BURNING OVEN?  This will be a commercial setting.

*This question is only valid if I can find an oven with an exta large mouth, so an 18" pie can be cooked"

Coal isn't out of the question, but it seems like a HUGE to do , huge expense (far more than a wood oven), and Im not even convinced that FUEL makes such a big diff.
Ive worked with a wood oven in a few jobs...I like it, it seems managable AND it adds a certain something.

Scott123 told me that being unique is very important in todays pizza world.  So it got me thinking.  Ive come up with a few ideas. 

This reason I asked about a wood burning oven is the fact that Lucalis uses a wood burning oven (with gas backup?) to produce pies that are more like DiFaras the PaulieG's. Am I wrong in this thought?

If it IS possible, are there any procedural changes I should be investigating??

Thank  you so much with ANY comment or thought....it is really appreciated.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2011, 01:16:18 PM »
CAN A NY/NH HYBRID STYLE PIZZA BE MADE IN A WOOD BURNING OVEN?  This will be a commercial setting.


With the right dough formulation and the right wood fired oven, I would say that the answer is yes. As support for that answer, I refer you to the efforts that Peter Taylor, an alumnus of this forum, to make a style of pizza that is, by his description, one part NY style, one part Neapolitan style, and one part Peter Taylor. You can read about Peter's pizzeria and wine bar (he is in the process of opening a second place) at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8895.0.html. A signature pizza at his shop is the so-called "Raquel" pizza, which he named after the well-known actress Raquel Welch. Peter spent years developing that pizza and there is, in fact, an entire thread devoted to his journey from home pizza maker to professional based on the Raquel dough formulation. That thread is one of the most read threads on the forum, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1258.0.html. On a couple of occasions, Pete and I arm wrestled (I am also a Moderator) over where to put the Raquel thread on the forum because he insisted that his pizza was not only a NY style or only a Neapolitan style but a combination of the two plus a piece of him, as noted above. I will be very interested in seeing how Peter negotiates the expansion of his pizza business, which involves using a naturally leavened dough, to multiple locations.

Pete's current menu shows three pizza sizes (10", 12" and 14") but at one time he did make a 16" size because he always like the larger form factor. I don't recall offhand whether he made an 18" size.

Peter

Offline gabaghool

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 01:22:50 PM »
Thank you Pete...

I will devour that thread and look up his place.  ITs a good start.

How would you classify Lucali's??

Offline shuboyje

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2011, 06:20:40 PM »
There are a couple of places around here that do more of a New York style pie at about 650 in a wood burning oven.  I've added a photo of a pie from my favorite of them. 

If you do end up going down this road, I would look into the woodstone firedeck series of ovens.  They can be configured for gas, wood, coal, or a combination.  They aren't a great choice for 60 second pies, but I think they would work well for what you are after and they have a huge door that will make it easy to work multiple large New York style pies.  I've also added a pictures of one of them running as a coal/gas combo at about 565F and the pie it produces. 

For clarification the basil is the wood oven pie and the pepperoni is the coal oven pie.
-Jeff

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 08:03:22 PM »
Gabahool, I've been making hybrid pies for awhile now, mostly in my MBE and LBE threads.  Search for them and look towards the last pages to see what results I was getting.  Those pies were bake around 2.5-3m.  Not quite NP and not quite NY.   Small 12" pies with a slight crisp to the cornice, soft and airy in the middle.   

I have made some of these hybrid pies in my WFO, but took a detour when I got wrapped up in making NP and NY style in the WFO.   For an example of a hybrid pie in the WFO, look to my avatar. 

A bigger pic can be seen here...reply 477

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11683.460.html

The same hybrid style of pies can be seen in replies 4,5,81,104

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14201.0.html


Chau

Offline gabaghool

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2011, 03:43:04 PM »
Thank you Shu and Jackie.....

Jackie, those hybrid pies look out of this world. I will try to find as much info as I can. thanks.

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 04:05:53 PM »
CAN A NY/NH HYBRID STYLE PIZZA BE MADE IN A WOOD BURNING OVEN?  This will be a commercial setting.

Yes. The biggest difference is that the CFO pies of, say, a Totonno's or Patsy's, tend to be a little drier than the Lucali product due to the drier heat of a CFO.

Quote
This reason I asked about a wood burning oven is the fact that Lucalis uses a wood burning oven (with gas backup?) to produce pies that are more like DiFaras the PaulieG's. Am I wrong in this thought?

Lucali does indeed use a wood fired oven. The pies are not like Paulie Gee's nor was the intent to make pies like Paulie (Mark opened before Paulie).

Paulie's pies are Neapolitan in style where Lucali is closer to what a New York-Neapolitan style pie would be like cooked in a WFO instead of a CFO.

Other more New York-Neapolitan styled pizzas being made in WFOs can be found at Toby's Public House (South Slope, Brooklyn) and at Best Pizza (Williamsburg, Brooklyn). If you are indeed looking into a commercial establishment, you should invest some money to visit each of these places for pizzas and any info you can get from the owners.

Are you opening in Brooklyn? From what I have been told by a couple of shop owners I have spoken with about this topic, by law you are supposed to have a gas assist placed into a WFO if your pizzeria is operating in Brooklyn. Some places have one, others do not (I've seen both cases).

Good luck in your venture. --K
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 04:08:31 PM by pizzablogger »
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Offline pizzablogger

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 04:15:44 PM »
Scott123 told me that being unique is very important in todays pizza world.  So it got me thinking.  Ive come up with a few ideas. 

I'm not sure what market you are considering opening in, but surprisingly enough actually being able to make a very good pizza on a consistent basis, regardless of the fuel source, would be considered unique in many geographical areas of today's pizza world.

But there is nothing that seems to grab local media attention (and thus the general public they disseminate their info to) like "Coal Fired Pizza", "Wood Fired Pizza", "Imported Brick Oven" and other such phrases. Unfortunately, in too many instances these hype phrases are malarkey that are not backed up by a competent product.

If your intent is to be in the pizza game for the long haul and not just catch the winds of the current boom in pizzerias, IMHO it all starts with the product.  If you are making a mediocre pizza, who really cares if it's cooked in zero gravity by rockets blasting into outer space? It's still a mediocre pizza.

That being said I agree with Scott in that some type of market unique aspect always helps drum up interest.--K
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Offline scott r

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 05:52:46 PM »
You might want to go check out a pizzeria called vesta in east rutherford NJ.   THey started out thinking they were going to be a neapolitan pizzeria, so they have a diving arm mixer and neapolitan made ferarra ovens.   After working on the pizza for a while they realized that the style wasn't for them, and they pulled the temps back to do something that seems very much like what you are asking about.   

http://www.vestapizzeria.com/

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 06:06:39 PM »
Kelly and others, I thought places like Totonno's and Patsy's are more like original style NY pizza, and Bianco's would be more the hybrid pie.  Is this not correct?  I was thinking the hybrid style uses either a blend of flours with protein content somewhere between 12-13% and baked about 3min plus.  The 4-5 plus minute pies seem to fall into NY category.  Of course this is more just my personal ideas and may not be based in reality.

Thanks for your help.
Chau


Offline pcampbell

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 06:37:26 PM »
one of my favorite pizzas is baked in a WFO with a hearth temp of only 550-600F.  The dome is rather high but air temp is HOT.  The pizzas comes out amazing and bake in 5 min.  I think it goes to say (varasano's words here I think), its not so much about the temp but the difference in temps.
Patrick

Offline gabaghool

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 08:29:50 PM »
THANK YOU so much for all the feedback....I THINK, that I may have a road in which to start traveling a studying.  i DEFINATELY am NOT a Neo fan, am DEFINITELY a NY FAN.

Shu
Thanx for the oven suggestion. Thats the oven I used when I did pizzas at ESPN.  They had quite the setup

Jackie
Im gonna READ AND REREAD your threads on hybrid pies, you can bet on it.

Pizzablogger
Thanks for the reply...Im gonna check out TOby's and Best , see what I can learn. Nice excuse for a weekend trip.  Im a bit confused on WHY they would want a gas assist on a WFO.  I worked with one for about a year in an upscale restaurant, doing what they called "stone pies".  If you keep the wood up there, and the gas thermastat low enough, the gas burner basically becomes nothing more than a fire starter and an oven overnight warmer.  Can't say I noticed any difference in how it runs.  But I CAN'T figure out how NY thinking heads think this helps....any idea?

But, no, Im not opening up in Brooklyn.  It will be in Connecticut.

IF I go forward with this, it WILL be strictly to please my sense of "doing something that is GREAT".  The pizza craze has died out in Connecticut.  I currently own 3 places and do about 5000 pizzas a week.  Its a good pizza, not great.  Sometimes, it REALLY great, but not often enough. But my partners what to keep the cost down and the profit up.  We do some good things, things I wont change. All our toppings are fresh, fresh house roasted peppers, house wilted spinach.  We bread our own eggplant and chicken, we make all our own sausage, we use a three day fermentation....so I have a basis to work from.  But , there is no desire to better our product from them and I want to see if I can do it.

I know the first step is deciding on what exactly I want to do.

Jackie-
You consider Bianco's a HYBRID???  How....simply because of the time??

Scott-  thanks for the tip on Vesta's....are spiral mixers really superior to the standard Hobart plan mixer??



Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2011, 11:44:27 PM »
Gabahool, yes I would say that Bianco's falls into the hybrid category for several reasons.  Using Scott123's clock analogy, the hybrid style can vary quite a bit.  If the NP style is at the 12 o'clock position and NY at 6 o'clock position, anything from 1 to 5 can be considered "hybrid".  Some are closer to one style or the other and some are right in the middle.  

In my estimation, Bianco's would be closer to 2- 3 o'clock while places like Totonnos and Patsy's are closer to 5-6 o'oclock.  Keep in mind these are just my thoughts, and I could be totally off basis here.

When I asked Chris how he categorized his pizza, he said it was somewhere between NP and NY.  When I asked him how it differ from NP, he said it is baked 1 minute longer, the cornice is crispier, and he uses an American flour, not Caputo.  When asked how it differ from Patsy's or Di Fara's, he said the oven.  

Chris' pies are 12" plus, so the size is closer to NP.  His sauce tasted to me lacking of spices, and he uses fresh mozz on his pies, along with artisanal styled ingredients.  These are all traits closer to NP than NY.  His bake time is likely in the 3 min range, so midway between.   He uses mother dough plus cake yeast and a cold fermented dough (really neither style). For these reasons, he is closer to a NP style but yet his crust is closer to a NY style crust, so yes his is a hybrid style.

Chau
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 11:50:19 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 09:17:03 AM »
Pizzablogger
Im a bit confused on WHY they would want a gas assist on a WFO. But I CAN'T figure out how NY thinking heads think this helps....any idea?

Re-read my previous e-mail. It's not that the pizzeria owners want the gas assist in there....it's required by local government from what I've been told.

You'll rarely, if ever, see the gas assist operating however. --K
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Offline pizzablogger

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 09:35:20 AM »
Kelly and others, I thought places like Totonno's and Patsy's are more like original style NY pizza, and Bianco's would be more the hybrid pie.  Is this not correct?  I was thinking the hybrid style uses either a blend of flours with protein content somewhere between 12-13% and baked about 3min plus.  The 4-5 plus minute pies seem to fall into NY category.  Of course this is more just my personal ideas and may not be based in reality.

Thanks for your help.
Chau

Actually, from a historical perspective, it could be argued that a place like Di Fara's, which from my last visit in 2010 DeMarco still confirmed the 00/HG mix cited in earlier posts here, is closer to the original NY Style pizza from a flour perspective, being that the high gluten flour now favored by many NY pizzerias was not even available when the original NY pizza houses opened. More "all purpose" type flours were available.

That being said, I would agree that the 4-5 minute bake time employed by Patsy's, Totonno's, etc is indeed the original NY Standard. Nearly every old published article which mentions bake times that I have come across, except for one, cites a 4-5 minute bake time for coal oven pizzerias in NYC. These are the original NY pizzas and I think all the joints in NYC slinging 7,8, even 10+ minute pies may be selling pizza in New York, but they ain't selling NY style pizza. Sorry, hundreds of places do not get a pass because it became acceptable to cut corners and lower standards, period. Sorry for the rant, but I have fallen out of love with the majority of NY-Style pizza (if I was ever in love in the first place)...I've now thrown dozens of partially eaten slices of NY-Style pizza (while in NYC) in the trash can because I do not enjoy eating turds.

I also agree that pies baked over 120 seconds are not "Neapolitan", regardless to whether everything else about such pizzas (preparation, ingredients, etc) are identical to Neapolitan-style protocol. So, yes, pies in the 3-4 minute window would I guess fall into a "hybrid" category, with various flour combinations capable of producing some textural variances in those windows. I dunno, sounds good I guess  :) ???
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Online scott123

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2011, 09:36:57 AM »
Nick, just to be clear, I previously posted that being unique is important, at this present time, for notoriety and that the press most likely isn't going to recognize a phenomenal NY style slice, regardless of how fantastic that slice may be. But that's for notoriety, and, to be honest, I'm not advocating notoriety, I'm advocating great pizza. If your passion is NY/NH, then you should stick to NY/NH, regardless of the lack of attention the press is going to give you. Like I said before, if you make a phenomenal slice, you'll be rolling in money.  This means sticking to a NY/NH recipe AND NY/NH equipment.  

I'm not necessarily saying that great NY style pizza can't be made in a wood fired oven, but it's not, imo, the best tool for the task, and feels more like a marketing gimmick than a tool for making better pizza.  Heat is heat.  A hearth pre-heated to x temp with x thermal mass and x conductivity will brown the bottom of a pizza in exactly the same manner as another hearth with a similar thermodynamic payload. A WFO does expose the crust to a slight amount of smokiness, a trait that's inherent to Neapolitan pizza, but, imo, isn't all that desirable in NY.

Some may ooh and aah when they see a WFO, but when I walk into a pizzeria and see NY pies being made in a wood fired oven, it's basically telling me that if these guys aren't smart enough to buy the right tool for the job, maybe they're dropping the ball in the dough department as well.

Screw the media and their fickle curiosity. Get the hottest gas oven you can find, mod the thermostat, make the best pizza you can possibly make, and in 10 years, when people start getting sick of Neapolitan and remember what they loved about NY, then you'll get your awards.

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2011, 09:38:48 AM »
Great post Scott.  :)
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Online scott123

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2011, 09:57:03 AM »
That being said, I would agree that the 4-5 minute bake time employed by Patsy's, Totonno's, etc is indeed the original NY Standard. Nearly every old published article which mentions bake times that I have come across, except for one, cites a 4-5 minute bake time for coal oven pizzerias in NYC. These are the original NY pizzas and I think all the joints in NYC slinging 7,8, even 10+ minute pies may be selling pizza in New York, but they ain't selling NY style pizza. Sorry, hundreds of places do not get a pass because it became acceptable to cut corners and lower standards, period. Sorry for the rant, but I have fallen out of love with the majority of NY-Style pizza (if I was ever in love in the first place)...I've now thrown dozens of partially eaten slices of NY-Style pizza (while in NYC) in the trash can because I do not enjoy eating turds.

I think it's important to be aware that the journey from 4-5 minute bakes to 7+ bakes didn't happen overnight. There was, from my perspective, a golden age for New York, where just about every street in the outer boroughs had a pizzeria on the corner, the bake times were short AND... the pies were in an entirely different class from the musty old coal oven fare. You can pick up any high school yearbook of that age and, page, after page, favorite food: pizza, over, and over again. First, there was Naples, then you had pizza of the city, then pizza of the boroughs. It was the boroughs that brought it to the masses, that defined NY style, that made it great, not the city.

Roughly speaking, I'm thinking 1970-1995.  After that, pizza became so ubiquitous, so common, so mundane, that pizzerias just stopped giving a crap. Thickness factors increased, oven temps dropped and quality plummeted. And here we end up today, surrounded by mediocre pizza.

But, just because NY style pizza is in the middle of a dark age, it doesn't necessarily mean that we're condemned to dwell here forever.  I don't think we can ever recreate the 80s, but, with enough awareness, enough discourse, such as the discourse you're seeing here, pizza can rise again.

Offline gabaghool

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2011, 10:45:31 AM »
Scott
But, if the HEAT is what is important, not the fuel......WHY would a wood burning oven NOT be just as much "the right tool" as a blodgett, or pizzamaster, gas or electric??  This is a HUGE point for me.  IF really and truly, the heat is boss, than a wood burning oven is far more effective as a tool in a restaurant.

It gives you ambiance.  People love fire.  It gives you a tool that can also be used for other dishes.  Its perfect for an overnight slow cook.  And in the pizza world, where INDIVIDUAL tastes stand out more than just about any other type of food I know, it makes you a bit different.  

And I must admit.  Working a WFO as opposed to a plain DECK OVEN, is night and day.  I realize training is gonna be harder...but when I work a WFO, I FEEL different.  More artistic, more excited!!  I can't explain it, but it sure isn't hum drum.  Believe me, opening and closing and reading BLODGETT for 4 hours a night isn't an exciting thing.  I just think a WFO can bring out the ROMANCE of making pizza.  It sounds dumb but I can't explain it any other way.

Thats the thing with pizza.  When you ask 1000 people what their favorite pizza is....you can MORE answers than if you asked about some other food.  SOME people LOOOOVE Pepe's in NH......others, NOT only dislike Pepes', but LOATH it.  I mean are disgusted by it.  That is the task you face when you open a pizza place.  IF you decide you want to make a style of pizza you like, you STILL have to make sure ENOUGH people like it so you can stay in business.  Thats just a fact.  

So, with that, can you tell me why a WFO isn't the right tool for NY style pizza?  BUt, coal is??  I know historically, thats true.  ANd I am NOT being arguementive, I simply want to THINK in the way you and othes thing on this board.  That way I can make my own decisions, WHILE understanding what is important or not.

Isn't Lucali's doing a NY style hybrid in a wood oven??

Again, a million thanks for ALL THE COMMENTS.

Oh, Pizzablogger...I understood what your email said.  I didn't respond CLEARLY.  I was asking why would the NY HEALTH AND OR FIRE department WANT a gas backup.....thanks.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 10:50:57 AM by gabaghool »

Offline gabaghool

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Re: SIMPLE QUESTION, NOT SO SIMPLE ANSWER?
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2011, 10:48:23 AM »
But, just because NY style pizza is in the middle of a dark age, it doesn't necessarily mean that we're condemned to dwell here forever.  I don't think we can ever recreate the 80s, but, with enough awareness, enough discourse, such as the discourse you're seeing here, pizza can rise again.



And THATS what I want to do.  I say NY style because thats the type of pizza I like the most.  But, IF I ever come to the end of my road and accomplish what I consider the perfect pie....it may not FIT the NY mold in all areas.....


 

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