Author Topic: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?  (Read 69493 times)

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Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2006, 08:26:24 PM »
Hi there again - I haven't yet been able to try the recipe but I now have all the ingredients! I should be able to try it out this week and will post pictures and notes!

One thing of interest that I thought I'd share is this: many people have suggested that I check out the Round Table pizza, as the cooking method and stuff sounded really similar to Donatos.

I'd never heard of Round Table pizza until finding this board and had never eaten in until this past month!! So I finally got to taste-test it!!

I'll say up front that it was very good! However, I also have to say that it tasted absolutely nothing like Donatos. It was very much a bread-like crust - thicker with nice air bubbles. Much closer to a NY-American style pizza in my eyes than a Donatos style pizza.

I found that all pretty interesting, and was really excited to try it when we were visiting a friend in California. He thought I was nuts! :)

Anyhow, for what its worth - following a Round Table recipe is certainly not the way to go. Though it really looks like Petezza is on the right trail! I'm excited to try to recipe and help out!


Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2006, 03:42:10 AM »
Oh my...i've been missing for a while.

Looks like i'll have to bust out the mixer tomorrow. I'm excited.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2006, 10:30:51 AM »
Philip,

From some of your previous posts, and knowing that you originally came from Ohio (where Donatos has a very major presence), I wondered when I would hear from you :). That's good, and I hope you will give the Donatos dough clone a try. I have never had a Donatos pizza so the more opinions we can muster the better. It may well be that we will never be able to exactly replicate the Donatos pizzas, because of dough formulation differences and/or dough management differences, but I think we will come up with a very good pizza nonetheless, as I have already demonstrated. As previously noted, there are dough ingredients that we, as home pizza makers, do not have available to us, and we don't start with frozen dough or use commercial proofers. Also, in my case at least, I do not have a perforated disk (with the right number of holes and spacings) available to me at the moment to experiment with. It may well be that the disks are specifically designed exclusively for Donatos.

Peter

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2006, 12:39:44 PM »
I'll get working on this tonight, when I get back from work.

Pete, if I may ask, what brand of 'dried dairy whey' do you use and/or where can I find it?

Philip

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2006, 01:00:51 PM »
Philip,

I originally got my dairy whey from the bulk bins at Whole Foods, but the WF store I frequent no longer carries it in the bins. However, I believe it offers the Bob's Red Mill brand, as shown here: https://www.bobsredmill.com/catalog/index.php?action=showdetails&product_ID=412. King Arthur also sells their brand of the same product but the price is likely to be much higher.

If you end up liking the results of the Donatos dough clone, you might also want to look for some baker's grade (high heat) nonfat dry milk, which will eliminate the need to liquefy the supermarket stuff and scald and cool it before using. I recently ordered the baker's grade nonfat dry milk and am awaiting its delivery. King Arthur also sells a comparable product. A bag each of dried dairy whey and baker's grade nonfat dry milk will last a long time at the rate we would be using it.

Peter

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2006, 01:38:58 PM »
Your second pie looks pretty close (shockingly so considering you have only seen a handful of pictures and we know relatively little about the dough...) to the outcome we're looking for, especially the charred crispys on the outer rim.

Sadly, Donatos has pulled out of the Pennsylvania market and, even though it was over an hour drive to the nearest store, it will be sorely missed by my family. We made a drive out to the store we normally go to only to find it boarded up. I don't know why, as the stores are constantly busy, but I know they are now trying to focus more on their Florida market right now. Ah well, just some more incentive to work on the recipe at home.

I wanted to make a note to Wazatron- the reason a lot of people think the Donato's pizza is greasy is because of the provolone cheese. If you aren't from Ohio (or St. Louis, apparently), provolone is a fairly odd cheese to use 100% on top of the pizza. Look at the other larger national chains, none of them use a provolone based cheese topping, it's a pretty foreign idea to most home consumers and is one of the reasons they didn't do so well in a few markets that they tried to break in to (when they were owned by McDonalds). Provolone doesn't have a significantly higher fat content but the oils that come from the cheese are a bright orange- when combined with the fat from the high quality pepperoni and other meats it can appear to be quite greasy. It certainly doesn't taste it though!


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #31 on: July 27, 2006, 02:58:56 PM »
Philip,

The important input that Wazatron provided was the list of ingredients, which I presume were in the order of predominance (by weight). Without that, I don't think we would have a chance of getting close to the Donatos dough. With it, and knowing typical and "safe" levels of salt, sugar, eggs, etc., I think we have a chance. Of course, we will have to await more results to get a better idea.

If I were able to find a perforated disk that is the same as what Donatos uses, that would what I would want to experiment with. I think that Donatos may be using a pizza dough cutter ring to manually cut out skins from a rolled out dough (most likely one run through a sheeter or other dough forming piece of equipment). A typical price for a pizza dough cutter is around $35 for a 12"-14" size. So, unless you plan to make a lot of pizzas, it may be better (and a lot cheaper) to use a pizza screen as a template to get a rough skin size. In my case, I used my cutter pan (solid) to be able to get all the stuff on the pizza to the very edge. Absent a perforated disk such as Donatos uses, I think the cutter pan, together with the bake protocol I used, to be a good way to proceed for now. I don't think using a pizza screen will get us close enough.

Peter

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #32 on: July 27, 2006, 03:50:53 PM »
Hey there Flagpull! This is great! I was hoping you'd find your way back to this thread eventually. The more people we have that can accurately describe Donatos and experiment with Pete's home-clone here the better!

I'm also very glad you asked about the whey, as it looks like I got the wrong stuff! I'll have to swing by Whole Paycheck(foods) tonight or tomorrow in order to get the dough going as soon as I can.

Thanks all!!
~Waz

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2006, 07:29:40 PM »
When I was buying screens a few months ago I did get the traditional aluminum screen that we see and use every day but I also got another screen, much thicker with bigger, evenly spaced holes. That is the screen that I plan to use for the pizza tomorrow. It will provide an even and sturdy surface to bake on the stone.

I tried to find a picture but I can't remember where I bought it from. :P

Waz- I took a bit of a break from my every night pizza making, this thread will probably get me back into it.

Philip


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2006, 07:40:09 PM »
Philip,

The type of perforated disk I was talking about is shown here: http://www.pizzatools.com/productdisplay.aspx?catid=56. Given a choice, I would pick the disks with the PSTK coating.

Peter

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2006, 07:48:03 PM »
Hi there Pete - I actually bought one of those discs from that site a few months back in preparation for various Donatos attempts - my question is, would I place that directly on my pizza stone, or perhaps set on a rack a few notches above the stone?

I'll be making the dough this weekend so I'll be able to cook it and post results sometime next week!

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2006, 08:31:14 PM »
Yep, that's the one that i've got!

Waz- With other cooking methods (american style) i've tried i've cooked the screen directly on the stone, the seems to work pretty well.

Philip

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2006, 08:48:34 PM »
Waz,

This is one of those areas that may require some experimentation. As you know, Donatos uses conveyors to bake its pizzas. So I think you should be able to bake the pizza on the disk without using a stone. You might put the disk with the pizza on it on the lowest oven rack position so that it gets good heat from the bottom heating element and then lower the oven temperature and move the pizza up a rack or two to bake longer at the lower temperature. The reason for doing this is to drive out more moisture from the crust and allow it to become crispy. This is one of the hardest things to do with a crust that contains eggs. When I made the last Donatos style pizza, I started with 500 degrees oven temperature and lowered it to 450 degrees when I moved the pizza up higher in the oven. I think those temperatures may work in your case also. Since you will be using only the disk and no stone, you will have to use your judgment as to how much time the pizza should spend at the two oven rack positions. I usually move the pizza from a lower oven rack position to a higher one when I see that the bottom crust is nicely browned but not yet done. The pizza will finish baking and achieve greater crispiness in the crust at the higher oven rack position, at the lowered oven temperature. 

Another possibility is to just put the disk with the pizza on it at only one oven rack position and use a lower oven temperature, say, 435-450 degrees F, and leave it there until the pizza looks like it is done. This would be an approximate simulation of what is done by Donatos in its conveyor ovens. Whether it will work well enough in a home oven and produce a nice crispy bottom crust, while having a properly baked top, is hard to predict. Conveyor ovens have top and bottom "fingers" that can be adjusted to achieve the right balance between baking the tops and bottoms of pizzas. With a home oven, all we can do is adjust temperatures and pizza positions. So it may take a few experiments to determine what works best. If good results are not forthcoming, we can always try the method I used with that last Donatos style pizza, that is, use a combination of the disk and preheated stone.

You didn't indicate whether you have the coated or uncoated disk. The dark, coated disk will bake the pizza faster because it absorbs heat rather than reflecting it. The uncoated (aluminum) disk may require a longer bake time and/or a higher oven temperature because it reflects more heat than the dark disk.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 27, 2006, 09:01:31 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #38 on: July 28, 2006, 09:59:13 AM »
Hi there Pete - I have a coated 14" disk. My guess is Flagpull will be able to cook his before my dough is ready, so however he ends up cooking his I'll try an alternate method so we can have some different results to work with!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2006, 10:54:45 AM »
Waz and Philip,

I don't know how Donatos does it, but one of the trickiest steps may be how to get a proofed skin on the disk--that is, proof the skin while on the disk or proof it separately and then transfer it to the disk. The concern is that the dough as it is proofing, especially in a humid environment, may fill in some of the holes in the disk and stick to it so that it is hard to separate the two after baking.

I assume also that the cornmeal would either be scattered over the disk (some will fall though the holes, of course) or somehow adhered to the bottom of the skin that is put in contact with the disk. For example, the bottom of the skin might be coated with a bit of vegetable oil and the cornmeal sprinkled over that to adhere to it, and the skin then flipped over onto the disk. I think you can see some of the logistical problems. Maybe Donatos somehow incorporates the cornmeal into the dough or into the surface during the sheeting process, before proofing, and then put the skins "naked" into the proofer on racks to proof. It might then be possible to slip a disk under the skin. However they do it, the process has to be idiot-proof.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #40 on: July 28, 2006, 03:41:22 PM »
Waz and Philip,

To get a better handle on how Donatos may be handling its dough skins, today I did a fair amount of online research. Through one of the searches I conducted on Google, I found an item that had been sold on eBay that was a proofer/utility rack combination that the seller indicated came from a Donatos location. The information provided was sketchy, but through several additional searches I was able to track down and identify the proofer manufacturer as Wilder (whose products are sold by a Middleby Marshall company called nu-vu in Michigan) and the source of the utility racks as Cres Cor.

To get further information on the Wilder proofer, I called nu-vu and spoke with a salesperson about how the above arrangement would work for the application that we have been considering in which a docked dough skin is proofed on a perforated disk. She was generally familiar with the Donatos application, and while she did not know exactly how Donatos manages their dough skins, she suggested that the skins are most likely placed on disks that have been pre-sprayed with a bit of oil spray and allowed to proof on wire shelves or grids (not solid sheet pans) in the proofer, typically for about a half hour or so. She added that the skins are most likely docked before putting them on disks, since otherwise the dough could be pushed into the opening in the disks, and docking the dough while on the disks could also scratch the disks. Once a skin has proofed, she believes that Donatos flips the disk over onto another disk on which the pizza is to be baked. The flipping step insures that the skin completely releases from the disk on which it was proofed. I was told that the same procedure can also be used with pizza screens. So, if all you have is a single disk, maybe the proofing can be done on a screen. That way, you can flip the skin from the screen onto the single disk. If you have two disks, I would use them both.

I don't know exactly where the cornmeal fits into the picture, but I believe that if you put the cornmeal on top of the skin, either before or after proofing (although I think after may be better), then when you flip the skin over the cornmeal side should be on the disk, just where you want it to be. I think I would oil the skin quite liberally before adding the cornmeal since this will improve the adherence of the cornmeal to the skin and also produce a somewhat "fried" and crispy effect such as you noted in my photos when I used a liberally oiled cutter pan.

All of the above seems quite logical to me for what we are trying to do.

Peter


Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2006, 05:07:47 PM »
Awesome Pete! I will definitely follow that proofing guide.

However, I can see already that I might have a problem with proofing. My 14 inch pizza disk won't fit in my microwave. With the oven needing plenty of time to preheat I'm not sure how/where I'll be able to effectively proof my dough with humidity. Do you have any thoughts?

I also thought I'd share that I found the dried dairy whey at Vitamin Cottage - Whole Foods did not carry it. However, one thing I did find at Whole Foods was Xanthan Gum, from that Red Mills company. Pete - would it be worth picking up a bag of this to try it out in the clone sauce recipe, since technically it's in there? The description on the package was basically stating it was a great gluten-free thickening agent (makes sense, considering Donatos sauce is pretty thick). And if so, the only other 'missing' ingredient would be citric acid, which I'm assuming could be found somewhere if Xanthan Gum can be! :)

Finally for baking - based on what you said about conveyor ovens and home-oven rack management, I thought that perhaps something to try would be to place the pizza on the lowest rack in the oven and then place the pizza stone on a 2nd rack a few rack-notches above the pizza, thus producing a more form-fitting oven, if you will. Does this sound like a reasonable thing to try?

A picture of my 'tools', left to right: Canola Oil (is this okay, or should I get Vegetable oil?), IDY, Nonfat Dry Milk, Dried Dairy Whey, KA Bread Flour, and pizzatools.com coated disk.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2006, 07:31:22 PM »
Waz,

Unless you are preheating a stone, it shouldn't take that much time for your oven to get up to temperature. So, I think you should be able to use your oven as the "proofer" and, about 15-30 minutes before you plan to make the pizza, take the risen skin out of the oven and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap until you are ready to use it. As you are doing that, you can heat the oven to the desired temperature. By the time you sauce, cheese and top the pizza, I think the oven should be ready.

Otherwise, I think any plastic item or Styrofoam container that is big enough and deep enough to accommodate both the skin and a Pyrex cup should work well enough as a proofer. In a pinch, I think you might be able to use a medium-size trash bag, preferably one that you can see through, put the skin/disk and Pyrex cup in the bag (I would do this on a large flat surface), gather up the bag at the opening and blow it up (I use a straw), and wrap a tie around the gathered up ends. The bag should stay inflated long enough for your purposes.

As for the Xanthan Gum and citric acid, I don't think I would worry about them for now. If you decide that you like the results--which you should know fairly quickly--then you can always decide whether you want to try to be more authentic with the Donatos sauce. BTW, most canned tomatoes already contain citric acid. However, if you decide to use tomatoes without citric acid, then you can always buy the citric acid. It is sold in many places.

I don't think I would use the pizza stone as you propose. Doing that would be more like simulating a deck oven rather than a conveyor oven. Again, that is something you can experiment with at a later date if it looks like it is warranted.

Using canola oil is fine, although in the name of authenticity with the Donatos dough clone you may want to try soybean oil sometime. I might add that canola oil is a vegetable oil. Soybean oil is often used by professionals because it is a fairly cheap oil.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 28, 2006, 07:54:36 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline deb415611

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2006, 07:50:44 PM »


Otherwise, I think any plastic item or Styrofoam container that is big enough and deep enough to accommodate both the skin and a Pyrex cup should work well enough as a proofer. In a pinch, I think you might be able to use a medium-size trash bag, preferably one that you can see through, put the skin/disk and Pyrex cup in the bag (I would do this on a large flat surface), gather up the bag at the opening and blow it up (I use a straw), and wrap a tie around the gathered up ends. The bag should stay inflated long enough for your purposes.



I use the newer XL ziploc bags for proofing some things.  A half sheet pan fits so your pizza disk may fit also.  The plastic is a thicker than the regular bags and I just pull the top up and haven't had any problems with it falling down and sticking to what I was proofing.  I have used for things like bagels &  cinnamon rolls.  The big plus is that they are safe for food unlike some trash bags.  They are a little expensive - I think I paid 6 or 7 dollars for the package of four but I just wash them out and reuse them. 
Deb

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #44 on: July 29, 2006, 01:40:14 PM »
Some odds and ends relating to this project:

1) The idea of using a trash can liner came from Nancy Silverton from her book Breads From the LaBrea Bakery. However, I think Deb’s suggestion warrants investigation. If a large Styrofoam container can be located (easier said than done, I discovered), then it is possible to construct a proofing box using the instructions given at Reply 6 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,403.msg4887.html#msg4887. It is easy to control the temperature of such a proofing box but the humidity is a hit or miss affair and, to be measured, a hygrometer (preferably a digital one) would be required. I have discovered that good digital hygrometers, especially those with remote sensor probes, are quite expensive.

2) Typical operating ranges for temperature and humidity for commercial proofers when used to proof pizza dough are 90-105 degrees F and 75-85%. A simple test to determine whether a proofed dough has been sufficiently proofed in such a proofer is to use the well known finger test. If the dough springs back after a finger has been pressed into the dough, the dough is not quite ready. If the depression remains, the dough is ready.

3) I experimented with heating a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup filled with water in my microwave unit and found that I needed to heat the water to around 150 degrees F to get the microwave chamber to around 100 degrees F. That temperature held within the above-mentioned range of 90-105 degrees F for about an hour. So, using 4 cups of water heated to about 150 degrees F seems to work. To get the water temperature to 150 degrees F, I used the temperature probe setting of my microwave unit. The maximum size pizza screen/disk my microwave unit can handle is 14 inches.

4) I revisited the original ingredients list for the Donatos dough formulation that Waz provided and feel comfortable with the ingredients I have specified to date for the clone. I have not been able to determine the precise purpose of the maltodextrin in the dough, but the other ingredients do not seem to be absolutely necessary for our purposes. I actually think that our clone dough formulation may be “better” than the original because our dough will be fresh and not frozen/defrosted. It will have received a healthy dose of fermentation, and it will not be using chemical additives and preservatives. However, it is possible that Waz and Philip and other Donatos fans may have been conditioned by the Donatos dough and its ingredients that they may actually prefer it. To drive this point home, one needs only to take a look at the ingredients used by Little Caesars in the dough for its pepperoni pizza, at http://pizzakit.com/lcpk_itk_ingredients.asp. Yet, people swear by the LC crust and often request recipes for the dough or that our members try to reverse engineer it.

5) One possible change for future experiments with the Donatos dough clone may be to use a bromated flour, principally for the effects of the bromate (potassium bromate) in helping retain the proofed dough in its risen state just before baking. Using soybean oil is another possible choice for a future experiment since that is the oil specified in the Donatos ingredients list.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 10:53:09 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline deb415611

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #45 on: July 29, 2006, 03:33:49 PM »
Peter,

Here are pictures of the ziploc.  One has a half sheet pan in it .  It's hard to tell but the bag does not touch the pan at all - I also put in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup for reference.  The other (which my photo program did something funky to) is the bag with a 16 inch screen. 

It should give you an idea of how things would fit.  The box has the dimensions of 2 ft x 1.7 ft.

I originally purchased the bags to brine a turkey in.  I checked the website before buying to make sure they were food grade. 

Deb
Deb

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #46 on: July 29, 2006, 04:20:45 PM »
Deb,

Thank you very much for taking the photos. I will have to look for the bags in the supermarket.

Peter

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #47 on: July 30, 2006, 11:37:50 PM »
Okay! So tonight I made my first attempt at Pete’s Donatos recipe. Overall I must say it was a success, but there’s a lot of room to grow. I’ll start at the beginning.

First off – I followed Pete’s recipe and procedure for making the dough. One thing I learned is my scale sucks! I’ve not had any problems with it before, but I’ve never tried to use it for fine measurements like 8 grams. It wouldn’t even register, so I tried to stick with the measuring spoon measurements as close as possible (it’s a Salter 1001).  The dough formed up very nicely and seemed to have a good slightly tacky sheen to it. I didn’t have a coverable container, so I put it in a stainless-steel mixing bowl with a double covering of plastic wrap tied down with a rubber band around the rim. It was in the refrigerator for just about 50 hours.

The problems I did have came with dough management. The procedure I decided to follow was:
•   Warm up at room temperature for 1 hour
•   Roll out, using a rolling pin, to 14 inches
•   Dock and place on a disk or screen (docked side down) to proof.
•   Proof in oven with six-cups water (in large pyrex) at 150-degree F for 1/2 hour.
•   Liberally oil ‘back’ of pizza and dust with cornmeal
•   Flip onto another disk for baking

The dough was pretty wet/oily around the bottom and some stuck to the bowl when I pulled it out. I floured up by work area and didn’t have much trouble rolling it out to 14”. However it quickly got stickier and tackier as it warmed up with the roll out.

I cut it out by pressing my 14” cutter pan onto the dough – which was a big mistake. This really “stuck” the dough to my work area, as I didn’t have enough flour down. I had to basically pull up the dough, which stretched it out waaaaaay too thin and also gave me some thicker edges. I had to hand-pull it back out to a round shape once I got it onto the disk for proofing, which helped to make it even thinner (see picture below).

I proofed it for the ˝ hour, and tested it with the finger-press test before pulling it out. I didn’t have another disk so I lubed up a sheet pan with PAM and tried to flip it onto the sheet pan. It didn’t come off cleanly, and got distorted again in the process.

Once on the sheet pan I sprayed the backside of the dough with PAM and liberally sprinkled cornmeal all over. Then I again flipped it back onto the disk for the final time to bake. This whole process really mangled the dough and got it just really, really way too thin.

From here I sauced it, topped it, and put it into a pre-heated 425 oven. As soon as it went in I put it up to 450 so that I made sure the oven wasn’t in an off-cycle when the ‘za first went in. I baked it at 450 until “done”, by simply an eyeball test.

Here are the pictures of the dough – I’ll follow up right away with my “results” post and additional pictures.



« Last Edit: July 31, 2006, 01:17:03 AM by Wazatron »

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2006, 12:04:56 AM »
I suppose first I should note my toppings. I made a ‘clone’ sauce using nothing but the stated “Donatos” ingredients in a previous post. I used 100% mild provolone cheese, ˝ margarita pepperoni ˝ Ezzo pepperoni, and fresh sliced mushrooms.

So how did it come out? 

The “look” test:
I must say my attempt physically looked nothing like Donatos. I attribute this mostly to my dough problems – my edges were too thick and I wasn’t able to get the nice crispies that Donatos has.

Also, I believe I cooked it too long. Philip talked about how the oil from provolone is an orange color – well I think I cooked it too long and rendered out too much of the oil, as my pizza was very, very orange. Donatos pizza’s never come out actually looking very orange.

Another item was the chosen pepperoni – neither brands looked, cooked, or tasted like Donatos, which had a much greater overall impact on the taste than I had expected. One thing – I had a very hard time cutting it very thin. Donatos pepperoni is nice and thin. It is in much bigger ‘rounds’ than I had, gets much ‘crisper’ without completely crater-ing, and has more of a brown color, whereas both of the pepperonis I used had kind of a bright-red color.

The “cut” and “crust” test:
The pizza cut very easily and the edges were nice and crisp, though not equivalent to the real-deal. Here’s where I discovered the biggest success of the evening – the bottom of the crust was almost dead-on to Donatos. It looked the same, it had the same texture and mouth feel, and had a nice crisp to it. That was definitely the most exciting part.

The most disappointing part was since I mad the dough so friggin’ thin by accident most of the pizza was a floppy mess. There was simply not enough dough to try and get any soft and spongey middle.

The “flavor” test:
One thing I really missed was the sauce. My sauce was too thick, and too overpowering of that “paste” taste. It was a very dark, deep red where Donatos sauce is much lighter. I applied too much too thick. Although it was very hard to work the sauce on the dough very much without pushing the dough through the holes in the disk. My sauce recipe needs a lot of work. Now I’m not disappointed I didn’t track how much of what I was adding. 

The pepperonis also tasted good, but wrong. The thickness and non-crsipiness of them really made it taste non-Donatos.

The crust had a nice flavor, but again it was hard to really judge it due to how it came out. However any lacking of the crust I believe was, again, my fault. There were absolutely a number of bites where both myself and my girlfriend were able to “taste” the Donatos in there. We’re absolutely on the right track.

If any other central-ohio pizza fans are out there, it might be interesting to note that this pizza tasted a lot like Granddads, which is a very similar style pizza to Donatos.

So what I’ve written might sound kind of negative, but I’m very happy with this as a first attempt, especially since I’m a pretty novice pizza maker. Between how Pete’s pizza looks (much closer to Donatos than my attempt) and how mine turned out I’m very excited to keep experimenting. I’m also very excited to see how Philips attempt comes out.

For my next attempt I need to focus on:
1.   Dough management!! The bottom of the crust was PERFECT – but all the flipping needs to be more idiot proof. Haha
2.   Sauce
3.   Cooking time
4.   Pepperoni.

Below are some comparison pictures, illustrating the differences between my clone and Donatos in 1) overall pizza, 2) bottom of crust, 3) pizza with topping scraped off (sorry for the blur) and 4) side-shot of crust.

Again, thanks to everyone who’s helped here! This has been really fun, and it’s going to keep getting better!!

~Waz

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #49 on: July 31, 2006, 01:14:58 AM »
Okay, one more post before bedtime....  ;D

After my troubles with toppings, I thought I'd post a couple more pics of Donatos, specifically a closeup of their pepperoni - they also shake/sprinkle some kid of spice blend on them as well, which you can see in this pic.
Thanks all!