Author Topic: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?  (Read 60676 times)

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Online 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.

Online 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. 

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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

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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 ½ 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, ½ margarita pepperoni ½ 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!


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #50 on: July 31, 2006, 09:50:13 AM »
Waz,

All things considered, I think you did a terrific job. I mean, just look at the photos. If you hadn't indicated which photos were which I don't think I could have told the difference based on the Donatos photos you posted. I thought the toughest part of the project would be getting the right degree of crispiness and bottom coloring of the crust. Yet, it looks like you nailed it the first time out. I agree that that is a significant accomplishment. 

As I previously indicated, the protocol for handling the skin leaves much to be desired. Now you can see why I suggested the use of a solid cutter pan. Yet I am confident that we will be able to develop a "system" for handling the skins.

Just looking at your dough and skin, it strike me that the dough was considerably wetter than mine, at every stage. Except for the flour, water and egg, which I weighed on my scale, I used the volume measurements for the rest of the ingredients. I have a second scale that can weigh those ingredients in very small quantities, but I have found that the volume measurements are quite close. This isn't surprising since I use very accurate data for converting weights of those ingredients to volumes.

It's quite possible that the dough got too much fermentation--between the time spent in the refrigerator (50 hours), the time on the bench warming up (1 hour), and the proofing in the oven (1/2 hour). Next time, you may want to use, say, 24 hours cold fermentation, and possibly skip the 1 hour on the bench. Summer time can be quite hard on doughs.

Your skin also looks a lot thinner than mine. Mine had no transparency at all, even when I was lifting the dough. So, there are some issues here that will have to be resolved. But, once resolved, I think you will see that the skin handling protocol will resolve itself, or at least be much better than what you experienced. It looks like the dough has to be on the dry side to survive the multiple flipping/docking protocol.

Once you get the dough management and baking protocol under better control, I think you will be able to do a better comparison with the Donatos style pizza. Getting the sauce and pepperoni right will also be a step forward because it won't be a distraction from the crust, which also has to be right if you are to be happy with it.

I am optimistic that you will get closer to the goal you have set for yourself. There may well be some need to adjust the dough formulation, but the best time to do that is when you have licked the dough management issues.

Peter




Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #51 on: July 31, 2006, 02:08:43 PM »
Hi there Pete! Yes, I was really, really happy with the bottom of the crust! And like you said that's gotta be one of the most difficult aspects, so having that to start with was nice.

I definitely have to fix the dough management and I've got some ideas. As for the "summer" messing with the dough, that definitely could have had something to do with it. It's been over 100 - or at least in the upper 90s - here lately, and it was VERY hot in my kitchen when working with the dough. Although in Denver, even when it's hot, it's rarely ever humid so I've never thought of cutting back on the water much. Although I'll probably do that to begin with next time.

A couple other interesting notes I found while doing some more research during lunch today:
Pepperoni - I won't spend much time on this subject since it should really be in another forum (I've already started looking through the site) but I found this quote from a Donatos spokeman.

Quote
"Donatos originated the 'Edge to Edge' pizza, which doesn't have a rim of dough," says company spokesman Tom Santor. "As a result, we can put at least 100 pieces of pepperoni on each large 14-inch pepperoni pizza. The pepperoni goes on top of a layer of aged smoked provolone - we don't use mozzarella cheese - so it can cook properly and so the flavors blend well. Thanks to the proprietary formula for our pepperoni, which is about 25 percent leaner than most, the finished pizza has 'edge-to-edge' coverage without excessive oil."

That was another thing I noticed about the brands I used last night - they were pretty oily, and the pizza overall was pretty oily as well.

The other quote I found on dough management (this was in an interview with Grote that took place AFTER he bought the company back from McD's):

Quote
McDonald’s also freed Grote to focus on food, which he calls his strong suit. When asked whether Donatos’ pizza was changed while under McDonald’s – as many long-time Donatos customers insist it was - he chuckled.
"It’s horse hockey," he said. "That’s what I was most nervous about after the acquisition, especially with our classic thin crust. The only thing we did was developed a proofing system that proofed it longer and gave it a little more flavor. We’ve got the same dough recipe, the same sauce, the same pepperoni - those specs are tied in as tight as you can tie them."


Oh, and one more note on your thoughts - yes, the dough was very transparent and I was very scared I was going to tear it all up and be finished before I started. When I first rolled it out it wasn't that thin and transparent, but with all the problems I had in trying to get the dough from one surface to another (it would stick, and stretch, and fold over on itself - like working with a big sheet of plastic wrap that keeps sticking to itself  :D ) by the end it was just horribly thinned out and transparent like that. I might try using the cutter pan to proof in next time so I can lay the dough over it and cut it nicely into the pan. Then I should more easily be able to flip it out onto the disk, especially if I make sure the cutter is oiled well enough before using it.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2006, 02:19:21 PM by Wazatron »

Offline pkasten

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #52 on: August 01, 2006, 10:48:03 PM »
a quick stab at the xanthan gum thing..  i might be a bit off base, but i've got a quick observation to share.  the stuff is pretty cool.  it's a powerful thickener that gelatinizes at temperatures as low as the mid 30's F.  by the way, great job on the pizza.  i have family in ohio, and have enjoyed donatos on a few occasions...

i just noticed that you seemed to get a lot more sauce penetration of the dough, and think that the xanthan gum may be difference.  my guess is that the thicker, more gelatinous sauce doesn't seep into the dough quite as much.


-paul

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2006, 11:33:35 PM »
Paul,

You may be correct on the Xanthan gum. Donatos has the dough management down to a science, and to be able to operate at high volumes they will usually find it necessary to use all kinds of additives and preservatives in their doughs and sauces to achieve those volumes on a consistent basis. My recollection is that Donatos pre-sauces and maybe pre-cheeses their skins. If the pre-sauced skins sit around too long, the sauce can migrate into the dough and create a gum line. Using a thickened sauce reduces that likelihood or at least slows it down enough for their purposes. That may be where the Xanthan gum comes into the picture. I completely missed that point before. Good thinking, Paul. Of course, that shouldn't be a problem for Waz in a home setting, but it helps explain the possible purpose for using the Xanthan gum.

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #54 on: August 03, 2006, 10:44:34 AM »
Yee-haw! I was able to try out the Donatos pizza again last night and made significant gains. There’s still work to be done, and I’d like to ask for some advice on direction at this point, but it’s getting closer and closer!

First of all I made some changes to the dough recipe based on how wet my dough was last time. Here’s what I did:

•   Bread Flour - 202 g
•   Water – a tiny bit more than 1/3 cup (down from ½ cup)
•   Egg - .75 oz (up from .5 oz)
o   This might have really just added the water I took out back in, but I was curious if I’d get a better golden color on the crust (not that we were very far off though)
•   Vegetable oil – 1 ½ t (down from 1 ¾)
•   Salt – 5/8 t
•   Dried Dairy Whey – very full 1t
•   Nonfat dry milk – 2 ¼ t
•   Sugar ½ t
•   IDY 1/3 t

Same prep procedure. The dough was less wet, which was nice. It got a 24 rise in the fridge. However… the dough didn’t rise very much at all and was very tough to roll out. I had a pretty decent rise with the last one.

Dough Management:
Once I got the dough rolled out to 14” on a heavier-floured counter I placed it over my cutter pan and cut it out with my rolling pin into the pan. The pan was well oiled with veg oil, but not so much that oil would roll around and pool if you picked up and tilted the pan.

It got a 40 min. proof in the oven with 6 cups of water at 190 degrees (got impatient at getting it to 200).

I did have some problems at this point. The dough had a nice moist vacuum seal and was very, very stuck to the cutter pan. Before really trying to get it out I again oiled the back (sprayed it with pam olive oil) and sprinkled on the cornmeal. Then I put the disk on top and flipped it over and tried to tap it out. No good. I had to get a spatula and lift up the edges before I got enough loose that gravity helped pull the rest out.

It fell on to the disk a bit folded in parts, so I again had to stretch it out a bit but not as bad as last time – no transparency. Also, instead of trying to gather up the edges back onto the disk, I just cut off any overhang to avoid big edges.

The dough was pretty moist from the proofing, but in good shape. I then sauced and topped.

This time I started the oven out at 450 and went up to 475 when the pizza went in. My aim was to cook it hotter and quicker to avoid over-cooking the cheese. However, this time I overcooked the pizza. It was just too hot. I burned the bottom a bit (pics below).

Result:
This was a great attempt! The bottom was still spot on, other than the burnt-ness (pics below). The flavor was really, really great. Without having a real Donatos side-by-side it’s hard to say exactly how close it was, but it was very very very close!!! The extra egg really helped pull out the flavor. The other great success was the “top” of the cooked dough. The top had a soft spongy feel to it, and didn’t “hold” onto the sauce as much (though I think a lot of that problem was my last sauce). Very successful!!

Problems:
Not too many really. The biggest problem was that the dough was still waaay too thin. While the bottom was still good and the top was perfect, there was no middle-strata layer with that soft English-muffin kind of consistency.

Like I said I had trouble rolling it out, and to get it to 14” it was just too thin to begin with, and I got no real rise I the cooking. So I’m guessing I need more yeast? Or maybe just more dough overall so 14” rolled out isn’t as thin? I’m not sure which way to go here.

The sauce was much better too. After some experimenting I’m very happy with the following:
•   1 6oz can tomato paste
•   1 6oz can (same can) of water
•   1 ½ t sugar
•   1 t salt
•   1 t basil
•   1/8 t paprika

I’m sure more tinkering can be done for an even more authentic flavor, but it was the perfect consistency, went on nice and thin with a bright color, and had a wonderful Donatos flavor!! The biggest difference this time was that I cooked the last one (not sure why, looking back) whereas I just mixed this together when I made the dough and let it sit in the fridge overnight as well. Good stuff!

Questions:
So along with the dough ingredient/quantity questions above I’m also not sure which direction I should go with cooking time. It’s still more of an “orange” pizza than Donatos ever is, which makes me think it’s still cooking too long, but I’m pretty sure those conveyors take like 14 min. to cook the pizza, so I’m not sure how they get away with it. And the pizza is still too flat, without that nice chewy middle strata.

The best part of the evening was when my girlfriend got home and the first thing she said was “It smells like Donatos in here!” Always a good sign!!! haha

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #55 on: August 03, 2006, 01:36:39 PM »
Waz,

I'm glad to read that you are still moving forward even though some improvements are still required. It is especially good to know that the flavors are very close to a Donatos pizza, which is, of course, a very significant accomplishment, along with achieving the degree of crispiness and crust browning characteristic of the Donatos style. After reviewing your comments, here are my thoughts and suggestions:

1) I think we should stick with the increased amount of eggs. Having looked more closely recently at the Donatos photos you provided, especially the crust color, I tentatively came to the conclusion that Donatos was more likely using more eggs than we elected to start with. The threshhold level to detect eggs in a finished crust is about 5% by weight of flour, and we elected to use 7%. But, since Donatos makes a big deal about the eggs, I suspect they use more than 7%.

2) You might want to try using a bromated all-purpose flour, as I did with the initial Donatos dough clone. Donatos uses a bromated flour, and the bromate helps to maintain the rise in a dough that is subjected to proofing before dressing and baking. That may account for the "English muffin" effect you mentioned. Using an all-purpose flour may require using a bit less water but that shouldn't be a problem. If you'd rather stick with the bread flour, that is OK also, since we can make adjustment to dough thickness in other ways, as noted below.

3) You might consider going back to a 2-day fermentation period to make the dough a bit more extensible and easier to roll out. Another possibility is to increase the yeast a bit. Maybe we can do some of both. My recollection is that the Donatos dough clones I made didn't rise that much either, but I had no trouble rolling the dough out. You didn't indicate how elastic the dough was, but usually if you let the dough rest for about 5 minutes, the gluten will relax enough to be able to roll the dough out more easily. Sometimes you need a couple such rest periods. If you describe what you experienced more fully, that should help tell us which way to go.

4) You still need a better "system" for handing the dough skin. One possibility is to make a 14-15" round out of cardboard, place a sheet of parchment paper on it, lightly oil it, and place the rolled out, docked skin on top of the parchment paper. This assembly can then go into the oven with the heated water for proofing purposes. When the proofing is complete, you should be able to oil the top of the skin, dust it with cornmeal, flip it over onto your perforated disk, and peel off the parchment paper. The cardboard round should serve to provide support for the skin when doing the flipping. Another possibility is to just use your cutter pan and bake the pizza directly in the pan, just as I did in my Donatos clones. That will eliminate the flipping process entirely and allows you to push the cheeses and toppings right out to the edge. But I will understand if you want to try to emulate the Donatos system using your perforated disk.

5) It is possible to increase the dough thickness to try to get a thicker crust. However, when I made the last Donatos pizza, my recollection is that I used just about all of the dough. So, unless the scrap was minimal in your case, you might want to think twice about increasing the dough thickness. Increasing the dough thickness will give you greater flexibility in rolling out the dough to the desired size and will allow for some scrap. However, doing this may lead to inconsistent results with inconsistent dough thickness. If you still think that you want a thicker crust, I would suggest using a thickness factor of 0.085 rather than the current 0.08. We can always reverse this decision the next time based on the results you get.

6) I would suggest returning to the temperatures we used before, that is, starting out with the higher temperature and going to the lower temperature, not the reverse as you did. If that leads to problems with the cheese cooking too fast, we can revisit the temperature protocol at that time. I tend to doubt that Donatos uses a 14-minute bake time. In fact, if memory serves me correct, they make a big deal about how fast the pizza gets to the table after the order is placed.

7) I won't attempt to rework the baker's percents until we develop the next phase of the plan. So, if you tell me how you think you would like to go, I think I should be able to come up with a modified dough formulation to use for the next round.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 11:02:58 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #56 on: August 04, 2006, 01:11:46 AM »
GAH!

I just got offered a new job, so things have been crazy around the house.

I'll have to work on this later...PLEASE don't stop working and improving this, i'll be around, I promise.

Philip

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #57 on: August 04, 2006, 11:50:46 AM »
Haha - hey there Phillip, don't worry, I'll keep working. ;) Though I'm out of town this weekend so it'll be a few days before I can try again.

Okay, here's some extra info from my last experiment.

1) Bromated flour - I did some research on this just so I knew exactly what it was and I actually found a number of articles about it being a possible carcinogen and that it's banned in some countries! What's your guys' opinions on this? I also saw that King Artur flour has a self-rising flour which they seem to be promoting as an alternative to bromated flour. Is this correct? Would this kind of flour work the same as bromated? I'd definitely like to try one of these flours and see what kind of a difference it makes.

2) The first dough was pretty elastic, but this last time (24 hour rise) was not very elastic at all. And yeah I had to do two 5-minute rest periods, which did help loosen it up and made a big difference in getting it rolled out. I think I'll go back to the 2-day fermentation period as well.

3) I love the idea of using parchment paper! That should do the trick, as far as helping to more easily flip and and so forth. I'm still going to cook it on the disk, as I'm so happy with the bottom of the crust I don't want to really deviate from that.

4) So as far as direction from here, based on your help and advice I'd have to say more eggs is good, bromated/self-rising four is a must for testing, parchment for management, and back to a lower cooking temp.

Also I'll be going back to Columbus later this month for work so I'll be able to sample the real deal again soon!! :)

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #58 on: August 04, 2006, 12:32:46 PM »
Waz,

I recently researched the bromate issue again and reported on the results at Reply 39 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3399.msg28979.html#msg28979. As noted in that post, the issue seems to have received the greatest attention nationally in California. I wouldn't use the self-rising flour since it uses a chemical leavening system. If after you have perfected the Donatos clone dough formulation to your satisfaction, you can always try the self-rising flour as an experiment.

For the time being, I will stay with the bread flour and more eggs. I think I may also go with a slightly larger thickness factor of 0.085 and use a bit more yeast. I should be able to come up with a new set of baker's percents and ingredient quantities for you to consider over the weekend.

Peter

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #59 on: August 05, 2006, 07:18:14 PM »
Waz,

Based on our recent posts, I have revised the basic Donatos clone dough formulation as follows:

Wazatron's 14-inch Donatos Clone Dough Formulation (Rev. 4)
100%, Bread flour (KA), 7.50 oz. (212.34 g.), 1 3/4 c. + 2 t. (stir, spoon and level technique)
54%, Water*, 4.04 oz. (114.66 g.), 1/2 c.
10.8%, Eggs, 0.81 oz. (22.93 g.), about 1/2 of a large egg
3.5%, Vegetable oil, 0.26 oz. (7.43 g.), a bit over 1 1/2 t.
1.7%, Salt, 0.13 oz. (3.61 g.), a bit over 5/8 t.
1.7%, Dried dairy whey, 0.13 oz. (3.61 g.), a bit over 1 1/8 t.
1.5%, Nonfat dry milk (supermarket Carnation), 0.11 oz. (3.19 g.), a bit over 2 1/8 t.
1%, Sugar, 0.07 oz. (2.12 g.), a bit over 1/2 t.
0.50%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.04 oz. (1.06 g.), a bit over 1/3 t.
Total dough weight = 13.08 oz. (370.95 g.)
Pizza size = 14 inches
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.085
* Temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F
Note: All measurements are standard U.S./metric

Please note the following in respect of the latest formulation:

1) I increased the eggs to 10.8%, by weight of flour, to give more color to the crust and add a bit more egg flavor.

2) I lowered the hydration to 54% to compensate for the water in the egg and to maintain the total hydration of the formulation at around 62%. I suspect you may be experiencing the effects of high elevation so you may not need all of the formula water and may want to adjust the hydration to suit your particular situation. The way I recommend that you do this is as follows: a) weigh the empty Pyrex measuring cup and note its value, b) tare out the weight of the Pyrex measuring cup, c) weigh out the water (don't use a volume measurement), d) add about 3/4 of the water to the bowl, e) after the various dough ingredients have been mixed and the dough achieves a rough mass, gradually add more water as needed to achieve the final, desired hydration, adding the water a teaspoon at a time, f) when done, weigh the Pyrex measuring cup with the remaining water in it and note the value. At this point, we can subtract the weight of the empty Pyrex cup (from a) above) from the value from f) and then subtract this value from the formula water to tell us the total amount of water you actually used. I could have lowered the hydration in the dough formulation itself, but doing this may create problems for Philip or others who may be at much lower elevation. Going through the steps a) through f) above will enable me to give you your own personalized formulation unique to your particular situation.

3) The oil was lowered to 3.5%, by weight of flour, to correspond to your lowered usage when you made your most recent dough ball.

4) The thickness factor was increased to 0.085 to address the thickness problem you mentioned. With a bit more dough, you may find it easier to roll out the dough to the desired 14-inch skin size. Please note whether increasing the dough thickness solves the problem. If you end up with scrap dough, please note its weight for future reference.

5) I left the yeast (IDY) quantity at 0.50% by weight of flour because of your elevation situation and on the assumption that you will be using a roughly 2-day cold fermentation. If you decide that you would like to go to a 1-day cold fermentation, you can increase the IDY a bit, to a total of about 1/2 t.  Or you can use a slightly higher finished dough temperature of about 80 degrees F (e.g., by using slightly warmer water). If you can, please note the finished dough temperature before you put the dough in the refrigerator, for future reference. 

Feel free to ask any questions before actually proceeding with your next dough batch.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 11:41:47 AM by Pete-zza »


 

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