Author Topic: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza  (Read 11699 times)

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Offline Boy Hits Car

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Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« on: July 30, 2006, 06:36:00 PM »
Hey guys, great forum, I hope to contribute soon.

I want to start making pizzas at home, and was hoping to make a sauce and use the same cheese as Lombardi's of ny.  I liked the sweetness of the sauce and the cheese was fantastic.  I've searched the forum for lombardi posts and got a basic idea on how to proceed.  The only thing missing on those posts were brands.

I was hoping you guys could suggest a brand of cheese to use and brand of san marzano tomotoes to use.  Appreciate any comments.

Mike


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2006, 07:20:44 PM »
Mike,

If you did a forum search on Lombardi's, I assume that you found the review I did on Lombardi's a few years ago, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,505.msg4376.html#msg4376.

My recollection when I was in the Lombardi's oven area and speaking with the chief pizza maker is that the cheese was a locally produced cow's-milk mozzarella. It was in thin slices, firm and quite dry. I do not believe that it was a branded cheese as such (like a Grande cheese), just something that was sourced locally. As for the tomatoes, I don't know which brand of San Marzanos Lombardi's uses, but I tend to doubt that they are the DOP San Marzanos. I base this conclusion on having done extensive online research. I found many references to San Marzanos, but not for DOP San Marzanos. If DOPs were used, I would have expected wide dissemination of that fact because the DOP designation has come to be synonymous with very high quality. Depending on where you live and which brands of San Marzanos are available to you, you should be able to use any number of brands, both regular and DOP.

We do know that the flour used at Lombardi's is the General Mills All Trumps high-gluten flour, as was noted by member freshflour in a recent post on this thread after freshflour saw the All Trumps bag of flour in the recent History Channel special on pizza. Lombardi's uses no sugar of oil in the dough, so the remaining ingredients are a dry yeast and water, which is municipal water. This suggests a fairly simple NY style dough formulation, although more information would be needed to replicate it more accurately.

The part that you won't be able to replicate, or do so easily, is the very high-temperature coal oven. You might be able to use a high-temperature wood-fired oven, but I don't think that will produce the same pizza as a coal oven. The pizza should turn out fine, but just be different.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2006, 07:54:25 PM »
Thanks Peter,

I read your review post last night and forgot you did mention it was a locally produced cheese.  Any suggestions on a cheese that might be similar?  The thread on the brand of flour I read and will try to get some.  I did realize it wasn't going to be taste exactly like Lombardi's because of the coal oven they use, but I was hoping to mimic the sauce and cheese and just use one of the ny style dough recipes from this site.

I have access to Cento whole peeled san marzano tomatoes cans, so I'll try that first.

I think you mentioned that they sprinkled some Pecorino Romano cheese on the pizza, but I read somewhere that they thought it was Locatelli Romano.  I guess I'll try both.

Mike

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2006, 09:01:56 PM »
Mike,

If you tell us where you live we may be able to come up with some suggestions. Different products are sold in different parts of the country, so knowing where you are may enable us to zero in more closely.

As for your Cento San Marzano tomatoes, they should work out OK if you want to stick with the San Marzanos. However, some of our tomato experts on the forum, including scott r (and I believe Jeff Varasano also), actually prefer the Cento Italian (not Italian-style) whole tomatoes even though they are not San Marzanos. You might want to do your own side-by-side shoot-out.

I did a new online search on the Romano cheese and found many references to Pecorino Romano but none for Locatelli Romano.

Do you recall offhand what pizza sizes Lombardi’s offers? I checked their online menu and saw only that the pizzas come in  6 or 8 slices.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2006, 05:48:23 PM »
Peter,

Thanks again.  I live in Philadelphia.

As for the tomatoes, I was planning to buy some san marzano tomatoes from PennMac.com, instead of using cento's brand.  I was thinking about buying different cheeses from them also, but I'm concerned about shipping cheese through UPS.  I'm going to have to experiment with all the ingredients people are suggesting on this site.

After reading much more of the site, it seems like KASL is the brand to go with for the flour.  So I was going to use your 63% hydration version of the lehman dough recipe.  I can get the KASL online as well.  I'm planning to look at my local grocery stores before I order anything.  I'm close to a BJ's, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and other local supermarkets like Giant, Acme, Pathmark.

As for the size, I think we ordered the large and the slices seemed typical of a 16" pie.  I'm only guessing from what I remember.

I appreciate all your help. 

Mike

oh the Romano thing, I came across it somewhere on a google search.  It was probably posted by someone who didn't know what they were talking about.  I'll go with you on this.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2006, 05:53:38 PM by Boy Hits Car »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2006, 07:05:57 PM »
Mike,

To get that NY "elite" style of the Lombardi's pie, I think I would look locally in a good Italian foods store that sells a fresh mozzarella. I would slice it thinly and drain it on paper towels to get some of the moisture out. Where you are, I think you should also be able to get some fresh versions of the Polly-O and Mozzarella Fresca fresh mozzarella cheeses, either in the supermarket or, for the Mozzarella Fresca, in a Whole Foods. Where I live (in Texas) the best I can do at reasonable cost is the Mozzarella Fresca and the BelGioioso fresh mozzarellas. I slice and drain these cheeses also or use them in large pieces so that they don't cook too quickly. Otherwise, they can break down and look like ricotta. Since several of our members have had problems recently with some of the fresh cheeses at Trader Joe's, I would pass on them for now even though your local TJ's may be perfectly fine.

PennMac is a very good source of pizza ingredients in general. You can check out their website at pennmac.com (look under the Pizza Makers tab), but they sell a lot more items than are listed at the website. If you want to try the All Trumps to mimic the Lombardi's dough, PennMac sells the All Trumps in 5-lb. bags. I have tried the LaValle San Marzano and, while I don't think they are as good as the DOP LaValle's, which I don't think PennMac stocks, they are still good and should be comparable to what Lombardi's uses. Our resident canned tomatoes guru, scott r, is a fan of the LaBella tomatoes, even though they may not be the authentic San Marzano varietal (despite what the label says). Shipping charges for these items are unavoidable but it will perhaps be cheaper than driving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and back.

If you chose to go with the Lehmann dough formulation, you can omit the oil if you want to get closer to the Lombardi's dough formulation. I don't recall how thick the Lombardi's crust was but it easy enough to modify the Lehmann dough formulation to make it thicker or thinner. Maybe one of our members who has eaten enough Lombardi pies and Lehmann pies can compare the two crust thicknesses.

To use the Lehmann dough to make a more "NY street" style, I would go with the Escalon 6-in-1s or a comparable Stanislaus canned tomato, and I would personally go with the Grande mozzarella cheeses, or maybe a Polly-O mozzarella. If you are into pepperoni, Ezzo would be a good choice. All of these products (I'm not sure about the Polly-O) are available at PennMac. For hard cheeses, PennMac also carries both the Pecorino and Locatelli Romanos, although you should be able to get either of these locally. If in doubt about anything, call Rose at PennMac. She is a member of the forum and deals with our members all the time.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 31, 2006, 07:11:53 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline bolabola

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2006, 01:38:49 AM »
Peter,

I just read your review of Lombardi's and checked out some of the pictures of Lombardi's pizza..
I noticed in some of the pictures the crust had huge black bubbles and in some it didn't have any..
what was your experience with that and did you by any chance happen to check on the tables next to you to see if all the Pizzas looked consistant..
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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2006, 06:16:07 AM »
Charlie,

When I visited Lombardi's, I timed it so that I was one of the first people into the restaurant. By the time I got my pizza, people were already lined up outside the place waiting to be seated, so I didn't linger. I looked at other people's pizzas, mainly to see what kinds of toppings people had requested, but I don't recall seeing overly charred crusts and bubbles. When I was doing some research on Lombardi's recently on another matter, I read that some people who do not like overly charred crusts, especially on the bottom, will request that the pizza be pulled out of the oven early. I suspect there are variations in pizzas in Lombardi's just as anywhere else, depending on the oven temperature, how busy they are, and who is tending the oven.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2006, 09:57:53 AM »
Peter,

I just read your review of Lombardi's and checked out some of the pictures of Lombardi's pizza..
I noticed in some of the pictures the crust had huge black bubbles and in some it didn't have any..
what was your experience with that and did you by any chance happen to check on the tables next to you to see if all the Pizzas looked consistant..

bola

When i went there we ordered 2 pizzas, both had bubbles and charred spots.

Offline Wallman

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2006, 12:47:43 PM »
I have tried the LaValle San Marzano and, while I don't think they are as good as the DOP LaValle's, which I don't think PennMac stocks,....


I was at PennMac store two weeks ago and they had cans of DOP LaValle tomatoes. They are also listed on their web site: http://www.pennmac.com/items/2626/ for $3.19 a can.


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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2006, 12:53:15 PM »
Wally,

Thanks for the clarification.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2006, 01:25:58 PM »
Mike,

To get that NY "elite" style of the Lombardi's pie, I think I would look locally in a good Italian foods store that sells a fresh mozzarella. I would slice it thinly and drain it on paper towels to get some of the moisture out. Where you are, I think you should also be able to get some fresh versions of the Polly-O and Mozzarella Fresca fresh mozzarella cheeses, either in the supermarket or, for the Mozzarella Fresca, in a Whole Foods. Where I live (in Texas) the best I can do at reasonable cost is the Mozzarella Fresca and the BelGioioso fresh mozzarellas. I slice and drain these cheeses also or use them in large pieces so that they don't cook too quickly. Otherwise, they can break down and look like ricotta. Since several of our members have had problems recently with some of the fresh cheeses at Trader Joe's, I would pass on them for now even though your local TJ's may be perfectly fine.

PennMac is a very good source of pizza ingredients in general. You can check out their website at pennmac.com (look under the Pizza Makers tab), but they sell a lot more items than are listed at the website. If you want to try the All Trumps to mimic the Lombardi's dough, PennMac sells the All Trumps in 5-lb. bags. I have tried the LaValle San Marzano and, while I don't think they are as good as the DOP LaValle's, which I don't think PennMac stocks, they are still good and should be comparable to what Lombardi's uses. Our resident canned tomatoes guru, scott r, is a fan of the LaBella tomatoes, even though they may not be the authentic San Marzano varietal (despite what the label says). Shipping charges for these items are unavoidable but it will perhaps be cheaper than driving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and back.

If you chose to go with the Lehmann dough formulation, you can omit the oil if you want to get closer to the Lombardi's dough formulation. I don't recall how thick the Lombardi's crust was but it easy enough to modify the Lehmann dough formulation to make it thicker or thinner. Maybe one of our members who has eaten enough Lombardi pies and Lehmann pies can compare the two crust thicknesses.

To use the Lehmann dough to make a more "NY street" style, I would go with the Escalon 6-in-1s or a comparable Stanislaus canned tomato, and I would personally go with the Grande mozzarella cheeses, or maybe a Polly-O mozzarella. If you are into pepperoni, Ezzo would be a good choice. All of these products (I'm not sure about the Polly-O) are available at PennMac. For hard cheeses, PennMac also carries both the Pecorino and Locatelli Romanos, although you should be able to get either of these locally. If in doubt about anything, call Rose at PennMac. She is a member of the forum and deals with our members all the time.

Peter

Peter,

Looks like I have much experimentation to do.  Should be fun.  The Italian market in Philly should have plenty of cheeses to choose from, they might even have all the different San Marzano brands.  I'm going this weekend for sure.

As for the dough; I conceded from the minute I tried Lombardi's that I wasn't going to be able to mimic the dough because of the type of oven and heat they use and just figured I would use one of the proven recipes on this site.  Do you think getting the All Trump flour will make much of a difference over the KASL?  Would I have to modify the Lehmann recipe if I used the All Trump or could I just follow the same formula as though I was using KASL?  If I leave out the oil, do I have to compensate with more water?  I was planning to use the Lehmann recipe with oil, but making the final dough thinner since I like thinner pizzas.  Should I just use less dough when forming the pizza?

Thanks again.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2006, 02:26:48 PM »
Mike,

Whether you use All Trumps high-gluten flour or the King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour is a matter of personal preference, but if I had to guess, I would say that the All Trumps is more popular among typical NY pizza establishments. Both flours are rated pretty much the same in terms of specs, so they should both perform well in the Lehmann dough formulation. The biggest difference will be that the KASL is unbleached and not bromated. However, there is also an unbleached non-bromated version of the All Trumps. It may be harder to find, however. What PennMac sells in the small bags is bleached and bromated.

As for the oil, for a typical size Lehmann pizza the amount of oil (1% by weight of flour) will be so small as not to require any adjustments to the water as a practical matter. If you know what size (diameter) pizza you would like, I should be able to come up with a dough formulation for you to use that will take the elimination of the oil into account. A typical thickness factor for the Lehmann dough is 0.10-0.105. Maybe something like 0.09 would give you the thinner crust you are after. I would also need to know what kind of yeast you would plan to use.

Once you get the ingredients you want to use, you should have a lot of fun making the pizza. It's even possible that your pizza may taste better than what you would get at Lombardi's if your ingredients are of higher quality. Of course, if you love charring of the crust, that is something that could easily swing the pendulum the other way.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 01, 2006, 02:31:33 PM by Pete-zza »

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2006, 02:37:22 PM »
Mike,

I might add that whatever size you would like to go with be sure that your oven, and espcially the stone if you plan to use one, will accommodate that size.

Peter

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2006, 05:37:45 PM »
Mike,

Whether you use All Trumps high-gluten flour or the King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour is a matter of personal preference, but if I had to guess, I would say that the All Trumps is more popular among typical NY pizza establishments. Both flours are rated pretty much the same in terms of specs, so they should both perform well in the Lehmann dough formulation. The biggest difference will be that the KASL is unbleached and not bromated. However, there is also an unbleached non-bromated version of the All Trumps. It may be harder to find, however. What PennMac sells in the small bags is bleached and bromated.

As for the oil, for a typical size Lehmann pizza the amount of oil (1% by weight of flour) will be so small as not to require any adjustments to the water as a practical matter. If you know what size (diameter) pizza you would like, I should be able to come up with a dough formulation for you to use that will take the elimination of the oil into account. A typical thickness factor for the Lehmann dough is 0.10-0.105. Maybe something like 0.09 would give you the thinner crust you are after. I would also need to know what kind of yeast you would plan to use.

Once you get the ingredients you want to use, you should have a lot of fun making the pizza. It's even possible that your pizza may taste better than what you would get at Lombardi's if your ingredients are of higher quality. Of course, if you love charring of the crust, that is something that could easily swing the pendulum the other way.

Peter

Thanks Peter,

Let me see what size my pizza stone can handle and I'll get back to you.  I'm pretty sure it can handle a 16" pizza and 0.09 TF would be good.  I do like the bottom charred and the outer crust nice and golden brown.  Maybe I should add some sugar?

Offline bolabola

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2006, 06:45:54 PM »
Boy hits Car,,
I've noticed just a tablespoon of sugar to 16ozs of flour really helps if you can't get the hot oven temps like in my oven for a nice brown crust..I've been leaving my dough in the fridge for only 24 hours instead of 48 with better results for what I'm looking for..it's still nice and chewy with a great rise in the oven at 550..
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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2006, 07:33:35 PM »
Mike,

It's up to you whether you want to add sugar. How much it will help browning will depend on the residual sugar in the dough at the time of baking. I usually don't use sugar in my doughs but do so when I am trying out someone else's dough recipe or I plan to hold the dough for several days and want to be sure that the yeast is adequately fed. In some doughs I can taste the sugar in the finished crust, which is not my personal preference. In lieu of sugar, I might use dried dairy whey to get increased crust browning. It contains lactose, which is a milk sugar, but it is not metabolized by yeast and has a low sweetness factor. So, you get the browning but not the sweetness. I think you may find that the high-gluten flour will provide a fair amount of browning by itself because of its high protein content. Also, you can use a lower oven temperature and a longer bake time to further de-nature the protein and get increased coloration and flavor.

It doesn't matter to me. So whatever you want is fine. It's going to be your pizza.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2006, 07:46:21 PM »
Thanks for the advice guys.

The pizza stone is big enough for a 16" pie.  So how about a recipe for a 16" pie with 0.09 TF, no oil and no sugar.  I'll add sugar or dairy whey if I don't like the results.

Actually, if it isn't too much trouble, could you also post a recipe with oil and a 0.09 TF.  Either one would be fantastic.  Can't wait to try it.  I'll post picks.


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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2006, 08:28:15 PM »
No matter what style pie you like, do not use substitute products or you will not even come close. Make your neighbors teen work there if you have to. In a earlier post, I got some great comments from some forum members regarding the La Valle Brand. Everyone's taste and style is different. Once again I like the Lombardi's / Grimaldi's style myself, I like my crust torched, and others may not. Do not product substitute. Here's a pic from this last weekend, off my coal grill using La Valle San Marzano's.
Your worst day at Grimaldi's, is better than your best day fishing ...

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2006, 08:34:15 PM »
Mike,

What kind of yeast do you plan to use? Unless Lombard's went to a fresh yeast, I believe they are using either active dry yeast (ADY) or instant dry yeast (IDY). I personally use IDY but I can give you any form you want.

Peter