Author Topic: Confessions of a former pizza cook  (Read 4473 times)

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Offline DNA Dan

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Confessions of a former pizza cook
« on: August 29, 2006, 10:01:08 PM »
Is it generally frowned upon to share information from the commercial industry about what is in a specific pizza dough?

I have some commercial pizza mix (I believe only available through foodservice) and there are some interesting aspects which I think some of you ingredient experts would really find stimulating. I know for certain this dough was used, and probably still is used in the industry by other restaurants besides the one I worked in. The place I worked closed down (not because the pizza was %$#&, but because new owners changed the recipe.) This bag has all the ingredients listed, and two fairly detailed recipes for making a thick or thin crust. It shows the specifics of the technique. I have seen some similar stuff already posted on this site, but I don't want to reveal any trade secrets here. Your thoughts?


Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2006, 10:08:15 PM »
Hi Dan,

I'm sure many of us would find the ingredient list something of interest.  I would not give out the name of the company though,
unless the moderators deem it is ok, but I'm going to guess you should probabally keep that to yourself, and it's probabally the
best thing to do, you don't want jeapordize the board here, or yourself in some way or the other.

Many former chefs were / are on this list, so I don't think there will be any total surprises, many of our members are very
experienced, but it's always nice to see the ingredient list on a pizza dough mix.

Mark
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2006, 10:19:41 PM »
I don't know of the actual restaurants that still use it, but it is available through foodservice.  I would definitely NOT give out the name of the blend. (It also lists the distribution company that makes the blend!)

What I find interesting is the hydration of the dough compared to the technique. Being that this is the real deal, it might aid others in formulation of their recipes depending upon the style they are looking for. I dunno, maybe this is common knowledge and just new news to me. The dough is similar to an "American Style" and if I post the info, I would probably just start a new post on that thread.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2006, 10:21:39 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2006, 08:54:11 AM »
DNA Dan,

It's hard to imagine that there is anything proprietary about ingredients in a product that is sold in open commerce. Otherwise, buyers would enter into exclusive arrangements with suppliers and instruct them to package the product in unmarked bags, or they would switch the product into their own unmarked bags upon delivery to their premises. Suppliers would be prohibited by agreement from revealing the ingredients.

Also, federal and state labeling laws are such that suppliers are required to list the ingredients in products that are sold in open commerce. There is a little wiggle room on things like spices and flavoring and colorings, but the basic ingredients have to be clearly listed, and in the order of their predominance by weight. Also, if you were interested in protecting recipes as trade secrets, the last thing you would do is print them on the bags. Most people who sell unique products that customers become attached to will claim that there is a "secret" formulation or "secret ingredient" and that "if we tell you we will have to kill you", but in truth there are few real secrets. They all buy from essentially the same sources, especially the independents. Even if there are some trade secrets, most operators fail to take the proper steps to protect them and they are unlikely to prevail in litigation if, for example, an employee divulges the information in violation of the terms of employment. Most operators are too busy trying to get their product out of the door to worry about such matters, and I suspect the least among their worries is some individual gaining access to their ingredients to make pizzas at home. Who makes pizzas at home anyway?

Peter
« Last Edit: August 30, 2006, 10:29:48 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline barrelli

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2006, 12:24:09 PM »
I am an attorney and there are several reasons why this information is not a trade secret. The information regarding the trade secret must not be known to the relevant public; here pizzerias. The holder of the trade secret must take reasonable steps to protect the trade secret. To enforce the trade secret against someone, the trade secret must have come into the possession of that person by improper means such as theft, bribery, inducement of a breach of duty to maintain secrecy, or industrial espionage or that person is violating a non-disclosure close. If you want to stop someone from using the trade secret, an agreement not to compete is used. No sensible ethical lawyer would try to make a trade secrets case with these facts you have presented. A lawyer has a duty not to file frivoulous lawsuits. If you feel ethically that you should not reveal this information, then don't.  Ethics and the law are often not the same. The moderator could not be held liable unless he has reaoson to know that he was allowing the disclosiure of a trade secret from someone who was not the holder of the trade secret. Someone could list the exact procedure, techniques, formulas, etc. which Patsy's uses and says try this out and the moderator would not be liable unless he knew this came from Patsy's.

Lou

Lou

Offline bicster

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2006, 01:14:47 PM »
so are you going to list it or not?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2006, 01:17:27 PM »
While I suspect that many of the majors, like Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's and Little Caesars, would prefer not to disclose the ingredients they use in their doughs and sauces, for competitive and other reasons, they will do so on occasion. Sometimes they will unilaterally post the information on their website, and sometimes it will be provided to individuals on request. I once called Papa John's to request this type of information, which I received via email, and member Wazatron did this recently with Donatos via email. The companies often get requests for information on ingredients from vegans, people with allergies and nutritionists, so they are used to this and there is a public interest to be served. I have even found ingredients listings for pizza products in online public documents by which companies are required to disclose the information as a prerequisite to doing business with schools (usually for school lunch programs) and similar organizations. So, even though their dough formulations are more likely to be proprietary (and usually produced to their specs), it is hard for the majors to preserve much secrecy in their ingredients listings for the reasons mentioned above.

Having worked on several pizza dough reverse engineering projects, I can say that just having the ingredients list takes you only so far. While the ingredients are rank ordered by weight, that doesn't tell you actual percents. Sometimes you can't even tell what kind of flour is used. Typically, the flour is described very broadly and generically, such as "wheat flour". It takes a lot of work and knowledge about doughs and pizza styles in general to be able to successfully reverse engineer a dough (or sauce) just from an ingredients list. Of course, having the actual product, such as the one mentioned by DNA Dan, makes the task a great deal easier. Then it becomes a matter of trying to replicate the finished product in the home. That isn't always easy either.

Peter




Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2006, 01:30:32 PM »
so are you going to list it or not?

Yes I will post it. I am not trying to gather up interest or create hype. I have some errands to do today and I want to make sure I get all the information posted just as it appears on the bag. It's a lot to type, but I will post it here after lunch sometime (that's PST). I was going to move it to another thread based on the style that I think it is, but my interest is really in the hydration compared to the technique. Again, this might be common knowledge so I don't want to generate a bunch of "hype" over this. My questions were more of less for legal reasons but it sounds like I am in the clear. The bag clearly states a bunch of things and is marked clearly. I don't suspect this to be a "trade secret" now that you have clarified some points. Stay tuned :pizza:

oh and your wife is a hottie, you lucky bastard!

Offline bicster

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2006, 04:56:00 PM »
I look forward to reading it!


p.s.
she sure is

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2006, 06:06:01 PM »
Okay, here goes... This comes right off the bag starting with the indgredients. They appear in the order as shown and I assume the () means it's referring to the prior ingredient.

*********************************************
INGREDIENT LABEL:

Enriched Bleached Whear Flour (Bleached flour, Malted Barley flour, Niacin, Iron as Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, folic acid)

Soybean oil

Salt

Sugar

Baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate)

Yeast

Dextrose

Whey

Soy Flour

Corn Flour

Calcium Sulfate

*****************************
End of ingredients

Now here are the instructions on the bag. The mix can be made for thin or thick crust, depending upon the amount of water added. The processes are quite different, but the dough is the same, just different amount of water. The bag is 24 pounds. So the preparation is for the whole bag at once.
*****************************

Thin Crust - Mixing and Rolling Procedures
1) Pour contents of bag (24 lbs) into mixing bowl.
2) Add 10 lbs water at 80F
3) Mix on slow speed for 6 minutes.
4) Check dough for temperature: It should be 80-85F for best results. (Adjust water temperature as necessary)
5) Place dough in poly bag in container and seal.
6) Store dough at 35-40F for at least 12 hours and not more than 48 hrs. before use.
7) After retarding in the cooler, remove and cut into 4 lb. pieces. Form into a rectangle 1 inch thick. Run through dough roller.
8-  Weigh 2 pounds of scrap dough, run through dough roller.
9) Place rolled scrap on top of fresh dough and fold into thirds.
10) Run dough through the dough roller approximately 3 times and fold into thirds again.
11) Run dough through the dough roller approximately 4 times and fold into 4 layers. (book fold)
12) Run dough through the dough roller and reduce the thickness to approxiamtely 1/8 inch thick.
13) Using a metal template, cut the dough to desired diameter and save the scrap for the next roll.
14) Stack finished crusts (no more than 10 high) between baking sheets or dust with cornmeal to prevent sticking.
15) Refrigerate at 35-40F until ready for use, do not exceed 48 hours.


Thick Crust - Mixing and Rolling Procedures

1) Add 12lbs. water at 80F
2) Pour contents of bad (24lbs) into mixing bowl
3) Mix on slow speed for 8 minutes
4) Check dough for temperature: It should be 80-85F for best results. (Adjust water temperature as necessary)
5) Form dough balls of desired weight
6) Put a light coating of vegetable oil on dough balls, place into tubs and store under refrigeration (35-40F) until ready to use (up to 24 hours)
7) Roll to desired diameter for small (10"-12oz.), medium (13"-18oz.) or large (16"-27oz.) Thickness should be 3/8. Place in pans ("pan") or on screen ("thick"): cover and put into proof box set at 95-100F dry heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or cover and let raise at room temperature until double in size (1-3 hours).
8 - When fully proofed cover and put into refrigeration. Hold up to 24 hours after refrigeration.
****************************
End of procedure

Too much typing for now, I will comment later after hearing some of your comments. I am making the "thin" recipe tonight and it sounds awfully similar to the "sheeted" dough technique often used for a cracker type crust. Part of the trick seems to be the scrap dough. Certainly that would impart greater flavor and a "layering" to the dough once folded.


Offline varasano

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2006, 07:19:15 PM »
Just like grandma used to make...

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2006, 07:50:04 PM »
DNA Dan,

Just looking at the ingredients list and the ordering of the ingredients, and the fact that the same mix is used for both thin and thick styles, and sheeted for thin and balled/rolled/proofed for thick, I would say that the thin version is a cracker crust and the thick version is a pan style or a regular thick style, as noted in your writeup. It may be safe to say that the thin and thick/pan styles are both "Chicago" style. The two different hydration levels, about 42% for thin and 50% for thick, are consistent with the two styles. It is not at all uncommon to use two different hydrations with the same mix to produce two different styles of dough.

The key ingredient that leads me to the above conclusions is the soybean oil, especially because of its high place in the ingredients list--right after flour and water. I would estimate that it is present at around 8%, which is typical of a mix that can be used for both a cracker crust and a pan crust, and especially the pan crust. It could be lower, but I don't think it is much lower. Salt and sugar levels at about 1.5% each would also be consistent for both thin and thick styles. The baking powder is most likely used in order to create a cracker-like or biscuit taste in the finished crust. Depending on how much is used, it can produce a flavor in the crust that some people do not like. The dextrose is a less sweet form of sugar (about half as sweet) derived from starch. The whey is most likely for crust color, which is the reason it is usually used. I suspect the soy flour and corn flour may be for flavor purposes, however since they are so far down the list they won't add much taste that I can see. Maybe the corn meal is more for the pan or deep-dish style. Calcium sulfate, the last ingredient on the list, is often used to counteract water that is too soft. A water that is too soft can make the dough soft. That is something you don't want for a cracker type crust. The calcium sulfate will take care of the soft water problem just in case the mix is used with soft water.

What isn't in the instructions that you provided is whether the skins for the thin style are pre-baked before saucing, cheesing and topping, and whether the skins are docked at any point for either or both of the thin and thick styles.

Did I get close?

Peter

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2006, 08:44:29 PM »
Okay Peter,

I am convinced you own a few parlours and post here when you get tired of dressing the pizzas! Your guess is better than mine. I don't know too many specifics about a lot of those chemicals. All I know is the mix is great. You just add water and you're ready to go, instant dough. What surprised me was how low the hydration was compared to the Lehman recipe. Also in terms of hydration, I didn't think that a cracker type crust was made with a lower hydration. I mean you have to sheet the dough and the more dense it is (Less water), the harder it is to sheet.

At the place I worked we used to make the "Thick" method and we didn't dock the dough. We just let it rise once rolled as a skin and it came out pretty thick. It was similar to an American style. I suppose it could also be a Chicago if it was panned with some oil.

I have the dough in the fridge right now and I am going to start sheeting it. It feels like a rock! I will post some pics when I am finished eating. This is my first attempt at trying the sheeting method. Gotta run, I need to make some PIZZA! :chef:
« Last Edit: August 30, 2006, 08:48:52 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2006, 09:20:55 PM »
DNA Dan,

I tried to find a recipe similar to the one you are using and the best I could do without doing a major search is this one: http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/pizzacookbook/recipe.cgi?action=view_recipe&id=85&recipe=Chicago,+Cracker+Style+Pizza+Crust&category=Pizza+Dough. It doesn't have all the same ingredients but it has the basic ones with comparable percents. The recipe can also be modified for the thick/pan style.

Peter

Offline DKM

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2006, 10:29:33 PM »
I am making the "thin" recipe tonight and it sounds awfully similar to the "sheeted" dough technique often used for a cracker type crust. Part of the trick seems to be the scrap dough. Certainly that would impart greater flavor and a "layering" to the dough once folded.

That brings back a memory.  At Pizza Inn 1/3 of the dough used to roll a thin was suppose to be scrap dough.  Basically you would role a thin and then after you trimmed it you used that "scrap" for the next pizza you rolled.
I'm on too many of these boards

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2006, 11:32:38 PM »
ugh.... you don't want to know how much energy it just took to move my full gut over to the computer. I need a laptop for my post pizza sessions! :P

So I made the thin crust as shown on the bag. I am convinced that a true "cracker" type crust is a different recipe altogether similar to what DKM has suggested. The technique gets you close, but it still seemed like a thick crust pizza just flattened. (Air squeezed out of it.) The technique tends to make the crust have a greater density compared to the thick recipe. 

I rolled out the somewhat hard dough straight from the fridge. It had an almost leather feel to it, almost like a firm sugar cookie dough for making holiday cookie cutouts. Anyway, I folded it into thirds, rolled it out, (2X) then folded into quarters and rolled until I had about 1/8th inch thick skin. I docked the dough, dressed it and into the oven it went @ 475 for 10 mins. I used a combination pizza stone, screen, and baking paper. The dough was still a little cold when it went in the oven. Here are the shots (ala Pete-zza lol)

You can see the density effect from the technique in the last photo, the closeup of the slice edge. When sheeting the dough, it seems if you use a fair amount of flour, it "layers" better once it cooks. This is that croissant effect that some people talk about with a "cracker" style dough. You can see this effect from the air pocket on the crust. The problem with using a lot of flour is that the layers do not stick to each other well. If this happens the layers peel too easily = not good. So the inclination is what I did, don't use a lot of flour. Well with a lack of flour the layers mix almost completely and you lose the effect. This makes me feel that this dough is the wrong recipe for a proper "cracker" type crust. I am convinced that a cracker type crust such as Straw Hat or Round Table must have some sort of solid or fat that holds it together such as Crisco, Butter or something other than just the wetness of the dough. Afterall, that is what holds the layers of a croissant together, butter is folded as the dough is rolled. In addition, that would give further evidence for why the dough is retarded in the fridge and kept cool, to make sure it's solid at room temperature. I think the folks here tried to make an "all in one" pizza mix that can satisfy both customers. Really I would liken this to being a better thick crust or pan pizza dough than a true "cracker" style crust. I mean the method does say thin not "Cracker", and that's what it was, but it just felt too much like a thick crust that was smacked on the counter several times to decrease the air volume in the dough.

Although I must confess, my gut sure isn't complaining!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2006, 11:37:30 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline elsegundo

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2006, 11:32:53 PM »
Third try at a post -sorry. The mix was available a few years ago at Smart and Final and comes from Pizza Blends Inc in Washington. I posted  this at least a year ago. It is a commercially available product and is not covered by Trade Secret laws.

I can send you a jpg copy of the bag via email if you need it. I just can't seem to attach it to my posts.

thanks

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2006, 11:41:27 PM »
Third try at a post -sorry. The mix was available a few years ago at Smart and Final and comes from Pizza Blends Inc in Washington. I posted  this at least a year ago. It is a commercially available product and is not covered by Trade Secret laws.

I can send you a jpg copy of the bag via email if you need it. I just can't seem to attach it to my posts.

thanks

Yes you are correct! You found me out! hahah. I didn't realize that Smart and Final once carried this. I thought it was foodservice only? Why has smart and final pulled so many commercial products? They also pulled "redpack" branded tomatos from the shelves. I know that's what some parlours are using too. Sheesh, I swear it's a pizza conspiracy going on!

« Last Edit: August 30, 2006, 11:58:53 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2006, 12:04:18 AM »
DNA Dan,

I was wondering whether the information on the bag specifies how to bake the pizza. If not, maybe a pre-bake would produce a more cracker-like crust.

Peter


Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Confessions of a former pizza cook
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2006, 12:08:25 AM »
It does not specify docking or cooking of the pizza at all. I used 475 based on my experience where I used to work. Granted the oven was completely different....


 

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