Author Topic: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza  (Read 491728 times)

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Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #500 on: September 21, 2006, 11:36:58 AM »
oh, so you don't allow any seeds to be yielded for next yr's planting?


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #501 on: September 24, 2006, 11:50:38 AM »
I recently spent a week in NYC, which gave me ample time to check out a few dozen “street” pizza establishments to get a better sense of what the “true” NY street pizza style is, particularly in relation to the Lehmann NY style that I have been working with for over two years on this thread.

For the most part, the pizzas I examined were 14”-18”, with a predominance in the 16”-18” size. The doughs for these pizzas were shaped into skins on a marble or similar low-friction surface and transferred to a lightly floured peel and then sauced, cheesed, topped and baked in a deck oven. In one instance, I saw a pizza maker use a screen. In that case, he used a large amount of oil on the bottom of the skin (it was very shiny and highly visible) before transferring it onto the screen, possibly to prevent sticking to the screen and/or to get better bottom crust browning due to the high heat transfer characteristics of the oil. The pizza was baked in a deck oven. I did not see any conveyor ovens used by any of the establishments I checked out.

Somewhat surprisingly, I did not see a lot of dough tossing and spinning. The doughs almost never left the hands of the pizza makers. The dough balls were dusted in bench flour, pressed flat using the fingers, turned and stretched on the work surface to about 12”, and then draped over both hands or closed fists and turned until stretched to the final size. It was clear from watching this that the doughs had a better quality from a manageability standpoint than those made in a standard home KitchenAid mixer. Yet, for the most part, the skins looked to be far more extensible than elastic, much as many of us have experienced with the Lehmann NY style doughs.

In most cases, there was no attempt to form a well-defined rim, although I did see a few pizza makers make a concerted effort to define a rim, or “lip”, at the perimeter of their skins. The lips were formed by either a "pinching" process or by placing an outstretched hand at the perimeter while pressing outwardly with the other hand at the edges while turning the skin. In the past, I have been told by members Canadave and ghost, and possibly others, that NY street pizzas have small rims. I found this to be true for the pizza establishments whose pizzas I examined. As a consequence, I also did not detect significant oven spring at the rims.

I think one of the biggest surprises was how light the finished crusts were. There were a few with a fair amount of browning, but most were fairly light and in some cases almost white. I suspect that this may be fairly common for slices that are to be reheated, but some of the crusts were so light that I wondered whether the crusts could be browned enough at the rim through the reheating process. From what I saw, it is fairly clear to me that most of our members seem to prefer much darker crusts, along with more pronounced rims and very good oven spring.

The biggest surprise was how uninspiring many of the pizzas looked, particularly in relation to the many pizzas that our members have made and reported on in this thread and in other NY threads on this forum. I didn’t have time to delve into flours and other ingredients used by the street pizza operators I visited but it is quite possible that our members are using better ingredients than most of the places I visited, and producing pizzas that have a much more artisanal quality to them. On a future visit to NYC, I plan to sample a few street slices to round out my analysis.

Peter

Offline varasano

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #502 on: September 24, 2006, 12:10:03 PM »
Hey Pete,

The truth is that street pizza has changed a lot in the last 15 years as more italians have left the business. You see almost white crusts. In many places you see a lineup of pizza's in a window with a lot of varieties of toppings. These did not exist like this 15 years ago. Back then it was almost all cheese pizza and it was much darker in color, and frankly much fresher and better. I think that the pizza world has divided itself.  It used to be mostly good. Now it's dividing into very bad and very good. The mass produced stuff continues to decline. But the artisan movement is expanding rapidly. I've been looking at some brick oven websites I bet there are 10 brick ovens in this country now for every one there was 15 years ago.  Even here in Atlanta, there must be 20 commercial brick oven places and who knows how many home ones. What I've tried to focus on is the technique, though, because for a lot of people ingredients and equipment are easier to get than experience and knowledge. Of the 20 commercial brick ovens in Atlanta, 0 make a tasty pie.

Joe's on Carmine Street is a good example of what most places used to be in NY. It's a classic street slice.

Jeff
« Last Edit: September 24, 2006, 12:12:21 PM by varasano »

Offline enchant

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #503 on: September 24, 2006, 02:15:57 PM »
I recently spent a week in NYC, which gave me ample time to check out a few dozen “street” pizza establishments
A few DOZEN pizza places in the course of a week.  You should have had your cholesterol checked when you got back just to see the look on the doctor's face.  ;)
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #504 on: September 24, 2006, 04:37:33 PM »
Pat,

LOL....

I didn't eat pizza in any of the slice joints I visited. I walked all around the city, mainly on busy streets that had a lot of food-related businesses, and when I came across a pizza place I went in and checked things out. Sometimes I could watch the pizza makers through a window.

The places where I actually ate pizza were the Neapolitan style pizza places, like Una Pizza Napolitana, Luzzo's and Naples 45. The pizzas eaten there (mainly Margheritas) were sparsely topped. In a future trip to NYC I hope to actually try some of the street pizzas.

Peter

Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #505 on: September 25, 2006, 07:18:25 PM »
Pete, reads like you only spent time in NYC borough of Manhattan looking at 'their' generic pizza shops... these are sometimes shops that have glass displays w/ numerous types of topped round pies that if you go to a borough out of Manhattan, to a straight neighborhood one that isn't too trendy (else you may find the same glass display) you may find nothing premade except plain round and square pies, couple of sausage rolls etc.  Calzones at some places are made when they are ordered.   Some of these  Manhattan places, you wonder with such a variety laid out, how fresh can the topping really be, as they look dried out... especially broccolli.  (Mind you, I don't mind freshness of the pizza itself as much, because a pizza can reheat well, though the counter guy needs to be told this as they are usually rushing to take it out of the oven).


As for not seeing any pizza tossing and spinning... i go the opposite route of you.... that is, that's definitely something i was surprised to see on TV to represent how pizza was prepared, when it turned out it's almost everywhere else 'but' in NYC.  It's just not really needed to get the job done for NY generic pizza.

As for light, colorless crusts, yes I see that everywhere, and Italian or not.   That is why I always instruct 'well done'...

While many Italians left the business over time for something else or retired and in cases where no Italian immigrants carried on but nonItalian immigrants did...  i've tasted good pizza made by non Italians and bad pizza made by Italians.

If you make your product just to make a living, you can assemble it together and it may look like a pizza but it comes off very poor.


A simple dominos pizza can taste very decent, but you can easily walk into a Dominos franchise that's got a kid putting a 8hr shift just for the paltry money and in some places where he's the only one manning the phone and making the pies and cash register, while another 1-2 make deliveries and helpout when they're not out on delivery...  i've had dominos poorly made in this scenario, and i've had dominos done the best it can, with dough that's managed properly such that it's risen enough to be light and fluffy, and not overly stuck with cornmeal that the bottom can't even brown.

making pizza even in a chain environment is not the equivalent as working in the back at McDonalds. 

Yes, it seems many of us on the forums are looking for more crust charring, darker crusts as maybe a indication of more 'artisan' qualities...

but this is not a NYC generic street crust.   I've recently tried to approach this.  When I 'held back' on oven time to possibly get the generic NYC look, I felt I couldn't get a tasty crust.  When I baked it enough so that it was tasty, it was tasty but it wasn't a NYC generic taste.

One thing I think not to be confused with is, there's a difference between a pale crust that is not done, vs. if it can be described.... a pale crust that IS done (cooked) but when baked longer, it can develop a darker shade or black spots, yet not morphed into a product w/ a texture of something hard.

I have found with All Trumps bromated flour to help me recently.  I didn't have to hold back on the oven time, I bake away at it... and when it comes out it's soft and light colored.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #506 on: September 25, 2006, 08:28:29 PM »
abc,

You are correct. The places I visited had a lot in common but weren't completely representative of the "NY style". I am sure that if I went into the right neighborhoods, rather than major NY streets, I would find better examples of the style. After reading Jeff Varasano's remarks on the changes in the pizza business I wondered whether competition from the large pizza chains (Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's, Little Caesar's, etc.) has driven many pizza operators, particularly those serving the same demographics as the big chains, to the low end in order to survive. To do this and still make money, something would have to suffer--the pizza itself. The high end takes you away from this kind of exercise, but to survive there you have to have the right location, maybe a key differentiator (such as a brick oven), the right demographics, and a willingness of patrons to pay up for quality. I suspect that many of the pizzerias in the middle are those that are in old established neighborhoods with longstanding loyal customers and a recognition that they need each other.

Peter

Offline enchant

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #507 on: September 25, 2006, 08:59:22 PM »
abc, are you saying that in your experience, the All Trumps creates a dough that tends to be paler?
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Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #508 on: September 26, 2006, 10:23:38 AM »
abc, are you saying that in your experience, the All Trumps creates a dough that tends to be paler?


yes... i was dancing around that.... :angel:

i think so... that is, i'm thinking that for the same amt of oven time, it remains more pale or shall i say light golden, than a KASL dough...
and i can leave it in there 'overtime' (to get what 'we' on these forums seem to want)  and it can get darker but whereas the KASL will get hard the AT hasn't.

i know that browning is a variable of many things... and i haven't used KASL in a few months...

i looked at my recent AT pie pics and compared them to old KASL pics on my memory card, I see the difference.  There's a bite difference too...  AT flour is softer... the whole slice droops...   A reheat (like when you order 1 slice to go) will crisp up a thin potatochip .00001 inch layer of the crust for a subtle crackle... something i think is ideal.

but the texture of the crust w/ AT flour I feel (no pun) is like NYC pizza... and i've mentioned before it is AT bromated flour bags that i do see delivered to NY pizza shops.

Offline enchant

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #509 on: September 26, 2006, 02:09:30 PM »
Damn.  And here I am with 48 pounds of All Trumps in my cellar.
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Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #510 on: September 26, 2006, 05:34:14 PM »
Damn.  And here I am with 48 pounds of All Trumps in my cellar.

what do you mean by that, you had previously given up on AT for some reason?


for me, ever since i started w/ the Lehmann recipe, i've used about 25 lbs of a local brand non-KASL hi gluten... then switched to KASL earlier this yr.

With all my experience using non AT high gluten flour and now AT flour, they don't match up I feel to AT flour when emulating NYC street pizza.


I had become 'used' to KASL and almost got 'lazy' and satisfied, so to speak until some of my pizza eaters 'woke' me up that my pizza, though excellent, was NOT NY pizza style...  I had realized I had somehow drifted away from pursuing NYC generic style pizza, but made a good pizza of some kind instead.

it was a pleasant surprise that AT flour is so key in it all, and it was in front of me all this time.  I'm glad I bought a bag a couple of months ago.

Offline enchant

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #511 on: September 26, 2006, 08:34:27 PM »
what do you mean by that, you had previously given up on AT for some reason?
No - I can't get KASL locally.  All Trumps is available at a supply house only ten minutes from my house.

However, there IS a place where I can buy it, but it's a bit of a drive.  I'll probably get a few more pounds of KASL mail order and verify that it indeed gives me the darker crust highlights that I've come to know and love.  If it is actually better, I'll just have to figure that this was a $15 lesson and use the rest of the AT flour to make 19,392,000 breadsticks.
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Offline Wallman

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #512 on: October 01, 2006, 04:41:40 PM »
Here's my latest NY Style pie.  This try used GMAT, autolyse, 63% hydration, and approximately 65 hours of retardation in the fridge.  This pie, topped with sauce made from 6-in-1 tomatoes and Polly-O moz. was cooked completely on a screen. The oven was preheated for about 20 minutes at 525.
The pizza baked on the top rack for about 5-6 minutes, then on the bottom rack for 1-2 min. and then finished on the top rack on broil for about a minute.  I have also found that the GMAT crust doesn't seem to brown quite as much as the KASL, but it does seem to be softer.  This pizza also did puff up nicely at the rim. I find the screen help increase the size of ththe cornicione  of my pies.

This is about the 8th pie I've made with GMAT and I've been very pleased with how easy the dough is to work and with the flavor.  Plus, I can get it conveniently at Costco.

Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #513 on: October 01, 2006, 06:56:51 PM »
Here's my latest NY Style pie.  This try used GMAT, autolyse, 63% hydration, and approximately 65 hours of retardation in the fridge.  This pie, topped with sauce made from 6-in-1 tomatoes and Polly-O moz. was cooked completely on a screen. The oven was preheated for about 20 minutes at 525.
The pizza baked on the top rack for about 5-6 minutes, then on the bottom rack for 1-2 min. and then finished on the top rack on broil for about a minute.  I have also found that the GMAT crust doesn't seem to brown quite as much as the KASL, but it does seem to be softer.  This pizza also did puff up nicely at the rim. I find the screen help increase the size of ththe cornicione  of my pies.

This is about the 8th pie I've made with GMAT and I've been very pleased with how easy the dough is to work and with the flavor.  Plus, I can get it conveniently at Costco.

thanks for the pic.  ah, see... that is the top crust color (pale) of a nyc generic street pizza... yet it doesn't taste gummy and undercooked, undersprung at all, eh.  yes, i've described that it does not brown as much as the KASL per same unit of time, nor does it get hard as much...

this pale but done condition makes me have it 'well done' usually.

Offline Wallman

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #514 on: October 01, 2006, 08:44:29 PM »
I sometimes brush a little oil on the rim to enhance browning, but didn't this time. One thing I really like about the GMAT is that the crust stays softer than the KASL dough. This is a plus when cooking at relatively low temp, IMHO. 

Offline abc

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #515 on: October 02, 2006, 12:26:29 PM »
I sometimes brush a little oil on the rim to enhance browning, but didn't this time. One thing I really like about the GMAT is that the crust stays softer than the KASL dough. This is a plus when cooking at relatively low temp, IMHO. 

exactly.. it stays softer.

say, your dough balls, for your length of maturization in the fridge... did it lose its ball shape, and collapse into a blob?


i'm thinking about buying a white plastic dough box, and though i may have been better to put this question in  another thread... but if this is what continues to happen in my experience after 48 hrs, the dough is going to meet up w/ ea. other inside the box and become a intertwined mess...

maybe i have to put even less yeast than the recommended pct?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #516 on: October 02, 2006, 01:34:42 PM »
abc,

You should of course start a new thread if you would like to explore different dough boxes/trays. However, I would like to suggest in the meantime that you take a look at wooden dough boxes. There are quite a few old timers making NY style pizzas in the NY area using the wood boxes. They started using them many, many years ago before plastic dough boxes became popular and never switched to plastic (e.g., Cambro). As you might imagine, health departments prefer the plastic over the wood, but both types have to be properly cleaned and maintained to keep them in the proper condition.

In line with my suggestion, you may want to take a look at this article by Chef Bruno, who works for Marsal & Sons, a premier oven manufacturer: http://www.pmq.com/mag/2004may_june/woodtrays.php. Marsal is one of the few sources of wooden dough boxes that I have been able to identify after doing a substantial amount of online research. Pictures of the Marsal wooden dough boxes can be seen at http://www.marsalsons.com/default.aspx?pageId=25 (click on More Equipment).

To get more information on the Marsal wooden dough boxes, I called them today to see whether they sell the boxes to individuals and, if so, at what price and in what quantities. At first I was told (by the gal who answered the phone) that they don’t sell to individuals. Nonetheless I asked to speak with a rep to get further information, including names of possible resellers. I ended up speaking with Rich, who told me that they do in fact sell to individuals, in any quantity, although volume discounts apply. They are $35 each, plus shipping (Rich estimates about $5-$6 for one box but that will depend on destination).

In speaking with Rich, he said that if someone does a side by side test using wood and plastic dough boxes, they will notice a difference. The wood apparently absorbs more moisture from the dough, and results in a larger dough expansion with a more open and airy dough structure, and a crispier crust when baked. Whether this is a salesman’s puffing (no pun intended) is hard to say but there is not much incentive to misstate this matter for a single $35 sale. I was told that most pizza operators who use wooden dough boxes do not advertise the fact. This is what I have read elsewhere. I guess it is one of the pizza operators few remaining “secrets”.

I know that you are serious about trying to reproduce the NY style that you have favored for so long so if you or other members are interested, you can call Marsal at 631-226-6688 (they are located in Lindenhurst, NY) and ask for Rich. I told him that I am a member of a pizza making forum and was going to bring the above information to the attention of our members. Anyone calling Rich may be able to extract more secrets from him on the wooden dough boxes.

Peter

EDIT (2/8/2013): For an alternative link to the PMQ article referenced above, see the Wayback Machine link at http://web.archive.org/web/20110404180537/http://pmq.com/mag/2004may_june/woodtrays.php

Offline scott r

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #517 on: October 02, 2006, 02:02:09 PM »
I have heard from a few different sources that the wooden dough boxes promote a crispier outer crust because of the lower internal humidity.  I have seen the dough boxes at sally's in New Haven and they have drilled air holes in them.  I am assuming this helps to achieve a similar effect.

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #518 on: October 02, 2006, 03:19:00 PM »
The use of wood boxes was mentioned here before:



Unfortunately the wood boxes (you do not flour the ball in these) are disappearing even in Naples. The advantage of the wood boxes is that retain some of the moisture from the outer dough ball, without drying it out. This then allows you to use less bench flour even though the dough is still very moist. The wood helps as well to keep a constant temperature.

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Offline Wallman

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Re: Tom Lehmann's NY Style Pizza
« Reply #519 on: October 02, 2006, 04:46:49 PM »
exactly.. it stays softer.

say, your dough balls, for your length of maturization in the fridge... did it lose its ball shape, and collapse into a blob?

The ball was pretty big and did have a gas bubble when I took it out of the fridge, but it didn't really loose form as I dropped it out of the container.  I was using a square disposable Glad plastic container, and the ball was almost to the lid but not touching.  I'm guessing the container holds about 4 cups but I'm not sure.  The dough ball was for a 15 inch pizza so it would be about 17 to 18 oz.  One more note, the dough ball was still a little cool, it had only warmed up about an hour before forming.

I did bake a pie using the same dough formulation that only rose for 20 hours and the ball was a good bit smaller.  In my experience, and as Pete as discussed in this thread, going beyond about 72 hours does cause the dough to go slack, but I didn't have this problem with this batch.


 

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