Author Topic: Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)  (Read 32795 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« on: June 07, 2007, 09:46:12 AM »
This morning, out of curiosity, I did some Google searching to learn more about the De Lorenzo pizza, given the popularity of that pizza. I was wondering whether the following articles I turned up accurately describe the basic De Lorenzo crust/"tomato pie":

http://www.sliceny.com/archives/correspondent/ (about the middle of the page), http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3153&RefID=3207, and
http://food.yahoo.com/blog/sliceamerica/615/pizza-in-trenton-new-jersey.

The last article seems to suggest that one of the two De Lorenzo locations uses a sheeter/roller or press of some sort to make the dough skins. This is a common method of shaping dough skins for the cracker style. It’s also possible to use both a sheeter and hand stretching, with the stretching being used only for the last few inches of the dough skin. I was wondering whether you have ever carefully observed the way that De Lorenzo’s actually prepares and manages the dough. In particular, do you know whether the dough is shaped from dough balls (either premade or cut from bulk dough), whether the dough is made and kept at room temperature, or refrigerated in a commercial cooler? Some pizzerias that specialize in the cracker style preform the dough into dough skins in advance and refrigerate them (often stacked and separated with sheets of paper) until ready to be used. Others form the skins as needed. Often, the skins are docked before dressing, using a docker tool. Have you ever seen one of those used?

I tried to determine what size pies De Lorenzo’s makes. Apparently at one time there was a website for De Lorenzo’s--which might have given me the answer to that question--but it apparently is no longer operating. From pricing and related information given elsewhere, I am guessing that the two sizes of pies that De Lorenzo’s makes are 12”/14”, 12”/16”, or 14”/16”.  Do you know the actual sizes? I also wasn’t quite sure from the photos of De Lorenzo pies whether there is a well defined rim or whether the pies are pretty much flat all the way across. I’m sure that is an easy question for you to answer. It would also be helpful to know what kind of flour De Lorenzo’s uses. Typically the best flour for a cracker style pizza is high-gluten flour, with All Trumps being a very popular brand of high-gluten flour among pizza operators in the NY/NJ area.

I saw from another post this morning by another member that De Lorenzo’s uses Redpack tomatoes and Grande cheese. If correct, that would be a very plausible combination. I also saw and read in the articles that De Lorenzo’s uses a gas deck oven. That suggests a temperature range that you should be able to replicate in a home oven using a pizza stone. You may still not get the identical results, even if you have the exact De Lorenzo dough formulation and dough preparation and management, simply because a standard home oven isn’t a match for a commercial deck oven costing several thousand dollars.

Having answers to the above questions, or as many as them as possible, should help get you started on a project to replicate the De Lorenzo’s pies. If there is any information that you feel would be useful that was not mentioned above, by all means provide that information.

Peter

EDIT (8/15/13): For a working link to the Roadfood article, see the Wayback Machine link at http://web.archive.org/web/20070702035702/http://www.roadfood.com/reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3153&RefID=3207; the Yahoo link is no longer operative
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 11:42:15 AM by Pete-zza »


Offline Flagpull

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2007, 10:24:34 AM »
Pete,

I too have wondered about the size/thickness of De Lorenzo's over the past few years.

I found a picture on Flickr that puts a new perspective on the pie, definitely not what I had imagined. It is amazing what happens when you see a picture from a different angle.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/150/370215542_3335fca1cd.jpg


Obviously the pie has cooled off but you can still see a little better how it looks. Very thin with a larger, flat, outer rim.

The 'tomato pie' seems to get a little different as you head into Philadelphia, for ex: http://www.conshybakery.com/ has tomato pie on their products page (as well as many other yums) but it seems to resemble a "grandma" pie or a basic sicilian more than what De Lorenzo's serves.

Also: http://www.uwishunu.com/2007/01/10/consider-the-tomato-pie/
http://www.johnnygoodtimes.com/archives/002162.shtm

From: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16050

But the humble tomato pie has multiple personalities. A "bakery-style" version shows up in Italian bakeries across the region, notably in Manayunk, the northwest suburbs and the Far Northeast. It is a large, rectangular baking sheet of hand-rolled, yeasty crust, a rich, thick, chunky tomato sauce and sometimes a light sprinkling of grated cheese on top. Sold at room temperature, it's a staple for hundreds of tailgaters at every Eagles home game.

A tiny sliver of the Northeast along Frankford Avenue is home to a different kind of tomato pie: Round dough topped with slices of mozzarella or provolone (or both), followed by a spicy, garlicky tomato sauce. It emerges from the oven bright red, thin and crispy, with a room-filling fragrance.


So it seems as if there are two quite different things in the same region defined as "tomato pie"

1. "De Lorenzo's Style" tomato pie, built more like a typical pizza - simple toppings, defined by the bright red sauce topping the mozzarella cheese.

2. "Deli/Bakery Style" tomato pie, almost certainly square, good to eat either reheated or at room temperature.


Philip
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 10:42:49 AM by Flagpull »

Offline steve cobra

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2007, 08:23:24 PM »
Here's a way better picture of a Hudson St. DeLorenzo's tomato pie:

stevemiller.phanfare.com/show/external/296920/399810/18036763/file.jpg

sorry I am guess I have't posted enough to get the image inserted or hyperlinked.


Steve

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2007, 08:39:54 PM »
Steve,

Here is the link: http://stevemiller.phanfare.com/show/external/296920/399810/18036763/file.jpg .

It is a great photo. Thanks.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 02:10:13 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 09:47:04 PM »
JoeyBagadonuts,

This morning, out of curiosity, I did some Google searching to learn more about the De Lorenzo pizza, given the popularity of that pizza. I was wondering whether the following articles I turned up accurately describe the basic De Lorenzo crust/"tomato pie":

http://www.sliceny.com/archives/correspondent/ (about the middle of the page), http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3153&RefID=3207, and
http://food.yahoo.com/blog/sliceamerica/615/pizza-in-trenton-new-jersey.

The last article seems to suggest that one of the two De Lorenzo locations uses a sheeter/roller or press of some sort to make the dough skins. This is a common method of shaping dough skins for the cracker style. It’s also possible to use both a sheeter and hand stretching, with the stretching being used only for the last few inches of the dough skin. I was wondering whether you have ever carefully observed the way that De Lorenzo’s actually prepares and manages the dough. In particular, do you know whether the dough is shaped from dough balls (either premade or cut from bulk dough), whether the dough is made and kept at room temperature, or refrigerated in a commercial cooler? Some pizzerias that specialize in the cracker style preform the dough into dough skins in advance and refrigerate them (often stacked and separated with sheets of paper) until ready to be used. Others form the skins as needed. Often, the skins are docked before dressing, using a docker tool. Have you ever seen one of those used?

I tried to determine what size pies De Lorenzo’s makes. Apparently at one time there was a website for De Lorenzo’s--which might have given me the answer to that question--but it apparently is no longer operating. From pricing and related information given elsewhere, I am guessing that the two sizes of pies that De Lorenzo’s makes are 12”/14”, 12”/16”, or 14”/16”.  Do you know the actual sizes? I also wasn’t quite sure from the photos of De Lorenzo pies whether there is a well defined rim or whether the pies are pretty much flat all the way across. I’m sure that is an easy question for you to answer. It would also be helpful to know what kind of flour De Lorenzo’s uses. Typically the best flour for a cracker style pizza is high-gluten flour, with All Trumps being a very popular brand of high-gluten flour among pizza operators in the NY/NJ area.

I saw from another post this morning by another member that De Lorenzo’s uses Redpack tomatoes and Grande cheese. If correct, that would be a very plausible combination. I also saw and read in the articles that De Lorenzo’s uses a gas deck oven. That suggests a temperature range that you should be able to replicate in a home oven using a pizza stone. You may still not get the identical results, even if you have the exact De Lorenzo dough formulation and dough preparation and management, simply because a standard home oven isn’t a match for a commercial deck oven costing several thousand dollars.

Having answers to the above questions, or as many as them as possible, should help get you started on a project to replicate the De Lorenzo’s pies. If there is any information that you feel would be useful that was not mentioned above, by all means provide that information.

Peter


To keep my reply brief, I have never seen them use a docker. Only handstretch.
The dough balls are individual.
I wouldnt say the rim is well defined. Semi-flat a couple bubbles. The pies come out well done a few black spots on the crust.
They keep dough in a cooler. My uncle says he is pretty sure they make them a day in advance, let rise, pound them down, and refrigerate until used the next day.
RedPack was the original tomatoes they used. My uncle said that RedPack was going to change something about the tomatoes years and years ago, so the owner flew to cali to talk to the president. People say they still use RedPack, but my uncle says he clearly remembers the last time being there, that there was a red can with a black band and it says 6-in-1. But looking at escalon's website and after talking to the rep, Im not sure. Delorenzo's pies have nice sized chunks on them. Next time I go, I will have to pay nmore attention.

I would love to duplicate this pie. I have never cooked a pizza or tomatoe pie in my life. But I am a very good cook, so i think I might be able to. I want to find out who their distributor is. There is a wholesale distributor right on Hudson St. and their specialties are tomatoe products, olive oils, and cheese. I called the number but no one has returned my calls.

I'm on a mission now.

from what I recall at the moment, they stretch the dough, drizzle some olive oil on dough (even some on the edge of crust), then top with cheese, then spoon  the chunky tomatoes on top.

I am getting hungry.

From looking at the other pics of pies on this site. I have yet to find one that looks like Delorenzo's. Not quite Neo, not quite, cracker either.

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 10:20:47 PM »
Joey,

I have been intimately involved in several past attempts to reverse engineer well known commercial pizzas and the effort can take a lot of time and experimentation. I have never had a De Lorenzo pie, but those who have, such as yourself, should be able to provide a lot of information on the De Lorenzo pies. That’s no assurance that we can successfully reverse engineer the De Lorezno pie, but sometimes we do get pretty close. Plus, it can be a lot of fun.

Let me know when you would like to start the project. In the meantime, you might take a look at the photos for a couple of cracker crust pizzas I made recently, and described at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5173.msg43956.html#msg43956. What I am most interested in is whether the crust for the basic De Lorenzo pie is thicker or thinner than the ones shown. What would really be a big help in decoding the De Lorenzo dough is to know a typical dough ball weight and corresponding pizza size. That is one of the reasons I asked you about pizza sizes. Some pizza operators will give out typical dough ball weights and corresponding pizza sizes. If you are a regular and they know you well enough, they might part with that kind of information. Of course, it would help to know what kind of flour and tomatoes De Lorenzo uses. I originally guessed Grande and 6-in-1s for the cheese and tomatoes, mainly because of quality and availability in the NJ area, although it looks like the 6-in-1s may not be the actual tomatoes used.

In the meantime, it would also help to know what pizza making equipment you have, if any.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 03:02:38 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2007, 10:37:39 AM »
I grew up on DeLorenzos pies... They use Maggio cheese for the cheese in large bags. The dough is leavened with a starter dough no yeast. ( I obtained a sample piece of dough and now use this for the mother of all my doughs its truly amazing)... The oil used is called Santuzzi (sp?) oil its a blend of like 80% canola and 20% olive oil which you can blend in your own kitchen.
They used to have a coal oven but as the years went bye it was too much labor to have the coal delivered and used in the oven. There pies are truly the best I have ever eaten as well even compared to Lombardi's, Grimaldis etc.. The next time in NY I'm going to Johns on Bleeker street they still use a coal oven.

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2007, 11:16:18 AM »
I grew up on DeLorenzos pies... They use Maggio cheese for the cheese in large bags. The dough is leavened with a starter dough no yeast. ( I obtained a sample piece of dough and now use this for the mother of all my doughs its truly amazing)... The oil used is called Santuzzi (sp?) oil its a blend of like 80% canola and 20% olive oil which you can blend in your own kitchen.
They used to have a coal oven but as the years went bye it was too much labor to have the coal delivered and used in the oven. There pies are truly the best I have ever eaten as well even compared to Lombardi's, Grimaldis etc.. The next time in NY I'm going to Johns on Bleeker street they still use a coal oven.

Thanks for the info.
You said the oil is called Santuzzi ...what it that SP for or where did it come from?
Ok, this might sound dumb, but what is a starter dough and how do you leaven other dough with it?

joe

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2007, 11:44:40 AM »
The dough is leavened with a starter dough no yeast.

If this is true, it will make replicating the De Lorenzo's dough infinitely more difficult because of all the possible combinations and variations. There are very few places that I am aware of in the U.S. that successfully use a starter dough without yeast and do so with volume (there are a few in Naples for the Neapolitan style). Anthony Mangieri at Una Pizza Napoletana in NYC says he uses a natural starter, along with old dough, but his volume is small relative to most pizzerias. Chris Bianco uses a preferment of some sort, but his preferment is based on using commercial yeast.

The above said, I can believe using a starter dough based on commercial yeast, such as a poolish or biga (or equivalent), but even then there are few who use that method commercially in other than an artisan setting. A poolish- or biga-based starter dough (actually a preferment) will contribute a crispy character to the finished crust, along with an improved flavor profile, so it is a plausible application. But trying to nail down the actual parameters of the preferment is very difficult absent good information on the makeup and management of the target dough (in this case, De Lorenzo’s dough). Usually when a pizzeria uses something like a starter dough, word eventually gets out on such use. In fact, often the pizzeria will use the fact of using a starter dough as part of its marketing program and to distinguish itself from everyone else. After reading pages and pages about De Lorenzo, I have not seen any evidence to suggest that De Lorenzo’s is using anything resembling a starter. Only that the dough formulation has been essentially unchanged over the years. If I am wrong on my assessment, I am willing to be convinced otherwise. At one time, Patsy’s (the original location) was said to be using a starter dough but that turned out not to be correct. Patsy’s itself denied it.

Peter


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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2007, 11:55:22 AM »
Ok, this might sound dumb, but what is a starter dough and how do you leaven other dough with it?

Joe,

It is not a dumb question at all. To get a fairly quick understanding of what a starter dough is, you may want to take a look at the Pizza Glossary at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html#S. The terms you may want to zero in on are preferment (starter), biga, poolish, sponge, levain and pate fermentee (including chef and old dough).

As a starting pizza maker, you may at some time want to read the entire Pizza Glossary. You will gain a lot of information about pizza making by doing so. I often recommend that new pizza makers read the glossary several times so that the information sinks in better.

Peter

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2007, 12:15:22 PM »
Wow. All this stuff sounds complicated. Pizza making science. lol
Ok, I will read up on this stuff.

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2007, 03:02:03 PM »
The crust when broken and smelled does not contain a yeast or what I consider yeasty type smell, I have a very very sensitive nose and I can smell a yeast pie vs. a starter risen pie a mile away. The establishment can easily make the required amounts of dough for the size of the pizza parlor--its not that large. When one keeps a large mother dough going it can be used for making large batches of dough as well. All I know is that when I make my pies with yeast vs. my old risen mother dough it tastes completely different. (When I said starter I may have been mistaken... its not batter type at all its in the form of old dough method)...

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2007, 03:37:57 PM »
MTPIZZA,

A while back, I wrote about the old dough method at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4764.msg40475.html#msg40475 (Reply 1). Can you tell me which of the specific forms of old dough you believe De Lorenzo's to be using?

In a sense, it may not really matter what form of old dough is being used if, in fact, the old dough method is being used. Joe has never made a pizza before of any kind, so asking him to make an old dough based pizza is asking for a lot. It would be asking for a lot for even a skilled home pizza maker, given the wide range of possibilities, as noted in the post referenced above.

Peter

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2007, 06:40:06 PM »
Ok Peter I'll try and describe my "old dough/preferment" method. After reading the link you presented, I must confess I use neither of these methods in that my method does not "contaminate" the mother or old dough with anything other than feeding it with new flour and filtered water thats all. I keep the mass like a very very wet dough a little thicker than mud. This prevents the hooch or seperation that happens with looser preferments (which I find changes the flavor of the finished pizza perhaps because the hooch is fermenting and creating side flavors)..But I keep it in the fridge quite a long time without fussing with it. I had a very small original piece of fresh dough from DeLorenzos which I slowly coaxed into a great "mother dough" if you want to call it. Its funny cause when I smelled the piece I had -- it reminded me of the way pasta dough smells...a little eggy is how I would describe it.. (again my sense of smell is a blessing and a curse..) I attributed it to the fact that they use semolina flour under their dough balls in the plastic pizza retard bins. (Notice the picture posted at the beginning of this post--look at the edge of the crust-- see the almost sandy appearance.. thats the semolina). A little side note is when you see them make the pies they are always sure to place the rough semolina side down on the oven base NEVER UP...
My old dough (remember I'm just calling it a dough--its really more loose than that) will innoculate my dough balls and create a good crumb and flavor after retarding overnight in the frig. The flavor is unlike and different from the sourdough.com starters they sell. Its very stable when I feed it with fresh flour and water it activates very nicely with great flavor. I hope I've explained my use and thoughts on the topic. The picture at the beginning of this post tells it all I want to make that the screen saver on my computer I can taste that pie from here!! That is a DeLorezno pie no doubt...

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2007, 12:09:34 PM »
Here's a way better picture of a Hudson St. DeLorenzo's tomato pie:

stevemiller.phanfare.com/show/external/296920/399810/18036763/file.jpg

sorry I am guess I have't posted enough to get the image inserted or hyperlinked.


Steve

Steve,

Did you order that pie yourself? If so, I am correct if I was to say it was ordered with extra cheese?

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2007, 12:18:11 PM »
Ok Peter I'll try and describe my "old dough/preferment" method. After reading the link you presented, I must confess I use neither of these methods in that my method does not "contaminate" the mother or old dough with anything other than feeding it with new flour and filtered water thats all. I keep the mass like a very very wet dough a little thicker than mud. This prevents the hooch or seperation that happens with looser preferments (which I find changes the flavor of the finished pizza perhaps because the hooch is fermenting and creating side flavors)..But I keep it in the fridge quite a long time without fussing with it. I had a very small original piece of fresh dough from DeLorenzos which I slowly coaxed into a great "mother dough" if you want to call it. Its funny cause when I smelled the piece I had -- it reminded me of the way pasta dough smells...a little eggy is how I would describe it.. (again my sense of smell is a blessing and a curse..) I attributed it to the fact that they use semolina flour under their dough balls in the plastic pizza retard bins. (Notice the picture posted at the beginning of this post--look at the edge of the crust-- see the almost sandy appearance.. thats the semolina). A little side note is when you see them make the pies they are always sure to place the rough semolina side down on the oven base NEVER UP...
My old dough (remember I'm just calling it a dough--its really more loose than that) will innoculate my dough balls and create a good crumb and flavor after retarding overnight in the frig. The flavor is unlike and different from the sourdough.com starters they sell. Its very stable when I feed it with fresh flour and water it activates very nicely with great flavor. I hope I've explained my use and thoughts on the topic. The picture at the beginning of this post tells it all I want to make that the screen saver on my computer I can taste that pie from here!! That is a DeLorezno pie no doubt...

Ah Ha! I had a feeling that was semolina flour or cornmeal in the white plastic bins. It has a yellowish tone to it, so I original thought maybe a fine cornmeal or polenta, but when you get the pie, it doesn't seem to have that sandy bottom to it. Seems more like a flour and doesnt look yellow at all.
Do you know if they store the dough balls in these white plastic bins?
Do you know if they only coat one side of the dough with the semolina?
Do you by any chance think there is actually semolina flour in the dough itself?
I agree that the crust does not have a sourdough like taste or a yeasty taste at all.
You said you got a fresh piece of dough from delorenzo's; How did you get that? Ask them for a piece? And what did you transport it home in?

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2007, 12:36:31 PM »
Now regarding Semolina flour in pizza making, I found this blurb on Wikipedia.


Semolina

"It can be used as an alternative to corn meal to 'flour' the underside of fresh pizza dough to prevent it from sticking to the peel.

In bread making, a small proportion of semolina added to the usual mix of flour produces a tasty crust."

When at delorenzo's, I could have sworn the substance in the plastic bin was more yellowish. The pic of Semolina on Wikipedia is white.


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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2007, 12:39:12 PM »
MTPIZZA,

To be sure I understand, are you saying that De Lorenzo's is using the same "old dough" method you are using? If not, do you think it is possible that they are using one of the methods discussed in the old dough post to which I provided the link? What I am trying to understand is what specific method based on a preferment, old dough or otherwise, De Lorenzo's is actually using. It seems to me that that information is crucial to trying to replicate the De Lorenzo pie.

I am also curious to know whether you have ever tried to reproduce a De Lorenzo pie, given the amount of information and knowledge you possess about their pies. If so, what results did you achieve and what kind of dough formulation, ingredients, and dough preparation and management procedures did you use? In many respects, it sounds like you have "cultured" the De Lorenzo dough much in the same manner as Jeff Varasano did with his Patsy's culture.

Peter

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2007, 01:08:31 PM »
All the semolina flours I have seen and used have been yellow. Some pizza operators prefer semolina flour over cornmeal because they feel that it handles better on the peel (better "ball bearing" action) and is not as grainy as cornmeal.

Peter

Offline BenLee

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2007, 02:35:59 PM »
JoeyBagadonuts,

This morning, out of curiosity, I did some Google searching to learn more about the De Lorenzo pizza, given the popularity of that pizza. I was wondering whether the following articles I turned up accurately describe the basic De Lorenzo crust/"tomato pie":

http://www.sliceny.com/archives/correspondent/ (about the middle of the page), http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3153&RefID=3207, and
http://food.yahoo.com/blog/sliceamerica/615/pizza-in-trenton-new-jersey.

The last article seems to suggest that one of the two De Lorenzo locations uses a sheeter/roller or press of some sort to make the dough skins. This is a common method of shaping dough skins for the cracker style. It’s also possible to use both a sheeter and hand stretching, with the stretching being used only for the last few inches of the dough skin. I was wondering whether you have ever carefully observed the way that De Lorenzo’s actually prepares and manages the dough. In particular, do you know whether the dough is shaped from dough balls (either premade or cut from bulk dough), whether the dough is made and kept at room temperature, or refrigerated in a commercial cooler? Some pizzerias that specialize in the cracker style preform the dough into dough skins in advance and refrigerate them (often stacked and separated with sheets of paper) until ready to be used. Others form the skins as needed. Often, the skins are docked before dressing, using a docker tool. Have you ever seen one of those used?

I tried to determine what size pies De Lorenzo’s makes. Apparently at one time there was a website for De Lorenzo’s--which might have given me the answer to that question--but it apparently is no longer operating. From pricing and related information given elsewhere, I am guessing that the two sizes of pies that De Lorenzo’s makes are 12”/14”, 12”/16”, or 14”/16”.  Do you know the actual sizes? I also wasn’t quite sure from the photos of De Lorenzo pies whether there is a well defined rim or whether the pies are pretty much flat all the way across. I’m sure that is an easy question for you to answer. It would also be helpful to know what kind of flour De Lorenzo’s uses. Typically the best flour for a cracker style pizza is high-gluten flour, with All Trumps being a very popular brand of high-gluten flour among pizza operators in the NY/NJ area.

I saw from another post this morning by another member that De Lorenzo’s uses Redpack tomatoes and Grande cheese. If correct, that would be a very plausible combination. I also saw and read in the articles that De Lorenzo’s uses a gas deck oven. That suggests a temperature range that you should be able to replicate in a home oven using a pizza stone. You may still not get the identical results, even if you have the exact De Lorenzo dough formulation and dough preparation and management, simply because a standard home oven isn’t a match for a commercial deck oven costing several thousand dollars.

Having answers to the above questions, or as many as them as possible, should help get you started on a project to replicate the De Lorenzo’s pies. If there is any information that you feel would be useful that was not mentioned above, by all means provide that information.

Peter


I've watched them make pies at Delorenzo's fairly often.  They don't use any rollers.  It's all done by hand.  One guy presses the crap out of it with his fingertips and then Sammy or Gary dot he stretching.  They stretch it pretty far.  It's a very dry dough and they actually let it dry out and use that for the bottom so it's extra crispy.

They store them as dough balls.  I have no idea how they make the dough or what flour they use.  I do not that it's a very low hydration. 

They do use a gas oven, but they have it cranked pretty high (much higher than 500 degrees).  My guess is 650 to 700.  I know for a fact that they do use Red Pack tomatoes and you can actually taste it.  They definitely do something to make the sauce better because I haven't been able to replicate their sauce. 

I believe they also use Grande cheese (or whatever it is, it's really good).  They shred it and put that on the pie first.  Then the toppings, then then the sauce (they say if you have the cheese on first, its crisper on the bottom).  Btw, their toppings are the best I've ever had.  Amazing sausage and peppers pie.

Offline BenLee

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2007, 02:43:34 PM »
All the semolina flours I have seen and used have been yellow. Some pizza operators prefer semolina flour over cornmeal because they feel that it handles better on the peel (better "ball bearing" action) and is not as grainy as cornmeal.

Peter

I buy a yellow semolina flour that comes in unlableled plastic containers from a local Italian deli.  It's very fine and you can tell it's high quality.  When I made pasta with it, it was the best tasting I've ever had.  When I made a pizza with it, it was just so so.  It takes too long to cook and the texture is a little soft.  I do use it to coat the doughs when making pies though.  I find that this flour is better because it doesn't burn on the stone and also has gives a better taste on the crust.

For my doughs, I use a random "00" flour and some king aurthur all purpose flour.  I only use the semolina for coating the dough before handling.  I've used other semolina flours and have not had as much luck with the one I buy from the local deli.  I guess it's hit or miss.

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2007, 03:05:18 PM »
I've watched them make pies at Delorenzo's fairly often.  They don't use any rollers.  It's all done by hand.  One guy presses the crap out of it with his fingertips and then Sammy or Gary dot he stretching.  They stretch it pretty far.  It's a very dry dough and they actually let it dry out and use that for the bottom so it's extra crispy.

They store them as dough balls.  I have no idea how they make the dough or what flour they use.  I do not that it's a very low hydration. 

They do use a gas oven, but they have it cranked pretty high (much higher than 500 degrees).  My guess is 650 to 700.  I know for a fact that they do use Red Pack tomatoes and you can actually taste it.  They definitely do something to make the sauce better because I haven't been able to replicate their sauce. 

I believe they also use Grande cheese (or whatever it is, it's really good).  They shred it and put that on the pie first.  Then the toppings, then then the sauce (they say if you have the cheese on first, its crisper on the bottom).  Btw, their toppings are the best I've ever had.  Amazing sausage and peppers pie.

How do you know for a fact that they still use RedPack? The original tomatoes they used way back when, the company made some changes and Chickie took a trip out to the company to talk to them about it.
Now my uncle said he has seen a red can with a black band going around it saying 6-in-1 (looking like the Escalon 6-in-1) on a few occasions.
Do you think they might mix the 2 brands together?
The cheese they do not shred themselves. I have seen them bring in pre-shredded cheese in big seeled clear poly bags with no print on them.
Their sausage and pepperoni is the absolute best. nice chunks of hand-pulled sausage and nice thick slices of pepperoni.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2007, 05:39:37 PM »
BenLee,

Thanks for all the good information. I read somewhere that the oven is a gas Blodgett oven. I visited the Blodgett website but couldn't find anything that looked like the ones in the photos of the ovens I saw. That could mean that the ovens now used at De Lorenzo's are older versions or possibly another brand, such as a Bakers Pride, which some people confuse with the Blodgett. I also looked at the ovens at the Bakers Pride website and didn't find anything that looked familiar there either. However, the thermostat settings for the current Blodgett's run from 300-650 degrees F, although I think 650 degrees may be pushing it. Originally, I thought that the oven temperatures used at De Lorenzo's were lower, but I now tend to agree with you that the actual temperatures may be on the high end of the above range. This creates a potential problem when using a standard unmodified home oven, but there may be ways to boost the normal oven temperature above 500 degrees F, as by using the broiler element or possibly a "mini-oven" configuration constructed within the home oven.

Can you tell me how you would personally characterize the De Lorenzo pizza style based on your many visits to De Lorenzo's and how you would also characterize the crust itself, in terms of texture, color, taste, sweetness, saltiness, chewiness, toughness, and so forth? Also, do you know what the two pizza sizes are?

Peter

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2007, 05:44:46 PM »
I really can't speculate as to how they make their doughs but I do know it is different than yeast doughs, a certain smell that is there when the crust is broken open. BenLee you are correct they use two to make the pies...one guy stretches and flatens and the other (Gary) applies the toppings. They used to use Maggio cheese that came pre-shredded in a bag. I heard that the Maggio family either sold the business or raised their prices or whatever...thats what they used to use. I know they mix two different brands of tomatoes they don't use only Redpack I have seen them do this in the kitchen in the back.
Peter, I have replicated the pies but it is only my own recipe and I can't vouch for what they do to make their dough. I only know what I smelled from the raw piece I had obtained to make my mother dough with. I use a standard recipe for one 12 inch pie... 3/4 C flour, 1/4 cup mother dough, 1/2 Cup + or minus water pinch of sugar and 1/2 tsp salt... mix rise in fridge a day or two... I mix my own oil and tomatoes and it produces an excellent pie...

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2007, 05:49:53 PM »
Peter their crust is slightly sweet, crispy, and flavorful, its thin and usually stands out straight when the piece is picked up..no soggy or droopy crusy. Its not salty although they must add sparingly. It has a nice crisp texture due to the semolina and high oven temp they cook at. The inside of the crust is soft but not real chewy or gummy...a very very light pie...I have been known to eat a whole large pie myself. The two sizes are real different from each other ...they make one dough size from what I gather they just stretch it  more for the large. I think they only have one size alum. pan when they serve. I think it is a Blodgett oven and it is pretty old. I can't remember what year they switched over from coal... they do cook at higher temps, cause when that pie is out of the oven... ITS BLAZING HOT.. Many a night I was awake with a burnt upper palate
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 05:51:46 PM by MTPIZZA »