Author Topic: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc  (Read 7134 times)

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Offline lefty

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difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« on: March 09, 2010, 11:52:39 AM »
I've been experimenting with making pizza sauce at home, and I think I've got a combination of seasonings that I like (salt, pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, oregano, basil, EVOO).  I'm trying to figure out which tomato product will make the best base for my sauce.  I'm not really interested in expensive, mail-order tomato products (not yet, anyway).  I'm just trying to make the best pizza I can with ingredients that are available at the local supermarket.  Maybe when I get better at this and I know what I'm doing, I will move on to more expensive stuff.  Baby steps for now.

My current version of sauce uses the above seasonings with a 1:2 ratio of tomato paste and water.  It's a decent sauce, but not exactly what I'm looking for.  I'm looking to get a slightly coarse texture, and I prefer a flavor that's on the sweeter side.

At the supermarket, I see all cans of tomato paste, crushed tomato, pureed tomato, tomato sauce, etc.  What's the difference between the products?  Which one will provide me the best base for the type of sauce I'm trying to make?  Insights from those more experienced are greatly appreciated. 

Thanks.


Offline PizzaHog

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2010, 12:25:14 PM »
Generally...
Puree is the smoothest, like they went thru a blender.
Crushed or ground is next and coarser, sounds like what you may be looking for.
Sauce is smooth but usually already has spices/flavorings/oil added and often just used as is.
Whole or strips are preferred by some who crush or blend to the desired consistency.
Paste you have used and is not really typical for pizza sauce.
Brand wise Glen Muir Organic, Cento (DOP San Marzano or with ROA stamped on the top of the can), Red Gold, and Walmart Great Value are a few that come to mind as liked by forum members and might be found in your local grocery.  You can try a forum search for more ideas.
Generally again, those without additives seem to be preferred so you might take a peek at the ingredients listed on the can label.  When additives are present, citric acid is the most acceptable and is found in Stanislaus products which are reported as used by some pretty famous pizzerias.  The acid does add a bit of tartness which some balance out with a sweetener.
So in the end it will be your taste buds that make the decision so have fun baking up a bunch of pizzas!

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2010, 12:56:13 PM »
One bad ingredient can mess up your sauce in ways that are surprisingly hard to understand and correct. Quality tomatoes are really important.

I found that my sauce improved a lot when I started using lighter olive oil instead of extra-virgin. And it's cheaper.

Offline lefty

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2010, 01:02:40 PM »
Thanks, that was a helpful breakdown of the different tomato products.  From what I've read on the forums here, I got the sense that tomato paste wasn't used much.  I started out with it because the first pizza sauce recipe I tried called for tomato paste as a base, and I started tweaking from there.  I thought that if I used tomato paste, I could just add a little water, taste, and add more water to get it down to the consistency I wanted.  However, what I found was that tomato paste straight out of the can, while thick in consistency, is actually pretty smooth in texture -- i.e., "thick" referring to viscosity, but "smooth" referring to granularity of tomato particles.  So the amount of water only affected viscosity.  Using water and paste, I was able to get a sauce with a decent viscosity, but wasn't happy with the granularity.  I'll try the crushed/ground tomatoes next time I'm at the store.  Hopefully, that will get me the desired coarseness without veering into "chunky" territory.

I will also try the lighter olive oil as well.  I've been using EVOO because that's all we usually have at home (my wife only buys EVOO).

Offline Ronzo

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2010, 01:06:04 PM »
Lefty,

I find that crushed tomatoes are the best for my tastes. You may find differently.

I'm not a fan of using the puree or paste or sauce. They don't deliver the freshness that I prefer from the crushed type. Not to mention the texture I love.


I've used local grocery store branded crushed tomatoes with great success, mostly because, as you said, they're cheap. My local HEB crushed tomatoes run about $1 or so per 28oz can.
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Offline Puzzolento

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2010, 01:33:09 PM »
I don't know whether light olive oil is better for all types of pizza, but it worked for me. The thing that surprised me was how badly a small amount of extra-virgin messed up my sauce.

Offline scott r

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2010, 01:53:14 PM »
Guys, I am not condoning this, but I just want to point out that paste is actually used VERY often, at least here in the new england area!   If you talk to some of the larger wholesalers who sell to the NY/Boston/Connecticut market about what they sell the most of I think you will find  Bonta, Saportito, and a few other similarly thick products are very high on the list.   Basically most pizzerias (even some good ones) are really concerned with food costs, and thinning down a paste with water is very common place and inexpensive.   It is also of note that many brands who sell a product called 'pizza sauce' (stanislaus being one of the big ones) are providing a product that I consider to be as thick as commercial retail paste sold by hunts and contadina.    Bonta and Saporito pizza sauce are actually even thicker than the paste you can buy in the grocery store.   

 

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2010, 03:03:16 PM »
I use Saporito and Super Dolce with no added tomatoes, so preach on, as far as I'm concerned.

Offline scott r

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2010, 03:11:02 PM »
lefty, do you have cento or pastene products available at your grocery store?

Offline Ronzo

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2010, 03:15:11 PM »
lefty, do you have cento or pastene products available at your grocery store?
I've found Cento crushed tomatoes to be very acidic and tinny. Haven't tried them in a long time because of that, so maybe they've changed.
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Offline scott r

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2010, 03:34:14 PM »
I agree.   The cento crushed tomatoes are horrible.   Cento sources their products from a number of different canneries, and that product is made here in the USA.   

I was going to suggest the Italian peeled tomatoes by cento that have a can code on the top of ROA.  They were first brought to the attention of the forum by Jeff Varasano, and they are some of the best Italian tomatoes I have ever found in a normal grocery store.   Strangely they are even better than the Cento San Marzano tomatoes which are more expensive.  Also beware of another lower quality tomato by Cento called "Italian Style".   

Pastene "kitchen ready" tomatoes are very close to the quality of, and a similar product to the 6 in 1 tomatoes you hear talked about a lot on this forum.  They are a California tomato, so they are a bit sweeter and different than the Cento Italian tomaotes.   

Offline lefty

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2010, 04:34:00 PM »
lefty, do you have cento or pastene products available at your grocery store?

Today, I went to my local Whole Foods for lunch.  While I was there, I stopped by their tomator products to see what they had.  I saw that they had Cento and Glen Muir brands, as well as their store brand.

What is ROA?

Offline lefty

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2010, 11:07:02 PM »
I went to the supermarket today and picked up a can of Cento's crushed tomatoes.  Yes, I did read the previous replies that were critical of Cento's.  But I chose Cento's over the other brands available at the supermarket because it was the only one that didn't have additives (salt, citric acid, etc).  The ingredients list only showed "fresh red ripe tomatoes" and nothing else. 

As soon as I got home, I opened up the can and sampled a bit.  I thought it tasted pretty good -- not acidic or "tinny" as previously described -- and definitely had a fresher, cleaner flavor than the paste/water combination I had been using.  I combined the crushed tomatoes with the same seasonings I've been using and whipped up a better batch of sauce than anything else I've done before.  With the crushed tomatoes, I got exactly the texture I was looking for -- slightly coarse, not chunky or watery.

I've also been tweaking my dough recipe and recently picked up a Fibrament baking stone.  Between the sauce and dough tweaks and the baking stone, I baked my best pizza yet -- crispy crust exterior with a chewy interior, nice color on the rims, fresh, sweet tomato sauce flavor.

Since the crushed tomatoes worked so well, I decided to go ahead and order some Escalon 6-in-1.  Even though it's definitely more expensive than the stuff I get at the supermarket, I'll give it shot to see if it's worth the trouble.

Offline Ronzo

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2010, 11:09:10 PM »
Maybe the Cento crushed are different now... or the couple of cans I've tried in the past were all bad.

glad you found something you liked.
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~ Ron

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Offline Bob1

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2010, 11:32:07 PM »
Ronzo,
I have used 6 in 1 for pasta and pizza sauce for many years.  I recently bought a case of De Cecco diced and have been using them for pies.  I really like it.  I would recommend trying it.

Bob

Offline Ronzo

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2010, 10:17:53 AM »
I might do that, Bob. I just bought 6 cans of 6-in-1 from Escalon directly, so I think I'll go through that batch first ("the boss" at home would be happier if I used what I have, instead of adding cans to the pantry).
Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2010, 02:16:44 PM »
When I discovered crushed tomatoes over using tomatoe sauce I was very happy. Then I discovered whole peeled tomatoes that I blend down myself and find the flavor to be more fresh.  Now crushed and dice tomatoes just taste more cooked to me.
  I just bought a can of Cento whole peeled tomatoes at $3 a 28oz can and a can of Cento San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes at $5 a can.  Will do a side by side comparison and post the results.
  Just found a big can of San Benito whole peeled tomatoes from California at Sams Club for $2.62. This is a huge 6lb 6oz can. I will do a taste test with all 3 and then make sauces out of each and pit them against eachother.
  My thinking is why pay more unless you can really tell a big difference.
Go out and buy a can of crushed and a can of whole tomatoes (same brand) and let us know what you like better.  Taste both right out of the can, season and retaste, and let rest and retaste. I bet the whole tomatoes wins. 
« Last Edit: March 15, 2010, 03:15:26 PM by Tranman »

Offline scott r

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2010, 03:03:11 PM »
you are lucky to have san benito available to you.   THey are fresh pack california tomatoes and the same quality as escalon and stanislaus.   

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2010, 03:12:35 PM »
you are lucky to have san benito available to you.   THey are fresh pack california tomatoes and the same quality as escalon and stanislaus.   

Are you friggin' serious??  I did a quick forum search before buying to see what the consensus is but I didn't see anything that stood out.  But I was searching the forum on my iphone and the font is small.  Now I can't wait to try em out.

This is the big daddy can (102oz) for $2.62.  Is possible to get that good quality of tomatoes for pennies?  Surely you guys have a Costco near you.  I won't be using it all at once so I was thinking of freezing some in ziplock bags.  Scott r, will freezing and thawing out affect the taste that much?  I'm thinking not but just in case. 

Offline scott r

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Re: difference between paste, crushed, pureed, etc
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2010, 03:17:39 PM »
my costco sells hunts and nina brand tomatoes, you are lucky!   Yes,  They are the highest quality california tomatoes you can buy (along with stanislaus and escalon).     You are probably going to need to strain and drain off some excess water, so you might end up with less than you think.   I am not a big fan of previously frozen tomatoes, but you could get them to last three weeks in the fridge if you don't add anything to them other than maybe salt.   Garlic, oregano etc. degrade the tomtoes pretty fast.   


 

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