Author Topic: Sauce ingredient possibilities??  (Read 10186 times)

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Offline youonlylivetwice

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Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« on: April 06, 2005, 02:04:08 PM »
Hi all,
I am new here, and really appreciate all that I have read.  My question is ( a little hard to answer) what would be a comprehensive list of ingredients that might go into a sauce?  I have been trying to make  a good sauce, and I guess I just don't have the knowledge about what to try next and how it might affect flavor.  I have tried the sauce in  Peter Reinhart's American Pie, and it is alright, but there is a certain flavor I am after and I just don't know how to get there.  I saw a pic from ItsInTheSauce in another thread that looked great, kind of a deeper red, just looking for options.  If this is too hard to answer, please don't beat me up for asking a dumb question.

Thanks!


Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2005, 02:19:12 PM »
Hi there, love the nickname  ;D

one ingredient that all pizza joints up here in Canada use is cinnamon, not so much as you can really put your finger
on it, but if you know it's in the sauce, then when you taste it, you will be able to detect it, but others won't. It really is a magical
ingredient, and you should really try it.

I've seen some of my American friends here also mention it, so it's an ingredient used both north and south of the border.

It's one of those little flavours that gives you that "hmm that's good, what is that ?? "  ;D

Little is good, go easy at first.  Just a sprinkle in a bowl of sauce ( say 2 cups is enough )

Mark
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Offline scott r

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2005, 02:43:16 PM »
It's all in the tomatoes.  Do a search around here, Escalon, Stanislaus, La Ragina (for San Marzano's) are the best I have found.  Tomatoes like these are not in your grocery store, and you have probably never cooked with anything of this caliber.  When you start with these there is no way to make a bad sauce.  I have found that they are so good, and most of them thick enough already, that cooking them actually takes away from their flavor.  They will cook enough on the pizza.  Also, you may find you need little or no sesoning at all.  After that try,

Sugar (honey etc)
Oregano
Basil
Garlic
Salt
Red pepper flakes
Marjoram (one of my personal faves)

If you are really serious about this, buy fresh herbes, etc. and stir them into the tomatoes, then let them sit overnight.  If you are going to use dry herbs, buy good ones.  Do a search here for Penzy's spices.  Haven't tried cinnimon yet, but I have seen some crazy things go into chilli that take it to another level.

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2005, 04:23:10 PM »
Thanks, actually I have been surprised at some of the posts about difficulty finding those tomatoes, I work in a downtown office building and can walk to three different Italian groceries that sell them.  I think I am missing an ingredient or technique.  It's almost like the sauce is too fresh and bright, stupid as that sounds.   I have tried using San Marzano paste, too, and adding water back, but that doesn't do it, either.  One place I read about anchovy paste, but that didn't do it.   I am wondering if cooking down spicy sausage and adding the fat to the sauce instead of olive oil might get it closer.  I haven't tried that yet.  I am trying to get to a spicier, deeper sauce if that makes sense.  Maybe less spice like oregano and basil actually, but a different tomato flavor, not like fresh tomatoes.  Just hoping someone might have that one suggestion that does it.  Thanks to everyone on this site for all the info you share!!

Offline pizzaluvr

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2005, 05:55:14 PM »
I like the flavor red wine vinegar gives to the sauce.   Maybe go with a regular dark wine and cook it down and then add it to the sauce?   Keep us posted, because that's the sort of thing I'm after, too.

Mark
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  "And some white toast..."  Jake & Elwood

Offline Nathan

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2005, 09:07:11 PM »
A local pizza place here where I live uses a little red wine in their sauce.  They have one of the best tasting sauces in town IMO.  I plan on trying it out myself too one of these days but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2005, 08:31:27 AM »
I have no chemistry / food science knowledge, just what I hear, for better or worse.  I have tried both red wine vinegar and lemon juice, and actually found that I liked the lemon juice better.  Maybe I used slightly too much vinegar, but I wasn't crazy about the flavor it left.  I think it is either a method of cooking the tomatoes that adds a different flavor, or some ingredient.  The cinnamon is very interesting, one of those you'd never think of...
I plan to try the Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes next (this weekend), we'll see...
Thank you as always!

Offline Steve

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2005, 08:41:25 AM »
For my thin crust sauce, I add minced green bell pepper and minced onion.

Offline buzz

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2005, 12:03:09 PM »
Try a little sugar. What I like is a hint of fennel in the background--it just reminds me of the "pizzeria" taste!


Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2005, 12:09:41 PM »
oh, I have tried sugar and fennel too.  Here is a list of what I think I have tried:
oregano
basil
fennel
marjoram
parsley
rosemary
anise
lemon juice
red wine vinegar
anchovy paste
sugar
salt
brown sugar
black pepper
red pepper flakes
cayenne pepper
garlic
garlic powder


not all at once, of course.  Maybe what I need is a long slow simmer.   As stupid as it sounds, the taste I am going for is less fresh and less bright than you get with most recipes.  kinda the same way a really good piece of bbq has been slow cooked forever, it doesn't taste 'fresh' anymore, but man is it good!

Offline buzz

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2005, 12:15:53 PM »
I have tried simmering 6-in-1 for a while before cooking a deep dish, and found that it came out too "cooked"  for my taste after being in the oven. Maybe a short simmer--10 minutes or so?

Tomatoes (even San Marzano's!) can sometimes be a little acidic--how about a pinch of baking soda?

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2005, 12:18:22 PM »
now that is an interesting idea!  I am up for anything.  How would I know how much to use in a 28oz can of Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes?  like a 1/4 tsp?  more?
thanks for the idea!

Offline Pizzaholic

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2005, 12:45:17 PM »
Lucky you to have 6:1
I havent found them in my area, still looking. Thats part of the fun though

I noticed that in your list of ingredients there is no thyme. I enjoy it in my sauce with a bunch of the other things that you put in the sauces.

Question/Comment
If cooking/simmering the tomato sauce makes it break down and loose flavor, why do it?
I mix my sauce when I make the dough, put it in the fridge overnite to meld and then let it cook on the pie.
Just my preference, and I notice a difference.
Regards
Pizzaholic

Offline buzz

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2005, 01:54:00 PM »
Re baking soda--try just a pinch at a time, and taste as you go along. As I recall, it makes a mini-explosion as it hits the acid! Very cool to do anyway!

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2005, 01:56:29 PM »
I can't believe people don't know the secret to a tasty pizza sauce. U have to fire roast tomatoes on a pan from all sides until they turn black, then u place them in a blender and scrape the left tomato peel from pan and add to belnder and blend. Try that and then puor olive oil into pan and minced garlic and onion then add tomatoes and italian herbs and let simmer low heat. try adding some tomato paste to make sauce thicker and vivid red and richer. Hope this works out with you cus it works for my pizzas.

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2005, 02:05:17 PM »
Thanks jeancarlo,
that sounds like an intersting idea, and might get me closer.  I may be taking this too literally, but you say 'fire roast', you do just mean to cook them on a stovetop, right?  there is no fire, and you are not roasting them.  Also, do you get the seeds out before blending?  I would think you'd want the seeds removed.  Also, use roma tomatoes if starting from fresh, right? Thanks for the tip!

Offline bakerboy

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2005, 02:09:00 PM »
One of my favorite toppings for pizza is basil pesto.  marinated plum tomatos, mozz, topped off with thick green dollops of pesto.  i miss that pie.  I never see it offered as a topping and i'm not sure why.  Yeah, its a little bit of work, but pesto freezes well.  At the shop i would buy a case of basil, trim it, wash it, and blanch it in boiling water for2-3 min max. then directly to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  This was then squeezed dry and combined with olive oil, parm, pine nuts, garlic and spun in a processor.  The result was a copius amount of really good pesto which would last a very long time. The blanching, cooling and drying steps are the bulk of the work, but if you just dump it all in the processor, the basil will oxidise and turn an unsightly black unless used immediately.

I also like ricotta and mozz based white pizza:  Slow roasted onions, crumbled goat cheese,olive oil, fresh thyme, and pine nuts.  as soon as it comes out of the oven drizzle (every so slightly) with honey.

Shallots roasted in honey and balsamic vinegar are fantastic

Portobello mushrooms marinated or roasted with rosemary, garlic, salt and lots of cracked black pepper.

I don't really care for dried spices except for oregano and dried red hots. 

Ideas?  Whenever i go to a restaurant, i always make mental notes of what i'm getting:  Braised fennel and italian sausage appetiser dizzled with evoo?  sounds like it would work as a pizza topping to me.

Think seasonal.  Right now asparagus is coming into season.  i like to wrap tender asparagus stalks in prosciutto, brush them with a little evoo so the prosciutto doesn't burn and arrange them on the pizza radially with some scattered fresh herbs.


Offline PizzaSuperFreak

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2005, 08:28:48 PM »
to be honest, it IS all in the tomatoes. IF.... you're going for a fresh tomato taste. Whole peeled tomatoes - just try different ones in your area - drained a bit. cut up with a knife in the can. add some dried oregano, thyme, kosher salt, fresh pepper, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of sugar if they're too acidic. that makes a pretty decent pizza sauce.

if you want a sweet, pizzeria style sauce, shhhh dont tell anyone, but add an equal amount of tomato paste as the tomatoes and about a tablespoon of sugar to the recipe i stated above.

Offline Y-TOWN

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2005, 09:42:33 PM »

Small amount of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (say) 1/4t for 28oz can of tomatoes----(anchovy paste in it perks the sauce up)--too much and that's all you will taste.

Offline varasano

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2005, 10:49:54 PM »
The key is the fresh tomato taste. Stay away from recipies with lots of ingredients.  Remove the water by Straining the tomatoes, not by precooking them. They will cook plenty on the pie. If you do it before hand they cook twice and it's not good. This is a big secret of some of the best places and it actually makes it easier for you (one of the few time saving steps to this difficult process)

To cut the acidity, grate some excellent romano cheese into the tomatos.  Then add a bit of sugar, but try it with the romano first. A pinch of salt and maybe a pinch of oregano. That's it.

Jeff

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2005, 10:38:17 AM »
Thank you all for your help.  I guess it comes down to experimenting.  Jeancarlo is saying cook the heck out of them, and others are saying cook 'em just once, on the pie.  I need to keep experimenting....

Does anyone know what chemically happens by cooking tomatoes twice?  What is lost?  Why would you ever make any sauce, pasta etc., with a long slow simmer if it is so bad for the outcome??

Thanks!

Offline scott r

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2005, 11:19:51 AM »
I totally agree that it sounds to me like you are looking for a cooked sauce.  It is not what I prefer, but for years it is what I had to do to get my sauce thick enough. Now I have found Escalon.  I don't know what you loose when you cook sauce, other than the fresh flavor, and maybe some vitamins.  Cooking sauce is not bad for the outcome, just a different flavor.  I always found that a slow cook to thicken the sauce tasted better to me than adding some tomato paste.  Weird, I know, because tomato paste is just exactly that.  A cooked down tomato.  The more the tomatoes cook the less fresh they taste.  At the same time there is a flavor that intensifies that is hard to describe.  I think this might be what you are looking for.  There is nothing wrong with this flavor, and many good pizzarias I have been to do cook their sauce.  Di Faras is a pizzaria many around here look up to, and to me they had some of this flavor.  I think all of us here are working towards a goal of of our ideal pizza.  For many of us this ideal has been shaped in our mind from an early age.  I know many people who have a favorite pizzaria that to me is just not that great, but it is what they were raised on and they love it.  Experiment here with everything you can.  My wife was raised where everyone uses white cheddar on her pizza.  Now I have converted her to loving my ideal as much as hers.   
Back when I cooked my sauce I found the Hunts products to be the best.  I would do a mix of crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, whole tomatoes, and the sauce.  Watch out because the Hunts sauce is very salty.  It was key to getting the right flavor, though.  No need to strain the tomatoes if you are cooking them down.  Also, if you are going to add sugar, which seems to be in most good cooked sauces, do it at the end or it will make the sauce burn.  Actually, add all of the seasonings at the end, with maybe 10 minutes left of cooking.  To me oregano, basil etc don't taste as good when they have cooked for a long time.  Also, many times if I seasoned early, the flavors would get too strong by the time it cooked down and got thick.  I would realize that I had added too much salt or some other flavor.   Cook low and slow, and make sure you are around to stir a lot towards the end of cooking.  If it burns it tastes really bad.  Good Luck!!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2005, 11:25:04 AM »
There are differences of opinion on whether one should use a "fresh" style sauce or a cooked sauce for pizzas, which is why it is important to go with what you like best. I know that people like Big Dave Ostrander and Tom Lehmann prefer the fresh style. The following is an excerpt (in quotes, with spelling corrected) of an answer given by Big Dave to a questioner who asked him to identify the best tomatoes:

"Escalon Premier Brands & Stanislaus Food Products are the best packers of tomatoes in the world.

The two plants are only 13 miles apart on McHenry Avenue. They are in the bullseye of the finest growers in California. The climate, sun and soil unique to the San Joachim Valley is unparalled in producing the best fruit anywhere.

What really sets both companies head and sholders above all of the competition is they only produce 'fresh pack' - not from re-manufactured (paste) products. Fresh pack defined is: The fruit is picked at the height of ripeness and trucked to a California Dept. of Agriculture grading station. Here the state inspectors draw out a random core sample of the load in the trailer and assign a numeric score. The graders are looking for ripe - pink- green ratios. Mold, Color, MOT (material other than tomato) PH level and other factors. The higher the score the more money the farmer gets per ton. Only the best, highest scores get to either plants. If the load has anything below a certain score the load is diverted to another packer.

Next the tomatoes are floated off the trailers (Mater' Freighters) and washed before entering the plant. These tomatoes are harvested and arrive at the plants 27-7. They spend almost no time in the parking lots. The field coordinators are like air traffic controllers. They travel from farm to farm and determine the exact time to harvest so the flow through the plant is uninterrupted and the full trailers don't sit in the parking lots rotting.

The tomatoes are then hand sorted on a huge conveyor by 10-30 quality line workers. They cull out all of the undesirable fruit and let only the best pass through to the peeling, crushing, grinding, slicing and evaporation lines.

The next step is huge. If the cooked tomatoes go directly into the can they are called 'Fresh Pack'. They are only cooked once. If they go to the evaporators and are cooked to an industrial paste (very thick)--need to cut it with a knife or saw. Then packed in Drums or 500 gallon Mylar, Scholle Bags. Tomatoes don't like excessive heat. Since they are a fruit rather than a vegetable they naturally contain high levels of fructose sugar. These natural sugars caramelize and turn the product orange or brown rather than the vibrant red we associate with great tomatoes. Once you scorch a tomato you can't undo the damage. It forever loses its fresh, just from the vine, taste and color. This product is called 'Industrial Tomato Paste'. The Paste is then stored until an order comes in for whatever: sauce, puree, BBQ sauce, juice etc. The paste is then dilluted with water to the desired thickness, measured with a refractometer, spiced or not, blended together in a mixer and heated once again to sterilize and hit with preservatives and filled into cans or pouches and labeled. The 2 step process is called re-manufactured. This is less expensive than fresh pack because the paste can be shipped by rail to a packing plant and rehydrated--let's say in Ohio or Georgia. It cost a lot less to ship paste than it does water. The re-manners can operate plants all year long. Fresh Packers (Escalon & Stanislaus) only pack for about 100-120 days a year. They then shut down the plant and pickle it till next year. Once the rains come in late Sept or early October the fruit in the field gets unusable and pack season is over. That's why it's a 24-7 operation.

Both companies pack two levels of tomatoes based on specifications. Stanislaus' best line is branded 'Saparito' and Escalon's is 'Bonta'. These are the best of the best and have the highest NTSS (Natural Tomato Soluable Solids) percentages. The next line would be called 'Full Red' for Stanislaus and 'Emma Bella' or 'Cristiforo Columbo' in the Escalon label. These lines are exactly the same but are built to slightly lower specs. But still, very good products.

During the manufacturing process, Stanislaus chooses to add Citric Acid to the hot tomatoes as they are being filled in the can. The Citric Acid acts as a preservative by balancing the PH level so bacteria can't reproduce, eliminating spoilage and 'can bulge'. Escalon heats their product to an exact temperature and holds it there, much like pasteurizing milk, thus killing all of the bacteria, and then fills and seals the cans (under vacuum) without using Citric. This subtle difference is the big sticking point. Some operators claim that the citric gives the tomatoes a tangy/tinny taste to the back of the tongue and salivary glands. Some don't see any difference."

Peter



Offline dinks

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2005, 11:45:21 AM »
YOUONLYLIVETWICE:
  Good Morning. I find these tomato sauce postings very interesting, because I also use many of these ingredients as well. Here I thought they were  my secrets only (LOL).
  In posting #19, VARSANOS idea is very good, I place my grated cheese in the last 10 minutes or so,Why??? because after it melts & blends in It will reduce thru the process of evaporation.
RKOS, posting #18,Is an xlnt idea, I do that as well I use just a little more than that amount but you will have to experiment with your taste buds to see "HOW MUCH". I believe it was yesterday there was a posting by one of our members who said to include  some cinnamon powder into the sauce..... YES!!! by all means That is one of the secret ingredients our Italian mothers & grandmothers specify. I will add that & if you run out of cinnamon You can use nutmeg. Again you need to experiment with the use thereof, beware it is very powerful. The last item, I use & I did not see in your list is "BAY LEAVES". Most important I use 2 medium in a 28, oz can. Small amount of sugar only.One last item, as you know, when using dry herbs ALWAYS mix in during the last 5 / 10 minutes because if cooked too long they become bitter. You can chop-up some onions in to your mix as well. If you like to use onions on as a topping consider using carmelized onions. Very easy to make.
   Good luc in your pizza baking & have a nice day my friend.
    ~DINKS.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Sauce ingredient possibilities??
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2005, 12:09:42 AM »
A nice addition to a pizza sauce is sun dried tomatoes. It is best to blend them in with the basic tomato sauce, using a food processor or similar appliance. I once tried the Classico brand sun dried tomato sauce in a pinch, and thought it was quite good--very intense flavor.

Someone mentioned fire roasted tomatoes. You can also dry them in an oven at low temperature. The Romas are good for this, but the little cherry tomatoes are also very good because they are sweet to begin with, especialy some of the newer (grape) varieties showing up at the supermarkets. I just cut them in halves, lightly salt and oil them (and maybe add some fresh garlic and herbs), and bake at around 200 degrees F until they shrivel up.

For intense flavor, I have also used balsamic vinegar (but only a little) and red Zinfandel wine in cooked sauces.

Peter


 

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