Author Topic: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas  (Read 56375 times)

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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2010, 10:10:00 PM »
I use a bamboo skewer to pop those bubbles in the middle of the pie, it lays them right down.  I only get them in the kitchen oven, not the WFO, I wonder why?

But we want bubbles with this kind of pizza. (Well, at least I want them.)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 10:14:44 PM by AimlessRyan »


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2010, 07:38:29 PM »
I was in the middle of drafting a post about the pizza I made for lunch today when I got sidetracked and started creating a dough calculator that would turn volumetric measurements into bakerís percents. While creating this dough calculator on a spreadsheet, I measured some of my ingredients in multiple ways, looking for redundancy to verify my results. For example, I weighed 1 level cup of salt, then I weighed 16 level tablespoons of the same salt, followed by 48 level teaspoons of the very same salt.

Here's the results:
1 cup = 11.87 oz
16 tbsp = 10.7 oz
48 tsp = 9.87 oz

You probably already know this, but these three numbers should all be the same. 1 cup = 16 tbsp = 48 tsp. It really frustrates me that there is such a huge disparity in my results because I have no idea which one is most accurate. In the 21st century, shouldn't we be able to trust that our volumetric measuring tools are remotely accurate? The funny thing is that I've always suspected the teaspoon I use is actually a little more than a teaspoon, yet it gave me the smallest measurement of the three devices.

Oh yeah, and I used a 32-ounce Pelouze scale, which Iím sure is very accurate. Frustrating.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2010, 08:11:01 PM »
Ryan,

What you are trying to do gets you on a slippery slope. When I was designing the various dough calculating tools with Boy Hits Car (Mike), I used certain conversion values that Steve, the owner and Administrator of this forum, had come up with for the most basic ingredients through actual measurements. For other ingredients, I ended up using the data at the SelfNutritionData website at http://nutritiondata.self.com/. For ingredients that weren't in the SelfNutritionData database, but which I had in my pantry, I weighed a fixed volume (usually a teaspoon) of those ingredients on a special scale that can weigh small amounts of ingredients, especially lightweight ones. I then converted the volume measurements to weights. Where I found several different brands of some ingredients, like vital wheat gluten, I used averages. Sometimes, the only data I could find for certain ingredients was the data on the label or packaging materials. But, even if all the data were perfect, there are many differences in measuring spoons. They come in different shapes and are made of many different materials with different manufacturing methods and with unknown accuracy. People also measure out things volumetrically differently. I use level measurements but others might use scant or rounded measuring spoon measurements. I think this is one of those cases where close is good enough.

Peter

Offline Papageorgio

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2010, 01:32:47 PM »
Papageorgio: When you say Crisco, do you specifically mean solid shortening, or do you just mean oil in general?

The mention of a croissant makes me think of butter or Crisco in the dough. Croissants are not cracker like and have more light flaky texture. If a croissant is what you seek then I'd give it a try.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2010, 01:57:28 PM »
Good news, Briterian: Major step in the right direction with the latest batch of dough. This crust was REALLY close to Tommy's. Gonna start drafting a post about it. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures because I didn't expect this one to be any good. Hopefully I'll get more good results with tonight's dinner pie (so I can take pictures).

O-H!

Offline Essen1

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2010, 02:27:09 PM »
Quote
In the 21st century, shouldn't we be able to trust that our volumetric measuring tools are remotely accurate?

Most of that stuff is made in China.

Go look around in several stores and flip the item over and you'll see the little tag or sticker. And we all know that anything that originates in China, is of the highest quality.

Right?
Mike

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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2010, 04:56:26 PM »
As I said in an earlier post, I came really close to replicating a Tommyís crust for lunch today, and now Iím gonna tell you about it. Iíll start with the dough formula I used.

***Note: My yeast and sugar data, shown below, are slightly different than the Lehmann dough calculatorís data. This is because I weighed large amounts of all my ingredients last night (in multiples of teaspoons), and my numbers came up slightly different from the Lehmann calculator, but only with sugar and yeast. With every other ingredient, my data is the same as the Lehmann data.

Flour (100%):    453.60 g  |  16 oz  | 1 lbs
Water (43.75%):    198.45 g  |  7 oz  | 0.44 lbs
ADY (1.25%):    5.69 g | 0.20 oz | 0.01 lbs | 2 tsp  | 0.67 tbsp
Salt (1.23%):    5.58 g | 0.2 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp  | 0.33 tbsp
Oil (14.88%):    67.47 g | 2.38 oz | 0.15 lbs | 15 tsp | 5 tbsp
Sugar (.08%):    0.42 g | 0.01 oz | 0 lbs | 0.11 tsp | 0.04 tbsp
Total (161.19%):   731.14 g | 25.79 oz | 1.61 lbs | TF = N/A.

As with the previous batch, Iím still using KA all-purpose flour. The only thing I changed between this formula and the previous formula was the amount of oil. I think it was 5.95 percent with the previous batch, but now itís 14.88. And this made a world of difference. Also, the sugar quantity is about two pinches, which I only use to prove the yeast.

With the previous few batches of dough, Iíve been mixing for around 5-8 minutes with a spiral dough hook on a KitchenAid mixer. However, since I planned to ferment this batch at room temperature for around 24 hours, I started the mixer but quickly decided to mix the dough by hand. And when I say ďby hand,Ē I mean I just squished it all together and left it alone. I kept the dough in the bowl and covered it with a glass frying pan lid. Since I drastically increased the percentage of oil in this batch, this was a very soft dough.

From the beginning, I was skeptical that this dough would produce the results I was looking for. First of all, it was so soft; I felt like it was too soft. Also, I worried that the dough would be beer by the time I was ready to use it. With as much yeast as I used, combined with the 24-hour fermentation at room temperature, I had a feeling Iíd end up trashing this dough. Keep in mind, my normal dough is simply flour, water, and salt (leavened with a naturally-fermented starter), and I usually ferment the dough for 1-3 days. But thatís in the fridge, not on top of the stove.

So today I turned on the oven at about noon (500 degrees, electric). With the oven heating, I tore two small pieces of dough from the large mass of dough. Each piece of dough was a little over 5 oz. Unlike my recent stiff doughs, which required a knife for scaling, it was very easy to rip off a chunk of this dough.

After grabbing these two pieces of dough, I shaped each of them into a flat circle of about 5 inches, then coated them well with flour. I stacked one piece of dough atop the other and flattened them further with my fingertips before rolling the dough to about 11 or 12 inches. With a 10-inch cutter pan (upside down) as a template, I used a pizza wheel to cut out a 10-inch pizza skin. It weighed about 9 oz, which I think is pretty close to what a Tommyís 10-inch skin might weigh.

Next I sprayed a perforated aluminum tray-type pan with non-stick spray, then flopped the dough skin onto the pan. The oven was already at 500, but I knew the stone wasnít ready to use yet, so I decided to put the dough in the fridge and wait another half-hour to sauce and cheese the skin (leaving the oven on, of course).

Like pretty much all the pizzas Iím making lately, I topped the skin with a basic sauce (Cento San Marzano tomatoes) and Grande mozzarella. With the skin sauced and cheesed, I slid the pan onto the stone on the bottom oven rack. I let the pizza bake on the pan for a little over 8 minutes, then directly on the stone for 2+ minutes. With the cheese finished but the crust a little underdone, I removed the pizza from the oven and let it sit on a screen for a couple minutes before putting it back in the oven for maybe another 2 minutes.

When the pizza was done, it didnít really look like what I was shooting for. But once I started eating it, I realized Iíd made something pretty special this time. This wasnít a Tommyís replica, but it was really close.

So what did I learn with this pizza?

To start, Tommyís puts lots of oil in their dough. The amount of oil I used for this batch of dough was probably pretty close to the amount they use. I donít know whether I should bump it up or down with the next batch.

Also, definitely use a pan to replicate Tommyís. I know I said I was certain that you shouldnít use a pan a couple days ago, but I thought about it some more and I realized I was wrong. One reason is that it is really hard to peel a thin, flat dough skin thatís been sauced, cheesed, and topped. This simply requires more skill than youíll ever be able to find in a place like Columbus. Also, thereís never any flour on the bottom of a Tommyís pizza. (No flour = no peel.) There are some other reasons I canít think of right now, too, but I think itís pretty clear that Tommyís builds their pizzas on some kind of pan with a raised edge.

Hereís another contradiction to something I said in a previous post: I donít think you should roll the dough too far in advance of using it. When you do that, the two layers merge into one layer, and it ends up turning into what Iíd consider a snack bar kind of pizza. I think Tommyís probably does roll the dough in advance of using it, but not more than a few hours.

When I finished eating my lunch pizza today, I went ahead and rolled out another skin from the same batch of dough, which I put on a pan and threw into the fridge. Very curious to see how this one turns out.

Briterian, I strongly suggest that you give this one a try. If I have left out any details, feel free to ask. Youíre on your own when it comes to sauce, though. All I can say for sure about their sauce is that there is some oregano. I havenít put oregano in my sauce, though. Iíve just sprinkled a little on the top of the pizza after itís done.

Again, Iím hoping to have some good pics in a few hours, now that I realize Iím getting close.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 04:50:47 PM by AimlessRyan »

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2010, 12:58:03 PM »
Pic 1: This pic is mostly just to show you what kind of pan Iím using. You probably already figured it out, but now you know for sure. This pan used to be pretty well seasoned, but now a little bit of the seasoning flakes off every time it touches anything. Also, as you should be able to tell from the look of the dough, I barely mixed it. (It was even uglier before I rolled it.)

If anyone has a good seasoning technique, Iíd love for you to share it with me.

Pic 2: Dough skin with sauce.

Pic 3: Dough skin with sauce and cheese.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 01:46:08 PM by AimlessRyan »

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2010, 12:59:42 PM »
Pic 1: Fully baked cheese pizza. Wasnít spectacular, but it was good. The crust wasnít quite the color or texture I was looking for. I kinda think it may have been overfermented. Iím gonna make another batch of dough tonight or tomorrow, with some slight changes and a much shorter fermentation period, to see how a younger dough turns out.

Pic 2: This pic shows one of the results Iím shooting for: a kind of double (or layered or laminated) crust, with the bottom somewhat crispy/flaky and the top soft and chewy. As Iíve said, Iím using two dough balls rolled together to get this effect. I donít think you can get this kind of crust by using a single piece of dough, and I donít think the roll and fold technique does it, either.

One thing I like about this pic: It shows that the crust is not as gritty as the crust in my previous pics. This is mostly a result of the high oil content in this dough.

Pic 3: I wish this one was in better focus, but I think you can see what Iím trying to show you. Do you see how it cracks but stays together? Thatís definitely one of the characteristics Iím looking for. But if you compare the bottom of this crust to the pic of the real Tommyís crust in the original post, you can see Iím still not getting the kind of blistering I want.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 02:14:56 PM by AimlessRyan »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2010, 03:28:29 PM »
Pic 1: This pic is mostly just to show you what kind of pan Iím using. You probably already figured it out, but now you know for sure. This pan used to be pretty well seasoned, but now a little bit of the seasoning flakes off every time it touches anything.

If anyone has a good seasoning technique, Iíd love for you to share it with me.

Ryan,

Usually when a pan or screen develops carbon that flakes off, the recommended solution is to strip the entire pan or screen and reseason it. If you can't physically remove the seasoning that is still on the pan, what Tom Lehmann has recommended in the past for removing the carbon is a product known as Carbon-Off (http://www.acemart.com/janitorial/cleaning-chemicals-and-supplies/equipment-cleaners/16-oz-carbon-off-heavy-duty-degreaser-each/prod8275.html?cm_ven=google_base&cm_cat=Non-Cost_Listings&cm_pla=janitorial-gtcleaning-chemicals-and-supplies-gtequipment-cleaners&cm_ite=16-oz-carbon-off-heavy-duty-degreaser-each(CRB11216).

Is the bottom of your pan all carboned up or is it flaking also? If it is completely covered with carbon, that may be a good thing because it allows the heat of the oven to be absorbed by the pan rather than being reflected off of it. In fact, when Tom Lehmann recommends seasoning a pan, he says to season the bottom outside of the pan, not the inside.

As I was composing this reply, I did a quick search on the above topic at the PMQ Think Tank. You can read more about Tom Lehmann's advice for seasoning/stripping/reseasoning a screen at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3550&p=18704&hilit=#p18704. You can read Tom's advice on seasoning just the outside of a pan at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8016&p=55383&hilit=#p55280.

Another option might be to use a dark anodized cutter pan. I have both a nonperforated one and a perforated one have found them to be very good pans. I have often used the nonperforated cutter pan to make cracker-style pizzas. My cutter pans come from PizzaTools, at http://www.pizzatools.com/. I don't know if they can fulfill your needs but you can see how I used mine at the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.0.html.

Peter
 


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2010, 06:40:52 PM »
Peter,

I've never even thought about seasoning the bottom of a pan before, I guess because I've hardly ever used pans. My usual pizza is something in between a New York and Neapolitan style, so pans are never really necessary unless I start experimenting with other styles, like I've been doing here lately. Seasoning the bottom makes all kinds of sense, though, so I'll try it.

I don't think I'll have any trouble getting the pan closer to its original state. I probably just need to scrub it for a minute.

Please describe "carboned up" for me.

Thanks.

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2010, 07:01:12 PM »
Please describe "carboned up" for me.

Ryan,

That is just my way of describing how a screen or pan can end up with a lot of burned food matter or develops a thick seasoning over time that ends up black and flaky. I assume that is why the company that makes Carbon-Off so named its product.

Peter

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2010, 12:50:48 AM »
Usually when a pan or screen develops carbon that flakes off, the recommended solution is to strip the entire pan or screen and reseason it. If you can't physically remove the seasoning that is still on the pan, what Tom Lehmann has recommended in the past for removing the carbon is a product known as Carbon-Off.

I figured out another way to strip the seasoning off a pan tonight, quite by accident. After getting a nice, thin, semi-dark coating on the bottom of the pan in the pic above, I applied another thin layer of oil and took the pan back out to the grill, to keep from smoking up the house. Intending to keep the grill on high for a few minutes just to get the temperature up to around 400, with the pan inside, I got caught up writing a comment on Facebook and forgot about the pan for about 15 minutes. When I went back out to the grill, the temperature was over 600. Opening the lid, I found my pan in like-new condition, as the intense heat had vaporized the seasoning.

Oops.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2010, 02:37:14 PM »
Iíll be taking a break from this Tommyís experiment for at least a few days because I finally got a nice naturally-leavened starter going. Canít believe it took almost three months to get one going. Actually, it only took about a week from the time I first mixed the flour and water for this one, but Iíd been getting no results with other mixtures for almost three months. Iíd never had that happen before. (My previous starter was tossed while I was on the road for nine months.)

Anyway, back on topic, I made a really good pizza last night with scraps from the dough I mixed two nights earlier. ďScrapsĒ = a small piece still remaining from the original mass of dough, plus the crescent-shaped strips of dough Iíd trimmed off of the previous two 10Ē pizzas Iíd made with that dough.

I had no real objective with this pizza. That is, I wasnít shooting for any kind of style. I just wanted to take the two remaining masses of dough, each of which weighed about 4 oz, and make a pizza as quick as possible. So I shaped them into roundish, disc-like things, then floured them up and rolled each one to about 8Ē before rolling them together to about 10Ē. I didnít put any extra flour between the two pieces of dough this time, and I didnít trim the skin to make a nice circle. The end result was an ugly, asymmetric dough skin that somewhat resembled a Pac Man ghost. And the edges of each layer didnít match up.

After rolling the ugly, misshaped skin to roughly 10Ē, I placed it on my 10Ē cutter pan, which is now very well seasoned on both the top and bottom, thanks to Peterís tip. I coarsely chopped up a few San Marzano tomatoes (about 5-6 oz), drained them, and placed them on the skin with about 4 oz of Grande mozzarella on top.  I sprinkled a little salt over the tomatoes and cheese before placing the pan in the oven atop my stone (which I figured Iíd use to finish the crust).

Since I was just winging this one, Iím not even sure how long I baked the pizza. I think it was about 9 minutes, but thatís not really important because you already know how to tell when a pizza is done. After this baking period, I eyeballed the bottom of the crust and thought about throwing it in for another minute or two without the pan, but I ended up just saying screw it because I was hungry. I also thought about taking a few pics, but I ended up just saying screw it because I was hungry.

With the weird shape of this pizza, I cut it into 4 slices, which I donít think Iíve ever done with a pizza before. And let me tell ya about this ugly ducklingÖ This pizza was AWESOME. And after it all came together, it was quite beautiful, too, even though it was still horribly misshaped and asymmetric. (I hate perfectly round pizzas that look like someone spent five minutes placing each topping precisely where it belongs. Well, I find them aesthetically displeasing, anyway.)

And the really cool thing is that this pizza did resemble Tommyís in a lot of ways that I havenít had with the previous pizzas. Iím not gonna go into details right now, though, because I can do that in upcoming posts with pizzas I havenít made yet.

Like I said in the beginning of this post, Iím gonna take a break from my pursuit of replicating Tommyís for at least a few days. This new starter is screaming my name right now, so I gotta get with it.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2010, 02:50:32 PM »
Anyone want to meet me at Tommy's for a pie and some espionage?

I just mixed up another batch of dough, which I won't use until tomorrow. I used All Trumps flour for this one, with not quite 6 oz of water, and I "mixed" it in a food processor, along with a couple other minor changes. (More details and a recap in a day or two, after I use the dough.)

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2010, 02:53:03 PM »
Here are some details about my latest attempt to copy Tommy's. There are some pics below. This pizza was much more aesthetically pleasing than the ones Iíve shown previously in this thread.

Flour (100%)     453.60 g | 16 oz | 1 lbs
Water (37.50%)     170.10 g | 6 oz | 0.38 lbs
ADY (0.63%)     2.84 g | 0.10 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.33 tbsp
Salt (1.08%)     4.88 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.33 tbsp
Oil (14.88%)     67.47 g | 2.38 oz | 0.15 lbs | 15 tsp | 5 tbsp
Sugar (0.76%)     3.46 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.33 tbsp
Total (154.84%)     702.34 g | 24.77 oz | 1.55 lbs

Quick Notes & Changes:
  • I used All Trumps high gluten flour, rather than KA all-purpose;
  • I decreased the hydration from previous batches;
  • I added some sugar this time;
  • I mixed the dough in a food processor, instead of a planetary mixer;
  • I only let the dough ferment for about 8 hours before using it. (I used less than half of the dough, though, so thereís plenty left over for another pie with a very long fermentation period.)

Using a food processor to mix the dough, I first added the flour, salt, and sugar to the processor bowl, then pulsed it a few times to mix the dry ingredients. Next I slowly added the oil through the ďchimneyĒ on the top of the processor bowl, with the processor running. I added the yeast water after that, followed by the rest of the water. (I actually intended to use 7 oz of water for this batch. I even measured that much before mixing, but I ended up not using all of it. Instead, when I got down to 1 oz of water remaining, I stopped adding the water.) I stopped mixing as soon as I stopped adding water.


After mixing, I dumped the dough into a mixer bowl and pressed it all together to form a cohesive dough mass. I then covered the bowl and left it alone to ferment.

After letting the dough bulk ferment for about 8 hours, I was hungry, so I turned on the oven (500) and scaled two dough balls, each a little over 6 oz. Like usual, I pressed them down into discs, then rolled them together. This time, however, I didnít put much bench flour on the discs before rolling them together into one skin with a diameter of about 12 inches. (I think the decrease of bench flour will become a permanent change.) I then placed the skin on my 10Ē cutter pan and trimmed with a rolling pin. I think the skin weighed somewhere between 9 oz and 9.5 oz. As usual, I did not dock the dough.

I built the pizza right away this time, adding undrained, processed (pureed) San Marzanos, cheese, and pepperoni. I immediately threw it in the oven on a stone on the bottom rack, covered by another stone on the top rack.

Having done everything so quick and careless with this pizza, the dough shrank quite a bit in the oven. (It shrank so much that it didnít even look like Iíd used a cutter pan, as youíll see in the pics.) With the shrinkage, the pizza also ended up considerably thicker than Iíd intended, which actually made it closer to a Tommyís thickness than Iíve had with previous pizzas, although it was just a little too thick. I ended up baking it on the pan for 10 minutes, then transferring it directly to the stone for another 5 minutes. (It took longer than I expected.)

The upper layer of dough was a little gummy on this one, probably for the following reasons: 1) The dough was a little thicker than usual; and 2) I used a wetter sauce than usual.

What I learned

Adding some sugar made a big difference, as you will surely notice in the pics. Iíve been making some pale-looking crusts lately (especially with my naturally leavened dough), but this crust had some nice browning, which is almost certainly a result of adding the sugar. And thatís good because I didnít really add much sugar, and it seems I could have gotten some nice color with even less sugar.

Iím also beginning to feel pretty confident that Tommyís rolls out their dough a while before they use it, but not too long before they use it. And if they do roll it ahead of time, Iím pretty sure it goes straight to the cooler, almost until they use it. (That might partly explain the blistering in the pic from the original post, right?)

Another thing to consider with the two pics in the original post is the ďHail to the Victors Factor.Ē Translation: Tommyís knew they were going to be slammed that afternoon, with 106,000 people pouring out of the Shoe, still hungry, with no wolverine leftovers to satisfy their hunger. With the extreme demand that day, as with most gamedays, itís gotta be pretty tough to plan ahead and manage the dough as usual, which probably causes a little bit of inconsistency in the pizzas theyíre cranking out. I think pictures of a Tommyís pizza from almost any other day would look slightly different. (The picture in my head of a Tommyís pizza doesnít have blisters on the bottom.)

Anyway, enjoy the pics.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2010, 11:36:47 PM »
Tonight I made another pizza from the dough I mixed yesterday. This pizza was amazing. It wasnít an exact duplicate of Tommyís, but it was about as close as you can get.

After a 24-hour bulk ferment at room temperature, I divided the remaining dough into two dough balls and followed the usual prepping and rolling procedures with a 10Ē cutter pan. I then put the dough skin in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 hours. After removing it from the fridge, I immediately topped it and baked it because I wanted to see how a cold skin would bake. (I used Cento San Marzano tomatoes, with nothing added, for the sauce; Grande mozzarella; and Bridgford pepperoni stick.)

I baked the pizza in the pan on the stone at 500 for 14 minutes, then finished it directly on the stone for a little over a minute. Aside from what Iíve already said here, I think I pretty much followed the same procedures outlined in the previous post.

Like I said, this pizza was amazing. With the long fermentation period, the crust developed an incredible flavor that I canít really describe. Additionally, the texture of the crust was crispy, crunchy, soft, and chewy all at the same time. I didnít take any pictures because it essentially looked just like the previous pizza, except on the bottom, which I now wish Iíd photographed.

As you may have noticed in some of my previous posts, Iím pretty critical of most of the pizzas I make. Tonight, though, I was in no way disappointed with my creation. I would have been proud to serve tonightís pizza to anyone. It was that good.

If you follow the script Iíve written in the last two posts, you will create a pizza that will blow your mind.  But if Iíve left out any important details, feel free to ask me whatever you need to know.

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2010, 11:15:58 AM »
Ryan,

As one who has done a lot with trying to reverse engineer and clone pizzas of others, in nearly all cases without even having tried the pizzas, I have a question of a general nature: What approach and steps do you take to reverse engineer and clone someone else's pizza, such as ones sold by Tommy's Pizza? Since you appear to have access to Tommy's pizzas, do you at some point do a side-by-side comparison? And do you do any metrics (weight, size, amounts of dough, cheese, sauce, etc.)?

Peter

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2010, 06:29:43 PM »
As one who has done a lot with trying to reverse engineer and clone pizzas of others, in nearly all cases without even having tried the pizzas, I have a question of a general nature: What approach and steps do you take to reverse engineer and clone someone else's pizza, such as ones sold by Tommy's Pizza? Since you appear to have access to Tommy's pizzas, do you at some point do a side-by-side comparison? And do you do any metrics (weight, size, amounts of dough, cheese, sauce, etc.)?

Peter,

Those are some tough questions, and itís pretty new territory for me to attempt cloning anyoneís pizza. I havenít eaten Tommyís in a couple years, so Iím relying exclusively on memories here. Having said that, I realize this pizza may not be as close to Tommyís as I think it is. Regardless, the last one I photographed looks a million times better than the ones in my previous pics, donít ya think?

When I found this thread and decided to try to replicate Tommyís, I based my first batch of dough on what I know about how certain amounts of certain ingredients will affect the final product. For example, I was pretty sure I needed a relatively stiff dough, with high gluten flour, because Tommyís pizza is rigid and kind of dense. After making a couple pizzas with high gluten flour, though, I started to think a weaker flour might be better because my crusts were coming out hard and tough. (It turned out that I was right the first time; I was just wrong about some other things.)

I also looked through a lot of the cracker crust threads to gain some clues, even though I think Tommyís is slightly different than a standard cracker crust. (The only pizza Iíve ever had that I consider a cracker crust is Pizza Hut thin. Iíve had Shakeyís a few times, but Iíve never thought of Shakeyís as a cracker crust. It seems doughier/chewier to me.)

Honestly, I donít fully understand everything Iíve done to reach this point. Some of it came through knowledge I already possessed, while some of it came through suggestions on this thread and others. Additionally, there was at least one accident, when I intended to use KA flour but ended up using All Trumps because Iím just so programmed to scoop flour out of the 10-gallon container near my scale. I was on autopilot when I did it; I didnít even realize Iíd used the wrong flour until it was mixing.

One thing that helped me was my willingness to use extreme amounts of certain ingredients. For example, my first batch of dough contained 1 TBSP of oil (2.98%). Since I almost never use oil in my usual dough, and because I know why I donít use oil, a hunch told me I should double the oil for my second attempt at replicating Tommyís dough, which is nothing like my usual dough. At about the same time that I started considering using a lot of oil, Briterian mentioned croissants and Papageorgio replied by suggesting the addition of some Crisco. So I doubled the oil to 2 TBSP (5.95%), which made the next batch of dough seem better but still not right.

Right about then, it occurred to me that Tommy's crust bears a minor resemblance to a Chicago deep dish crust. Itís the flaky thing, I think. So, knowing almost nothing about how to make a Chicago deep dish, I went over to the deep dish threads and analyzed some of the more popular dough formulas. One thing stuck out right away: Chicago deep dish dough has TONS of oil. So instead of increasing the oil for my next batch of dough by another 1 TBSP (or 2.98%), I went gonzo and decided to use 2.5 times as much oil as Iíd used in my most recent batch of dough. So for the next batch I upped the oil to 5 TBSP (14.88%). With this drastic change, I knew this dough would end up either very right or very wrong.

It ended up a lot closer to what I was looking for. That was bingo moment #1.

Stuck in a stalemate for the next couple batches, I was thrilled that Iíd come so far, but I knew I still had a long way to go. I was able to rule out certain methods, like using a perforated pan or screen, because there are no perforation or screen marks on the bottom of a Tommyís pizza. I swayed back and forth on how I felt about some other methods and procedures, like retarding the dough and omitting the pan. But repetition and analysis ended up solving those problems for me.

To describe what I mean by analysis, I thought about what kind of procedures would make sense if I was running an operation like Tommyís. I needed simple, efficient procedures that would be easy to teach a new guy. This isnít New York City, where even the average consumer can probably whip up a pretty good pie, but Tommyís is also not a large operation that requires a commissary or a strict assembly-line model. Tommyís is not a small carryout and delivery unit, either; itís a pizza-oriented restaurant with [pretty bad] table service, usually from older women who have worked there for 30 years.

Anyway, I solved some of the procedural problems by just putting myself in the place of the Tommyís crew. But I still wasnít getting what I wanted. So a couple days ago, I gave it another try. I thought I had most of the major issues figured out, but I was still getting a pale, hard crust, and the crust laminations were splitting apart on the edge during baking, probably because I was baking the pizzas almost immediately after rolling the laminated dough. Since I didnít want the laminations to come apart on the edges, I decided I should let the dough rest for a little while after rolling it. But previous experiments had already shown me that this rest period must be done in a cooler because room temperature will turn it into an airy, non-laminated crust.

Also, in a busy pizzeria, it doesnít make much sense to roll a skin every time someone orders a pizza. It makes more sense to plan ahead and roll out at least enough skins to get you through your next rush. That is, it makes sense to roll the dough well before the rush begins, like in the morning, when you have time for prep work. And thatís why I decided I should roll the dough, then refrigerate. (So far it seems to work, as long as the dough is used within several hours of sheeting.)

But I still wasnít close to replicating Tommyís. To solve the problem of pale crust, I tried adding some sugar. It worked. To solve the problem of tough crust, I think itís important to avoid handling the dough too much, because handling the dough too much overdevelops the gluten in a way that I think would cause problems even with a sheeter. Also, the lower hydration of my most recent batch (37.5%) was another accident that seems to have worked out right (as long as you donít handle the dough too much).

Collectively, this was bingo moment #2.

Regarding your side-by-side comparison question: Nope, I havenít done it because I havenít had Tommyís in so long. Iíd like to make a trip there soon, though, especially now that Iíve spent so much time trying to replicate their pizza. (I live 20 or 25 miles from the nearest Tommyís, so itís not exactly convenient.)

With the metrics question, Iím just going entirely by feel right now. 9 to 9.5 ounces of dough seems to be about right for a 10Ē pizza, but itís so hard to get it right because you have to start out with excess dough, then cut it. Obviously a sheeter would make it much easier to get the thickness right.

My memory tells me Tommyís uses a lot of cheese; provolone, according to their web site (which is also very common in Ohio). I think 5.5 oz is about right for the 10Ē pizza. (Iím inclined to think their topped pizzas use the same amount of cheese as their cheese pizzas.)

I think I put about 4 oz of sauce on last nightís pizza, but the sauce I used is nothing like what they use. I havenít even started trying to figure out their sauce yet. I pretty much always use San Marzanos because itís hard to make a bad pizza with good tomatoes. Of course, some pizzas just donít translate well with San Marzanos, but they work pretty well with Tommyís. The only thing I can really say about their sauce is that there is a presence of oregano in it. (I got my first can of 6 in 1 the other day, which I havenít opened yet. Seeing that itís so popular on these boards, Iím curious to see how I like it.)

The Bridgford pepperoni stick blends real nice with the flavor of San Marzanos , Grande mozzarella, and the flavorful crust Iíve created here. (Iíve tried Ezzo pepperoni before, and I prefer the Bridgford, but only from the 1 lb stick. The bagged stuff isnít the same thing.) I think a Tommyís pizza would have about 50 percent more pepperoni than what you see in my pic, too.

Iíll probably be back here in a week with news that Iím even closer, but for now Iím really happy with this latest experiment. I tend to be my own toughest critic, but I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner last night. This was a memorable pizza. Iíd even say it was better than Tommyís.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #39 on: December 27, 2010, 03:53:42 PM »
I made more dough on 12/22, with some minor changes to the dough formula. The main change was in the amount of yeast, which I decreased to about 0.4 percent (from 0.6 percent). The other change was in the hydration level, which I decreased to 35 or 36 percent (from 37.5 percent).

As usual, I let the dough bulk ferment at room temperature for 24 hours. After this rise, I ripped off a couple chunks of the dough and put the remaining dough in the refrigerator. Using these two dough balls (on 12/23), I followed whatís becoming my standard set of procedures. The results: With only the 24 hours of fermentation, I didnít expect a great pizza, and I didnít get a great pizza.

The next day (Christmas Eve), I used most of the remaining dough to make another pizza. Results: Maybe a little better than the previous pizza, but still not very good. Having lowered the hydration with this batch of dough, the crust was very blah. I wouldnít try to sell this pizza.

I didnít make a pizza on Christmas because I was gone all day.

On 12/26, after the bulk ferment and three days in the fridge, I took the remaining dough scraps out of the fridge to make a ďwing itĒ pizza. As usual, this pizza was really good, and it resembled Tommyís quite a bit.

With these pizzas I decided to try out 6 IN 1 as the sauce. Considering all the hype Iíve read about 6 IN 1, I have to say Iím not impressed with this product. It smells and looks good out of the can, but it just doesnít translate well on the pizza to me. You have to use a bunch of it just to be able to taste it on the finished pizza. Plus thereís a ton of added salt in 6 IN 1, which I noticed big-time the first time I licked a spoon after spreading the sauce.

The one thing I keep learning through all these experiments: If you want to replicate Tommyís pizza, donít even think about using dough thatís not at least 3 days old. I feel really good about the formula I used in Reply #35 (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12446.msg120916.html#msg120916), but Iím gonna keep messing around with slight variations to see if I can do better.

I increased the hydration considerably in the dough I made yesterday, raising it to 43.75 percent. I donít expect this to get me closer to my goal, but I want to try it anyway, mostly just to find out if it works. (Having just rolled out this softer dough for the first time, Iím not expecting fabulous results. Iíll find out in a few hours.)