Author Topic: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas  (Read 72830 times)

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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #250 on: September 06, 2012, 02:04:46 PM »
52% hydration is your limit with heavy bench flour?

That's a tough call right now, but I'm glad you brought it up because I probably wouldn't have thought of it. I'll definitely take that into consideration as I continue making doughs above 52% hydration.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.


Offline weemis

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #251 on: September 06, 2012, 02:16:17 PM »
Nick, if I get the urge to go to Tommy's, I'll let you know. Or if you get the urge, you can let me know. How's that sound? I'm probably gonna head up to Carfagna's (or Pittsburgh) sometime next week, to get cheese and other supplies. Regardless of where I get my supplies, that would likely be a good time for me to go to Tommy's, since I don't get around much.

i'm off work next friday. you wanna do lunch?
Nick Gore - just a dough eyed wanderer

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #252 on: September 06, 2012, 04:31:59 PM »
Earlier today I was thinking about things that might help explain why Tommy's pizza is so much different today than it was 25 years ago.

The one clear difference that anyone can see just by walking through the door is that Tommy's uses conveyor ovens today, as opposed to the deck ovens they used 25 years ago. How much does that change the product? I don't know, but I do know something like that could potentially start a chain reaction that ends up changing a product considerably over the span of 25 years.

Now that I've mentioned the one thing I know has changed, there's another very important question to answer: Is Tommy's pizza actually different today than it was 25 years ago?

Well, I think it's different, and chrisgraff thinks it's different in the same ways I think it's different. I couldn't tell from thezaman's comment if he agrees. (I just asked my mom about this stuff, and she's on the same page as Chris and I.) So based on what I know from our little sample group, I'm gonna have to assume Chris and I are correct in saying today's Tommy's is way different than Tommy's from 25 years ago.

So here's a short list of factors that may have caused Tommy's pizza to change so much over time:

1) All restaurants evolve over time. I know that if I opened a pizzeria today, the pizza would evolve over 25 or 50 years, just like the pizza I make at home is not the same as the pizza I made 5 or 10 years ago. If I owned a pizzeria, I would spend at least part of almost every day trying to improve the pizza, just as I have for the past 15 years at home. (I can't avoid it; that's just how I operate.) So yeah, it's gonna change over time, even without making a conscious effort to create a noticeably different pizza.

2) Technology. The oven example definitely fits into this list item. Once upon a time, a new technology (conveyor ovens) came along. These ovens made it easier to bake pizzas, and at a faster rate to boot, but at the expense of quality. Tommy's chose to embrace the new, easier technology over the older technology. (There was probably a big-time snowball effect just from this single decision.)

Also, there may have been other technological advances that led to changes, such as different kinds of refrigeration units. Or maybe refrigeration became more affordable. If so, that could account for a drastic change in dough management.

3) The availability of information. Maybe refrigeration was already affordable, but the owners of Tommy's learned how refrigeration could make dough management a lot easier. Maybe they learned that refrigeration could lead to higher production because refrigeration enables you to proactively sheet most of the day's dough ahead of time, instead of reactively waiting to sheet the dough only after the order has been placed.

So maybe 25 years ago Tommy's kept the dough at room temperature all day and wouldn't sheet a skin until a pizza was ordered. If so, that would have required extra labor during busy times of the day, and it also would mean longer wait times for pizzas, as well as an inability to meet high demand at busy times. Because if you wait until every order is taken to sheet the dough for that order, you have to pay an extra person to sheet the dough. And then someone has to make the pizza, instead of just pulling out a sauce-and-cheesed skin and throwing it on the conveyor belt. So in addition to extra labor, the room-temperature dough management system also requires a few extra minutes of prep time for every pizza that is ordered. Very inefficient.

Which makes me think they probably used to roll only one skin at a time, rather than producing a long sheet of dough from the sheeter, creating several dough skins at a time. (I don't know how they do it; I just know there's more than one way of sheeting dough.)

In Reply #81, jweaver64 said something about the original pic of Tommy's looking like a “toasted lasagna noodle.” Although I like this observation, I don't feel like talking about it right now because I think it's a characteristic of present-day Tommy's. (Just wanted to say something about it, though, for future reference.)

To me it looks like the ownership of Tommy's has made many operational decisions that value ease, efficiency, and cost over quality. I mean, look at their pizza box and their menu. When's the last time you saw a pizza box like that? If you don't think too hard about it, you'd probably assume they still use those boxes for nostalgic effect. But my guess is that they use them because that box is cheap. Every direction you look, it appears that Tommy's management bases most of their decisions on cost, not quality. Which is a shame because they used to make some good stuff, and now they don't.

I guess that's what I'm here for.

So I'm gonna try to use this insight to guide me as I continue trying to clone Tommy's pizza. For example, in the future I'll probably lean toward using the dough very soon after I roll it because it makes sense that Tommy's may have done that 25 years ago. I'll also consider trying to come up with a dough formula that will work for dough that's made in the morning and used throughout the day. Or maybe dough that's good for 6 hours or so, that you could make both before lunch and before dinner.

Because I want to make a pizza that's crispy, with a crust that breaks up into hundreds of little paper-thin flakes inside the box, without blistering.

Pizza hiatus may have to wait a while.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #253 on: September 06, 2012, 04:46:40 PM »
The products themselves change over time. If I could find the mozz we used 40 yrs. ago...the fat lady could go ahead an start sing'in her song.... ;)
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Offline chrisgraff

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #254 on: September 06, 2012, 05:31:52 PM »
Earlier today I was thinking about things that might help explain why Tommy's pizza is so much different today than it was 25 years ago.

Because I want to make a pizza that's crispy, with a crust that breaks up into hundreds of little paper-thin flakes inside the box, without blistering.

I don't remember the flakes specifically (from back in the day); although that would seem to suggest shortening.

If Tommy's was sheeting skins to order, it would stand to reason that the dough was kept relatively cold, for obvious reasons.  Some form of fat in the dough would have helped sheet cold dough, no?

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #255 on: September 06, 2012, 05:36:17 PM »
I don't remember the flakes specifically (from back in the day); although that would seem to suggest shortening.

If Tommy's was sheeting skins to order, it would stand to reason that the dough was kept relatively cold, for obvious reasons.  Some form of fat in the dough would have helped sheet cold dough, no?
I'm say'in!  ;D
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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #256 on: September 08, 2012, 07:35:50 PM »
I don't remember the flakes specifically (from back in the day); although that would seem to suggest shortening.

You don't remember being left with a plateful of flakes like these?
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #257 on: September 08, 2012, 08:32:18 PM »
I put my thoughts from Reply #252 into action today, beginning with same-day dough that I made at about noon. Due to the anticipated change in dough management, I increased the yeast from 0.60% to 1%. I also increased the hydration again, as well as the salt. Here's the formula I used:

100% KAAP flour
56% Water
1% ADY
2% Salt

I made 22 oz of dough and added 7 oz of scraps while the dough was mixing. Divided the dough into two 14.5 oz pieces, and put one into the fridge for tomorrow. I then divided the other piece of dough into two 7.25 oz dough pieces and allowed them to rise for over 4 hours.

After this room-temperature ferment, I rolled one piece of the dough as large and thin as I could make it, which was about 18" x 18" square(ish). I applied heavy bench flour to the dough and folded it in half, then applied more bench flour and folded it the other way. Repeated with the other piece of dough, then rolled the two pieces of dough together. Trimmed the dough skin to about 10.4 oz for an 11" pizza (TF=0.110 oz of dough per square inch).

I topped the skin then baked right away for 10 minutes on the pan, plus another 2 minutes directly on the stone.

This was not a perfect clone of Tommy's from 25 years ago, but it was really close. It was a little tough, but not as tough as some recent pizzas. Also, it wasn't tough at all in some places. So I don't think the toughness has anything to do with the higher hydration figures I've been using for recent pizzas (especially considering this is the highest hydration figure I've used).
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Don K

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #258 on: September 08, 2012, 08:42:05 PM »
That looks fantastic Ryan! Golden flaky goodness.
The member formerly known as Colonel_Klink


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #259 on: September 09, 2012, 10:21:55 AM »
Thanks Don. The pizza was really good; probably better than I made it sound. I think yesterday's pizza was probably the closest I've come to cloning the old Tommy's.

I'm glad I saw briterian's original Tommy's post a couple years ago and made it my obsession because it has helped me learn so much about this kind of pizza, as well as pizza in general. I love looking through the early pages of this thread and seeing the pictures that document the obvious improvement I made in a short time.

Some random things I've been thinking about:

1) Nick, I'd say a Friday lunch at the OSU Tommy's is probably fine. Set a time and I'll be there.

2) The crust toughness I've had with some recent pizzas is probably a result of rolling the dough too much. (It's probably something I've dealt with for as long as I've been trying to clone Tommy's, but I probably never noticed it much until now because I've never been this close to nailing it.) I suspect the pizzas would be much less tough if I had a sheeter. The toughness may actually be diminishing as I continue to increase the hydration, presumably because it takes fewer passes of the rolling pin to sheet the softer dough. Fortunately, higher hydration also seems to be a major factor influencing the crust characteristics I desire.

3) Bob, what exactly did you intend for me to get out of the posts you linked to? Was it DNA Dan's feelings about excessive rolling?

4) I was very surprised to have a few blisters on yesterday's pizza because I consider blisters a sign of long refrigeration after rolling the skin. As you may know, I baked yesterday's pizza almost immediately after rolling the skin.

5) There were no major bubbles with yesterday's pizza. I think I may have popped one near the end of the bake. I'd say this is a good thing. (Normally I have to pop maybe 5-10 bubbles with each pizza.)

6) Interestingly, my Tommy's dough formula is becoming very similar to my NY style dough formula.


If Tommy's was sheeting skins to order, it would stand to reason that the dough was kept relatively cold, for obvious reasons.  Some form of fat in the dough would have helped sheet cold dough, no?

Although I could come up with some good reasons to sheet the dough cold, I'm not sure I'm seeing the obvious reasons you mention. When I worked at Pizza Hut, the thin dough was bulk fermented at room temperature all day and sheeted to order, which means such a system can be done on the largest of scales. I'm not seeing your fat connection, either.

Maybe I'm just looking in a different direction than you. Please elaborate on what you meant in the quoted text.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #260 on: September 09, 2012, 11:01:53 AM »

3) Bob, what exactly did you intend for me to get out of the posts you linked to? Was it DNA Dan's feelings about excessive rolling?


Yes, exactly.And the way you can accomplish this when working without a sheeter. And to your credit, that's just what you did on this last pie.

"After this room-temperature ferment, I rolled one piece of the dough as large and thin as I could make it, which was about 18" x 18" square(ish)."
Nice lamination Ryan, pizza looks great.

John (fazzari) is doing production(restaurant) so he sheets while dough is warm(ease of rolling) and then into the fridge. I believe he folds the sheeted round back up and stores them like that...I'm going to research some more on this and I'll get back if you're interested.

text.
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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #261 on: September 10, 2012, 11:22:37 AM »
Yesterday's pizza wasn't quite as good as the previous day's pizza, even though it was made from the same dough, using almost the exact same procedures. Yesterday's pizza didn't flake as much as the previous pizza, and I had to pop several bubbles near the end of the bake. The laminates also weren't as prominent. This may be because I didn't roll the dough as thin before folding the dough, as well as because I used a little less bench flour between the laminates. I think yesterday's pizza was a little tougher, too, but not as tough as some other pizzas I've made. (I think the toughness would diminish considerably if I had a sheeter.)

As shown in pic 1, the 11" skin weighed about 10.85 oz (TF=0.114 oz of dough per square inch). Even though this amount of dough seemed thick and bready with previous pizzas, it didn't yesterday, most likely because I baked the pizza almost immediately after rolling, trimming, and topping the skin. Due to the procedural and formulaic changes I've made recently, I feel like this thickness is just about right.

5 oz of sauce.
6.5 oz of cheese.
Baked at 500 for 10 minutes on the pan, then 2 minutes directly on the stone.

After having a couple days to think about it, I still feel like the dough formula, dough management, and procedures I used in Reply #257 add up the best-yet Tommy's clone. By far. So if you want to make something that's almost identical to my memories of Tommy's from 25 years ago, use Reply #257 as a guide.

Still, I'm gonna keep trying new things. Today I'm going to increase the ADY from 1% to 2%, and I'm going to increase the salt from 2% to 2.5%. Hydration will remain at 56%. I'd like to try using something like 10% oil sometime soon, too, but that's definitely on the back burner for now.

My sauce has been a little heavy on basil and light on oregano. I'm going to run out of sauce today, so maybe I'll get some more Dei Fratelli crushed tomatoes before tomorrow. If so, I'll adjust the basil and oregano quantities and actually measure them this time.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Doug Wheeler

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #262 on: September 17, 2012, 01:38:33 PM »
That may not taste like Tommy's, but it sure as hell looks like it.

Good luck. I intend to try your recipes. 

Love Tommy's!

Offline fatzo

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #263 on: September 18, 2012, 10:02:49 PM »
Hey Guys:

I know I'm jumping in here kinda late, but I have some insights on Tommy's to share...

Ryan is absolutely correct in his recollection of the classic Tommy's of old. For me, this was the late 70-s thru early 90's. For many of the locals, Tommy's is the holy grail of C-Bus style pizza. I should also mention that the subs were outstanding, as well, and many people visited them strictly for the those.

One thing that I must say, is that Tommy's has always been inconsistent. The "Tommy's in Arlington" location was considered the best back in the day, and the other locations were slightly different {perhaps better, depending on your preference}. Also consider the offshoots and imitators, and there was lots of variation of the Tommy's recipe. There is definitely a Classic Tommy's style, but its hard to pin down - as this thread proves.

I grew up in the neighborhood near "Tommy's on campus" , and went to OSU, so I was a frequent customer for long long time . I used to stop in and pick up an Italian sub on the way home from classes a couple times a week throughout my college years, and lots of pizzas - of course. Tommy's was priced comparably versus even the crappiest of pizzzs's so it was a no brainer. I did observe a few things about that particular operation that I'll share another time, since I wanted to focus on the consistency issue.

I do agree that the quality has gone down, in addition to the long-standing consitency problem.  Though I am not a regular customer these days, I do have it on accasion, from any of the four locations.  All have been disapointing as of late, but IMO Tommys on 161 is the closest to the original.

I think Ryan has been on the mark describing what a Tommy's Classic is all about, but I think the problem is modern comparison. I'm not sure that Tommy's is the best example of this genre anymore. It's possible that places like Iacanos {same family} might now be closer to real deal. I will definitley revisit some of the offshoots to see if there is any inspiration there.

I am not quite ready to tackle Ryans method yet, and I hope that he will update his current recipe and methods . I would love to see the Tommy's myth put to rest once and for all!!

John

Offline fatzo

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #264 on: September 24, 2012, 01:28:03 AM »
A couple other operational observations I would like to elaborate on... 

Appearances aside, the Tommy's locations on campus and Arlington are capable of cranking out some very high-volume when the need arises. For example, home football games for THE Ohio State University (both locations), and week-end take-out business (particularly Lane Ave).   I rememeber being in the the Campus location in the 80's on a Fri before the game, and staff getting a head start on the next day. The bathrooms are located in the lower level, and there is also a large "party room" down there which was used as a make-shift kitchen before games.

I remember seeing dozens of rolling racks full of pizza skins sitting in a room-temp environment in the party room. It didn't appear that refrigeraration was essential in the preparation of Tommy's crust, as speculated earlier in this thread {at least in the "Classic" era} .  I can't remember what type of pan was used, just that there lots of them on the racks, stacked high, and sitting at room temperature approximately 24 hours before they were used.

I also suspect that lard was used in the original formulation, based on the characteristics of cold left-over pizza the day after. Biting into a cold Tommy's crust was kind of like sinking your teeth into a pastry or pie crust, and had that same greasy residue sensation. I also remember a slight pork flavor - though it could have also come from the pepperoni or provolone. This possibility has been mentioned previously, and I truly believe shortening or lard may have been used back in the day.

The on-campus kitchen was not visisble to the public, but the Arlington ovens were in plain view for drooling customers waiting patiently at the carry-out counter.  They did not use pans in the ovens - at least back then. Rather, they had used those long two-pronged forks to move the pizzas around. I don't remember bricks, and they may have baked them directly on the rire oven racks.
   
Tommy's crust was always a topic of conversation, even 30 years ago, and I remember an employee telling me that Tommy Iacano would visit each location daily, and mix the dough himself. If I recall correctly, Mr Iacano passed away in the late 90's, and this correletes roughly with the changes in methods, and the perceived decline of the classic Tommy's formula.

I should also mention that the "fermentation" of the dough might also be a point of debate. This may be 100% correct, but I always felt the sauce was a little more prominant than has been discussed thus far. To me, the sauce had some red wine overtones, and this may be partially {or wholly} responsible for the fermentation flavor noted in the crust.   

What does this all mean from a technical standpoint? I don't believe the original method was quite as labor-intensive as one might expect, given the unique crust texture of the final product. Certainly some sheeting was involved, but I don't think there were many stages of dough prep after that. Also, that the newer processes, along with the founder's passing, further simplified their formulation, while also reducing the quality of the end product. The fact that the crust has maintained some familiar characteristics over 30 plus years tells me that the dough recipe and sheeting process are the most important variables.

I'd love to hear Ryan's thoughts as he has actually attempted to replicate the Classic formulation that I can only recall from memory. Again, let me reiterate that the final product has been wildly inconsistent between locations, and over several decades...

 
         


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #265 on: October 01, 2012, 12:09:09 PM »
Hey y'all.

I've started a pizza blog, and my latest post is a very clear and thorough recap of pretty much everything I've learned since I began trying to clone Tommy's two years ago. Lots of pictures, too, embedded precisely where they are most helpful.

Here's the blog: http://ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com/.

And here's the Tommy's post: http://ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com/2012/09/tommys-columbus-ohio-clone.html. This post focuses on making a pizza that essentially clones what Tommy's pizza used to be, 20 or 25 years ago, rather than the garbage they currently produce.

I've also recently nailed Pizza Hut thin, as well, which I've documented on the blog. Malnati's style deep dish is my next project, as I'm expecting UPS to bring me some American Metalcraft 8000 series tin-plated steel pans soon (hopefully today).

I haven't read any of these boards for the last couple weeks, and I don't intend to be back anytime soon. So if anyone responds to this post or sends me a message, I probably won't see it. If you want to reach me, now you know how.

Ryan
Ryan
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Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #266 on: October 01, 2012, 12:19:55 PM »
Also, I just read your posts, fatzo. Nice work. I'll definitely think about the things you mentioned that don't necessarily support some of the things I've speculated throughout this thread. Thanks for your contributions.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 12:22:36 PM by AimlessRyan »
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.


Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #267 on: October 26, 2012, 11:38:10 AM »
I made a Tommy's clone yesterday for the first time in several weeks (because I had been making deep dish every day for at least a month, which I've thoroughly documented in this new blog post.) During my deep dish fest, I stopped using KAAP flour and started using Pillsbury bleached all-purpose flour. I continued using the Pillsbury with my Tommy's dough yesterday. As far as I know, I did everything else the same as I've instructed in my best-yet post.

Verdict: The Pillsbury flour is so much better than KAAP. It makes a much crispier crust with better color, and the dough also seemed easier to roll, even though the dough seemed stiffer than dough made from KAAP. I doubt that I'll ever use King Arthur flour again because I'm now pretty convinced that it just isn't very good.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #268 on: October 28, 2012, 05:48:16 PM »
I went to the OSU Tommy's yesterday with Nick (weemis). It was his first time trying Tommy's, and he clearly didn't care for their pizza. Even though my pizza sucked pretty bad, too, I actually learned a lot of things I didn't expect to learn. Mostly what I learned is that I don't know crap about Tommy's. Regardless, I'm gonna try to recap some observations that may be useful.

First observation: If you order a pepperoni pizza from the OSU Tommy's and a pepperoni pizza from the Upper Arlington Tommy's, you're gonna get two pretty different pizzas. Here are the differences I can remember:

  • The pizza I had yesterday was probably half as thick as the pizzas I've gotten from the UA store during my two previous Tommy's visits.
  • There was a little separation in yesterday's crust, but I had to look real hard to find it. Actually, that's a pretty bad description. There was clear separation in the crust, but it wasn't a bunch of layers, like what briterian and I have depicted throughout this thread. I'm not sure if briterian mentioned in the original post which store his pizza came from, but I'm 99% sure it came from the UA store, based entirely on his pictures.
  • There was a very heavy presence of what I think involved garlic powder sprinkled over the pizza yesterday. Although I like garlic, this was pretty nasty. I can't remember ever having a Tommy's pizza that tasted like this.
  • On my way to and from the bathroom, I could see that this store has two deck ovens, and apparently no conveyor. (The UA store bakes in a conveyor.) I imagine they only use the second oven on home football Saturdays, which are insane busy. (Yesterday's game was at Penn State.)
  • I didn't think about this until the pizza was gone, but I don't remember seeing perforated pan spots on the bottom of the crust.

That's all I can think of right now.

In other news, Nick and I bought a case of Ezzo pepperoni before going to Tommy's. I intended to buy 10 lbs, with Nick nabbing the other 15 lbs, but since RDP's confusing product guide caused Nick to order a different style than I was after (Supreme 38 mm SS, rather than GiAntonio 38 mm), he was cool with me cutting back to 5 lbs. I haven't tried the pepperoni on a pizza yet, but I'm about to. One thing I can already say about it is that the pieces don't all stick together like most brands of pepperoni do.

EDIT: I accidentally posted before I finished writing this post.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 06:26:59 PM by AimlessRyan »
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline weemis

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #269 on: October 29, 2012, 07:54:39 AM »
I'd like to add to the Tommy's comments. First, they use raw sausage, which is a clear indication that they at least care about their products. And I also found that their pizza was much better reheated... in the microwave! there was some extreme separation in the dough, and it became extremely crunchy. Not my cup of tea. But when I reheated it a few hours later, it was indeed much softer, and quite good.

If i get it again, I'll be eating it reheated.
sad, but true!
Nick Gore - just a dough eyed wanderer

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #270 on: October 29, 2012, 12:12:01 PM »
there was some extreme separation in the dough, and it became extremely crunchy.

Having thought about this for the last couple days, I feel pretty confident that I know why our Tommy's pizzas were extra crispy/crunchy. (They were very blistered on the bottom, too, weren't they, Nick?)

Here's my hypothesis: Since we went to Tommy's almost right after they opened Saturday (11:30 or 11:45 am), our pizzas were almost certainly made from dough that had been sheeted, sauced, and cheesed Friday night. This explains the blisters and the extra crispiness, and probably the lack of multiple noticeable laminates, as well. (To be clear, there was separation in the crust, as Nick and I have both already indicated. However, there only seemed to be two semi-definite layers, rather than multiple obvious layers.)

Experience has taught me that sheeted skins become more prone to blistering the longer they sit on a pan between sheeting and baking. Also, if you don't use anything to add or maintain humidity in the dough proofing/retarding area, the dough dries up and becomes more crispy/crunchy. And my experience with laminated dough is that the longer a skin waits to be baked after sheeting, its laminates/layers become less pronounced.

So it's pretty clear to me that our Saturday pizzas were mostly prepared sometime Friday evening; probably reasonably early, too, because there's no reason to prep skins at the end of the night. I'm very disappointed about this, and I wouldn't let that kind of thing happen if it was my pizzeria. Although these prep methods certainly can be done with good results, these results were not good. I would be a lot more understanding about it if there had been a home OSU football game with a noon kickoff time. However, as I've already said, OSU was on the road Saturday.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #271 on: October 30, 2012, 05:28:22 PM »
I don't know how commercialized Tommy's is, but I see the same thing at Round Table which is a similar style. It's the nature of the beast. It would be nice if they would just throw out old skins, but from a business perspective that is a definite profit loser. One red flag for this is if you see coupons for discounted lunch or lunch specials. That is almost always dough from the night before and just a way for them to recover some of their costs, even at the discounted rate.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #272 on: October 30, 2012, 06:16:30 PM »
I don't know how commercialized Tommy's is, but I see the same thing at Round Table which is a similar style. It's the nature of the beast. It would be nice if they would just throw out old skins, but from a business perspective that is a definite profit loser. One red flag for this is if you see coupons for discounted lunch or lunch specials. That is almost always dough from the night before and just a way for them to recover some of their costs, even at the discounted rate.

Driving existing customers to never come back costs infinitely more than the 10-cent piece of dried-out, overfermented dough you sold them. It's not a profit-loser to throw out old skins, even if you have several dozen of them left at the end of the night. Besides, if a manager or owner knows anything about managing dough, there should rarely be more than a few excess skins remaining at the end of any night. Selling pizzas built on old, dried out skins is just stupid.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #273 on: October 30, 2012, 11:16:21 PM »
Selling pizzas built on old, dried out skins is just stupid.

I completely agree. If I had my own place I would never compromise the product over profit. It pays for itself in the long run.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #274 on: October 31, 2012, 01:23:39 PM »
Running a restaurant looks like the easiest thing in the world until you actually try it, then 60% of them go out of business within 3 years (Which is about the same for other small businesses, and for many of the same reasons).