Author Topic: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas  (Read 52087 times)

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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.

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

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 »

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.

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 »

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!
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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.

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.

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).

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #275 on: November 01, 2012, 08:34:41 PM »
Thought it was 80% of new start ups....but who"s counting.
Tom, if you could state one single most important factor concerning a new business.....where would your finger stop at while scanning the list of possible mistakes?  Thanks
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Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #276 on: November 02, 2012, 11:34:35 AM »
Don't turn your hobby into a business.

Offline weemis

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #277 on: November 02, 2012, 11:39:05 AM »
Don't turn your hobby into a business.

Without the passion of the hobbyist gone pro, where would the pizza world be?
Nick Gore - just a dough eyed wanderer

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #278 on: November 02, 2012, 11:58:12 AM »
Without the passion of the hobbyist gone pro, where would the pizza world be?

Exactly where it is... full of mediocre pizza made by people who work for places that are only concerned with profit.

The first owner of a new pizza place is much different from the second or third.

If you truly love to make your *(whatever) don't try to make it only for money.  Applies to anything.  If it's worth buying, that's nice, but if all you think about is how you can streamline production in order to raise your profit, you are no longer doing it for the love of it.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus OH) - Any recipe ideas
« Reply #279 on: November 02, 2012, 01:26:16 PM »
Material goods people can live without. But what I don't understand is when it comes to food, people HAVE to eat, and furthermore they can be persuaded about what they eat.

If you make a fantastic food product that has slim margins, or that you have to throw out old skins (aka throwing away money) isn't that well worth it's weight in gold? If everyone has a great time at your place, you'll get that back 10-fold in new customers and more frequent eaters.

There have been several places I used to frequent, they went downhill, I would actually tell the owners that their product has declined and I would try to educate them that they are killing their business in the long run. Most of these people don't know how to run a business. I haven't been back to many of them but almost all of them are out of business.

I think when it comes to commercial franchises however, the game is played a lot differently. That's why I was asking about the size of Tommy's and whether or not it was a franchised chain. I have never been there.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2012, 01:29:27 PM by DNA Dan »