Author Topic: Greetings - and few questions  (Read 1360 times)

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Offline camanodawg

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Greetings - and few questions
« on: December 28, 2010, 02:12:17 PM »
Awesome website - wish I had found this site years ago!

Long-time amateur pizza maker living in the Northwest – but grew up in the South suburbs of Chicago.   Used to eat a LOT of the thin crusts from Giovanni’s , Alfs Pub, Aurelios, Johns Pizza, etc. – and of course the big hitters from Giordano’s, Ginos, Unos/Dues, Nancy’s etc.

Been making pizza almost every Friday since getting three, yes three!, deep dish pans for wedding gifts over 26 years ago.  I found my way some time ago to 6-in-1 – so the sauce has been pretty good (but still looking for nirvana) – however my wife has been making the crust for so long we just got into a rut and accepted it as it was.  That is until I found this site.
I have been reading many of the threads – but man it can be a bit overwhelming.  So I have a couple of questions as I head out to make three 14” pizzas for family later this week (14” top – 13.25” bottom pans).

1.   Does the reference deep-dish (DD) include both deep dish and stuffed?  I ask that because the deep-dish dough calc tool does not differentiate if you want a Giordano’s like crust or a Malnati’s like crust.  I found JConk007’s excellent post using BTB’s recipe for a Malnati’s-like pizza on March 01, 2009, 07:43:57 PM (could not post the URL) - is this the one I should go with?  Do you guys mix the dough by hand or use a dough-hook?
2.   Does anyone roast or sauté their green peppers (GP) to get the taste like the GPs in many of the pizza back in Chicago.  I have tried simple sautés with onion and garlic – but they just don’t seem the same.  I thought I saw one time many years ago in Chicago a pizzeria roasting them in the ovens in large stainless steel pans covered in foil?
3.   I use sweet or mild IT sausage from the store – have never made my own – do any of you guys?
4.   If someone has a good Malnati’s or Giordanos sauce knock-off I would love to hear about it.  I use 6-in-1 (drained for 15 min), sugar, small amount of red wine, salt/pepper, some finely crushed garlic – sometimes some Penzi’s pizza seasoning…if I do not have any fresh basil/oregano growing, and lately a little fennel or cinnamon.
5.   As you can tell from the sauce I am not the measuring type – doing more by feel – but I plan to buy a scale to start making this new crust recipe.

Many thanks in advance from a long-time Chicago pizza consumer/baker wanting to try a new way to make the greatest meal on the planet.


Offline loowaters

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Re: Greetings - and few questions
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 09:37:53 PM »
Welcome to the board, plenty to learn here.  I'll quickly address a few of the things you ask and I'm sure others can fill in the blanks.

I believe the best formulation for deep dish is this right here http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10161.msg89174.html#msg89174 .  It's a Malnati's clone that is based on some really good info shown in a YouTube video, no longer available, that we broke down pretty well right here.

I've made some of my own sausage that I'm using right now but have used plenty of Johnsonville's sweet Italian sausage over the years.

Malnati's sauce is pretty easy, it's this and nothing more.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10837.0.html
I add salt, pepper, a little extra virgin olive oil, and fresh crushed garlic.  It's pretty simple, and I don't think you want much more for a deep dish pizza.  Giordano's, I believe Peter found (sorry if that's incorrect), uses an Escalon tomato product but I'm not sure what they do to dress it up.

Good luck!  Post pics.

Loo

Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

Offline camanodawg

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Re: Greetings - and few questions
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2010, 01:11:38 AM »
Thanks very much Loo!! So it appears the cold fermentation I had read about in other threads has been discarded in this crust recipe? 
After looking around some more I am planning on making my own sausage from a recipe found on this site:

    * 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
    * 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    * 2/3 teaspoon garlic powder
    * 2/3 teaspoon fennel seed
    * 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    * 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    * 1 lb ground lean pork

Thanks again – I hope to post some pics in the coming days.

Offline camanodawg

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Re: Greetings - and few questions
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2010, 01:18:37 AM »
Ohh...and also seems the Semolina is no longer called for?

I also want to add - coming from an engineering background I have never seen a group of folks so dedicated to the math and science of determining an ultimate recipe.  Truly a love of labor...and I fully understand the quest!

Offline loowaters

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Re: Greetings - and few questions
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 07:31:48 AM »
Regarding cold fermentation, the benefits of it are not that great over same day but tinker with it and find what you like.  Regarding semolina, many enjoy its addition, I just feel it's unnecessary, not bad by any means.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

Offline BTB

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Re: Greetings - and few questions
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 10:03:02 AM »
camanodawg,

Welcome to the website and thanks for your comments about it.  I don't know how helpful I can be, but just a few remarks.  I know the threads can be overwhelming to some, but there are not many shortcuts to learning many things in life . . . as well as pizzamaking.

Boy, you brought up some names of pizza places from the past that I visited many times, too.  Giovanni's of Roseland was the all-time best thin cracker crust pizzas in the world and a relative of theirs later opened one in Dolton, IL, but that one made a very different pizza that was never as good.  And of course Alfs and Aurelio's.  Gone is John's Pizza in Cal. City.

I would have suggested that you got several different size deep dish pizza pans, but as gifts what can you do.  You'll find out why when your refrigerator gets full with older baked pizzas baked in large 14" pans.  And its nice to experiment with small size pans to see the effects of different crust recipes and ingredients, which is hard to do with large pans.  And the average home oven may have a difficult time holding more than one big pan per level and doing 14" pizzas on different home oven rack levels can be problematic with timing and adequate baking of the bottom of the crusts, etc.  The alternative may be to do one on a low rack, wait 35 to 50 minutes (depending on one's oven characteristics), take out and then do the second and on and on, which . . . . .  can be problematic, to say the least.  With three 14" DD pans, do you have a barracks to feed?  LOL.

You might get as many different answers to your questions as there are members on this forum.  Which recipe for deep dish is best to use?  There will never be a consensus on that.  Review those given on the many threads and judge which to experiment with from time to time.  I prefer those recipes with Semolina or Durum Flour and many do, too, so I don't have the foggiest idea where you got the notion that Semolina is "no longer called for"? ?  (See http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11855.0.html )  Since you'll be doing 3 pizzas, why not do one recipe with Semolina, one without it, and another with a variation of either.  That way you get to see, taste and learn which is most liked by you and yours.  I'm betting on the Semolina or Durum.  But it makes no difference cause you'll be a winner either way with the great recipes on this website.

For deep dish (I never do any stuffed but consume a lot at Giordano's), I only mix by hand and, of course, you know that you only do a minimal amount of kneading to avoid overworking the dough (because if you did, it may become "bready" -- not desirable except for lovers of Pizza Hut).  But many others successfully use their big mixing machines.  I use sweet or mild Italian sausage, too, and since I've located about a dozen great Italian deli's in my metro area that make some great home made sausage (many make it with fennel, many make it without fennel, and many make it with lots of garlic) I haven't gotten into making my own sausage and don't know if I ever will.  A good scale is a great tool in this effort (except for dry ingredients that just are added in tsps or Tbs).

I love 6 in 1's drained for 10 to 15 minutes (much longer and it gets too dry) and prefer adding to it a small amount of Muir Glen diced tomatoes or comparable quality diced tomatoes (for which there are many).  That then gets close to the great Chicago deep dish pizzerias IMO.  The Lou Malnati's tomato sauce is the best in my estimation, however, but hard to get.  I would caution you to be careful on adding too many extra things into the tomato sauce as some of those things can be overpowering in just tiny portions.  I've done sauces with all the ingredients that you mentioned and have quickly learned to pull back on many (because it may become too late to learn that you have ruined the whole effort by excessive addition of too many spices and additives).  I've stopped using the Penzy pizza spices as my taste testers and I have come to dislike it (but recently delighted in trying King Arthur's pizza spices, which is vastly different).  But of late, the best additives have simply been "pinches" of Penzy oregano and fine basil.  Maybe a little sugar, too.  Sometimes maybe some minced garlic, but . . . . I hesitate to go overboard anymore.  But it's hard to talk to a fellow about "pinches" of spices and things when he's facing a great amount of sauce to put on 3 giant pizzas!  LOL. 

I do about 50/50 of same day dough vs. cold fermentation overnight (or even a day or two), and I am hard pressed to say which is best.  I've made great pizzas both ways, but for same day about 6 to 8 hours of off and on fermentation (knocking down and reforming the dough ball several times) has been best for me.  And I did this just a couple of days ago with one having 50% durum and baked it about 6 hours later and it was outstanding.  But, as you might hear the phrase many times, "trial and error" is the only way to see what's best for you.  When I have "lots" of pizzas to make for an event (like 3 big 14" DD), I would probably like to do it a day or two in advance, so I would put the mixed (but somewhat raised) dough into zip lock bags into the refrigerator.  But take the dough out of refrigerator about 2 hours prior to use to get to room temperature.

Don't know if I've been helpful or created more issues for you.  But don't hesitate to ask as there are no dumb questions.  And in future times, we hope you will be similarly helping others on this site with all your learnings and points of view.  And also, get you digital camera out and learn how to take and post pictures of your pizzas as that gives so much life to what one has experienced and is talking about.

Best of luck and let us know how things go.

                                                                                                    --BTB                     ;D

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Greetings - and few questions
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 10:25:23 AM »
1.   Does the reference deep-dish (DD) include both deep dish and stuffed?  I ask that because the deep-dish dough calc tool does not differentiate if you want a Giordano’s like crust or a Malnati’s like crust.

camanodawg,

The deep-dish dough calculating tool is agnostic as to the type of deep-dish pizza that can be used with the tool. The tool is really intended to be used with existing, workable deep-dish dough recipes such as given in several places on this forum, but mainly on the Chicago Style board. Some members have become skilled enough at modifying existing deep-dish (and many other) dough recipes and even at creating new ones but the old adage of "garbage in, garbage out" still applies. You have to know what you are doing.

As you wander around the forum, I think you will get a better idea as to how the members use the deep-dish dough calculating tool.

Peter


Offline camanodawg

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Re: Greetings - and few questions
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 11:40:19 AM »
Wow - thanks for the great responses all!  BTB - Been to Giovanni's in Roseland and Dolton (where I lived most of my time there) - if you have been to Roselands Giovannis you must have also tried Ninos  :P - which eventually relocated to Alsip.  Ahh, so many great places back there...

Anyhow - yes three 14" pies to feed an army of Husky fans getting together for a Holiday Bowl party.  I'll be cooking them one at a time and keeping the first one warm until the second one is out - then I turm 'em loose while the third one is in the oven  :pizza:

I made the disastorous mistake of letting my 6-in-1 stock run down to one can so I am going to supplement it with some San Marzano (white can) and some Glen Muir. 
All - Great suggestions and advice - I'll definately post some pics -

Offline BTB

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Re: Greetings - and few questions
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 12:40:05 PM »
Yes, camanodawg, I had been to the lesser known Nino's a block or two down from the famous Giovanni's in Roseland.  But Nino's became much more successful (surprisingly) after moving to Alsip (on Cicero), Matteson (on Rt. 30) and Chicago Hts. (on Halsted).  The young co-owner/cook at the Halsted St. location got to know me well and deviated a lot from their standard thin crust recipe to please me and the pizzas that I ordered, which were always "extra thin crust, a little extra sauce, cooked a little extra crispy or well done, and never, never, never cut the take out pizza!"  And the pizzas that he made for me back then were super great when I lived in Flossmoor, IL.  Oh . . . to return to those times of old . . . And we ordered tons of them for our HF high school events (as well as Aurelio's).
 
If I understand you correctly, good luck with the Huskies facing the Cornhuskers tomorrow night.  I am a
Sooner alumnus and always love to see Nebraska get beaten (but they are tough).  Your great homemade pizzas will help celebrate the victory over the cornhuskers (but, if not, it may help detract from the feelings over the loss).  Only kidding.  LOL.
 
I had some "semi-success" in doing a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of oven rack relocation of multiple pizzas in the oven during the cooking cycle in order to get them close to being ready at near the same time, but it takes a lot of oven watching and attention -- near 100 and 150% of the time for one person, which is difficult to impossible to do.  And one must know what they are looking for, which is mainly -- with a large pizza -- what is not easily seen . . . the underneath portion of the pan pizza.  With small pizzas I use a small spatula to periodically check the bottom of the pan pizzas (gently lifting a portion of the pizza to view the degree of browness of the bottom of the crust), but have always found a large 14" size much more difficult to do that with . . . but not impossible.  But when the underneath portion is "looking good" then the pizza can be moved to a higher oven rack to start "browning" the top of the pizza better.  It's hard to describe this process (as home oven cooking process is vastly different from the commercial ovens), but a few more post season games will make this more easier!  LOL.
 
Enjoy the holidays.
 
                                                                                     --BTB