Author Topic: Pizza Raquel  (Read 196350 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #220 on: February 19, 2006, 08:29:52 PM »
Pete-zza,
I made another Polly - O adorned Pizza Raquel today. The cheese is simply delicious.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
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Offline David

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Re: Pizza
« Reply #221 on: February 20, 2006, 01:58:38 AM »
Looks as though Raquel's red dress is getting  a little bit  on the skimpy side,and just like a turkey at xmas she likes to show how good the white bits can be.................. ;)
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #222 on: February 26, 2006, 06:24:49 PM »
David,
You added another dimension to Pizza Raquel by describing her as the lady in the Red Dress. Better men than I have succumbed to the ways of that lady. The reason why her dress was so skimpy was because I welcomed back Polly - O Fresh Mozzarella cheese.

Speaking of cheese, I have a major update to add. This update is not for the faint of heart in the pocketbook area due to its high cost, but if you want to produce an authentic NYC pie at home and climb another few steps on the pizza mountain of enlightenment, jump on and hold on.

After paying nearly fifty cents a ounce for the Polly - O Fresh Mozzarella from Pennmac, my son asked an innocent question "dad, at those prices, why don't you get your cheese from little Italy in NYC where all the best cheese comes from." Astute statement on the part of a fifteen year old and undeniably accurate. I stopped complaining about all the additives in Polly - O and started reading old emails until I found the one I was looking for. A master pizzaiolo sent to me the name of a cheese store which he felt would add to my journey of making the best elite NYC pie at home - Pizza Raquel.

So I decided to go straight to the source for the special kind of Fresh Mozzarella that a majority of elite pizzerias use in NYC. I am not referring to street pizza. I specifically mean the joints like Patsy's and Grimaldi's. I have found the Fresh Mozzarella in NYC is somewhat an anomaly in the cheese world. It is porcelain white like bufala but firm so it can be sliced. It is moist but not wet. It also holds up to the intense heat of coal-fired ovens quite well yet leaves not a trace of a puddle on the pie. Now I'm not saying that this store supplies all the elite pizzerias in NYC. What I am saying is that most of the elite pizzerias in NYC use this special kind of Fresh Mozzarella. If you've ever had it, you know exactly what I'm referring to. There is one cheese store in NYC that has been making this special cheese for over 100 years. Alleva. In fact it is the oldest cheese store in America, according to Robert Alleva.

The best part of finally sourcing Alleva cheese is that I have now aced the cheese portion of my journey once and for all. To top it off, it turned out to be somewhat less expensive than the Polly - O. How lucky can a guy get?

Enough of my rambling and on to the pictures of the cheese and a pair of calzones - a tribute to Di Fara and a house special with Ricotta, Alleva Fresh Mozzarella, prosciutto, fresh mushrooms sauteed in EVOO, pepperoni, and finally fennel sausage. Yes they tasted good. My guests thought they were fantastic.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2006, 06:39:44 PM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline duckjob

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #223 on: March 03, 2006, 02:59:20 AM »
Wow, looks amazing. I'll be calling them next week to place an order. I can get polly o localy from an Italian market, but it is $8 a pound. And I think you've inspired me to hack up another calzone. Have you tried freezing this cheese yet, or is demand for Raquel so high that that is not an issue :)

Brian

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #224 on: March 04, 2006, 08:34:34 PM »
duckjob,
The cheese freezes extremely well which is a good thing because I have a lot of it.

Below are photographs of tonight's Pizza Raquel in various stages of dress.
Pie #1 - Margherita with freshly ground ugly ripes, Alleva Fresh Mozzarella, and Fresh basil

Pie #2 - San Daniele (Pizze con Rucola e Prosciutto) Thinly Sliced Prosciutto di Parma, freshly ground Ugly Ripe tomatoes, Alleva Fresh Mozzarella, organic Arugula, and Parmesan shavings.

Pie #3 - Georgio - (Quattro Formaggi) with Alleva Fresh Mozzarella, Alleva Parmigiano Reggiano, Ricotta, and Percorino Romano (white pizze no red sauce)



Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #225 on: March 04, 2006, 09:27:24 PM »
pftaylor,

Those are spectacular looking pies.

Peter

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #226 on: March 04, 2006, 10:24:30 PM »

Pie #2 - San Daniele (Pizze con Rucola e Prosciutto) Thinly Sliced Prosciutto di Parma, freshly ground Ugly Ripe tomatoes, Alleva Fresh Mozzarella, organic Arugula, and Parmesan shavings.



pft,

Great looking pies!

Don't you find the high heat make the prosciutto tough? I've taken to draping slices over the pie just as it comes out of the oven. It heats up, but retains its soft, silky texture.

Bill/SFNM

Offline David

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #227 on: March 05, 2006, 08:49:53 AM »
Ditto Bill ........
 PFT !
The only thing I personally would like to add would be to see Raquel wear a little EVOO  when she  adorns herself with Rucola for San Danielle ;)It looks like you have her almost exactly where you want her to be now,no?I wish I had more time now to devote to my concubines !
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #228 on: March 05, 2006, 01:13:57 PM »
Thanks for the insightful comments guys. I have learned a great deal from fellow member comments so please keep them coming. Here is an update as to where I am in my journey of home pizza making.

In the absence of better tools (a wood burning oven and perhaps a better mixer come to mind), I have perfected every facet of the dough making process. The lone caveat being perfection was specifically achieved for me. For my tastes with my available tools. I have literally tried every known combination of process steps, hydration levels, oil/no oil, sugar/no sugar, malt/no malt, preferment/no preferment, fresh yeast/IDY, etc. Hopefully you get the point.

I have challenged conventional wisdom at every juncture with all available ingredients and with all known procedural steps, irrespective of time and cost. The fun part for me was I did not know exactly where I would end up. Once I surpassed the Patsy Pizzeria standard I was in no-man's land. So it wasn't as if I was rigging the experiments in any one direction to produce a particular outcome I wanted. I really didn't know what I didn't know. The goal of producing the most robust handling dough and most flavorful crust was my goal. I humbly state that I have principally achieved that target.

So the current Raquel is the very best American based dough I can produce. If there is some other magical combination of ingredients out there, I couldn't find it after months of assiduously detailing every effort and changing a single variable at a time. I have developed a new appreciation for the phrase hand-crafted as a result. 

The same level of bravado cannot be articulated with respect to toppings however. I have not experimented anywhere near to the same extent I have with dough, cheese, and tomatoes. But the time for inventing flavorful new topping combinations is upon me. Until I move to the next level of baking with a wood burning oven of some sort or mixing dough with a fork mixer, I have little left to accomplish other than in the area of toppings.

Bill/SFNM brings up a valid point. The prosciutto did taste a little like shoe leather - which is exactly how my Virginia bride likes it. It reminds her of Country Ham which is a favorite of her Danville, Virginia based upbringing. I am originally a Yankee so heavily salted shoe leather is lost on me but it makes her real happy so who am I to argue.  Come to think of it, small chunks of Country Ham is worth trying. I've not heard of anyone putting it on pie before but who says we have to stay within the lines when it comes to home pizza making?

David brings up another good point with respect to EVOO or the lack thereof on Raquel. My family prefers a somewhat dry pie. When oil is added they feel Raquel is being moved closer to chain pizza instead of the utterly light crust they have come to love. To date, I have not pressure tested my taste testers on things like a splash of EVOO and chopped up prosciutto much but then again the time is now. I need to be every bit as creative with toppings as I have with developing every other facet of Raquel.

I do have another goal which is somewhat different than most home pizza makers. It is simply designing the appropriate macro-nutrient composition of my offerings so that the bloat which typically comes from eating pizza is minimized or avoided all together. On this note I can report that my tinkering in this area has yielded promising results. My stated macro-nutrient goal is to have 40% of the calories come from carbohydrates, 30% each from protein and fats. The 40-30-30 ratio seems to allow one to eat 3 -5 slices of pie and be fresh as a daisy. More to come on this pivotal point.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #229 on: March 05, 2006, 03:21:13 PM »
pft,

Please explain: if your target macronutrient distribution is 40-30-30, then you should be able to eat 10 pies and still be in the zone? No?  >:D

I guess Southern country ham is an acquired taste or one of those things that you have to grow up eating. Even after long soaking, it is, exactly as you describe, salty shoe leather.  I have a similar aversion to grits - tried it every way possible and it still sucks! Hey, how about a pizza with country ham and grits. You could call it Pizza Scarlett.  :D

Seriously, your efforts and dedication to achieve perfection are most admirable. My respects.
 
Bill/SFNM

« Last Edit: March 05, 2006, 03:23:44 PM by Bill/SFNM »


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #230 on: March 05, 2006, 07:27:49 PM »
It has been written pizza is crust.
It is an opinion I wholeheartedly agree with. Take a look at the tag-line located at the end of my posts if you don't believe me.

So if pizza is crust, then a calzone (means trouser leg in Italian) is most assuredly about toppings. To be more precise, the fillings. Tonight I decided to take the gloves off and make the very best concoction I could with the ingredients available and I came up with an out and out winner. Had a ball making it to boot. This is a great hobby.

The calzone below was beyond good. It was illegal. Here is what I did to expand my base and extend the reach of my home pizza/calzone making:
- Pizza Raquel dough (12" skin) as the base layer
- A lining of Alleva Fresh Mozzarella sliced thin to coat the bottom and stem potential seepage
- A healthy layer of Prosciutto (to appease Mrs. T)
- Alternating little dabs of Ricotta and freshly ground up Ugly Ripes
- Quartered slices of pepperoni
- Slivered red onions
- Organically grown baby Arugula
- A splash of David inspired EVOO spiced with fresh cracked pepper
- Raquel dough was folded over with ornately sliced edges in tribute to the DiFara original
- Baked in our home oven at 500 degrees for 12 minutes which percolated all the fillings
- Another splash of David inspired EVOO over the outside top and accentuated by a sprinkling of 4 cheeses
- Finally, an off the shelf beer in the hopes that Candianbacon will come to Tampa and teach me his craft
- Make that a light beer to better balance the carbohydrate load as thoughtfully pointed out by Bill/SFNM
« Last Edit: March 05, 2006, 08:08:15 PM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #231 on: March 06, 2006, 06:52:04 PM »
PFT --
I have been marveling at your pies for months now, and I have a question.  I've tried lots of fresh (cryo and wet packed) mozzarella products, and the one that does it for me in terms of flavor and melting characteristics is Belgioso.  Lately I've listened to you rave about the Polly-o fresh, and I was wondering if you had tried Belgioso, and if so, how the two compare in your estimation.  I share your passion for the pie, and would like your thoughts.

-- Glutenboy
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline JF_Aidan_Pryde

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #232 on: March 06, 2006, 07:45:36 PM »
pf,
That is an awesome calzone. Last time (also the first time) I made calzone, the leakage almost destroyed my stone. It looked like lasagne on pizza stone by the end. What a mess. But for the bits that were edible, the lovely camaldoli flavoured crust and yummy fillings made an incredible eat. I'm going to try again soon.

Been real busy in the last couple of months so I haven't been able to post. Was in Naples in January and paid da michele a visit. Will post thoughts in Naepolitan forum soon.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #233 on: March 07, 2006, 11:43:29 AM »
Glutenboy,
I have used BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine extensively in the past and may do so in the future. It is a good solid choice in my experience. It is generally available in the Publix supermarket chain here in Florida. I can completely understand why it works so well in your application.

Compared to the Polly - O and the famed Alleva Fresh Mozzarella it is close in flavor but I have found it to be much wetter. Since I grill for only 2-3 minutes (now much closer to two minutes) upon melting, the cheesy pool doesn't have a chance to dry out much. My grill simply doesn't create enough top heat. Just before switching to the Polly - O, I found an effective method for the BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine which required draining it on the counter for a few hours. In the end it proved to be too much work for me to overcome a problem which other cheeses didn't possess. I can imagine with a longer bake or a wood-burning oven which produces a higher top temperature, the pooling problem would be virtually non-existent.

Currently, the Alleva Fresh Mozzarella is the finest all around Fresh Mozzarella cheese I have personally experienced. It's flavor is instantly recognizable as authentic Elite NY cheese.  It melts perfectly without burning. I couldn't be happier.

JF_Aidan_Pryde,
I too have experienced the leakage problem and resorted to placing the calzone in a brownie tray as my last gasp solution. Try it and see.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2006, 11:46:54 AM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #234 on: March 07, 2006, 01:36:46 PM »
PFT --

I wish I had access to the Alleva brand here in LA.  I'm going to order a Polly-o log from Penn Mac just so I know what I've been missing.  It sounds like your experience with Belgioso has been with a wet-pack fresh mozzarella.  The stuff I get here is cryo-packed just like the Polly-o log.  I wonder if this could account for my satisfaction (less moisture).  Anyway, thanks for the info.  I'm sure I'll have more questions in the future!

-- Glutenboy
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #235 on: March 07, 2006, 07:59:16 PM »
Glutenboy,
You can buy Alleva cheese in LA. Go to allevadiary.com and stock up. They have an array of the finest cheeses in the US.

Robert Alleva is a genuinely nice person who knows cheese inside and out. Ask him about your specific application and he will make a recommendation. It may be different than mine but one thing is for certain, you will have an exact fit for the type of pie you want. As an example, he will ask you if you want salted or unsalted. Balls or loaf. Shredded or unshredded. The list of questions goes on and on. Before you know it, you have a cheese which exactly matches your needs.

Report back with your success.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #236 on: March 08, 2006, 04:29:11 PM »
PFT --

One more question.  If you don't mind sharing, what are the choices that you made for the cheese you purchased from Alleva?  The pic you posted looked like a loaf, but I'd love to know more.

-- GB
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #237 on: March 09, 2006, 07:50:55 AM »
Glutenboy,
My application may be different from yours, I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve. You may think I am nuts researching cheese to the extent I have but I wanted Raquel to be beholden to no pie. My goal was to mimic the cheese used by the traditional elite pizzerias in NYC - those with coal-fired ovens. I also felt like a significant improvement could be achieved with the process of constructing an elite NY style pie. My reasoning here was simple, I am not subjected to the commercial concerns of a pizzeria and so I am able to take the time necessary to take an artisan approach. Trust me, putting down cheese first takes time. A lot of it.

My primary requirement was for a cheese which could hold up to intense heat in the 750 - 900 degree range. My definition of holding up is to not leave a cheesy puddle upon melting. A secondary requirement is a creamy splotch without scorch marks upon melting. The relative importance here for me is that a Raquel is constructed by laying the sliced cheese (which covers greater surface area than chunks) down first and placing the sauce in between the cheese.

It renders a completely different taste profile than when one lays the sauce down first.  When you bite into a Raquel, there are three distinctly different taste zones;
crust and cheese,
crust with sauce,
and finally crust, cheese and sauce.

The notion I have labored many months to perfect then, is a buildup of flavors and textures which eventually lead to varying degrees of homogeneity with the big three ingredients. That's why a Margherita, in my opinion, is the most difficult type of pizza to construct. It's sheer simplicity reveals the slightest imperfection in one's dough, crust, sauce, cheese, and more importantly in the resulting mouth feel. A seasoned pizza eater instantly knows when it is right or wrong because there aren't mountains of toppings to hide behind.

Now that you know a little bit more about my reasoning, here is the description of the Alleva cheese which has met my requirements: Alleva Fresh Mozzarella in a salted loaf.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 08:02:06 AM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #238 on: March 09, 2006, 07:37:47 PM »
PFT --

I grew up just outside of NYC, and I'm aiming for exactly the same result you are.  That's why I came to you.  Thanks for your prompt and thorough responses.  I can't wait to get my hands on that loaf of Alleva.  I've been working on my pizza for years as well, and am only now becoming truly satisfied with my results.  I am in complete agreement with you about the Margherita -- It lays bare the quality of the ingredients and the skill of the maker.  Keep making 'em and keep posting the pics.  They give us all something to shoot for.

-- Glutenboy
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #239 on: March 10, 2006, 08:21:41 PM »
Glutenboy,
I look forward to your results. Speaking of results, below are mine from tonight. The Alleva handled perfectly and I noticed a unique property as well. It is very light compared to other cheeses I have used. Must be because there are no heavy chemicals added. LOL!
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com