Author Topic: Pizza Raquel  (Read 197575 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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Pizza Raquel
« on: April 24, 2005, 01:39:33 PM »
I felt it was time to start a thread for Pizza Raquel. My interpretation of an artisan home pizza based on the finest ingredients available as well as the best collective thinking about what's possible in home pizza making. A cost-no-object standard of quality across the board.

I still plan to be active with the various reverse engineering efforts but those objectives have largely been accomplished and I wanted to set a higher bar of expectation to see just what is possible. I encourage the membership to join in and help where you can when you can as the collective power of the membership is staggering.

This project already has a running start and while there are no limitations on what comprises an artisan pizza there are some loose ideals that serve as a foundation for direction. Areas like extreme heat, mixing, stretching and dough management regimens will be fully explored. Sound like fun? Wait till we uncover the best of the best ingredients. I doubt there is a single member here who is totally satisfied with every aspect of their homemade pizzas. I know I'm not.

I look forward to advancing the state of the art in home pizza making. As a start, here is an example of the best that I'm capable of producing at this moment.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2005, 01:40:02 PM »
Pie number two...
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2005, 02:03:37 PM »
Lest you think this thread will be like any other, try this aspect of pizza making on for size.

I have started growing my own spices. Basil, Oregano, Arugula, Cilantro, and Mint (for ice teas - Fl can get hot in the summer). Are there any tips the membership can offer about growing fresh herbs? Are there any other herbs or spices that I should consider growing.

Here are the visuals so far...
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pyegal

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2005, 02:17:00 PM »
For those of us new here, could you or another member please explain the term reverse engineering?

Great looking pies!

I have some experience in growing herbs and always had trouble with cilantro bolting and going to seed early in the growing season. Used to think it was just me, but many other gardeners in the South have reported the same problem. Basil benefits from frequent picking and pinching back to make it branch out bushier. Mint will take over the world if we let it. I have several varieties of mint growing on the north side of my house. The previous owners were Greek. I love arugula and can imagine it would be great topping a hot out of the oven pizza.

pyegal

Offline varasano

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2005, 02:34:18 PM »
Hey pft,

The herb garden is a great idea. I have basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, lemon thyme, sage, mint, vietnamese mint, dill, chives, tarragon, parsley and rosemary. I don't really go for cilantro.  I just bought some new basil and tarragon because they died off in the winter.  I really recommend my favorite calzone or stromboli combo which is rosemary, sun dried tomato, chopped tomato, mozz, and pepperoni.

Jeff

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2005, 04:06:21 PM »
Pyegal,

Reverse engineering is a process by which one tries to work backwards from a finished product to determine what it is made up of. It can be just about any product, from software, to semiconductor products, to TVs, to pizza. In pftaylor's case, he tried to figure out what Patsy's pizza dough and sauce were made of and the steps taken to produce high-quality doughs and pizzas. In my case, I was trying to figure out exactly how DiFara made its pizzas. To "reverse engineer" the pizzas, we both relied on public information (articles, Internet research, diner blogs and reviews, etc.) and we made personal visits to the pizzerias to talk with the people responsible for making the pizzas. As Jeff has noted with respect to Johnny's, not all pizza makers are willing to divulge information about their pizzas. That's one reason why some people resort to dumpster diving. For legal reasons, it is best to rely on public information and your own analysis of the end product (like a pizza dough or sauce) and not try to get people to breach their obligations to their employers to maintain trade secrets in confidence. It's another matter if they volunteer, just as Jose did at Patsy's and Dom DeMarco did at DiFara's.

Peter

Offline varasano

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2005, 04:20:13 PM »
LOL... I thought about hiring someone to go through Johnny's garbage, but I'd never actually do it myself...  I had no idea anyone had actually done such a thing. I thought I was the only nut. 

I bet if I put out some flour and water anywhere on johnny's block, I'd grow their culture. Is that illegal, LOL???

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2005, 06:37:16 PM »
About six years ago I owned a medical consulting company and literally was the segment leader. One day my assistant caught this guy diving our dumpster looking for competitive information. We called the cops and they politely told us that once it hits the dumpster, it's considered trash and not our property any more. I ended up buying an industrial shredder and never threw anything out without shredding again. Lesson learned.

Regarding the herb garden, while using freshly grown herbs and spices is not unique or that big of deal, I have yet to see a majority of artisans in any area use commercially dried spices. When I visited Di Fara's, Dom had stalks of freshly dried oregano laying out on the counter for all to use. It was the first time in my life where I pulled chunks of oregano off a stem and placed it on my pie. An unusual activity and one I found quite pleasing I might add. It added to the overall sense of quality.

I plan on having a full array of garden fresh spices to use in my pizza making. It not only increases the taste quotient, in my book, but it also is a lot less expensive in the long run. I plan on reinvesting any savings into higher quality ingredients like mozzarella - unless someone can convince me that the best way to produce a superior tasting mutz is to make it yourself. The ROI may be there for cheese since its the single most expensive ingredient. However, I wonder how the taste and heating properties are with the homemade stuff.

Again, I have no bias with how to get to the top of the mountain. I understand Chris Bianco makes his own and smokes it in his wood burning oven. Seems like a logical thing to do to save money and add flavor. Two for the price of one so to speak.

Keep the good ideas coming. We'll have this thing built in no time...
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline varasano

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2005, 07:45:59 PM »
My grandma used to have oregano on the stems and we'd peel  or shake it off. If was wonderful.  And these tiny fried peppers that we used to cut up and shake the seeds out directly onto our pasta.  I forgot all about that til now.

The oregano I grew was not great. I have to get another batch. I'm going to post up a few notes about herb growing. I'm no pro, but I did learn a few things.   Most important is taste before you plant. I've had basil batches that varied wildly and some didn't get any better in the ground. You have to pick a winner to start with.  I'll add more later.

Jeff

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2005, 07:52:19 PM »
Yummy looking basil there pft... I also grow herbs on my deck in the summer, I have even found that you can bunch them together..basil with parsley and time...etc..it keeps down the amount of planters and they all seem to co-exist nicely, (Just put the tallest plants like basil in the back...don't forget to pull your dandelion leaves for your pie as well...(hmm come to think of it I don't remember dandelions growing in FL soil)....


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2005, 07:58:28 PM »
Varasano,
I look forward to learning more about spices.

So, would it be fair to say that home grown or fresh spices can be considered an ingredient in an artisan homemade pie?

If so, I'll add it to my list of what defines an artisan homemade pie. If not, I would like to understand the opposing viewpoint.

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

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2005, 08:25:29 PM »
Let's talk about extreme...:

I have grown my herbs since coming here in London 6 years ago. Rosemary, Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Sage, Mint (3 types, one from Naples)), Lavender and Basil and Parsley indoors. Not Only these but also Trees: 6 Stone pine (grown from Neapolitan seeds), 2 Holy oak (also Neapolitan seeds), 1 Olive Tree (from Cutting).
And every summer I grown my own "Piennolo" small tomatoes (originally from Vesuvius seeds, which now I reproduce from previous year seeds) and cayenne pepper.

All here in freezing London...

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2005, 08:38:52 PM »
Who says you can't get great food in the UK. All it takes is a transplanted pizzanapoletana. That's great.

Nice to know what the master from Naples uses. Thanks for sharing. So I guess the take-home message is that there's no place like home - for spices.

I'm clicking my shoes three times...
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2005, 08:45:50 PM »
Let's examine another topic which I have been perplexed by. Why do some artisans sprinkle olive oil and/or salt either before and/or after baking? I'm looking for a very high level of specificity on this point so it needs to be something more than a rote response like "for the flavor."

I have been producing very flavorful pies lately without the addition of either. Frankly, I'm not sure I'm an advocate for a gloppy pie full of oil but I am open to understanding the notion. I'm just not sure its for me at this point.

Again, feedback works.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2005, 08:47:10 PM »
Let's say that I was trying to cure my home sickness...

I even try to grow Stingy nettles, but they were self seeding all over my balcony.... They are very good to bake "Pane alle Ortiche" (Stingy nettles bread). I also grow a wonderful condiment for fried pizza, Borage...

By the way this is a fork mixer, which gives the best results for pizza dough:

http://www.yourdelight.com/santos.htm

I am not sure about the producer, but the technology is no1

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2005, 08:52:31 PM »
pizzanapoletana,
The Santos mixer looks like it could be the best. One follow-up question: Is the Santos mixer the better option for the home artisan pizza maker? If so why? If not why?

I have often thought of trading up to a more powerful mixer but is this the tool of an artisan? Can you help us understand how a fork mixer is better for pizza?
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2005, 09:02:06 PM »
I would like again to point out that I do not know the brand. However I do know for a fact that some fork mixers are passed on in the testament of some families back in Naples. I have also seen a 40 year old fork mixer working as if it was new... The best are Pietroberto's, but it is like the Bentleys or Ferrari of the brands.

Anyway, the fork mixer action incorporate a lots of air in the dough, and does this very slowly without overheating the dough (virtually no heating is caused my the mixing action). This also allows you to work high hydration dough very easily.

The good thing about the Santos, seams to be the low capacity (commercial models like Pietroberto are much bigger), and the relatively low cost (Pietroberto's mixers cost around $10,000).

If you are considering a serious mixer for home use, the Santos would be the No 1 choice.  The only question is if the bowl does rotate...
« Last Edit: April 24, 2005, 09:17:53 PM by pizzanapoletana »

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2005, 09:12:33 PM »
For professionals, the best option would be a double arm diving mixers, something like this:

http://users.pandora.be/andre.dewulf/bakery_machines/bakery-machines_dough-mixer.htm

or

http://www.macpan.com/en/prodotti.php?idC=42

The Positive side is that it gives you the best oxygenation into the dough.

The negative side is that it heat up the dough too much too quickly...
« Last Edit: April 24, 2005, 09:40:38 PM by pizzanapoletana »

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2005, 10:14:03 PM »
...but I thought pizza dough in Naples is mixed by hand?

---Guy
Man does not live by bread alone.  There's also tomato, cheese and pepperoni.

Offline varasano

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Re: Pizza Raquel
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2005, 12:12:38 AM »
Santos mixer:
I was THIS close to buying this but ended up with the DLX at the advice of a hoard of people on a bread making board.  I was very curious about it and had a feeling it made the best given a short video I saw of it's action, but was talked out of it by the board.  Marco, have you used the DLX?  It's so different than the planetary mixers, and nothing like this fork mixer.

pft, look at the specs on that santos mixer. It's huge.  The DLX is big too, but not so big. The santos is also 4 times the price. I was fed up with KA enough to not care, but in the end I've been thrilled with the DLX.  On that Yahoo group I mention on my site every home bread baker swears by it and I have to agree it's pretty cool. The dough is only heated maybe 5 or 6 F, so you can start with room temp and not worry about anything.