Author Topic: Varasano's 2011  (Read 11403 times)

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Offline Jet_deck

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Varasano's 2011
« on: January 07, 2011, 06:51:07 PM »
I had a chance to go to Varasano's twice this last week.  The first trip was a "fact" finding mission and since Jeff wasn't there, I wanted to go back again to see if maybe he would visit for a minute. I ordered a margherita with the buffala mozz.  The Glad containers with the dough balls were just in front of me, 300 grams of dough to be exact.  The italian oven (with italian light bulbs inside) had burned out all the light bulbs.  The repair parts are stuck in customs, but the piazzolo's didn't seem to miss them a whole lot.  On the first visit, they were pretty slow when I was there so I had plenty of time to chat up anyone that would listen.  I also tried to take pics of the pizza's coming out of the oven.  Also Italian doughnuts w/ raspberry puree.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 06:56:02 PM by Jet_deck »
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Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2011, 07:07:22 PM »
So one the second trip did you talk to Jeff?

PaulsPizza

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2011, 07:08:57 PM »
 looks wet.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 07:12:54 PM by PaulsPizza »

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2011, 07:48:43 PM »
I was really afraid that I wouldn't like the pizza, seriously afraid that it would be so far over the top, that it just might be a taste or texture that I didn't like. 

The sauce was bright and tasted fresh, no hint that it could have been straight from the can.  The buffula (whatever) mozz didn't have a much different taste or texture on the cooked pizza.  However, I tried it uncooked and it was good, very very good.  Creamy and a small bite of ? fermentation or something. 

So-- I finally get to experience "light and airy" without being a dry crumb.  The pizza was pretty thin, all but the rim.  On the Varasano website, I believe Jeff says something like-- I love to see people fold it in half and go at it.  I wish I had done all of it that way.  The first two pieces, I did do that way.  They were stiff enough to hold the light toppings without folding at the skinny tip.  The flavor of the dough the first time was more pronounced than the second time.  Not a sourdough, not bland, but the taste somehow complimented the char on the crust.  As time passed sitting there, chatting, sampling many Italian beer, desert, taking notes, the center was getting pretty wet.  It was like I was some famous Zagat restraurant critc, LOL.

These are pictures from the second trip, I ordered the NANA’S (The House Special) with sausage (made in house)     (Nana is Jeff's Grandmother).

The last picture is when the employees tell Jeff, that somebody has been asking alot of questions, and digging through the trash, and taking pictures.






Just kidding, he is working on the homeade sausage.  LOL
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Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2011, 07:56:47 PM »
Ok, here is the really good stuff. ;D  Like the secrets, and stuff. :chef:
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Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2011, 08:31:21 PM »
1) Dough balls, 300g Glad containers, wiped lightly with OO.
2) 3 Pizza wheels. Red-- pizzas with red sauce  Green-- pizzas with no sauce  White-- pizzas with white sauce (ricotta w/milk)
3)  The recipe.  The fricken recipe.  He has a HUGE spiral mixer (Italian).  Today I asked the lady that made the dough (this morning) if she had ever made chocolate chip cookies in the mixer.  She thought that was pretty funny.  So I asked how big of a batch she made this morning.  She looked at me, walked over to the #3 clipboard did some quick addition, and replied 56,000 grams. Did I mention that the fricken recipe is on the wall?  Did I take a picture of the recipe and will I post it?  See number 5 below.
4)  Giant salad collander to dry the mozz.  Did I go through the trash and take a picture of the mozz containers and will I post it?


5) Maybe, no.  Why?  His method is already here (detailed in 701 posts), and his recipe is on the internet already.  Cheese is the last thing you need to worry about if you are interested in trying to reproduce Verasano's pizza.

Jeff came over while I was on slice #3 of the Nana's.  I intoduced myself, and we had a good visit.  (Plenty of secret stuff mind you, LOL)  I pointed at the pizza and asked if that was how thin he wanted them.  He said yes that looks about right. He said-- I eat one of those in about four minutes.  I like them hot and crispy. (now I understood what I should have done again)  I commented on how "wet" the dough was in the containers and how much bench flour they used to open them.  He cracked open a lid on a glad container, took a good long deep smell, grabbed some bench flour and touched the top of the dough ball with his fingertips.  He said something like, It is as soft as a b@@bie, feel it.  I said why use flour to feel it?  He said it feels different with flour and that is just the way he does it.  I said why individual containers as opposed to a dough box?  He said, Well- you open the lid on a dough box and you have exposed all the balls to air, they can loose moisture.  Jeff was a good sport, and I appreciate the VIP tour of the dough ball.  Well worth the time I spent there.

Oh yeah, the last picture is of the preferment for the next day.  Guess what is written on the wall behind the containers?  MORE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE IT. :o 8)
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Offline chickenparm

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2011, 09:35:16 PM »
Love the post you made!Good pics and info!A long time fan of his work myself.

I hope to visit His place soon.I think it is about a 6 hour drive,not sure,but might make a road trip one of these days.

 :)

Someone on here posted that they do not use proofing boxes for another reason,that the high hydration dough would come together and form a huge mess.Not sure if that is gospel according to Jeff,but that would make sense.

Btw I would hate to be the dishwasher for his place.
 :-D
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 01:19:49 AM by chickenparm »
-Bill

Offline Matthew

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2011, 05:23:10 AM »
JD,
Nice write up, thanks for sharing.

Matt

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2011, 07:33:20 AM »
Nice write up JD with great pics.  Sounds like a great visit and you got to eat some fantastic pizza and meet the mad scientist himself.   

Kestes and Di Fara uses the trays without issues.  I think old habits die hard and thats why Jeff still uses the glad containers. 

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2011, 08:23:58 AM »
Great post and pretty funny too.  Thanks for sharing...


Offline norma427

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2011, 08:43:12 AM »

Jet_deck,

I also enjoyed your pictures and your posts.  :) It is always interesting to me to see how things are done in any pizzeria.

Thanks,

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 11:16:53 AM »
.....Someone on here posted that they do not use proofing boxes for another reason,that the high hydration dough would come together and form a huge mess.Not sure if that is gospel according to Jeff,but that would make sense....



Kestes and Di Fara uses the trays without issues.  I think old habits die hard and thats why Jeff still uses the glad containers. 

I saw 3 different levels of cooks opening dough "balls" while I was there.  The glad containers nearly guaranteed that the dough "ball" made it safely to the bench without deflating it any whatsoever.  That takes one more step out of the equasion of things to go wrong.  Anyone should be able to imagine some new guy hacking up dough balls in a dough box with the dough spatula. :-D
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Offline scott r

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 04:17:58 PM »
jeffs dough is much wetter than many other pizzerias (especially keste and difara's).    This is one of the reasons why the single containers works so much better for him.   

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 09:15:10 PM »
This is a 30 sec video clip of pizzaiolo #2 pushing one out.

http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/3167/kkkv.mp4
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Offline chickenparm

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2011, 11:42:26 PM »
Thanks for the video!

Any idea what the hydration may be for that dough? It spun open real easily.
 :)
-Bill

Offline gtsum2

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2011, 06:19:06 AM »
nice review.  Those pies look pretty good to me:)  I cannot seem to make dough that is able to be slapped like that..anytime I try it I get real thin spots...next time I am in Atlanta, I am definitely going to stop by.  Thanks for the great post!

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2011, 08:56:59 AM »
Thanks for the video!

Any idea what the hydration may be for that dough? It spun open real easily.
 :)

Your welcome.  No, but starting with the values listed in the spreadsheet (on his recipe website) would be an excellent place to start, if i had to guess.
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Offline ponzu

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2011, 05:18:19 PM »
Jet Deck,

Great review.  Thank you for the excellent summary of your trip to mecca!

Where does it rank in terms of pizzas you have eaten to date?  Visually it looks absolutely top notch.

AZ

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2011, 05:27:17 PM »

....Where does it rank in terms of pizzas you have eaten to date? ...

This was my first taste of a "famous" pizza.  I did try another margherita pizza in Atlanta.  It was cooked in a propane fired WFO.  It wasn't worth the film I wasted on my digital camera.  I hope to continue to add more notches on my pizza belt.
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Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Varasano's 2011
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2011, 12:46:35 AM »
This is the number one man at the oven when I was there.  Jeff is still messing with the sausage at the end.  I should have grabbed one of the glad containers full of dough when they weren't looking. Just kidding.? ;D

http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/4854/1xu.mp4

This is really just a cheap attempt to bump this post up.  I mean seriously, how much more video could I have taken?
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