Author Topic: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)  (Read 8383 times)

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Offline PapaJon

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Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« on: February 25, 2011, 05:46:48 PM »
Pics for now, review later, however this place ranked pretty high for me for NY thin crust style.

89 US Highway 46
Elmwood Park, NJ 07407
(201) 797-6172
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 06:00:17 PM by PapaJon »
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Offline PapaJon

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2011, 05:47:23 PM »
more pics
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Offline PapaJon

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2011, 05:47:57 PM »
and even more
Jon

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2011, 07:23:43 AM »
oh man that looks perfect.   All your pics from this trip are killing me!

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2011, 10:36:53 AM »
I just keep scrolling up and down, and up and down. I'm mesmerized.

Offline JConk007

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 10:43:06 AM »
Is perfect ! My Favorie pizza in the area of the 100 ? places I have tried! fresh sauce they use Local Flour from hackensack NJ and thinly sliced block Mozz. lots of semolina on the bench. only offer a few toppings. They Cook at 600-650 . I spoke with the owner they are very tight on the info. But he did tell me many pizzerias are afraid to cook at higher temp. Thanks for posting
which way are you heading on your trip I can recommend a few good ones to try!
John
ps slice is still only $1.55 right? but I cant stop eating it when I go there!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 10:51:27 AM by JConk007 »
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Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 11:00:12 AM »
Those slices look very similar to Pavones, my childhood pizza shop. They look incredible.

John

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 01:28:36 PM »
I just keep scrolling up and down, and up and down. I'm mesmerized.

scott123,

I remember a member (ghost) who used to ask me from time to time how to get a small, flat, dense rim with small alveoles/cells, without almost no oven spring, for the NY street style. I'd love to know how Pizza Town does it. How do you think they do it?

Peter

scott123

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2011, 02:15:26 PM »
Peter, finer, more even crumbs are usually a sign of some sort of dough manipulation- like extra kneading or a punch down with a second rise. It's also most likely a lower hydration as well.   At least, that's how I understand it.  It's kind of like the opposite of no knead approaches- which minimize kneading, maximize hydration and have very open crumbs.

If I had to take a guess, I'd say

Bleached bromated flour (obviously)
Overnight fermentation (there's two many blisters for it not to be)
3-4 minute bake (which I've confirmed elsewhere)
A little more sugar than most NY style pizzas (2%? For that amount of browning in 3 minutes, a good dose of sugar is necessary)
Some Oil... not sure how much
Lower hydration

I can't say for certain which hydration, because I'm not 100% on the flour.  If the finer crumb did come from additional kneading at the onset, and most likely not a second rise, then a 14% flour would produce a tough crust, which is not the case here.  I'm leaning towards 13% protein flour. If it is 13% flour, then I'd go with somewhere around 58% hydration.

A lot of this is a bit outside the norm, but considering they're using 600ish ovens, it makes sense that they might be thinking outside of the box in other areas as well.


Offline pcampbell

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2011, 02:23:29 PM »
are those gas deck ovens?
Patrick

scott123

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2011, 02:32:50 PM »
Yes, they're gas. According to Tommy's review here:

http://www.tommyeats.com/tommyeats/2009/09/pizza-town-elmwood-park-nj.html

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2011, 09:30:20 PM »
Let them eat pizza.

Offline PapaJon

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2011, 02:32:01 AM »
Dang drat drum, ok.  For the second time I have written half a review and accidentally hit the "back" button on the browser (or backspace button when outside the text box is highlighted) and lost what I've typed.  Going to write it up in word next attempt then copy past it in  >:(

Anyways, a quick comment FWIW, the pie I timed when I was there was in for 4.5ish min range.  Also if nobody has caught onto why all the pictures don't seem to be of the same slices... well  I admit to going twice :P  I went the evening I arrived as well as the following afternoon when I swung by Lodi's.  I couldn't resist.  My key concern though is that I only had slices here and not a whole pie.  I'm wonder how much effect the "re-heat" of the slice has and how it would compare to a whole pie.  In general I am a huge fan of reheated pies and the nice crispness it adds to the bottom.  This is one of the anomalies to me about the whole pie I had at Johnny's in Mt. Vernon.  It was not a reheat, but the bottom crispiness was still incredible.  Until I have a whole pie here at Pizza Town it will be hard for me to compare the two as I know it would be apples to oranges, but my hunch is that regardless Johnny's is in a slightly different league.
Jon

Offline JConk007

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2011, 07:27:12 AM »


They sell so many slices there so fast The girls there throw in a whole pie to reheat sometimes even a second time, and you will always you always get some char on the bottom I have had a fresh pie slice straight from the oven and yes it was just as good but i must say I prefer the reheat for the crispiness many others reheat but do not get the crispiness. It's the combo of cornmeal mixed with the bench flour and high heat? Do love it!
John
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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2011, 08:22:46 AM »
Jon, I use Firefox with the add on Lazarus: Form Recovery. It's saved my butt countless times.

Regarding re-heats... I treat re-heating like toasting.  Great bread shouldn't need to be toasted. If I'm hungry, there's no slice pies on the horizon and the slices are room temp, I might have them re-heat it for a few seconds to take the chill off, otherwise, I prefer my pizza one of two ways.

1. 10 to 15 minutes after being removed from the oven (with 12 being close to ideal).
2. Refrigerated, the next morning.  Refrigeration accelerates staling, so it has to be the next morning. Past that and the quality drops.

As far as slices versus whole pies are concerned... in my experience, I'm not sure why this is, but it seems like slice pies tend to get a little more attention to detail than whole pies.  The reasoning might be along the lines of "this slice is going to be seen by customers, so it has to look good, while this pie is going straight into a box, so I don't need to be quite so meticulous"  Slice pies, at some places, also have a tendency to be larger. The place from my youth used to do a 21" pie.  For NY, larger, if stretched adeptly, is always better.

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2011, 10:19:34 AM »
aah, the hackensack flour.   Sounds like it could be the same stuff grimaldes was using for years until they switched to roma distribution for the additional locations.    It was a bromated high gluten flour.   I got a bag of it once and it was really great flour.     Blooming best from oliveri and sons?   

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2011, 10:26:07 AM »
Peter, finer, more even crumbs are usually a sign of some sort of dough manipulation- like extra kneading or a punch down with a second rise.

Not sure why I have come up with a different conclusion, but for me the type of crumb shown in the picture would come from a cold fermented dough that wasn't allowed to do too much expansion prior to baking.    If I do a punch down with a second rise I definitely get much larger voids and bubbles, rather than this type of crumb.   This just shows how every pizza maker is different and depending on how we do things we can see different results than someone else using similar methods.    I am definitely with you on the bromated flour, long mixing time, and lower hydration being a big part of this.   


Offline PapaJon

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2011, 01:32:37 PM »
I wish I could attempt a reverse engineering thread for either Pizza Town or Johnny's but that's kind of hard to do with only having them once(or twice).
Maybe someone else could....?   ;D
Jon

scott123

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2011, 01:40:24 PM »
If I do a punch down with a second rise I definitely get much larger voids and bubbles, rather than this type of crumb.

Well, I probably should have qualified my earlier statement by saying that punch downs create finer crumbs, but not nearly as fine a crumb as lower hydration and a longer initial knead.  Basically you have no knead, elevated hydration dough on one extreme of the open crumb spectrum, extended knead, lower hydration dough on the other, fine crumb side and punch downs are closer to the middle, although, in all fairness, punch downs redistribute nutrients and greatly accelerate yeast activity, which, in turn creates bigger voids, so they definitely lean toward the open-ish side of things.

In other words, the results we're seeing are probably not that different.

scott123

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2011, 01:43:44 PM »
I wish I could attempt a reverse engineering thread for either Pizza Town or Johnny's but that's kind of hard to do with only having them once(or twice).
Maybe someone else could....?   ;D

Cumulatively speaking, I think this thread has everything you need to reverse engineer this pizza.  I think the only real wrench in the works is consistently re-creating the microblisters. There's lots of theories as to how those are created, but, so far, nobody can come up with a method to re-create them every time.

I seem to be seeing them a lot lately (with overnight ferments), but really can't recreate them on command.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 02:21:09 PM by scott123 »

Offline PapaJon

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2011, 02:35:35 PM »
Cumulatively speaking, I think this thread has everything you need to reverse engineer this pizza.  I think the only real wrench in the works is consistently re-creating the microblisters. There's lots of theories as to how those are created, but, so far, nobody can come up with a method to re-create them every time.

I seem to be seeing them a lot lately (with overnight ferments), but really can't recreate them on command.
I have no problem doing the experimenting.  You want to propose a recipe?  The best flours I have on hand are listed HERE:)
Jon

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2011, 03:50:53 PM »
Scott(s),  what is the likelyhood that those microblisters are created by a heavy dose of oil on the outised of the doughball,  along with a well fermented dough.  It almost looks like non contact frying to me when I see it? ?

Offline PapaJon

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2011, 06:16:13 PM »
This dough was over fermented and so I "reworked it" and balled it after I pulled it out of the fridge.  There is no oil or sugar in this dough.  It was baked at around 600F for 4.5min.  Do I see some micro blisters?
Jon

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2011, 10:13:07 AM »
I went there last night  ;D Late last night- around 11. I was up since 5 yesterday morning and started getting tired around 8, but, since I ended up having to re-boot a server at an office in the area, I said "what the hell." As they closed at 12:00 and I wanted to get a slice on my way to the office and then a pie on the way home, it was all a bit logistically tricky.

I got there around 10:45 and ordered a slice.  They were cleaning up and the slice pie looked pretty long in the tooth. Regardless of it's age, I knew that I had to try a slice and ordered one. He put it in the oven, and, literally 15 seconds later he took it out.  It was, by far, the faster I've ever had a slice warmed, and just about the only time I've had a slice warmed to an edible temp and not molten cheese napalm- at least, without me having  to ask for the slice to be removed from the oven.

The first thing that hit me- oregano.  The second- more oregano. No real cheese flavor, no real sauce flavor, just in your face oregano and bread.  Good bread-  Good enough that I asked them how late I could order a pie (11:30), went to the office and took care of what I needed to take care of, called in an order for a plain pizza and then went back.   By the time I got there, I'm pretty sure it had been out of the oven for about 5 minutes, so I was expecting it to be marginally cool enough to be edible. It wasn't.  This was probably the hottest food I've eaten as an adult. I tried picking up a slice and the cheese fell off. Needless to say, I knew that I'd have to give it time.  Home was 30 minutes away, so I mapped out a supermarket parking lot 15 minutes away for my feast- the supermarket was open until 1 so I didn't look entirely strange  ;D

The whole pie was a lot better than the re-warmed slice, but it was far from perfect.  It was, again, way too much oregano, but this time I became acutely aware of an in-your-face quantity of a salt. The crust wasn't incredibly flavorful, but it did exhibit a positive trait that I rarely see- after 15 minutes in the box, the exterior had a good crunch, while the interior had a soft, somewhat moist and fluffy crumb. The cheese was just plain wrong. There was very little of it (large sections of only sauce) and what was there definitely wasn't mozzarella. It wasn't creamy and it didn't set up at all when it cooled. I'm thinking cheddar, maybe monterey jack, but definitely not mozz, and definitely not provolone either. There was some parm, although it was the tasteless cellulose-y salty green can stuff, which only added insult to injury.

I scorn DiFara's all the time for the lack of attention they give to their crust and the overboard manner in which they approach toppings, but this place, imo, is the exact opposite.  The crust is, for a crispy type, pretty amazing. The toppings, though were miserable. I'm going to have to go with the mercenary card here.  They probably do have to pay a bit more than your average pizzeria for the gas it costs to run an oven at 600+, but that's pretty much the only thing they spend money on.  The cheese is minimal and most likely cheaper than mozzarella. I can see a place like Joe's, with their Greenwich Village overhead, being cheap and stingy with their cheese, but  in Jersey?  You can't cut that corner here. Hype is never good for a restaurant and I'm pretty sure this place has gotten it's fair share.  Hype drives business, which, in turn, tends to cultivate apathy and greed. Anyone putting that little cheese on their pizza is looking more at the bottom line than they are at maintaining quality.

Cheese, big black mark. Sauce, bigger black mark. The oregano and obscene amount of salt were obviously present to detract from a sauce that's so watered down, it no longer tastes like tomato. The crust is good enough that I could probably forgive the cheese and the oregano, but the salt was just too much. I don't think I could ever enjoy a pizza with that much salt. That's my last visit to Pizza Town.

(out of ten)
Crust 9
Cheese 2
Sauce 1
Overall 4

In all fairness, that's 4 rated against my image of a perfect pie. Judging against what I've had in the area, that might move up to a 7 (right now a good slice is hard to find).

Btw, John, the dumpster was overflowing with garbage- and definitely unlocked.  I didn't have time to investigate much further than that, though.

And Jon, for a dough that's noticeably past it's prime, I'm impressed with what you did with it.  It was probably one of your sample unbromated GM flours, right? 14% protein? As protein goes up, the window of viability increases. As pretty as the finished crust is, though, no offense, but I wouldn't touch it. Not after seeing the dough  ;D How did it taste?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 11:48:33 AM by scott123 »

Offline tommy

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Re: Pizza Town (Elmswood Park, NJ)
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2011, 11:33:19 AM »
A friend of mine complains about the oregano.  More specifically, about how it's oftentimes all in one spot on the pie!

They are very sloppy with the oregano.  If they'd get it a little more uniform it wouldn't be as offensive.  Thankfully I don't mind the oregano, and I always have 4 slices to hedge my bet!


 

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