Author Topic: why is so much focus on the crust??  (Read 3840 times)

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Offline youonlylivetwice

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why is so much focus on the crust??
« on: May 04, 2005, 05:21:21 PM »
Hi all,
I check in here when I have time, and love the dedication and all the information you all share.  So, I mean this with the utmost respect to everyone.  Why is so much discussion about crust?  Repeatedly it seems posts have many paragraphs about getting the crust just so, and a single line comment about throwing some basil in a can of tomatoes for sauce. 
I am certainly not on par with anything you all produce.  But I like the crust I make quite fine, and will always keep tweaking looking for that extra something.  Sauce is my problem!  I can't even get close to the taste I am after, and I have no idea where to turn next.  I never get a pizzeria flavor like I hope to find.  For all the incredible chemistry that is discussed about the finest of variations on crust, why so little talk about sauce??  I feel like I have so much more room for improvement in sauce I don't even care about the crust right now...
I just had to ask...
Thanks!


Offline bakerboy

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2005, 05:34:47 PM »
Well thats a good question.  I think its because the crust is where it all starts.  I've tasted alot of pizza and alot of the bad ones would have been good if the crust was better.  A great crust really makes topping a pizza simple cause just about whatever you put on it is going to taste good.  I dwell on the crust because, well, i'm a baker and the dough making is what i'm obsessed with, and actually there IS a pretty extensive talk of sauces on the forum.
However, you bring up a good point because i too am pretty satisfied with my dough and i also love to top my pizzas with REALLY good sauce/ toppings.  Not necesarily crazy stuff, just unique stuff, you know, experiment with different ingredients.  Maybe there should be a "Toppings" thread?

Offline pyegal

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2005, 05:57:34 PM »
youonlylivetwice,
Have you tried seasoning your sauce with Penzey's pizza seasoning? It's a unique blend of a number of spices that make for a very good sauce. I thought I made some good sauce in the past, until I tried the uncooked sauces found here. Now I'm on the lookout for really excellent canned tomatoes. If I can get some, then my sauce is just tomatoes with the Penzey's pizza seasoning, a dollop of olive oil, and maybe fresh basil after the pie comes out of the oven, so that's really more of a garnish.

Also, from what I have learned here, the amount of sauce used on a single pie needs to be much less than we would think or want. It's that fine balance between crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings that can set a good pizza apart from a great pizza.

Just my .02 worth.

pyegal

Offline varasano

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2005, 09:23:26 PM »
The sauce is all about simplicity. Check out my site by clicking on the globe under my name and you will see my whole talk on sauce.  My sauce is incredible lately and it's all because I do less and less with it.

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2005, 11:36:50 PM »
The sauce is all about simplicity. Check out my site by clicking on the globe under my name and you will see my whole talk on sauce.  My sauce is incredible lately and it's all because I do less and less with it.

Varsano, a question for you.  On your site you talk about straining the seeds:

"At the end of this process you have a can of flesh and a bowl of watery puree and seeds. Strain this, pouring the puree back into the can.  In the strainer are then 90% of the seeds, all by themselves."

What type of strainer do you use for this?  Any of the standard kitchen strainers I have the mesh is too fine for a result like this, a lot more than just the seeds will be strained out from the puree/liquid.

And I agree with the OP, I have never come close to the bright tomato-y character of my favorite pizzeria's sauce.  I've tried many brands of canned tomatoes, cooked and uncooked sauces, etc.  I've mentioned it before but the closest I've found is the Don Pepino's canned sauce and the Sclafani homestyle crushed (which is the same as the Don Pepino only without the oil and spices).  But it's still not close enough.

---Guy

P.S.  I did just buy a can of the Cento Italian tomatoes, I haven't had a chance to try them yet.  I'm looking forward to it.  I am starting to feel like I'm chasing the Holy Grail, buying every canned tomato I can find and still searching for more!
Man does not live by bread alone.  There's also tomato, cheese and pepperoni.

Offline Nathan

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2005, 03:06:14 AM »
If you want good pizzeria style sauce, one of the best I have made is this recipe divided in half:  http://www.escalon.net/retrieve_recipe_inc.asp?recipe_id=4
"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2005, 08:06:02 AM »
Hey Pizzabrewer, are you really a professional brewer?  Like as in Microbrewery? larger? I homebrew, and love it.  Talk about a difference, when it comes to brewing you don't even need to have to know and follow every last rule to get excellent beer.   I still buy microbrews to get some variation, but often times I look at them in the fridge and end up grabbing a bottle of my own, it is just so much fresher.  I want to start a steam beer this weekend....
What is your niche??


Offline buzz

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2005, 09:35:03 AM »
Crust is everything--it makes or breaks the pizza experience!

If you can't get fresh 6-in1's, try Progresso crushed tomatoes, or S&W. I'm not personally fond of Penzey's spices (they have a store in the my town)--I think their pizza seasoning blend is too finely ground and not as good as adding dried basil and oregano, for example (they do have an excellent--although powerful--oregano, though).

Offline buzz

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2005, 09:38:54 AM »
Also, I've found that you can make a very nice thin crust sauce by using canned tomato sauce (I use no salt added so I can adjust to my palate), and adding S+P, crushed garlic, sugar, spices--a little sugar sems to be a necessary ingredient in pizza sauce.

Offline youonlylivetwice

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2005, 09:55:06 AM »
I agree that crust is most of the experience.  But I could continue to make slight crust improvements and as long as the taste of that sauce doesn't change,  I am going to sit there thinking about the sauce and not the crust... ugh!!
Thanks for all the help.  I am fortunate to be in Milwaukee I guess, I can get all the tomatoes you guys have ever named at several different Italian groceries downtown, and we also have Penzey's  just west of town...


Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2005, 09:12:27 PM »
Hey Pizzabrewer, are you really a professional brewer?  Like as in Microbrewery? larger? I homebrew, and love it.  Talk about a difference, when it comes to brewing you don't even need to have to know and follow every last rule to get excellent beer.   I still buy microbrews to get some variation, but often times I look at them in the fridge and end up grabbing a bottle of my own, it is just so much fresher.  I want to start a steam beer this weekend....
What is your niche??



Hi:  Yes, I've been a pro brewer since 1986, although unfortunately at the moment I am "between jobs".  I guess my niche is old-line regional breweries, I was brewmaster at Dixie in New Orleans and Lion/Stegmaier in Wilkes-Barre PA.  But my love is for smaller breweries, and I prefer German-style lagers to ales.  I've worked for a few micros, including one I founded myself (now out of business).  I'm not sure if I'll continue pursuing brewing or do something else.

Thanks for asking!

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

Offline pftaylor

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2005, 06:19:03 AM »
youonlylivetwice,
Why so much talk about crust?
Crust is like the leading actor/actress in a movie. Sauce is like a supporting actor. It's hard for me to like a movie where I don't care for, or like, the leading actor. A supporting actor doesn't have to and doesn't carry the day but can add tremendously to the effort.

Crust for me is 70% - 80% of the pizza experience I seek. Sauce, cheese, and spices come into the picture after my teeth crunch down on a crust which should have three distinct layers:
- A crunchy crispy charred bottom veneer
- A fluffy middle
- A slightly wet somewhat gummy top layered with fragrant sauce and creamy mutz

I'm hungry just thinking about it...
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2005, 09:03:35 AM »
Here are a few of the brands of sauce I will be testing in the coming days...
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline varasano

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2005, 12:42:33 PM »
The La Bella are San Marzano "Brand". I hate when these companies lie like that. They are not real and my cans were highly acidic.  The others should be good.

Jeff

Offline pftaylor

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2005, 01:49:38 PM »
Varasano,
I fully realized the play on words you referred to before buying them. However, I have yet to find a great tasting Italian plum tomato sauce (out of the can) available in the Tampa Bay area. Whether they are D.O.P. or not, they all seem to benefit from additonal spices. I paid between $1.99 and $3.99 for the different sauces. I also bought the Cento product which you have been raving about.

I have an old-fashioned manual crank "Superwhirl" mixer which I employ for grinding up the tomatoes.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline varasano

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2005, 01:54:39 PM »
Hey pete,

Someone asked me about my strainer and immersion mixer so I posted photo's on my site. Also I put up a lot about the sauce about a week or 2 ago. Check it out. My first caputo dough's are cold rising for tomorrow night's little Desparate housewives get together.


Jeff
« Last Edit: May 07, 2005, 01:56:31 PM by varasano »

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2005, 02:26:44 PM »
Varasano:  So you use the same strainer for both these steps:

1) At the end of this process you have a can of flesh and a bowl of watery puree and seeds. <b>Strain this</b>, pouring the puree back into the can.  In the strainer are then 90% of the seeds, all by themselves

2) <b>Strain the tomatoes</b> in a fine mesh to take out about 20-25% of the water

It seems you would need a much coarser strainer for the first step to remove just the seeds, all by themselves?

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

Offline pftaylor

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2005, 06:08:16 PM »
Varasano,
Here is a photograph of what I use to grind the tomatoes
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline friz78

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2005, 11:29:02 PM »
youonlylivetwice,
You live in Milwaukee?  So do I!  We need to get together for a pizza party one of these days.  I live in Wauwatosa.
Friz

Offline varasano

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Re: why is so much focus on the crust??
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2005, 05:27:56 AM »
pizzabrewer: I use the same strainer, but I think I understand how that's confusing. When I strain the seeds, i shake the strainer and the puree falls right through.  When strain the crushed tomatoes, I let it sit still. The first little bit that comes through is very red. Then I pour that back over the top.  Now the puree has largely clogged up the pores of the strainer and only water can come through. After a minute or three, the only thing coming through is practically pure water. 


pft, I haven't seen one of those since my grandmother had one years ago...
« Last Edit: May 08, 2005, 05:29:39 AM by varasano »


 

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