Author Topic: Ken's Pizza  (Read 14155 times)

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Offline Jet_deck

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Ken's Pizza
« on: March 29, 2011, 10:25:25 PM »
From about 1965 to 1978 Ken's Pizza was going strong in Oklahoma and Kansas.  These were my pizza formitable years. Please read the 'History' section here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazzio's  Ken's pizza was later rebranded into Mazzio's and the sauce changed.

 I remember the thin crust with the "spicy" sauce most.  The secret was in the sauce.  It had some type of bite. Acidic, heat or something.  That something has been driving me crazy.  I will never forget it.  "Alot" of people still remember it. It seems that to celebrate the '50 Great Years' and where things all started with Ken's pizza, some Mazzios pizza places have brought back that sauce.  The sauce.  See here:http://www.mazzios.com/kens/.  For a limited time.  Now I could hop a plane to Tulsa, or have a family member put one on dry ice and send it to me,  but it would be so much more meaningful to figure out wth they put in the sauce that was so good.  Any help would be appreciated.  Any super tasters in Oklahoma?

There is one small glimmer of hope if this fails.  There are still two (to my knowledge) existing Ken's pizza restraunts still in OK/KS.  They did not update to the new style Mazzio's.  I don't know where else to turn to.

This is a picture on flickr, from a lady in Tulsa that has had one of the 'for a limited time' Ken's pizza from Mazzio's.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/onzmind/5413522551/

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends


Offline Zing

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 12:03:55 AM »
I'm trying to clone Shakey's sauce. Two spices I used are Penzey's Cayenne Pepper and a good grade of crushed peppers. They have to infuse over a 24 hour period.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 08:03:24 AM »
Thanks Zing.  When I read your description of the Zing factor that you described in the Shakey's sauce, it reminded me of the Ken's sauce.  Being that I was fairly young the sauce could not have contained alot of cayenne or red pepper flake, BUT.  Do you think that the acidity of the sauce (being it natural, or something as strong as added vinegar or the like) could perhaps clear the tongue of some of the heat, leaving it just right?  As I remember the sauce was super thick, but barely applied, if that makes any sense. 
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline BTB

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 08:43:27 AM »
Jd, while I spent a lot of time in Oklahoma and Kansas in the late 60's (went to school in Norman, girlfriend in Kansas), I'm sorry to say that I don't recall a Ken's Pizza Parlor specifically and can't be of much help to you on that.  I frequented a lot of pizza places whose names I can't recall, but never remember any of them with "hot spices" in their sauce, which I dislike immensely.  It's a tough but not an impossible process of trying to recreate the sauce that you enjoyed so much in your youth.  Just a lot of time and trial and error.  Even then, you have to recognize -- like I've had to recently -- that your tastes change a hell of a lot over the years.

I remember a new upstart pizza place back at that time in Oklahoma and Kansas called "Pizza Hut."  It was very popular with the college crowd, but I didn't like it then and don't like it today.  But the one picture on that link that you shared looked just like a Pizza Hut thin cracker crust.  But there were some other good ones around.  Oh to go back and enjoy some of those great . . . oh well, can't linger on the past.

                                                                                        --BTB                         :P

Offline Zing

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 11:17:59 AM »
Now that I have had a good night's sleep, I have a few more things to add. First, if you can get a family member to ship you some, please by all means do so. Cost can be mitigated by using the US Postal Service's "Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box", 12" X 12" X 5 1/2" for $14.95. Freeze some of the shipment to refresh your memory after a few trial runs.

Here are a few things I found about "Zing" by trial and error:
1. Use of a sauce with high tomato solids increases the taste. Food service puree (1.06 specific gravity) is now the starting point for me.
2. I started by testing two zesty sauces, Rao's Arrabbiata sauce (raos dot com, available at many supermarkets and gourmet shops) and Target's imported Archer Farms Spicy Italian pizza Sauce.
3. So fat, I found the following ingredients and spices give zing: hydrated and sauteed diced dehydrated onions, cayenne pepper, McCormick's "Hot Shot" black and red pepper blend, red pepper flakes. There are many more types of spicy powders to try.
4. Supermarket hot sauces such as Frank's and Baumer Foods' Crystal tend to lose their hotness when baked.
5. If you used to order your pizzas with pepperoni, and remember the flavor of that flavor pie, it complicates cloning the sauce since the pepperoni adds their own spices to the mix. For samples, obtain both plain cheese pizzas and ones with your usual topping(s).

I have not tried vinegar in a sauce in the belief that would make it too much like ketchup, though I may try it in the future. I'm not sure if the acidity mellows out the "heat". Only very small quantities of cayenne powder are required, like 1/8 teaspoon for 28 ounces tomatoes by weight.

That is about what I learned so far.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 11:36:13 PM »
Thank you both BTB and Zing.  I think I have a long unpaved road ahead and I appreciate both your responses.
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Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 12:13:09 AM »
What would be the exact difference between (cheap) white cooking wine and (weak) vinegar ?

Reference: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,964.0.html

It looks like King Arthur still sells the KA pizza seasoning.  It looks to have some crushed red pepper visable. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/pizza-seasoning-2-oz

Any idea why two references to '1950' on the ingredients 'declaration' page ? http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop-img/labels/1298301310341.pdf

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Offline Zing

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 12:51:06 AM »
Cheap white cooking wine has no vinegar and contains about 1.5% salt, so it can't be used as a non-taxable beverage. It is a different product than wine vinegar.

The King Arthur's Pizza Seasoning must contain 4 or 5 herbs plus crushed red pepper and the other things they have to declare. They never published the exact spice/herb list. It is a very good blend, but is not worth buying if you are trying to clone a particular pizzeria's sauce. '1950' is King Arthur's item number for this product.

ADDENDUM: cheap cooking wine has preservatives that keep the wine from turning into wine vinegar.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 08:41:08 PM by Zing »

Offline BTB

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 09:34:13 AM »
I'm looking at my bag of KA Pizza Seasoning right now as I write this.  It doesn't give exact details of the spices and only lists "salt, spices, dehydrated onion, and dehydrated garlic" in the ingredients section.  I see some things in the bag that may look like crushed red peppers and after just now tasting it, I do think there is some -- yes there's a large distinctive taste of red pepper -- as well as a large garlicky and onion flavor to their spice blend.  Maybe the red pepper in it is the reason I didn't like it and didn't use it much.  But that doesn't mean, of course, that others may not love it that way.

Most pizza places that I recall eating at had a dispenser of red pepper on the table which gave the customer the option to put it on your pieces of pizza or refrain from doing so.  And that's the way I think it should be.  I dislike the lingering sharp, hot taste of the red pepper on my tongue, but that's just me.  I know others love it. (One friendly word to red pepper lovers . . . after touching or pinching some pieces of red pepper, don't rub your eyes with the same fingers . . . yeow!  LOL)

While I was a former lover of Penzeys pizza spice blend, I've kind of strayed away from all the blends as they all seemed to over power the taste of what I consider good pizza tomato sauce.  Now I am more of a good-brand tomato sauce purist leaning more towards just some oregano and/or basil just "pinched" on top of the finally dressed pizza as it goes into the oven, and not necessarily directly into the sauce itself.  Sometimes I add a little sugar (white or brown) and salt and occasionally the great crushed fennel seed spice into the sauce, but try not to over do things.
But I know how it is when one is looking for that Valhalla of taste/flavor that you previously loved and enjoyed.

                                                                                          --BTB                :'(
             

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 01:11:08 AM »

... It is a very good blend, but is not worth buying if you are trying to clone a particular pizzeria's sauce...

Why, because it is so salty?

Thanks BTB and Zing.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends


Offline Zing

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2011, 12:14:12 AM »
The KA seasoning has many herbs and spices and may include items the sauce you are trying to clone does not.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2011, 10:55:50 AM »
I has got to be something simple.   For my first attempt, I think I will puree some mild Pace Picante sauce and add it in to some 6-n-1's.  I can always up the bite with some vinegar and a grind of black pepper, still keeping it mild, but hopfully have a Zing.
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Offline Zing

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2011, 11:16:38 AM »
I have bought some powdered citric acid in an international foods supermarket. I will test to see if this adds any bite.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2011, 11:25:57 AM »
Thanks Zing.  The guy was a chemistry professor....  Raided the cash drawer every night to buy more ingredients, taught all day and cooked all night.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline Zing

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2011, 02:52:42 PM »
I added some powdered citric acid to a batch of sauce and left it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It gives the sauce an "acidic bite", much like biting into a sour ball hard candy. They use powdered citric acid in those candies as well.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2011, 04:02:43 PM »
Thanks.  Did you like it?
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline BTB

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2011, 07:13:04 PM »
I don't know if this is an "Emperor has no clothes" moment or not.  But I thought that citric acid was to be avoided if possible.  It is not always possible, but to many, those products without citric acid seem to be preferable or at least one step up from those with citric acid.  I'm at a loss to figure out why someone would want to add it to their sauce, but maybe there's a good reason.

Offline Zing

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2011, 08:14:55 PM »
Jet Deck and BTB,

I experimented with the citric acid since it is in the sauce I am trying to clone. I probably used more than is in the genuine sauce. But if the sauce you are trying to clone needs tartness, try citric acid.

I did a little research and found that citric acid is used in processing tomatoes for food safety reasons, such as to prevent botulism poisoning. I agree one should avoid citric acid when develping your own sauce recipe. But it may be necessary if cloning a sauce.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2011, 01:28:38 AM »
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Ken's Pizza
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2011, 01:08:14 PM »
I tried the Pace Picante puree added to some tomatos, but that wasn't what I was looking for.

I found this yesterday on PMQ, a post about 'spicey sauce'  http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7216&p=48440&hilit=spicey+sauce#p48440

Someone suggested they add parmesian cheese to give it some help.
Questions:  Do any of you put parm in your sauce?  Would it be considered overly expensive by a chain restaurant to use it?  and here is a stupid question:  Would there be any reason to think that parm added to a non cooked sauce (but cooked on the pizza) would taste any different than shaking parm on a slice after it is cooked?  Thanks.

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends