Peter, you have lots of experience with high oil doughs. Any tips?
Projects like this are extremely difficult, especially if you have never touched or eaten the target pizza or do not have access to insider information, an ingredients list (more on this below), Nutrition Facts, or ingredient types and brand names. This pretty much leaves you with photos and maybe some videos, which are often hard to decipher to get to dough formulations to experiment with, and hardcore research. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to devote to a full-court press in reverse engineering and cloning the Coletta’s pizza. However, I will try to offer suggestions and advice to cklou so that he can conduct whatever research and experimentation he thinks will help him achieve his end game.
Like scott123, I am suspicious of recipes that are posted on the FoodNetwork (FN). Invariably, they seem to presuppose that most home cooks and bakers are not smart enough to be able to do what the original authors of the recipes (in this case, Jerry Coletta) do in their own establishments. So, recipes tend to get dumb-downed for the “clueless” home baker or pizza maker. Also, there may be a natural reluctance on the part of the authors to reveal their actual recipes and trade secrets on a website that has the volume of traffic of a large and popular outfit like FN. Some pizza operators will reveal their recipes in order to get attention and free publicity or to draw traffic to their restaurants but family owned pizzerias tend to be more protective of their recipes and methods. For example, a pizza operator like Coletta’s, which has been around since 1923 (about 88 years), may be happy to get some free publicity but not at the expense of giving away the family jewels in order to get it. Also, I suspect the star of the show for the FN pizza is the Elvis BBQ part, not the dough.
But when you are given lemons, you try to find a way to make lemonade. So, for now, it looks like all we have is the Coletta’s FN recipe at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bbq-with-bobby-flay/barbecue-pizza-elvis-pizza-colettas-italian-restaurant-recipe/index.html
. I did some conversions, and using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html
and also the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator at http://tools.foodsim.com/
, I came up with the following dough formulation as my best estimate of a baker’s percent version of the FN dough recipe. For purposes of the dough formulation, I used the King Arthur brand of all-purpose flour as a proxy for the generic all-purpose flour recited in the FN recipe.Coletta’s FN Dough Formulation
|All-Purpose Flour* (100%):|
Olive Oil (11.5692%):
|466.75 g | 16.46 oz | 1.03 lbs|
231.05 g | 8.15 oz | 0.51 lbs
7.09 g | 0.25 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.88 tsp | 0.63 tbsp
5.58 g | 0.2 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.33 tbsp
54 g | 1.9 oz | 0.12 lbs | 12 tsp | 4 tbsp
764.48 g | 26.97 oz | 1.69 lbs | TF = N/A
*King Arthur all-purpose flour is used as a proxy for the generic all-purpose flour, using a Medium flour Measurement Method in the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator
** One-quarter of the water is used at 110 degrees F to rehydrate the ADY, with the rest (3/4 cup) being used with the rehydrated ADY to make the dough
Note: Dough is for a single 16” pizza with an associated nominal thickness factor of 0.134116184; no bowl residue compensation
It will be noted from the above dough formulation that the total dough batch weight is 26.97 ounces. That is an amount for making a single 16” pizza (which is an inch larger than Coletta’s largest pizza) and translates into a thickness factor of 26.97/(3.14159 x 8 x 8) = 0.134116184. As a frame of reference, that thickness factor is almost the same as used by Papa John’s pizza (see, for example, Reply 311 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.msg156236.html#msg156236
). If an actual Coletta’s pizza does not have a crust roughly as thick as a Papa John’s basic pizza, that would be a pretty good indication that the above recipe is not what Coletta’s uses in its own restaurant (apart from the different pizza size). Also, almost 12% olive oil would manifest itself in the form of a very tender crust because the oil helps retain the moisture in the dough. The lack of sugar in the dough formulation would manifest itself by a lighter than normal crust coloration. The crust is also unlikely to be on the sweet side.
Overall, the above dough formulation reminds me of a Chicago deep-dish style dough but used to make a flat pizza rather than a deep-dish pizza in a pan. The approximately 12% oil is a bit on the low side for a deep-dish dough but there are deep-dish doughs that contain as little as about 8% dough. So, you may well get some crust characteristics that are reminiscent of a Chicago deep-dish crust or maybe even a thicker version of a Southside Chicago flat pizza (often called a cracker-crust). For an example of the latter type of crust, see the recipe at the PMQ Recipe Bank at http://www.pmq.com/Recipe-Bank/index.php/name/Chicago-Cracker-Style-Pizza-Crust/record/57734/
. Note the similarity of the ingredients and quantities, including total fat but with less yeast.
The only way that I know of to test the above dough formulation for accuracy is to actually go out and buy some pizzas from Coletta’s. I would buy the simplest pizza that Coletta’s makes, which appears to be the cheese pizzas sold at the S. Parkway Coletta’s location (http://colettas.net/lunch_menu.html
). I would order an uncut 15” pizza and weigh it as soon as possible after purchase. I would also try to estimate the amount of cheese and sauce, by weight or by volume. Typically, a Papa John’s pizza baked in a standard home oven loses about 7-8% of its unbaked weight so that might also be true of a Coletta's pizza. It might also help to scrape everything off of the pizza as much as possible and then weigh the remaining pizza crust. The data that is collected this way should help determine whether the FN recipe is genuine or not. For more direct comparison purposes, I would perhaps use the expanded dough calculating tool to calculate the dough ball weight for a 15" pizza rather than the 16" pizza referenced in the FN dough recipe. I would use the abovementioned thickness factor for this purpose.
In visits to Coletta’s, I would also try to get information on how the dough is managed (including whether the dough is cold fermented or fermented at room temperature) and how the pizzas are baked, including the type of oven used (e.g., deck oven or conveyor oven), bake times and temperatures and whether the pizzas are baked in pans or disks or screens or directly on the stone surface of a deck oven. These are important to determine what changes might be needed to adapt a commercially produced Coletta's pizza to a home oven environment.