Author Topic: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period  (Read 5920 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline John in Florida

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2011, 08:06:59 AM »
I've recorded two videos, one of my dough making and the other of baking a pie. They are long and boring since they are end to end, so no need to instruct me on video editing... ;) The cook time on this night was a little longer than prior times I've timed baking, on the order of nine and a half minutes, but the results were excellent. Also interesting that the stone temp was higher than 550, at first measure it was 610! Which is great! A note about blackness or doneness, (is that a word?) the folks I had over for pizza this night don't have the taste for charred crust that many of us do, so these are cooked slightly short of blackened. I've learned in the past to slowly introduce those that don't know good pizza to "good" pies.

Making the dough


Baking the pie




scott123

  • Guest
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2011, 10:04:33 AM »
First of all, John, thank you so much for shooting those videos.  I know that filming the entire sequences uninterrupted felt a bit tedious, but if was invaluable for us.

You've managed to make, on your own, something to be incredibly proud of.  That is a great looking pizza that many of us would devour if given the chance.

This being said, it's close to Pepe's, very close, but it's not quite there.  I've got some ideas that I'm willing to share to get you those last couple steps to your destination, but before I take the time to flesh these ideas out, I wanted to make sure that you were interested in improvements.  We have a lot of members that take a long time to perfect a pizza, are perfectly happy with their results and have no desire to make changes to their recipe. If this is you, then I'll pat you on the back and say great job. If, on the other hand, you would like a little assistance to get you the rest of the way, I (we) are here to help.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 10:15:38 AM by scott123 »

Offline John in Florida

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2011, 10:47:57 AM »
Absolutly Scott, "fire" away!

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6999
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2011, 12:19:56 PM »
John, fantastic video.  I only had the chance to watch them in parts this morning and will watch them in their entirety.  Thanks for making and posting the videos in their entirety, in one continuos shot.  :P

Until then just a few questions,

Once the dough balls proof up in the fridge, are you reballing them prior to stretching them out?  Your dough balls seem to open up easily but they don't look quite as aerated as when they first come put of the fridge.  It could be that you are just degassing them prior to opening them, but I couldn't tell.  Can you specify how you handle your dough between coming out of the fridge to baking?

Did you take the temp of your stone right before you loaded the pizza?  Also what temp is your oven set to during the bake?  Do you alter the dialed temp at all or do you just set and leave it alone?  I having a hard time wrapping my brain around a thin crust pizza baking for 9 min with an initial stone temp of ~600f and the level of char you are getting.  I would expect much more char in that time frame along with dried cheese on top.

Again, great job on the video and pizza.
Chau

 
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 01:11:01 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline John in Florida

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2011, 12:55:34 PM »
Hi Jackie, All I do is dump the dough on the counter right where you see the one I'm not working with in the video. It's quite "fragile" for lack of a better word when you do anything to it it flattens immediately. So all I do is stretch it right then and there.

Oven setting never changes from bake 550. From about 1.5 hours prior to first pie until I turn it off at the end. That 580ish temp was just prior to putting the pie in. I'm making 6 pies tonight for friends, might be able to make a few more measurements and or video. So you're expecting more char/burning? I don't have any other frame of reference other than this technique, other than my WFO, which I run at higher temps. One thing I'm going to try is firing the WFO with coal with the door partially installed low fire, see if I can get a constant 600 and see what happens with this same dough.

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3080
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2011, 08:41:32 PM »
I have had some pizzas at pepe's that were baked pretty fast, and others on the slow side that would be easy to do in a typical 550 degree home oven.   Im sure any coal oven has temp spikes and dips, but the pepe's ovens are HUGE!!!   I think if you can kick the temp of the pies up just a little you should be able to duplicate a perfect pepe's pie.   The nice thing for home bakers is that you don't need to go crazy with a 700 degree floor for this style.   

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2011, 08:11:22 AM »
I having a hard time wrapping my brain around a thin crust pizza baking for 9 min with an initial stone temp of ~600f and the level of char you are getting.

Bake times hinge on more than just temperature.  They rely on thermal mass and conductivity as well.  A 1/2ish cordierite stone doesn't store much heat, so, even when pre-heated to 600 it doesn't have much charring potential.

Offline Jackie Tran

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6999
  • Location: Albuquerque NM
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2011, 08:28:51 AM »
Such as was my conclusion after I posted that.  Scott, I am recalling the different times you have posted about this topic before.  I guess my Primo ceramic stone and firebrick wfo floor are more efficient.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2011, 09:14:37 AM »
Okay, John, here goes  ;D

Flour

Pepes uses GM full strength bleached bromated flour.  Full strength has a protein level of 12.6% vs. 14.2% for the KASL that you're using.  That difference in protein is going to make a substantial difference to the tenderness of your crumb.  Pepe's is not really tender, per say, but you definitely shouldn't have to exert as much force as you're exerting to cut your pizza.

You should have a Gordon Food Service near you where you can get bromated flour.  It will be 14%ish (Bouncer), but you can combine it with all purpose to reach a 12.6% blend. It would be nice if you could get a bromated 12.6% flour, but, for most members, myself included, that's especially difficult.  A blend will serve you well.  If you're a broma-phobe, you could, I guess, blend the KASL with all-purpose, or you could use KABF.  If you really want the closest possible results to Pepe's, though, I would blend the 14% bouncer with all purpose.

Heat

Protein encourages browning, so, as you drop your protein level to be more in line with Pepe's, your heat issue is only going to get worse.  As Scott mentioned, Pepe's is all over the map when it comes to bake times, but, I think, when all is said and done, they fall into the 6-7 minute category more often than not.  And this is 6-7 with a lot of color. I'm attaching a photo of a Pepe's upskirt that, because of the unevenness of the char, looks a lot like a 6 minute pizza. I think this is pretty common. I see Pepe's as being baked to a NY level of browning/char at 5-6, but then left in for an extra minute to get really charred at 6-7

At this present time, to match Pepe's level of color, with your stone and peak oven temp, you're theoretically at a 11 minute bake.  Bake time is critical to the taste and texture of a pizza.  An 11 minute bake is going to taste entirely different to an 8 minute bake, which, in turn, is going to be different than 6. When you drop the protein level, that's going to put you into 12 or 13 minutes. Coal oven obsessives like Jeff Varasano are big on oven tricks, but, rather than putting ovens at risk, I'm a very big proponent of more conductive stones.  With a more conductive stone, the heat transfers to the pizza quicker, giving you a faster bake time at the same temperature. One of the most conductive materials used for baking pizza is steel plate.  By using a 1/2" steel plate you can get your bake times into Pepe realms- and lower.

There's a common misconception that cordierite stones (the kind of stone you're using now) absorb moisture.  They don't.  The crispness you're seeing relates entirely to the bake time- the longer the bake, the more evaporation that occurs.  As far as the oil spots on the bottom of the stone, I think, rather than proving it's absorptive abilities, they're proving you've got a crack in the stone.  Cordierite doesn't really absorb anything.

Now, if you prefer a crispier crust, you might end up on the higher end of the Pepe spectrum- maybe 8 minutes.  To hit 8, though, with what your oven can do, you're still going to want steel.


By the way, have you tried adjusting your KA mixer so the hook sits further down in the bowl? It's hard to tell from the video, but I think you could take it down a bit more without it hitting the bottom.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2011, 09:27:08 AM »
I guess my Primo ceramic stone and firebrick wfo floor are more efficient.

The glazed primo stone is 1/2", but it could be more conductive than the old stone. Firebricks are generally a little less conductive, but they make up in thermal mass what they lack in conductivity.


Offline John in Florida

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2011, 04:33:29 PM »
Scott, yes i'd be very interested in trying the GM full strength class of flour, I've never worked with it before. Wondering why it's not available retail... perhaps just not much demand. I've got friends and family in New Haven, perhaps they can snag some around town someplace. I've eaten so much bromated pizza to date it won't make much difference if I have a few more!  :)

What you say makes sense under heat. Hmmm had not considered steel plate, I'll have to check into that! A little heavy naturally, but hey, for a good pie, anything!

I'm not well versed in coal at all, but I've thought of trying some in my Forno Bravo Primavera 60, one motivation is to reduce the volume of fuel vs. the cooking area and get a slower more uniform heating. No experience with coal...

On the porosity of the stone, I'm pretty sure it is quite absorptive, when you put some water on one side, it propagates through to the other quickly. I'm not sure this makes much difference in cooking but it does look as though it's quite porous.

I did try the small adjustment on the mixer, it's only a small distance compared to where I'd like the hook to be. As long as I pre stir with a spoon it works fine, so that takes care of that issue.

Another thought I've had is that the company that makes the stone I have now sells square "tiles" which you can stack and arrange as you see fit. So in terms of thermal mass this would be an improvement.

Thanks for the thoughts, I really appreciate it.


Offline 02sbxstr

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2011, 05:32:35 PM »
Hi John, I love Pepe's pizza and would love to recreate it at home, so this thread is very interesting to me. I hope I can have half the success you seem to have had. I haven't had the opportunity to view your videos yet, but will have time tomorrow afternoon. Do you have an oven thermometer? I ask because of your remark that in an oven set at 550F you get a stone temp of 610F. This is physically impossible unless you are also adding radiative heat via the broiler.  I can get up to this temp in the gas grill but I'm not sure about the oven. Are details about your dough recipe available?

buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2011, 06:57:19 PM »
02s, actually it is possible to obtain higher temps on a baking surface than the oven setting would seem to indicate. The sensor reads air tempeture but a baking surface can absorb and radiate more heat than the surrounding air. That is a simplification of course but I have a toaster oven that maxes out at 450 but on my steel plate in one half an hour with a IR gun reads 635. Hence the recommended hour or so for heat soaking a pizza stone, most people don't realize the stone is hotter than the air around it.
don


Hi John, I love Pepe's pizza and would love to recreate it at home, so this thread is very interesting to me. I hope I can have half the success you seem to have had. I haven't had the opportunity to view your videos yet, but will have time tomorrow afternoon. Do you have an oven thermometer? I ask because of your remark that in an oven set at 550F you get a stone temp of 610F. This is physically impossible unless you are also adding radiative heat via the broiler.  I can get up to this temp in the gas grill but I'm not sure about the oven. Are details about your dough recipe available?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 07:02:27 PM by buceriasdon »

Offline John in Florida

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2011, 07:43:19 PM »
Hi 02sbxstr, I'd be very interested in working with you to see how my methods repeat. The dough recipe is covered in the video. I'll also post here later, but pictures are worth a lot of words naturally. As Scott and others have pointed out above there are many interactive variables at play in any pizza making. However without being overly confident I believe my combination of variables has come exceedingly close to Pepe's pies. Working with descriptions and photos can only get us so far in this internet conversation. Sinking one's teeth into a slice is the real test, it's not about pictures. In any event, I'd like to help you repeat what I've done, regardless of anything else to see how repeatable it is.

buceriasdon makes a valid point, that is that the temps in any oven won't be perfectly uniform, when I've found these higher temps with an IR gun on the stone surface I then pointed the gun at the back wall of the oven toward the top, 550 on the nose, right near the sensing element. But again this is with the door opened quickly, but without installed instrumentation (which is my next step mind you because now I'm curious) it's all up for grabs. One nagging thing about this oven is the bake element, it's not inside the oven compartment. You may say huh? Because I have. The broil element looks like any other element in an oven. But the rest of the oven compartment is sealed and does not contain a lower or bake element. I've spent tonight searching for manuals and assembly drawings for this thing, it appears that the bake element is "hidden", to which I reply WTF? Excuse the terminology.  So somehow the bake element is outside the sheet metal envelope of the oven. I'm going to include a photo here. Now some may think that somehow the broil element is the only element, I've thought that myself until I read the manual which quotes a hidden bake element... beats me.

Offline John in Florida

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2011, 07:48:40 PM »
The exact model number of my oven is jmw8530das

Here is the manual referencing the hidden bake element. Search the pdf for the word hidden.

http://www.kitchenaid.ca/assets/pdfs/literature/Use%20and%20Care%20Guide%20-%20W10169642.pdf


There is an assembly drawing here showing the bake element, wherever it is...

http://www.appliancepartspros.com/partsearch/model.aspx?model_id=5177556&diagram_id=28430800#d28430800


Offline chickenparm

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1786
  • Location: Back in Indy...Making New York Style Pies
  • Oh No,Not Pizza Again!!!
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2011, 07:57:47 PM »
I have seen similar ovens in Lowes when just looking around at different brands.They bury the element under the floor.Maybe you can cook the pie directly on the bottom sometimes and see what happens?Or place the stone on the bottom,unless you are used to cooking using the element on top?

Im sure someone has done something like this before on this forum,but I cannot recall a topic about it.
 :)





-Bill

Offline John in Florida

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2011, 08:02:08 PM »
Hi chickenparm, hey how did you get a picture of my wife saying "oh no, not pizza again!" LOL I'm Italian she's Irish, what can I say...

Cooking on the floor of the oven, I like it. I don't use the broil element, but perhaps I will try it at some point. But I do think I'll also try moving the shelf and stone down to the bottom position, should be interesting. Kind of bazar having the bake element out of the oven like that talk about inefficient. But it would explain the higher stone temp vs the sensor up top. Thanks for your thoughts.

John

Offline chickenparm

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1786
  • Location: Back in Indy...Making New York Style Pies
  • Oh No,Not Pizza Again!!!
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2011, 08:22:22 PM »
Hi John,

Im glad you like the avatar photo! Im the Irish one here,but what can I say?Temper is my middle name,but I did learn to calm down over the years,I think.
 :-[
 The Italians I grew up with in Ny,when I stayed over night or for dinner,their nonnas would make me eat so much food,I was spoiled by it.

I am going to try a Pepe's clone when I get more Bouncer flour.I just ran out the other day.A friend of mine I went to HS with,he is a partner is the New Frank Pepe's in Yonkers,NY.My friends that eat there really enjoy it.Most haven't been to the one in CT but love it nonetheless.

Thanks for sharing your stories.Like you and many of us here,I moved away from NY and tri state areas and now live in a place where I cannot buy or find decent pizza.Have to make it at home.Looks like you did a great job on your pies.
 8)

-Bill








-Bill

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2011, 11:57:08 PM »
John, it really doesn't matter where the baking element is, as long as it's giving you a stone temp of 600-ish degrees

Steel is heavy.  It's the thermal mass that creates a heat sink that provides all the heat (and more) to bake the bottom of the pizza in a faster amount of time. A big part of the New Haven pizza experience is the pizza size.  Smaller pizzas don't look as impressive, nor, because of the different cheese/sauce to crust ratio, do they taste exactly the same. For the size that will do a New Haven pie justice (18"), at 1/2" it will weigh in at 45 lb.  The shelf should have no problem supporting it, but, it's not easy to remove for baking other things.  Since you can hit 600, I'm pretty sure you could probably get away with 3/8", which would drop your weight to a little more manageable 35 lb. No matter what thickness you go with, you definitely want as large a stone as your oven can fit.  Any idea of your interior dimensions?

I've been working with another member privately to source lighter, yet still relatively conductive hearth options, and I think I've stumbled on a promising material. It's basically a version of the stone you have now, cordierite, but with a higher alumina content and a dry pressing manufacturing process giving it greater density.  Between the density and the alumina, this stone has greater conductivity than the kind of cordierite, you (and most retail oven stone owners) are using. Here's the link for one of the better deals on one of these 'high alumina' stones:

http://www.baileypottery.com/kilnfurniture/kilnshelves.htm

The 18 x 18 x 1" stone, at 25 lb. is much more portable than 18 x 18 x 1/2" steel at 45.  It most likely, at the same temps, won't give you comparable bake times to steel, but it should definitely hold it's own.  Two downsides: One, it's not cheap.  The stone is $50 and, by the time you add shipping and handling, you could more than double that.  Steel, on the other hand, should be able to be sourced locally for $40.  The other downside is that, so far, no one has purchased these exact stones, so, even though I'm 100% certain that they'll give you a bump in conductivity, how much of a bump is a question mark.

Member Essen1 (Mike) purchased a high alumina stone (also culled 'mullite'), but he went with 5/8" and, though he was very happy with, it didn't have quite enough thermal mass to give him fast bakes.

It's up to you, $100+ for a 25 lb. high alumina cordierite kiln shelf vs. $40ish for locally sourced 35 lb. 3/8" steel plate.  Assuming you can reliably reach 600 degree pre-heats, both will give you the full range of Pepe bake times - 6 to 8 minutes without any oven tricks or modifications.

Regarding porosity... porosity translates into air, and air is bad for baking stones on two fronts:

1. Where you have air, you have lack of density, which, in turn, usually translates into lack of conductivity.  Besides our need for conductive materials for faster bakes, conductivity is critical to the durability of the stone, because, as the heat travels faster through the stone, the lack of hot and cold spots prevents drastically different rates of thermal expansion, which, in turn, prevents stress

2. Where you have air, you have the potential to absorb water.  Water + heat = steam = massively expanding volume.  Steam puts an incredible amount of stress on a stone.

Even if your stone is a particular material that is both porous, conductive, and durable, for the temps that we make pizza at, water on the bottom of the crust doesn't stay water for long. Once it turns into steam, it's on it's way up, not down into the stone.

That's great regarding your willingness to track down/work with Full Strength flour. The difference between blended Bouncer + AP and Full Strength won't be dramatic, but every little bit helps.  Where I am in NJ bromated 14% (All Trumps, Kyrol, Bouncer, Balancer, etc.) has the market share, so bromated 12.5% is difficult to get. I've got to drive an hour to distributor who carries it and is willing to sell to the public. It might be different in New Haven, but I kind of doubt it. I'm not telling you that you won't find Full Strength (or a 12.5% analog), but don't be surprised when you find lots of sources for bromated 14%, but come up short on 12.5%.

Speaking of analogs, bromated 12.5% flours are, in my opinion, relatively interchangeable, so, as you look around, don't look just for Full Strength.  There's also

Spring King
Occident
King Midas Special
Superlative
Commander
Majestic
Springup
Perfect Diamond (I think this is 12.5%ish, but not sure)

I should also mention that Gordon Food Services has their house brand of bromated high gluten flour (Primo Gusto), as does Sam's Club. These may be 13% protein, or they may not :)  They don't publish specs so it's difficult to determine for certain.  A lot of members have done very well with these private label flours, so you might want to give them a try, but, at this point, I'd like to see you work with flours with more tangible specs.

Btw, what area of FL are you in?  If you can tell me an area, I can help you source some potential distributors.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 12:16:43 AM by scott123 »

Offline John in Florida

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 26
Re: Recreating Pepe's over a 10 year period
« Reply #39 on: December 13, 2011, 10:40:22 AM »
I emailed that company for kicks to see what they would say about using products for food applications.



"The shelves are not food safe.

Thank you,
Howie Jones
Sales Mgr.

-----Original Message-----
From: info@baileypottery.com [mailto:info@baileypottery.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:05 AM
To: HOWIE@BAILEYPOTTERY.COM
Subject: FW: Customer Inquiry




Laurie Dermody
Bailey Pottery Equip. Corp.
PO Box 1577
Kingston NY 12402
845-339-3721

-----Original Message-----
From: info@baileypottery.com [mailto:info@baileypottery.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 7:20 AM
To: sue@baileypottery.com
Subject: FW: Customer Inquiry



-----Original Message-----
From: info@baileypottery.com [mailto:info@baileypottery.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 5:52 AM
To: info@baileypottery.com
Subject: Customer Inquiry


************************************************************************
*******
Name:   John
Submit: Submit
Date:   Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Time:   05:52 AM -0500

Question:

Hello, are your Cone 11 Kiln Shelves suitable for cooking food on?
Thanks for your help.

John"