It's official, Chau. I've talked to mayor Bloomberg and you're getting the key to the city.
That is just stunning. This forum has so many amazing looking undercrusts, that I generally praise a great one with terms like 'top 5,' but in this instance, I think that undercrust is top 1
Scotty, I am so honored! Your compliment is one of the nicest compliments I have received! Top 5 for sure and possibly even the nicest of compliments!
No seriously...coming from you, it does count for a lot in my book. Nice job on the creative slicing. I think you nailed the perfect size slice. Can you see the difference size makes? It really shouldn't play that much a role- it doesn't change the taste of the pizza at all, but it's integral to the pizza eating experience- getting your hands around it, the flop, etc.- it's all part of the magic.
I think it was Bill (Chickenparm) who I got the idea from. Thanks Bill! Scott when I first heard you post about the importance of size, I honestly didn't buy it. After all, it's the same pizza so why should the size matter? It does for 2 reasons. First as you said, its it the hold, the flop, the fold, and the overall experience. Secondly, I have come to realize that a slice isn't a NY slice unless it's got the right TF, or should I say thinness factor. If the slices aren't big enough, you wouldn't be satisfied and would feel cheated. This came to me when my wife after having 2 slices of Lucci's, said wow, I could easily put away another slice! She might of been commenting on how much she enjoyed the pizza, but it dawned on my that the size, thus the amount of pizza is also an important factor. A thin NY slice of pizza from a 12" pie ain't going cut it. A normal person could probably put away a whole 12" pie like that with no problem.So, you had two beautiful slices and I'm guessing a few small trimmings. Who ended up with the measly pieces?
This was the last pie baked and one of 7 pies baked yesterday afternoon with no company over for lunch. I took a few bites of the tidbits and they ended up in the trash.
They were mixed in with a few other discarded pizza bones and all got swept into the garbage in a hurry as I was trying to clean up in a hurry.What's your feeling on shortening? Do you think a 4% oil crust could match this?
Tough question. I have only used 4%+ oil a few times but they were either for an American style PJ's clone or at a really high % for deep dish pizzas. I will definitely be testing oil vs shortening side by side. But as it stands, my gut feeling is that they produce a slightly difference effect. I think the shortening produces a drier feeling crumb, but it could just be my current formula. Even though this had 4% shortening, the crumb had no hint of oiliness or the taste of shortening/fat/oil, which reminds me of a comment you made earlier in the thread. I know you set out to reproduce Lucci's, but I think you've surpassed Lucci's completely. I don't think you captured any of their biscuitiness- which, if you took the time to do, would be a step backward. And, while we're on the topic of clones, I think you've come up with a pretty good Avellino (San Fran) facsimile, and also something that would give Luigi's (San Diego) and run for their money.
You know Scott, I was't gonna say it but I definitely thought it. The crust was better than Lucci's. Their unique biscuity texture could possibly be due to a slightly lower hydration and or baking at a lower temps for another 2minutes. My crust was really tender if theirs is ultra tender. My crust had just a tiny more bit of chew which was a good thing. But overall, not chewy at all. On a scale of 0-10, 10 being shoe leather, these slices may have been 2-3 on the chew scale. Hard to say accurately but you can kind of see the very slight pull on the tip as I took the first bite. If you turn the volume up and listened to when I take a bite of the crust, you can hear the qualities of the texture and crust, and that's not a chewy crust.
Thanks for the comparison to Avelino's and Luigi's, I'm sure their pies are outstanding as Mike has attested to.
As good as this pie was, I think I can improve it just a bit more....maybe, and what I have is definitely a great base to start with already. I'm interested in playing around with lowering the hydration maybe 1-2% just to see the difference. When I do that, I am also interested in testing a 4-5-6min pies, just to see the difference. I would like a slightly less dark bottom, slightly. But, it is a bit crazy to mess with it at this point as it was very good. The NY slice is, imo, the pinnacle of Italian artistry tempered by American accessibility. It's melting pot cuisine at the peak of it's universality. A nice car can have a lot of fans, as can a good piece of chocolate, but I don't think there's anything more potentially crowd pleasing, worldwide, than a great NY slice. The pizza cognition theory places far too much emphasis on nurture rather than nature. I believe, quite strongly, in a universal aesthetic. That there are some things so beautiful, that they are recognized as beautiful by the whole world. And this is an aesthetic that we're genetically hardwired with. Take a look at society's perception of feminine beauty. The fashion industry can try to shift society's appreciation away from curvaceousness and health, and, for a few years, nurture can prevail over nature, but nature always wins.
Everyone has a NY slice gene- at least, they have a gene that can appreciate NY style pizza at it's very best- which, these days, is not very common. But that potential is there. Because of this genetic potential/universal aesthetic, we are making something that can make the whole world happy.
Well said Scott and great analogy. Not having pizza in NY and only going by pictures and descriptions, I really have no basis or experience to work with here. Having said that, I really had not given the NY slice style a fair chance, judging only based on my own limited pizza experiences and the local crappy pizza. You wouldn't believe the kind of garbage that is passed around as pizza around here. It's highly offensive to me at this point, and I am not even a NY native.
The Lucci's crust really opened my eyes up to the potential of the NY slice and I have been wowed with the results so far. All the variances within the style such as slight changes in TF, chew, coloration, crumb, hydration, cheese, sauce, etc are just that...slight variances. They can all be accounted and adjusted for and every pizza will be different base on who makes the dough, pizza, and who bakes it. But variances aside, the NY slice style as a whole seems to be an excellent one.
Scott, I'm not sure that we are hardwired for "NY pizza" per se, but we are definitely hardwired for the textures of a great pizza crust. There will always be folks that are adamant in their stance that pizza and bread are different, but there will always be folks like me who contend that they can be the same and are the same. If there's anything that is hardwired into people, it's the textural qualities of a good bread . We can see this love for similar textured breads the world over. People love soft breads with a tender crumb. People also seem to love a crispy crusty bread with a soft and tender belly. For me, no matter what style of bread or pizza, I always get totally encaptivated by such a crust and crumb. Per our previous conversations, I have had this very similar texture in 3 totally different styles of pizzas.
For those who disagree with me about bread and pizza, as I have read comments about pizza crust being "bready", I'm not talking about the heavy sourdoughs that you are use to eating. I'm referring to that really great french baguette type of bread. If you haven't had it, you haven't had great bread.
But if it turns out that we all have a gene for NY slice pizza, that's definitely okay by me. One very small nit If authenticity is your goal, lose the post baking basil. Fresh basil in the sauce is fantastic and has a long history of use, but basil on the baked pizza is strictly a mutant Difara's thing.
Your comment made me laugh here, not b/c I disagree with you but b/c I know how fond you are of Difara's.
The basil was a last minute call just b/c I like a lot of basil on pizza, but also b/c this was the last pie baked of 7 pies. Not counting the 2 NP pies, the NY style pies were to be either pepperoni, mushroom, a combination of both, or cheese. I had already made a cheese pizza earlier and had gorged myself, so I was looking for something a bit different by the end. NY slices are not that trendy, even at their best, so I can't promise you fame, but if you were to sell this slice on a commercial level, with that undercrust, that crumb and that crunch it makes when you bite into the rim- you'd be one extremely wealthy man
Thank you for the vote Scott, I'll definitely keep that in mind should I have opportunity for a 2nd career. Thanks for all the help and feedback.