Author Topic: The Denouement of Pizza  (Read 6018 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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The Denouement of Pizza
« on: July 08, 2005, 02:57:25 PM »
Click! Click! Click!

What is that clicking noise you say?

Crust, cheese, and sauce. The three simple ingredients used in a very complex series of events to produce pizza.

With sauce being the denouement of pizza.

That's right. Sauce. Are you stuck at a pizza plateau like I was? Is your crust delicious but the tiny voice inside your head is saying to go further? Look in the direction of sauce. It is final piece which brings everything together in one homogeneous manner.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to perfect my Pizza Sophia and Raquel recipes without much effort in the area of sauce. Well the time has come. I can proudly state that I no longer have professional pizzeria envy for their sauces.

Truth be told, the dough, crust, and cheese of my humble homemade creations is as good as I've ever eaten anywhere. But I have always had sauce envy with the pros. While I have spent untold amounts of money on the finest San Marzano tomatoes available to me, I never really figured out how to make them taste like the real thing. Until the KitchenAid immersion hand mixer entered my life the other day. What a relevation.

The hand mixer had the affect of producing a very consistant blend of tomatoes which immediately resonated an AH HA!

I will post pictures soon...
 
« Last Edit: July 08, 2005, 06:46:03 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline scott r

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2005, 03:41:44 PM »
PFT, what brands of tomatoes do you like?

Offline pftaylor

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2005, 05:58:54 PM »
scott r,
Funny you should ask which brand I prefer because up until last night I exclusively used a variety of San Marzano whole tomatoes. However, a month or two ago I happened to buy a slug-o sized can of Contadina whole peeled plum tomatoes from Sam's club. The taste, after blending last night with the KitchenAid Immersion hand-held mixer was the absolute best I have eaten. Same spices, same amount of spices, just prepared with the Immersion mixer.

The texture of the sauce was improved as well as the consistency. Once I finish off the Contadina tomatoes I'll try a can of La Valle San Marzano D.O.P tomatoes. If it's any better than what I had last night I'll be in pizza heaven.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2005, 09:50:24 PM »
Get your hands on a #10 can of Alta Cucina whole peeled tomatoes, produced by Stanislaus.

Trust me.

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

Offline bakerboy

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2005, 03:07:55 PM »
PF, i saw your post where you scored that immersion blender.  I have one but yours is the next size up..niiice.
Do you use it to puree the whole batch of sauce or just part of it.  I get the immpression that its giving you the consistency you want with a measure of control thats hard to get from a blender.
congrats on the sauce..... and scoring that "oracle".

Offline pftaylor

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2005, 08:04:05 PM »
PizzaBrewer,
Thanks for the tip. I'll make sure to give them a go.

bakerboy,
How is your bakery coming along?

I know you must be proud. Keep those photos coming of all the cool stuff you are buying so I can see what a real pro uses.

Speaking of photos, below is one of the sauce I made the other night. In a word it was killer. Here's how I created it:
I completely drained the huge can of Contadina Whole Peeled tomatoes of any tomato soup (hey it was dirt cheap so I splurged!). So all that was left were the skinned plum choice fresh pack (supposedly) tomatoes. I then scooped the skinned plum tomatoes into my sauce containers. I set the KitchenAid on its lowest speed and submerged it an inch or so beneath the tomatoes and then turned it on. I used an up and down motion for about 10 seconds and by then the entire container was a nice mush of tomato. 

My spice mixture is pretty standard with one exception - Splenda is used instead of sugar. As some of you may know, I try to limit the carbs associated with this hobby and I figured the tablespoon or so of sugar typically used per quart of sauce was eligible for replacement. The other spices include salt, black pepper, garlic, basil, and oregano.

My family all concluded that my latest efforts are better than ever. Now I will admit I've been enhancing Pizza Sophia and Raquel quite a bit with toys like the KitchenAid Professional 600. But this hand held mixer is special. I will post photos of tonight's pies in the Pizza Raquel thread.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2005, 08:21:18 PM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline bakerboy

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2005, 04:30:59 PM »
Pft, looks like you've got a nice texture and a nice bright color on that sauce.  Whats really nice is that you got a nice sauce without using expensive or hard to find tomatos.  I think that ladle would stand up on its own in that sauce eh?
The bakery is coming along, thanks for asking.  I'm a general contractor now and i hate it.  Can't wait to get started baking.  Here's an article that ran in the Wilminton De. News Journal last sunday about the reopening.  http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050703/BUSINESS/507030302/1003

Offline duckjob

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2005, 05:48:27 PM »
Pftaylor, the sauce looks great. I'm curious, what kind of consistency does the immersion mixer give your sauce? Is it somewhat chunky or pretty uniform. I'm pretty happy with the way my sauce currently tastes, however I mix mine in a food processor, just hitting the pulse button a few times. The resulting sauce tastes great, but has the consistency of a pasta sauce.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2005, 06:44:36 PM »
bakerboy,
I couldn't be any happier for you. I read every word of the article in the newspaper. You couldn't of gotten a better write-up if you paid him. I now know you will be successful because you have passion. One day I will stop by - I promise.

duckjob,
The immersion mixer produces what I would call a super chunky consistency. Almost like the difference between creamy peanut butter and super chunk. A thick Gazpacho soup would be another description. There are little chunks of tomato everywhere. bakerboy was right, the ladle stood up on its own. The thing is, the Contadina Whole Peeled tomatoes were so cheap at Sam's Club I almost felt embarrassed buying them. But I figured I had nothing to lose since the DOP San Marzano's I had been buying didn't taste right either.

I have more than enough sauce to last last a while but when I run out, I'll try a better quality to see if it buys me anything. Right now I would have to say that a better consistency of sauce seems to more than make up for cheap tomatoes.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2005, 04:44:20 PM »
Below is a photograph of the Contadina Whole Tomatoes which have caught my fancy. And for good reason. They represent a home pizza making best buy in terms of quality. When you factor in the dirt cheap price, their near-mandatory use is a no brainer. Here are the facts: A 102oz can from Sam's Club costs an unbelievably whopping $2.39.

$2.39.

Can you believe it? Now I drain the tomato soup away and blend just the whole tomatoes themselves. That does reduce their value proposition somewhat. But it is a sure-fire way to increase their flavor and quality for a fraction of the more established brands.

That's roughly 1/5th the price of the often praised San Marzanos which have not distinguished themselves for me in my kitchen. I'm beginning to think the San Marzanos we get in the states are the worst example available.

I'm through paying high prices for tomatoes which taste dull and somewhat metallic.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com


Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2005, 01:37:36 AM »
PFT:  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, do try the Alta Cucina.  I'm paying $3 per #10 can, and to my taste they are twice as good as the Contadina.

I agree with you about the San Marzanos.  I've been chasing that holy grail, only to be left wondering what the fuss is all about.  I've tried many varieties (real, fake and DOP) and have yet to figure out why they are so renowned.  Particularly after finding the Alta Cucinas.  I've not yet ordered the Reginas, but I'm not hopeful that they'd be a huge improvement over, say, the LaValles. 

Keep up the good work!  Although I gotta give you a hard time about the Sucralose...

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

Offline bakerboy

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2005, 04:09:21 PM »
I gotta say again, i too love the alta cucina's.  I used them exclusively at the pizza shop.  However, i don't work at the pizza shop anymore, and they don't use the alta cucinas anymore.  They would order me a case no problem, but thats not the point.  The point is finding something you like, at a decent price, thats readily available in your local market.  Pftaylor has found this in the contadina brand...and kudos to him.  the last time i made a pizza i used Acme Whole Peeled Tomatos.  no %$#.
Now i'm not saying that there is NO difference in tomatos, there is, but sometimes convenience and affordability speak very loud.
Pizzabrewer, i'm feelin ya with the Alta Cucinas.  I love them.  Use em if ya got em.
Pftaylor, I'm holding you to that promise ;)

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2005, 07:21:09 PM »
I happened to see a description of the Stanislaus Alta Cucina tomatoes at the Stanislaus website. Apparently the Alta Cucinas are intended to be Stanislaus' answer to the San Marzanos. I have cut and pasted the description for the Alta Cucina tomatoes as follows:

The closest thing to Old Italy in America! Favored by restaurateurs serving the classical dishes of Italy's urban "ristoranti", Alta Cucina® Plum Tomatoes are Stanislaus' answer to true San Marzanos which are no longer available except at exorbitant prices.

Today, true San Marzanos are generally unavailable because small Italian farmers have consolidated and turned to mechanized commercial tomato varieties rather than the hand-harvested San Marzano. Although lax enforcement has allowed some Italian packers to get away with mislabeling tomatoes as "San Marzano" (when in fact they are not), in truth the treasured San Marzano tomato has all but disappeared.

And that's why we created Alta Cucina® Plum Tomatoes! In memory of the San Marzanos I first savored in Italy as a boy, each can of Alta Cucina® is full to the brim with sweet, tender ultra-premium plum tomatoes in "Naturale" style juice — packed from select tomato varieties chosen by Stanislaus for their fresh fragrance, exquisite flavor, and delicate "melt-in-your-mouth" texture.

I don't know how accurate the characterization of the San Marzano situation is, but Stanislaus is clearly going after that market.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2005, 07:41:15 AM »
Pete-zza,
Have you personally tried Stanislaus Alta Cucina tomatoes? I haven't yet but am intrigued by their promise.

My experience with the real McCoy (San Marzano DOP) has been disappointing at best. I have tried every brand available to me and uniformly they are weak. When a dirt cheap brand like Contadina can best them you know something is up. I wonder if pizzanapoletana can lift the fog on this issue? Are we getting the bottom of the barrel so to speak here in the US? It sure seems like that is the case. There must be something to San Marzano DOP tomatoes other than the biggest cover up since Watergate.

bakerboy,
I hope your shop will be open soon because I'm scheduled to be in the City of Brotherly Love in mid-August. PM me with an address and directions...
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2005, 11:29:33 AM »
pft,

No, I haven't tried the Alta Cucinas. Texas (at least around Dallas) is devoid of all decent pizza ingredients so it would be futile for me to think that I will find them easily. Even the San Marzanos are MIA. The only San Marzanos I have been able to find are the fake ones--the ones grown in the U.S. with can labels with Italian words all over them leading you to believe they are the real deal. I have to order the real San Marzanos from places that sell them online or by mail order. As I have indicated before, my favorites are the LaRegina DOPs.

My practice is to use the San Marzanos only for Neapolitan style pizzas where I seek a measure of authenticity and adherence to tradition. I don't use them elsewhere and I don't puree them. I use them just as they are right out of the can. For most other styles I use the Escalon 6-in-1s. I tried a can of the domestic Cento Italian-style tomatoes recently and thought they were decent but not as good as the LaReginas.

Peter

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2005, 11:47:27 AM »
pft I also love the Contadina brand tomatoes...but ouch...don't throw out the "soup, juice".... I save the liquid and use in homeade spaghetti sauce etc... I was wondering though, the pic you show after using your immersion blender has the seeds left in the sauce. I have heard and also concluded that the seeds give a bitter taste when chomped down on. I usually hold the peeled tomatoes in my fingers and open the fruit to drain out the seeds into the liquid in the can then strain that out and toss the collected seeds... Was wondering your thoughts....

Offline Snowman

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2005, 09:06:37 AM »
I was quite pleased to find Contadina crushed tomatoes with Italian Herbs.  Other than being a little thin for my preference, the taste is quite good.  They can be found at Tom Thumb for about $1.50 for a 28 ounce can.  Yes, that's nothing like getting a gallon for $3, but hey, it's a start.  I've been using it as my pizza sauce, straight from the can.  I suspect I'll start trying to either strain it or cook it down some to get a heavier texture.  But I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and taste. 

Offline ilpizzaiolo

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Re: The Denouement of Pizza
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2005, 12:13:15 PM »
one reason some of you may be having bad results with san marzano tomatoes is because they really only work in a brick oven for pizza. Another is that they have much less salt than the california tomatoes. When pizza evolved from high temp brick oven, to gas or electric oven, the technique for sauce changed a little as well... I believe that they would thicken the ground san marzano tomaotes with tomatoe puree or paste... somewhere around a 3-1 or 4-1 ratio depending on how thick you want the sauce. .. The fact that they are missing salt is actually a bonus because you get to taste the true tomato, and then adjust it the way you want.  i beleive that the 6 in 1 and other products like it are designed to emulate this process, the problem is that everyone now uses the same exact products and it is very hard to create a distinctive pizza.... is everyone uses either stanisalus, or escalons and tops their pizza with grande, and all trumps flour, there is not much to differentiate these pizzas.... and what is interesting is if in any city you got to the pizza places that are considered to be the best, they aren't neccesarily the best, the are just unique, or stand out compared to the other 95%......  to get a good san marzano sauce for making new york style pizza, try usng a food mill to puree the tomatoes (it will remove the seeds, cores, and skins - also used a setting that will achieve smooth sauce), then thicken it to the desired consistancy using tomato puree, then season with the basics, fresh basil, dried oregano (not too much... this stuff is stong and overused), salt and pepper, a little olive oil if you do not have it in your dough... if you need garlic, don't used dried or powdered ( and don't add it raw, just saute some fresh garlic in olive oil and add it too the sauce...... this is an uncooked sauce, the way it should be.


 

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