Author Topic: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style  (Read 3448 times)

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Offline JimmyG

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Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« on: February 29, 2012, 08:51:53 PM »
This is my first attempt at recreating Umberto’s (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma style pizza. I have eaten at Umberto’s may times when I was younger but have yet attempted to recreate this style. Last week I stumbled across an article at PMQ illustrating the workflow and some of the ingredients in the sauce and toppings: http://www.pmq.com/mag/2004march_april/secretrecipe.shtml . Digging deeper I found this video on YouTube: (starts around 4:00) also illustrating the workflow and toppings. What is interesting, in contrast with what is written in PMQ reporting that fresh mozz is the only cheese on the pie, I distinctly hear in the video them saying that it is a mix and I thought I heard Grande.  Based on some insight from fcbuilder http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6608.msg163519.html#msg163519 regarding the flour they are using “All Trumps”, I bought 2lbs of All Trumps from a local bakery.
Right or wrong, this was the dough recipe I used:

Flour (100%):    249.77 g  |  8.81 oz | 0.55 lbs
Water (63%):    157.36 g  |  5.55 oz | 0.35 lbs
IDY (.35%):    0.87 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.29 tsp | 0.1 tbsp
Salt (2%):    5 g | 0.18 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.04 tsp | 0.35 tbsp
Oil (1.5%):    3.75 g | 0.13 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.83 tsp | 0.28 tbsp
Total (166.85%):   416.75 g | 14.7 oz | 0.92 lbs | TF = 0.105

The dough was mixed by hand, proofed overnight in the garage (45F). The next day, the pan was lubed with oil, the dough was stretched to fit the pan, and the dough was allowed to rise for 2 hours in dishwasher after the drying cycle was ran and the door was opened for two mins (I swear this is the best proofing box ever).  During proofing, the oven was preheated to 500F for one hour. Once proofed, the dough was topped with a blend of fresh and dry mozz purchased at Trader Joe’s. The sauce was dolloped on–in retrospect, a bit heavy in some places– and roasted garlic in oil was drizzled on the pie. The pie was baked on the convection setting at 500 for 12 mins.

The sauce recipe was:
1 24oz can of classico whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, left whole
2 tsp of chili flakes – the sauce ingredients at PMQ said spice and I took it literally
salt as need
2 tbsp of olive oil

For the most part I cooked the sauce like my Sicilian grandma did, dump it all into a pot, turn on the heat, reduce by 1/3, and throw away the garlic cloves.

The results are shown below. The crust was crisp and this pie was a very tasty. Overall I was quite pleased with the results.  In addition, I also made a Sicilian with some left over sauce from a meatball ragu as shown in a few of the photos.

« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 07:24:04 AM by JimmyG »
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 08:53:02 PM »
More pics
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 08:56:34 PM by JimmyG »
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 08:54:07 PM »
more pics
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 08:56:50 PM by JimmyG »
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Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 10:17:37 AM »
Awesome job Jimmy. I really like your recipe and workflow - the pie looks really authentic. I am going to give this one a try.

John

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 04:53:05 PM »
Jim

Nice work, I love the look of that thick, rich sauce, can almost taste it. For what it's worth, the NY GIANTS had some Umberto pies flown into Indy after their Friday afternoon practice before the Super Bowl...talk about an endorsment!

Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 07:27:54 PM »
A gorgeous, "striped" grandma pie from Grandma's Original in Bay Ridge
http://www.flickr.com/photos/orlick/6912016681/in/set-72157629407440101/

The orderly sauce dollops of Lo Duca:
http://twitpic.com/8eg5xs

Video of Umberto's doing the sauce dollop approach (4:33):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eQrFsLvf8Y#t=04m33s

Part of what makes commercial grandma's shine is the deliberateness of the construction, IMO. There is also typically a garlic and oil that is put on top last and there can be basil oil as seen in the Grandma's Original pie. Romano is also usually put on top. Umberto's does not do the garlic thing but that is atypical (when many LI-style grandma's are surveyed).

---------

I'll pop back in in a week or so with my rendition.

Thanks for starting this thread JimmyG -- pies are looking good! :)

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EDIT: I see JimmyG already included the Umberto's local CBS affiliate vid (though my link is cued). Since the same dough is used as for the regular pie, I would be inclined to think there is some sugar in the dough. Not needed per se, but if going for authenticity...
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 07:41:22 PM by johnnydoubleu »

Offline JimmyG

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 07:40:50 AM »
John,
Thanks. I look forward to seeing what you produce.

David,
Thanks! Yeah... I saw that story too. I wish I could be that fortunate.

JW,
I think you are 100% correct about the sugar. I thought about add some in too (about 1.5%), I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  Oil, I almost never use in my dough.  In this case I figured "what the hell, add it in".  Thanks for providing the links. That stripped grandma looks almost identical to the one I grew up with in Head of the Harbor: http://www.patiopizzany.com/apps/photos/.

Jim
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 10:28:39 AM by JimmyG »
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Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2012, 08:29:36 AM »
Jimmy, Your original local pizza place looks delicious! Do they put garlic and oil on theirs (grandma)? Doesn't look like it. The further addition of the basil oil really makes for such a pretty pie! Looks so Italian.

I think the important thing that oil adds to the dough is a tighter crumb. If going for authenticity this is kinda important. That and a little oil in the pan to burnish and fry the bottom, but not as much as with a Sicilian.

Offline JimmyG

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2012, 10:22:23 AM »
JW,
To tell you the truth, the grandma style pie at Patio Pizza (PP) is good, but no where near Umberto's, and your correct, they do not add any roasted garlic oil either. However, the regular pie at PP is stellar. I have eaten at a lot of pie joints across LI and NYC, and I still haven't found one matching PP in comparison. Although, it has been some time since I have eaten pizza the City, so thing have probably changed. I, hopefully, will be moving back to the Island this summer, and then can hit up some of the city joints (Best Pizza, Motorino, etc) you folks have been raving about.
Jim
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 12:46:21 PM by JimmyG »
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Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2012, 06:50:40 PM »
Jim

Welcome back to New York state (if it happens), I'm sure JW will hook you up for a pizza crawl or two. Keep us posted. Regarding dough contents, The story behind "Grandma" style is that the dough was the leftovers from breadmaking. If course, we are left to speculate on just what kind of bread granny might have been making, but I've gotta speculate that it might have even had milk in it, maybe rather than oil. Also, some Italian bread recipes also include shortening. Don't know if granny would be using shortening, but back in the day, just about every household reserved the fat from bacon. Do you think granny may have used any in the dough or on the pan? It was available and cheap!


Offline johnnydoubleu

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2012, 08:34:34 AM »
I am mostly interested in the specific (sub) style of commercial "Long Island-style" Grandma pizza as it is made today.

Of course when grandma really does it, it isn't as structured a make.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 08:48:35 AM by johnnydoubleu »

Offline JimmyG

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2012, 10:27:18 AM »
David,
It will be nice to be back on the East coast again. I definitely keep you folks posted and join a crawl or two if I get back.

Regarding the leftover dough, making some sort of flat bread or stuffed bread out of leftover dough is is pretty common amongst Southern Italians. There is some dissonance between the American bakery "Italian loaf bread" and the "homestyle" Italian bread. I remember that my grandmother here in the states and her sister living in Sicily both had roughly the same dough recipes: flour and/or semolina, water, salt, and a small amount of leftover dough from the previous bake.  Sometimes olive oil is added to the dough but not always. Shortening would have been more common here in the States, but I honestly don't remember it being used much around the household. In fact, my grandmothers dough recipe is so easy I never forget it.

5 cups of AP
3 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of leftover dough from the previous bake
2 Tbsp of salt

However, these are always crude approximations.

JW,
You are absolutely correct, these are crude recipes based more on feel and repetition than strict measurements.
I have never truly delved into the micro regional variation between LI vs NYC doughs. On the surface, LI pies appear to be uncanny regarding their appearance to many of the NYC style pies.  Although, I think it would be worth looking into to see if they differ, and where and how they differ in their formula, workflow and construction.
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Offline JimmyG

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Re: Umberto's (New Hyde Park, NY) Grandma Style
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 03:17:11 PM »
I made another Grandma pie last night. I followed the same basic formula as last time, except I dropped the oil in dough formula and I left the sauce as uncooked. To be honest, I did not notice the missing oil in the crust, as I speculate that the oil in the pan compensated for the oil in the dough.  The sauce was bright and fresh which normally I like, however, it just lacked that concentrate sauced flavor that comes from from cooking. Next time I may make a quick sauce < 8 mins to see how it turns out once some of the moisture is driven off. I wish I had more photos but the pie was cut up and eaten by my guests before I could get another photo taken.
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