Hello Pizza People! My name is Jeff Goggin and I own Brick. Let me start by saying one of my goals when I opened Brick was to be found and written up on Slice and a close second was to be a post topic on Pizzamaking.com! I am flattered!
I wanted to address all the comments - which are GREATLY appreciated BTW
@John - You sir are quite astute! I'm not sure if I told you the recipe (I keep no secrets- and in fact am glad to share my exact recipe and process) The salt is/was 2.5% on the nose! -I say was because we have recently upped the salt to 3% The tomatoes were (unfortunately) spot on as well- once in a while the LaRegina DOPs are backordered and we do as best we can to always have enough on hand though storage space is very limited. We will still get San Marazano just not DOP and will stretch our remaining DOPs with the non-DOPs 1:1. It's an issue that comes up once or twice a year and are definitely looking into a way to never not have our DOPs- we are certainly aware of the difference in quality/taste. As far as room temp ferment I agree- it is the holy grail and have been working on a dough schedule since we opened that would allow us to do this. This is also the reason we switched over to red bag from blue as we still cold ferment the blue bag dough would break down on the third day if we still had some left and when we tested the rinforzato it held up so much better for the longer cold ferment- if we ever master room temp ferment we would definitely use blue bag. Before I forget let me post our dough recipe... it is small and made in a Hobart on speed 1 but we will get a spiral mixer this year- we never stop trying to improve!
Water (room temp 70 degrees) 58%
Starter (100% hydration) 1.5%
We mix for about 10 minutes to just over 80 degrees, bench rest 2 hours, ball and into walk-in for 48 hours minimum- take out anywhere from 3-8 hours before using.
This is our current seasonal recipe as of December- though it has been mild
Also you were right on with the sourdough as it was started with Ischia- but by now it's definitely Coastal New Bedford Starter
@Scott - Thank you so much for the input - I wish we got more constructive criticism than we do. I would love to refute any of the things you pointed out but I know that those issues have come up before and still do. If you read my above reply to John about the tomatoes for instance. The 4 minute pie... trust me, it pangs me much more than it does you. My goal with every single pizza I make is for it to be the best pizza I've ever made and for it to be the customer's best pizza they've ever eaten. I'm aware that it's not possible to always hit that homerun but I think it's important to strive for it. As far as quality going up and down over the years it certainly isn't the product or any result of trying to cut corners or make money. I would never reduce the quality- passion is my business plan and quality makes our product since we've opened we've gone from ADY to starter (which takes work and love), we went from Sysco fresh mozz to hand stretching it every morning from local curd right out of Westport- were there some rough cheese days when we started doing that? Yes. Is our fresh mozz now the best you can possibly get here or anywhere else? I can honestly say I believe the answer to be Yes. We went from pre-packaged prosciutto to getting the whole leg and slicing it daily and I'm not close to finished... there's so many more things we can improve... which brings me to one last thing. The passion for the art and science that is wood-fired pizza comes easily. Finding people/employees that share that passion is difficult. We have some really great people come and then they eventually go and as the turnover seems never ending it is in finding/training a great pizzaiolo that takes one thing I've grown to appreciate in this great pizza adventure- patience. There is no hurry for me to achieve the goal I'm striving for- I'm enjoying too much the journey.
That was all probably a bit much but on a side note the struggle for consistency is one thing I'm not sure I will ever completely solve. I can only hope to find the best balance of trusting someone to cook a pizza that represents Brick and cooking every single pizza- which wouldn't be the worst thing but it leaves no time to wonder about better techniques and products etc.
I hope you come back and try another pie... on me- if I'm not there just say "Jeff said"
What I was trying to say I will sum up as this:
When you want to constantly change things to try to make a better pizza it is going to hurt consistency until you achieve the best that you can do... and I'm not sure I'll ever be satisfied. I'm well aware of this trade-off and I hope our customers understand and appreciate every pizza will be different- there will be good dough days and bad dough days etc but its only because I'm doing my best to make sure if you have a wonderful pie at Brick luck has nothing to do with it
@Clay - I didn't forget you! Again very astute- the dough in the video was a higher hydration... probably around 61% Hydration was the thing we experimented with most batch to batch. We would take it up 1% at a time until it was almost unworkable and then back down. All the time I wanted super high hydration then one day I thought "Why?". Obviously a higher hydration is wanted for a nice oven rise but we realized between 57%-60% worked well for all purposed since if it didn't get in the oven or over proofed it didn't really matter about oven rise. In the middle of summer we are usually around 56-58% and in the dead of winter we will be around 60%+ (if it ever gets cold this year)
You're Friendly Neighborhood Pizzaiolo,