Author Topic: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet  (Read 15027 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« on: September 17, 2005, 06:51:26 PM »
Who makes the best sauce for pizzas? There are more opinions on this subject matter than there are methods to lose weight. Some might say San Marzano DOP whole or crushed tomatoes.

Others claim there is little difference with DOP certification and say why pay the extra for true San Marzanos when Italian plum tomatoes will suffice. Still others say American tomatoes which are fresh packed from California are clearly the best. Well tonight I found out that everyone is wrong. That is if everyone is buying tomatoes in a can. 

The best tomatoes in the world are fresh tomatoes. I frankly don't know why I didn't think about it before but I found out tonight that the difference is huge. Kindly allow me to explain.

A few months ago I read about a strain of fleshy tomatoes available only in the state of Florida called "Ugly Ripes." Today I purchased a handful of those Florida "Ugly Ripe" tomatoes and decided to blend them using the Kitchen Aid hand mixer. What an eye-opener. Simply put, I blended up the handful of Ugly Ripes and spiced them up with the usual suspects (salt, pepper, oregano, and basil) and took the chef's privilege by testing the concoction before dressing Pizza Sophia.

What happened? An avalanche of flavor conked me over my head. When I woke up I realized I just climbed a lot higher up the mythical pizza mountain of enlightenment. Color me lucky as I inadvertently stumbled on another personal breakthrough in my quest to produce an artisan pie of the highest quality loosely based on my NY style historical baseline.

I apologize for not having photographs of the whole tomatoes but they were quickly dealt with by the powerful hand mixer before I realized that I was on to something special. The photos I managed to take detail how I was able to dress Pizza Sophia with the tomato sauce first without drenching the skin. The beauty of the Ugly Ripe sauce is that it is chock full of a level of freshness I have not experienced before. On top of that they are very fleshy without a lot a runny juice.

On to the pictures.
#1 - The Ugly Ripe label
#2 - The blended Ugly Ripes spiced to the gills and ready to splash onto Pizza Sophia
#3 - Normally I lay the cheese down first and then very conservatively spoon sauce in between the hunks of cheese. However the Ugly Ripe sauce was so chunky and thick, I had little worry about
drenching the skin
#4 - Placing the chunks of Fresh Mutz
#5 - Sprinkling a custom blend of Provolone, Reggie Parm, Asiago, Fontina, and Romano Cheeses
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2005, 06:55:28 PM »
#6 - Laying down the juicy pepperoni
#7 - Sprinkling garden fresh shredded basil
#8 - Pizza Sophia

I will post more pictures of Pizza Sophia in the ongoing Neapolitan thread.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2005, 07:02:17 PM »
The best tomatoes in the world are fresh tomatoes.

pftaylor,

Possibly even better are tomatoes from your own garden. Among other varieties, I grow San Marzano tomatoes from seedlings. Nothing like going out to the garden, plucking off several ripe ones, chopping them up, tossing with some salt and pepper and putting on a Neapolitan-style Pizza Margherita along with fresh basil from the garden. Tragedy struck this year with an intense hail storm that wiped out the entire crop  :'(.

Heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market or grocery store just don't pack the punch of fruit right off the vine.

Bill/SFNM

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2005, 07:09:49 PM »
Bill/SFNM,
I never seriously considered the use of store bought tomatoes let alone one's garden fresh tomatoes as the basis for my pizza sauce before today. However, I will go on record and state that I will never buy another can of  San Marzano, San Marzano Style, or any other canned tomatoes for my home pizza making efforts. The difference is stunning.

Other than perhaps straining out the seeds I couldn't be happier with the ugly ripes. However, I just remembered that I bought a packet of San Marzano seeds from eBay a few months ago and thinking about your statement above, I will plant them tomorrow...
« Last Edit: September 17, 2005, 07:13:46 PM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2005, 07:13:02 PM »
Yeah, but once cool weather sets in, the quality of fresh tomatoes from the grocery store declines dramatically. I prefer sauce made from canned tomatoes over the flavorless tomatoids sold out of season.

Bill/SFNM

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2005, 07:13:04 PM »
Bill/SFNM,
I will go on record and state that I will never buy another can of  San Marzano, San Marzano Style, or any other canned tomatoes for my home pizza making efforts.


Just curious, what will you use in February?

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

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2005, 07:15:30 PM »
PizzaBrewer,
While I have never grown tomatoes before, aren't tomatoes available year round? I live in Tampa so I might have a fighting chance.
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Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2005, 07:17:57 PM »
Maybe in Florida you'll have luck.  Around here (Pennsylvania), you can't get a fresh tomato that's even remotely edible in the winter.

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

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2005, 07:51:58 PM »
When I first moved to Texas I decided to grow some tomatoes even though they are not indigenous to the state. Because of the orientation of my house and my lot size, which affected how much sun my plants would get, I decided to buy some tomato plants and grow them on containers on my patio. What I found at the Dallas Farmers Market was some determinate varieties, also called "bush" tomatoes, already in pots and almost 2 feet tall. These are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). On the downside, they stop growing when the fruit sets on the terminal or top bud, and ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period), and then die. During the period of their growth I had to water them frequently and profusely because of the intense and unrelenting Texas sun. And I had to put the planters on casters to move them around, in and out of the sun and in the path of the water from my sprinkler system. The containers themselves had to be large to keep the soil from drying out during the normal daytime sun. I found myself scheduling events around my tomato plants and their well-being. I was taking care of them better than I take care of myself.

By the time I figured out what everything cost me, from the plants, containers, soil, organic fertilizers, and casters--not to mention my own time and loving attention (which I valued at zero)--I figured that each tomato cost me about $8.00 (I'm exaggerating, of course, but not by much).  And I got most of the tomatoes at about the same time. It didn't take me long to figure out that I was far better off going back to the Dallas Farmers Market and buying the tomatoes from the East Texas grower who sold me the plants in the first place. They weren't quite as good as mine right off the bush but it certainly was more convenient.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 17, 2005, 07:55:16 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2005, 09:17:25 PM »
I figured that each tomato cost me about $8.00

Peter,

Ummm, do you really think you can cost-justify anything about home pizza making? The cost of the equipment, ingredients, time, etc. - I don't even want to think about my amortized cost per pizza. At least home delivery is free.  :D

On the bright side, a friend who was chiding me for my pizza passion is a golf fanatic. After toting up the amount he has spent on clubs, bags, attire, greens fees, club memberships, vacations to famous golf courses, etc., I don't feel so bad about my little pizza hobby.

Bill/SFNM



Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2005, 10:07:03 PM »
Bill,

The way I see it, you are going to have to eat anyway. If you aren't spending your money on pizza ingredients, you will be spending it on some other foodstuff. Your equipment costs (wood-fired oven, Santos mixer, firewood, etc.) are higher than mine, but there is perhaps no place on the planet that will be able to make a pizza like yours that gives you the same degree of satisfaction. A 55-lb. of Caputo 00 will keep you, your family and friends in pizzas for a long time. And you will never get a fresher pizza than what you routinely make for yourself.

Remember, also, that pftaylor has set the bar very high for himself: he wants the very best pizza possible--a quintessential artisanal pizza. He feels that he has the right dough recipes (Raquel and Sophia), the best flours (KASL and Caputo), a good fresh mozzarella cheese (Biazzo), Parmigiano-Reggiano and Romano grating cheeses, the right salt (Sicilian sea salt), a clean bottled water, the best pepperoni (Ezzo), and the best leavening agent (the preferment) from the standpoint of contributing to crust flavor. (I hope I got everything right). Where he has not been satisfied is the sauce. Now he feels he has that problem licked, at least for the moment, and one day he hopes to have a new oven that will have all the best features, if not the design, of a Neapolitan oven. Then, we will all be going to Tampa to have him give us samples, "ugly" tomatoes and all ;D.

Peter

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2005, 10:21:09 PM »
a good fresh mozzarella cheese (Biazzo)

Wait a minute! Did you say Biazzo? That's the cheese I used yesterday (see my thread on frozen dough) and everyone thought it was not very good compared to the Bel Giosio that I've been using lately ever since I found nobody noticed the difference between that and my homemade mozzarella.

I got the Biazzo at Sam's Club. Hey, pftaylor! Is that what you're using?

Bill/SFNM


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2005, 06:37:45 AM »
Bill/SFNM,
Pete-zza is right about the Biazzo and all of his other points as well. For a complete understanding of my position on Biazzo, the next couple of paragraphs are a cut and paste of my position regarding Biazzo from another post I made in the Pizza Raquel thread:

"I happen to think Biazzo Fresh mutz is a good value and a solid choice for elite NY style (Patsy's, Grimaldi's Lombardi's, etc.) home pie making. I prefer it to more expensive yellowish whole milk mutz such as Grande which may be better for NY street style pizza (think greasy, gooey, run-down-your-arm type pies). It is clearly not the finest example of fresh mutz, but I would rank it as a top tier cryo packed fresh mutz which is generally available to home pizza makers.

With a little tinkering here and there, such as freezing it ever so slightly before placing on a skin (to lessen the chance of burning), it is more than manageable. From a cost perspective it is hard to beat at roughly $2.25lb through Sam's Club. I have noticed that it doesn't perform quite as well when sliced in thin strips for some reason. The best performance I have been able to coax out of it has been when I rip small chunks off the ball and place it randomly on the skin. That way the stringy strength of the cheese remains intact and it seems to melt in place with a blotch without burning as easily."


From the comments above, you can see that I have my reservations of using it right out of the package. But with a few adjustments, it seems to be serviceable. I will add that I've also been favorably impressed by lightly dressing the cheese with EVOO and Sicilian sea salt after grilling. It brings out the flavor and that is what this hobby is all about. With your outdoor oven I'm sure you have a heat perspective that the rest of us mere mortals don't have to contend with. Just out of curiosity, did you slice it or chunk it on your pies? I have found chunking to be a winner.

My overarching goal with Pizza Raquel is to make the very best traditional NY Style pizza I am capable of with the ingredients available in the home. A NY style pizzeria pie only with high quality ingredients. Raquel represents the absolute best tasting NY style pie I can make without an outdoor oven like yours. Baking Raquel in a true Neapolitan oven would be the last major identified step in my evolution as an artisan home pizza maker. It would be the culmination of maxing out every facet of traditional NY style pizza - only in the home.

With Pizza Sophia, I feel that I am trying to create a new category of home spun pizza. It seems to me that there is a sizeable gap between NY styles and Neapolitan styles. NY styles tend to use high gluten flour and Neapolitan styles tend to use 00 flour as you well know. My efforts with Sophia are centered around trying to take the best of NY and combine it with the best of Italy. A true NYapolitan style, if you will.

To my knowledge, it has not been well documented in the past, if at all. Every elite pizzeria that uses 00 flour tries to make their version of an authentic Neapolitan pie. I want to make an authentic NY style pie only with 00 flour. My motivation for all this? Well, as much as I profess my love for Raquel, Sophia simply tastes better. Bill/SFNM, I believe pizza is mostly about the crust (like you do) and the crust flavor on Sophia is flat out superior to Raquel. What I didn't realize and feel like kicking myself over, is how much more important sauce is than cheese. I have spent way too much time trying to find a great fresh mutz when the impact is negligible compared to dialing in the sauce. If pizza taste is 70% crust then the balance is 20% sauce (with proper spices) and only 10% cheese.

So there you have it. My take on what drives me in this hobby. One last point - my other hobby is golf so I must be in real trouble...
« Last Edit: September 18, 2005, 07:40:33 AM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2005, 09:00:41 AM »
With Pizza Sophia, I feel that I am trying to create a new category of home spun pizza. It seems to me that there is a sizeable gap between NY styles and Neapolitan styles. NY styles tend to use high gluten flour and Neapolitan styles tend to use 00 flour as you well know. My efforts with Sophia are centered around trying to take the best of NY and combine it with the best of Italy. A true NYapolitan style, if you will.

To my knowledge, it has not been well documented in the past, if at all. Every elite pizzeria that uses 00 flour tries to make their version of an authentic Neapolitan pie. I want to make an authentic NY style pie only with 00 flour. My motivation for all this? Well, as much as I profess my love for Raquel, Sophia simply tastes better. Bill/SFNM, I believe pizza is mostly about the crust (like you do) and the crust flavor on Sophia is flat out superior to Raquel. What I didn't realize and feel like kicking myself over, is how much more important sauce is than cheese. I have spent way too much time trying to find a great fresh mutz when the impact is negligible compared to dialing in the sauce. If pizza taste is 70% crust then the balance is 20% sauce (with proper spices) and only 10% cheese.

So there you have it. My take on what drives me in this hobby. One last point - my other hobby is golf so I must be in real trouble...
I couldn't agree more with you about the superiority of the Neapolitan crust. Usually I bake 3-4 pizzas for a meal using that crust, and one is a  traditional Margherita, one a NYC-style with Saputo low-moisture mozzarella, and one is a white "Pizza Lolita". I've also used that same crust for breakfast pizza Benedict to good effect. Your 70%-20%-10% seems exactly right.

I do think Pete and I need to come to Tampa for an intervention to help you kick the golf thing. Imagine how many more pizzas you could bake if you weren't strolling around hot, muggy, mosquito-infested fields looking for a ball. An alligator could jump out of the water hazard and the world would lose the creator of Pizza Sophia. Oh, the humanity!

And after gorging on pizzas, we could go to Bern's for dessert!  ;D 

Bill/SFNM
« Last Edit: September 18, 2005, 09:08:22 AM by Bill/SFNM »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2005, 10:05:42 AM »
Bill/SFNM,
Interesting comments. I suppose with an outdoor oven and enough seasoned firewood, you could create any type of pizza you so please. I am counting the days till my oven guy can start my project. Regarding Berns, I'll have the cigars humidified...

Regarding the ugly ripe tomatoes which kicked this entire discussion off, I have some manufacturer info for the community:
A tomato that tastes like a tomato.

These unique-shaped tomatoes may look ugly with their wrinkled appearance but the UglyRipe taste is anything but. The flavor of these unique tomatoes is so exceptional that they are quickly becoming the gourmet favorite among chefs and consumers alike.

"UglyRipe"™ is the Registered Brand Name for the Procacci, Gargiulo, Santa Sweets heirloom variety beefstake style tomato. Heirloom means that the variety at least 40 -50 years old, is open-pollinated and has been preserved and kept true to its purest form. Heirlooms are not hybrid tomatoes which are grown for commercial purposes and tend to lose both flavor and color after several generations of breeding.

The UglyRipe is derived from the "Maramondo" variety. Originally marketed in France, it was crossed only twice, once with a variety to produce plant strength, and again for some disease resistance.

There is some tenderness when high in color. The tomatoes are picked at the peak of ripeness and color and have vibrant crimson color inside. Because of the possibility of bruising, they are hand picked into tubs and then hand packed into individual "spongy" sleeves and labeled with a PLU #3423. Some retailers will only handle the "Ugly-Ripes" and no other bulk tomatoes when available. Others will not carry "hothouse" beefstakes when these are available.


 
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2005, 11:10:11 AM »
One other point to illuminate upon.

Ugly Ripes are not for the faint of heart or pocketbook. They were priced at $3.49/lb which makes them a very pricey specification for home pizza making.

My justification is two-fold. First, my overall goal is to produce the finest tasting pizza (whether made in the home or otherwise) irrespective of price. Secondly, they are on par with DOP San Marzano tomatoes price wise. The difference now is that I'm price neutral relative to DOP San Marzano tomatoes but finally have the flavor I have been paying for all this time. I now can look at the price of tomatoes as an investment and not a cost. In my mind, the difference between an investment and a cost is that with one you get a return.

Lastly, I find it somewhat ironic that I am now using all market fresh or garden grown ingredients - where practical. In a sense, the skill of a pizzaiolo is just as important in the final selection of ingredient groups as it is in knowing what to do with them.
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Offline rawcalls

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2005, 07:17:52 PM »
I just ordered some Ugly Ripe tomatoes from www.santasweets.com . A six pack of these costs $12.50 delivered.  I know that sounds expensive as heck but I just absolutely love the taste of a good tomato since my garden was destroyed this year by a hail storm and none of the grocery stores carry any good tomatoes I thought I would just try them.  I will post and let you all know what I think.  Thanks, Rawcalls.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2005, 07:04:16 AM »
rawcalls,
Are you going to make a pizza sauce with them? Or just eat them raw? Either way, let us know your results.
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Offline rawcalls

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2005, 11:37:51 AM »
I am going to make a little pizza sauce and a little salsa.  I am not only a pizza junkie but also a salsa/mexican food junkie ;D

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2005, 08:29:41 PM »
I followed rawcalls lead and ordered some tomatoes from www.santasweets.com which arrived this morning just in time for pizzas tonight. pftayor is absolutely right; these tomatoes make marvelous sauce. The price is high, but really no more than what the is being charged in the farmer's market.

I just chopped them up, tossed with some salt, pepper, and olive oil and used instead of sauce. So good!

Bill/SFNM


 

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