Author Topic: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet  (Read 16627 times)

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Offline BIG Daddy

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2005, 12:42:14 PM »
pftaylor;
Thanks for the quick response.  I will go ahead and order the uglyripes (if the hurricane has not closed them down) and "spice them up".  I will let you know the results.
BIG Daddy ;D
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2005, 08:04:14 AM »
Bill/SFNM,
Based on your observations and mine, Ugly Ripes, can produce a sauce which easily exceeds any canned-based tomato product including the bottom-of-the-barrel San Marzanos which are unfortunately exported and generally available here in the US. I would have to experiment with growing my own garden fresh tomatoes to determine the slight difference you detected. All I know is that Ugly Ripes gush with a taste of freshness which elevates Pizza Raquel and Sophia.

The bottom line is that if you could not detect a taste difference (in the final product) between just-picked tomatoes and Ugly Ripes, then perhaps we have reached a point of deteriorating returns. If so, that level of accomplishment is good enough for me.
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Offline scott r

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2005, 11:16:07 AM »
The uglyripes were the sweetest of the three types of high end tomatoes I tried this weekend.  Great tip pft!

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2005, 02:00:09 PM »
scott r,
Thanks for your feedback. Did you grind them up with an immersion mixer or another means? Also, did you peel them first?

I used to use an old fashioned beater type mixer which didn't seem to grind them into the proper consistency. Consistency seems to play a role into the whole flavor equation as well. The small number of Ugly Ripes I've experimented with were not overly juicy but produced a very thick consistency bursting with flavor.
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Offline scott r

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2005, 04:38:28 PM »
PFT, in addition to the uglyripes having the sweetest flavor, they also contained less moisture than the other types of tomatoes I tried.  The first thing I did was to remove the peels from all the tomatoes.  I brought a pot of water to boil, and dropped each tomato in the boiling water for a few seconds.  Right from the boiling water I dropped them into ice water and the peels came right off.  I have been doing this for years to make fresh sauce during tomato season, and I do find the sauce to taste better and have a better consistency without the peel.

The first thing I tried was your technique of not cooking the immersion mixer pureed tomatoes.  While this did taste great, it was too soupy on top of the pie for my tastes.  Over a very low flame I reduced the tomato puree by about 1/2 and the flavors jumped out even more.  While I am usually not an advocate of cooked sauces on pizza, this really did seem to help with the fresh tomatoes.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2005, 04:40:12 PM by scott r »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2005, 05:49:24 PM »
scott r,
Thanks for sharing your sauce preparation procedure. The more I learn about tomatoes the more I find out just how much I don't know. I never would have thought of trying the procedure you have outlined. I bet it tastes great.

One question about the increased flavor you mentioned; is the fresh taste still present or is it akin to a more seasoned pasta sauce? I am looking to maximize the freshness quotent as much as possible.
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Offline scott r

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2005, 07:48:27 PM »
As long as you do the reduction slowly you should still retain the fresh flavor.

I do want to add that the pictures of your uglyripes, or maybe they were the ones from the Santa Sweet website, look better than the ones I found.  Mine were fairly pale, and did not have the vibrant red color.  It could be that your tomatoes are better, and do not need the concentration that I felt was necessary.

Offline LeeB

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2005, 01:49:00 PM »
Has anyone tried some Roma tomatos from your local supermarket?  A Roma is a pretty meaty type tomato that wouldn't exhibit as much liquid as some of the others.

Offline scott r

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2005, 03:13:57 PM »
lee, I did try the uglyripes along with some organically grown romas, and some of the cluster on the vine tomatoes.  Although the cluster vine tomatoes were by far the most perfect looking, they did not have the meaty quality of the romas or the uglyripes.  The romas were close to the quality of the uglyripes as far as texture goes, but the uglyripes did have a sweeter flavor that I prefer.  If you live in an area where you can not get the uglyripes at your market, some good romas with a dash of sugar will get you very close.


Offline Les

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2005, 05:18:27 PM »
. . . the base tomato will be the Ugly Ripe until I encounter another which can surpass it. As of this moment, no other tomato is close in my opinion.

Just to offer my little contribution in case you didn't see my thread . . . you might try the grape tomatoes (the ones pictured seem to be from the same company as the ugly ripes), and/or the recipe for the sauce here:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1931.0.html

The grapes are very meaty, the sweetest commercially available tomato I've tasted,  available year 'round, and growing in popularity by leaps and bounds (i.e., which means the price should keep dropping).
« Last Edit: September 28, 2005, 05:21:49 PM by Les »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2006, 09:39:25 PM »
In my continuing effort to produce the finest pie I am capable of, the last major category yielding significant improvement has been the sauce. The level of improvement in this category has transcended my expectations and has extended beyond it borders into the other two big parts of a pizza - crust and cheese.

To recap the history of my sauce experimentation is like taking a final exam. I tried every tactic known to me to score. Here it is in all it's painful glory;
1) I started out with various jars of spaghetti sauce and spiced them well.
2) Then moved on to jars of Italian sounding pizza sauces from American companies from my local supermarket and spiced them well.
3) Then moved on to a variety of crushed American canned tomatoes and spiced them well.
4) Then moved on to a variety of expensive American San Marzano Whole canned tomatoes and spiced them well.
5) Then moved on to a variety of more expensive Italian San Marzano Whole canned tomatoes and spiced them well.
6) Then moved on to a variety of even more expensive DOP certified Italian San Marzano canned tomatoes and spiced them well.
7) Then moved on to a slugo can of Contindina Whole tomatoes from Sam's Club and spiced them well.
8) Then moved on to fresh tomatoes from my local supermarket and spiced them well.
9) Then moved on to Fresh Ugly Ripe tomatoes and spiced them well.
10) Finally, after months of trying to overcome my Virginia public school education induced "thinking between the lines," I broke the chain of failure and ventured out into using only pure Ugly Ripe tomatoes.

Notice a trend here? I sure didn't until I got to number 10. That's when I stopped using spices IN my sauce and started using them ON my sauce. A very slight change which has brought about a huge improvement to the taste of Pizza Raquel and Sophia.

I can now taste fresh tomatoes.

The delicate balance of crust, sauce, and cheese now exists in perfect harmony. Don't get me wrong, I love spices like basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic. But I have proven to myself that they actually taste better on the pizza and not in it.

Your mileage may vary but I'm not going back.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2006, 08:58:23 PM by Steve »
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Offline foodblogger

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2006, 07:22:33 AM »
I went through a similar evolution in my thinking towards pizza.  Something that is easy to forget is that Pizza Napoletana is made with pizza ingredients that are EASILY AVAILABLE to the average Neapolitan.  In the same way, Mexican food is made from oftentimes seasonal ingredients that are EASILY AVAILABLE to the average Mexican.  I used to go to huge amounts of trouble to get specialty imported tomatoes, flours etc. when making my pizzas.  I have come to the conclusion that I was acting in a 'grass is always greener' mode.  I like a challenge.  Part of the reason I like pizza is because it is a challenging art to master.  Now, instead of focusing on the challenge to get DOC approved San Marzano tomatoes or Caputo 00 flour, I am focusing on the challenge of making an incredible pizza that is from ingredients that are easily available to me.  I have enough faith in the art and process of pizza making to say that (with time) I can make a pizza - with quality ingredients that are easily available to me - that will stand up to any pizza made anywhere in the world.  Food for thought anyway.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2006, 09:40:44 AM »
foodblogger,

The "easily available" standard you set can be difficult to implement. Where I live in the Dallas Metroplex, "easily available" is tantamount to almost nothing. We don't have 6-in-1 tomatoes, Stanislaus tomatoes, Ugly tomatoes, or San Marzano tomatoes (the real ones, not the fake U.S. equivalents). The Muir Glens are available, but not all places locally carry them. Tomatoes are not indigenous to Texas, so trying to grow them when the temperature is over 90 degrees F a good part of the growing season is a most challenging exercise to say the least. The best I can do for fresh tomatoes is to go to the Dallas Farmers Market in season where some hardy East Texas farmers have risen to the challenge of dealing with the inhospitable Texas growing environment.

We also don't have Grande cheeses, Polly-O or any of the other high-quality pizza cheeses used by many of our members, and those that are available, such as fresh mozzarella and imported buffalo mozzarella cheeses, are not really readily available and come at a very steep price. The only processed whole-milk mozzarella cheese I have been able to find to date, after looking at every food store I have been in, is the WalMart store brand, and it is not comparable quality-wise to what I have been able to find outside of Texas.

Perhaps the best flour for pizza that is available at the retail level is the King Arthur bread flour but, even there, very few places in the Dallas Metroplex carry it. I was fortunate to be able to locate an inexpensive source of the King Arthur Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour, from a local distributor, but that came only after a long time searching. That was a crowning moment for me. But just about the only one.

I would say that "easily available" as far as flours is concerned means all-purpose flour where I live. That flour is fine for deep-dish doughs and for some cracker type and American style doughs, but I have found it wanting as far as the NY style is concerned. I know there will be some howls of protest, and I will concede that there are perhaps some of our members who have high-temperature ovens and can make a decent NY style using all-purpose flour, but I have never been able to use that flour with my standard home oven to achieve comparable results to using high-gluten flour. Bread flour can come reasonably close, and if used with vital wheat gluten, arguably come even closer. The closest I was able to come to a NY style result with all-purpose flour was a combination of all-purpose flour, vital wheat gluten, and dried dairy whey. It was good, but not as good IMHO as using high-gluten flour. One has to try high-gluten flour to understand what I am saying.

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes you don't have a choice but to hunt down the best ingredients. Otherwise, you end up with mediocrity.

Peter





« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 12:45:16 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline foodblogger

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2006, 10:39:49 AM »
Pete,
Dallas and Texas in general are very different from where I live.  I live in K.C. and what is readily available to me might be your impossible to get.  In 4 months I have to move to Louisville Kentucky for a fellowship and I have no idea what is in the stores there.  I used to live in the middle of nowhere in Iowa so I am used to working with substitutions.  I am by no means advocating my own personal 'readily available' standard for anyone else, it is just something to think about.  I sometimes find myself pining away for something that is difficult to get.  I wonder how much of the satisfaction I have had with certain ingredients is do to the rarity rather than the actual taste.  Its like the whole Kona coffee thing.  I love Kona coffee but part of the reason I love it is that there is only so much of it every year and getting ahold of the real thing is a struggle.  I often wonder if very many people could tell the difference between Kona and another high quality bean.  I can't swear that if you gave me 5 cups of coffee, one being Kona, that I could pick the Kona.  But I'll also admit that drinking Kona, and knowing that I am drinking something that only a few people can get gives me great pleasure.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2006, 12:36:56 PM »
foodblogger,

Since Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the country, you'd think that it would have all the best pizza ingredients. KC is in the 38th spot according to recent data. Even some staple items are getting hard to find. For example, the places around me have stopped stocking the little cubes of cake yeast, and some have stopped selling basic mozzarella cheese in the deli sections (and some never did to begin with). Everything now comes sliced and packaged in plastic and sold elsewhere in the stores. It would be one thing if there were a lot of specialty Italian food stores, but I haven't been able to find any around Dallas. Even at the lowest of the low end--the little pouches and boxes of pre-mix pizza dough ingredients sold in the supermarkets--are not to be found, except maybe for a Chef Boyardee product here and there. It looks like no one in the Dallas area makes pizzas of any kind at home, from scratch or even from pre-mixes.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 07, 2006, 12:41:04 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline foodblogger

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2006, 12:51:25 PM »
Quote
Everything now comes sliced and packaged in plastic and sold elsewhere in the stores. It would be one thing if there were a lot of specialty Italian food stores, but I haven't been able to find any around Dallas.

My goodness!  I am a lot more spoiled than I thought.  KC doesn't have a lot of specialty Italian stores but there are at least 2 really good ones.  My favorite is Caroli's in the City Market.  They have 6-in-1 and a couple different varieties of San Marzano.  They also have supreme quality fresh mozzarella.  It is in the deli counter in a bin of cheese juice.  No wrappers or anything.  When they get your cheese they fish it out with a slotted spoon and put it into a plastic deli container with some of the juice from the bin.  They also carry Margherita pepperoni and have an amazing homemade Italian sausage.  When I was in Chicago it was the same thing.  Last week I took a tip from this board and looked at Sam's Club - they have 5 pound bags of Stella!  I guess I should have specified exactly what I meant by 'locally available'.  I am hoping beyond hope that I can find a good Italian market in Louisville.

Offline sisca

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2006, 03:59:40 AM »
i used to make my sauce from scratch, which was good, but recently i came across Cento brand pizza sauce . seeing as how it is made in Jersey, i took a gamble and bought it....it's a damn good sauce. it is a little bland, but i add olive oil, garlic powder and marjoram and it's amazing!


Offline Furo

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2006, 11:43:42 AM »
Hey Foodblogger,
Have you ventured to Scimeca's on Antioch road and Englewood,Kansas City North? They used to have the original store on Independence Avenue, but sold it to a Vietnamese group. Then they opened the one north of the river. It has a nice selection of imported goods ( not as much as the original though). I live in the old Northeast part of town and remember all the little Italian grocers we used to have. If you are looking for a good coarse Italian sausage try the ones from B & K market on the corner of Independence Avenue and Norton. I also have been to Carilo's in the City Market, good selection but pricey.
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Offline helio

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2006, 09:53:55 AM »
pftaylor: have you ever tried 6-in-1 tomatoes from Escalon? ...curious how they compare!

Offline pftaylor

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Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #44 on: August 26, 2006, 06:56:13 AM »
helio,
Thanks for your question.

My position on sauce right now is simple. Mother Nature's garden fresh tomatoes (many different varieties) are better for pizza than anything in a can - including DOP San Marzanos. I cannot think of an instance where the reverse is true.

I have tried the 6-in-1 tomatoes from Escalon and found them to be pleasing but not on the same freshness level as just-ground tomatoes. A bright, fresh taste is what I strive for. Not overly sweet, but nature fresh. A fresh tasting sauce, for me, perfectly blends with the crust and mozzarella to produce a mouth watering experience which signals my brain that everything is in alignment.

The Ugly Ripe tomato is very flavorful and perhaps is the best available to me at a supermarket. I am also attempting to take a step up and grow my own San Marzano's from a packet of seeds but have yet to taste the fruit produced. It is a week or two away from being ripe enough.
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Offline EdF

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #45 on: September 06, 2006, 01:29:52 PM »
PFT:

If you find someone selling Paul Robeson tomatoes, maybe at a farmers' market, try them out.  Or next year, grow them yourself.  I think we got the seeds from Bear Creek.  We've done maybe 8 varieties of heirlooms, and these are our favorite for flavor (and the texture is fine for sauce).  Another point is that if you can your own tomatoes in glass, they do retain the fresh flavor through the year.

And I love the Uglis.

- Ed

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #46 on: September 06, 2006, 02:07:27 PM »

Another point is that if you can your own tomatoes in glass, they do retain the fresh flavor through the year.


Ed,

Exactly how do you prep the tomatoes before canning them? I've already got a ton of dried tomatoes and still plenty more on the vine, so I was thinking of canning the remainder. Thanks.

Bill/SFNM

Offline EdF

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2006, 12:57:04 PM »
Bill,

We follow the procedure in Putting Food By (definitive book on preservation) using either the pressure cooker method or the water bath.  If I remember from last year, it's blanch them and add a little salt and lemon juice.  Another method that worked well, but gives a different kind of product is to cook them down to puree thickness, roll into balls and submerge in olive oil - no need to can.  These made a really great puree for adding to various dishes.  Probably inappropriate for pizza, though.

Pick up that book - well worth its modest cost.

- Ed

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2006, 01:23:49 PM »
I've got the book though I primarily use the Ball Blue Book. I'll give that method you suggest a try. I'm hoping that I don't lose that fresh, sweet flavor.

Thanks!

Bill/SFNM

Offline EdF

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Re: Finest Pizza Sauce Yet
« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2006, 01:36:26 PM »
Bill,

I think it's going to be a matter of your tastes.  Yours may be more discriminating than mine.  But they did keep the garden taste as far as I could tell, and it's nothing like tomatoes in a can.  The water bath method will give less separation of the juice from the pulp than the pressure canning method, by the way.

- Ed


 

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