Author Topic: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone  (Read 8045 times)

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Offline Lydia

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Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« on: December 11, 2012, 02:25:54 PM »
A few days ago I was allowed to go behind the counter of a Me & Ed's for a personal sheeting demo. (I'll outline that a little later)

What intrigued me the most was the dough. It appeared to be a higher hydration dough, that was underdeveloped and highly fermented. A dough that “seemed” this wet, that made an idealic California style cracker pizza, just blows my mind!
__________________

Me & Ed’s (Milano Restaurants International) has many incarnations, there is a Me & Ed’s Slices, Me & Ed’s Grill and then there are Me & Ed’s Canada ect. The one I visited is a Me & Ed’s Pizzeria. These are a hit and miss, and a “miss” is pretty bad stuff. The quality of the pizza has everything to do with the dough manager.

This pic is the best online reference
http://www.flickr.com/photos/penmachine/4067931062/

The “original style” pizza crust at this pizzeria is best described as a vintage 1960-70’s Shakey’s/StrawHat Style. The bottom layer is golden crisp and yields easily when bitten into all while being very sturdy. It produces the “stereo-typical crumbs” and has an appropriate amount of medium coarse cornmeal on bottom. It stays crisp throughout the meal. This crust also remains that way in a delivery box, even without a corrugated steam deterrent underneath. The layers above are soft, tender and moist, all while having a somewhat dry leathery-ness to them. The upper most layer has more moisture from the sauce and could be described as “nearly” doughy, but not in a gross way. There is a total of 9 layers if it’s from the first sheeting made without scrap and the layers easily peel away whole from each other. The layers also separate within a crust bubble and can clearly be counted. I have only had a “nearly gummy layer” once, and it was an order late in the evening close to closing time.

_____________________
Information gathered
 http://www.vcstar.com/news/2009/aug/02/branching-out/#ixzz2EIONRFUl
- vcstar.com

indicates that they use “Canadian flour”
have their own specially patented brick ovens

I had to read up on Canadian Flour and found this most interesting. Crisping and some comparison to Pendleton.  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25538/canadian-flour-better-american   (A long time ago I read an article about Pendleton changing to a different breed of wheat.)

Specifically they state their dough takes 3 days to make.  http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_34_36/ai_91236625/ link is dead but I saved the article.
Quote
…Two-unit franchisee and 42-year company veteran Bob Myers insists the restaurant's popularity is due to its flaky crust…
…"The way we do our dough is art and science; it's not easy to replicate," he added…
…Rather than the typical fast-rising or frozen dough used by some of the larger pizza delivery chains, Me-N-Ed's dough takes three days to make, Ferdinandi said. The chain's pizza dough is repeatedly folded and flattened in a roller machine before it is allowed to rest and reach its prime consistency….


http://www.yelp.com/biz/me-n-eds-camarillo Review by brandon s 9/26/2007

Quote
The dough mixture is aged for two to three days, then rolled through a roller and pre-cut into skins that are dusted with cornmeal as opposed to flour and are then aged another day.  This process gives the pizza that wonderful crisp.  If it's not aged long enough, you get a crust that tastes like a cracker.  But when done right,  I personally think that it's the very best kind of crust.


Keep in mind that Pizza Palace from the "west coast" was merged with Straw Hat in 1980.

Displayed at some locations, Stanisalus sauces "Pizziola" and "7/11".
Have their own spice blends.
California Cheese symbol on menu
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 02:29:48 PM by Lydia »
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 04:31:58 PM »
This is great news Lydia....best of luck to you. I know you will do well!  :chef:
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 04:37:08 PM »
This is great news Lydia....best of luck to you. I know you will do well!  :chef:

TY  ;D
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 04:53:58 PM »
Behind the Counter

Before I start this, I want to explain that the manager at this M&E is very good at what he does, and he is “very” fast. I really don’t have any idea how I was able to take in the details that I did. My mind was literally reeling for hours afterwards. Not to mention that I think I was experiencing a pretty intense adrenaline rush just from having the opportunity that I did. I feel like I’m in shock and the details are just muddy. So I “may” have to make some retractions/additions later.
__________________________

I had such an exciting experience.12-3-12 I had taken my mom to Me & Ed’s just after the lunch rush, so the place was empty. I had taken my remaining pizza to the counter to be boxed up and noticed the guy behind the counter was starting to sheet dough but the infernal dough bin was in the way. Sheer impulse took over and asked him if he was making dough and if I could watch. He seemed pleased by my interest and then good naturedly informed me that he charges a dollar. :-D He rolled the dough bin from blocking my view and then changed his mind and told me to just come back behind the counter.

The Owner was also there, he came over to ask; “How come you let “her” watch you make dough, but when “I” try, you complain?” he responded with a good natured smile and motioned me to come closer to the bench. So, the Owner found himself a place off to the other side, to watch as well.
I noticed the settings weren't marked on the side of sheeter (single pass), so I have no clue what it was set at. I don’t recall seeing a brand either, I just know it was white like an Acme and smaller than I've seen at RT.

The Manager pointed to the bin of dough behind me and said that it was the dough that had been in the refrigerator overnight. It had a grayish-tan hue, like old dough, but clearly wasn't blown dough because it was highly expanded and covered in somewhat thick gluten strands and air holes. It had a strong but typical fermented aroma.

The Manager already pulled the amount of dough needed for two batches; one was left on the counter while he worked with the other one. (it looked like it was a combination of fresh and scrap.)
The counter was already dusted with flour. The bench flour looked to be unbleached and finely milled, reminiscent of pastry or cake flour. Not like the Mondako “dusting flour” which is somewhat coarse.


The next thing was that he explained that the dough had to be “spanked”.  :o   I know I had to have the most stupefied look on my face, but oh well.
He began slapping the dough and explained that it “had to be spanked to be good”. - This might be a good time to mention that he spoke very quickly with a thick Asian accent and he struggled sometimes to find the right word. – They were literally firm, quick, flat handed smacks. At first I thought that this was to slap out any air bubbles, but there weren’t any, so it took me a bit to catch on to what was happening. It “appeared” that the dough was being flattened in the center to thin it (it didn’t require the oomph that the RT dough did.)

My Mom had taken the spot at the customer counter to watch, she said from her view it looked like he was actually slapping where the dough was to be folded and then he did a few in the center. To be honest, my Mom’s view was much farther back and this would have been more obvious from her view.

He dusted the sheet, he wasn’t using “a lot” of flour, it was a couple of 3 finger pinches that he sprinkled over the sheet, then he just quickly swiped his hand over the dough then pushed any excess onto the bench.
The dough was folded right side then the left side into a tri-fold.
Flour was sprinkled at the top of the sheeter, I couldn’t see whether or not this was directly into the moving rollers or just at the shelf close to the rollers.
The Folded dough was rotated 90 degrees and held onto while being ran through the sheeter. The shelf was kinda short. (He said “see, easy, right?”)

The dough wasn’t very long at this point, maybe 2 feet.
The dough was gently pulled so that it laid flat. Manager said “oops “ and pinched at a spot in the dough, it may have been a bubble since there was now a hole that he didn’t patch, but just patted flat
The spanking and flouring of the dough was repeated.

He was really emphasizing the “dough spanking”. Initially I thought this was more for comedic value, but after he kept mentioning it I was beginning to understand that it had some sort of relevance. (My Mom had returned a few days later to ask about it and he said that spanking wasn’t "necessary" …. but helps the dough rise. Mom asked “like kneading” he said “yes”. So your guess is as good as mine on this one.) ???
He did another sprinkling of flour and another tri-fold. (My memory is a little muddy as to whether or not the sheet was spanked or floured first.)

I mentioned that Me & Ed's crust has lots of layers and asked if it was because of the flour and he said “yes” nodding emphatically.

I’m pretty confident that he didn't change the roller settings, never saw his hands leave the dough. The dough didn’t develop much length until the final sheeting when he picked up the dough draping it over his arms and ran through the sheeter a final time without folding. (I confirmed this with my Mom who had the better view of the adjustment knob, but she also said she was having trouble catching everything, he was so fast.)
Its finished length was about 5-6 ft.
Starting at the right side, the Manger sprinkled on the flour and rubbed it in with very intentional circular motions that reminded me of a scene from “Karate Kid” and repeated this in the center then finished at the left were I was standing. He followed by wiping away excess flour.
There was no docking at the bench, I don’t even recall a docker, and the crust doesn’t show any signs of being docked. So, I guess it’s not docked.

He grabbed a cutter ring and a bench scraper and cut around the die with the just a tip/corner. The scraps were tossed aside on the bench. The skins were stacked on a pizza pan without “anything” between so I asked if they stuck together. He said that the flour keeps them from sticking or it would be a mess. I pointed to the scraps and asked what they did with those. He said he’d show me. He placed the skins in a clear bag and he said he was taking them to the refrigerator. “see easy right?”

The manager said many times it was "easy" but the owner said that “he makes it look easier than it is”.

The Manager motioned me over to the bench as he grabbed the blob gassy dough, about the size of a volley ball. I’m not confident on that one because it wasn’t degassed and it was pretty slack. It also wasn’t weighed. I actually didn’t see a scale anywhere, but there might have been one in the back with the mixer.
I asked if that was the fresh dough and he confirmed.

I can’t recall how this came up, but he explained that the scraps will sheet much better than the fresh dough. He said the scraps make better dough.  Boy, was he right. He just stretched the fresh dough to I dunno maybe 15 inches.. and plopped it on the counter and sprinkled it well with flour. The dough didn't resist not one bit. It acted like a high hydration dough, which was really messing with my mind. It reminded me a lot of the “batter method” yeast dough I use for doughnuts. He ran it through the sheeter and it really wasn’t pretty. It was dimply and blobby. "See?" he said.
He grabbed the scraps and kinda pressed them into a rectangle floured and ran that through the sheeter. "Much better huh?" It made a nice smooth sheet.

The fresh dough was laid on top of scrap dough with short ends tucked under the scrap, floured and sheeted.
He said that it didn’t matter which was on top (but I disagree. The scrap on bottom is going to be drier and crisp up better. Having the fresh dough on top at the sauce level would account for the moist doughier layer)

Then the whole thing was repeated as above.

 
This is where my dough sheeting lesson ended and conversation started with the Owner on the history.
We had to step out of the Mangers way, as he never stopped working. He asked if I wanted to see how it was baked, informed it would cost me another dollar as he opened the oven door and slid it into the oven with the pizza peel. “That’s it!”



::::::::::::: Making a standard pizza :::::::::::::
Skins do not look like there any rise at all and I believe they come straight from the refrigerator to the make station.
Corn meal on a wooden/gypsum type Pizza paddle
When they are making the pizza, they spread out a layer of cornmeal before laying the dough down.
Corn Meal is somewhere between coarse and medium.
Cups are used to portion the Toppings/cheese
::::::::::::: The oven :::::::::::::
The oven is stated as being exclusive to Me & Ed’s.
As a matter of fact, the brand embossing on the side of the oven Says “Me & Ed’s” which I don’t believe I have ever seen before.
Top and Bottom Decks were set to 550F
Despite the cornmeal, it looks like the skins occasionally stick to the fire brick and they have a scraping tool to help it release.
They also use a bubble popper.
The bottom crust stays crispy for an extraordinary amount of time. Even when it is in a box for delivery. There is nothing in the box to prevent it from steaming the crust soft either.  But it softens by the next day.
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline ThatsAmore

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 07:59:08 PM »
Fantastic informative write up Lydia  :pizza:  :pizza:
Who put that pie in my eye ?

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 08:30:34 PM »
Fantastic informative write up Lydia  :pizza:  :pizza:

TY  ;D
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 08:37:00 PM »
I like how your mom gets into this stuff too  8).....got a feeling this here is going to be one awesome thread.  :chef:
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 10:46:09 PM »
I like how your mom gets into this stuff too  8).....got a feeling this here is going to be one awesome thread.  :chef:


 :-D oh don't get me started on my "Mother". When I was very young she taught me all my core baking and confectionary skills, all of her best instructional cookbooks were at my disposal, we on a tour at every fast food/pizza joint that provided one, but dear lord, she comes running to me when something she made didn't turn out. The answer is always the same, "Mom ??? you know better, you're the one that taught me." I'd love to blame it on ageing, but she's always been that way. Very intuitive baker, her pies are highly sought after, but she "gliches"  :-D
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 10:50:27 PM »
I would like to introduce to you the new toy I’ve been playing with for the past week.
Fleischmann's pizza crust yeast (yeast, enzymes, sorbitan monostearate, L-cysteine, ascorbic acid.) http://www.pizzacrustyeast.com/ 
I had snubbed this yeast because, well, it just wasn’t marketed properly. It just sounded like a gimmick for rapid-rise yeast. I wanted flavor and texture, not speed, so I blew it off. (Their site doesn’t mention ANYTHING about the ingredients. If it had, I would have been all over it.)

Then, I came across this write up and my jaw went slack. http://www.woodfiredkitchen.com/?p=1146
_______________________
For measuring I’m treating it as if it were IDY.

So far….
Doughs are taking in way more flour.
It’s cutting fermentation time by a full day or more. (Might be even faster as I increase water temps. Currently at 90F.)
Same day doughs have the flavor profile and golden coloring of overnight dough. (wishing my camera wasn't broke)
Overnight (24 hr) cold ferment equivalent to 72 hour cold ferment. BUT better!  The bottom crusts are coming out “California thin crust” perfect. The flavor is very developed, it isn’t “yeasty or beer like” but it is a match for the current M&E.

So over-all it’s just been a “very good” pizza week.

Side note: Spec. sheet on similar SAF product for USA http://www.lesaffreyeastcorp.com/products/bakers-yeast-products/dry-yeast/saf-instant-premium-0

SAF Pizza Yeast – France/Canada - no spec sheet
http://www.lesaffre.com/en/yeast-baking/leading-brands/saf-pizza.html
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline ThatsAmore

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 11:06:30 PM »
Lydia,

I'm not sure if you caught this post of mine involving the Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1311.msg217102.html#msg217102

I too have found it to be good   :chef:

Who put that pie in my eye ?


Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 11:20:54 PM »
Lydia,

I'm not sure if you caught this post of mine involving the Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1311.msg217102.html#msg217102

I too have found it to be good   :chef:




Nope, I looked at the the formula, admired the pic of your bottom crust, then completely missed that you used the Pizza Crust Yeast. IN my defense I was speed reading through threads to try and catch-up.

So that's good, everyone's at least been acquainted then  :D
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 11:21:45 PM »

I forgot to mention, how beautifully the doughs are rolling out.  :o
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 11:26:23 PM »
I forgot to mention, how beautifully the doughs are rolling out.  :o
Oh boy....your "newfound toy" could not have come at a more opportune time. This is gonna be interesting.... :chef:
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline ThatsAmore

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 11:29:14 PM »
Nope, I looked at the the formula, admired the pic of your bottom crust, then completely missed that you used the Pizza Crust Yeast. IN my defense I was speed reading through threads to try and catch-up.

So that's good, everyone's at least been acquainted then  :D

No problem on missing that post over at Shakeys thread, I'm just pointing back out to validate of your findings as well.

As I stated a few posts down, the next day's left over dough w/ scraps was even tastier.  I didn't take pics as it look identical to the night before, but it had even better taste.  I had enough dough to cook the neighbors a 10" out of that last batch, and so that made me look even better  ;D
Who put that pie in my eye ?

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 11:37:00 PM »
As I stated a few posts down, the next day's left over dough w/ scraps was even tastier.  I didn't take pics as it look identical to the night before, but it had even better taste.  I had enough dough to cook the neighbors a 10" out of that last batch, and so that made me look even better  ;D

That cool  8)
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2012, 10:41:43 AM »
Okay, now I am intrigued.  I just bought a jar of regular Fleishmann's yeast, but after we go through that, I am going to find some of the Pizza yeast.  I am also curious to see how this would work with my wife's bagels.  :D

-ME
Let them eat pizza.

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2012, 10:54:04 AM »
Okay, now I am intrigued.  I just bought a jar of regular Fleishmann's yeast, but after we go through that, I am going to find some of the Pizza yeast.  I am also curious to see how this would work with my wife's bagels.  :D

-ME
[/quotes

The packets say not recommended for bread baking, but you know how that goes. I think it could possibly work for bagels, you'll just have to fine tune the process. The flavor would be killer  :chef: So now you've got me intrigued  :o
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline ThatsAmore

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2012, 07:27:08 PM »
I got my Fleishmann's Pizza Crust Yeast Wally Neighborhood Market
Who put that pie in my eye ?

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2012, 07:34:15 PM »
Lucky You  ;D mine didn't carry it, none of the west coast chain that do carry it are nowhere near me.

I had to order online. It cost a pretty penny.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Lydia

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Re: Ok, I’m going to take on a Me & Ed’s Clone
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2012, 07:34:44 PM »
Right now I'm trying to decide on method an technique. I don't have anything solid, but it looks like it's going in the kitchenaid.
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.