Author Topic: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death  (Read 7258 times)

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Online jeff v

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Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« on: March 02, 2013, 07:07:28 PM »
Latest in a series on YouTube.
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Offline apizza

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 07:21:30 PM »
Wow, that told me things I didn't want to hear. Looking forward to the comments from our experts on this video. Thanks for the post jeff v.
Marty

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 07:28:33 PM »
I am pretty sure that the blurred out bag of flour in the video is this one, with the code 50111 as shown at 3:18 in the video: http://www.professionalbakingsolutions.com/product/all-trumps-enriched-flour-50-lb/50111000?mct=Flour&ct=high-gluten&typ=Type.

I hope that this thread doesn't turn into another debate between bromates and no bromates. There are already several threads on the forum that can be searched and studied on this subject.

Peter

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2013, 07:34:38 PM »
I am pretty sure that the blurred out bag of flour in the video is this one, with the code 50111 as shown at 3:18 in the video: http://www.professionalbakingsolutions.com/product/all-trumps-enriched-flour-50-lb/50111000?mct=Flour&ct=high-gluten&typ=Type.

I hope that this thread doesn't turn into another debate between bromates and no bromates. There are already several threads on the forum that can be searched and studied on this subject.

Peter

Agree. He comes off a little tongue in cheek to me in these.
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

scott123

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2013, 08:12:21 PM »
 ;D

Offline shuboyje

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 08:47:24 PM »
ROFL
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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 09:26:32 PM »
Some of the newer folks may not have see this special product from KA inspired by one of our very own.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
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Online Jackie Tran

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 09:37:02 PM »
That cracks me up everytime I see it Craig.  As far as bromated flours or stronger flours being easier to use and requiring less skill is hog wash.   Stronger flours are just as difficult to make a good pizza with as a weaker flour, you just have to know how to make the adjustments.  Same with bromated flours versus non bromated flours.   He also makes it sound like only the big chain guys like Domino's and PH are using bromated flours.  I'm not sure that is true either.

Offline David Deas

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 09:50:59 PM »
That cracks me up everytime I see it Craig.  As far as bromated flours or stronger flours being easier to use and requiring less skill is hog wash.   Stronger flours are just as difficult to make a good pizza with as a weaker flour, you just have to know how to make the adjustments.  Same with bromated flours versus non bromated flours.   He also makes it sound like only the big chain guys like Domino's and PH are using bromated flours.  I'm not sure that is true either.


Actually, I would say it is most definitely is easier to work with stronger flours versus weaker flours.  It is possible to achieve satisfactory characteristics at fairly low temperatures without having to be able to manage a real oven.

Regarding the potassium bromate, I would also say that the purpose of any dough enhancer/enhancement (bromate or otherwise) is to make something easier.  It's not just that it's different.  We're talking about *enhancers* here.  The dough equivalent of steroids, IMO.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 10:04:55 PM by David Deas »


Online Jackie Tran

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 10:07:27 PM »
David, it does take a bit more skill to make a good (great) NP pizza in a 900F wfo than a NY pie in a 500F, but my point is this.  Dough is dough.  Each dough made from it's respective flours requires a different touch, kneading, fermentation protocol, and bake.  Each style of pizza requires it's own unique set of difficulties and equipment to make.  Generally speaking it's not more difficult to make a cohesive dough using caputo versus HG bromated flour.  You just have to know how to adjust the hydration (among other ingredients) and the amount of gluten development.   It doesn't take more skill to handle a dough made with caputo vs HG flour.  The specific flour is relative.  If I gave you a 100% hydrated HG bromated dough to work with alongside a 60% caputo dough, guess which one is harder to work with?  Not the caputo dough.  

Chau

Offline David Deas

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2013, 10:22:25 PM »
I think Jeff's overall point was that pizza started out being a high quality something that dedicated professionals made.  Pizza ended up being a low quality something that anybody with a business plan could sell.  Chemically sterioded flours were a part of that whole transition, among other things.  And I think that's really all the video is saying.  The overall point, I find, is hard to disagree with.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 10:30:07 PM by David Deas »

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2013, 10:30:41 PM »
And I think that's really all the video is saying.

That and it's the flour of death... remember, the video is just a propaganda piece for his employees - nothing more.
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Online Jackie Tran

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2013, 10:34:03 PM »
I agree with you David.  I did get the basic gist of the video.  I was just pointing out that he says at 2:42-2:45 that BF is easier to use than the caputo.  It really isn't.  It's relative.  Relative to what one's experience is.  While it's true that HG flours require less kneading and is easier to develop the gluten, it's also easier to over develop the gluten in a HG flour dough and get a tough crumb (assuming no oil or other dough softening agent is used).   Just saying each flour has it's own unique challenges.  I don't think it's right to say that pizza has devolved into crap.  Yes it's changed, but if Jeff really believes what he is saying, then why isn't he making NP pizza?  

Does anyone know if Jeff uses strictly caputo 00 flour or if he is blending flours.

If he is joking, then it went over my head...

Chau

Offline David Deas

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2013, 10:36:13 PM »
A 50/50 blend last I checked.  Don't know what it is these days.

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2013, 10:51:17 PM »
I think Jeff's overall point was that pizza started out being a high quality something that dedicated professionals made.  Pizza ended up being a low quality something that anybody with a business plan could sell.  Chemically sterioded flours were a part of that whole transition, among other things.

http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

Quote
So Finally, here is the list of what I consider to be the best pizzerias in the world
(bromated flours in bold):

1   Johnny's
2   Luzzo's Coal Oven Pizza
3   Modern Apizza
4   Una Pizza Napoletana
5   Jeff Varasano's House
6   Sally's
7   Patsy's

8   Franny's
9   Totonno's
10   Pepe's
11   Sal's
12   Sac's
13   Di Fara
14   Denino's
15   Louie & Ernie's
16   Grimaldi's
17   Joe's

18   Isabella's Oven

Since bromated flour makes such low quality pizza, I'm surprised to see Jeff's best pizzerias in the world list riddled with it.

Mal

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2013, 10:58:45 PM »
To be fair, Jeff doesn't say bromated flour makes low quality pizza. He's saying that makers of low-quality pizza are relying on bromated flour.

scott123

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2013, 11:49:16 PM »
To be fair, Jeff doesn't say bromated flour makes low quality pizza. He's saying that makers of low-quality pizza are relying on bromated flour.

Mal, are you and I watching the same video?

Quote
This is the Twinkie of flours

Quote
The quality of the (NY street) pizza is maybe not quite as high

Quote
"We went from super high end [pointing to Caputo] to super low end [pointing to All Trumps], from super natural, to super chemically..."

Jeff clearly lays out the progression from high quality flour 'pure' Neapolitan pizza to low quality chemically enhanced pizza. There's no way anyone could watch that video and come off with the impression that bromated flour can make some of the best pizza in the world.

This is the typical knee jerk reaction to bromate.  No facts, no research- just emotion. He's in a bubble.

Inside the bubble:
Hearsay
Paranoia

Outside the bubble:
Bromate's proven safety record
It's rock solid connection to his favorite pizza/the best pizzerias in the world
It's tenuous ties to chain pizza, who, because of their national/Californian presence, have generally been moving away from bromate for years

Jeff makes some of the best pizza in the nation, but the guy needs a good pair of glasses. This kind of misguided tunnel vision is up there with his age old quest for Patsy's starter.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 11:54:24 PM by scott123 »


Mal

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2013, 12:07:05 AM »
Jeff isn't saying you can't make good pizza from bromated flour. He's explaining why he doesn't use it as an ingredient. I guess you could interpret that as hearsay and paranoia.  :-\

scott123

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2013, 12:11:07 AM »
Jeff isn't saying you can't make good pizza from bromated flour.

Yes, he is. The video looks at bromate from a safety perspective as well as a quality one. It is crystal clear that he feels bromated flour is low quality flour.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 12:36:49 AM by scott123 »

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2013, 04:29:55 AM »
Yes, he is. The video looks at bromate from a safety perspective as well as a quality one. It is crystal clear that he feels bromated flour is low quality flour.

I think in "some" cases he is right but not all. Just as in coffee, often the "flavored" beans are of lesser quality because the artificial flavors cover up the short comings of the cheaper beans and allows them to use the 2nd, 3rd etc grade beans and charge as much. The really good coffee beans are therefore used on their own higher quality merit. Same could be said for some bromated flours. But rarely does it mean ALL. I'm sure many bromated flours as well as flavored coffees use high quality ingredients. Rarely is anything so black and white.

jon
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Offline Morgan

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2013, 08:36:55 AM »
No cancer flours to me thanks! Its forbitten in Europe and Scandinavia, but hey there must be someone who is getting some profit with this stuff, i think there is some similarity to corn syrup, you guys mix that staff all over the place :-D

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2013, 10:14:38 AM »
He also makes it sound like only the big chain guys like Domino's and PH are using bromated flours.  I'm not sure that is true either.
Chau,

I have been studying the ingredients lists of the major U.S. pizza chains for years, and they do not use bromated flours. This includes Domino's, Papa John's and Pizza Hut (and, I believe, Little Caesars also). They are all national chains and chose not to have to have different practices in California than in the rest of the country. Because of their size and high visibility, they are also constantly under the microscope of users who have concerns over the use of bromates. However, this doesn't stop them from using a lot of other additives and conditioners, especially for doughs that are made and frozen at commissaries for delivery to their stores. Domino's and Pizza Hut use many chemicals in their doughs, far more than they used to when they were smaller. Papa John's uses very few unless they have changed things over the past few years (PJ no longer discloses its ingredients lists, much like Little Caesars). Small pizza operators and regional chains might or might not use bromates. For example, Buddy's Pizza, Papa Gino's, Mellow Mushroom and Hungry Howie's do. Jet's and Home Run Inn do not. While some places might not use bromated flours, they will often use bleached flours.

I question Jeff's statement that about 99% of pizzerias use bromated flours. Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's and Little Caesars alone account for about 27% of all stores in the U.S. Other chains represent about 15% of the pie, and independents represent close to 60%. The four big chains mentioned above account for about 30% of total U.S. pizza sales (about $22B annually). So, that 99% number looks suspect to me.

But, there is little doubt that bromated flours are very prevalent in the pizza business. For example, at the General Mills website, it lists 38 flours in its Pizza flour category that are suitable for pizza. Of those, 17 flours are bromated; 14 are both bleached and bromated; 8 are bleached but not bromated; and 12 are neither bleached nor bromated. I counted five bleached flours with ascorbic acid in lieu of bromates. As one might expect of a big miller like General Mills, with a product for everyone, there a few flours that are just plain flours with nothing added, including bleaching agents, bromates, ascorbic acid, malted barley, or vitamin enrichment.

Peter

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2013, 10:27:46 AM »
I question Jeff's statement that about 99% of pizzerias use bromated flours. Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's and Little Caesars alone account for about 27% of all stores in the U.S. Other chains represent about 15% of the pie, and independents represent close to 60%. The four big chains mentioned above account for about 30% of total U.S. pizza sales (about $22B annually). So, that 99% number looks suspect to me.

Like I commented above. The video is not an informational piece. It's pure propaganda for his employees.
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Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2013, 11:27:05 AM »
Like I commented above. The video is not an informational piece. It's pure propaganda for his employees.

In the below episode he claims Caputo pizzeria is 10% protein, and "00" references mill size - both inaccurate. Did he or the person filming this take the time to verify accuracy of his statements? I don't even consider these as "informational". It just seems like he is talking off the cuff and posting this stuff online.



John
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 01:04:35 PM by Steve »

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Re: Jeff Varasano and the flour of death
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2013, 11:34:11 AM »
Like I commented above. The video is not an informational piece. It's pure propaganda for his employees.
Craig,

You may well be right but I am hard pressed to understand why Jeff, who has always struck me as being a meticulous person, would feed his employees information that is not correct. Since the video is entitled "Jeff Varasano's Famous New York Pizza Recipe", maybe he was speaking of the New York style where the use of bromated flours is indeed widespread. I also wonder why he would be discussing rather technical matters such as dough chemistry, oxidants, anti-oxidants, etc., with his staff. Maybe some of his managers would benefit but I am not as sure about other employees.

Out of curiosity, I did a bit of research this morning to see how many countries actually ban bromates. What is a "country" is subject to different views and interpretations, some of which are political in nature, but it appears that there are close to 200-225 "countries" in the world (the U.S. State Department apparently recognizes 195 countries in the world). As best I can tell, about 160 countries outlaw the use of bromates. That is about 71%. If you look at the major developed countries of the world, that percent would be much higher.

Peter


 

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