Author Topic: I call BS on the "myth" that great pizza dough can only be made with NYC water  (Read 2526 times)

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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Roberto Caporuscio  has also confirmed tht is BS, and  that the water does not mean !@#$  ;) he tells a story where he went to train  a person who recently opened and the guy was bringing in NYC water,  Not sure if he dumped it or ? but used regular water and whala killer pizza !
J

Water most certainly does mean !@#$. However, I'm not saying it's a secret ingredient that keeps one from reproducing any particular style of pizza if they don't have a specific water source available to them. (I never bought into the NYC water "wisdom," and I can't believe people still talk about it as if there might be some truth that great NY style pizza can only be made with NY water.)

The water where I live now (since January) is nothing like the water where I lived throughout the rest of my pizzamaking life (city water vs. well water). For example, I've just begun to realize that I need to increase my hydration figure by 2% or 3% to end up with dough that resembles dough I made before I moved, regardless of the pizza style. (And I do many styles.) I've already had to relearn a whole bunch of things about pizzamaking just because of my water supply, and I will probably continue relearning for years.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.


Offline JConk007

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agreeded not all the same results as NYC water But your still making  a great pies with other water, thats the point!!  just with few  little adjustments few experiments  . CAN be done right ?
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline Fire-n-smoke

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As W.C. Fields had said, "water rusts pipes and fish make love in it!"  Only real difference is in New York they have dead bodies and boots in their water!!   :-D
tom

Offline Aimless Ryan

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This is off-topic, but I feel like it kinda fits in here.

Aside from the need to increase dough hydration in my new home (as I mentioned a few posts back), I've also experienced some weird things with yeast. Before I moved, I used about 0.65% ADY for a 48-hour cold-fermented NY style dough. The first time I made pizza here, doing everything identically to how I did it before I moved, my dough was nowhere near ready to use after 48 hours in the fridge. Fortunately I was able to make it work, but I also took note that the unused dough wasn't what I consider ready to pull for another 48 hours.

My first thought was that my fridge must be too cold. So I monitored the temperature for at least a month before concluding that the fridge temp played essentially no role in the slow fermentation.

Concurrently over the next month or so, as I made more batches of dough, it seemed like the dough was fermenting faster than my first batch fermented, even though I didn't make any changes. (And looking back now, I realize it really did ferment faster; it wasn't just in my head.)

Now I'm down to 0.25% ADY for 48-hour NY style (was 0.65%), and I've considered dropping it to 0.2%. I have made some procedural changes, which account for part of my need to decrease my ADY percentage so dramatically (like pulling the dough 2-3 hours before baking instead of pulling it 1 hour before baking), but mostly my dramatic decrease in yeast has been because my dough will not be usable now if I use the same amount of yeast I had used for so long before moving.

I think I'm finally getting consistent results from one batch to the next, but that whole adjustment period was just weird. I think it's pretty safe to assume this was not caused by water, but I really don't know what caused it.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

scott123

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Ryan, your post isn't off topic at all, since by controlling all your variables from one setting to another, you're basically implying that the water in the new location is impacting fermentation- which I've seen many times- which is why I go blue in the face telling people that they can't strictly go by yeast quantities in recipes and have to work with their own environmental variables.

As far as your variations in water go, other than excessive chlorine, though, variations in fermentation rate can be easily be compensated for in yeast quantity- as you're witnessing, so you're not really challenging the consensus that NYC water's necessity is a myth.

On the ADY thing... come one :) Your skills are way too advanced to be messing around with that stuff.  IDY by the bottle is dirt cheap at Walmart. There's no excuse not to use it- and it is so much more friendlier to lower temps.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 02:43:40 PM by scott123 »

Offline Jon in Albany

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I wonder if going from city to well water you lost some chlorine and maybe added some minerals. I read in a homebrew forum once that yeast likes hard water.




Offline Aimless Ryan

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Scott, I have switched to IDY for some styles, but I still use ADY for most of my dough; particularly dough that requires well under 1% ADY. I'll probably switch with every kind of dough eventually, but for now I don't feel comfortable doing it with everything. I don't have a scale accurate enough to measure yeast by weight, and I just feel like I'd almost have to measure down to the individual yeast grains if I used IDY for pizza styles that call for, say, 0.25% ADY.

Jon, I went from well water to city water. (I realize that one part of my earlier post may have seemed like I was saying I went from city water to well water, though.)
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

scott123

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Ryan, wouldn't these solve your measuring problem?

http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-3080-Stainless-Measuring-smidgen/dp/B0009X1P9S/?tag=pizzamaking-20

The small spoons I own don't have a drop, but I measure 1/64 by tilting the 1/32 to the side and it works beautifully.  I'm sure you could to the same thing with the 1/64 spoon and get 1/128 t.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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My reluctance to switch over to IDY exclusively may just be fear of change, which I've convinced myself is something more like fear of measuring small quantities wrong. I rarely make dough based on less than a pound of flour, so 1/2 tsp ADY is probably the smallest amount of yeast I ever need to measure. I should probably just force myself to try IDY with a batch of dough that calls for 1/2 tsp of ADY. Today even, considering I have almost 50 lbs of flour and I don't intend to make pizza in the very near future.
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.


Offline Andrew Bellucci

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In my opinion, the time you pull out your dough from the refrigerator has much less to do with anything than the actual dough temperature when it's ready to go into the oven - which should be about 50F.  Tom Lehmann himself told me the 50F figure for NY style in a conversation a while back.

That said, pulling dough from the fridge 2-3 hours before baking time sounds better than 1 hour.

I'm working in a kitchen where the temp is 85-90F with very high humidity.  My dough comes to 50F after barely 1 hour, so that's what I go with.

Hope that helps.

Offline Sirius

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I wonder: is there anything special to NY Water?
Been to New York last Year, and to be honest, the Water tastes like cloro-urinal(no offense,thats just how I experienced it)...just compared to the waterstandards I'm used to in northern europe

Offline ourback

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I wonder: is there anything special to NY Water?
Been to New York last Year, and to be honest, the Water tastes like cloro-urinal(no offense,thats just how I experienced it)...just compared to the waterstandards I'm used to in northern europe

There is a lot special about NYC water- it's some of the best water you can get out of a municipal tap anywhere in the world. The source water is so much better than the stuff in Europe that it doesn't need to be filtered (I guarantee you your water comes from something that looks like a petrochemical plant). It isn't magical, it's that the water is from large reservoirs 50-200km north of the city, in low population density / non industrial areas with many thousands of years less human pollution... Anyone who works with grains and yeast will confirm that water chemistry is important- it is the real reason why the traditional beers of different parts of Europe are so wildly different.*

The only time there would be detectable chlorination in the water would be if there was some sort of problem and they needed to spot treat to guarantee safety. So I'm not sure where you were, but if it tasted like chloramines, it probably wasn't the NYC water being talked about here.

*Beer and pizza dough are obviously completely different stories, and if you're making a radler/shanty (aka covering it in sauce), slightly off flavors in the beer probably don't matter so much. I think that long cold ferments (like NY style) would be more sensitive to changes due to water chemistry than short room temp ones, just guessing on that based on my understanding of the science involved... If interested, here is some information on water with respect to brewing (http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-2.html), which again is much more complicated than what should matter for baking (we're not removing our malted wheat after an hour or two nor extracting hop compounds).

Offline Sirius

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I have been to white plains...thats only my experience...both for tab water and the "poland springs" everybody is drinking....the only water that tasted neutral like I am used to was  voss water

Offline ourback

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I have been to white plains...thats only my experience...both for tab water and the "poland springs" everybody is drinking....the only water that tasted neutral like I am used to was  voss water
That is probably because Voss is Norwegian tap water ;)

White Plains gets it water from the original NYC reservoir system that now provides only about 10% of the water to the city (the other 90% of NYCs water supply comes form the Catskill mountains). The problem is that the federal government here has mandated protection against cryptosporidium since this is unfiltered surface water. Now that it must be treated, NYC uses UV light, while White Plains uses chlorine, and it requires quite a lot of it.

Offline Sirius

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good to know...thank you for the information....yes the price  they charge for voss is a joke. but I  had to try it..

Offline TXCraig1

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It funny how many people will complain at the price of gasoline then go spend 3X as much on plain water.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
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Offline Aimless Ryan

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That is probably because Voss is Norwegian tap water ;)

White Plains gets it water from the original NYC reservoir system that now provides only about 10% of the water to the city (the other 90% of NYCs water supply comes form the Catskill mountains). The problem is that the federal government here has mandated protection against cryptosporidium since this is unfiltered surface water. Now that it must be treated, NYC uses UV light, while White Plains uses chlorine, and it requires quite a lot of it.

So if you want the best NY style pizza available, you can now mostly only get it in White Plains, and you stand almost no chance of getting it in NYC? (Playing devil's advocate here.)
Ryan
http://www.ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.


Offline TXCraig1

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One thing is certain about NYC water - people love to talk about it.  :-D
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline norma427

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I had two older Italian men that came to my stand today.  Both were born in Naples and grew up there.  They live somewhere in our area now.  Both of the men had tasted my pizzas before, and came back today to ask a few questions and purchased two slices.  They wanted the slices from a fresh pie so they waited until I made one.  While I was making the pizza the one man told me the best pizza ever is from Naples.  I thought to myself I don't know how true that was, but asked why he thought the best pizzas come from Naples.  He said because the water there makes the best pizza and also the San Marzano tomatoes.  :-D  I didn't want to get into any argument or say one thing or another about the water thing.  I asked if the men meant the best Neapolitan pies were baked in a wood-fired oven in Naples.  The one man said yes.  All I said was I had the best Neapolitan pizza I have even eaten in Texas. 

I also let them taste the cheese I use because they said they like the cheese on my pizzas.  Both of the men said that was the best mozzarella they have ever tasted.   :-D

Norma

Offline ourback

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So if you want the best NY style pizza available, you can now mostly only get it in White Plains, and you stand almost no chance of getting it in NYC? (Playing devil's advocate here.)

No, but if you're eating at a restaurant in NYC and you don't want to look like a schmo, don't order bottled water...

One thing is certain about NYC water - people love to talk about it.  :-D

I'm new here but I've already gleaned that if you can't talk about NP, your next favorite topic is testicles... I can certainly imagine NYC water being at best a distant 3rd ;D

Offline kdefay

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I get my water delivered weekly by the bottled water truck.  This is how most places in Thailand do it.  Very few bother putting in direct filtration systems.  When I have New Yorkers in the shop from time to time, they are always impressed that a pizza in the part of the world can be just as good as what they get back home.  I always knew the NY water story was myth, but it sure is an effective marketing tool. 
The USA, Myanmar, and Liberia are the three remaining countries in the world who do not use the metric system.  That's some fine company to keep!!

Buy a scale, think in grams, and welcome to the 21st century!!


 

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