1. I'm totally with you on the sauce comment. In fact, heavy sauce on my pizzas is one thing that stood out to me a couple nights ago as I reviewed this thread (but which I forgot to mention a night later). Even before that, I already kinda thought I was going a little too heavy on the sauce. I am surprised to hear that my sauce may be thinner than their sauce, but I'm not surprised to hear that this may be a good thing. One thing I've thought about recently is watering down the sauce a little. Or perhaps adding a more watery tomato product (like processed undrained whole tomatoes) to the ground tomatoes that currently constitute my sauce. Because even though I've never had Giordano's, and even though my experience trying to clone it is very limited, I learned right away that you can't let the sauce dry up. With the long bake time, if the sauce dries up, all you taste from the sauce is the herbs/spices you've added to the sauce, as well as a very cooked tomato flavor. In fact, that's precisely why I began going very heavy on the sauce after my first pizza.
2. The parmesan comment is also in line with things I've been thinking. I've never been much of a parmesan fan; I mostly only use it when I know it's used on a style of pizza I'm trying to clone (which I guess is actually most of the pizza styles in my repertoire). I recently became more conscious of this idea after eating a couple slices of member waltertore's NY style pizza, to which I think he adds a liberal amount of grated hard cheese just before baking. Honestly, part of the reason why my pizzas may be lite on parmesan is because of those damn parm containers (and how they don't work when the cheese clumps). I'd much rather distribute a small handful of parm from a bowl (like they do in videos made in places like Giordano's and Malnati's), but that's just not very practical when you're only making one pizza. Will definitely keep this in mind, though.
3. The top skin is an interesting topic. My last one was much thicker than earlier ones, intentionally. There's a lot of discussion between me and Nate on this topic early in the thread. He insists that the top skin should be much thinner than the bottom skin, but when I look at pictures of actual Giordano's pizzas, I see both thick and thin top crusts. And as is evident in videos, they clearly do not adjust the sheeter to make thinner top skins. I suspect the top skins often end up noticeably thinner than the bottom skins because Giordano's pizzamakers hand-stretch the top skin a bit more than the bottom skins. Then, because they leave a lot of air beneath the top skin, the skin becomes a little thinner when the weight of the sauce stretches it a little more. Interestingly, though, I really liked the pizza I made with a noticeably thicker top crust. I thought the thicker top crust specifically made this one better than all the others. (I think this was the last pizza, which used Power flour.)
4. The cheese is kind of an interesting point. I think it's hard to tell from the pictures what's really going on with the cheese. The appearance largely seems to depend on how long you let the pizza sit between cutting it and serving it. If you serve it right away, there won't be any (or much) stretched cheese. But if you cut it, then let it sit for five minutes before serving, the cheese will stretch forever, as in my most recent pics. Those pics are not an accident. After I figured out in my mind which procedure(s) might be largely responsible for the stretchy cheese phenomenon, I forced myself to let the next pizza sit for at least five minutes after cutting it. Only then would I serve the pizza. That's precisely how/why I was able to get that series of four pics with cheese oozing out of the slice a few pages back (page 9, I think). Also, I think you're right on with the "oozed out" comment. I've thought that many times myself. Particularly, I've wondered if the neighbor lady who ate the slice from the pictures showing a ton of oozing cheese ended up with a not-cheesy slice.
It's very possible (or maybe even likely) that I'm not using enough cheese, but I assure you that I am using a ton of cheese. Also, my cheese portion is very in line with the detective work and educated guesses Peter contributed a long time ago in one of the other Giordano's threads. And if you haven't already figured this out, Peter's information is very trustworthy. Peter is a facts guy. That is, he digs up facts that none of us would ever be able to acquire (because we're too lazy) before sharing anything that may be considered a fact. And when he provides educated guesses rather than facts, he makes it clear that he's not providing facts.
Your feedback was awesome. I appreciate it a whole bunch. Also, I'm sure many others will appreciate it, and it will surely lead to a better collective understanding of what constitutes Giordano's stuffed pizza.
I just remembered this. I've been wondering what sizes Giordano's offers. It seems that they offer 10" and 14" (top diameter, it appears). Is that correct? And if so, are there any other sizes? (This question is directed toward everyone, not just IHK.) I ask mainly because one of the restaurant supply stores in Columbus carries some nice-looking, dark, slope-sided pans. Although I'm fine with using vertical-sided pans, most of my vertical-sided deep dish pans (6", 9", and 12") are only 1.5" deep, which is simply not deep enough for this style of pizza. I'd love to get a few of the right-sized pans, with sloped sides and 2" depths, for future pizzas.