Author Topic: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?  (Read 62036 times)

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Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #180 on: May 18, 2011, 10:31:53 PM »
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 12:09:42 AM by AimlessRyan »


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #181 on: May 18, 2011, 10:37:41 PM »
Ryan,

It looks like you did quite well. Can you critique your own pizza in relation to a real Donatos pepperoni pizza as you last recalled it?

Do you recall anything about the source of the Donatos pepperoni or was that information concealed by the packaging of ingredients from the commissary?

Peter

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #182 on: May 19, 2011, 12:01:33 AM »
It looks like you did quite well. Can you critique your own pizza in relation to a real Donatos pepperoni pizza as you last recalled it?

Thanks. It was a very good pizza, especially for my first try. The next one should be better.

Critique:

1. The crust seemed underproofed; maybe a little tougher than I was looking for. It wasn't bad, though, and in some spots it was just about perfect. It probably would have been better if I had waited until tomorrow to use the dough, or if I had taken it out of the fridge an hour or two earlier.

2. The crust also didn't have quite the right kind of browning. This may be partly due to how I'm baking it: on the bottom rack with a stone on top. I've decided that this setup just isn't working, but I have to try things like that because the oven sucks. I baked for 14 minutes, then finished directly on the stone for another 3 minutes. The slight lack of browning may also have to do with the fact that I omitted the dried milk. I almost wonder if there should be even more than 10.8% egg. It looks like you just about nailed the color in Reply #22. Wazatron definitely nailed it in Reply #48. (He just didn't have the rigidity on that one.)

3. It was a little too thin. Pretty close to what I was going for, though.

4. I feel very confident that 35% hydration is just about right. With the 10.8% egg, in addition to the water, it's actually pretty easy to work with. It really felt right.

Do you recall anything about the source of the Donatos pepperoni or was that information concealed by the packaging of ingredients from the commissary?

I don't remember ever seeing a label, so all I can say about their pepperoni is that it's thin and mild. It curls up a bit and gets relatively crispy. Even if it's a special pepperoni made specifically for Donatos, I know there's something else on the market that would make an excellent substitute. Whatever Tommy's uses (perhaps Hormel?) would work just fine. You wouldn't even be able to tell the difference if you used Tommy's pepperoni.

I went to another small Columbus chain last summer (Massey's) that was a lot like Donatos. Whatever pepperoni they use would be a fine substitute, as well. It's probably the same pepperoni Tommy's uses.

Regarding the commissary: All the supplies actually came from Sygma (in the 2000s). In 1992 I think Donatos had a logistics division, but I don't think they had any units outside central Ohio back then. I might be able to remember the brand of provolone they use for the sandwiches, which is probably the same brand they use for pizza. (It's a brand I've seen in grocery stores before. If I see it written, I'll remember.)

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #183 on: May 19, 2011, 10:14:47 AM »
Ryan,

You might want to reconsider your decision to omit the dried dairy whey and the dry nonfat dry milk. I believe both were used when you worked for Donatos, and for several years later, but the dairy whey is no longer a Donatos dough ingredient. The benefit of the dairy whey is that it is about 70% lactose. Lactose is a simple sugar that, unlike other simple sugars, is not used by yeast as food. The principal value of the lactose is that it remains in the dough throughout its life and is available to provide crust coloration during baking. That might mean that you don't have to use as long a bake time to get the desired final crust coloration. The whey can also have flavor and textural effects in the final crust. I am sure I mentioned potential sources of the whey and also the dry nonfat milk earlier in this thread. Most pizza operators use the baker's grade of those two ingredients, so I would imagine that is what Donatos has done in the past and continues to do to this day. A bag of each of those two ingredients will go a long way.

Peter

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #184 on: May 19, 2011, 11:51:44 AM »
I just remembered that Donatos removes their dough from the walk-in a couple hours before any of it is to be used. Already panned and loaded onto a tall rack, they roll the rack of cold dough skins into a proofer. I'm almost certain they leave the proofer off, though. The proofers are just relics from the old days.

That's one thing I did wrong last night, which is probably why my pizza came out tougher/harder than I wanted.

I'll probably get some nonfat dry milk soon.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #185 on: May 20, 2011, 01:57:59 PM »
I made my second 14" Donatos clone yesterday. The skin weighed about 14.62 oz (TF = 0.095) when I rolled it. (I assume it lost a little weight as it sat in the fridge uncovered for 20 hours or so, but I didn’t weigh it at any time after rolling and trimming it.) After I trimmed the skin, I rolled it to about 14.25” because I figured the skin would shrink a little during its 20 hours in the fridge (which it did). I used 8 oz of sauce, 7.68 oz of cheese, and 4.8 oz of pepperoni, which gave me an uncooked weight of 35.11 oz.

For a really good clone of Donatos sauce, here's what you need:
One 12-ounce can of tomato paste
20 oz of water
1/2 TBSP basil
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp of salt

That'll just about do it for the sauce. Just stir up it up real good and it's ready to use. It will be thinner than most pizza sauces. Don't cook.

Aside from slightly thicker dough, the one big change I made with yesterday's pizza was that I took the skin out of the fridge 2 or 3 hours before I planned to use it. This was the right thing to do.

With this pizza I used a very different baking method than I did for the previous pizza; a more orthodox baking method. Instead of leaving the stone on the top rack and baking the pizza below it on the bottom rack, I preheated the oven on broil, with the stone on the top rack. However, shortly before I was ready to bake the pizza, I moved the stone to the bottom rack and set the oven to bake at 500 (which is the max for my oven).

I baked using a perforated pan atop the stone for 10 minutes. After the 10-minute bake, the top of the pizza was pretty much done, but the bottom was not even close. So I removed the pizza from the pan and slid the pizza directly onto the stone for 1 minute. It still wasn't done, so I gave it another minute. Still not done, so another minute. (If you're not keeping track, I've now baked on the pan for 10 minutes, then directly on the stone for another 3 minutes.) It was probably done by this point, but I put it back on the stone for another 45 seconds or so.

The results:
This was a good pizza. It was a little too thick and a little too crunchy on the bottom, but it was good. Almost Donatos. It was a little too done on top, as well, but that’s probably more from my oven than from how I’m doing it. If I try it again, I’ll just put a little aluminum foil on the top rack to keep the top from finishing before the bottom is done. Another option is to try baking it outside on the grill, where there’s almost no top heat (particularly top heat from electric heating elements… ICK!)

I’m at least 90% sure Donatos does not laminate their dough.

Instead of TF=0.095 (14.62 oz) for a 14” Donatos pizza or clone, I now suspect the TF should be more like 0.091 to 0.092 (14-14.2 oz of dough). It’s so hard to tell sometimes because even when you end up with what seems like an even thickness throughout the raw skin, it’s impossible to get a completely consistent thickness unless you have a sheeter, which, of course, I don’t.

The baked weight of this pizza was 30.75 oz, which is 1.7 oz lighter than the published weight of a Donatos 14” pepperoni. I honestly believe this disparity is a result of my longer bake time because I used precisely the same ingredient weights that Donatos uses for sauce, cheese, and pepperoni, as well as probably half an ounce more dough than Donatos uses for 14” pizzas. (Pay no attention to the total pie weight figures I listed in a recent post. They are correct figures/projections, except my description of how I calculated those figures/projections is hard to follow.)

I may have more to say about this, but for now I'll let the pictures do the talking. (I have a few more pics to post after these.)

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #186 on: May 20, 2011, 02:01:09 PM »
More pics of the same pizza.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #187 on: May 20, 2011, 03:16:35 PM »
I honestly believe this disparity is a result of my longer bake time because I used precisely the same ingredient weights that Donatos uses for sauce, cheese, and pepperoni, as well as probably half an ounce more dough than Donatos uses for 14” pizzas.

Ryan,

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the disparity was because of total bake time. However, a point to keep in mind is that the government allows a variance of up to 20% between what the Nutrition Facts show in the way of baked pizza weight and the actual baked pizza weight in a pizza establishment. I learned this tidbit when I was working on the Papa John's clones, as I discussed at Reply 222 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.msg116747/topicseen.html#msg116747. I also noted there some of the problems trying to bake a clone of a pizza in a home oven as opposed to a conveyor oven.

From your discussion, it sounds like the pizza assemblers at Donatos weighed the items that go onto a pizza. Is that so, and, if so, what kinds of scales or system was used to do this?

Peter

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #188 on: May 20, 2011, 09:39:50 PM »
From your discussion, it sounds like the pizza assemblers at Donatos weighed the items that go onto a pizza. Is that so, and, if so, what kinds of scales or system was used to do this?

Yes, that is true. Cheese, as well as every topping, gets weighed. There are two phases in the pizza-assembling process at Donatos.

Phase 1
In the hour or so before the dinner rush (and during the rush), workers at Donatos sauce-&-cheese at least a few dozen skins; maybe 50 or more. These are mostly large skins, as I estimate large pizzas constitute about 80% of pizza sales.

To apply sauce to a large skin, the sauce person presses the appropriate button on a gadget that resembles the soda dispenser at your favorite bar. After it dispenses 8 oz of sauce onto the skin, the worker uses gravity to distribute the sauce all the way to the edge of the skin (as shown in my pics here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2711.msg139661.html#msg139661).

After the sauce person has applied and distributed the sauce on a skin, he or she passes the skin to another worker a few feet away. The cheese person places the pan on a digital scale and presses the tare button to zero out the scale. For a large pizza, the cheese person applies anywhere from 0.450 to 0.480 lbs of shredded provolone (from edge to edge, of course). This person then places the sauce-and-cheesed skin on a refrigerated rack.

Phase 2
On the other side of the rack is the make-table (prep table). The make-table is about 8 feet wide; it’s a relatively standard prep table with three doors and a compressor (or whatever the reefer guts are called). There’s easily enough room for three people to assemble pizzas; possibly enough room for four pizza assemblers. So if three people are assembling pizzas, there should be three digital scales on the flat part (front) of the make-table. The scales are about 10” x 10” in width and depth, while they stand about 3 or 4 inches high. They express weights to the nearest thousandth of a pound. For example, it reads “.300” when someone has put the proper amount of pepperoni on a large pizza. To tare the scale, you just bump the large button located on the front of the scale.

For every pizza order, the make-ticket lists the pizza size, toppings, as well as the proper weight for each topping. Every pizza is topped on a scale, and every topping gets weighed. So if there is an order for a large pizza with pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms, here’s what the pizza assembler will do:

1) Grab a sauce-and-cheesed skin from the rack in front of the make-table and place it on the scale.
2) Bump the button on the front of the scale to tare it out.
3) Apply pepperoni until the scale reads “.220” (of a pound).
4) Bump the button again to tare out the scale.
5) Apply the next topping on the ticket (sausage, I think) until the scale displays the same number that’s on the ticket.
6) Bump the button again to tare out the scale.
7) Apply the lone remaining topping listed on the ticket (mushroom, I think) until the scale displays the same number that’s on the ticket.
8) Sprinkle Romano mix over the pizza, then place the pan on the appropriate conveyor and never worry about it again.

(I don’t know how much sausage or mushroom is supposed to go on this pizza.)

Since 14” pepperoni is by far the most popular item on the Donatos menu, usually one of the pizza assemblers will prepare a large quantity of large pepperoni skins shortly before a rush begins, topping the sauce-and-cheesed skin with “.300” of pepperoni. After adding the pepperoni, the pizza assembler returns each pepperoni pizza skin to the refrigerated rack in front of the make-table, where it will remain until there’s an order for a large pep. (It takes more than a few seconds to apply 100 pieces of pepperoni to a sauce-and-cheesed skin in an orderly fashion, so this prep procedure is very necessary.) Using this strategy, whenever it gets really busy and there’s a new ticket for a large pepperoni, no one has to make it. All they have to do is grab one off the rack and set it on the conveyor.

Does that help?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2011, 12:03:08 AM by AimlessRyan »

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #189 on: May 21, 2011, 12:14:55 AM »
The name of the cheese manufacturer just came to me. It's Biery.

As soon as the word 'Biery' popped into my head, I googled it and found their web site: http://www.bierycheese.com. Their contact information says they're from Louisville, Ohio. So I'm almost positive that's what Donatos uses, at least for subs, but probably for pizza, too.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #190 on: May 21, 2011, 10:24:25 AM »
Does that help?

Ryan,

Yes, that was very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to lay out the process in such detail. I know from my reading over at the PMQ Think Tank that there are some pizza operators who weigh everything, but they are few and far between and usually independent operators with simpler dough management systems. And just about every time an operator says that his people weigh everything, he gets opposing points of view by those who are free-throwers. What I found most interesting is that the Donatos ticket lists the amounts of each topping, by weight, to be used on a given pizza. I also wondered how a pizza assembler can get about a hundred slices of pepperoni neatly on a pizza, especially when getting slammed. The process you described answers this question.

Peter

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #191 on: May 21, 2011, 01:31:44 PM »
Also, the "refrigerated rack" is not enclosed, so it's not like they put the skins back in a cooler. The rack is basically just a cool area that keeps the skins from proofing exessively as they wait to be topped or baked.

All right, I'm now off to Crew Stadium for a weekend-long heavy metal concert, with a bunch of bands whose music I don't know. So it'll probably be a couple days before I'm back around here. \m/

Offline alternapop

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #192 on: December 10, 2012, 01:33:34 AM »
Waz,

If I am not mistaken, this is the latest version of the Donatos clone dough recipe you have been using.


there is a lot of information in this thread.  can someone draft up a more detailed process and ingredient list?  to achieve something similar to what people have made using the various recipes in this thread?  i'd imagine someone already has it but maybe just hasn't shared it with everyone.

that would be awesome!
thanks!!

Offline Ventaur

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #193 on: August 24, 2013, 12:06:09 AM »
First off, thanks so much to Pete-zza, Wazatron and AimlessRyan for figuring out that whole process and ingredient list. You guys are awesome!

To anyone who reads this: All credit goes to the aforementioned names!

I messed around with a few of the ideas on here and came up with a combination that I think came pretty close to Donatos.

I didn't have access to some of the ingredients and I'm sure the results would have been better if I had used proper ingredients, so bear with me please.

Without further adieu, the ingredient list!

Dough (1 ball)

2 cups Flour (all purpose)
2/3 cup water (room temperature)
1/4 tsp. Inactive Dry Yeast
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 tsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Dry Non-Fat Milk
1 ˝ Tbsp. Eggs (mixed)

Note: I couldn't find dairy whey in any of the stores around me, so I just used more dry milk. Seems to have turned out alright. /shrug

Sauce (More than enough for 1 14" pizza)

12 oz. Tomato Paste
20 oz. Water
1/2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp sugar

Toppings

Cornmeal
24 oz. bag of mixed mozzarella and provolone
12 oz. container of mixed parmesan and romano
Ground oregano
Ground basil
Generic pre-sliced pepperoni (100 slices)

Tools

Microwave
Oven with at least 2 racks.
4 bowls
Pizza stone
14" pizza pan (the kind with holes in it)
Rolling pin
Rolling pizza cutter
Oven safe container for water (I used a ceramic casserole dish)


Instructions

1. Mix dry milk and 1/3 cup water (half the total water) and microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds.
2. In a different bowl, mix the flour, sugar and yeast.
3. Mix up an egg and measure out 1 ˝ Tbsp.
3. In another bowl mix the remaining 1/3 cup of water, salt and egg.
4. Pour the dry milk mixture into the salt/water/egg mixture and stir it up.
5. Pour the dry milk/salt/water/egg mixture into the flour/sugar/yeast mixture and stir until well blended. (I used a spoon and then my hands when it got too thick for a spoon)
Note: I had to add more water during this step, but I wasn't keeping track of how much. I just kept putting in another tablespoon until it wasn't dry and crumbly.
6. Add the oil and knead into the dough.
7. Form a ball with the dough and oil the outside.
8. Refrigerate the dough for 2 days. (more like 40 hours for me)
9. Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl 3 hours before cooking and place in the refrigerator.
10. Remove the dough from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
11. Preheat oven to broil with a pizza stone on the shelf above the one the pizza goes on.
12. Place an oven safe container of water on the lower shelf for 30 minutes and then take it out and turn the temperature down to 450 F.
13. Flour an area of counter or rolling mat and roll out the dough roughly into a 14" circle.
14. Place the pizza pan over the dough and use the pizza cutter to remove the excess dough.
15. Lightly oil the dough with canola oil.
16. Sprinkle cornmeal on the dough and lightly press it in with hands.
17. Flip the dough onto the pan.
18. Remove the sauce from the refrigerator and spread it on the dough.
19. Spread the cheese on top of the sauce until no sauce is visible.
20. Place pepperoni and other toppings.
21. Sprinkle on the basil, oregano, and mixed parmesan/ romano.
22. Place the pizza on the rack under the pizza stone.
23. Let it bake for 15-20 minutes. (The browning of the edges is how I judged its readiness)


I've tried this a few times now and the pepperoni never gets quite done enough. I always take it out because it looks like the rest of the pizza is about to start burning.

Aside from that though, I am happy with the results. It's definitely a ghetto version of what you guys have been doing and not as good as real Donatos, but it was still fun to make. I think I will just fork over the 20 bucks from now on though and get the the real thing, haha. Maybe this noobified version can help out some other people though, who knows?

Once again, ALL credit goes to Pete-zza, Wazatron and AimlessRyan for this. (Sorry if I'm leaving anyone out)

Also to AimlessRyan, I saw Rob Zombie a couple weeks ago at the LC! Rock on! \m/

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #194 on: August 30, 2013, 11:35:20 AM »
there is a lot of information in this thread.  can someone draft up a more detailed process and ingredient list?  to achieve something similar to what people have made using the various recipes in this thread?  i'd imagine someone already has it but maybe just hasn't shared it with everyone.

that would be awesome!
thanks!!
Since I had so much to say over the last few pages of this thread, and because I knew all that information could be confusing, I sifted through my posts last year and published a blog post containing the most useful information: http://ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com/2012/10/donatos-clone.html. It's actually about to become the most popular post on my blog.

Last night I had Donatos for the first time in about 10 years. It seemed a little thinner than what I remember of the two Donatos clones I made. Pretty close, though. I may try it again someday. One thing that tripped me up a little during the two pizzas I documented in this thread was the shrinkage of the skins after trimming, which is evident in the pics of the skins on the pan. I think I've found ways to keep that from happening, but it's still very difficult to end up with pefectly sized skins when you do this at home.


 

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