I suppose first I should note my toppings. I made a ‘clone’ sauce using nothing but the stated “Donatos” ingredients in a previous post. I used 100% mild provolone cheese, ˝ margarita pepperoni ˝ Ezzo pepperoni, and fresh sliced mushrooms.
So how did it come out?
The “look” test:
I must say my attempt physically looked nothing like Donatos. I attribute this mostly to my dough problems – my edges were too thick and I wasn’t able to get the nice crispies that Donatos has.
Also, I believe I cooked it too long. Philip talked about how the oil from provolone is an orange color – well I think I cooked it too long and rendered out too much of the oil, as my pizza was very, very orange. Donatos pizza’s never come out actually looking very orange.
Another item was the chosen pepperoni – neither brands looked, cooked, or tasted like Donatos, which had a much greater overall impact on the taste than I had expected. One thing – I had a very hard time cutting it very thin. Donatos pepperoni is nice and thin. It is in much bigger ‘rounds’ than I had, gets much ‘crisper’ without completely crater-ing, and has more of a brown color, whereas both of the pepperonis I used had kind of a bright-red color.
The “cut” and “crust” test:
The pizza cut very easily and the edges were nice and crisp, though not equivalent to the real-deal. Here’s where I discovered the biggest success of the evening – the bottom of the crust was almost dead-on to Donatos. It looked the same, it had the same texture and mouth feel, and had a nice crisp to it. That was definitely the most exciting part.
The most disappointing part was since I mad the dough so friggin’ thin by accident most of the pizza was a floppy mess. There was simply not enough dough to try and get any soft and spongey middle.
The “flavor” test:
One thing I really missed was the sauce. My sauce was too thick, and too overpowering of that “paste” taste. It was a very dark, deep red where Donatos sauce is much lighter. I applied too much too thick. Although it was very hard to work the sauce on the dough very much without pushing the dough through the holes in the disk. My sauce recipe needs a lot of work. Now I’m not disappointed I didn’t track how much of what I was adding.
The pepperonis also tasted good, but wrong. The thickness and non-crsipiness of them really made it taste non-Donatos.
The crust had a nice flavor, but again it was hard to really judge it due to how it came out. However any lacking of the crust I believe was, again, my fault. There were absolutely a number of bites where both myself and my girlfriend were able to “taste” the Donatos in there. We’re absolutely on the right track.
If any other central-ohio pizza fans are out there, it might be interesting to note that this pizza tasted a lot like Granddads, which is a very similar style pizza to Donatos.
So what I’ve written might sound kind of negative, but I’m very happy with this as a first attempt, especially since I’m a pretty novice pizza maker. Between how Pete’s pizza looks (much closer to Donatos than my attempt) and how mine turned out I’m very excited to keep experimenting. I’m also very excited to see how Philips attempt comes out.
For my next attempt I need to focus on:
1. Dough management!! The bottom of the crust was PERFECT – but all the flipping needs to be more idiot proof. Haha
3. Cooking time
Below are some comparison pictures, illustrating the differences between my clone and Donatos in 1) overall pizza, 2) bottom of crust, 3) pizza with topping scraped off (sorry for the blur) and 4) side-shot of crust.
Again, thanks to everyone who’s helped here! This has been really fun, and it’s going to keep getting better!!