Author Topic: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  (Read 6670 times)

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Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2014, 09:46:06 AM »
OK fellas, sorry for taking so long to respond.  Things are getting really busy and it looks like we are doing a soft-opening for family and friends on April 1 and 2nd, with the grand opening on April 3.  Staff training will be on Monday and oh, yeah, the kitchen should be ready by this Friday, meaning I'll have a couple of days to myself to test out the oven and mixer and dough formulas and generally fake my way through everything, getting ready to serve the public in less than a week's time.

First, let me respond to Scott, whose input I really value, as I do everyone's input here.

1.  I knew going into this venture that the goal was to open the first of what will hopefully be a chain of NY-style pizzerias in Malaysia and eventually South East Asia.  We already have designs on the second location to be opened in December and the oven hasn't been delivered yet to the first location.  So the goal here is to set up a prototype.  Food costs and simplicity are two key elements of the formula.  I can't make every pizza at every shop, nor do I want to.  I am confident in my skills that I will produce a great slice - and more importantly set up a system so that great slice can be duplicated in each one of our stores by any of our pizza chefs.  This is a totally different operation than if I were opening a "Bellucci's" with the intent of making a pie that will stop people in their tracks.  I've been working on this for years, never really knowing if I would actually open a shop and put it into production.  And I still don't know what I'm going to be doing.  We've set the Monday after the 2015 SuperBowl as the date for renegotiating my contract in Malaysia.  By then we'll be looking at a third store and maybe I'll sign on as COO.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

All to say, I will put out the best product possible, given the limitations I am working with.  It will be a GREAT slice.  But it won't be the best slice or pie I am capable of making and that is due to the ingredients I am forced to work with.  Australia and New Zealand aren't known for their Mozzarella, but that's what I'll be using.  Then there's the Halal element.  Not conducive to making great pies.  Look at any pizza menu and count the pork-based ingredients.  There's a lot of them, especially on the artisanal pies.  I am selling out?  I don't think so, because I'll be putting out a great product - one that I can be proud of.  But not one that would deserve much attention in Jersey City or NYC, which is where I would open Bellucci's if that ever comes to fruition.

2.  Veal isn't available here.  So for a non-pork  Italian Sausage the choices are limited.  I'm inclined to go with lean beef and substitute the fat with the palm oil.  In doing research, I came across a couple of interesting sites and my plan is to get a hold of the product and test it out.  You know what they say - the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so that's how we'll figure out which way to go with the sausage.  I'll let you know how it pans out. It will be a GREAT slice.  But it won't be the best slice or pie I am capable of making and that is due to the ingredients I am forced to work with.  Australia and New Zealand aren't known for their Mozzarella, but that's what I'll be using.  Then there's the Halal element.  Not conducive to making great pies.  Look at any pizza menu and count the pork-based ingredients.  There's a lot of them, especially on the artisanal pies.  I am selling out?  I don't think so, because I'll be putting out a great product - one that I can be proud of.  But not one that would deserve much attention in Jersey City or NYC, which is where I would open Bellucci's if that ever comes to fruition.

2.  Veal isn't available here.  So for a non-pork  Italian Sausage the choices are limited.  I'm inclined to go with lean beef and substitute the fat with the palm oil.  In doing research, I came across a couple of interesting sites and my plan is to get a hold of the product and test it out.  You know what they say - the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so that's how we'll figure out which way to go with the sausage.  I'll let you know how it pans out.  http://www.primahalal.com/technology/safar.htm  http://www.jomalina.com/safar-specialty-animal-fat-replacer.php

3.  Yesterday we made it very clear to the carpenter that no plywood could be used - only untreated wood. He assured me the first peel did not use plywood and it doesn't look like plywood to me - it's way too heavy to be plywood.  I'm expecting a model of the dough box tomorrow (Wednesday).  I would never use a known carcinogen in a food environment.  I've lost family members to cancer, including my 14-year old sister many years ago, and that's not something that I'd fool around with.

So again, thanks for all the input from everyone, I really appreciate it.  I will keep you informed as we progress thru the next week, which promises to be quite taxing.  But that's one of the reasons I signed up for this:  I've never shied away from a challenge.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 09:52:11 AM by Andrew Bellucci »


Offline dmckean44

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2014, 10:33:08 PM »
I was thinking earlier today that duck fat might be a good replacement for pork fat in a pork free sausage.

Offline parallei

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2014, 10:51:07 PM »
Quote
I was thinking earlier today that duck fat might be a good replacement for pork fat in a pork free sausage.

I know that Italian Jews made/make goose sausage and salumi.  Perhaps that would be an avenue to explore........

Offline leonooi

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #43 on: March 29, 2014, 11:51:05 PM »
Hi Andrew

You might want to try Gourmandines (www.gourmandines.com) for Italian sausage - either duck or chicken to match the halal sensitivities here. Its a French operation located in KL for many years and supplies to many Italian independent outlets here. Contact Jean-Michel/Vera

You might need to check the Halal regulations if you are planning to open a few outlets and target everyone here in Malaysia as you might want to be Halal certified.

Good Luck for your opening.

Regards
Leonard

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2014, 07:49:50 AM »
Thank you so much for all of the responses - Gourmandines does make a chicken Italian sausage that I'll check out, though it might be a bit pricey for the long run.

I made my first (small) batch of dough today - I might try popping one in the oven tomorrow night or Tuesday.  We wanted to have a tasting on Wednesday but that's not looking good right now - still too many things to do in the place.  Next week will be more realistic.

All to say, it's a very busy time and I doubt that I'll be able to post this week, but when I get a spare moment I certainly will.  Thanks again for the kind words and support and I'll update soon.

Offline kdefay

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2014, 12:00:21 PM »
Andrew,

I'm enjoying following this post.  I have been operating a NY Style pizzeria in Northern Thailand for the last 2 1/2 years.  I can really relate to the challenges you are experiencing on this project.  Sourcing of ingredients has always been one the biggest challenges of doing this here. 

I just had my wood guy make me three new 16" teak peels that turned out great.  I gave him one of my old ones as a model and he came back with peels made from some of the prettiest wood I have seen.  When you find good people to do things like that, stick with them.  For every one really good one, there are ten bad ones.

Good luck with everything!

Kirk

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2014, 09:22:14 PM »
Teak sounds great!  May I ask how many baht that cost you?



Andrew,

I'm enjoying following this post.  I have been operating a NY Style pizzeria in Northern Thailand for the last 2 1/2 years.  I can really relate to the challenges you are experiencing on this project.  Sourcing of ingredients has always been one the biggest challenges of doing this here. 

I just had my wood guy make me three new 16" teak peels that turned out great.  I gave him one of my old ones as a model and he came back with peels made from some of the prettiest wood I have seen.  When you find good people to do things like that, stick with them.  For every one really good one, there are ten bad ones.

Good luck with everything!

Kirk

Offline kdefay

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2014, 10:34:15 PM »
Here's a photo of two of them.  We paid 1,500 baht/each (about $45US at the current exchange rate).  He's not the cheapest guy out there, but every time he does something for us, he finishes ahead of schedule and exceeds our expectations. That's a rare thing to find here, so we don't mind paying him a bit extra.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 10:47:48 PM by kdefay »

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2014, 11:11:06 PM »
Beautiful! I'm officially jealous.

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2014, 01:04:15 AM »
Well, the boxes came in - they better be nice at almost $1 each!


Offline kdefay

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #50 on: March 31, 2014, 01:07:54 AM »
$1/each is pretty steep, but they do have more expensive color printing on them.  We opted for only black ink to save cost.

They look great!  Looking forward to seeing the pizza.

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #51 on: April 03, 2014, 10:12:41 PM »
So here's a quick update, but before I start, I need to say the following:  this forum has such great, generous, passionate pizza aficionados and has really helped me out in many ways.

Do I know how to make pizza?  Sure, I've been doing it for a while and I think I'm pretty good at it.  But here's an example:  this week I started making different batches of dough to test out "for feel" (haven't put anything in the oven yet, more on that later)

Now, I'm not too bad at math, I mean I can divide and multiply without a calculator, but doing variations of dough was made so much easier using the Lehmann dough calculator.  Thanks so much Tom and also to Mike for developing the tool.  It saved me a lot of time this week.

And I've gotten messages from guys in the business in Asia, helping me out with possible suppliers and such.  Just knowing there are other guys facing and overcoming the same challenges as me makes it easier.

When I re-opened Lombardi's, it was pre-internet.  Yes youngsters, some of us had to make do without Twitter and Facebook and free porn.  But we managed.  I got a lot of my ideas for Lombardi's frrom my previous work experience and the periodical room at the NY Public Library.  I found a lot of great stuff on Microfiche.  You know how I found the long-closed and forgotten Lombardi's?  I looked in phone books starting with the 1950s and worked my way back. It took some time and detective work, but everything was out there.

That said, it is SOOOOOO much easier with the internet.  And this forum is the internet at it's best - bringing people together from all over the world with one common passion - pizza.  I feel humbled to be part of this community.

We were supposed to open this week, but reality set in.  We're in this for the long run and we want things to be as close to perfect as possible before opening.  Besides pizza, we are doing hot heroes, boneless buffalo wings and covered waffle fries.  I've been working on that in between the electricians and plumbers and other workers constantly streaming through the kitchen.

Now the oven.  The owner wanted to buy a gas oven locally.  I gave him some parameters, including the ability to bake at a sustained level of 600F.  What we came up with was a baker's oven (as opposed to pizza oven) with some modifications.  The biggest modification, and the one that's holding us up is the baking stone. We aren't using one.  What we are using is a custom-fitted 2/3in. steel plate for all three levels of the oven.  Not owing anything to history with this venture, I decided to go with what I think is the best medium for baking a medium-crust New York style pizza.

Hopefully the steel plates will be delivered today or Saturday and I can see if I'm right.

I'll keep you updated, hopefully with pictures next time.

Again, thanks for all your kind words and support.

Offline dmckean44

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2014, 01:00:32 AM »
Andrew,

This is my favorite thread on the forum currently. It has to be amazing being a pizza pioneer.

I think it's awesome that you found the dough calculating tools so helpful because I have too at home. This forum has come such a long way since I first joined 8 years ago, the amount of shared knowledge here in incredible. I've been able to recreate pizza from my childhood that no longer exists.

If you wanted to serve Sicilian slices too all it would take is a few days reading and you'd have all the info you'd need. I can't wait to see the pictures of your first finished pies.

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2014, 01:39:32 AM »
Andrew,

This is my favorite thread on the forum currently. It has to be amazing being a pizza pioneer.

I think it's awesome that you found the dough calculating tools so helpful because I have too at home. This forum has come such a long way since I first joined 8 years ago, the amount of shared knowledge here in incredible. I've been able to recreate pizza from my childhood that no longer exists.

If you wanted to serve Sicilian slices too all it would take is a few days reading and you'd have all the info you'd need. I can't wait to see the pictures of your first finished pies.

I can't wait to make pies!  We're working on everything else and the hero rolls came out almost perfect today.

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2014, 01:55:53 AM »
Here's the bread

Offline kdefay

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2014, 02:39:22 AM »
Looking good!  From my experience here in Asia, if you are not going to use a WFO, the best option is to modify a baking oven.  I have never seen any serious commercial pizza ovens for sale here in Thailand, so I would assume that Malaysia is similar.  I was lucky regarding stones, as the city I live in is full of ceramic factories.  That means that getting cordierite for the floor was very easy. 

I designed a custom dough calculator in Excel that is specific to our formula and pizza sizes.  It would be really easy to modify it to your needs if you are interested.  All I have to do is enter the number of dough balls I want for each size and it spits out the exact weights for each ingredient.  PM me directly if this is interesting to you.  We can continue that discussion offline.

Kirk

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #56 on: April 14, 2014, 02:11:24 AM »
Well, today, Monday we are opening the doors for friends and family only from 7-10pm.  The idea is to assess in the morning and then open to the public from 6-10pm on Tuesday and then Wednesday open for the first full day from 11-11.

The front of the house staff is kind of rough, but I'm staying out of that as much as possible.  I've definitely mellowed with age, as I haven't thrown anything at anyone. That's not to say I haven't thrown anything, just not at anyone. Yet.

My boys in the back a gelling well - we have what I think is a pretty solid team.  I like everyone I work with - I couldn't work any other way.

The oven is performing well and the pies are coming out great on the bottom and cooked real well - but the crust is staying white.  I'm adding more sugar, letting the dough ferment 48 hours (as I always have) but it's still on the white side, although the taste is great and the owner is happy.  But I won't be satisfied until it is fixed.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone and I'll post pictures of the opening soon.

Offline thezaman

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #57 on: April 14, 2014, 11:23:01 AM »
 great thread,the bread look perfect!is it the same dough as your pizza dough?

Online JD

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #58 on: April 14, 2014, 11:38:48 AM »

The oven is performing well and the pies are coming out great on the bottom and cooked real well - but the crust is staying white.  I'm adding more sugar, letting the dough ferment 48 hours (as I always have) but it's still on the white side, although the taste is great and the owner is happy.  But I won't be satisfied until it is fixed.


I'm hesitant to say anything because you are far more experienced than I, but I do use steel in a home oven and I was surprised you decided to use steel at 600*.  Does the oven have a separate top element? You may have to turn the bottom down, turn the top up, and still try to manage a slightly lower temperature of 525* - 575* depending on your goals.

Josh

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #59 on: April 14, 2014, 12:13:20 PM »
I'm hesitant to say anything because you are far more experienced than I, but I do use steel in a home oven and I was surprised you decided to use steel at 600*.  Does the oven have a separate top element? You may have to turn the bottom down, turn the top up, and still try to manage a slightly lower temperature of 525* - 575* depending on your goals.

Please, it doesn't matter if I have a little more experience than you - I'm always happy to listen, if not act, upon advice and previous experience.  Heck, that 's what these forums are for.

You are correct in that the bottom should be lower that the top - it does have dual controls.  I'm cooking at 325C (617F) up top and about 260C (500F on the deck - For the test tonight the pies came out great - the bottoms were perfect and the heel browned nicely.  I think I was working with a bad batch of dough, and then I rushed another batch instead of letting it cold ferment for 48 hours like I always do.  I love the steel - it's real consistent and I'm getting the bottom crust like a coal oven.

The test opening went well - we need to tweak a few areas, but the pies came out great and people were happy.  I have a good feeling about this going forward.