Author Topic: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  (Read 10076 times)

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Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2014, 11:14:08 AM »
And we gotta have a picture of the homemade pizza peel!

Well, things were looking dim for the peel, until the designer said he knew a guy out in a village who could do the work for us.  So we hopped in a car and drove about 30 minutes outside of Kuala Lumpur to a small village filled with old shops.  We pulled up to this pretty big workshop.  It was about 95 outside and probably 120 inside.  There was one fan going, probably because they didn't want to blow all the sawdust around - and of course, nobody was wearing masks or gloves or any protective equipment.

We spoke to the owner and explained what we wanted.  Mike drew an outline on a piece of untreated wood and things got going.  Just a tape measure and a paint pail to mark the rounded edges.  He beveled the front to a fine edge just like I wanted.  We left happy and asked for 4 more and he's doing 20 wooden dough boxes as well.  Should have the first dough box on Monday.  Here are some pictures.

Talk to you guys next week, I'm off to Phnom Penh for a little R&R before things get really busy.


Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2014, 11:34:14 AM »
And to Scott123,

I started doing a little research and it seems that they are pretty serious here in Malaysia about using Palm Oil as a Halal food animal fat replacer.  http://www.primahalal.com/technology/safar.htm

Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention! Looks like we're going to go that way.  Now I'm hunting for some decent collagen casings.

Offline waltertore

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2014, 01:44:05 PM »
Man Andrew you are really building it up from ground 0.  I didn't realize everything had to be sourced locally.  Heck, pizza has survived, mutated, been enjoyed by so many around the world for so long, you will shine too!  It must be exciting to turn a culture on to a new thing.  I kind of get that here in Ohio with our pizza only I can get everything I need pretty easily.  Your journey is an ispiration to everyon to get off their butt and follow their dreams :chef:  Walter

scott123

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2014, 06:07:55 PM »
Andrew, I have to be honest, when I threw out the palm oil idea, it was an ingredient, that, based upon your geography, I knew you could obtain, but, I wasn't/am not all that gung ho about it. Flavorwise, I would definitely see first if you can score some cheap fatty ground veal, and, if not, then try butter before palm oil. Crisco's been palm oil since '04, and I don't see that bringing much flavor to the table. The intent of my original post was to get you to look at every fat/oil you have available and then tasting them to see which one/which combination of ones gives the porkiest results.

Veal sausage is pretty common where I am in NE NJ.  It's no where near as common as pork, of course, but I would say that you find veal sausage more frequently than you find ground veal- and I'm not in a hugely Italian area, either.  My area is fairly affluent, though, and veal tends to be much costlier, so that might be a factor. Regardless, though, veal makes an absolutely stunning Italian sausage. 

It's hard to tell from the photo, but the peel looks like it might be plywood. Is it? Plywood uses a formaldehyde glue, which is definitely not food safe. If it's not plywood, then it's great you found someone that could fashion it for you.

All to say:  there will be a lot of experimentation at the beginning to produce the best pie possible with what I am working with.  Will it be the best pie in the world?  No, but I knew that going in and that's not the end game here.

Not the best pie in the world?  What kind of blasphemy is this?  ;D  Are you sure you're from NY?  ;)

Seriously, though... Andrew, I've seen people encounter extraordinary difficulties endeavoring to making pizza in Asia, and, for the most part, these difficulties were insurmountable and compromises had to be reached, so I can understand how you might be tempering your expectations, but, these people didn't have your background :)  Sure, I'm a little skeptical of the mixer, I have some slight reservations regarding the oven and Asian flour has a history of not always matching up, percentage point to percentage point, to it's published protein content, but... so far, I see nothing preventing you from making the best slice in the world.

You've already, by modding the oven to reach a higher temp, shown that you understand the connection between fast bake times and better pizza, which puts you light years ahead of anyone else in Asia- and, for that matter, in the world.

Unless I'm totally off the mark and you're seeing something that I'm not, I say, make the best slice in the world- until you can't. Until you run into that wall, though, expect glory :)

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2014, 06:38:51 PM »
Scott,

I agree with you on the palm oil. In the U.S., producers of margarine and margarine-like and shortening products have been tripping all over each other to use oils like palm oil, and also palm kernel, but it is not because of flavor. It is to reduce or get rid of Trans Fats because the FDA is breathing down their necks.

Peter

Offline dmckean44

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2014, 07:18:17 PM »
I think we're going off the assumption here that the palm oil in Malaysia is refined and that might not even be true. Unrefined palm oil is red and has a ton of flavor and might go well in an Italian sausage if well seasoned.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2014, 07:25:33 PM »
I think we're going off the assumption here that the palm oil in Malaysia is refined and that might not even be true. Unrefined palm oil is red and has a ton of flavor and might go well in an Italian sausage if well seasoned.
Dave,

Good point. You are also correct that palm oil in unrefined form is red (see, for example, http://www.amazon.com/Omni-Unrefined-Palm-33-8-Ounce-Bottles/dp/B005DZ2SMU/?tag=pizzamaking-20

Peter

Offline Andrew Bellucci

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2014, 10:32:05 AM »
Hey guys,

Some great responses in great detail and it may take a couple of days to answer them with the detail they deserve, but I will get to it.  Especially for Scott, who I must thank again for the level of detail.  Just a quick note - I'm pretty sure that the peel is from untreated wood, because that is what we specified.  But my Malaysian is non-existent and we will verify this on Monday.

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #33 on: March 23, 2014, 11:37:45 AM »
Andrew, from the research I've done on this, plain old plywood uses untreated wood, but the glue they use to laminate the wood together is formaldehyde based and completely unsafe for food.

Now, I have come across formaldehyde free plywood, but it's expensive, and very rare.  If it it's hard to find in the U.S., I'm guessing that it's close to impossible to find in Malaysia.

It won't be as easy to build, but your woodworker should be able to follow the traditional method- take a lightweight hardwood, such as oak, cut it into 3/4" x 2"-ish planks, glue them together with carpenter's glue and then clamp and allow them to dry.  Ideally, he'll have a belt sander that will allow him to bevel the entire peel. I just measured my peel, and the tip of the handle is 3/4" and where the blade starts, it's a little less than 1/2".  This gives you the lightest peel, that's also the easiest to launch with.


Offline JBailey

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2014, 12:23:29 PM »
I've used a regular plywood peel for years. Never been a problem and never suffered ill effects. I'm curious how exactly the evil formaldehyde is supposed to penetrate the food?

scott123

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2014, 02:38:28 PM »
When you bevel the edge, you expose the glue, which, in turn, exposes the undercrust of the pizza to formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde isn't, like bromate, a suspected carcinogen. It's a known carcinogen.  Carcinogens don't produce immediate ill effects. It's about long term exposure.

Even if the edge isn't beveled, the laminate is thin enough that I still wouldn't want food near the top layer of plywood.

Offline JBailey

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2014, 03:16:38 PM »
How much glue exactly is being exposed and how much of that is transferred to the pizza dough (I assume you've taken measurements?).
How does that amount compare to the safety levels for formaldehyde (assuming they exist?)


scott123

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2014, 05:03:28 PM »
Formaldehyde is a 'known carcinogen.' There are no safety levels for known carcinogens- no one should ever be exposed to known carcinogens- ever. The levels being transferred have never been measured.

When I eat a slice of pizza made with bromated flour, I'm

a. consuming a chemical compound that has yet to be proven to cause cancer in humans
b. consuming about the same amount of bromate that occurs naturally in a typical glass of water (tap or bottled)

In other words, no one is entirely certain if it causes cancer and, even if it did, the quantity is confirmed- and infinitesimally small.

For plywood, there's zero question about the danger and the quantity is completely unknown.

If you want to argue that the transfer is insignificant and use plywood yourself, go ahead, but, you can't make that decision for your customers. Unless you know for certain that the transfer is trivial, you really shouldn't be using regular plywood for food in a commercial environment.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 05:06:35 PM by scott123 »

Offline JBailey

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2014, 05:11:48 PM »
Surely your medical expertise would be better focused on  extrapolating the carcinogenic risk of charring on neapolitan pizza?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 05:16:07 PM by JBailey »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New York Style Pizzeria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2014, 05:16:52 PM »
Please, guys,

Let's await what Andrew finds out on the matter of the material of the peel.

Peter

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
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!!

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 »
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!!

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!