Author Topic: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?  (Read 8675 times)

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Offline quixoteQ

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #50 on: August 16, 2014, 03:33:40 PM »
Did someone say `Mushrooms` over here?   8)

Why can't you just like sausage and peppers like a normal Chicago guy?   ;D
Josh


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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #51 on: August 16, 2014, 03:34:12 PM »
Would it be NY Style, though?   

That's what I'm trying to figure out. We're more than 50 replies in, and still all we have is Scott's opinion.
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scott123

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #52 on: August 16, 2014, 03:35:08 PM »
I don't think Terry meant that Joe's dough was naturally leavened.  I think Terry meant he liked naturally leavened doughs.

Terry was very clear, both on his (now defunct) website and on posts in the forum, that Joe's was his favorite pizzeria. 

1. Favorite pizzeria: Joe's
2. Starter is needed for flavor

Ipso facto, his favorite pizzeria can't use (by his standards) flavorless dough, thus, he's making the (completely incorrect) implication that Joe's uses starter.

Quote
Who's to say whether oil is right or wrong in a NY style dough.

People that have eaten it and know something about it?  One can make NY style pizza with or without oil, but to make the claim that authentic NY style cannot have oil in it, as Terry did- it's preposterous.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2014, 03:41:43 PM »
It's simple. I could never recreate a NY style pizza using my 550* oven. For me to get close to proper browning, I had to bake for 12+ minutes which I later learned was due to the acidifying nature of sourdough cultures. Maybe I just don't know what I'm doing, that's fine. But one thing I do know is when I stopped using the sourdough starter for NY style, I finally started making NY pizza.
Josh,

You make a good point. There are limitations when attempting to make a NY style pizza leavened with a natural starter in a standard home oven. Getting good oven spring and decent crust coloration can be challenging. Even Jeff Varasano went to using commercial yeast along with his sourdough starter to be sure that he got good oven spring, and he also needed a modified oven to get the necessary bake temperatures.

For many people, using just commercial yeast is good enough. But just as Marco (pizzanapoletana) kicked the Neapolitan style pizza up a notch by using a natural leavening system, with exceptional results, the same can be achieved with the NY style. As I see it, it is part of the evolution of the NY style. That style had to adapt to many technological advancements and improvements over the decades--in flours, yeast varieties, ovens (and notably the gas fired deck oven), commercial mixers and commercial refrigeration. When high-gluten flour started to be used for the NY style, it may not have been greeted with open arms by all of the pizza operators at the time, but that flour became part of the evolution of the NY style and is now the dominant type of flour in NYC. I view the use of starters for the NY style as just a continuation of the evolution of the NY style. Starters need not be adopted by everyone, just as pizza operators over the course of the evolution of the NY style did not adopt every new advancement or improvement.

Peter 

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #54 on: August 16, 2014, 03:44:38 PM »
It would be very helpful to have a default definition, even if it's only to clarify the matter on the forum.

It's not that cut and dry. The historic lack of sourdough is incredibly simple and straightforward, but, when you get into other ingredients/processes, there's more wiggle room.  For instance, Mitch mentioned great old NY style vs. crappy new NY style- a topic, outside of this discussion, that's very near and dear to my heart.  For just about any New Yorker born after around 1985, all they know is the crappy version.  Which style gets to be the 'default definition?' The older generation or younger?  And that's just one aspect that muddies the water.

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #55 on: August 16, 2014, 03:44:57 PM »
Quote from: tdeane on September 05, 2008, 09:07:39 PM
I believe an authentic NY pizza dough does not have oil or sugar in it.

Scott, perhaps Terry takes an even more traditional view than you? Is it not correct that NY-style pizza originally contained neither oil nor sugar?
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Offline Donjo911

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #56 on: August 16, 2014, 03:55:17 PM »
For just about any New Yorker born after around 1985, all they know is the crappy version.  Which style gets to be the 'default definition?' The older generation or younger?  And that's just one aspect that muddies the water.


That is the quagmire.  Age and what things were like in your childhood memory. How many here are trying to recreate a specific taste from a pizza place that ate at when they were 12?  There are hundreds of threads dedicated to them with 10's of thoursands of posts.  Perhaps that is the line of demarkation between the two?  How about child boards inside of NY pizza by era?  I never have had NY pizza made in the 1960's - but there may be some here that pine for it - and 1980's NY pizza as a huge disappointment to them.  Child boards by NY pizza era - one possible answer.
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scott123

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #57 on: August 16, 2014, 03:57:26 PM »
For many people, using just commercial yeast is good enough. But just as Marco (pizzanapoletana) kicked the Neapolitan style pizza up a notch by using a natural leavening system, with exceptional results, the same can be achieved with the NY style. As I see it, it is part of the evolution of the NY style.

Peter, respectfully, you've been able to bake awe inspiring pizza with your oven, but it's not an oven that can do fast NY style bakes.  As much as I rail against the deceptive manner in which baking steel was first marketed and their exorbitant prices, it should be pretty clear that all forms of steel have been a quantum leap for countless home pizza bakers and that, for those with the right ovens, the faster bakes that steel has provided have been universally embraced- both inside this forum and outside as well. If fast baked NY style pizza is better, and the steel wave built consensus seems to be pointing in that direction, how can you see natural leavening as the next step for NY style pizza, when, as far as I know, you've never tasted NY style pizza at it's best?

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #58 on: August 16, 2014, 04:04:54 PM »
Some people resist change...
If more and more NY pizzerias are using natural leavening in their pies, then it is becoming part of the style.

The NY style will have evolved again, just like it did when ADY and IDY replaced fresh yeast, when bromated flour was first used (and now eliminated in some places), when coal went out and deck ovens became popular, when high gluten flour was introduced etc...

I don't see why natural leavening should be seen as some unholy bastardization when you consider all of the other changes that have occurred.
Charles


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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #59 on: August 16, 2014, 04:10:23 PM »
Scott, perhaps Terry takes an even more traditional view than you? Is it not correct that NY-style pizza originally contained neither oil nor sugar?

As I've said many times before, I don't subscribe to the 'elite' NY style classification and 'street.'  I call early NY pizza 'coal' style. Coal style typically contains neither oil nor sugar. But his favorite pizzeria, as I said, was Joe's, and Joe's isn't coal style, it's NY style. I know, for a fact, that Joe's isn't naturally leavened, but I can't say with absolutely certainty that it contains oil. Based on the way it browns, though, I'm 99.9% certain.

In other words, when Terry says authentic NY style pizza can't contain oil, Joe's is part of that list- and places like Joes- along with, of course, coal.  He can say that about coal (or 'elite') all he wants, but Joe's is NY and NY contains oil more than it doesn't. In fact, I would go as far as to say that oil is only second to bake time when differentiating between coal and NY style pizza. And, considering coal's renown for inconsistent bake times, oil might even have a bit of an edge.

Offline norma427

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #60 on: August 16, 2014, 04:10:57 PM »
Terry was very clear, both on his (now defunct) website and on posts in the forum, that Joe's was his favorite pizzeria. 

1. Favorite pizzeria: Joe's
2. Starter is needed for flavor

Ipso facto, his favorite pizzeria can't use (by his standards) flavorless dough, thus, he's making the (completely incorrect) implication that Joe's uses starter.

People that have eaten it and know something about it?  One can make NY style pizza with or without oil, but to make the claim that authentic NY style cannot have oil in it, as Terry did- it's preposterous.

Scott,

Everyone can have their own opinions on if a dough (crust) is flavorless or not.  The first time I went to Joe's I thought the crust was flavorless.  I even threw the rim crust in the trash can.  At that time you were saying how good Joe's pies were.  Your avatar was even of Joe's pizza. 

You have changed you opinions maybe times over the years on what flours you thought were the best for NY style pizza and also your formulations.  Do you recall you used to recommend All Trumps?  What makes you any better that you find out new things and then change them for NY style pizzas. 

Norma
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scott123

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #61 on: August 16, 2014, 04:13:32 PM »
If more and more NY pizzerias are using natural leavening in their pies, then it is becoming part of the style.

Not a single NY style pizzeria is using natural leavening.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 04:40:53 PM by scott123 »

Offline mitchjg

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #62 on: August 16, 2014, 04:30:20 PM »
Not a single NY pizzeria is using natural leavening.

1. If true, then I would suggest a better way of saying it: "Not a single NY pizzeria is using natural leavening, as of yet"
2. Implied in your reply is that the definition is driven heavily by what NY pizzerias do.  Most of them are crap.   
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 09:29:15 PM by mitchjg »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #63 on: August 16, 2014, 04:35:32 PM »
If fast baked NY style pizza is better, and the steel wave built consensus seems to be pointing in that direction, how can you see natural leavening as the next step for NY style pizza, when, as far as I know, you've never tasted NY style pizza at it's best?
Scott,

My exposure to the best NYC pizza places has been rather limited, mostly to the old UPN, Lombardi's, DiFara's, Luzzo's and a few other places like that. But not much with the type of NY slice that you have in mind. After trying some of the places on the streets and seeing how inferior the slices were, I stopped trying them. 

On the matter of starters, one of the biggest eye openers for me was when I started playing around with natural starters to make pizza. I used them for many different styles, including NY, American, Neapolitan, cracker, deep-dish and thin crust. I had three or four different starters at one time (Varasano, Ischia, Camaldoli and a home grown one) and I used them in poolish format, sponge format, old dough format, biga format, at room temperature and cold fermentation, and sometimes in combination with commercial yeast. In retrospect it was an amazing ride because it taught me so much. But what stuck out most was the flavor and textural contributions of the naturally leavened crusts. Craig and others who specialize in the Neapolitan style have demonstrated the benefits of using natural leavening systems, which are many, so I am confident that similar benefits would accrue from using natural leavening systems for the NY style. However, I would expect the adoption process to be slow because of the added complexity of maintaining starters. But, as happened with the Neapolitan style, once the natural leavening systems proved their merit, others went to them also. 

Peter






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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #64 on: August 16, 2014, 04:39:14 PM »
Everyone can have their own opinions on if a dough (crust) is flavorless or not.  The first time I went to Joe's I thought the crust was flavorless.  I even threw the rim crust in the trash can.  At that time you were saying how good Joe's pies were.  Your avatar was even of Joe's pizza. 

You have changed you opinions maybe times over the years on what flours you thought were the best for NY style pizza and also your formulations.  Do you recall you used to recommend All Trumps?  What makes you any better that you find out new things and then change them for NY style pizzas.

When I first became active, the last time I had tasted Joe's was about 12 years prior- Joe's circa 1996 was (and continues to be) the best pizza I had/have ever had.  I spoke highly of it- until it was brought to my attention that standards had fallen (I think that was by you, but also others).  I then ceased to speak highly of it after that time, but I kept the avatar because of Joe's special place in my pizza history, and, when asked about it, I made it clear that my avatar was based solely on Joe's pizza of years past.

The pizza Joe's sells today is pretty much garbage.  You don't have to tell me that. I never said that modern Joe's pizza is flavorful. I said it contained no sourdough. Their pizza has lost it's puff and char over the years, but the leavening has never changed.

As far as All Trumps goes, that's another of the very gray areas that I discussed with Don earlier.  Right now, All Trumps is just about everywhere, but 25 years ago, I don't know.  50 years ago, I believe it was all purpose. My move to mid high gluten flour isn't a departure from authenticity, imo, at least not from a wider view of history.  Besides, my 13% protein pies are absolutely identical to my All Trumps, just easier to make (less kneading anguish). 

But I agree that I've evolved.  But I've never evolved towards any ingredients or processes that have never been a part of NY style pizza.

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #65 on: August 16, 2014, 04:44:11 PM »
I'm a pizza agnostic. 

I happen to be a jazz pianist and composer and this discussion is very similar to the various camps of jazz musicians.  If you believe Wynton Marsalis real jazz has to sound like Loius Armstrong and you have to have a banjo player in your band. 

Miles Davis came along and added rock grooves, synthesizers drum machines and electric guitars and changed the jazz world forever.

Duke Ellington, perhaps the greatest jazz musician of all time, said that there were only two types of music; good and bad.  Wise words for pizza makers as well.
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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #66 on: August 16, 2014, 04:48:26 PM »
1. If true, then I would suggest a better way of saying it: "No a single NY pizzeria is using natural leavening, as of yet"
2. Implied in your reply is that the definition is driven heavily by what NY pizzerias do.  Most of them are crap.

FYI, I corrected a typo (I left out 'style'). Some NY pizzerias do use sourdough, but this is a NY style discussion. But that's beside the point.

As far as you're second statement goes, I'd argue that chain pizza is even crappier, and, yet, if someone came along and said, "I baked a domino's clone for 90 seconds in a wfo," everyone would be quick to point out that what they made wasn't a chain pizza.  Just because something is crappy doesn't mean that it's definition goes out the window. Just because something is crappy, doesn't mean that improvements are automatically incorporated into the classification.


Offline mitchjg

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #67 on: August 16, 2014, 04:53:00 PM »
Back to the title of the thread and the questions posed by Craig.

No sourdough in NY Pizza?

Well, I think we all know and agree to what it means to have sourdough in pizza.  I think the problem is that there is no clear definition of NY (Style) Pizza.  I say NY Style because if we said NY Pizza, then I think we would infer that it means Pizza made in NY (NYC?) which could mean all kinds of things including Neapolitan.

So, what is NY Pizza?

The forum title describes it as "Also known as Neapolitan-American style. Dough is stretched and/or tossed. Pizza has a bready rim that tapers down to a thin, foldable center."

Beyond that, we are looking at a type of Pizza that has gone through a series of changes over the years, much of it for the worse.  It can mean the Coal Style (as Scott describes) / Elite Style (as others describe) which are, among other things, baked at relatively high heat.  Or, it can mean the more contemporary, lower quality pizzas that, among other things, are baked at relatively low heat.

So, how does this group of enthusiasts, zealots, newbies and professionals define it?  I advocate for a more broad description / definition that reflects the reality of the changes that have occurred (and will occur!).  Within that description, we can describe (and promote enthusiastically) the more traditional, excellent type and call it, perhaps, Traditional NY Style Pizza.  And, we can describe (and trash) the more contemporary and ubiquitous type.

The broader definition can allow for future evolution (hopefully not more deterioration) of the pizza to allow for SD, hydration levels, flour types, toppings, etc.  But, it should still have something important to do with the more broad description, which at this point is "officially" "also known as Neapolitan-American style. Dough is stretched and/or tossed. Pizza has a bready rim that tapers down to a thin, foldable center."

If you buy all for the above, then the answer is Yes.  Pizza containing sourdough can be a NY Pizza.  It would be a potential evolution, improvement of sub-type.  But, it does not represent the "Traditional" (as described above) NY Style Pizza.  It cannot since the Traditional is what has been remembered/recorded as historical fact/lore/memory.

I won't get into Says Who?  It does not matter until the terms are better defined.  And, the undefined term is NY Style Pizza.  My proposal of the more broad definition with "sub-types" is, in my opinion, a reflection of reality and history even if we hate some of the pizza.  And, it allows room for the future and does not force us to be stuck in one mode (and who exactly is the boss of you if that is the answer?)  in this forum.

- Mitch
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 05:02:34 PM by mitchjg »
Mitch

scott123

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #68 on: August 16, 2014, 05:09:05 PM »
I happen to be a jazz pianist and composer and this discussion is very similar to the various camps of jazz musicians.  If you believe Wynton Marsalis real jazz has to sound like Loius Armstrong and you have to have a banjo player in your band.

Jonas, pizza is an art, but it's also a craft, and crafts, by their nature, are more classifiable.  Even if you wanted to make the argument that it is purely art, in comparing it to jazz, you're choosing what could easily be one of the least classifiable arts in existence.

Sourdough in NY style pizza would be akin to classifying Charlie Parker as 'baroque.'  Jazz goes into just about every different direction, but, at some point in time, someone had to say "well, this isn't a spiritual anymore, this is something else.  We can't call it a spiritual," just like someone, at some point, said "this isn't realism, this is impressionism."  For sourdough in NY, we're at that point.

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #69 on: August 16, 2014, 05:15:43 PM »
Not a single NY style pizzeria is using natural leavening.


Nice edit.  ;D

The "NY style" has changed over the years, and it is changing again, probably for the better, to include the use of sourdough starter.



Charles

Offline mitchjg

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #70 on: August 16, 2014, 05:17:52 PM »
  For sourdough in NY, we're at that point.

Stated as a fact.  I believe it is an opinion. 

Regardless, tell us more.  Why exactly do you believe we are that point?  Natural Leaven is about as traditional and old school a leaven as you can get.  It is not exactly a suggestion to add stool softener, LSD or sawdust. 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 05:21:00 PM by mitchjg »
Mitch

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #71 on: August 16, 2014, 05:21:54 PM »
If you buy all for the above, then the answer is Yes.  Pizza containing sourdough can be a NY Pizza.  It would be a potential evolution, improvement of sub-type.  But, it does not represent the "Traditional" (as described above) NY Style Pizza.  It cannot since the Traditional is what has been remembered/recorded as historical fact/lore/memory.


In what time period did the Traditional NY Style become "historical fact", to remain unchanged thereafter?

Charles

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #72 on: August 16, 2014, 05:24:48 PM »
I think the generally accepted definition of NY style defines the end result, not the methods of preparation.  It can be made however you want, so long as it has the proper thickness factor, overall size, etc it is still NY style.

VPN defines the process, not the end result.


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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #73 on: August 16, 2014, 05:26:51 PM »
Craig and others who specialize in the Neapolitan style have demonstrated the benefits of using natural leavening systems, which are many, so I am confident that similar benefits would accrue from using natural leavening systems for the NY style.

So, even though you've never had NY style at it's best, based upon the success of natural leavening for NP, you're automatically assuming that natural leavening will make a better NY style pie?  You don't think that's the least bit presumptuous?

Is sourdough the inevitable future for everything? I would never dream of a non sourdough rye, but I've had sourdough waffles, and, while I enjoyed them, they weren't on par with buttermilk/baking powder waffles, imo.  Is sourdough the inevitable future for waffles?

Offline mitchjg

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Re: No sourdough in NY pizza? Says who?
« Reply #74 on: August 16, 2014, 05:29:44 PM »

In what time period did the Traditional NY Style become "historical fact", to remain unchanged thereafter?

I am not at all sure it is really "fact".  That is why I added the other terms lore and memory.  I meant and/or.  I cannot name "cutoff dates" (maybe Scott thinks he can) and it seems more obvious that things changed gradually and not everyone changed at the same time.

That is one of my concerns.  I do not think we can lock into a very specific thing and call it NY Style Pizza.  It has changed over time and, at any one moment in time, there has been many more versions than one.  So, i am striving for some general categories to recognize that, although there is not one, unique NY Style pizza ingredient list and workflow, etc. there are some broad categories that we can discuss.

If you reject that, then I would hope it would be in the direction of allowing for variety and evolution and recognition that there is not a unique fixed form.  Otherwise, the forum will be a very rigid  and frigid place to be.  And, it would empty out as most people try to leave police states if they can.
Mitch


 

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