Author Topic: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza  (Read 12232 times)

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Offline raji

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2006, 08:45:35 PM »
Just got back from NY.  I made 2 trips to lombardi's and snapped a bunch of pics.  will post shortly.  They might give you some insight.  I've been trying to make a Lombardi's style pie as well. 

Peter,  2 quick questions for you:

1.  If you're working with a high-temp oven, how big of a difference will there be between a coal oven and a non-coal oven (cleaning cycle)
2.  In a previous post (might have even been a different forum), I remember you mentioning that Lombardi's dough is quite tough and might not be easily achieved with a kitchen aid mixer.  I was hoping you could elaborate upon this.  I'm guessing that the dough is kneaded heavily so the glutens are activated.  Couldn't one achieve the same thing by increasing the knead time?

-raj


Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2006, 08:47:49 PM »
Mike,

What kind of yeast do you plan to use? Unless Lombard's went to a fresh yeast, I believe they are using either active dry yeast (ADY) or instant dry yeast (IDY). I personally use IDY but I can give you any form you want.

Peter

Crap, I knew I forgot something.  IDY for simplicity.

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2006, 08:48:19 PM »
No matter what style pie you like, do not use substitute products or you will not even come close. Make your neighbors teen work there if you have to. In a earlier post, I got some great comments from some forum members regarding the La Valle Brand. Everyone's taste and style is different. Once again I like the Lombardi's / Grimaldi's style myself, I like my crust torched, and others may not. Do not product substitute. Here's a pic from this last weekend, off my coal grill using La Valle San Marzano's.

Oh that looks good!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2006, 09:36:38 PM »
Mike,

I have set forth below the two dough formulations you requested. As you will note, there is not much difference between the two. I didn’t convert the flour and weights to volumes as I usually do, but if you don’t have a scale to weigh them, I can give you my best estimates of amounts by volume. The numbers given come directly off of my spreadsheet, so you should round them out unless you have a scale that can measure out more closely (which isn’t likely to change things much in any case).

Modified Lehmann Dough Formulation w/o Oil
100%, High-gluten flour (KASL or All Trumps), 10.98 oz. (310.91 g.)
63%, Water*, 6.91 oz. (195.88 g.)
1.75%, Salt, 0.19 oz. (5.44 g.), a bit less than 1 t.
0.25%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.03 oz. (0.78 g.), 1/4 t.
Total dough weight = 18.10 oz. (513.01 g.)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.09
Pizza size = 16 inches
Note: Temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F
All measurements are standard U.S./metric

Modified Lehmann Dough Formulation w/Oil
100%, High-gluten flour (KASL or All Trumps), 10.91 oz. (309.04 g.)
63%, Water*, 6.87 oz. (194.70 g.)
1%, Oil, 0.11 oz. (3.09 g.), 5/8 t.
1.75%, Salt, 0.19 oz. (5.41 g.), a bit less than 1 t.
0.25%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.03 oz. (0.77 g.), 1/4 t.
Total dough weight = 18.10 oz. (513.01 g.)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.09
Pizza size = 16 inches
Note: Temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F
All measurements are standard U.S./metric

The dough processing techniques I use for making most of my doughs, including the Lehmann doughs, are set forth in Reply 8, toward the middle of that post, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg19563.html#msg19563. You might find other parts of that thread of value also. After several of the members worked on that thread, the poster who originally started the thread, pizzzzagirl (the one with the four z’s), never returned to the forum to get the answers to her questions :(.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2006, 10:15:31 PM »
Peter, 2 quick questions for you:

1. If you're working with a high-temp oven, how big of a difference will there be between a coal oven and a non-coal oven (cleaning cycle)
2. In a previous post (might have even been a different forum), I remember you mentioning that Lombardi's dough is quite tough and might not be easily achieved with a kitchen aid mixer. I was hoping you could elaborate upon this. I'm guessing that the dough is kneaded heavily so the glutens are activated. Couldn't one achieve the same thing by increasing the knead time?

-raj

raj,

I am not the best one to ask about ovens but I have heard that the Lombardi coal-fired oven can get up to 1200 degrees F. However, that temperature may be at the top of the oven. The range that is most often quoted for the baking surface is around 800-900 degrees F. If memory serves me correct, the two members of the forum who regularly use the oven clean cycle approach, Jeff Varasano and scott r, get stone temperatures that are around 700-725 degrees F. I believe the temperature above the stones can get to over 800 degrees F.

Maybe my memory is starting to fail me but I don't recall discussing the Lombardi dough in the context of a KitchenAid mixer. I've often said that I don't think that a standard home mixer like a KitchenAid is any match for a commercial Hobart or comparable mixer, but my comments weren't in relation to toughness of the dough or inadequate gluten development, although the gluten development will be better using a commercial mixer. My advocacy is not to overly develop the dough but rather to slightly underknead it and let biochemical gluten development (BGD, as Evelyne Slomon likes to call it) do a lot of the heavy lifting. Too much kneading is likely to lead to a dough with a tight crumb structure with small holes that is more typical of bread dough. Most people seem to prefer the large irregular-sized holes in the crust and crumb.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2006, 10:33:47 PM »
Mike,

I have set forth below the two dough formulations you requested. As you will note, there is not much difference between the two. I didnít convert the flour and weights to volumes as I usually do, but if you donít have a scale to weigh them, I can give you my best estimates of amounts by volume. The numbers given come directly off of my spreadsheet, so you should round them out unless you have a scale that can measure out more closely (which isnít likely to change things much in any case).

Modified Lehmann Dough Formulation w/o Oil
100%, High-gluten flour (KASL or All Trumps), 10.98 oz. (310.91 g.)
63%, Water*, 6.91 oz. (195.88 g.)
1.75%, Salt, 0.19 oz. (5.44 g.), a bit less than 1 t.
0.25%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.03 oz. (0.78 g.), 1/4 t.
Total dough weight = 18.10 oz. (513.01 g.)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.09
Pizza size = 16 inches
Note: Temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F
All measurements are standard U.S./metric

Modified Lehmann Dough Formulation w/Oil
100%, High-gluten flour (KASL or All Trumps), 10.91 oz. (309.04 g.)
63%, Water*, 6.87 oz. (194.70 g.)
1%, Oil, 0.11 oz. (3.09 g.), 5/8 t.
1.75%, Salt, 0.19 oz. (5.41 g.), a bit less than 1 t.
0.25%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.03 oz. (0.77 g.), 1/4 t.
Total dough weight = 18.10 oz. (513.01 g.)
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.09
Pizza size = 16 inches
Note: Temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F
All measurements are standard U.S./metric

The dough processing techniques I use for making most of my doughs, including the Lehmann doughs, are set forth in Reply 8, toward the middle of that post, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg19563.html#msg19563. You might find other parts of that thread of value also. After several of the members worked on that thread, the poster who originally started the thread, pizzzzagirl (the one with the four zís), never returned to the forum to get the answers to her questions :(.

Peter


Peter,

Great, I can't stress how much I appreciate your help.† I understand the equations you used as well, so I'll be able to modify thickness on my own now.† Only question I have is what percentage of the formula should be added if i try to add sugar or the dairy whey?

edit:  Also, roughly how cold should the water be?
« Last Edit: August 01, 2006, 10:39:00 PM by Boy Hits Car »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2006, 11:17:39 PM »
Mike,

If you don't plan to hold your dough beyond 72 hours, I would use around 1-2% sugar (by weight of flour). At those levels most people won't detect it as sweetness on the palate. If you go too high with the sugar and bake directly on the stone, you might find that the bottom of your crust darkens too quickly--before the rest of the pizza is done baking. Unfortunately, that blackening of the crust is not the same as the charring of a Lombardi's crust. You would perhaps have to get above 5% in a home situation to run the risk of the bottom crust prematurely darkening or blackening, so you have some wiggle room.

For dried dairy whey, I would use 3-5% by weight of flour. It should be mixed in with the flour to avoid clumping or pilling.

Since I apparently haven't scared you off with the math and equations, you might want to calculate the water temperature (WT) required to get a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F. The equation is as follows:

WT = (3 x 75) - (RT + FT + FF),

where RT is the room temperature (in the room where you will be making your dough), FT is the flour temperature, and FF is the machine (e.g., KitchenAid) friction factor. The hardest part of the calculation is determining the friction factor FF, since it varies by machine, bowl size, dough batch size, machine speeds, degree of hydration, and type of agitator (dough hook, paddle, etc.). If you use the low speeds of a typical KitchenAid stand mixer to do the mixing/kneading of a dough weighing around 18 ounces, I would use 15 as the friction factor FF. Since your part of the country is getting some mean heat at the moment, don't be surprised if the required water temperature is around 45-50 degrees F. At this time of year in Texas, I use refrigerated jug water for my doughs right out of the refrigerator. Professionals often use ice water to get the right finished dough temperature. Don't worry if you are off by a few degrees. Just get the dough in the refrigerator as quickly as possible. What you want to avoid is a finished dough temperature that is over 90 degrees F, and preferably not greater than 85 degrees F. If that happens, the rate of fermentation will be accelerated and you may have to use the dough sooner than you originally intended.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2006, 11:54:17 PM »
I think I got it all now.  Again thanks for all the help.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2006, 11:10:37 AM »
Mike,

I think you are in pretty good shape also.

In a way, I am glad that you picked the Lombardi's style dough to try to reverse engineer. I like its simplicity, using only flour, water, yeast and salt, and an overnight fermentation. I think that kind of formulation is a good starting point to learn the basics of pizza dough making, unencumbered by the use of additives, preservatives and conditioners. And using high quality tomatoes and cheese nicely complements the dough. To draw a comparison, recently I saw this combination of dough, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni for a major pizza chain:

PEPPERONI PIZZA INGREDIENTS:†

Crust: Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, soy lecithin), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Glucona Delta Lactone, Salt, Baking Soda, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Propionate (preservative), Food Starch-Modified, Corn Syrup Solids, Vital Wheat Gluten, Dough Conditioners (L-Cysteine, ascorbic acid, enzymes), Natural and Artificial Flavors.
Allergen Information:
Contains: Soy, Wheat and Milk.

Sauce: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Pizza Spice (Salt, Sugar, Spices, Dehydrated Garlic, Dehydrated Onion), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Citric Acid.

Cheese: Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella and Muenster (pasteurized milk, skim milk, cheese culture, salt, calcium chloride, enzymes), Powdered Cellulose added to prevent caking, Natamycin (a natural mold inhibitor).
Allergen Information:
Contains: Milk.

Pepperoni: Pork and Beef, Salt, Spices, Dextrose, Oleoresin of Paprika, Lactic Acid Starter Culture, Natural Smoke Flavoring, Spice Extractives, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, BHA, BHT, Citric Acid.


There's nothing I like better than reverse engineering doughs and pizzas. For me, it is challenging, intellectually stimulating and a lot of fun, especially if I am able to get close to the original product. But, what is the point of doing so with the above formulations (with all due respect to the people who love consuming the products produced by the chain in question)? If anything, I would strip out all of the chemicals that I am unlikely to be able to find in user-friendly quantities anyway, and try to get down to the basics, which I think I would have a shot of replicating at the home level. But, before doing that, I would have to do a lot of research to find out what all the chemicals are used for. That's time consuming and not a lot of fun.

BYW, the major pizza chain is Little Caesars.

Good luck and let us know how things turn out. I am confident of the modified Lehmann dough formulations I gave you but I don't know how close they will come to what you are looking for. But what I do know is that it is always possible to alter dough formulations, and dough management and oven practices as well, to achieve specific, desired dough/crust characteristics. With tons of chemicals, I wouldn't know how to do that.

Peter
 


Offline SLICEofSLOMON

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2006, 02:30:29 PM »
Mike,

I've been following this thread with interest, since I do know a thing or two about the actual Lombardi formula. As usual, Pete has supplied you with excellent advice and to that, I will only add a few good details--and a bit of behind the scenes knowledge.

I've been a good friend of the Lombardi family since 1980 and Gerry Lombardi has been one of my most influential pizza mentors. He considers me as part of his family and we talk at least once a month. The recipe he gave me and the one I subsequently saw in action with Jerry Pero of Totonno's is substantially different from what Lombardi's is putting out today. When Lombardi's re-opened in 1996 and Gerry was hands on at the pizzeria, the pizza was only mildly inconsistent, but still had much of the magic of the original. (except for the high gluten flour which made the crust really hard as it cooled--if you ate it fast enough(never a problem)it was hardly noticable. But, if you took some home to reheat, it was hard as a rock)

Lombardi's is not what it was, in fact, it is pretty disappointing. When I was there last year during the Pizza Expo in August, it was not up to past standards. To many, it would be ranked as a great pizza, but not to those who really know what a great Lombardi pizza should be about. I was there at 5PM, sitting with John Brescio and his son in law, Michael and they made a pizza especially for me. It was so disappointing that I did the unthinkable. After a single slice, I asked them to pack it up for me because I was full from spending the afternoon with Umberto Corteo of King Umberto's in Long Island. Yes, I was full, but that has never stopped me from eating a Lombardi pizza. When I finished my business with them, I walked three blocks away, made the sign of the cross and threw the remaining pizza into a garbage can. What was the problem? Many. The crust tasted like saw dust, it had a very small collar and the crumb was very compressed, not open holed as it should be.  The pizza tasted like it had been par-baked!!!! The sauce and cheese were the same but the sausage was pre-cooked and sliced on top of the pie--it was tasteless. This might have passed as a good pizza in a lesser establishment, but as a Lombardi pizza, it was a travesty. And here I am seated with the partners who are so busy telling me how great they are when they are serving a sub-standard pie to the very person who influenced Lombardi to reopen a pizzeria and who has been the most passionate student of the original Lombardi formula.

After I dumped the pie in the garbage, I called Gerry to tell him. Unfortunately, due to partnership problems, Gerry no longer goes down to the store at all. Brescio is hi-jacking his name and reputation and he is running the pizzeria into the ground. He cuts corners at every turn and has effectively turned something that was special into a parody of its former self. I asked Brescio how they managed to deal with the added volume--since they tripled the size of Lombardi's without adding another oven. His answer? "We've gotten better at handling the volume". Which is totall BS--excuse my French.
First of all the oven that is at the present Lombardi's is not the original from 53 1/2 Spring Street as Brescio has said so many times. The original had crumbled years ago from the vibration of the subway beneath--it was no longer in use when I first became friends with Gerry, and met him at the original pizzeria in 1980. When Gerry wanted to re-open Lombardi's they searched for a place that still had a functioning coal oven, and the present location used to be a bakery that had such an oven. Lombardi carefully removed the tiles from what was left of the old oven and restored them the present one. So the decorative TILES are from the original.

Now, I will tell you a thing or two about coal ovens, they do not reach temperatures  of 1200 degrees and the floor of the oven usually functions at 650-750 and possibly at 800 (before service). Lombardi's pizzas take about 5-6 minutes to cook. The pies are large 16 inches and they have plenty of stuff on them, so they could not possibly take less time to cook. Now, let's do the math. The original store had 75 seats, now it is tripled. The oven fits about 6 pies at once and they take about 5-6 minutes to cook--and longer when the oven is over-loaded. Lombardi's specializes in pizza, so there are no other entrees on the menu to lighten the load. It just does not add up. If you look at John's of Bleecker street, at their Bleecker Street location, they too, trippled in size (and have the same amount of seats, if possibly slightly smaller than Lombardi's), but each time they expanded, they added another coal oven. So when they tripled, they had 3 ovens.  The only way Lombardi's can possibly meet their demand is to par-cook the pies and the toppings. It is really so sad.

Now a few pointers. Pete's formula is a good one. I however recommend using a slightly lower protein content 12-13 percent (12.50 is best) for the flour. The original formula was based on that type of flour but when the prevailing tastes turned to utilizing high gluten flour, the formula changed a bit. Lombardi never used any kind of preferment, autolyse or bench rise. The formula is a straight dough mix. That said, it does benefit from an initial rest (BGD) to enhance mix out. If you decide to let it rise initially at room temperature, be aware that you will shorten the life of the dough. With the tiny amount of yeast that is used in this formula, it is best to refrigerate it after mixing--if you want to get 2 days out of it. If you want to get 3 days, add a little more yeast to the formula. There is no sugar in the Lombardi formula, only flour, water, yeast and salt. If you want to get more color out of it, try using a malted flour or adding a tiny bit of malt syrup. As for the oven, try to get as much tile or stone in your oven as possible. Coal ovens, as wood ovens have a really, really dry heat from the stone or bricks and that type of heat is responsible for the lightness of the crust. I have used the same formula in an extremely hot (700 degree) deck oven and it has a slightly chewier and denser effect than in a coal or wood oven. That can't be helped, but you can still create an awsome Lombardi style pizza at home--one that might be better than at the pizzeria itself.

As for the toppings: Lombardi's uses fresh mozzarella from a source in Brooklyn whose name I can't remember at the moment. They use San Marzano tomatoes, but the brand varies and they are not DOP. They used to use Esposito sausage, but I couldn't tell from the pre-cooked tasteless specimen I had last August. And they do use Romano cheese on their pizza--that is one of Lombardi's quintessential trademarks--it is a little thing he brought with him from Naples when he came to the States. In the 19th century Neapolitan pizzaiolos used Romano on pizza, not Parmesan.

Hope this helps you on your path to creating a Lombardi pizza.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2006, 03:28:54 PM »
Evelyne,

Now I know why I am so happy to have you grace our pages. That was an excellent, pull-no-punches†commentary, especially since it paints a picture much different than what we have seen from all the cable programs featuring John Brescio and Lombardi’s. In a recent reply to a post by member Pizzaiola I made reference to John Brescio laughing all the way to the bank from all the attention he was getting on these programs, most recently in the History Channel’s special on pizza. I didn't realize how accurate that was.

As you know, the premise that Mike was operating from is to use as many of the same ingredients as used by Lombardi’s. If he elects to switch to a lower-protein flour, I assume that he should still be able to use the same hydration ratio, or possibly a bit less, since the 12-13% protein range you mentioned is basically a bread flour range that can tolerate a fairly high hydration. The King Arthur bread flour, which is a malted flour, logs in at 12.7%.

Also, I take it that the malt syrup you mentioned would be the non-diastatic form since the purpose would be to get more color quickly rather than more amylase enzyme activity.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 02, 2006, 03:33:50 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline bolabola

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2006, 06:21:31 PM »
Evelyne..

all I can say is great review..
you know,I had my suspisions when I looked at all the Pizza pictures from Lombardi's at the web-site Peter had posted..some had huge black air bubbles and others just had a plain looking crust..nothing looked consistant to me..
a par cooked pie is a mortal sin in my book >:D

thanks again for all the great history and information on Lombardi's..I found it fasinating..
Pizza Rocks

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2006, 09:39:05 PM »
Mike,

I think you are in pretty good shape also.

In a way, I am glad that you picked the Lombardi's style dough to try to reverse engineer. I like its simplicity, using only flour, water, yeast and salt, and an overnight fermentation. I think that kind of formulation is a good starting point to learn the basics of pizza dough making, unencumbered by the use of additives, preservatives and conditioners. And using high quality tomatoes and cheese nicely complements the dough. To draw a comparison, recently I saw this combination of dough, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni for a major pizza chain:

PEPPERONI PIZZA INGREDIENTS:†

Crust: Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, soy lecithin), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Glucona Delta Lactone, Salt, Baking Soda, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Propionate (preservative), Food Starch-Modified, Corn Syrup Solids, Vital Wheat Gluten, Dough Conditioners (L-Cysteine, ascorbic acid, enzymes), Natural and Artificial Flavors.
Allergen Information:
Contains: Soy, Wheat and Milk.

Sauce: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Pizza Spice (Salt, Sugar, Spices, Dehydrated Garlic, Dehydrated Onion), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Citric Acid.

Cheese: Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella and Muenster (pasteurized milk, skim milk, cheese culture, salt, calcium chloride, enzymes), Powdered Cellulose added to prevent caking, Natamycin (a natural mold inhibitor).
Allergen Information:
Contains: Milk.

Pepperoni: Pork and Beef, Salt, Spices, Dextrose, Oleoresin of Paprika, Lactic Acid Starter Culture, Natural Smoke Flavoring, Spice Extractives, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, BHA, BHT, Citric Acid.


There's nothing I like better than reverse engineering doughs and pizzas. For me, it is challenging, intellectually stimulating and a lot of fun, especially if I am able to get close to the original product. But, what is the point of doing so with the above formulations (with all due respect to the people who love consuming the products produced by the chain in question)? If anything, I would strip out all of the chemicals that I am unlikely to be able to find in user-friendly quantities anyway, and try to get down to the basics, which I think I would have a shot of replicating at the home level. But, before doing that, I would have to do a lot of research to find out what all the chemicals are used for. That's time consuming and not a lot of fun.

BYW, the major pizza chain is Little Caesars.

Good luck and let us know how things turn out. I am confident of the modified Lehmann dough formulations I gave you but I don't know how close they will come to what you are looking for. But what I do know is that it is always possible to alter dough formulations, and dough management and oven practices as well, to achieve specific, desired dough/crust characteristics. With tons of chemicals, I wouldn't know how to do that.

Peter
 

Peter,

I can't wait to get started and get you guys some comments and results.† I had to order a kitchen scale, so I might have to wait until next weekend to get started.† Maybe I'll get lucky and the scale will make it by friday.† Since I don't have much experience with making my own doughs in different configurations, I'll only be able to compare my results with lombardi's and my local pizzerias.† Hopefully I'll be able to add more to the discussions.

One good thing about that little ceasars dough, and all the other major chains is that I don't find their crusts to be all that good.† Not to mention that those chemicals are probably not the healthiest things for the human body.† I'm far from being a health freak, but if you can avoid those types of ingredients the better you'll be for it.

On a related note with dough formulations, I was thinking of creating an online tool that could formulate a lehmann dough recipe.† Maybe something that would allow a user† to type in the desired pizza size, thickness, sugar or no sugar, oil, etc.† and the ingredient weights would display.† Wouldn't be difficult to do.† It would be similiar to your excell file, but would run in internet explorer.† If you think it would be useful for the forum, I'd be happy to do it.

Mike

« Last Edit: August 02, 2006, 09:58:33 PM by Boy Hits Car »

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2006, 09:56:49 PM »
Mike,

I've been following this thread with interest, since I do know a thing or two about the actual Lombardi formula. As usual, Pete has supplied you with excellent advice and to that, I will only add a few good details--and a bit of behind the scenes knowledge.

I've been a good friend of the Lombardi family since 1980 and Gerry Lombardi has been one of my most influential pizza mentors. He considers me as part of his family and we talk at least once a month. The recipe he gave me and the one I subsequently saw in action with Jerry Pero of Totonno's is substantially different from what Lombardi's is putting out today. When Lombardi's re-opened in 1996 and Gerry was hands on at the pizzeria, the pizza was only mildly inconsistent, but still had much of the magic of the original. (except for the high gluten flour which made the crust really hard as it cooled--if you ate it fast enough(never a problem)it was hardly noticable. But, if you took some home to reheat, it was hard as a rock)

Lombardi's is not what it was, in fact, it is pretty disappointing. When I was there last year during the Pizza Expo in August, it was not up to past standards. To many, it would be ranked as a great pizza, but not to those who really know what a great Lombardi pizza should be about. I was there at 5PM, sitting with John Brescio and his son in law, Michael and they made a pizza especially for me. It was so disappointing that I did the unthinkable. After a single slice, I asked them to pack it up for me because I was full from spending the afternoon with Umberto Corteo of King Umberto's in Long Island. Yes, I was full, but that has never stopped me from eating a Lombardi pizza. When I finished my business with them, I walked three blocks away, made the sign of the cross and threw the remaining pizza into a garbage can. What was the problem? Many. The crust tasted like saw dust, it had a very small collar and the crumb was very compressed, not open holed as it should be.† The pizza tasted like it had been par-baked!!!! The sauce and cheese were the same but the sausage was pre-cooked and sliced on top of the pie--it was tasteless. This might have passed as a good pizza in a lesser establishment, but as a Lombardi pizza, it was a travesty. And here I am seated with the partners who are so busy telling me how great they are when they are serving a sub-standard pie to the very person who influenced Lombardi to reopen a pizzeria and who has been the most passionate student of the original Lombardi formula.

After I dumped the pie in the garbage, I called Gerry to tell him. Unfortunately, due to partnership problems, Gerry no longer goes down to the store at all. Brescio is hi-jacking his name and reputation and he is running the pizzeria into the ground. He cuts corners at every turn and has effectively turned something that was special into a parody of its former self. I asked Brescio how they managed to deal with the added volume--since they tripled the size of Lombardi's without adding another oven. His answer? "We've gotten better at handling the volume". Which is totall BS--excuse my French.
First of all the oven that is at the present Lombardi's is not the original from 53 1/2 Spring Street as Brescio has said so many times. The original had crumbled years ago from the vibration of the subway beneath--it was no longer in use when I first became friends with Gerry, and met him at the original pizzeria in 1980. When Gerry wanted to re-open Lombardi's they searched for a place that still had a functioning coal oven, and the present location used to be a bakery that had such an oven. Lombardi carefully removed the tiles from what was left of the old oven and restored them the present one. So the decorative TILES are from the original.

Now, I will tell you a thing or two about coal ovens, they do not reach temperatures† of 1200 degrees and the floor of the oven usually functions at 650-750 and possibly at 800 (before service). Lombardi's pizzas take about 5-6 minutes to cook. The pies are large 16 inches and they have plenty of stuff on them, so they could not possibly take less time to cook. Now, let's do the math. The original store had 75 seats, now it is tripled. The oven fits about 6 pies at once and they take about 5-6 minutes to cook--and longer when the oven is over-loaded. Lombardi's specializes in pizza, so there are no other entrees on the menu to lighten the load. It just does not add up. If you look at John's of Bleecker street, at their Bleecker Street location, they too, trippled in size (and have the same amount of seats, if possibly slightly smaller than Lombardi's), but each time they expanded, they added another coal oven. So when they tripled, they had 3 ovens.† The only way Lombardi's can possibly meet their demand is to par-cook the pies and the toppings. It is really so sad.

Now a few pointers. Pete's formula is a good one. I however recommend using a slightly lower protein content 12-13 percent (12.50 is best) for the flour. The original formula was based on that type of flour but when the prevailing tastes turned to utilizing high gluten flour, the formula changed a bit. Lombardi never used any kind of preferment, autolyse or bench rise. The formula is a straight dough mix. That said, it does benefit from an initial rest (BGD) to enhance mix out. If you decide to let it rise initially at room temperature, be aware that you will shorten the life of the dough. With the tiny amount of yeast that is used in this formula, it is best to refrigerate it after mixing--if you want to get 2 days out of it. If you want to get 3 days, add a little more yeast to the formula. There is no sugar in the Lombardi formula, only flour, water, yeast and salt. If you want to get more color out of it, try using a malted flour or adding a tiny bit of malt syrup. As for the oven, try to get as much tile or stone in your oven as possible. Coal ovens, as wood ovens have a really, really dry heat from the stone or bricks and that type of heat is responsible for the lightness of the crust. I have used the same formula in an extremely hot (700 degree) deck oven and it has a slightly chewier and denser effect than in a coal or wood oven. That can't be helped, but you can still create an awsome Lombardi style pizza at home--one that might be better than at the pizzeria itself.

As for the toppings: Lombardi's uses fresh mozzarella from a source in Brooklyn whose name I can't remember at the moment. They use San Marzano tomatoes, but the brand varies and they are not DOP. They used to use Esposito sausage, but I couldn't tell from the pre-cooked tasteless specimen I had last August. And they do use Romano cheese on their pizza--that is one of Lombardi's quintessential trademarks--it is a little thing he brought with him from Naples when he came to the States. In the 19th century Neapolitan pizzaiolos used Romano on pizza, not Parmesan.

Hope this helps you on your path to creating a Lombardi pizza.


Wow, thank you for that info.† It's funny, I learned about Lombardi's from a Food Network show and really was in awe of the oven and the history.† When I went to Lombardi's it was a Sunday evening, and it wasn't crowded.† I went with my wife and another couple.† Perhaps it's a product of sampling very average pizzas here in philadelphia, but we all thought it was the best pizza we have ever tried.† The brick oven alone gives it an advantage in taste, but everything about it was so good.† Maybe we got lucky.† Maybe it was just an average New York pizza, but it was better than anything I have had.† I even remember the next day buying a pizza from a pizzeria that was voted "best in philly" and was very popular; itt was nothing special.† I bet an everyday, average pizza from ny is better than the majority of pizzas near me.† Now, if we are talking about cheese steaks or hoagies; much different story.

As I've been reading the forum more and more I've come to realize that I'll probably be able to make an exceptional pizza as long as I use the ingredients recommended by the users of this forum.† I'm still shooting for a Lombardi copycat, but I think I'm going to experiment a lot and try other recipes as well.† Just my personality;† I'll get bored doing the same recipe over and over.† †Hopefully I'll be able to come up with some interesting ideas.†
« Last Edit: August 02, 2006, 10:00:35 PM by Boy Hits Car »

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2006, 10:12:06 PM »
Evelyne,

Now I know why I am so happy to have you grace our pages. That was an excellent, pull-no-punches†commentary, especially since it paints a picture much different than what we have seen from all the cable programs featuring John Brescio and Lombardiís. In a recent reply to a post by member Pizzaiola I made reference to John Brescio laughing all the way to the bank from all the attention he was getting on these programs, most recently in the History Channelís special on pizza. I didn't realize how accurate that was.

As you know, the premise that Mike was operating from is to use as many of the same ingredients as used by Lombardiís. If he elects to switch to a lower-protein flour, I assume that he should still be able to use the same hydration ratio, or possibly a bit less, since the 12-13% protein range you mentioned is basically a bread flour range that can tolerate a fairly high hydration. The King Arthur bread flour, which is a malted flour, logs in at 12.7%.

Also, I take it that the malt syrup you mentioned would be the non-diastatic form since the purpose would be to get more color quickly rather than more amylase enzyme activity.

Peter


I think I will try this eventually, since I've seen the King Arthur bread flour at my local grocery store.  Probably do it when I run out of the all trumps and don't feel like paying for shipping from an online store.  I'll be able to compare for you guys and gals.  One thing I wan't to avoid is too "bready" of a crust, if that makes sense.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2006, 10:28:02 PM »
Mike,

Several of our members actually favor using bread flour over high-gluten flour. An example, is scott r, who had one of the most developed palates of anyone I know (and not just for flour) and he has gone to the King Arthur bread flour. See, for example, Reply 32 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1548.msg28039.html#msg28039. He talks in that post about the NY "street style" pizza but I am fairly certain he would say the same thing about the NY "elite" style.

Peter

Offline SLICEofSLOMON

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2006, 11:39:47 PM »
Hi All,

I hope I didn't get too nuts in my Lombardi rant, but Brescio burns me up. He's a total liar. On the history channel when he was talking about playing in the pizzeria when "we were kids"--that's not his childhood, it is Gerry Lombardi's. And as for the plate comemmorating the date of the license of the first pizzeria being November 14 1905? That was totally made up by Brescio to take advantage of the PMQ Pizza show in New York during that time. Gerry Lombardi very nearly sued PMQ for putting that thing up without his permission. It is, afterall, his family and his name that Brescio is  stealing.

Brescio wants to be recognized as the legend. The business I was discussing with Brescio on the day I was last there was just about that. He was bent out of shape that I didn't mention him in any of the articles I wrote about the history of the American pizzeria and of the 100 year anniversary of pizza in America. I told him that the story was about the Lombardi family and about their legend, not about him. I told him, "You can't make yourself a legend; you are or you aren't one, that's up to history to decide--not you." Needless to say, he wasn't too happy about that. So he can go and shoot his mouth off to any press that will listen, but he certainly does not represent Gerry Lombardi, nor does he deserve to.

OK, end of rant. I usually don't write negatively about people. When I don't like their pizza, I just dont write about them at all. But this is different, it just really gets me all worked up. Especially when I talk to Gerry--once or twice a month and the whole thing has really made him quite sad. Gerry is a very shy reclusive guy (so was Jerry Pero of Totonno's) and he is not going to knock Brescio out--as he should because he doesn't want to drag the Lombardi name through the mud.

Back to making pizza: the King Arthur at 12.7 would work fine. You should still be able to get 60-65 percent hydration in that formula (65 with a very high quality flour). You are right about the malt Pete.
Flours that are malted and bromated have quite a bit of oven spring--even at lower temperatures. I know that in California, bromated flours are illegal--and in a number of other states too. They used to be legal in NY, but I'm not sure if they still are. The malt adds a much more subtle flavor to the dough than straight sugar, it enhances the flour flavor and doesn't come across as sweet---more like nutty.

I've got to go now, I'm preparing my outline for an interview with non other than THE MAN: Mr Tom Lehmann. Tom and I are going to take a walk down memory lane and talk about our personal experiences with pizza from the fifties on. This is my first PMQ Pizza Radio interview. I interview people all of the time and I've done radio interviews, but I've never been the one on the taking side of the interview. Any way, you'll be able to hear the results when they put it on the site.

E.

Offline abc

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2006, 10:10:39 AM »
Hi All,

I hope I didn't get too nuts in my Lombardi rant, but Brescio burns me up. He's a total liar. On the history channel when he was talking about playing in the pizzeria when "we were kids"--that's not his childhood, it is Gerry Lombardi's. And as for the plate comemmorating the date of the license of the first pizzeria being November 14 1905? That was totally made up by Brescio to take advantage of the PMQ Pizza show in New York during that time. Gerry Lombardi very nearly sued PMQ for putting that thing up without his permission. It is, afterall, his family and his name that Brescio is† stealing.

Brescio wants to be recognized as the legend. The business I was discussing with Brescio on the day I was last there was just about that. He was bent out of shape that I didn't mention him in any of the articles I wrote about the history of the American pizzeria and of the 100 year anniversary of pizza in America. I told him that the story was about the Lombardi family and about their legend, not about him. I told him, "You can't make yourself a legend; you are or you aren't one, that's up to history to decide--not you." Needless to say, he wasn't too happy about that. So he can go and shoot his mouth off to any press that will listen, but he certainly does not represent Gerry Lombardi, nor does he deserve to.

OK, end of rant. I usually don't write negatively about people. When I don't like their pizza, I just dont write about them at all. But this is different, it just really gets me all worked up. Especially when I talk to Gerry--once or twice a month and the whole thing has really made him quite sad. Gerry is a very shy reclusive guy (so was Jerry Pero of Totonno's) and he is not going to knock Brescio out--as he should because he doesn't want to drag the Lombardi name through the mud.

Back to making pizza: the King Arthur at 12.7 would work fine. You should still be able to get 60-65 percent hydration in that formula (65 with a very high quality flour). You are right about the malt Pete.
Flours that are malted and bromated have quite a bit of oven spring--even at lower temperatures. I know that in California, bromated flours are illegal--and in a number of other states too. They used to be legal in NY, but I'm not sure if they still are. The malt adds a much more subtle flavor to the dough than straight sugar, it enhances the flour flavor and doesn't come across as sweet---more like nutty.

I've got to go now, I'm preparing my outline for an interview with non other than THE MAN: Mr Tom Lehmann. Tom and I are going to take a walk down memory lane and talk about our personal experiences with pizza from the fifties on. This is my first PMQ Pizza Radio interview. I interview people all of the time and I've done radio interviews, but I've never been the one on the taking side of the interview. Any way, you'll be able to hear the results when they put it on the site.

E.


Hi... regarding "You can't make yourself a legend; you are or you aren't one, that's up to history to decide--not you." Needless to say, he wasn't too happy about that. So he can go and shoot his mouth off to any press that will listen, but he certainly does not represent Gerry Lombardi, nor does he deserve to.


all the text leading up to that was fascinating.. and sad... and your statement about being a legend as put in the context of your 'rant'... makes logical sense to me without any doubt.   Meanwhile Brescio rides a very lucrative shop w/o worrying about being out of a job any time soon i'd imagine.


Now regarding bromated flours... illegal in NYC?  How could this be true... All Trumps is bromated... and all trumps is all overNYC... I know they have a non-bromated bag, but i've seen places use the bromated almost like standard issue.

In fact last week I bought a bromated bag and am excited about checking out the oven spring characteristics that i've felt was one thing possibly missing from all my time with KASL flour & NYC pizza replication.

Wow, why is flour bromated flour illegal in California...  health reasons?  a 'kitchen sin' to use bromated flour?

Offline abc

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2006, 10:27:11 AM »
Mike,

. As for the oven, try to get as much tile or stone in your oven as possible. Coal ovens, as wood ovens have a really, really dry heat from the stone or bricks and that type of heat is responsible for the lightness of the crust. I have used the same formula in an extremely hot (700 degree) deck oven and it has a slightly chewier and denser effect than in a coal or wood oven. That can't be helped, but you can still create an awsome Lombardi style pizza at home--one that might be better than at the pizzeria itself.


SofS, your level of detailed description is so welcomed.  I can't wait and hope that your next pizza book will be pages like this.

Dry heat...  coal and wood + stone or tiles = dry.  Gas + stone or tiles = not as dry?

i thought some 'wet' heat would help oven spring.... doesn't french baguette baking inject steam into the oven?

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help a first timer try to mimic a lombardi's pizza
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2006, 11:43:48 AM »
abc,

To the best of my knowledge, potassium bromate is outlawed in Europe and Canada because it is considered a carcinogen.

In California, potassium bromate is on the list of cancer causing ingredients, as noted in this document, June 9, 2006: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/prop65_list/files/060906P65single.pdf. While I donít believe that potassium bromate is outlawed in California, anyone not exempted under California law that wishes to sell a product, including flour, that contains potassium bromate, is required to use a ďclear and reasonableĒ cancer warning label to communicate that the potassium bromate is known to the state of California to cause cancer. As you will see from the applicable section, at http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/law/pdf_zip/RegsArt6.pdf, the warning requirements are very detailed and quite burdensome.

I suspect that companies that sell bromated flour have elected not to sell that product in California because of the stiff compliance requirements and because it would be bad for business to put a huge spotlight on the problem, especially when in many cases there are non-bromated versions of their flours that can be sold in California. To the extent that companies refrain from selling bromated flours in California, the net effect is the same as if the product were outlawed.

I have never read or heard anything about potassium bromate being outlawed in NY. If a law or major challenge to the legality of potassium bromate in NY existed, I am confident that I would have heard about it because it would be a really big deal. As you might expect, the affected companies that sell bromated flours are active with their lobbyists at all levels, state and federal, in opposing giving more power to states, including California, to legislate and form rules in this area.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 04:23:38 PM by Pete-zza »