Author Topic: Pizzeria Bianco  (Read 31319 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2006, 09:42:06 AM »
While I'm not a water expert, here is what I dug up on Google:

Distillation

Distillation is probably the oldest method of water purification. Water is first heated to boiling. The water vapor rises to a condenser where cooling water lowers the temperature so the vapor is condensed, collected and stored. Most contaminants remain behind in the liquid phase vessel. However, there can sometimes be what is called carry-overs in the water that is distilled. Organics such as herbicides and pesticides, with boiling points lower than 100 °C cannot be removed efficiently and can actually become concentrated in the product water. Another disadvantage is cost. Distillation requires large amounts of energy and water.

Distilled water can also be very acidic, having a low pH, thus should be contained in glass.  Since there is not much left, distilled water is often called “hungry” water.  It lacks oxygen and minerals and has a flat taste, which is why it is mostly used in industrial processes.

Distillation  Advantages
Removes a broad range of contaminants
Reusable

Disadvantages
Some contaminants can be carried into the condensate
Requires careful maintenance to ensure purity
Consumes large amounts of energy
System usually takes a large space on counter
 


Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) is the most economical method of removing 90% to 99% of all contaminants. The pore structure of RO membranes is much tighter than UF membranes. RO membranes are capable of rejecting practically all particles, bacteria and organics >300 daltons molecular weight (including pyrogens). In fact, reverse osmosis technology is used by most leading water bottling plants. 

Natural osmosis occurs when solutions with two different concentrations are separated by a semi-permeable membrane. Osmotic pressure drives water through the membrane; the water dilutes the more concentrated solution; and the end result is an equilibrium.

In water purification systems, hydraulic pressure is applied to the concentrated solution to counteract the osmotic pressure. Pure water is driven from the concentrated solution and collected downstream of the membrane.

Because RO membranes are very restrictive, they yield slow flow rates. Storage tanks are required to produce an adequate volume in a reasonable amount of time.

RO also involves an ionic exclusion process. Only solvent is allowed to pass through the semi-permeable RO membrane, while virtually all ions and dissolved molecules are retained (including salts and sugars). The semi-permeable membrane rejects salts (ions) by a charge phenomena action: the greater the charge, the greater the rejection. Therefore, the membrane rejects nearly all (>99%) strongly ionized polyvalent ions but only 95% of the weakly ionized monovalent ions like sodium.

Reverse osmosis is highly effective in removing several impurities from water such as total dissolved solids (TDS), turbidity, asbestos, lead and other toxic heavy metals, radium, and many dissolved organics. The process will also remove chlorinated pesticides and most heavier-weight VOCs.  Reverse osmosis and activated carbon filtration are complementary processes. Combining them results in the most effective treatment against the broadest range of water impurities and contaminants.

RO is the most economical and efficient method for purifying tap water if the system is properly designed for the feed water conditions and the intended use of the product water. RO is also the optimum pretreatment for reagent-grade water polishing systems.

In addition, Reverse osmosis treatment is an insurance policy against nuclear radiation such as radioactive plutonium or strontium in the drinking water. If one lives near a nuclear power plant, this is a key way to ensure the household is drinking the best water for their health.

Reverse Osmosis  Advantages
Effectively removes all types of contaminants to some extent (particles, pyrogens, microorganisms, colloids and dissolved inorganics). Requires minimal maintenance.

Disadvantages
Flow rates are usually limited to a certain gallons/day rating.
 
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Offline tonymark

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2006, 09:46:10 AM »
Good guesses but again the target remains unmarked.

Here is what he uses - An R.O. system which requires five gallons of intake to produce one gallon of pure water.

Target remains unmarked?  Come on!  In Reply # 13  Pete-zza guessed bottled purified municipal water.  Now it is not bottled, but essentially the same thing.  R.O. water is purified municipal water.

TM
« Last Edit: September 12, 2006, 09:58:35 AM by tonymark »
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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2006, 09:53:57 AM »
pftaylor,

So do you think he uses RO-purified water because it produces better results or because it gives him a greater level of control so he can produce consistent results? Probably both.

Personally, I like my well water which has a lot of minerals but isn't very hard and is somewhat alkaline (pH~7.8).  I do use purified bottled water for feeding my starters.

Bill/SFNM

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2006, 09:57:27 AM »
tonymark,
If it were up to me I would agree with you. However, since Pete-zza's answer was not technically correct in description, I deferred to Alex Trebek. Alex had to check with the Jeopardy judges and they came back with two problems.

First, Pete-zza used the word "bottled." Which is not accurate.

Second, he never used the words Reverse Osmosis. According to the judges, here are the major types of Water Purification Technologies:

Distillation
Ion Exchange
Carbon Adsorption
Filtration
Ultrafiltration
Reverse Osmosis
Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation 

So while Pete-zza was correct in stating Chris used some sort of purified water, the level of specificity was not high enough to hit the target.
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2006, 10:03:14 AM »
Bill/SFNM,
I'm not sure and would have to guess along with you. But I would imagine you are correct on both counts. Chris is surely into control or more precisely, eliminating chance. He also is committed to maximizing the taste of his products. As he put it to me, "my pizza is only good if you like it."

It would also be interesting to look up a report on Phoenix municipal water to see just how bad it is.
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Offline Barry

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2006, 10:26:00 AM »
pftaylor,

Is it sea water,  or RO (reverse osmosis) water ?

Did Chis reveal the percentages of salt, hydration,sugar(if any) and oil (if any) ?

Kind regards.

Barry in Johannesburg, South Africa

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2006, 11:29:39 AM »
Pete,  Did you find out if Chris is using a wild yeast biga or a commercial yeast biga?

It is nice to know that someone out there (Chris) has trumped us all with pizzafreakyness. 

That was really an amazing review! 

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2006, 12:29:34 PM »
I demand a recount.

I am on record on this forum, at Reply 17 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,571.msg5913.html#msg5913, as to what I mean by "purified municipal water".

Thank you, Tony, for trying to prevent an egregious miscarriage of justice.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2006, 12:31:02 PM »
Scott,
Great question. I failed to ask a clarifying question defining what Chris meant when he said the word Biga. My sense is he was referring to fresh yeast but I could easily be wrong. I would bet he uses a chunk of dough from previous batches to add flavor because I could definitely taste a flavor enhancement. Since I'm already out on a limb here, I must say it vaguely reminded me of the Varasano preferment flavor profile more than say the Camaldoli. Hence my guess that it is fresh yeast based.

Barry,
Chris uses four primary ingredients - Water, flour, salt, and yeast. He would never use sugar or oil in his dough. Regarding hydration percentages, I didn't investigate a response along those lines but can put forth a fairly educated guess and say between 62% and 64%. Regarding salt, I would guess somewhere between 2.0% to 3%. 

I am getting ready to post a YouTube video showing how Chris makes a pie which shows the pagnotti appearing heavily hydrated.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2006, 02:29:18 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2006, 12:36:46 PM »
All,
I trust the following video is of interest to the forum members. It shows Chris making a pie from the moment he grabs the pagnotti to the point he places the pie in his wood burning oven. All this is possible due to fellow member Bill/SFNM informing me about YouTube.



I believe the link comes complete with audio as well.
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2006, 12:48:30 PM »
Pete-zza & tonymark,
I will demonstrate a modicum of restraint and overrule the Jeopardy judges.

Pete-zza, you sir, are hereby declared a winner.

By producing backdated evidence you have essentially rendered their argument specious.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2006, 01:06:53 PM »
pft,

Thank you. I had prepared an appeal brief just in case, but I now see that it will not be necessary to go to Steve with it.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2006, 01:11:01 PM »
All,
The following YouTube link will connect you with the final short video of our waitress describing the last three pies we ordered:



I trust the membership will enjoy these videos as much as I enjoyed taking them.
pftaylor
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2006, 01:27:53 PM »
Pete-zza,
The Jeopardy judges ultimately erroneously rested their case upon an ill-advised English Law interpretation which purported that while bottled purified municipal water is certainly one example of a commonly accepted Water Purification Process, not all Water Purification Processes are either bottled nor Reverse Osmosis.

This position was fully exposed by you artfully broadsiding their argument through the ingenious crafting of an empirical approach which led to the subsequent favorable evidentiary ruling. The effort to reduce the large number of frivolous claims which have come before the bench lately is duly noted.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2006, 03:01:12 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2006, 04:53:24 PM »
All,
I trust the following video is of interest to the forum members. It shows Chris making a pie from the moment he grabs the pagnotti to the point he places the pie in his wood burning oven.




pftaylor,

Fascinating video. I have watched it a dozen times to see if I could glean any tricks. My dough is as bubbly as his, but maybe not as elastic. If I tried to stretch it that way in the air, it might not be strong enough - I'll make some extra balls for a batch I'm doing for Saturday and see how much abuse they can take. I've also got a test of some higher strength flour planned, but that will have to wait for a while. That might make it more like Bianco's, but maybe I won't like it as much. We'll see. Thanks for all of the priceless info in this thread.

Bill/SFNM

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2006, 07:30:40 PM »
Very nice post. It is nice to hear someone in the pizzabusiness with such a passion. I have just landed in Naples for my Pizzafest visit. I would like to make some comments, not critiques, but comments (that is my point of view):

Sourcing flour locally instead of America, Russia, Italy or whatever is not the point. The point is sourcing the best possible flour for the product you want to make. Romans used to import grains for their flour from north Africa, Spain and Sicily. Importing grain/flour is not new (refer to "6000 years of bread"). Same story can be told about other long-life ingredient such as canned tomatoes, olive oil, Prosciutto (for fresh sausages I would agree to set up a farm of the "casertana" breed) etc.. If the best canned tomatoes comes from x place in the world, then I would like to get it.... Olive oil then, is pressed once a year and if you get it at the beginning of the season (October/November in Italy) then is fresh, if you get it the following Summer, then is not so fresh. Coming from the producer next door doesn't guarantee freshness. A different story is for fresh produce. I always try to tell my clients to source locally and if it is possible, try to work with the local produce supplier so to identify varieties and grow them to order. On the mozzarella subject, if you cannot get a good fresh product and you can produce a better one, that is welcome. However I always have a good laugh when I read american writers criticising some Neapolitan pizzeria for not making their own Mozzarella.. Where is the point? If I have the best Cheesemaker in the world 30 minutes drive from my pizzeria (delivering fresh everymorning), while would I bother making my own mozzarella?? let me concentrate on the dough and the oven management.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2006, 07:36:25 PM by pizzanapoletana »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2006, 09:07:27 PM »
pizzanapoletana,
Thank you for sharing your expert point of view. I was hoping you would chime in on this thread and as usual you have not disappointed us. You are truly an asset and we all appreciate the value you bring to our humble forum.

You above all others understand the intricacies associated with producing a product of the highest quality. In your case, it is the Neapolitan style which is the mother of all styles. It is refreshing to know a super level of quality really does exist in the world of pizza. Nearly all of the pizzerias I have been to unfortunately subscribe to the business model of sourcing the cheapest ingredients as well as cutting back on the dough preparation and oven management. Much to my chagrin those same establishments proclaim their commitment to excellence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In Chris Bianco's particular case, I'm sure your expert eye for detail could make a number of constructive comments and perhaps there will come a point in time where you will share those with us. Even better would be if Chris would follow up with his commitment to join pizzamaking.com and collaborate with all of us. Of course since I'm openly dreaming here, I might as well wish for the ultimate scenario where I would moderate an artisanal pizza discussion with you, Ron (Il Pizzaiolo), Chris (Bianco), Anthony (UPN), and Evelyne Slomon. To my knowledge, you five represent the pinnacle of what is possible in the world of pizza. The only thing better would be if my beloved Philadelphia Eagles would win a Super Bowl but I cannot see that event occurring anytime soon either.

Getting back to Chris Bianco's position on quality, I firmly believe he is on the same page as you with respect to quality. He will only source locally if the product is of the highest quality and he described many relationships with his suppliers where that was not the case initially. However, over time he has been able to develop the perfect blend of local availability, freshness and unsurpassed quality. He will not source a product just because it is convenient. It has to fit a very precise requirement.

Not all of Chris's products are sourced from America. It simply isn't possible to source all of one's products from one country and maintain the ultra-stringent quality standard of "World's Best." I know his Spiedini has Italian Fontina, Anchovies are from Sicily, and Mortadella is from Modena. In addition, he offers a number of red and white wines from Italy.

I know I'm dreaming but please don't pinch me. I might wake up.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2006, 09:09:49 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline Peteg

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2006, 03:26:41 PM »
Pftaylor,
             This is the thread that I've been waiting for since you mentioned going to Bianco's a while back.  Thanks so much for the documentation and insight into what makes Chris Bianco such a unique pizzaiolo.  Knowing your excellent taste for pizza sauce, I have a couple of questions for you.  Everything that I have read about Bianco's suggests that he uses fresh organic tomatoes be it San Marzano or other.  One popular review online talks about his sauce tasting like the "the ripest tomatoes concentrated".  With Bianco's fresh in your memory, did his sauce mirror your own with fresh tomatoes simply ground and seeded or did it have another dimension.  It's hard to imagine exactly what course he is taking with his sauce but I could possibly see him roasting fresh tomatoes to consentrate the flavor and add another flavor dimension.  Of course no sugar right?  Hard to say since I haven't been able to make the trip yet, but hopefully sometime in the near future.  Thanks again for all of your contributions.  Pete g

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2006, 06:43:35 AM »
Pete g,
I'm glad my work is of value to you. I have a blast traveling around the U.S. pizza hunting. In the past month or so I went to four well known pizzerias with only one being a huge disappointment (Grimaldi's of Old Scottsdale). Settebello in Las Vegas, Spacca Napoli in Chicago, and Bianco in Phoenix were all top notch in their own way. What is the difference between a Grimaldi's and the other three? Easy answer. Settebello, Spacca Napoli, and Bianco all try to produce the best pie they can. The owners surely get up every day with the goal of producing their best. Grimaldi's doesn't.

When I complained about the lack of charring and the ten minute bake time on the day I went to Grimaldi's the manager on duty, Nick, confessed that the oven wasn't cranked up because they weren't expecting a big lunch crowd. What? I had to do a double take on that one. I then asked what the size of the crowd had to do with operating a coal oven at the proper temperature. Temperatures Grimaldi's is known for. Nick didn't have a plausible answer and I didn't have any appetite for chain store type pizza. Suffice to say that the pie was so bad that I ended up leaving a few slices behind. That type of business decisioning on the part of Grimaldi's ownership is representative of poor thinking and it borders on deceptive practices. It smacks of they wouldn't spend the extra money to give their customers what they are really paying for and more importantly what they advertise. Afterall, only a small group of customers was disappointed so who is to really notice. Repulsive business practice and not one which the boys in Brooklyn would stand for I'm sure. For the record, I have eaten at Grimaldi's of Old Scottsdale twice over the past year and each time there has been an oven issue of one sort or another. I will not go back. With that out of the way, let's discuss your question in some detail.

Out of the five pies we ordered, only two had any tomato sauce on them at all - the Margherita and Sonny Boy. The Margherita, which was my personal favorite, did have what was perhaps the best balance of crust, cheese, and sauce I have ever had the pleasure of eating. It also had an industrial strength Basil leaf or two on it which was as strong and flavorful as my home-grown Neapolitan Basil. I can't really say that the sauce stood out. In fact, I'm sure it did not. It wasn't designed to. I'm certain the sauce blended perfectly with what I had imagined a Margherita should taste like. I enjoyed mouthfuls of;
- pure crust (when eating the rim),
- crust and sauce,
- crust and cheese,
- crust, sauce, and cheese, and finally
- crust, sauce, cheese, and basil.

I found each one of the five different possibilities listed above to be highly desirable. For whatever reason, they matched my preconceived notion of what they should taste like. And isn't that why pizza is such a good comfort food. When times are good, we all go out and get a good pizza because we just "know" how it will taste and it adds to the fun. When times are bad, we all go out and get a pie because we "know" we can count on it being just as we remembered the last time. It is the perfect food in that sense isn't it?

What was amazing about the Margherita, for me, was how Chris designed it - where the crust was the real star of the show. The uber intentional showcasing of the crust was not the case with any of the other pies we ordered. On all the other pies, the toppings were the stars. They simply overpowered the crust and reminded me of a California style of pie. I think that may have been why the Rosa scored so high. The combination of unusual topping combinations nearly stopped all of us in our tracks and caused us to actually think about what we just ate. In my case, I savored every bite.

The genius of Chris Bianco, in my mind, is his ability to produce completely different styles of pies at the highest levels of quality. All the while producing an overall taste which was simply delicious. I mentioned in the original post about how everyone at our table felt that their last place selection was still better than any pizza they had ever eaten. Imagine that. The worst this guy has to offer was still better than the best we had all ever had. My head is still trying to digest that one.

If I had to isolate the base taste of his tomato sauce I would say they were similar to other tomatoes I had eaten while at the Scottsdale Princess during my stay. That is to say, they tasted completely different from the Florida Ugly Ripe. How? Well they seemed to possess a different texture and flavor profile bordering on creamy and fresh rather than what I'm used to which could be described as meaty and fresh. My sauce is chunky and fresh, Bianco's was creamy and fresh with some sort of organic tinge. I did not detect any spices in his sauce save perhaps for salt.

Let me know how else I can assist.
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Offline Barry

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2006, 10:33:30 AM »
pftaylor,

I have really enjoyed the 2 videos that you shared with us via YouTube, particularly the one of Chris making up a pizza from scratch.

What has really intrigued me is the way he hand stretched the base. The speed was lightning fast !  The dough balls seemed to be extreemely "slack" and highly extensible. I once experienced some similar dough that was very "wet" (hydration level of 66%) and I had also added some dough enhancer (consisting mainly of enzymes) to my recipe. This was also after a 4 day fermentation in the fridge.

With the hand stretching, I believe that there was absolutely minimal removal of any of the gasses in the dough, and this showed in the pictures attached to your original post in this thread.

Love this thread !

Kind regards.

Barry

Offline David

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2006, 08:31:54 PM »
PFT,
      Very pleased for you and I KNOW exactly how you must have felt this week.Great stuff...........
I must admit that I was somewhat skeptical about Bianco's and all the hype that has surrounded it.I have yet to get there myself,and as much as I generally found the CD Interview featuring him disappointing - Chris came across to me as a genuine, humble and "feet on the ground" guy who immediately earned my total respect for his kind words and comments regarding UPN, the use of Mixers,etc.From speaking to Anthony at UPN and reading your review it's clear that Passion is the common "secret Ingredient" and you just can't teach someone that.
I've just got back from an exhausting ,mind spinning four days in Naples (Italy).I hope to sort my head/photos out over the next few days.Later...
                                                 David
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Offline Peteg

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2006, 11:20:42 PM »
PFT,
       Apparently I should have been buying the DOP Arizona's instead...  Who knew.  Correct me if I'm wrong but don't you burmix your sauce before spreading it?  Do you leave your sauce on the chunky side on purpose or is that just a characteristic of the ugly ripes?  After being exposed to this new type of sauce will you be searching for the "creamy fresh" tomato or does the ugly ripe still remain in first place in your book.  I'm sure that I'm not the only one on this forum that places a great deal of value in your oppinion whatever it may be.  Thanks again, Pete g

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2006, 06:53:53 AM »
Peteg,
While Chris has impacted my pizza thinking on many levels, perhaps the one which ranks highest is the notion of working with local farmers to obtain the best they have to offer. What it means for me is simply this; I will locate a farmers market, determine which farmer(s) offer the highest quality ingredients available and I will strike up a relationship with them. Surely locally grown tomatoes will be part of that process. The days of sourcing vegetables from Publix supermarkets are over. Permanently.

David,
I look forward to learning about your Naples adventure.
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Offline ELeight

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2006, 11:45:38 AM »
PFT,

Great post!  Your ability to get to know people on first meeting is unbelievable.  I was wondering if you knew if Chris put on the Berkshire sausage in a raw state or if you thought it might be precooked?  Ditto on the purple onion?  Probably raw? 
Thanks,

Erik

Offline giotto

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #49 on: October 06, 2006, 09:20:57 PM »
I found it intriguing that my words were mimicked by Chris regarding how each style has its place. I sometimes feel like a minority since so many people tend to protect their home towns (e.g., Chicago, CA, NY, Naples, etc.).

I think it's important to differentiate between fresh vs. aged, suggesting that some things are better fresh, while other things are better aged. Chris, for example, uses a BIGA, which suggests aging of his dough. Here, his ingredient is fresh; but then he ages it... Not to kill it; but to improve it. The primary difference between a BIGA and Poolish is the % hydration; but in both cases, they suggest the use of a yeast fermentation, rather than a natural fermentation where the yeast is developed. BIGAs and Poolishs allow a slow development with minimal amounts of commercial yeast, and require a 2 step process (first BIGA is formed, then dough); but unlike a natural starter, they are generally less aged; and can be easily recreated. Their purpose of course is many fold, including minimizing yeast activity during bacterial fermentations, and to add either lactic acids or acedic acids, depending on temperatures used. The fact that Chris is using refrigeration, he is going for a slightly stronger acedic acid; but certainly, not to the level of a long term naturally aged starter. When not working with sour doughs where natural starters are employed, guys like Sullivan at ACME bread and others in the SF area work with commercial yeast based BIGAs and Poolishes. And these guys are about as passionate as anyone in their trade.

In the case of cheeses, aging can be a very good thing as well. With Parmesan, for example, Chris would use an aged ingredient. But with mozzarella, he has naturally chosen to make his own because it serves not to be aged and produce a strong taste, which is preferred with other cheeses.

Regarding Giusto, it's important to note some differences between their organic and non-organic. Organic means no malted barley. So a bread flour like their Artisan contains barley; whereas their Baker's Choice is an organic and does not contain it. The result of course is a difference in color, since Barley serves to extract sugars from starches. When in an oven that can produce pizza in 60 seconds, no biggy. At home with 600F, you'll see the difference. So I prefer the use of Baker's Choice at times; but I mix it with a flour that contains Barley so I don't have to mix it myself (flours only contain .1% barley apparently). Both of these flours are noted as Bread; but they contain less than 12%, which is preferred by the likes of Il Fornaio, ACME and other bread companies in the bay area. They are both made of Hard Red Winter wheat. Whereas, Giusto's ORGANIC Ultimate Performance flour is at 13.5% and is made up of Northern Spring. Giusto's will mix for you, and I believe that Chris is doing just that.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2006, 09:22:28 PM by giotto »


 

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