Author Topic: Pizzeria Bianco  (Read 29677 times)

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Offline scott r

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #80 on: March 19, 2007, 02:26:15 AM »
I finally got back from my trip out west.  Damn,  almost two months without making pizza was starting to kill me. I haven't gone without making pizza for more than a few days in two years.  I celebrated my return with my wife and a pie inspired by chris using the tomatoes he gave me.  I did a few things different to cater to my own personal prefrences (buffalo mozzarella, basil baked on the pie, and without his custom flour), but for the most part it was a recreation of what I had at his wonderful pizzeria.  It's good to be back in the kitchen!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2007, 02:36:03 AM by scott r »


Offline prochef_313

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #81 on: March 31, 2007, 02:25:41 PM »
 :pizza:
« Last Edit: March 31, 2007, 02:29:27 PM by prochef_313 »

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #82 on: April 03, 2007, 11:00:50 PM »
Hey all, based on all of oven discussion, I was looking to see if we could get a little further into the subject.  The discussion  would be perfectly timed,  as I am in the beginning stages of buildnig, have built my stand am waiting on my building permit so I can get into the floor and dome.  I have been debating about the best  diameter, if there is one, dome height, and most importantly, dome/mass thickness.  If there have been past threads about this please let me know, otherwise I am quite curious what the thinking is on this, and or what might come up.  If anyone has hand built an oven based on the pompeii plans at the fornobravo site I would love to hear some comments about your materials/methods/results and what you would do differently, if anything.  Feel free to message me offlist.  thanks -marc 

Offline kmancpbh

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #83 on: April 17, 2009, 08:52:04 AM »
Wow, for someone newer to this site (and obviously late to the party.....especially on this post) this is an amazing post and thread. Thanks so much for the imput! ;D

An additional advantage Chris has over someone like me in the Northeast US is geographic location. Arizona's proximity to areas capable of growing high quality olives for olive oil, tomatoes, pistacios, etc is a definite benefit to his pizzas......particulary since any shipping time from producer to Pizzeria Bianco is minimal. His location suits his "pizza is dying" philosophy, which I strongly agree with!

Chris to me sounds very much like a great vigneron/winemaker. Pizza's roots as a folk/peasant cuisine are now mirrored most always in functionality only.  Unfortunately forgotten is that true folk/peasant cuisine is nearly always a very elemental food experience.

My firm belief is that the best wines are made by people fanatical about the quality of the grapes from planting to harvested grape, the care given in handeling the grapes and then essentially doing the least amount possible during fermentation/ageing that will interfere in the finished wine's ability to deliver as much of the flavor of the grape that it had, when picked, as possible. In this regard, a great winemaker is more of a steward....I have always thought that making pizza should be exactly like this......sourcing the best possible ingredients, delicate handling and respect for those ingredients and then having a minimal interventionalist attitude in order to allow those ingredients to give the fullest possible expression of their individual flavors while contributing to the whole in a balanced symphony of earthy, fresh, bright flavors. This not only helps produce the best quality pizza, but gives the proper respect to the ingredients being used and the hardworking, often equally passionate, people working in the fields to produce/raise the ingredients being used. While this helps to keep the "dying time" of pizza as short as possible, it is my opinion that this attitude is much more about life and an unbroken chain of passion and committment from grower, to pizza maker to the final consumer. Life is beautiful.

Chris Bianco, you are the man! (I need to take a trip to Phoenix!) :)

Thanks for all the great posts everyone. --K
« Last Edit: April 17, 2009, 08:54:25 AM by kmancpbh »

brayshaw

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #84 on: March 12, 2010, 07:45:30 AM »
wow!!! what a post! I have just read it from start to finish! brilliant!
Thanks  :D

Offline psedillo

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #85 on: July 30, 2010, 08:11:17 PM »
wow!!! what a post! I have just read it from start to finish! brilliant!
Thanks  :D
Add me to the list of the new folks on this site who just discovered this thread. I also read it from start to finish and plan on reading it again. To those who delivered such insightful information, I sincerely thank you.

Offline PizzaPolice

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #86 on: July 30, 2010, 11:29:03 PM »
Hang on......  It's going to get bumpy.... 

                                In a really good way.


..Just know, there is no turning back if you choose this path...

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #87 on: July 31, 2010, 01:52:12 AM »
I finally got back from my trip out west.  Damn,  almost two months without making pizza was starting to kill me. I haven't gone without making pizza for more than a few days in two years.  I celebrated my return with my wife and a pie inspired by chris using the tomatoes he gave me.  I did a few things different to cater to my own personal prefrences (buffalo mozzarella, basil baked on the pie, and without his custom flour), but for the most part it was a recreation of what I had at his wonderful pizzeria.  It's good to be back in the kitchen!

ScottR, that is a nice looking pie.  Since you have been able to recreate Bianco's pizza, would you mind sharing some details for those of us who haven't had it?

-Crispy rim? slightly or crunch?  My guess is slightly?
-What is your hydration ratio? I've read in the reverse engineering Bianco's pie thread that Chris uses about a 73% HR.  What is your HR and opinion of this?
-Do you have a crumb shot to share with the forum?
-How is the texture of your crumb vs Chris'?  Can you describe it for us?  Is it light and airy? or ultralight/airy?
-Have you shared your method of hand kneading and dough management somewhere on the forum?  I've looked but can't find it.

Thx,
Chau

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #88 on: July 31, 2010, 08:55:18 AM »
Final pictures. Final thought - Chris is interested in joining pizzamaking.com...
All we can do is hope.

Now that he's not in the pizzeria anymore he should join.

Offline randyjohnsonhve

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #89 on: July 31, 2010, 10:19:31 PM »
To all...
I had the pleasure to talk to Chris for 15-20 by telephone before I visited his place...I live in North Idaho, and love to make pizzas myself...So humble, and it has been about 3 years since I talked to him and experienced his phenomenal pizzas...
1) He is doing things differently now than then...no biga then, just a cold retard from the morning to opening...hand made with Guisto flour
2) He told me it is a changing process...he hoped his dough the day I was to visit would be the best he can do...you know, humidity and temperature affect the quality and he hoped his would be satisfactory that day...he hand made dough from the bench...no special water mentioned..
3) He has always made his own mozz...before he did pizzas, he made mozz for restaurants...
4) Freshness was his key...when you use Arizona pistacios vs some other great pistatios, he is concerned with helping where he lives and freshness, freshness, freshness...
5) He told me that my pizzas were probably really good, by what I told him I do...and that some people would like mine, and some would like his best...That is the neat thing about pizzas, i
"Pizza Evolves...Our Best Pizza Ever is Not Today." It is 'what' is right, not 'who' is right that matters.


Offline randyjohnsonhve

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #90 on: July 31, 2010, 10:22:40 PM »
Continued....
the never ending quest to make a better pizza today, than you did yesterday....

But my experience was the same as yours...he is a remarkable person...humble and takes the time to discuss your love and his love with you...most people would be like his brother, not putting him down, but not take the time...Chris is one of a kind...

Best of luck to Chris, and to all of you readers out there, do not miss the opportunity, if it arises, to wait in line to experience probably the best in the world!

RJelli from Coeur D'Alene, ID
"Pizza Evolves...Our Best Pizza Ever is Not Today." It is 'what' is right, not 'who' is right that matters.

Offline psedillo

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #91 on: July 31, 2010, 10:31:10 PM »
Hang on......  It's going to get bumpy.... 

                                In a really good way.


..Just know, there is no turning back if you choose this path...

Perfectly stated.

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #92 on: August 01, 2010, 05:32:42 AM »
ScottR, that is a nice looking pie.  Since you have been able to recreate Bianco's pizza, would you mind sharing some details for those of us who haven't had it?

-Crispy rim? slightly or crunch?  My guess is slightly?
-What is your hydration ratio? I've read in the reverse engineering Bianco's pie thread that Chris uses about a 73% HR.  What is your HR and opinion of this?
-Do you have a crumb shot to share with the forum?
-How is the texture of your crumb vs Chris'?  Can you describe it for us?  Is it light and airy? or ultralight/airy?
-Have you shared your method of hand kneading and dough management somewhere on the forum?  I've looked but can't find it.

Thx,
Chau

When I visited biancos I found that the pizza had the texture of a perfectly executed NY coal oven style pizza, but with toppings sauce and cheese that are just on another planet.   Im sure if you have had it you know what I am talking about, but its really hard to describe in words.   Yes, the crust is somewhat crispy, but not as crispy as most pizza due to the elevated oven temps.   Although the crust had wonderful character and texture, it was not as tender as as its distant cousins in NY, mostly due to the widespread use of bromated flour there.  While it did have a bit more chew than a properly done Neapolitan pizza, or a coal oven speed pizza made with the aid of bromate,  the texture was still very pleasant and definitely did not tire my mouth out.   The crust and cheese and toppings were all as good as anything I have had in naples italy, and probably better than just about anything in NY, especially now that UPN is gone.   The toppings are where Chris' pies really differ from a NY coal oven style place, and this (along with his amazing personality) are what sets him apart from the rest of the pack.   Its New York coal oven style pizza brought to the next level by the use of wood and high end toppings with 100% attention to detail.   Im not saying the crust is sub par, but I have had crusts at other places that definitely compare, and I do think pizza of this caliber can be made at home.   I think many people on this forum are making crust as good or maybe even better than chris.  (no disrespect to Chris, but pizzamaking.com has created some seriously talented pizza makers!) 

This is not at all what Chris does, but for me, and with my preferred flours I think the hand kneading methods of Enzo Coccia posted on the Woodstone website are really a great way to do smaller batches of dough like most of us here on the forum are going to do.  http://www.woodstone-corp.com/cooking_naples_style.htm

I know that chris has sometimes used high hydration doughs, but on my visit this was definitely not the case.   I know that he is always tweaking (like all of us!).  If I had to guess chris was probably at about 64-65% when I was there, but you have to take into account the huge variances in flour types, and that number could have a drastically different outcome depending on what flour you are using. 

I personally have been burdened by growing up with bromated flour most of my life.  Because of this I tend to gravitate to a slightly lighter and tender pizza that what I had at Biancos (again, not that his pizza was tough).   For me the challenge is always getting my pizza as light as possible without bromate, while retaining as much char as possible to aid in the flavor and texture sensations that char will create!  I don't want to disrespect Chris by clogging up this thread with any elaborate pizza recipies, or info that he was kind enough to share with me in confidence about his pizza making. 

This is not at all what Chris does, but for me, and with most of my preferred flours I think the hand kneading methods of Enzo Coccia posted on the Woodstone website are really a great way to do smaller batches of dough like most of us here on the forum are going to want to do.  http://www.woodstone-corp.com/cooking_naples_style.htm   If you try this method with a biga and some fresh yeast, some organic flour, really experiment with your flour to find the bulls eye as far as the best mixing time goes,experiment to find the perfect dough maturation level, barely manhandle the dough while forming the skin, cook the pizza in a very even oven that will bake the pie at a coal oven speeds (2.5- 4.5 min)  and you are going to have a crust very similar to chris' pizza.   Remember that he has mentioned publicly that cold fermentation as well as long slow room temp fermentations are both capable of producing stellar pizza.  This is not what Chris was using during my visit, but for tomatoes, I would recommend the miracle of san genarro tomatoes that Marco first brought our attention to here on the forum.   They are very hard to beat.   Your on your own with the cheese.   Anyone know how to make their own high fat mozzarella?   Chris' is so good!   If not just use buffala.   Take the time to secure a source of fresh product, and you will be in a different place, but one that is just as good.   

Im honored that anyone is out there searching for my dough recipe's and management tips!  Again, Enzo's method for hand kneading works great for me, OR if im at home, my favorite mixer is the bosch universal.  I sold my santos and my electrolux once I found It.   I was introduced to it by fellow forum member Widespreadpizza who make me some KILLLLLER New york coal and neapolitan style pizza with his bosch!  If you have a chance to use one try mixing for about 5-8 minutes depending on flour type and how packed the mixer is with dough.   Once its out its up to you to nail the fermentation time.   I guess my big tip here is that once you get all the basics right, his skin forming technique is very unusual, and I believe that it has developed  because of the lack of bromate or neapolitan high temperatures (which both tend to lighten the crust).  The trick is that chris does not really de gas or even touch his dough much at all.   This minimal handling technique makes a really different dough texture than a more abused one.   Having a fairly wet dough does help with this.   Good luck!
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 05:54:53 AM by scott r »

scott123

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #93 on: August 01, 2010, 07:08:43 AM »
I personally have been burdened by growing up with bromated flour most of my life. Because of this I tend to gravitate to a slightly lighter and tender pizza that what I had at Biancos (again, not that his pizza was tough).   For me the challenge is always getting my pizza as light as possible without bromate, while retaining as much char as possible to aid in the flavor and texture sensations that char will create!

I grew up with that same pizza, but, for me, it's less of a burden and more of a blessing :) My bromate altar is very well tended.  I'll don my alchemist robe and see where I can get with non bromated flours every once in a while, but I don't see my allegiance shifting anytime in the immediate future.

K to the BrO3  :)

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #94 on: August 01, 2010, 10:13:04 AM »
Scott r, thank you for taking the time to write a very informative post.  You manage to pack so much in there while keeping this thread on track.  I like the (re)emphasis on Chris' philosphy and use of fresh & high quality products.

I live close enough and will plan a trip soon.  Again Kudos to PFTaylor for starting this discussion and those who have contributed. 

Chau

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #95 on: August 01, 2010, 11:14:40 AM »
scottr,

As usual, a very insightful post.

It has been reported before that Chris uses a "biga" but do you know offhand if he uses a classic biga? Often the term "biga" is used loosely to mean just about any type of preferment leavened with commercial yeast.

Peter

brayshaw

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #96 on: August 02, 2010, 11:19:49 AM »

I live close enough and will plan a trip soon.  Again Kudos to PFTaylor for starting this discussion and those who have contributed. 

Chau

I am not jealous in the slightest..............
Haha

Offline scott r

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #97 on: August 06, 2010, 01:01:48 PM »
scottr,

As usual, a very insightful post.

It has been reported before that Chris uses a "biga" but do you know offhand if he uses a classic biga? Often the term "biga" is used loosely to mean just about any type of preferment leavened with commercial yeast.

Peter

As far as I understood it chris was only using old dough.   Again, he does tinker, so that could have changed by now.   

thanks for the nice words everyone.   I haven't had any time for the forum lately, so it was fun to dig in to a response for a change.

Offline MilitantSquatter

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #98 on: August 21, 2010, 11:10:19 PM »
Thanks pftaylor for starting this thread and all who have contributed to it.

I probably read this thread (and the Pizza Raquel thread ) once a month and it keeps me in check as to what I should be striving to as far as quality, freshness and individuality.  Chris Bianco's perspective is unique but so true.

Thanks !
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 10:08:10 AM by MilitantSquatter »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizzeria Bianco
« Reply #99 on: August 29, 2010, 11:13:00 PM »
Just got back from a Pizza trip to Az.  Unfortunately I didn't get to eat at Bianco's but I did get to meet Chris.   I'll likely make a trip back out there when they aren't on vacation.   :'(   :-D Here's a brief write up..

Some poor planning on my end had me making a visit to Bianco’s in the middle of his annual vacation.  Every year they take some time off and this year it happened to coincide with my Pizza trip to AZ.  I had miss that very important detail from his website and had planned on being in AZ this weekend to meet a friend who was visiting at the same time.   My trip to Az would include a visit to Bianco’s, and 2 other pizzerias.
 
One of my wishful hopes for this trip besides tasting Chris’ pizza is to be able to talk to him about pizza.  I had read in this thread that Chris’ brother said that they get calls daily from people wanting to talk to Chris about pizza.  Knowing this, I really didn’t want to be one of those people and try to seek out an interview with Chris.   That being the case, I had not prepared a list of questions to even ask Chris.  Besides, what questions would I really ask that hasn’t already been asked/discussed on the forum?  Would I just ask Chris for his secret formula or what flour he uses?  Of course not.  I knew better than that.   After reading numerous posts about Chris and his philosophy concerning pizza, it is apparent to me Chris isn’t about secrets or recipes.

On this day, I had planned on showing up early at 330p for a 5pm opening so that we could be one of the first to be seated.  After realizing that I wasn’t going to be eating at Bianco’s this evening,  my friend and I started making plans to visit another pizzeria in the area, we notice a couple of Hispanic guys had just arrived and were waiting in front of the pizzeria.  My friend suggested that we go take a look at Chris’s oven through the window since we were there.  When we walked up, one of the guys informed us that they were closed and on vacation.   So I asked myself “who are these guys and why are they hanging out at Bianco’s when the place was closed”?  Well it turns out, that one of the guys there was Horracio and he said that he was their pizzaiolo.  We chatted for about 10mins about Chris and Horrachio’s work there at the restaurant.   I asked specifically if Chris was still making pizza or not on account of his asthma.  Horracio said that he himself had been working the oven for the last 2 years.   I don’t know if this means that he has been working the oven exclusively the last 2 years or Chris is still baking part time.  Horrachio said that he had worked for Chris for 14years.  During the course of our brief conversation, he said Chris will be stopping by in the next 15-20min if I wanted to hang out and meet him.   8) So as fate would have it, I hung around and got to chat pizza with Chris afterall.  When Chris had arrived to pick up some mail, Horrachio told him we had come in to town just to visit Bianco’s.  Chris was apologetic and said he would speak with us for a minute if we wanted. 
He has a unique approach to pizza which was very apparent during his brief talk with my friend and I.  He spent the majority of the 20mins talking and we listened intently.  My friend and I asked a few questions and he happily addressed them.   Here are several things I picked up during his brief talk about pizza. (Comments in parentheses added by me).

-His style of pizza is definitely a variation of an elite NY style.  He said it is like a Naples style pizza except it is baked at a lower temp and baked about a minute longer (this would place Chris in the 3min-ish realm).   He said he likes his crust with a bit more crisp than a traditional NP style.  He also said that he likes a lighter crumb than what he had in Naples.  I asked how his pizza was different from the other elite NY pizza’s (Di fara’s, Grimaldi’s, Patsy’s, etc) and he said it is basically the oven.  Theirs is done with coal fired ovens (or deck ovens) and his is wood fired.  He said when you change out the oven (cooking environment) you get a slighty different pizza.  He said once you can make great pizza, there are just slight differences/variations between them.  Not that one is better than another.  You may like this place more than another because of the toppings, or atmosphere, etc.   
 
-Perfection:  He said plainly and clearly that there is no perfection.  We strive to make the best pizza we can that we enjoy.  After that there are just nuisances about one pizza (place) or the other.    He said you can make a great pizza by simply using the best ingredients.  That’s what separates him from others.  He said “I can cut the arugula at 4pm and you can’t get a fresher taste at 530pm”. 

-Commercial pizza vs home baked pizza:  He said in a commercial setting it’s more challenging to bake many pizzas a night.  When the dough is ready it’s ready to use now, not an hour from now.  He said he believe when you make 1-2 pies at home, you can do a better job b/c you can spend more time and give more detail to just 2 pizzas.  (Of course provided that you also have the same oven at home).

-Hand kneading vs Mixer:  Why hand knead?  He said when he started he couldn’t afford a spiral mixer so he had to do it by hand.  Then later when he could afford one, he changed his idea about using a mixer.  He now has a mixer he uses to make bread, but for pizza he does it by hand b/c it’s traditional.   He said not one is better than the other and he can make the same product using either or.  He just prefers it done by hand b/c it has meaning. 

-Flour:  He said he did(n’t) favor North American flours.  Sorry, I heard “did not” and my friend heard “did”.  He said there are lots of (old world) flours in Italy that are much better than even Caputo.  He said NP is a good pizza but that he likes a different kind of texture than what caputo gives.  He mentioned old world flours.   He also mentioned something about taking a trip or planning a trip to Italy in the future. 

-Dough:  this has been posted before but he uses a combination of old dough, “almost like a biga” were his word and fresh yeast.   He also cold ferments his dough but didn’t say how long.  His brother makes all the dough.  (I suspect that the dough is made early in the morning and cold ferment for the day until that evening.  To be technically correct, an old dough would be a Pate Fermentee). 

-Ingredients:  Also posted before, Chris says to make great pizza you have to have a great crust combined with the best ingredients and you have a great pizza.   He said you can’t make something great out of mediocre or subpar ingredients.  He really stressed this point 2-3x. You can’t make a great pizza from ingredients you buy at Costco. ( Lol, Chris is a funny guy ).  As posted before, he gets his OO locally, makes his own mozzarella, grows his own herbs, etc.  The emphasis again here is fresh and finest ingredients you can get locally.  Water – being from NM myself, he said he had worked in Sante Fe for a couple of years and he remembered the water had a lot of calcium in it.  He advised me to use water made by “reverse osmosis”. 

That is all I can recall of his brief lecture on Pizza.  I was really pleased to have had an opportunity to meet Chris and chat a bit with him.   Chris was very gracious and inviting.  Even though he was in hurry he was happy to take time out and chat with yet another pizza fan.   Walking away from our conversation, I couldn’t help to think of how many of these conversations he’s had with like minded folks over the years.  Either way, I was pleased to be able to meet the man. 
I walked away satisfied despite not getting to eat at Chris’.   Perhaps another day…

Chau
« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 12:45:20 AM by Jackie Tran »


 

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