Author Topic: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers  (Read 5139 times)

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Offline Pizza Shark

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Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« on: September 12, 2006, 03:44:58 PM »
I must say I am very impressed with this sting of perfectionists and I thought I would add my two cents worth (and that's probably all its worth).  Years ago I worked for a very well known Pizzeria in Boston that took Best of Boston Awards many years running and still does today... Let's call it Pizzeria "R".  If you know pizza, you'll know this landmark in Boston and it's history.  That was where I learned to make Real Pizza (at least as real as I care to make it).  I've been to all the well known NY establishments and, unfortunately, I don't have a coal oven so I am not going to waste my time trying to duplicate something I never can.  Period.   

I also believe that most of you here make far better pizzas than the best-known, award-winning  establishments.  The problem is you've never tasted your pizza right beside the one you are trying so hard to reproduce.  Perception is everything.  When you walk into a landmark pizzaria you expect the very best and when you eat a slice you taste the very best but any true pizzaria makes sacrifices to maintain quality and consistency.  They don't have the time to run fresh tomatoes through a mill and they make their dough such that it has a shelf life of several days.  You are already making better pizza right at home... you just don't believe you are!   

If you want to duplicate Pizzaria "R" pizza you have to get the ingredients.   So, first look in the yellow pages under pizza suppies or food service supply and find one that supplies pizza shops. Give them a call and tell them you are in the process of testing recipes for a pizzeria you intend to open and need to perfect your recipe before you open. Tell them you want cash and carry and they will sell to you.  If one won't, call the next number on the list.  Then, go to their distribution center and buy your supplies.  All you are buying is flour, a sauce base, and some quality cheese because.  Buy a 25lb bag of Gold Medal Full Strength flour & a case of Stanislaus Full Red Pizza Sauce. Stanislaus produces the best fresh packed tomato products available in my opinion.  Get some bricks of quality cheese.  Empire whole milk is the very best (now owned by Great Lakes Cheese I believe) but tough to get.  If they don't have it go with Grande... If they don't have that go with what they consider their premium brand.  Premium cheese is more expensive but you use less of it on a NY style pie and it provides a substantial increase in flavor that you will never find in a supermarket.  Don't be afraid about buying too much... the longer the cheese ages under refrigeration the better it gets.  I've had bricks in my fridge for 6-9 months that I simply leave the plastic wrapping on and cut right through the wrapping for my chunk and then seal with plastic wrap and a rubber band so there are no air pociets whatsoever.  You will notice that after time in the fridge it will begin to turn a light yellow instead of the usual white...  This is the best Mozz you ca use... as it ages it develops netter flavor and it's melting properties improve greatly. Many say whole milk Mozz doesn't give that "Cheese-String" experience.  Let it sit in your fridge for 2-3 months and it will.  We bought cheese by the truck-load and aged it to a light yellow before shreding and using it.   

Most NYS pizzerias believe in Whole Milk Mozz (we used only aged whole milk Empire Mozz)  Whole milk tends to burn easily due to the fat content.  During the bake, unless you are in authentic pizza land people think your pizza is greasy.  Unfortunately, greasy pizza has been associated with low quality when the exact opposite is true... The quality whole milk cheese used results in that layer of highly flavorful butterfat.  Personally, I prefer a bit more cheesey texture stringy melt of part-skim without the wait of aging so a trade-off is to mix the two as many here have discussed.  While there buy some stuff you like... like some canned mushrooms (love canned mushrooms on NY Style pizza.  Fresh have too much water in them unless you microwave them ahead of time and get all that water out.) canned bananna peppers, vinegar peppers, canned artichokes hearts... whatever ya want.  Use these toppings after substantial draining and patting dry with paper towels.   

You will need a pizza wheel cutter, a wooden pizza peel and rectangular pizza stone 14" x 18" or so (steer clear of round ones as sliding a raw pie on a round stone just doesn't work for the unskilled). If you have a Kitchenaid mixer (a little counter top hobart with dough hook you won't have pop-eye arms by the time you are done perfecting dough). 

Spices... Fresh is best but only fresh basil is worth the effort.. buy the rest dried.  I recommend you buy spices from Penzeys spices (they have a web site) and are well known for the best spices in the U.S.  Buy some oregano, basil (if you don't have fresh), whole black peppercorns and crushed red pepper flakes (don't screw around with garlic power, onion powder, tyme, rosemary, fennel, and all that crap you see in recipes that are trying to duplicate Pizza Hut's garbage and such).  At the grocery store buy some Diamond superfine salt, a jar of dry active yeast, a squeeze bottle of honey, some fresh grated (not shredded) Romano Cheese, a small bag of Semolina flour (for dusting your peel) and some of those cheap Glad storage containers if you don't have anything to freeze sauce in.

What I will tell you is this, "Less is more when it comes to NYS pizza".  Many overseason their sauce, over cheese their pizza, and toss a crust that is too thick.  (God help us if they use a rolling pin).  As you all know, NY Style pizza is tossed to a thin membrane topped with a watered-down yet rich and flavorful sauce with light cheese that sears and melds into a fantastic eating experience under intense heat.

Some comments on Dough and what I have read here...  Dough is dough.  Dough is flour, water & yeast.  That is dough.  From there we can incorporate oil, salt, & a sugar be it honey or plain ole table sugar.  Dough is dough... how it is handled, stretched and baked is the difference.  You can make a better pie with all-purpose flour if handled correctly than you ever could with some premium imported high gluten/full strength stuff that is not handled properly.  I truly repsect the various perfectionists here who are calculating water amounts to the 10th of an ounce but flour comes from various sources and by the time you get it, it has been through various levels of humidity and time has passed.  No pizzaria in history has ever invested in some kind of "dry storage 0% humidity air-sealed compartment where they can return the flour to 0% humidity and form a base-line to determine the amount of water to be added to a dough batch.  On a humid day, flour from a bin equates to less water, on a dry day, more water to the mix. 

Your Dough... Yes many who have researched pizzaria pizza will say use no sugar, use cold water, do the thing where ya mix the dough and 2/3 water first and let it sit for 20 minutes before ya add the rest so gluten can build, let it cold rise for one to four days in the fridge.  Bottom line... In my opinion and I admit it is only worth 2 cents... The VERY BEST DOUGH IS FRESH MADE AND COOKED THE SAME DAY.  PERIOD!  Tom the Dough Doctor or whatever his calls himself is making dough for the masses with a long shelf life.  He hasn't a clue what real Pizza should taste like.  He is just a dough doctor.   Im my personal opinion, fresh dough gives the greatest oven "spring", the crispiest exterior curst and the lightest interior cell structure.  That is what real pizza is about.  I am not going to argue that extened fermentaion in a fridge gives you a more yeasty/malty flavor but it comes at the expense of reduced "spring".  When I read reviews of pizzarias and they say "the dough had a wonderful crisp crust and chewy interior" I am thinking... Chewy... raised in the fridge.. old and tough.  CHEWY is not a quality a great pizza crust should have.  You want crisp, light and airy, melt in your mouth crust.  You want more yeast flavor.. add more yeast but don't think Chewy is a good trait.  A CHEWY is what I give my dog to keep her entertained.  Nuf said.

Assuming you have a kitchenaid "little hobart" mixer...

Start with 1 3/4 cups water 110 degrees or just not so hot that you can't leave your finger in it
add to this... 2 tsp honey and 1 1/2 tsp of dry yeast and mix. Allow to set until foamy. (I know... I am gonna hear the no sugar and add the dry yeast with the flour and the oil after a few minutes of this and that and it is truly all BS.  Take about 4 1/2 cups of flour and dry mix in 1 1/2 tsp of superfine salt. When the yeast/water/honey mix is foamy add about 2 tsp of Cottonseed oil (cottonseed oil imparts a wonderfully nutty flavor & has one of the highest smoking points of all oils so your pizza doesn't taste like burnt oil... and that's what we used at Pizzaria "R") and start mixing with the dough hook. Add 3 cups of your flour and then keep adding SLOWLY until the hook has picked up all the dough and it is no longer stuck on the sides. In 4-5 minutes the dough should begin get a sheen to it. Shut your mixer off every now and then and press your fingers into the dough... if the dough is very sticky add more flour. NYS pizza dough is a moist dough and is "somewhat but not too" sticky. (sorry guys here is where your 10th of an ounce water calculations go out the door).  You shuold be able to press your finger into it for about 5 seconds and remove it "relatively" clean. 10 seconds and it will probably stick to your finger. It has to be moist to crisp right and bake properly under the high heat. When you have found the right consistancy, portion the dough into two balls and place in an oiled container.  Place the container in a warm place and allow it to rise until double in bulk... it could take 30 minutes it may take 2 hours depending on ambient temperature.  After rising pull the dough, punch it down into a littel circle, cover and place in the fridge.   


Your sauce...

Remember when it comes to sauce and dry spices... less spice is better. Many people have tried to duplicate NY Style pizza sauce.. they even dumpster dive for secrets and there are non.  We never locked up our dumpsters and such... if they want to dive head first into a dumpster for some kinda secret good for them!  Most always over-spice the sauce. Take 2 cups of Full Red pizza sauce and add a cup of water to it (maybe a bit more). This is a thin sauce for the same reason the dough is a moist dough.. the high heat will boil the water out of the sauce.. too thick of a sauce and you will have tomato paste under your toppings and it will be sickeningly pasty on the edges. Add 1/2 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp of basil (or 2tsp fresh) , 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbs of the fresh grated romano cheese. Stir and let set an hour or overnight.

Shred your cheese as needed.

The assemby... Dust your pizza peel with a liberal dose of that semolina flour you bought. Take your dough ball (now at room temperature) and lay it on a floured cutting board or your counter top... press it out into a small circle (say 8") and then pick it up and stretch to 14" or the size of your peel. You should almost be able to see through it. Remember one thing now.. SPEED IS THE KEY. As soon as yuo ahve your dough stretched lay it on the dusted peel and top FAST FAST FAST. As soon as the sauce hits the dough it starts to really pass on the moisture and that means sticking to peel. Spread the sauce from center to edge with the most sauce on the edge. Don't use too much sauce... You are only supposed to "paint" the pizza with sauce. If you can't see the dough you used way way way too much. Just "Paint" the sauce onto the pizza. Your sauce should be the consistancy of paint as well. Think of what it would look like if your ladel was a large paint brush that you dipped into sauce and swiped the dough skin. Add cheese edge to center with the most cheese on the edge and you should still be able to see plenty of sauce under the cheese... use less than more.. it will melt. During the bake EVERYTHING gravitates to the center of the pie which is why you top heavier to the outside.

Throw your toppings on FAST (same thing.. more to the outside and less in the middle as they will move) and slide it off the peel and onto the searing hot stone in your oven.

The bake...

In a preheated oven at 550 degrees (that's right, the gas-fired brick oven at Pizzaria "R" was set at 550 degrees although it could have gone north of 650). With the pizza stone in it (allow the stone to heat in your oven for AT LEAST AN HOUR on the BOTTOM RACK.  If you have a gas fired oven that heats from underneath place your stone directly on your oven's floor.  It has got to get searing hot. The pie will bake in 6-8 minutes. Check the underside for doneness. You want it crisp and deep brown but not blackened.  I know, "But Blackened blisters are what it should be like!"  No... Blackened, blistered crusts while reminding us of a time before electricity, are not a quality trait in a quality pizza.  If you want to taste a blackened crust bake it and then pull it and hit the bottom of it with a blow torch for a while until it smokes... There ya go.. blackened blistered crust.  Taste the wonderful smoke.  C'mon now!  I have nothing against high temperature cooking but the taste of carbon has no place in a pizza.

All the best,

PIZZA SHARK



       

 When ready, remove and place on a cooling rack for 3-4 minuts to allow the crust to "vent" and the toppings to stop boiling. Move to a pan or cookie sheet and slice as you see fit.

Keep working with your recipe until you have it jus thte way you like it and then think about opening a shop. It is very easy to make large batches of everything and you wil need to make some changes for mass production but remember... Dough. Sauce. Cheese. get these three down and perfected in a 550 degree oven on a baking hearth and the rest is easy.

I hope this helps everyone in taking one step closer to your dream and opening up one more shop that grosses more than a Pizza hut.. in time.

I AM THE PIZZA SHARK




Offline briterian

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2006, 04:20:06 PM »
What can I say but thank you for this amazing set of info.

Reginald

Offline elicheez

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2006, 04:48:36 PM »
great post. I use a very similar process and am quite happy.

There seems to be a basic debate over whether high heat (800deg+) is needed for a good NY pizza. some people say no (Shark, me), some say yes (varasano, et al). Isn't it just that some are making "street" and some are making "elite" style? In my trips to NY, all "street" places have kitchen ovens and make pizzas with no blackening. All "elite" places have brick ovens and blackened crusts. So, yes high temp is needed to make a good elite pizza. AND, no, low temp is not needed for good "street" pizza. I could really go for a couple street slices right now.

Offline briterian

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2006, 04:52:24 PM »
What I have been wondering is how do people produce those tiny blisters on the bottom edges of their crusts. I've never been able to replicate that at home. 
« Last Edit: September 13, 2006, 02:47:58 AM by briterian »

Offline Pizza Shark

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2006, 05:00:10 PM »
Elicheeze...

We are in the same boat.  The place I worked for cooked at 550 degrees and that was all it took for a six minute bake & a great pie.  I am making one right now... dough is rising.  No blisters but a few minutes more and we would have had that burned crust.  The reason I mentioned a gas oven at home is because a gas oven heats from teh floor.. put your brick on the floor and pre-heat you will achieve far greater than 550  on the stone.  There is a little trick for those who have electric ovens and want to get to those searing hot temps...  Preheat the stone on the bottom rack for an hour at 550.  Then, pull the stone and move it to your top tack and turn the broiler on high... the infrared heat will be readilly absorbed by the stone and you can achieve probably a 650 bake temp on the hearth after 20 minutes under the broiler.  Just pull it and move it back to the bottom rack before you place a pie on it.

All the best         

Offline itsinthesauce

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2006, 05:10:59 PM »
Well done Shark!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2006, 06:21:46 PM »
Pizza Shark,

Welcome to the forum. You may not realize it, but you are not a complete stranger to the forum. Some of your writings and ideas from the PMQ Think Tank have made there way here, including these: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,389.msg3291.html#msg3291http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,583.msg5418.html#msg5418, and http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,927.msg8310.html#msg8310. More than once, I have copied and pasted your NY pizza sauce recipe on the forum and, until you stopped posting at PMQ Think Tank, I read all of your posts including a couple in which you revealed the identity of Pizzeria “R”.

I, unapologetically, am one of the “perfectionists” you mentioned in your opening post. As you have discovered, this forum is all about pizza making. While we have many professional pizza operators as members, we have a large number of beginning pizza makers also. A good part of my work on the forum is to help them make good pizzas. The professionals don’t need my help. Giving novice pizza makers accurate dough formulations and detailed instructions, along with photos, is a good part of the effort to help them move up the learning curve quickly. I, personally, would prefer that they follow instructions closely, not ad lib, use a good scale, and follow specific procedures. Otherwise, much time is spent trying to diagnose what went wrong or why their results are less than satisfactory. Once they learn to make good pizzas, it's their prerogative to change the rules all they want.

The precision you mention is a natural byproduct of computers and spreadsheets. I personally welcome the use of technology in any way that it helps us make better pizzas or make them more easily and more quickly. A good recent example of a tool that can be used by beginning pizza makers, and professionals as well, is the Lehmann NY dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_calculator.html. You might also note the discussion on that tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3477.msg29437.html#msg29437. Other such tools, but with broader utility, are also in development. They wouldn’t be possible without technology and our members who are adept in dealing with it.

I look forward to your sharing your expertise with the members of this forum. Having come from the northeast originally, I have always considered Pizzeria “R” to be one of the best, particularly the original. So, I hope you will tell us more about their pizza even though my recollection is that you worked there many years ago.

Peter

Offline Pizza Shark

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2006, 06:53:44 PM »
Peter... It's an art, not a science.   

I didn't post here to step on anyone's toes and if you believe measurements by some kinda formula will help people well then by all means they should invest in a high quality digital scale.  But they can't stop there, lets go with a $5K back-yard brick oven and follow it with Brooklyn tap water that can be shipped in 55 gal drums.  Pizza is simple.  I don't have any fancy formulas, nothing on spreadsheets and such.  Quite honestly, those long before us whose pizza we try to reproduce had no such assets at their disposal so I guess I am just old fashioned and believe ya won't get a good pie until ya get some dough under your nails.  I don't claim to offer anyone a step-by-step process to the perfect NY Style pizza because I am still in search of it myself.  I think the pursuit is the pleasure.  All I know is when I am on my death bed I can say I made a good pie.  That is the magic in this search... there is always better. What fun would it be to grow old knowing there was no better pie than yours.

Best to ya.

Pizza Shark
       

Offline varasano

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2006, 07:32:25 PM »
There seems to be a basic debate over whether high heat (800deg+) is needed for a good NY pizza. some people say no (Shark, me), some say yes (varasano, et al). Isn't it just that some are making "street" and some are making "elite" style? In my trips to NY, all "street" places have kitchen ovens and make pizzas with no blackening. All "elite" places have brick ovens and blackened crusts. So, yes high temp is needed to make a good elite pizza. AND, no, low temp is not needed for good "street" pizza. I could really go for a couple street slices right now.

I agree. Some of my favorite street pizzas use regular ovens. One of my very favorites is Naples Pizza in New Haven, CT. And when I grew up in the Bronx there were zillions of great places making good pies in regular ovens. But for those trying to make the 'elite' pies like Patsy's / Luzzo's / UPN with 550F, they are really just wasting their time. You can't get around the heat problem.

I'm not sure how one ages Mozz for 6 months but then disses 3 day old dough?  There are different styles, but a 2 hour rise with IDY can't stand up to a slow prefermented rise, be it using a warm rise like Marco recommends or a cold one like I usually do.

Offline chiguy

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2006, 08:06:32 PM »
 Pizzashark and members,
 I do not know how you came to the clouded conclusion that you know more about pizza making than Tom Leahman. The guy has been making and studing all types of pizza for over 30 years. I think anyone here will agree that his experience and knowledge is much more than someone who tossed dough for a couple of years in H.S. If you took the time to analyze your own recipe you would notice that it is exactly in line to what Tom Leahman has recommended for a N.Y. style pizza. Tom gives recommendations for cold rise as well as bulk fresh which you are using. The no sugar thing is something that is derived from Neopolitan pizza, you know the birthplace of pizza. Without them there is no Pizzeria R. Whether it is ADY, IDY, or fresh yeast there is a perimeter in which to use.
 I would also like to mention a few facts about cottonseed oil, you know the stuff they put in Kellogs Poptarts. I know i love Poptarts too.
 A cotton crop is heavly dusted with pesticides, these same peticides reappear in the crushed seeds to make the oil, yummy. On top of that it is almost the highest in saturated fat,which also may be a big turn off. A plus side to cottonseed oil is that it is cheap, probably the cheapest oil on the market.
 With all that being said i am sure your recipe will make a very good pizza. Flour water,yeast,salt,sugar,oil nothing out of the ordinary here. We are all aready using the same basic formula give or take a little.


Offline giotto

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2006, 06:06:00 AM »
Chiguy/PizzaShark:

It is important that people are not turned off by a post; but instead, see the value of it. Sure, there's nicer ways to question one's intentions; but the bottom line is that we seek truth. And while there are certain truths in PizzaShark's post, it is primarily a recipe along with certain opinions. And that's okay, as long as it's understood as just that. And hence the value of Chiguy's points as well.

If there is one thing that I've always tried to bring to this site, it is an understanding that creating pizza at home is about making it according to your own taste buds, which requires a basic understanding of the chemistry of dough. This is not about my pizza is better than yours. That's absurd; we'd all be snuffed by PizzaHut, who outsells us all and happily depletes about 2% of the total milk production in the U.S. Instead, pizza making is about learning how to make pizza according to our own preferences, which can only be properly judged by ourselves. 

Unless people understand the basic science associated with pizza dough and its ingredients, then I don't believe for a second that they can develop their art. So while newcomers can follow a recipe, they will always be severely limited because they don't understand the simple effect of their ingredients on the end result. This applies to newbies and pros alike (because many pros follow past recipes). For example:

  • When you add oil or fats, you get a softer dough. And when you use a higher protein/gluten flour, you may want to soften it accordingly. But adding oil to a lower protein flour may produce unwanted results.
  • Add a bunch of active or instant yeast (like 1 1/2 tsp per 22 oz of flour) and you can produce enough rise to make bread. I use about 1/4 tsp of instant or active yeast per 10 oz of certain flours, and I get plenty of spring... even after a couple of days in the refrigerator. Many Pros get plenty of spring, despite their propensity to keep yeast down while storing dough. The results of fermentaion is a balance between yeast, sugar (which feeds it), salt (which deters it), and aging (which develops its taste).
  • Sugar increases browning when oven heat is applied to dough. Honey is a wonderful replacement for sugar since you can use it without getting too much of a browning impact on the crust. Milk has lactose, so if you want to soften with milk fat and get browness from the milk sugar, you can do that. It's your call. You can also delay the fermentation, discussed below, to bring out the natural sugar in your dough. But this can be dependent on the flour.
  • Salt increases stiffness... Too much and you can toss like world champion tossers (who use a lot of salt). Too little, then don't be surprised if your dough drops to the ground.
  • As I've noted before, placing a pro basketball in someone's hands doesn't make him a pro. The same is true with flour. No flour is going to guarantee an outcome. Making pizza is about touch, feel, understanding the rules of the game, learning from other's gains and follies, learning your home oven, testing your taste buds with various manufacturers, and practice. I can follow someone's recipe, and the results can vary because there's some caveat not listed. Although, there are many exceptions on this site, since authors like Pete-zza provide much detail and follow many permutations to ensure accuracy of recipes (but then, I never follow recipes... I learn from people's experiences; probably some undiscovered ADD thing).

Artisan bread makers can teach us a lot about airy, chewy and other crumb textures. Plenty of pizza pros, for instance, are not able to get a chewy result after refrigerating their dough. There's a bit more to it than that.
  • Ciabatta is a great example of an airy crust. It's attained via minimum handling and minimum mixing. If you over mix or over handle, you're likely to get a tighter (less airy) crust. Placing pizza dough in an oven without toppings also enables the skin to separate.
  • You delay the fermentation by placing dough in the refrigerator. My favorite saying was one by Reinhart who insists that not aging dough is like pouring sugar in grape juice and calling it wine. Bacterial fermentation is developed over time, which develops the taste.  Naturally, aging is an important requirement in developing sour dough. German bakers are known to vary their temperatures while letting their dough ferment, to attain exact levels of acidity. In San Francisco, Artisan bakers mix old dough and new dough when not working with a starter for their non-sour dough breads. The degree of sourness is up to you. Likewise, sugar in the dough takes about 8 hours to be naturally released from the starches; with refrigeration, the yeast activity is slowed, and sugar is made available for browning and your palette (without added sugar). But when you leave it in too long, the sugar can be depleted.
  • Many artisan bakers (Acme, and other US team members) normally work with 10.5% - 11.5% protein flours, and they can get some awesome pull in the final crust (same day) when they want to. Steam plays an important role in how chewy a bread or crust comes out. Bagels are often steamed or boiled. With a higher water concentration and a proper mix and handling, I get a nice pull to my crust with lower protein flours.

The pictures below shows a pizza that I made recently vs. another that I made a couple of years ago. The primary difference is in the taste of the crust and the degree of chewiness that I now prefer.
  • I am not sure what flour I used 2 years ago; but the first pizza is a mix of a little of Giusto's All Purpose flour (once noted by Chris Bianco) and King Arthur Bread flour. The All Purpose is just another way that I reduce the stiffness of a higher protein bread flour without using oil; and I like the taste of Giusto.
  • The browning is mostly due to natural sugars developed through refrigeration. I use a little sugar to test my yeast. Sometimes I like the effect of a little bit of honey as well; but not this time.
    [li]Since I mix 1/2 the flour with all the water first, followed by a rest period, I get a thorough mix and reduce the overall time needed to mix the dough. I can later toss and pull without ripping even though I'm not using a high gluten flour. 
  • The recent pizza uses fresh Heirloom tomatoes (red, orange and green) which are now in season and are merely cut up. The other used canned whole peeled tomatoes, which were diluted and churned into a sauce. Neither is mixed with anything but salt. Fresh basil is added separately, along with olive oil.
  • A thin screen in the oven is my preference, since I can get the bottom exactly as I wish. Depending on who is over, I move the screen around accordingly. Even when a stone is used, a screen can help alleviate any hassles initally working with the crust. The pizza can later be placed on the stone with excellent results. But in either case, I've learned the value of knowing thy oven. I run it at about 520F and avoid too high of a spot in the oven, since after 2 minutes, high heat is just anihilating the toppings.

https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/NY-dinner.JPG
https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/NY-oct-2004-pizza1.JPG
« Last Edit: September 13, 2006, 06:20:10 AM by giotto »

Offline abc

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2006, 12:26:17 PM »
Elicheeze...

We are in the same boat.  The place I worked for cooked at 550 degrees and that was all it took for a six minute bake & a great pie.  I am making one right now... dough is rising.  No blisters but a few minutes more and we would have had that burned crust.  The reason I mentioned a gas oven at home is because a gas oven heats from teh floor.. put your brick on the floor and pre-heat you will achieve far greater than 550  on the stone.  There is a little trick for those who have electric ovens and want to get to those searing hot temps...  Preheat the stone on the bottom rack for an hour at 550.  Then, pull the stone and move it to your top tack and turn the broiler on high... the infrared heat will be readilly absorbed by the stone and you can achieve probably a 650 bake temp on the hearth after 20 minutes under the broiler.  Just pull it and move it back to the bottom rack before you place a pie on it.

All the best         

i thought we'd have a problem at home w/ a square cavity home oven as opposed to a rectangular 'low ceiling' true pizza oven (the radiant heat factor)...

could it make the pizza bottoms well done whole the top crust, the edges of the pie, look pale?

it seemed to be the case when i did pizza w/ the stone sitting on the oven bay, the sheet of metal with air slots so the gas flame below can come through.

Offline abc

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2006, 12:31:13 PM »
great post. I use a very similar process and am quite happy.

There seems to be a basic debate over whether high heat (800deg+) is needed for a good NY pizza. some people say no (Shark, me), some say yes (varasano, et al). Isn't it just that some are making "street" and some are making "elite" style? In my trips to NY, all "street" places have kitchen ovens and make pizzas with no blackening. All "elite" places have brick ovens and blackened crusts. So, yes high temp is needed to make a good elite pizza. AND, no, low temp is not needed for good "street" pizza. I could really go for a couple street slices right now.


i do agree with your thinking... most often, a whole pie out of the nyc street oven isnt even crispy, the whole thing droops badly and the cheese could slide off if you bit it so u fold it up, making the oil drip.  give it 20min to cool on the counter, buy 1 slice and get it reheated... then it 'may' be crispy, and definitely a bit drier w/ the sauce and cheese.

i know when i order a whole pie, i have to ask 'well done' cuz i'm looking for i guess 'elite'ness.

Offline Pizza Shark

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2006, 11:52:00 AM »
Giotto,

That is one beautiful pie!  I am going to make some pies this weekend with fresh-milled tomato sauce as the organic romas are being sold at all the local farmer's stands now. 

On another note, I lived in Columbus Ohio for many years and I want to buy a case of Ezzo's pepperoni sticks.  Ezzo's pepperoni was used in most of the areas best pizzarias.  They really do produce perhaps the best pepperoni in the U.S. and I believe even Big Dave agrees with this statement.  I like the thin sticks that have the best shelf life and you can slice fresh.  They curl and crisp/blacken on the edges while forming a those nice little cups.  Tthe flavor is simply unbelievable.  I can't get their pepperoni in VA but they will pack a case in a thermal box and ship it to me.  Only problem is what do I do with all of that pepperoni?  Even frozen it really should be used in a few months.

Anyone here interested? If I buy the case I could take a bunch of frozen sticks and put them in fed-ex Express boxes and overnight them to people.  I don't think a day outside of refridgetation is going to hurt a pepperoni stick.  People could just mail me a check for the roni & shipping after they receive it. 

Anyone interested?

http://www.ezzo.com/

Pizza Shark

Offline giotto

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2006, 06:25:39 AM »
The dime-sized pepperonis are excellent. Tony G (World Pizza Champion Team) recommended Frankie G, who's a member of this forum and distributes for American Sausage Company on the west-coast. Excellent, slightly spicy.

Here's the small pepperonis off my grill.
https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/grill-pizza.JPG

Here's one of my favorite local pizzerias that uses them:
https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/amici-pizza.jpg

« Last Edit: September 16, 2006, 06:32:23 AM by giotto »

Offline Wallman

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2006, 08:47:28 AM »
Giotto,
On your grill pizza, are you using indirect baking and charcoal?  Can you give some hints on your technique?  I've been playing with my grills to bake pizza and had ok success with my gas grill and stones and tiles.  I haven't really tried charcoal yet, I have a Weber kettle and a Weber water smoker, that I'm going to play with.  The problem is they are 22 and 18 inches, respectively, so I'll be limited to relatively small pies if I use indirect heat.

Offline Pizza Shark

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2006, 11:50:17 AM »
Wallman,

I have used my Webber grill to cook pizza... I load it with quite a bit of charcoal across the entire firegrate and light it.  I use the charcoal that is sold at Walmart that has briquettes that are twice the size of regular charcoal for a longe burn.   After coals are ready I places my round stone on the grill directly over the coals "BUT*" before I place the stone over the colas I place a preforated pizza pan on the grill first to even out the heat distribution.  The direct heat from the coals without the pan in place cracked my prior stone after a few uses.  No problems with the pan in place since then.  I've preheated for about 1/2 hour before cooking.  I have no idea how hot the interior gets as I've never placed a thermometer inside but from my experience the bake seems about the same as my oven at 550 with the exception that the bake takes longer to get the toppings to cook through.  I think it has to do with lifting the lid to load the pizza as it really empties the heat from the kettle.   It does give that smokey taste though. 

Offline giotto

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Re: Pizza Shark's N.Y. Style Pizza for Dreamers
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2006, 04:04:22 AM »
Wallman:

I've got one of those big ol' smokers that looks like a trash can on its side, with a separate side grate. The hood is solid and the heat stays in place. I use the side grate only when cooking ribs low and slow:

Otherwise, I run higher heats directly in the bbq, and treat it much like an oven. The hood is fairly low and heavy. I run charcoals on both sides of a stone to minimize issues with the length of the BBQ. With the Weber, the stone is naturally smack in the center, which is nice. I use containers for a more efficient heat, as you can see in the previous post, which enables me to build the charcoals higher with less room. A thermometer is built into the hood, and my coals last a very long time because they sit on their own grates, providing oxygen underneath them. It retains 600F for an hour or so.

Consider pre-heating the stone for 30 minutes in your oven first at 530F. Then place it in the center, and use 4 containers around the pizza to minimize space if you wish. It should stay that way for some time. Ensure the distance from your lid to your pizza on the stone is a bit less than 1/3 the diameter of your Weber.  The thin lid is going to be the biggest battle. But it heats up fast, so try to leave that lid alone for a good 20 minutes once a high heat is established, while you wait for your stone to pre-heat. Then try pre-baking your dough for 1 minute, before placing any toppings on it. You should have many small bubbles over 60 seconds, but it shouldn't burn when between 500F - 600F.

I had my best experience using a friend's Kamoda BBQ (like a green egg bbq). That was excellent. The thing is a beast, and it really retains the heat. The downside is that you can't see inside any of these puppies; but at 600F, you know it's ready in 6 1/2 minutes.

I enjoy even cooking many things indirectly:

https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/home-meatballs.JPG

https://home.comcast.net/~keck-foundation1/home-ribs.JPG
« Last Edit: September 17, 2006, 04:07:17 AM by giotto »