Author Topic: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)  (Read 1020 times)

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Offline Gotspool

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Hey all!  I just introduced myself in the new member forum and figured I'd make a post here. Please forgive me (and feel free to move this thread) if this would be better suited in another sub-forum.

Anyway, long story short, I'm legally blind and like to cook.  I've decided I want to try and learn to make a great NY style pizza.  My kids love pizza and they enjoy helping me out in the kitchen so it should be a fun new project (and a good way to break in the new stand mixer - Kitchenaid Pro 600)

So, I've been doing some reading here and as I mentioned in my intro, researching these things is very time consuming and tedious when you can't see very well.  I'm getting a tad overwhelemed with the direction I should take for my first attempts.  I want to buy quality ingredients, but it seems that most here recommend items that I cannot find locally (and I don't have any kind of large foodservice store near me...not to mention, if I did, it's not easy for me to just "drop by" one as I can't drive hehe)

I guess, long story short, I'm looking for a list to order online and the cheapest option for getting it...I don't mind buying flour and tomatos in bulk as I'm going to be playing around a lot with them in the near future.  I want to make a simple pepperoni and cheese pizza (My children's favorite)

#1 Dough
My big question here is what flour should I get?  I've seen the KASL mentioned as good, and then others say it's a waste of money and you don't need high glutten flour.  What is your recommendation for flour, given that I want an NY style pizza?  Whatever your opinion, where is the best place online to order it?

#2: Sauce
In my reading, I keep seeing the same handful of brands come up...6 in 1 (peeled and unpeeled), Stanlislaus (7/11 and Tomato Magic), and Sclafani (only seen this mentioned as crushed & unpeeled).  What do you guys prefer?  I tried to actually order some 6 in 1 (unpeeled ground) from escalon but when you try to checkout, it gives you an error.  I emailed them through their contact form and they said they would have their web host look into it, but the error remains at this point.  What do you guys recommend for a good tomato base and where can I get it reasonably priced?

#3: Pepperoni & Cheese
Honestly, I have not tried to research pepperoni yet.  I figure these two items will have to be bought locally as I don't really want to think about having meat or cheese shipped to me.  My choices for local delis are pretty much what Walmart and Food Lion have in stock (I don't even have a Harris Teeter or Whole Foods near me...it's pretty pitiful).  So, just give me some brands of pepperoni and cheese to look out for when I check out the deli.  If they don't have them, I'll just use what they have available.  I did look into cheese a little and I think my walmart has Polly-O mozzarella cheese, which I've read is pretty good/passable.

Alright, any help would be appreciated guys and gals (especially on what kind of flour and tomatoes and where to order them).  Sorry for the long, messy post!



« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 04:46:45 PM by Gotspool »


Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2015, 05:14:53 PM »
The Dough:  Use what you have,  AP or  bread flour.  If you are going to buy some, I always liked the King Arthur BF, in bulk the Trumps AP.  Just keep the oil and sugar low or don't use any if your oven will get to 550 degrees+ and you have a stone.

Sauce: Any of those named are great, but Cento are also good.  There should be some recipes as a sticky in the NY style board (where I am going to move this thread to).

Pepperoni:  The best is Vermont smoked, but I am not sure if that is authentic to a NY style, I also envision a larger pepperoni on them that does not cup.  Hormel natural is also good and may be better for the style.

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2015, 05:42:14 PM »
For sauce I really like the Sclafani crushed New Jersey tomatoes.
I use them for every style of pizza because of the good flavor and texture.
The price is pretty good too, I buy a 12 pack at Amazon for $30.

I've tried the Walmart Great Value crushed tomatoes, they are pretty good, and cheaper.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 05:44:32 PM by woodmakesitgood »
Charles

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2015, 05:55:44 PM »
Flour: Full Strength flour is freaking awesome for New York style. If you can get your hands on some of that, do it. I have used/tried quite a few different brands of flour, and this is not a remotely tough call. Of course, it might not be very easy, or even possible, for you to get this flour.

Tomatoes: 7/11 and Tomato Magic are both great. I'm sure 6 in 1 is probably about the same, but I have only ever used one can of 6 in 1, and that was a long time ago, so I don't know. Between 7/11 and Tomato Magic, I think I prefer Tomato Magic, because I don't really like the the feel of tomato peels in my mouth.

Cheese: It's really hard to find good cheese without having to buy a whole case of it. I think if you have a friend or family member willing to help you out, you might want to consider having that person ask several local pizzerias if they'd be willing to sell some cheese to you. Chances are that one of them will be willing to sell you a loaf of cheese or a bag of cheese, or something in that neighborhood. And if anyone is willing to do that, I wouldn't be surprised if they give you a pretty good price, too. You might already know this, but Grande is one very good brand of cheese.

Pepperoni: That's a tough one, too. I have a hard time getting the pepperoni I like, and the pepperoni I like is not particularly great on New York style, either. I'm going to have to play dumb here (unless I actually am dumb).
Ryan
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Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline vtsteve

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2015, 08:56:28 PM »
This place has stores in Raleigh, NC and Hillsville VA -- they have Full Strength in 50 lb. bags. The shipping might not be terrible.

http://www.redhillgeneralstore.com/bulkfoods/flour/General-Mills-Full-Strength-Unbleached-Flour.htm
In grams we trust.

Offline Gotspool

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2015, 10:23:45 PM »
Thanks for the info so far all.

Raleigh is about 2.5 - 3 hours drive from me.  I just checked their shipping and it's more than the flour itself unfortunately.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 10:25:33 PM by Gotspool »

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2015, 11:35:41 PM »
I have really been impressed with Pendleton Mondako flour, for NY style, Chicago thin, and even deep dish.
It doesn't have a real high protein content at 12%, but it does form a good gluten structure.
Their Power flour I have found to be too strong.

I got the Mondako delivered from Costco business center, but you can also get it at New York Bakers
www.nybakers.com - its a little pricey there, repackaged into 5 lb bags for $5.95.
Charles

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2015, 11:08:51 AM »
Since I've been reading this through my phone, when I looked at the location line under your user name, I thought I saw "NYC" rather than "NC." Consequently, I ruled out the possibility that you may have GFS Marketplace stores nearby. Since I now realize you are in North Carolina, not NYC, I am not sure if you may have GFS stores in your area. If you do have GFS stores nearby, you may be interested to know that they carry single #10 cans of 6 in 1. I'm not sure which of the three varieties of 6 in 1 they carry, but I know they carry one of them.

Just in case that information comes in handy. The cans are probably about $5 or $6 each.

Also, I followed the link in Charles's post, and that place doesn't look too bad to me, as long as the shipping costs are reasonable. There is one flour on their bread flour page that is labeled as "NYB Full Strength Bread Flour." I don't know if that is General Mills Full Strength flour, or if it is just something with a similar name, but it looks like that place has to be worth checking out.

I have never used Harvest King flour, but it's on the list, too. I'm thinking a lot of members have used that before, and have good things to say about it.

Regarding Mondako and Power flour: I have used both of those flours at least a couple times. I actually liked Power better, and I didn't think Mondako was very good for New York style. However, neither of those flours is bromated, which means they would really only be useful to you if you lived in California, where it is almost impossible to get your hands on bromated flour.
Ryan
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Disclaimer: Don't necessarily believe anything I say here. My brain ain't quite right anymore (unless it is). If I come off as rude or argumentative, that's probably not my intention. Rather, that's just me being honest, to myself and everyone else; partly because I don't have enough time left to BS either you or myself. If you are offended by anything I say, it's probably because you think lying to people (to be "polite") is a good idea. I don't.

Offline gfgman

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2015, 11:24:31 AM »
If your Walmart has Sorrento/Galbani Whole Milk, I would try that over Polly-O.  I used Polly-O a few times and wasn't overly impressed.  Personally I like to mix in a little shredded Parm with with the mozz.  I use the Frigo parmesan wedge, which I also get at Walmart.  The taste is spot on for me.
My advice for what it is worth, is to dial in your sauce and cheese, and once ypu have something you really like, don't deviate.  Then you can work on really dialing in your crust. 
I like to use San Marzano crushed without added basil.  Some of the store brand crushed are also decent.  I tried 6n1 once, and didn't like them for NY style. 

My sauce and cheese looks like this:  Crushed tomatoes, fresh basil, a bit of garlic powder, and a littler bit of oregano.  I'll add salt if their isn't any already in the can, and I'll add a little bit of sugar if the tomatoes have a bitter note. 
For the cheese it's Sorrento whole milk mozz with a little Frigo parm mixed in.  For 14 inch pizzas, I would say one wedge of parm is enough to mix in for 3 to 4 pizzas. 
I may swap cans of tomatoes among brands that I trust, depending on what my budget allows.  The SMs can be pricey.  Sometimes I will get the SMs and combine them with something cheaper.  Other than a change to the tomatoes, I try not deviate with my sauce and cheese.  That way I at least know I have that right every time, and can focus on my dough.

I've had good success using a 5 to 1 mixture of King Arthur bread flour, and semolina flour.  I've also used high gluten flour and really enjoyed it.  The beauty of NY style is that there a loads of Pizzerias producing a fantastic product, and they are all doing something different when it comes to their dough, and the flour used. 


Offline Gotspool

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2015, 09:35:58 AM »
Thanks for the info.  I was thinking about adding some parmesan cheese, so I'll check my wally-world and see if they have the brand you mention.

Alright, so here's an update on what I've gathered so far.  Let me know what else I need and any tips you may have on moving forward.

Flour: I got a local pizzeria to sell me a bag of the high gluten flour they use.  It is a 50lb bag of Pillsbury "So Strong" high gluten flour.  I didn't find a lot of opinions on it here, so I'm hoping it's okay.  It's the only high gluten source I could find without paying far too much for shipping.

Tomatoes:  I ordered a case of Sclafani crushed tomatoes.  The general opinion on these seems to be good from what I've read here.

Yeast: I bought a lb bag of Fleischmann's instant dry yeast.

Cheese/Pepperoni: I have not gotten this yet.  It will be the last thing I get when I have everything else ready.

Tools:  I have a kitchenaid pro 600 stand mixer. I have ordered an American Metalcraft pizza peel with a metal blade and wooden handle (I found a recommendation from it on seriouseats.com)  It is a 19" handle with a 16" x 18" blade.  I also purchased 3 American Metalcraft 16" aluminum pizza screens (which from my understanding I will need to season in the same way you season a cast iron skillet, correct?).  Finally, I called a couple metal fab shops in the area and am planning to get a 17" x 17" x 3/8" square of a36 (hot rolled) steel cut for my "stone". They didn't have 1/2" and it was hard enough just trying to find someone to take on such a small project.  Anyway, I'll only be making 2 or 3 pizzas at a time at most for my family, so I think the 3/8" should do ok.

Ok, so, my biggest concern now is the procedure with the oven, steel, screens, etc.  My oven only goes to 500*F (just a basic flattop electric range/oven).  It's kind of a shame really because it can obviously get hotter (and does during the self-clean cycle).  So, with the tools I have, what is the best cooking procedure for my first attempt? Does the steel go at the bottom or the top?  I got the screens to eliminate the need for two peels.  What's the best method for using those to ensure no issues with sticking?  I've read that steel burns the crust before the toppings are good.  What's the best way to prevent this, etc?

Thanks again guys!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 09:45:27 AM by Gotspool »

Offline gfgman

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2015, 12:58:21 PM »
I can't say enough good things about the Frigo Parm.  I made a plain pie last night, and the sauce and cheese were dynamite.  That flavor with that cheese mixed in is outstanding.  And I think it's dirt cheap at $2.44 for the 5 oz. wedge.  Many stores don't even sell their pre-shred store brand for that cheap.  I haven't seen anybody sell a wedge in any brand that is that cheap.  Plus if you check around the web or your coupon inserts in the local paper, you can score coupons for it. 

Offline pythonic

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2015, 03:19:08 PM »
I would say to try the Polly-O 1st.  Sorrento is great raw but so bland melted.  How did the Pillsbury strong flour perform for you?

Nate
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Offline Gotspool

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2015, 03:40:03 PM »
Alright, well it has officially begun.

I made my sauce yesterday. I used Sclafani crushed tomatoes and used Red November's recipe.  It is quite tasty.  I may add a little red pepper flake to it as a personal preference, but otherwise it seems quite balanced.


I also just made my first batch of dough using Pete-zaa's version of Lehman's recipe  I ended up with (after a little bit of dough loss on hands and mixer attachments), two 19.3 ounce dough balls.  I'm hoping to get a couple 16"ish pies going. 


I decided to go with polly-o mozzarella, frigo parmesan, and good ol' hormel pepperoni (mostly because it was the only thing that my walmart had in a bulk pack and I know my kids like that pepperoni).


I ended up getting a 17" x 17" x 1/2" steel plate and have calibrated my 500*F oven to +30* so hopefully it will hit at least 530*F or so.  My IR thermometer should come in today so I plan to do a test on the oven tonight so that I know what I'll be working with tomorrow.  I still have to do some cleanup on the plate before cooking.  Pic was just the test fit.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 03:53:30 PM by Gotspool »

Offline David Esq.

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 07:26:56 AM »
Your dough and sauce are looking good. One thing I've learned is that writing about it in real time helps keep the pressure on. Failure is not an option!

Offline Gotspool

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2015, 03:18:47 PM »
lol...failure is always an option!  The bright side of posting things as they happen is that someone smarter than you may see the error you made and correct you. 

My IR thermometer did not come in, so I won't have any temp data of my steel tonight.  I'll be taking the dough out of the refrigerator in just a few minutes to come up to room temperature.  I think I'm going to try putting the steel on the bottom rack and using a screen on the top rack for the first few minutes and then switch it over to the steel for the last couple minutes.

My biggest concern at this point is that I've never stretched a dough by hand.  That should be....interesting.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 03:27:09 PM by Gotspool »

Offline Gotspool

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2015, 09:13:10 PM »
Well, that was...we'll just call it a "learning experience".  The dough was nothing like what I was hoping.  I need some tips on what to try and change to fix it.  It was way too elastic.  I couldn't get it to hold a shape and could not get it to stretch out to 16".  I got it to maybe 14ish.

The first ball thinned out way too much in the center and tore badly..  I just couldn't get the dough to stretch at the edges at all.  For reference, I tried using the technique shown in this video:



If you see in the video, he easily forms a lip at the beginning, which pretty much remains a lip throughout the remainder of the process.  I did the first step, and before I could even make a full lip, the first part had blown back out.  I just had no luck getting it to retain its shape.

Secondly, the dough, after it was cooked was more cakey than chewy.  In my mind, the dough should be almost hollow and tough.  This had a good taste (I like the yeasty flavor) but just was not the right consistency at all.  The total cook time was about 7 minutes (5 minutes on a screen second rung from top and 2 minutes on the steel on the lowest rack).  For reference, the ingredients and amounts.  Also, if it makes a difference, it is like 98*F and ridiculously humid here right now (eastern NC).

Pillsbury "So Strong" high gluten flour - 23.6 oz
water - 15.4 oz (65%)
IDY - 3 tsp
Salt (Kosher) - 2 tsp
vegetable oil - 1.5 tsp

I followed pete-zza's mixing instructions.  I put salt and 105*F water and salt in bowl of mixer and stirred with my hand to dissolve salt.  Added the flour and yeast all at once and ran on low with paddle for 2 minutes.  Added oil and ran another 1.5 minutes.  Changed to dough hook and let it run on #3 speed for 7 minutes.  Cut and weighed dough into two balls that were each a little over 19 oz.  Finished dough was 83*F.  I placed the balls in lightly oiled plastic containers and refrigerated for 24 hours, then sat dough on counter 2.5 hours before using (still in lidded containers).

So, what can I change?  I'd like to go ahead and start another batch, but not sure where to start?  Thanks guys!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 09:23:46 PM by Gotspool »

Offline pythonic

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Re: Help get a blind guy on the right path! (NY Pizza ingredients list)
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2015, 10:17:42 PM »
Is there a reason you didn't bake on steel for the entire time?  You will have much better results.  I would also drop the hydration to 63% and use 2.5-3% oil.

Did you let the dough warm up enough?  That is usually the reason it's hard to stretch.  Either that or it was over kneaded.

Nate
If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.


 

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