Author Topic: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut  (Read 2914 times)

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Offline Arthur

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Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« on: October 03, 2006, 10:36:12 PM »
I've been idle from this message board for far too long.    Although this kid is far from Brooklyn now (own a software company in Virginia) like many of you I can't get the pizza obsession out of my mind.   

More than a year ago I posted this topic:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1301.0.html
after using a friends wood burning oven.   I loved my home oven pizza, but the wood burning oven had such a remarkable taste to it I needed to get a wood burning oven myself.

I looked into several types of wood burning ovens for my backyard and decided to go with FornoBravo [this may sound like I work for them but I just was very pleased with the support].   Let me explain my skills.  I had never used concrete.  I had never owned an electric saw of any kind.  I had never taken on a project like this.  I had put together a swing set a couple of years ago so I do own some basic tools, but I'm the type of person who likes specific directions.  I went with Fornobravo because I spoke with James at fornobravo and felt comfortable that if I had 100 questions he would answer all of them [actually in the end it was more like 200 questions].

For those of you who are thinking about geting an oven - do it!   

The project does take some time and patience and some stength to mix the concrete and carry blocks around, but it does not require a craftsman or anything like that.   I have not "finished" (with stone or brick and the like) the oven but it is functional.

I made my first pizza on Sunday.   


Offline scott r

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2006, 11:32:50 PM »
Arthur, I am so happy to see you back again.  I missed your posts.   Looks like you have made it to another level.  Congratulations!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2006, 11:50:50 PM »
Welcome back. I, too, hope you will become more active on the forum again. You were one of my valued early "mentors" on the NY style.

Peter

Offline Fio

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2006, 07:04:41 AM »
Arthur,

Congrats to a fellow NY native, and Son of the Blessed Commonwealth of Virginia.  Your oven looks fantastic, and your pizza looks a LOT like the ones coming out of my oven!

Cheers,

- Fio
Since joining this forum, I've begun using words like "autolyze" and have become anal about baker's percents.  My dough is forever changed.

Offline David

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2006, 09:33:05 AM »
Good job Arthur.I fully agree with your comments regarding James/ FB etc.With the proliferation of these Forno Legna the NE landscape  is quickly becoming more and more like Chiantifornia!
                     David
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Arthur

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2006, 11:47:17 AM »
Thank you for all of the kind words.   This site is like a second home.

Now begins another several years of experimentation with my recipe. 

A couple of thoughts:

- sauce is much better in a 2-3 minute pizza than an 8+ minute pizza.   I bring in sauce from NY every so often; I have several cans from the distributor that sells to Patsy's; I've also tried 6 in 1, 7/11, full red; etc but no matter what you use it just taste's better because it's less cooked.
- cheese - I had searched for years for the best mozz cheese for my home oven pizza and now I realize that the same cheese doesn't work well in a wood burning oven - again cooking the cheese for 8 minutes vs. 2-3 minutes.

What kind of cheese do people use in a wood burning oven (cooking pizza for 2-3 minutes).  I gave up on fresh mozz for my home oven because the pizza became too soggy, but maybe keeping the cheese dry for a while makes a difference or ???





Offline scott r

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2006, 12:44:19 PM »
arthur,  I regularly make 2 minute pizzas with my cleaning cycle and 8 minute pizzas at 550.  Like you I have found that I absolutely have to use different cheese for each type of oven.  Regular dry mozzarella just needs to melt for a while and it doesn't taste good with a 2 minute melt.   If you have access to grande fresh mozzarella, or a god quality buffalo mozzarella imported from Italy they are my favorites for my 2 minute pies.   The buffalo mozzarella may seem sour at first, but once it is melted on your pie and properly seasoned it can produce the best flavors I have ever experienced with pizza cheese.  The key to using this wet packed cheese is how you prepare it.  First I slice it or chunk it.  I then lay it out side by side on a stack of at least 5 paper towels.  I top it with another 5 paper towels and flip over after a 10 minutes or so.  Then I replace the paper towels on top, flip, then replace the other stack of towels.   Depending on how fresh the cheese is you may need to do more than one changing of the towels.  The fresher the cheese, the less moisture it will weep.  If your cheese is past it's prime it will just sort of smoosh and will not slice even with a sharp knife.    When the cheese is fairly dry I take the top layer of towels off and salt the cheese.  I have found that I prefer this to salting the whole pie.  With this type of cheese a good splash of olive oil is possible because this fresh cheese does not seem to be as greasy.  The combination of a good salted fresh cheese and oil is the most addictive pizza topping I have ever found.  I used to be a pepperoni guy, but now I am very happy with plain pizza. 

Now, if this is too complicated, or you are having a hard time finding fresh cheese there are other options, but I have not found them to taste quite as good.  The next best option is to mail order cheese from this company http://www.allevadairy.com/ .  This might bring back some really great memories of growing up in NY.  Finally, the cryopack semi fresh cheeses seem to be gaining in popularity at the moment at normal grocery stores.  This cheese is called "fresh", but is not packed in water.  Instead it has a form fitting plastic coating.  It contains a little more salt than fresh mozzarella, but definitely can still benefit from some oil.

Try calling around to Italian specialty shops in your area to find out if they import buffalo mozzarella.  If they do, ask them if they will notify you when they get in the fresh stuff.  I have found that once it sits in the store for a week it is not worth buying.  The grande or poly-o fresh mozzarella seems to last much longer.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2006, 12:49:54 PM by scott r »

Offline varasano

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2006, 12:44:33 PM »
Hey Arthur,

Your pies look great.

If you can shed light on any brands that Patsy's uses I'd appreciate it. I believe that Sassone is the distributor, is that right?

Fresh Mozz too soggy:
Don't give up on the fresh mozz. You have to manage the overall moisture content of both the sauce and the cheese together. I've made 2 minute pies with fresh mozz that were soggy and others that were bone dry. It's all about moisture management.  If you click over to my site I cover all of this in a lot of detail. But here are the highlights: Both the cheese and the sauce can be strained to remove moisture. Straining the sauce, rather than cooking it to reduce, is my prefered method because it keeps the bright tomato flavor.  After I grind up the tomatoes  with an immersion mixer, I strain them for about 2 minutes, then poor the strained water back on top and continue straining. This recaptures any lost tomato solids, and eventually the strainer will run almost completely clear (you may have to repeat this a few times). You can strain out at least 30-40% of the water if you just let it sit long enough (30 minutes or more), but I usually do about 25%. It depends on the can.  If the sauce is drier, this will compensate completely for any moisture in the mozz. Having said that, you can also strain the mozz. I cut up the mozz and leave it in chunks in a bowl in the fridge for about an hour. A lot of moisture will come out of them by simply doing that.

There's a lot more on managing cheese and sauce over on my recipe page:
http://www.think2020.com/jv/recipe.htm

Jeff


Offline scott r

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2006, 12:57:12 PM »
jeff's tip about letting the cheese sit in the fridge is an excellent one.  The owner of Lombardi's told me that he hangs his cheese in cheese cloth in the fridge over night for a similar effect.  This fridge drying procedure works especially well with domestic fresh mozzarella.  You may find, though, that with the buffalo mozzarella we end up with here in the US  the fridge is not enough and you need to resort to paper towels.  Every now and then I get really fresh two or three day old buffala.  It is rare, and an amazing experience.  If this happens you will know it because the cheese feels and slices like domestic fresh mozzarella.

Offline Arthur

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Re: Brooklyn's Pizza Oven debut
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2006, 01:35:39 PM »
scott, thanks for the advice.  I just bought some buffalo mozz to try this weekend.  I'm going to take the advice from you and Jeff and try to "dry" it.

Jeff, here you go:

Sassone Wholesale Groceries
1706 Bronxdale Ave
Bronx, New York 10462
UNITED STATES
Phone: 718-792-2828
Fax: 718-829-4378

My sister went there and bought a case (something like 6 10# cans).  I have only used 1 so far since I was waiting for the wood oven for the bigger pizza parties.  If you are in Northern VA/DC, let me know and I'll give you a can.  Actually you can email me your address and I'll ship you a can.  I'd be interested to know what you think about it.

As for the sauce, I am already straining it (never cooking it) - which as you know is key - and will probably try your additional steps over the next few months.

As for mozz, I have used the fresh mozz from a pork store in Queens that services Grimaldi's and Nicks and loved it - but that's not really feasible to get every week (unless I convince someone to drive from Queens to VA everyweek with a cooler!)  I'll stick with the local stores that carry some of the fresh mozz and bufalo mozz for now.



 

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