Author Topic: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?  (Read 161249 times)

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Online norma427

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1680 on: April 25, 2012, 09:13:43 PM »
Cory,

Peter gave me a formulation with honey and Brer Rabbit molasses that I liked very much at Reply 293 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3940.msg156036.html#msg156036  That formulation should work with your honey and Grandma’s Original Molasses too if you want to try it.  The pictures of the pie using Peter’s formulation are at Reply 314 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3940.msg156457.html#msg156457

Best of luck with your other dough ball!  :)

Norma
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1681 on: April 25, 2012, 09:23:46 PM »
I am hoping this dough tonight isn't overfermented. BTW, is overblown and overfermented the same word? I have really been quite lost on the meaning of both words, but from what I can tell it means that the dough has let the yeast activity go to it's breaking point and the dough ball has a tendency to de-gas itself and becomes very slack and prone to tearing when stretching, almost like a dough without enough gluten formation. Does this sound correct?     

Cory,

I would say that you have a pretty good grasp of the terms "overblown" and "overfermented". Unfortunately, the terms can have different meanings to different people. So, it is largely a semantics issue. When I use the term "overblown", it is usually when the dough is in a condition as to be pretty much unusable, with destruction and weakening of the gluten (by the action of proteolytic and similar enzymes and by high acid levels), release of water from its chemical bond (leading to a wet and clammy dough), and a propensity to produce a skin that can be prone to tearing and ripping when stretching. You might also end up with a crust that is lighter in color than desired (although the high sugar levels of MM clone doughs might limit this).

To me, a dough that is "overfermented" need not be fatal. In fact, some of our members, such as scott r, for example, like to push the envelope and use the dough a breath away from expiring and clergy has been summoned to administer final rites if needed. That is when you are likely to get the maximum byproducts of fermentation that lead to the best crust flavors, aroma and other attributes. With the MM clone doughs, I have found that it is best not to let the frozen dough balls defrost for more than two days. That is because the MM clone doughs have a lot of yeast, which promotes faster and greater fermentation. The finished crust will still be fine but it will be more open and airy rather than chewy and fairly dense, which are characteristics of a real MM crust. Remember, the objective of this thread is to try to reverse engineer and clone a real MM dough, not to come up with versions that might even be considered better than the MM doughs.

Peter

Offline rcbaughn

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1682 on: April 26, 2012, 03:59:59 AM »
Thanks for the heads up Norma! I am going to try finding a pie to top with honey too, maybe some sort of ham pizza with a slight drizzle and some pineapple.

And thanks to you too Peter, I am learning so much from this forum. I am hope that the dough tonight isn't overblown since I used a good bit of yeast and all that sugar from the molasses. Here's to hoping! -Cory
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1683 on: April 26, 2012, 09:01:20 AM »
Cory,

Since this thread is so long I almost forgot about the formulation Peter set-forth with Grandma’s Original Molasses and brown sugar at Reply 505 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3940.msg158009.html#msg158009  Steve posted at Reply 514  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3940.msg158040.html#msg158040 that the pizza compared to the real slice of MM pizza and did taste about the same.  I also almost forgot that Peter did post another formula with Grandma’s Original molasses and wildflower honey at Reply 652 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3940.msg159495.html#msg159495 and the final pizza with that formulation at Reply 704 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3940.msg159945.html#msg159945   Those formulations above really aren’t clone MM doughs, but were good.

Good luck with your dough tonight!  :) The molasses might take care of the dough and it not being overblown.

Norma
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1684 on: April 26, 2012, 12:52:09 PM »
Hey Cory,

for what it's worth - I overcooked my MMs about 4 or 5 times before I realized that I needed to cook it at a very low temperature.  I think I ended up going with 450 or 475 (I posted the value earlier in the thread).  This one is very easy to overcook!  As I suggested earlier, you might also be interested in Pete's Papa John's clone, which is a far "easier" dough to work with.   :chef:
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 01:06:59 PM by CDNpielover »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1685 on: April 26, 2012, 01:30:47 PM »
I second CDN on the lower bake temp. and with the molasses in there it is not hard for this dough to get away from you and start looking burnt.I've made this before with the type of longer fermenting that Peter just mentioned and it will indeed have a "lighter more airy" crumb.....I really prefer it that way, but that's just me.

Bob
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Offline rcbaughn

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1686 on: April 26, 2012, 06:41:18 PM »
Well I baked the pie up last night and it was better than the first MM one I did. The dough was really really really hard to get stretched out, but I think what was because I didn't give it sufficient enough time to proof up and warm up. I topped this one with a good bit more sauce and cheese, canadian bacon, red onions, and crimini mushrooms. I par-cooked the onions and mushrooms just a bit in some olive oil to make sure they would get done in time. I don't know why I haven't made a pie with these topping yet, it is my all time fav combo of ingredients.

And CDN I was just about to go whip up a batch of the 8 hour PJ's dough for later tonight! I wish I had more time, but I read and Peter said that the 8 hour dough turned out pretty good and only required one punch down. I may make two batches and do one of the two day ones as well in the next few days. I definitely see how my kitchen is more equipped to cook this style of pizza, my oven just can't get hot enough even with the broiler to do nearly-politans and similar high temp pies.

And I did lower the temp to 475, I saw that you put that up in an earlier post and I tried it out and it baked much better. It wasn't overly brown and the cheese was still a beautiful white color. I think I may top this pie the same tonight, but I may go wild and do a chicken variety of some sort. Thanks for the tips though guys, everyone who has helped has really really reall boosted my confidence in dough making and pie crafting. I can't wait to get better. -Cory
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1687 on: April 30, 2012, 05:57:49 PM »
I have been trying to figure out for awhile how the tee shirt with the words “Excelsior Mills” had anything to do with MM.  I found an article that now explains what Excelsior Mill was at a little past the middle of the page.

Quoted part.

Atlanta native and Bang Bang Lulu Productions senior producer Michael Reeves co-founded the Mellow Mushroom chain of pizza restaurants in 1974. He went on to co-own and operate the Peanut Palace in McDonough, Georgia, and The Excelsior Mill, The Cotton Club, and The Point, all in Atlanta. Currently, he co-owns Smith's Olde Bar and Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q.

http://www.punmaster.com/wires/archives/wire070210.html

I guess Excelsior Mills had nothing to do with molasses.  :-D  At one time I thought that it might.

http://bang-bang-lulu.com/FactPage.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Red

http://www.atlantaintownpaper.com/2010/08/five-questions-for-author-david-fulmer/

I thought I would just post about this if anyone was interested .

Norma
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Offline tonymark

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1688 on: April 30, 2012, 08:01:55 PM »
I remember Excelsior Mills before it became the Masquerade.  I have been to all those places (except Peanut Palace) and I had no idea that MM was related.  Most of those are long closed, but Fox Brothers is fairly new and it has some of the best BBQ in the city.

Norma, thanks for the good info.
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1689 on: April 30, 2012, 08:35:47 PM »
I remember Excelsior Mills before it became the Masquerade.  I have been to all those places (except Peanut Palace) and I had no idea that MM was related.  Most of those are long closed, but Fox Brothers is fairly new and it has some of the best BBQ in the city.

Norma, thanks for the good info.

tonymark,

Interesting that you know of the places I listed in my links.  I wonder if Fox Brothers uses any of the molasses in their BBQ that MM might use.  It is probably just a “wild guess”, but stranger things have happened.

I also think I know someone that is going to Georgia at the end of May.  Do you know which MM locations sells dough balls?  I might need another one for a test.  

Norma
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Offline tonymark

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1690 on: April 30, 2012, 11:13:59 PM »
Just phoned my local location and the phone guy said it was against their policy to sell dough balls.  He did not know if it was a franchise policy or not.

I like the Fox Bros. BBQ sauce and I have tried to replicate it.  I think molasses is in it, but it is probably unrelated to MM.  

MM was founded(1974) during the Atlanta adoption of the psychedelic culture in Midtown Atlanta and Midtown was the center for that cultural movement (The old "Deep South" was/is late on most cultural movements).  The icons of MM reflect this culture.  The "Emory Location" near my house had an entire wall mural depicting the MM characters, the skeleton of the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix.  Half of the mural was painted on windows and when one window was broken the recent owners did not have it repainted even though the original artist was alive and living in Atlanta.  They then took out and replaced the other painted window with the mural on it and now only half the painting is there.  I looked for a picture of the original mural on Flickr and Google images and could not find it.
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1691 on: May 01, 2012, 06:57:17 AM »
Just phoned my local location and the phone guy said it was against their policy to sell dough balls.  He did not know if it was a franchise policy or not.

I like the Fox Bros. BBQ sauce and I have tried to replicate it.  I think molasses is in it, but it is probably unrelated to MM.  

MM was founded(1974) during the Atlanta adoption of the psychedelic culture in Midtown Atlanta and Midtown was the center for that cultural movement (The old "Deep South" was/is late on most cultural movements).  The icons of MM reflect this culture.  The "Emory Location" near my house had an entire wall mural depicting the MM characters, the skeleton of the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix.  Half of the mural was painted on windows and when one window was broken the recent owners did not have it repainted even though the original artist was alive and living in Atlanta.  They then took out and replaced the other painted window with the mural on it and now only half the painting is there.  I looked for a picture of the original mural on Flickr and Google images and could not find it.



tonymark,

Thanks for calling your local MM about selling dough balls.  Some MM locations do sell dough balls and some don’t.  I guess more don’t than do.  I had asked MM in DC and they said when I visited they didn’t sell dough balls.  Chicago Bob sent me two dough balls for testing.  That is one reason Peter could figure out more about cloning MM pizza, along with the nutrition facts.  I only have a small part of the one original MM dough ball Bob sent me and Peter wants me to save that in case any more tests might come up, or for color comparison.  I might call some MM locations in Georgia before the person I know goes to Georgia to see if a location near where they are going sells dough balls.  At least that would give me another dough ball to do oil tests on.  When Peter, Bob, and I were doing the testing, Peter had not come up with the oil test then.

Thanks for explaining more about when MM was started.  The icons on the wall of your MM sound interesting. 

I wonder if anyone that lives near you remembers the original MM and what their pizzas tasted like.  Different people have posted on the web that the at the original MM location the pizzas were better.  I don’t know if now since the dough is mostly made at a commissary the dough is different or if they might have changed their ingredients.  Would be interesting to know of someone that has tasted both the original pizzas at the first MM and now has tasted the ones from the franchises.  I would think that in the beginning that MM might have sourced their molasses locally, but could be wrong.  That is one thing we never found out about is the right brand of molasses they use in the dough. 

Norma
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Offline rcbaughn

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1692 on: May 01, 2012, 11:14:41 AM »
Interesting story here. I was in Whole Foods the other day and was talking to the head baker about their pizzas and my baking attempts came up and I mentioned that I had been trying to replicate a Mellow Mushroom crust, and he got a funny smile on his face shortly after.... Turns out he use to be the manager at the Mellow Mushroom here on Southside in Birmingham, AL. Ha, I told him about the 12.5% molasses I was using and he seemed pretty shocked at the amount. He is a great baker and makes some awesome breads at the store there, but I guess that he wouldn't know the exact amount of ingredients even though he was a manager at Mellow since they frozen dough balls now.

Another interesting thing, at Whole Foods here in town they use his personal dough recipe, one that he brought to the store whenever he moved jobs. I thought that that was pretty strange that not all Whole Foods use the same dough recipe for its pizzas. They also sell dough balls frozen or fresh at my local store but I don't know if that is normal practice or not. $2.99 for a ball large enough to make a 16" thinnish pizza, not a bad deal at all.

By the way Norma, if you need dough from Mellow I can see about getting some from the Birmingham location and shipping it to you. Just let me know and I can make a call to see if they will sell me some need be.

-Cory
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1693 on: May 01, 2012, 12:01:25 PM »
Cory,

From a trade secret perspective, the best business model in my opinion is the commissary business model since the only people who have to know how the dough is made and the ingredients used and the sources of those ingredients are the workers who make the dough at the commissary. More than once, I have asked workers in the stores that use commissary dough about their dough and they either can't answer my questions or they give off-the-cuff opinions that turn out to be incorrect. That happened even with the MM dough. Some workers can't even tell you what a given dough ball weighs. All they are is pizza assemblers and bakers.

In the case of Mellow Mushroom, on occasion I have seen reports by franchisees--even fairly recently--who tout the nutritional benefits of their dough by saying that there is wheat germ in the MM dough. However, as was reported earlier in this thread, I was told by an MM corporate employee (Melody) that there is no wheat germ used anymore, yet the reports persist. I am not even sure I can trust what MM corporate employees tell me, especially those who are new to the company or do not have a technical background, about the MM dough, so I look for answers in the Nutrition Facts and the various tests we have devised to use on samples of their doughs. If I were running things at MM, I would keep all MM employees who interface with the public in the dark about dough and have them refer people who call or ask about their products to the Nutrition Facts, allergy information, vegan statements, etc. Also, I would contractually prohibit franchisees from selling dough balls.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 12:03:08 PM by Pete-zza »

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1694 on: May 01, 2012, 02:55:11 PM »
I agree with everything you stated. A business model of keeping most everyone in the dark is a safe way of making sure that your proprietary recipe and ideas do not get copied by any other business, or even in home settings for that matter. I need to start doing research on how to reserve engineer recipes from nutritional facts, the math involved and such. I looked today at trying to possibly do that with a Hungry Howie's pizza since I do enjoy the cheap $5.55 ones from time to time, but am lost on how to do so. Maybe with more reading on reverse engineering I can figure it out.

On a side not, I made my first real attempt at a naturally leavened pizza today with the Mellow Mushroom formula I have been using. If it turns out okay I'll put up the percents and pictures. I figured it would be a good way to try out my home grown starter, although I used 40% by weight of starter in the recipe since that is what I found to be needed for a 5-6 hour room temp ferment. This MM batch is really insurance for the cold fermented one that I just pulled out of the fridge. I used Varasano's recipe on his website, but I am afraid that the starter was too young when I made that dough ball and it isn't going to rise properly. Here's to hoping it turns out though and I'll get two pies out of the bake.

-Cory
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1695 on: May 01, 2012, 03:37:03 PM »
Cody,

If you ever get the urge to try to reverse engineer a pizza dough from Nutrition Facts, I suggest that you lie down until the feeling goes away. Unless you are talking about a simple dough with only a few ingredients, it will perhaps be the hardest thing that you will ever do and it will take you years of effort before you have an idea as to what you are doing. When this thread started, MM had not published any Nutrition Facts for its products. So, we relied on what we found through days of research on the Internet, including a list of ingredients used in the MM dough, along with phone calls and emails to MM and to ingredient vendors of all sorts, studying FDA rules and regulations, and endless tests and experiments. A good part of the way into this thread, MM published its Nutrition Facts. The Nutrition Facts became most useful after we came up with the gluten mass tests, the hydration bake test and the oil test. Had I tried to reverse engineer the MM dough from their Nutrition Facts alone, I am sure that I would have ended up in some kind of facility in a quiet rustic setting under the watchful eye of the nurses, psychiatrists and social workers.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 03:39:14 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline rcbaughn

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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1696 on: May 01, 2012, 07:14:08 PM »
Haha, wow, I have a whole new appreciation for the Mellow Mushroom dough recipe that I am using these days then, and a whole new appreciation for all the work that went into it. I knew that this thread was a long and involved one, but I had no idea that that much research and time actually involved in contact with companies was so extensive. I spent some time reading on the ingredients that I wasn't familiar with on the Hungry Howie's nutrition site, and what you said as far as lying down and letting it pass really rings home now.

I WOULD be in a home if I had to do what you did with the Mellow recipe. I would've never had the patience or persistence to be able to carry on with it, I would've become far too frustrated. But to say that the outcome is good is an understatement. Of all the pies I've made from this website this is the one that I keep coming back to and the one that left the biggest impression on me and the pizza bug I've developed. It's nice to be involved with people who are willing to work so hard to actually deliver on recipes that are true to the company they are based on. I am sure that most everyone on here appreciates what you and everyone else do to keep this site as accurate and awesome as it is. That's what made me keep coming back more and more to read and research.
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1697 on: May 03, 2012, 05:19:42 AM »
Well here is my first naturally leavened MM attempt! It turned out good and had the same crust spring in the oven as the IDY version did, but the crust had that sourdough taste to go along with the underlying molasses. It was quite earthy and delicious, I can see it going with the Mellow Mushroom counter-culture/hippy thing real well.  :-D The toppings were figs, dried bing cherries, whole milk Polly-O, and my favorite sheep's milk gorgonzola in large crumbles (Whole Foods comp'ed me a small slab since I have been buying a good bit of cheese recently). And added after coming out of the oven was the prosciutto and a swirl of Alabama Wildflower Honey. The whole topping idea came from a "Top This" article on the Serious Eats Slice page. The pizza was the Cherry Jones from Paulie Gee.

I finally found something to use some of that famous honey for, and it turned out delicious. This was my favorite pie topping yet despite having no red sauce. It isn't one I could do frequently since most of the stuff is way too expensive, but I've been gathering it up slowly over the past few weeks and decided that my first successful "Cory-created-starter" crust deserved it. I guess I need to come up with a clever name for the starter now that I know it is going to at least give me lift in breads and taste fairly good too. It makes me seriously contemplate whether I'll ever use commercial yeast again since this is pretty much free, and offers a good bit more flavor too. But I guess in a pinch IDY or ADY couldn't be beat.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 05:23:10 AM by rcbaughn »
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1698 on: May 03, 2012, 07:38:24 AM »
Cory,

Congrats on using your wild yeast starter in making a MM pizza!  :chef: I can only imagine how good of a taste the crust had.  You are the first member to make a naturally leavened MM pie.  Cool!  8)

Norma
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Re: Mellow Mushroom Pizza found in Atlanta and surroundin areas...Recipes?
« Reply #1699 on: May 03, 2012, 08:34:01 AM »
Cory,

I agree with Norma. You did a terrific job. And using a wild yeast starter to make your MM clone makes it special.

Even though you are thinking about using only a starter in the future as a leavening agent, eschewing wet and dry commercial yeast is a vow of abstinence I have heard many times before but rarely fulfilled or honored. Those who come close are likely to be avid bread makers who have the time to maintain their starters so that they are always at their beck and call. I think that natural starters have a high position in the spectrum of leavening agents, but I also have a great deal of respect for other forms of yeast. To me, they are all tools in the toolbox.

Peter


 

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