Author Topic: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco  (Read 38203 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mrbthree

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Age: 66
  • Location: San Diego
  • From the Heart
Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« on: February 11, 2007, 03:58:19 PM »
What about a forum project to try and reverse engineer Chris Bianco's pizza dough?

I suggest that this is only possible if the dough can be baked off in a wood burning oven.

This quote from Chris seems like a good starting place:

"There is nothing complicated about what I do," he says. "Sicialian oregano, the best. Organic flour. Only San Marzano tomatoes, whole, pulpy, not sauce. I use purified water and make my own mozzarella like I used to in the Bronx. Salt? I only use fleur de sel, sea salt, fresh yeast cakes and a bit of the day before's dough" as sort of a "mother" starter."

I'm just at the stage of deciding what flour(s) to use, hydration %, salt %, old dough %, fresh yeast %. All the sources I've referenced, so far,  talk about Guisto's high-gluten flour. In the videos I've seen, Chris's dough appear very extensible, suggesting to me that his dough has a high hydration %.
Anyone game?


Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2007, 05:06:00 PM »
Here is what I know... none of it confirmed... haha:

I'm pretty sure he uses Giusto's flour.. Giotto mentioned he uses a blend of 2+ flours to get a targeted protein level (something the mill probably handles for him).  I'm thinking probably a combo of the regular giusto's organic bread and UP flours to get around a 12.5% protein, but that is just a wild guess that I'm going to try at some point. 

He uses a complete water purification system similar with carbon/RO/UV like you mentioned (which is a must because Phoenix water quality was just rated worst in the nation).

I've also read he uses Pacific Sun olive oil, but not sure how accurate that is.  Whole foods sells it if you want to try it.  It is pretty good. 

He uses an old dough (biga) method with fresh yeast, and kneads the dough completely by hand.  He says the fresh yeast biga and the hand knead are the only ways to get the crust softness he wants.  I'm sure the dough formulation is typical, he has even published a simple volumetric recipe before, but no real mention of technique/method.

Not sure what type of tomatoes he uses...

And yeah, like you mentioned, not really reproducable in a home oven...

- aba

« Last Edit: February 11, 2007, 05:07:53 PM by abatardi »
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline mrbthree

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Age: 66
  • Location: San Diego
  • From the Heart
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2007, 12:29:38 AM »
Abatardi,

Thanks.
Can you provide a link to the published volumetric recipe you mention?
I have spoken to both Matt Guisto and Chris Guisto. Matt and Chris share the same name and family, but they have separate flour business's. Both Matt and Chris say they do not sell Bianco flour. Only the Biancos know for sure where they get their flours, is all I can surmise.
I'll definitely try Pacific Sun, do you know if it is produced in Arizona? I've read that he uses an Arizona olive oil.

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2007, 10:34:40 AM »
Well I actually don't think they would tell you if they did sell to him..  No, I think Pacific Sun is a California oil, but I will try to dig up where I found the reference.  The recipe is in a pretty old magazine that I had that had an interview with him.  I'll try to find it as well.

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2007, 10:41:24 AM »
Pacific Sun info.. he is listed as a seller of their oil:

http://www.pacificsunoliveoil.com/shop_2.html

And a reference to some article where he was suggesting them to make a fry oil:

The answer, of course is yes. However, our Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an expensive fry oil so we wanted to develop a cost effective, gourmet fry oil. Our friend Chris Bianco encouraged this idea and suggested that we call it "Friar" oil and make it a tongue-in-cheek thing. "Bring some humor to the world," Chris suggested. So we began work on the Friar and we are ready to release him on the world after one year of development.

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Peteg

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 103
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2007, 04:35:27 PM »
Great idea for a thread.  I've read that Chris gets his olive oil from Queen Creek Olive Oil in Arizona (www.queencreekolivemill.com).  I received my first shipment of EVOO last week and can see why he would like it as it's the freshest EVOO that I've tasted so far.  My bottles were both bottled in 2007 which was a very good sign.  I'm actually planning a trip to phoenix in the near future and hope to visit Queen Creek as well as of course, PB.  Peteg

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2007, 02:56:00 AM »
That's a good call on the olive oil.  I'm going to order a bottle and try it... unfortunately they are sold out of the 500ml size so I'll have to get the mini bottle.  Getting a bunch of flour tomorrow so I'll probably start to try recreating this again... and by recreate I mean get to within 50% of that pizza..

What do you guys think when mixing dough?  Stay true to Bianco's method and use a fresh yeast biga and complete hand knead?

Anyone know how long he lets the dough bulk ferment/rise?  I'm trying to figure out if he does it the night before or every morning.

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4039
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2007, 03:59:16 AM »

Anyone know how long he lets the dough bulk ferment/rise?  I'm trying to figure out if he does it the night before or every morning.


pftaylor covers this and a lot more here.

Bill/SFNM

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2007, 11:37:14 AM »
Thanks Bill.  I've actually read that thread a couple times before and must've forgot that part.

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Peteg

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 103
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2007, 10:11:57 PM »
   I had a chance last week to eat at Pizzeria Bianco and Pane Bianco, and wanted to share my thoughts with the rest of the forum members.  My wife and I arrived in Phoenix around noon and headed straight to Pane Bianco for lunch where we shared a caprese salad and two sandwiches.  After hearing great reviews about his homemade mozzarella, I ordered the caprese so that I could try the mozzarella in the freshest state possible.  It left a very favorable impression.  It has a slightly tart taste combined with what is likely very little salt.  The flavor of the cheese almost tasted like it was made from part skim or else it was the product of a culture weaker that what I have been using.  The cheese was considerably drier than most fresh mozzarella that I have had elsewhere.  The sandwiches were made on the best sandwich bread I have ever had.  When a sandwich is ordered they throw a dough skin into the oven and let it cook until perfectly browned.  When the dough is slid into the oven I would say that it 6Ē in diameter by about 1.5Ē tall.  We shared a mortadella and salami sandwich and a tuna sandwhich.  Both were great, but I could eat the mortadella and salami sandwich every day.  The sandwiches were one of the nicest surprises of the entire Bianco experience. 
   We arrived at Pizzeria Bianco at 4:15pm and when the restaurant opened at 5pm, we were seated at the last open table in the first seating.  On that night, there was a sports reporter and crew from Seattle Fox Sports Network doing an interview with Chris.  The team was there to do a piece about the Marinerís spring training that will air sometime in March. 
Let me preface the next paragraph with the following.  No, my wife and I typically do not share four pizzas for dinner.  On this day however, I wanted to try every pizza that I could.  We ordered the margarita, wiseguy, rosa and sonnyboy.  All four pizzas were terrific but I will only review the margarita here as this pizza highlights all of different characteristics that make Biancoís pizza so special. 
The pizza arrived and the first thing that jumped out at me was how bright and vibrant the sauce appeared.  The sauce, with some small pieces of tomato, is contrasted by a perfectly charred crust and a bright white fresh mozzarella which is lacking any grease.  The taste was as close to perfect as I have yet experienced.  The tomatoes, which Iím almost certain are canned San Marzanoís, were wonderful.  They tasted better than the best San Marzano tomatoes that I have tried.  If I had to guess, I would say that this sauce is made of high quality San Marzanoís, salt, and fresh oregano.  I did find one small piece of fresh oregano in my sauce on the sonny boy.  The crust was almost exactly what I expected.  Not exactly perfect for my taste but Iím sure that itís perfect for Biancoís taste and obviously thousands of other people.  I typically prefer a slightly crispy cornicone and skin that I accomplish with a bake time of 3 minutes as opposed to the one minute or so that Bianco is said to use.  The cheese didnít really stand out on its own as much as perfectly accompany the other flavors.  There was no soupy whey to take away from the overall flavor, just a great fresh and mild mozzarella. 
   On the way out I asked Chris if I could take a picture and he gladly smiled for a picture and talked to my wife and I.  While talking with Chris he mentioned that he had been to the farmers market in my hometown of Madison, WI, and that it was terrific.  It really is a small world.  I had been waiting to go to Pizzeria Bianco for quite a while and I am so glad I had the chance to head south for a week.  In the end, the pizza is terrific and the best that I have had so far, but what makes Pizzeria Bianco so unique and inviting is Chrisís personality and the atmosphere he has created.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2007, 10:15:45 PM by Peteg »


Offline Peteg

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 103
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2007, 10:14:28 PM »
more pics.

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2007, 11:40:46 PM »
Beautiful!

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline 2112

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 48
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Minnesota
  • Pizza is our friend!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2007, 03:12:08 PM »

Hello All,

Unless I missed it, what are your thoughts on how much of yesterdays dough he would be using in one of these 300gr 12" pies?  :-\

??
I started out with nothing and still have most of it left!

Offline tonymark

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 254
  • Location: Atlanta, Ga
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2007, 08:01:23 PM »
After hearing great reviews about his homemade mozzarella, I ordered the caprese so that I could try the mozzarella in the freshest state possible.  It left a very favorable impression.  It has a slightly tart taste combined with what is likely very little salt.  The flavor of the cheese almost tasted like it was made from part skim or else it was the product of a culture weaker that what I have been using.  The cheese was considerably drier than most fresh mozzarella that I have had elsewhere.

I spoke with Chris on Feb 10 and he stated that he uses citric acid to make his cheese and not a culture.

TM
Making Pizza is not cooking, it is Performance Art!

Offline Peteg

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 103
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2007, 09:38:24 PM »
TM,
     Thanks for the input!  I've changed my mozzarella recipe a couple of times since our PB visit all in an effort to develop a more mild flavor.  The citric acid would definitely explain the flavor of his mozzarella.  So did you go into the restaurant or just get Chris on the phone?  That's awsome that you had a chance to talk with him.  Did he mention whether he's using whole milk or some other combination of whole and skim? 
     2112, hard to say how much of yesterday's dough he's using.  In my experience, I haven't noticed much of a difference with using a biga or day old dough.  If your preparing dough for use 10 hours later as I'm assuming Chris is doing, old dough may give it that extra kick that the rest of us would get by making dough a day or two in advance.  Just my oppinion but I'm certainly no expert. 

Offline tonymark

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 254
  • Location: Atlanta, Ga
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2007, 10:29:02 PM »
Peteg,

I was there eating.  We missed the first seating and waited 1.5 hour, with my 3 year old boy.  I would say that the wait was half the fun.  Everyone who misses the first seating is a total newbie.  I met people from all over the country.  The waiting space is great.  I love the long tables next to the restaurant.  Needless to say,  I probably had too much wine before the meal to really give a proper review.  The pizza was very good, and I would recommend the margarita.

A friend of mine made some cheese a few months back with a culture and I thought it really made my pizza.  I wish I had his cheese all the time.  In my opinion, it is much better than Bianco's mozzarella.

Chris is a really down to earth guy.  He has a good deal of respect for pizza enthusiasts who cook pizza for fun in their backyard oven.

TM
Making Pizza is not cooking, it is Performance Art!

Offline pdc

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 8
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2007, 08:01:34 AM »
Chris is definitely a down to earth guy, and he appreciates people who appreciate what he's doing. A couple years back, I was so blown away by my first visit to Pane Bianco and so affected by the atmosphere and obvious care and passion that was being put into a simple sandwich shop that I wrote him a letter. A few days later, I got a voicemail on my phone from Chris telling me how great it is to see people enjoying and understanding what he's trying to do.

A year later, before another trip to Phoenix, I wrote to him again telling him I would be visiting and if he might have some time to sit down and talk. Once again, I get a call from him telling me to give him a call when I get into town to figure out a time. As soon as we got off of our flight, we headed straight to Pane for lunch, and of course Chris was there. I introduced myself, and we arranged to meet back here for coffee the following morning. I spent an hour with him at the cafe next door talking about things, his philosophies about why he does what he does, what he hopes to do in the future, and what drives him. He's an extremely thoughtful and artistic guy, and he can definitely talk. In fact, I think I spoke about 10 sentences the entire time. I felt it would be sort of silly to ask him specific pizza-making questions, because it wasn't really about that.

He talked of how he opened Pane not to make money, which it doesn't, but to give him something more to do, something more to give to people, and had his brother to thank for his hard work back at the pizzeria in the mornings that allowed him the time to do it. He pointed out that every piece of equipment and furniture at Pane was on casters, to remind himself and everyone else that they are just temporary inhabitants of the space, and that the building would live on and change long after they were gone. He told me how envious he was of me for having a wife and family, as it was something that he hoped for someday. He talked about the idea of opening a mozzarella bar, where fresh cheese is produced all day long, so you're always eating it still warm, with whatever local produce, meats, and products he could find and support. He talked of wanting to open a music club, where people from all walks of life could meet and form a community.

He sounded more like a old jazz musician and artist than a pizzaiolo. I think this artistry comes through in his food, and knowing a little more about the man behind the pie makes it that much more meaningful and special. He is truly a unique man, and we're very lucky that he decided to channel that energy into the art of pizza.

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3075
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2007, 07:26:43 AM »
Wow, that is a spot on description of Chris.  He is such an interesting character.  Unlike anyone I have ever met before.

Offline BenLee

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 182
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2007, 01:55:13 PM »
heh, Bianco's pizza might be the one thing that you aren't going to reverse engineer.  I'm sure you can make some damn good pizza's trying though.

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3075
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: Reverse Engineer Pizza Bianco
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2007, 03:31:40 PM »
I am not sure it would be so tough to reverse engineer chris' pizza. I am not dissing it at all, but I can just say for certain that with the information on this forum you can absolutely nail his dough. I have done it before many times (although I didn't know it at the time since I hadn't been to Bianco's yet), and I am sure there are many others involved in this forum that have also. I hope I am not coming off as to cocky here, as I admire Chris so very much. I just want everyone to understand that he is not performing any black magic there. His tomatoes are great, but these days with mail order anyone can order good San Marzano's. His cheese is excellent, but it is no better than cheese that some people have available to them locally, and if not you can mail order some of that as well. Learn where to go in your city to get the best toppings for your pizza. When I do a pizza party I have 6 stops to buy ingredients, and that doesn't count the flour and canned tomatoes that I always keep on hand in my pantry. There is only one store in my town that always has really fresh basil, another that keeps on top of having only the best fresh tomatoes, another that gets buffalo mozzarella in smaller batches so it is always fresh, another that sells my favorite brand of pepperoni, another that grinds sausage every day and spices it the way I like it, and another that actually has habernaro peppers. All that in addition to having to go to a normal grocery store for my cream etc. This type of dedication to making the best pizza is what it takes to duplicate the Bianco experience.
 
The key is to not try to make a neapolitan pie here, what you are duplicating is a NY elite style pie. My opinion is that this thread is in the wrong place. I did not ask chris about this but I think his flour is probably a straight up Bread flour as far as protein content goes. The Protien content was higher than I expected (ie. the dough was quite chewy). Since the dough was mixed and fermented properly it was also tender, but it was nothing like an authentic neapolitan pie which I would describe as tender, but not chewy.
 
I recently had a pizza in NYC from a famous place that uses the same Guisto Bread flour that you can order on line. Other than the wonderful smoky flavor chris had from his oven (an advantage over the coal oven), the crust at the NYC place was almost exactly like the crust I had at Pizzeria Bianco. This should tell us something about the importance of the Guisto flour. Now this NY pizzeria is one that gets tons of flack for not being that good anymore. I thought it was an excellent version of that style, and when I got to Bianco's I couldn't help but laugh. Here are two pizzerias with very similar end products (from the crust/tomatoes/cheese standpoint) and one gets slagged all the time and one is considered the best in the US. The "black magic" that chris has is that he ALWAYS uses only the freshest ingredients, has a great wood burning oven, he has a great balance to his toppings, along with consistency of product. I am sure that the NYC pizzeria fluctuates wildly in it's quality control, as I have found the case at most commercial pizzerias where the oven is not owner operated.
 
Get some Guisto Bread flour. Use a fairly hydrated dough, but not overly so. You don't want those pizzas to be too moist on the inside. Don't use too much yeast so you can do a slow fridge rise, or even less for a slow room temp rise. Normal commercial yeast will get you very very close to where Chris is. At first I wouldn't even bother with a biga. Trust me when I say you can get 99% there without it. The important thing is to experiment with mixing so that you know where this particular flour likes to sit as far as gluten development goes. Remember that every flour is different, so what you think is not enough or too much mixing with your KASL or Caputo will be different with this Guisto. Let that dough ferment for a long time. Learn how to take your dough to the extremes of usability as far as fermentation goes, and then just bring it back a little. Cook the pizza fast, but not neapolitan fast. Use the best tomatoes and cheese you can find even if that means doing some mail order. Take the time to learn your local markets an their specialties.
 
Trust me, this pizza is not unobtainable outside of Arizona.
 
Now to be able to do it right every day for hundreds of people....... That might be unobtainable, and that along with his personality and dedication is why I think chris is truly amazing.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2007, 03:34:18 PM by scott r »


 

pizzapan