Author Topic: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas  (Read 72256 times)

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Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #160 on: February 11, 2007, 12:25:52 PM »
Peter,

Thanks for your sleuthing of Difara's and the square pie.  Tonight I will proof the dough for an hour in the pan and finish the pizza right after the par-baking is done.  I think this should help a lot.  It looks like from the pictures of the last link you gave, I need to make my version a bit thicker; that will have to wait until next weekend. 

Mike


Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #161 on: February 11, 2007, 09:44:41 PM »
Peter's suggestions really help a lot.  I proofed the dough for an hour on the pan and finished the pizza right after the pre-bake.  The bottom of the crust as well as the edges were perfectly crisp and not nearly as dried out as last night's pie; it had a chewier texture, but was still a little dry.  My next attempt will have a slightly larger thickness factor and 60% Caputo to 40% All Trumps.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the initial results.


Offline ratana

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #162 on: February 14, 2007, 11:53:40 PM »
Boy hits car:  Just wondering where you got that pan from, do you have an online site?  I too would like to try to make a clone of the Di Fara square.. I am new at pizza making, but the taste of his square pies is always forever in my mind.

I did try some of the recipes posted in this thread to make a clone of the round pie.  The 75/25 caputo to all trumps seemed to be pretty spot on as far as I could taste, in terms of the crispness on the bottom, etc.

If it helps, the last time I was at Di Fara, my friend and I waited 2 hours(!) for a half sausage square pie, and he did not pre-bake the crust for that one.  It was an insane night there, and so he was out of the pre-baked crusts that I have seen him have there, he just made one on the spot.  But I do think he did it in two steps.  (Dough + some sauce, then taking it out, more oil on the bottom of the pan, the rest of the cheese etc.)

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #163 on: February 16, 2007, 09:02:52 PM »
ratana,

As noted in Reply 155, Boy Hits Car is using a Chicago Metallic heavy gauge steel pan that he found at Marshalls Home Goods for $6.99.  It is a 12.25x9x1 inch pan. I believe that it may be a non-stick finish pan or something similar. I don't believe that Chicago Metallic makes a dark, anodized pan in that size.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #164 on: February 16, 2007, 10:26:06 PM »
Boy hits car:  Just wondering where you got that pan from, do you have an online site?  I too would like to try to make a clone of the Di Fara square.. I am new at pizza making, but the taste of his square pies is always forever in my mind.

I did try some of the recipes posted in this thread to make a clone of the round pie.  The 75/25 caputo to all trumps seemed to be pretty spot on as far as I could taste, in terms of the crispness on the bottom, etc.

If it helps, the last time I was at Di Fara, my friend and I waited 2 hours(!) for a half sausage square pie, and he did not pre-bake the crust for that one.  It was an insane night there, and so he was out of the pre-baked crusts that I have seen him have there, he just made one on the spot.  But I do think he did it in two steps.  (Dough + some sauce, then taking it out, more oil on the bottom of the pan, the rest of the cheese etc.)


Ratana,

The pan I'm using isn't dark like Difara's pans.  It is a non-stick dark gray pan.  Like Peter said, I found it at Marshalls.  I want to get as close as possible to Difara's recipe before I buy a bigger pan. 

The closest I've seen online to Difara's pans is this:  http://www.bigtray.com/productdetails.asp?catid=14810&sku=CMP40952&s=sheet+pans&rn=1

Once you get a pan, it would be great if you could post your results with whatever formula and techniques you decide to use.  Hopefully we'll be able to come up with a usable clone.

Good luck.

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #165 on: February 25, 2007, 09:53:37 PM »
Just wanted to post my latest attempt at a Difara's square pie.  Since I wasn't completely happy with my first attempts, I decided to try a different approach.  This time I went all out and used oil and a little sugar in the dough as well as use my broiler to get a better charring on the edges of the pizza.

The formula I used for the dough:

Flour (100%):
Water (65%):
IDY (0.5%):
Salt (1.5%):
Oil (1.5%):
Sugar (1.0%):
Total (169.5%):
221.28 g  |  7.81 oz | 0.49 lbs
143.83 g  |  5.07 oz | 0.32 lbs
1.11 g | 0.04 oz | 0 lbs | 0.37 tsp | 0.12 tbsp
3.32 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.69 tsp | 0.23 tbsp
3.32 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.74 tsp | 0.25 tbsp
2.21 g | 0.08 oz | 0 lbs | 0.56 tsp | 0.19 tbsp
375.07 g | 13.23 oz | 0.83 lbs | TF = 0.12

The flour is 50/50 mix of Caputo 00 pizzeria and All Trumps Flour.  The pan size I used was 12.25"x9"x1".

I mixed the dough using the same technique as my previous post, only this time I added sugar and oil to the water in the mixer bowl.  I cold fermented the dough for about 45 hours, the temp. entering the fridge was 68 degrees.  I removed the dough and let it warm up for two hours then shaped the dough into the pan with some olive oil.  I then covered the dough and waited an hour to let it proof.  I also heated my oven to 550 during this time.  I then sauced the dough and par baked the dough on my pizza stone.  This time I par baked the dough a lot longer than my previous attempts.  In the pictures you can see it is darker along the edges.  I then removed the dough and finished topping it with more sauce and cheese.  I then placed the pie under the broiler about six inches away from the flame and waited for the cheese to melt and for the edges to get slightly charred.

This version was the closest I've been able to achieve.  It had a crisp edge and a chewy center with a very good flavor.  Also, the crust was not overly dried out like the other two.  As for the sauce, I tried a non-cooked sauce with just salt, pepper, garlic and basil.  Although very good on its own, I believe the pre-cooked sauce I outlined in my earlier posts is closer to Difara's in taste.  I would feel safe to recommend this recipe to people who would like to make a Difara's type square pizza.

EDIT:  Specified which type of yeast I used and ingredient amounts as per Peter's request.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2007, 10:24:57 AM by Boy Hits Car »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #166 on: February 26, 2007, 10:07:18 AM »
Mike,

Nice job adapting the DiFara clone to your particular oven.

Since you used IDY before, I assume that your most recent dough formulation uses IDY also. Is that correct?

For your 12.25" x 9" pan size, I calculated a total dough weight of 375 grams, or 13.23 ounces (12.25 x 9 x 0.12 = 13.23). If that is correct, can you indicate the quantities of the ingredients corresponding to that pan size? That might save time for those who do not work with baker's percents.

Thanks.

Peter

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #167 on: February 26, 2007, 10:27:55 AM »
Mike,

Nice job adapting the DiFara clone to your particular oven.

Since you used IDY before, I assume that your most recent dough formulation uses IDY also. Is that correct?

For your 12.25" x 9" pan size, I calculated a total dough weight of 375 grams, or 13.23 ounces (12.25 x 9 x 0.12 = 13.23). If that is correct, can you indicate the quantities of the ingredients corresponding to that pan size? That might save time for those who do not work with baker's percents.

Thanks.

Peter

Thanks Peter.  I have updated my post to include your requests.

Offline scott r

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #168 on: May 11, 2007, 04:11:02 AM »
Some random thoughts:

I had an excellent experience at Di Fara's today.  No wait, and much better pizza than the last time I was there.  Dom has Changed brands on everything it seems.  I saw new brands of buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, oregano, and olive oil.  Even the crust seemed a bit different to me.  His hard grating cheese tasted much less sharp than what he was using last time (pretty sure it was grana padano).   I found it interesting that he is now using passata (jarred liquified tomato) mixed with canned san marzanos.  Last time I was there he was using fresh tomatoes and canned san marzano's.

He definitely used the same sauce for both the Sicilian and the round pies, and he used buffalo mozzarella only on the Sicilian.

The place was still incredibly dirty even after the board of health shut down.

Offline mzshan

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #169 on: May 11, 2007, 10:57:26 AM »
Hey scott tried to email you but your box was full..
will be visiting NYC wanted some info on Di Fara's best time to check out.. and a few other tips on Money and time saving...
thanks

shan


Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #170 on: May 11, 2007, 11:05:27 AM »
Hey scott tried to email you but your box was full..
will be visiting NYC wanted some info on Di Fara's best time to check out.. and a few other tips on Money and time saving...
thanks

shan


Shan,

You might find this post helpful.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4560.msg42410.html#msg42410

Offline jcardia

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #171 on: February 27, 2010, 01:57:34 PM »
Hi all - it's been a few years since someone last updated this thread on the difara clone. Wondering if anyone has changed their perspectives/recipe trial since their last post. Thanks and great thread!

Offline tcarlisle

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #172 on: February 28, 2010, 04:23:57 AM »
Sorry I have not read all replies in this thread. Skimming through it, it seems the bases have been covered. I go to DiFara's a few times a year.

Some of the pics I see here are quite close, but Dom is pretty heavy handed on the olive oil. I wasn't aware he used 00 flour, and what I get there versus the Lehman recipe here is pretty much the same. He uses a standard gas oven, and the bottom of the crust is well done and the topside of the crust is browned -- and any thin spots on the outer crust are usually just starting to blacken. There tends to be some pretty decent bubbles at the crust/sauce line and they blacken too. People that don't prefer DiFara's typically complain it is too greasy and crust burnt. Yet some complain the crust is too gooey. It is pretty well burnt on the outside, but tends to be gooey beneath the sauce/cheese -- which I attribute to the high amount of olive oil he puts on it. Again, go heavy on the oil. The pizza's we make here all have nice red sauce -- his starts that way but the heavy oil dilutes it and then when the sauce/oil/cheese cooks it comes out orangish.

He is quite generous with the fresh mozz. The patches of fresh mozz end up pretty white, and the rest is an orangish blend of sauce/oil/standard mozz. The standard mozz ends up almost clear.

Last time I went I talked to him and he said his Basil is from Isreal. It does have much larger leaves than any basil I've seen locally.

He seems to be pretty light handed with the sauce. It ends up being more oil than sauce in my opinion.

Despite the well browned and slightly blackened crust bottom, you can't hold a piece without folding it. The crust is not rigid at all except the outer crust. If you make one and can hold a slice without folding it and without it dropping and all the sauce/cheese falling off -- then it isn't right.  :)

And yes, the dirt within the establishment probably also adds some flavors to the pie that we would rather not know about.

Offline dhs

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #173 on: March 04, 2010, 08:39:29 AM »
I live in Brooklyn and have been to DiFara's. To be honest, I am not a huge fan but would agree with the square pie is the one to emulate. I too have skimmed many of the posts but I think tcarlisle really nailed something that seems to be less than what is used at DiFara's compared to what I see in the posted pictures. That is the amount of olive oil. From what I recall watching Dom, he uses a lot of oil under the pre-bake. A heck of a lot. The end result, to me at least, is much like fried dough. Something worth trying maybe?

Offline Scagnetti

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #174 on: March 05, 2010, 04:31:38 PM »
I've been to DiFara's several times and have even talked to Dom myself.

To be honest, the round pies are good but the Sicilian or square pie is completely off the charts.

There are many DiFara detractors because the place is messy and can be a real zoo.

I once talked to a pizza products salesman outside of DiFara's and the converstion went like this.

Me: "Look, Dom makes a great pie but I never know if I'm going to wait 10 minutes or an hour for a pie. There's got to be somebody else around that makes them close to his." (I'm thinking he'd mention Totonno's).

Him: "No, there's not."

Me: "C'mon, there's got to be somebody."

Him: "Nope, there's not. He's the master. He does things nobody else does. He follows the old ways."

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #175 on: December 20, 2010, 11:19:49 PM »
Tried my hand at a Di Fara's clone tonight.   First off, I think 8 min maybe a bit too long of a cook time.  Dom's cheese looks a bit overcooked for my taste.   So if a 6 min bake is better for me, I can't in good conscience use the same recipe he uses.  I had to tweak it.  The reason is b/c if Dom bakes one of his pies at 6min, the cheese would look better but the crust wouldn't be baked out to the same degree. 

I have seen videos of Dom pulling a pizza out of the oven with his hands and you can see how well cooked the bottom of the pie is.  It is also crunchy at that point and holds it's weight well despite being supported only by the rim. 

Having this on my mind, I decided to use a 60/40 (00/HG) mix instead of a 75/25 as Dom uses.  I also upped the hydration ratio to account for the increase % of HG flour and for my high altitude climate.  Here's the formulation I decided on.

Flour 100%  (60/40 00/HG)
Water 69%  (warm at 81F)
Salt 2.5%
IDY 1%

I mixed the dough in the Bosch for about 6min.  and allowed it to bulk rise for 45m.  I then pulled the dough out, divided and balled, and place them into glad plastic containers that were slightly oiled. 

I decided to warm proof it as Dom does by microwaving a bit of water for 2 mins to create that warm environment.   I placed the covers on the dough loosely and placed them into my home made proofing chamber (MW) for an hour and 15m.  The dough easily doubled in size and then some. 

These balls were about 272gm stretched out to make 14" pies.  The dough expanded so much it touch the top of the containers.   These were then baked in the home oven at a temp of 500f.   I placed the stone near the top of the heating element to get it nice and hot.  The pies baked up high for about 2 mins and then lowered near the bottom of the oven to finish out their bake.   I shuffle the stone to try and get a bigger oven spring and then bake it out slow once the crust has set.  The first pie baked at about 6min.  I found the crust to be a little dry for my taste so I baked the 2nd pie for about 5 min.  Basically the 2nd pie spent more time up high near the heat longer and baked a bit quicker. 

Here is the first pie.   Topped with 3 types of cheeses (block, fresh mozz, bufala), pepperoni, fresh pineapple, EVOO.   Finished with grated parm and romano blend, and fresh basil. 


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #176 on: December 20, 2010, 11:25:22 PM »
Here is the 2nd pie.   This is the one baked for 1 min less.  I felt that the 6 min pie's crust was a bit dry for my taste, so I shortened the bake a bit. 

This one was topped with just block mozz and fress mozz (no bufala), shrimp, and garlic slivers.  Finished out with EVOO, grated parm & romano blend, and fresh basil.

This combination of topping was really a winner.  The taste and flavors were outstanding.  The crust was very mediocre to me.  I have a feeling that Dom's sauce and topping are what makes his pies work.  His crust, I'm not so sure about, but I realize i could change my mind after I've had it.   I think the appeal to a Di Fara pie is the blend of cheeses, and drizzling EVOO on top of cheese that has already oiled off.  It makes sense to me that he uses the Parmesan to soak up some of the oil.   Basically his slice is cheesy and oily.  You use good quality flavorful cheeses and a good quality OO and you have a winning combination.  What's there not to like about that.   

For the future, I would continue using the toppings as is, but would make a better and perhaps thicker crust. 

Chau

« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 11:29:58 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline chickenparm

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #177 on: December 21, 2010, 12:05:44 AM »
Chau,
You are making me hungry with them pies you made!
They look Fantastic...I told you,you are ready to open your own place...If you ever choose to do so.
As Master Yoda would say,
Yoda: No more training do you require. Already know you, that which you need.
  :D

-Bill

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #178 on: December 21, 2010, 07:47:44 AM »
Fantastic job. I am sure they tasted as good as they look. I believe that you could clone at will pretty much any pizza you set your sights on.

Your point about the topping being the star of the show is dead on. Any dough that is ready in two hours will not show the complexity of flavor that most of us here on the board are used to in our own pies. Larry echoed those sentiments recently in a post on his visit to Di Fara.

John

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #179 on: December 21, 2010, 11:54:47 AM »
 :-D thanks guys, I appreciate it.  The cheese and toppings I was really happy with.  It ate just like a Di fara slice you see others eating on youtube.  Foldable, hot and gooey with oil and cheesy goodiness.   Especially the shrimp and  garlic pie.  It was a chorus singing praises in my mouth.   I was inspired after seeing your lobster pie the other day John. 

The crust was okay.  If the thickness and texture of the rim was spot on then I don't think I would care if it was a 2 hour ferment or 20 hour ferment.  I made the crust  thinner than I normally like so I thought it was a bit dry in spots.  The rim looks about as thin as a typical Di fara pie.   

My usual crust is a 50/50 blend of 00/HG anyway, so this 60/40 (00/hg) blend wasn't far off, but this was a lot thinner than I normally make and baked 1-2 min longer.   

I think if I were to make this 14" pie in the oven a few more times, I could make it better by tweaking the dough.  As is, it was pretty good, so I can't complain too much.  Not perfect but pretty good.   

Here are a few Di fara style pies I made last week with my normal thicker crust.  These pies were better pies.  Reply #66
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12182.60.html

Chau