Author Topic: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas  (Read 90903 times)

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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

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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

Offline jever4321

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #180 on: December 21, 2010, 12:00:08 PM »
Chau, That pie looks like art. Nice job. That makes me want to be more creative in topping selection. Keep up the good work.
-Jay

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #181 on: December 21, 2010, 04:37:53 PM »
Nice pies Tran Man. I've never been to DiFara's, but I'd rather have one of your pies. Now I've got to make some doughs and clone your clone!  ;D
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #182 on: December 22, 2010, 12:05:45 AM »
Thanks, you guys are too kind.  I'll do better next time.   8)

Chau

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #183 on: December 22, 2010, 02:51:22 PM »
Chau,

Details on the baking method?


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #184 on: December 22, 2010, 05:00:54 PM »
Chau,

Details on the baking method?

Baked in the home oven.   Oven was preheated for about an hour at 500F.  The last 10 min of the preheat, I moved my Primo stone to the 2nd from the top shelf under the broiler to get it superhot.  Turned the dial to broiler while I was opening up the skin and topping the pie. 

Loaded the pizza on a hot stone and turned the dial back down to 500F.  Baked it up high for a few minutues hoping the heat trapped between the broiler and the hot stone would give me a better spring. 

After a few minutes up high, the crust is pretty much set.  I move the stone with the pizza on it lower towards the bottom of the oven otherwise it would burn to quickly.   For some odd reason, my VIking professional oven only heats from the top (best I can tell).  The pizzas finish baking out at the bottom for another 4 minutes or so.   Once I'm happy with how melted the cheese is, I will also pick up the pie with the metal peel and rim the crust against the broiler element to get it darker.  This gives it abit more character in look and crunch.    The only downside here is that the bottom of the pie can get a bit steamed if sitting on the metal peel too longer during this process.  Occassionally I will also put the pie back on the hot stone for 30s or so to crisp it up again.

Hope that helps,
Chau

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #185 on: December 25, 2010, 11:51:20 AM »
after reading this thread i know that theres "difara" i am fascinated with it. this person dominc de marco 44 years making pizza, growing hes own herbs, i am sure it one of the best places in the world just by looking and reading about it.
peter well done, keep up the good work, your pies looks amazing.
tell me is the oven within an oven really make a diference instead od just stone from the bottem?
i read your word i slice about it also, but i wanted to ask you.
 
« Last Edit: December 25, 2010, 11:53:39 AM by msheetrit »

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #186 on: December 29, 2010, 10:06:48 AM »
tell me is the oven within an oven really make a diference instead od just stone from the bottem?
i read your word i slice about it also, but i wanted to ask you.
 

Michael,

At the time I experimented with the oven within an oven, I thought the approach had merit. However, when reverse engineering and cloning a pizza like the DiFara pizza, I would prefer to make an 18" pizza since that is the size that Dom DeMarco makes. In the past, when I have made 18" pizzas in my home oven, I had to use either an 18" pizza screen alone or a combination of that screen and my undersized pizza stone. I don't know at this point whether I can fashion an oven within an oven to make an 18" DiFara pizza clone. When I return home from vacation I may take a look at my oven dimensions to see if an 18" DiFara clone pizza is possible.

Peter

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #187 on: December 29, 2010, 08:45:58 PM »
what is the Ideal time for rising of the dough outside? "emergency dough"
i dont think difara would have any problem making the dough at morning, i understand his sons makes the dough 2 hours before?
the reason i am asking is because i read somwhere in the forum Interview with itlian pizza maker ( i cant the remember the professional term for it)
he said that he makes hes dough fresh outside in the morning and that the dough is outside for 6 hour.
today i made pie, the dough was only outside and for 6 hours, after 2 it had sour smell, after baking i couldent gain color to it like normaly happens, and the crust wasent ready from the inside, lets say i had better dough before.
i think after making all kind of fresh dough that the ideal time is about 80 minute.
what do you think guys and peter ?
after the dough rise and about 70% from its size, if its oversize... is there a point that it is not for use ? or if droping the air out and reshape it and reproofing, can be use for baking ?
here some picture of 2 pies i made today.
usually the crust and from the bottem have more color, and tasted better
the first one (the pie that with no green peper on it) i used
fresh mozzarella
hard mozzarella
cheder
with the Influence of this thread after the pie was ready i sprikeld it grated parmesan cheeze (not parmigiano raggiano like dom demarco), olive oil and bazil leave.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 09:10:01 PM by msheetrit »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #188 on: December 29, 2010, 09:38:05 PM »
Michael,

Dom DeMarco uses a combination of high-gluten flour and 00 flour. His deck oven is also an old deck oven that operates at higher temperatures than the current models of deck ovens. He also bakes his pizzas for a fairly long time. I suspect that the high-gluten flour component of his flour blend and the oven factors are responsible for the crust coloration of his pizzas. In a standard unmodified home oven, it may be harder to get comparable crust coloration in an emergency dough situation like Dom's, even if sugar is added to the dough (Dom does not use any sugar in his dough). Ordinary table sugar, or sucrose, is a complex sugar and has to be broken down into simple sugars for use in the Maillard reactions that contribute to crust coloration. That decomposition of sucrose can take many hours, although some of it may show up in the finished crust through caramelization. What I have found to work better as a substitute for sucrose in an emergency dough is honey. It already has simple sugar components.

If you are interested, you can learn a lot about emergency, or short-term, doughs by scanning the compilation of such doughs at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8297.0.html.

Also, to show you that you were not alone in getting less crust coloration from your 6-hour dough than you hoped, see Reply 2 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7522.msg64710.html#msg64710. If I had added some sugar or honey to the dough formulation I posted in Reply 2, I believe that I would have ended up with more crust color. Adding dry dairy whey would have achieved similar results.

Peter

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #189 on: December 29, 2010, 10:49:48 PM »
Peter,

What's your best bet at a percentage ratio on HG flour and Caputo for a DiFara?

60/40?  75/25?  70/30?

I got All-Trumps and Caputo.
Mike

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #190 on: December 29, 2010, 11:14:33 PM »
Peter,

What's your best bet at a percentage ratio on HG flour and Caputo for a DiFara?

60/40?  75/25?  70/30?

I got All-Trumps and Caputo.

Mike,

Dom DeMarco once told me (and I believe Pete Taylor as well) that he used 75% Caputo 00 and 25% All Trumps high-gluten flour, both by volume. However, you might keep in mind that Dom does switch vendors from time to time. Also, scott r has recommended a 50/50 Caputo/AT blend for home oven applications, as he noted at Reply 148 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,504.msg39315/topicseen.html#msg39315.

Peter

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #191 on: December 29, 2010, 11:16:10 PM »
thanks peter
i dident what to copy difara pizza i know about the blends of flour i am folowing the progress of the thread and as i was saying.
keep up the good work. i will look in the links i hope i will find answers there.
the 6 hours problem is with adding sugar
if its 1.5-2 hours it doesent happen. thats what wired to me.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 11:18:49 PM by msheetrit »


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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #192 on: December 30, 2010, 10:14:38 PM »
Mike,

Dom DeMarco once told me (and I believe Pete Taylor as well) that he used 75% Caputo 00 and 25% All Trumps high-gluten flour, both by volume. However, you might keep in mind that Dom does switch vendors from time to time. Also, scott r has recommended a 50/50 Caputo/AT blend for home oven applications, as he noted at Reply 148 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,504.msg39315/topicseen.html#msg39315.

Peter

Thank you, Sir. And thanks for the link.

I wonder, how can Dom make the same quality pies, or crust for that matter, if he changes ingredients (flours) around every so often? Or did, and does, he indeed use the same blend for the last 40 plus years?
Mike

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Offline chickenparm

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #193 on: December 30, 2010, 10:32:14 PM »
Thank you, Sir. And thanks for the link.

I wonder, how can Dom make the same quality pies, or crust for that matter, if he changes ingredients (flours) around every so often? Or did, and does, he indeed use the same blend for the last 40 plus years?

It is my belief,that Dom's toppings is what makes his pies so successful.I also believe he is so experienced at making pizza,it does not mater that much where his flours come from.He is able to make them very similar,since he does not seem to allow much proofing times after the dough is mixed.So even if the crust is a bit bland from being the same day mix,his toppings will compensate for his pizza and still taste the same or similar to most.

I could be wrong,but its the one thing that I believe makes his pizza taste very much the same after its cooked.If anyone disagrees,just say the word and why.
 :)




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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #194 on: December 31, 2010, 12:19:06 AM »
Chickenparm,

I know where you coming from. I should have worded my question differently.

We, as home amateur pizzamakers, always seem to struggle when using different flours trying to make the same crust. They never come out the same. How can one business change flours on occasion and still come up with the same light, airy and foldable crust like nothing has changed?

That was basically my question and my point. I wasn't so much after his toppings. The crust is more important for now. I'm not going to waste superior quality in toppings with a mediocre crust. There's got to be a balance.
Mike

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Offline chickenparm

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #195 on: December 31, 2010, 01:00:11 AM »
Mike,
You did not need to reword anything,I know what you are saying and agree.
That aside,

I do not believe his pizza was the same all the time when switching suppliers.

I believe his toppings made up for what may have been lacking in the dough.Watching the video,he does not seem to be that worried about it..once the dough is mixed up,its done and he uses it.

He does not worry about hydration,percentages,proof times,fermentation or etc. Like we all do on the forum.

That tells me as long as he has a usable dough,he can make a similar pizza with his toppings as long as whatever flour he chooses makes a dough he can use for pizza.Hes' no fool,don't get me wrong,but I believe as long as a flour he uses gives him the same or similar eyeball results,he can do it.Thats another thing that makes him good at what he does.

When you add his toppings,the oil,cheeses and etc,its going to make up for the lack of dough flavor...just the fact he does not cold rise them for at least 24 hours tells me that.

I too have ordered several pizzas from a NY place and not one of them were 100% identical...yet they use the same sauce,cheese and dough.The cook times and toppings made the difference more than the dough itself.


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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #196 on: December 31, 2010, 10:27:59 AM »
I wonder, how can Dom make the same quality pies, or crust for that matter, if he changes ingredients (flours) around every so often? Or did, and does, he indeed use the same blend for the last 40 plus years?

Mike,

As I noted at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4530.msg38107.html#msg38107, Dom DeMarco has gone through different 00 flours, although I did not personally confirm that he used/uses the Colavita 00 flour. That possibility came from a blog somewhere. Dom has also used Colavita olive oil instead of the Filippo Berio olive oil, and he has apparently added the canned LaValle San Marzano tomatoes to his list (see Reply 14 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12182.msg119683/topicseen.html#msg119683), along with the Vantias. Dom will also occasionally go with the grana padano cheese along with, or instead of, the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I have read reports and seen videos that say that Dom uses Romano cheese but I have never seen that confirmed. At one time, I believe that Dom had a local source of fresh basil. According to a NYT article and other reports, his present basil is from Israel.

As you can see, Dom does switch ingredients around. But they are not overly dramatic changes that are likely to drastically change his product in the eyes of customers. After over 40 years of making pizza dough, no doubt he has mastered how to use several different brands of 00 flour to produce the results he is after without upsetting his customers because of the changes.

Peter

Offline fireman117

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #197 on: January 12, 2011, 03:28:26 PM »
Hi Peter,
Can I ask you to go back in time to Reply 130. I'm going through the posts as time permits, and the DiFara pizza is the style and standard I'm looking to get to, (maybe by the next lifetime)!  I want to stick to one style for now, which is NY. I've been getting pretty good results, and I like the part that Dom seems to work kind of “off the cuff” to some extent and that fits my personality well!

I'm definitely a novice, but, I'm getting reasonably good at using the version of the Lehman recipe you supplied me with some time ago, with I think a 57 or 58% hydration, using a standard bread flour, and a 3 day cold rise. So this is what I’d like to stick with for now. I could up the hydration if you felt it was worth while. I now have a peel and I've recently used a "quick dough" recipie with a higher hydration successfully.

Now here is my questions. You wrote in reply 130 concerning the ingredients:

“For the sauce and cheeses, I tried to use essentially the same “quality and quantity” approach as used by Dom DeMarco, as I have come to understand them. For the sauce, I pureed whole tomatoes from a can of Famoso DOP San Marzano tomatoes, along with some fresh, seeded tomatoes and fresh basil (a mixture of Napoletano and Genovese Italian, both from my garden), fresh (from my garden) Italian oregano, dried Sicilian oregano, a bit of Sicilian sea salt, and sugar. Because the sauce was on the thin side, I drained it in a colander to remove some of the water”.

Is this essentially the spice set you felt he used in his sauce, and since it is now winter and no tomatoes are available from the garden, do you think those “on the vine” grocery tomatoes would work OK?
Could you give me an idea on the ratio of canned to fresh?
And just two more things, sorry… any garlic detected, and was the sugar noticeable, or was there just enough to take the edge off.

Help with the sauce would be greatly appreciated as I think it’s my biggest weak spot.
As far as the other ingredients go, I can get them all here in town.

I have a gas convection oven that will cook at 550 degrees and I'd like to give your “oven in an oven” a try. Are those tiles something that you can get from a “Home Depot” type place, and what are they called?

As always, thanks for the help, and I'll post some pics of the results.

Eric

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #198 on: January 12, 2011, 07:06:21 PM »
Eric,

Now here is my questions. You wrote in reply 130 concerning the ingredients:

“For the sauce and cheeses, I tried to use essentially the same “quality and quantity” approach as used by Dom DeMarco, as I have come to understand them. For the sauce, I pureed whole tomatoes from a can of Famoso DOP San Marzano tomatoes, along with some fresh, seeded tomatoes and fresh basil (a mixture of Napoletano and Genovese Italian, both from my garden), fresh (from my garden) Italian oregano, dried Sicilian oregano, a bit of Sicilian sea salt, and sugar. Because the sauce was on the thin side, I drained it in a colander to remove some of the water”.

Is this essentially the spice set you felt he used in his sauce, and since it is now winter and no tomatoes are available from the garden, do you think those “on the vine” grocery tomatoes would work OK?
Could you give me an idea on the ratio of canned to fresh?
And just two more things, sorry… any garlic detected, and was the sugar noticeable, or was there just enough to take the edge off.

I do not recall asking Dom, nor did he volunteer, the details of his sauce. I just tried to match the general type and quality of ingredients he used. So, I suggest that you do the same. Presumably Dom has to deal with whatever fresh tomatoes are available in winter, so I would say that you should be able to use whatever fresh tomatoes are available to you where you shop. I would use mostly canned San Marzano tomatoes and a small amount of fresh tomatoes. I do not recall the taste of garlic or sugar. The pizza I had at DiFara's when I visited had so many toppings that they would have masked some of the ingredients in the sauce.

Quote
I have a gas convection oven that will cook at 550 degrees and I'd like to give your “oven in an oven” a try. Are those tiles something that you can get from a “Home Depot” type place, and what are they called?

The tiles I used came from Home Depot. You can see what they look like from Replies 15 and 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2580.msg22751.html#msg22751.

Peter

Offline jerrymypie

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #199 on: March 12, 2012, 07:22:40 PM »
That is a great piece you wrote.

Do you know for sure that it is an uncooked sauce? I believe he uses the same sauce for the sicilian and the regular? I've read in some other posts that upon visiting people have seen Passata in the store as well.

Thank you,