Author Topic: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas  (Read 86852 times)

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Offline friz78

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2005, 10:11:44 PM »
Duckjob,
That's a heckuva nice job and quite a nice looking pizza.  Thanks for joining us on DiFara experiment.  It was a pleasant surprise to see your attempt at this today.  And a mighty fine attempt indeed.

Can let us know a few more details about your experience with this recipe?  How did the dough handle?  How was the flavor of the crust (sounds like the texture was very good)?  Is there anything you (or one of us) would like to adjust with the recipe in the spirit of experimentation to perfect the recipe better?
Thanks again for getting on board with this experiment.
Friz


Offline duckjob

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #51 on: March 20, 2005, 10:24:58 PM »
Friz, the dough was pretty easy to handle, especially considering the high hydration percentage. It had the perfect combination of elasticity and extensibility. I was able to toss it as opposed to streching it out on a work surface like I end up having to do with some high hydration recipes. Definately had a different tast, a little tangy actually. The crust itself is what really impressed me though. It was chewy, airy, and slightly crispy on the outside, which is just how I like it. This is my first attempt, but the recipe you have come up with is pretty solid. I may tinker with the percentage of KA00 and KASL just out of curiosity, and might try adding some sugar to the recipe to aid in browing since I'm stuck useing a conventional oven that won't go much past 550. I'll probably give it another go later this week, I'll post my results. If anyone is interested in how I cooked it, I pre heated the oven to 500 for 1 hour, placed the pizza on a screen and cooked on a pre heated stone for 6 minutes. I then moved the pizza directly onto the stone and turned the broiler on for 3 minutes to brown both sides a bit.

Offline friz78

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #52 on: March 20, 2005, 10:31:36 PM »
I made another DiFara pizza on Saturday night using the same recipe as outlined earlier in this thread.  I used a 40 hour refrigeration and, once again, the results were quite good.  I did, however, experience difficulty in shaping the dough, as it was quite extensible. 

I would suggest to anyone trying this recipe that you need to take extreme care in shaping this dough because of the great extensibility of the dough.  Actually, if anyone has any insight as to why the dough is so extensible (outside of the obviously high hydration %), I would love to hear your thoughts.  I'm thinking that it might have something to do with the low salt content and long refrigeration, but I can't say for sure.  Anyway, it's worth the extra care that is required in shaping this dough, as the end product is quite good.

Another idea I have for addressing the extensibility issue is to reduce the size of the dough ball and, thereby reducing the diameter of the pizza.  Pete, if you would be so kind, I would be most appreciative if you could give the baker's measurements for a 14 inch and 13 inch diameter pizza, as adjusted from my 15 inch recipe.  A smaller diameter pizza will definitely make handling this dough a bit easier without having to adjust any of the recipe (although if we continue to experiment that may happen anyway).

Also in the spirit of Dom DeMarco, I got really creative with my toppings for this pizza and it made a huge splash with my wife and our dinner guests last night.  I noticed in some pictures of DeMarco at work, that he does not add some toppings before baking, but waits until after - particularly with mushrooms.  So, for this DiFara knockoff, I sauteed some mushrooms in butter, added a little salt and pepper and, after the pizza was cooked, I distributed the sauteed mushrooms on top of the cooked pizza.  In addition, I also cooked some Arugula in a saucepan, similar to the way you would cook spinach (just washed it, rinsed it, and heated it in the saucepan until cooked).  After the arugula was cooked, I drained all the excess water from the saucepan and then drizzled extra virgin olive oil and one clove of chopped garlic on top of the cooked arugula.  I covered the saucepan and just let the olive oil and garlic infuse the arugula for two minutes.  I then draped the finished sauteed arugula over the DiFara knockoff.  So, in the end, I had a Dom DeMarco special with sauteed mushrooms and arugula.  This baby was special.  And the beauty was that the crust maintained its crisp and overall texture because all of the toppings were added after the baking was complete.  I think Dom would've been proud if he saw me in action last night.

Nonetheless, this recipe and preparation techniques can be improved upon, I'm convinced.  I welcome any and all assistance in elevating the DiFara knockoff from good to great!!  Also, allow me to apologize for not having any photographs to support this post.  My digital camera was left in Florida last week while on a business trip and I won't get it back until later this week. >:(
Friz

Offline duckjob

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #53 on: March 20, 2005, 10:39:45 PM »
Your theory of a smaller dough being easier to work with is probably true. I started with 16 oz of flour, and ended up cutting the dough ball in half. It yieled two 12 inch pizzas. I let them warm up on the counter for about an hour and a half. I had dusted the counter with flour, so some of that ended up getting mixed into the dough as well, but like I mentioned in my last post I was able to toss it, and didn't find it to be overly extensible, which is not what I was expecting.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2005, 10:43:12 PM by duckjob »

Offline friz78

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #54 on: March 20, 2005, 10:51:56 PM »
Duck,
This is great feedback. 12-14 inches seems like it would be ideal for this dough.

Now that I am thinking about it, the one thing I did notice that was a bit different than normal is that, before refrigeration, my dough ball temperature was about 87 degrees.  This is about 7 degrees higher than normal.  If anyone has any feedback of the possible ramifications of a warmer than recommended dough ball before refrigeration, I would love to hear it.   Could this be a reason for the extra extensibility I experienced but Duck clearly did not?
Friz

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2005, 09:22:46 AM »
Friz,
I promise to try my hand at your Di Fara clone as soon as my travel schedule permits. I am in travel status the next four weeks:
Dallas/NY
Europe
Asia Pac
NY

Judging from your pictures, I can sense you are proud and rightly so. I only wish I could participate more in the coming days. However, I will try and keep up with your success through reading.

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #56 on: March 21, 2005, 11:48:13 AM »
Friz,

I'd be more than happy to work on 13-inch and 14-inch versions of your DiFara dough clone. But I'd like you to consider another possibility before considering the 13-inch and 14-inch approaches.

When I started to "deconstruct" your recipe for the 15-inch DiFara dough clone based on a dough ball weight of 16 oz. (it's actually 16.12 oz. when the weights of the salt and yeast are factored in), I discovered that the thickness factor TF was only 0.09 (TF = 16.12/(3.14 x 7.5 x 7.5 = 0.09).  A thickness factor of 0.09 is on the thin side--thinner, for example, than a NY style dough. If you used the roughly 16 oz. dough ball to make a 14-inch pizza instead of a 15-inch pizza, the thickness factor would go up to 0.105, which would be right in line with a NY style dough. That might solve the problem with extensibility a bit simply by having a slightly thicker dough to work with.

As an alternative, I could calculate quantities of ingredients for a 13-inch or 14-inch DiFara dough clone as you have requested, but I don't think that would solve the extensibility problem. It may well be true that a smaller skin will be easier to handle, but the extensibility problem would most likely still remain because the thickness factor would still be 0.09 and the dough would still be as thin as your 15-inch version. But if you would like me to proceed nonetheless with the 13-inch or 14-inch clones, let me know and I will take a stab at calculating the required quantities of ingredients. But also consider the following analysis as you decide how you would like to proceed.

As for the extensibility problem itself, I think you hit on some of the possible contributors to that problem--the high hydration, long fermentation time, and maybe the small amount of salt. But I think you may have hit on the most important one in your post last night--the high finished dough temperature, especially in combination with the other factors you had mentioned. As I was thinking about your problem last night, I recalled that you had proofed the ADY in warm water--the entire amount of the water. The recommended way to proof ADY so as not to elevate the finished dough temperature is to proof the ADY in only a small amount of warm water (95-105 degrees F), say, a few tablespoons, and to keep the rest of the water on the cool side. That way you properly proof the yeast and don't shock it with cold water, which it does not like, and you don't run up the finished dough temperature.

You might also want to actually calculate the temperature of the water to use based on the temperature of the flour you are using, the room temperature, and the frictional heat produced by your stand mixer. The expression for this is WT = (3 x desired finished dough temperature) - (room temperature + flour temperature + mixer frictional heat temperature). If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, I would use around 10 degrees F as the frictional heat temperature. That number will vary based on the amount of dough that is made, the speed at which you operate the stand mixer, and so on. But it is a good number to start with and adjust it based on actual experience using it (that is, you may have to raise or lower it based on your personal experience). So, as an example, if the finished dough temperature you want is 80 degrees F, and your room temperature and flour temperature are both at, say, 72 degrees F, then the water temperature to use will be (3 x 80) - (72 + 72 + 10) = 86 degrees F. Of course, as the weather warms up or cools down on a seasonal basis, the required water temperature will go up or down accordingly, being higher in the winter and lower in the summer.

I mention all of the above because if your water temperature was too high, you will in effect have expedited the fermentation process. And with the high hydration level and 40 hours of refrigeration, I am not surprised that the dough was very extensible. In the future, if you desire having a long fermentation time and less dough extensibility, you might consider using cooler water and also try to cool the dough down faster. You might do this by using fellow member Giovanni's trick of putting the finished dough in the freezer for a short period of time (I have used 30-40 minutes without harm) before putting it into the refrigerator compartment. You might also add a bit of sugar to your dough to begin with. That might not solve the extensibility problem by itself, but it will keep the yeast fed and prevent an overly slack dough. I still haven't figured out the effects of low salt on extensibility. Salt does play a role in regulating the fermentation process and it is a factor in gluten development. I just haven't figured whether the salt plays a role in controlling extensibility and, if it does, to what extent.

Peter

Offline friz78

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #57 on: March 21, 2005, 12:36:52 PM »
Pete,
You may recall that I increased the diameter of my pizza after receiving feedback from you earlier in this thread that you found your pizza to be a bit too thick for the quantities of ingredients you used.  Therefore, I just simply increased the size of the pizza diameter and kept the ingredient %s the same.  Admittedly this was a very inexact science.  Moving forward, I am not quite sure how to standardize ingredient %s, but I would be more than happy to accept your best guess, as you undoubtedly have an impeccable track record of success in this regard.  If you would be able to "suggest" some recommendations on this front for the DiFara clone, I would be very pleased to proceed with your suggestions and provide the feedback necessary on the desired thickness.

Regarding my last attempt, I can't say the thickness factor was really an issue because I never measured the diameter of the pizza.  I just did the best I could to control the extensibility and, when it looked like it was spread to a reasonable size I transfered it to the peel ASAP.    But in the spirit of being as precise as possible, it would be great to get some standardized measurements for various diameters.

Friz

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #58 on: March 21, 2005, 03:00:00 PM »
Friz,

Your memory is good. When I first made a DiFara dough clone, I used a thickness factor of around 0.10 for a 14-inch skin. And, as you mentioned, I thought that the crust was a bit too thick and that a thickness factor of 0.09 for a 15-inch skin was something to consider for a future experiment--which I did not do but you did. I had used a different flour blend and ratio of flours (50/50), and a lower hydration level (around 60%), whereas you chose to use the flours you had on hand (KASL and KA00), in a different ratio (60/40), and a higher hydration level (65%). Since you had good results with your formulation, I think it is best to stick with that formulation until better information comes along to suggest a need for changes.

Today I went back and took another look at some of the DiFara/Demarco photos and it seems to me that the DiFara crust is indeed thin, and that my earlier notion of using 0.09 as the thickness factor may have been OK after all. So, for our purposes, I will stick for now with that thickness factor. To this end, I have set forth below the ingredients and quantities to use for a 13-inch skin and a 14-inch skin as you requested, along with my deconstructed version of the 15-inch version you have been using (to take the salt and yeast amounts in consideration when calculating all of the baker's percents). I have also given you a 16-inch version, in the event you choose to go in the other direction toward the size that DiFara's is said to use. (I have heard that the DiFara pizzas may be 18-inch, so if you can handle that size in your oven, I can create an 18-inch version should you wish.)

I still believe that you should look at your dough management procedures along the lines I mentioned earlier today, with the view to reducing the extensibility of the dough. I would proof the ADY in a small amount of warm water separate from the rest of the water, I would temperature adjust the water to get a finished dough temperature of around 80 degrees F (or even lower if you want a long fermentation of, say, around 40 hours), and I would try to cool down the dough as fast as possible once it comes off the hook, however you should choose to do so. The toughest part will be to determine the frictional temperature of your stand mixer. The best way to determine this is to start with 10 degrees F in the expression I gave earlier today, calculate the necessary water temperature to get a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F (or less for a long fermentation), make your dough as usual, and then actually measure the finished dough temperature. If the finished dough temperature is off from the calculated number, either way, increase or decrease the frictional temperature number by the difference and use the new number in the water temperature calculation the next time you make the same dough in the same machine. You should come pretty close to zeroing in on the right number to use.

Here are the new recipes, along with the baker's percents (which are the same for all the recipes). I have intentionally not rounded off all the numbers so that I have a way of auditing my numbers should I ever have a need to do so for any reason:

13-inch (12.11 oz. dough ball)

Flour (100%), 4.37 oz. KASL (60%) + 2.91 oz. KA00 (40%) = 7.28 oz.
Water (65%), 4.73 oz.
Salt (0.507%), 0.037 oz. (between 1/8 and 1/4 t.)
Yeast (ADY, 0.687%), 0.05 oz. (3/8 t.) (or 1/4 t. IDY)

14-inch (14.04 oz. dough ball)

Flour (100%), 5.07 oz. KASL (60%) + 3.38 oz. KA00 (40%) = 8.45 oz.
Water (65%), 5.49 oz.
Salt (0.507%), 0.043 oz. (a bit less than 1/4 t.)
Yeast (ADY, 0.687%), 0.058 oz. (between 3/8 and 1/2 t.) (or between 1/3 and 1/4 t. IDY)

15-inch (16.12 oz. dough ball--the one currently being used by Friz)

Flour (100%), 5.82 oz. KASL (60%) + 3.88 oz KA00 (40%) = 9.7 oz.
Water (65%), 6.3 oz.
Salt (0.507%), 0.0492 oz. (1/4 t.)
Yeast (ADY, 0.687%), 0.067 oz. (1/2 t.) (or 1/3 t. IDY)

16-inch (18.34 oz. dough ball)

Flour (100%), 6.62 oz. KASL (60%) + 4.41 oz. KA00 (40%) = 11.03 oz.
Water (65%), 7.17 oz.
Salt (0.507%), 0.056 oz. (a bit more than 1/4 t.)
Yeast (ADY, 0.687%), 0.076 oz. (a bit more than 1/2 t.) (or 3/8 t. IDY)

Peter

« Last Edit: March 25, 2005, 04:28:14 PM by Pete-zza »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #59 on: March 24, 2005, 04:09:14 PM »
Last night I started a DiFara dough clone based on a 14-inch version of the DiFara clone recipe recently used by fellow member Friz with very good results.

The starting point for the dough was the recipe that I posted at Reply #58 on this thread, specifically, the 14-inch version recorded there. My original intent was to follow Friz's basic recipe and techniques almost exactly, except for the brands of flours used. But, upon reflection, I decided to make some additional changes. First, and most importantly, I decided to use room temperature fermentation only--that is, no refrigeration. I did this inasmuch as all the best information we have on DiFara's suggests that Dom Demarco does not refrigerates his dough. Second, for convenience, I decided to use IDY instead of ADY, and mixed it directly into the flour blend. Third, since I did not want the dough to rise too quickly, I used a smaller amount of IDY than usual--a bit less than 1/4 t. The actual flour blend I used was a 60/40 combination of All Trumps high-gluten flour (14.2% protein) and Caputo 00 pizzeria flour. Those are the flours that DiFara's appears to be using at this time, if the intelligence we have been receiving from Di Fara diners is correct. The water used to make the dough was temperature adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 80 degrees F. In all other respects, I was guided by the same instructions Friz used with very good results in making his own DiFara dough clone. The final recipe I used was as follows:

5.07 oz. All Trumps (Genera Mills) high-gluten flour (about 1 c. plus 1 2/3 T.)
3.38 oz. Caputo 00 pizzeria flour (about 3/4 c. plus 1 t.)
5.49 oz. water (around 65% hydration) (a bit less than 3/4 c.)
1/4 t. salt
Slightly less than 1/4 t. IDY

I started the dough last night at about 7:30 PM and had it in a bowl (covered) on my kitchen countertop by 8PM. What I was hoping to do was to replicate DiFara's dough production cycle by having the dough ready to be made into a pizza by 11:00 AM today. 11:00 AM is the time that DiFara's opens its doors for the lunchtime crowd.

At first, the dough rose very slowly, but by 8:00 AM this morning, the dough had risen in volume by about 2 1/2 times. The dough itself was very soft, pillowy, wet and sticky. This alone suggested that DiFara's dough couldn't have those same characteristics since the individual dough balls in a dough tray would slump and run into each other and make a mess. That in turn suggested that DiFara's may not be using as high a hydration level as the formulation I used (around 65%). It's also possible that the small amount of salt called for in the formulation, around 1/4 t., was allowing the dough to ferment with very little restraint, resulting in significant dough expansion. So, if I had to guess, I would say that DiFara's quite likely uses a lower hydration dough and more salt.

Once I had assessed the condition of the dough, I dusted my hands with some bench flour and reshaped the dough ball. It came together nicely and the stickiness and wetness subsided. I then let the dough (covered) rise for another 2 3/4 hours, also at room temperature. During that time, the dough doubled again and, while it was still a bit damp, a small amount of bench flour took care of that minor problem. What most surprised me when I started to shape and stretch the dough (at 11:00 AM today, just like at DiFara's) was that it was quite elastic. It had extensibility, but the elasticity was more dominant. However, after allowing the dough to rest for a minute or two for a couple of times, the gluten in the dough relaxed enough for me to be able to shape the dough into a 14-inch skin without any problem. The dough at this point exhibited a fair number of bubbles, which suggested that the finished dough would also have bubbling.

The skin was dressed and baked on a pizza stone that had been preheated for about an hour at around 500-550 degrees F. The stone was place on the middle rack of my oven. I intentionally dressed the skin simply--basically Randy's Penzeys-based tomato sauce, shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese and grated grana padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano hard cheeses--so that I could better assess the crust without excessive interference from the toppings. The pizza took about 7 to 8 minutes to bake.

The finished pizza is shown in the photos below. I thought it was exceptional. The crust was soft, yet chewy and crunchy, especially at the rim. And surprisingly light--in terms of weight--and delicate. The recipe formulation calls for a thickness factor of 0.09, which is a notch below "thin" (which typically is around 0.10), so the 0.09 thickness factor seems to be in the right ballpark. What also surprised me was that I didn't find the small amount of salt, about 1/4 t., to be insufficient. It seemed to be just right.

Overall, I would rate the formulation I used a keeper. Possible areas for future experimentation include using a lower hydration level, more salt (mainly to curb the rate of fermentation), other blends of flours that are more readily available, and a shorter overall dough cycle (this may mean starting the dough later in the evening).

Peter
« Last Edit: March 28, 2005, 10:59:59 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline friz78

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #60 on: March 25, 2005, 04:53:55 AM »
Peter,
The rim on that pizza looks exemplary in every respect.  Congratulations indeed!  Even the coloring of the rim looks very similar to photos of Dom DeMarco pizzas I have seen in the past.  The elasticity you experienced was very surprising and interesting, especially when considering the lack of same that I experienced with my last DiFara clone endeavor.  What do you think might have been the primary factor in the elasticity of your dough?  The room temperature fermentation?

Could you elaborate a bit more on the finished product, realizing that it was clearly a great success?  You mentioned that you found it to be exceptional - does that include texture and flavor of the crust?  Would you say that the pizza resembled more closely a NY style or Neapolitan?

Moving forward, I would propose that we incorporate your fermentation procedures as part of a final DiFara recipe/procedure, especially in light of the belief that DeMarco doesn't use a refrigeration period in his process.  What would you say is the optimal length of room temperature fermentation?  I also like the idea of converting to IDY in the recipe, as it is easier and it removes additional steps of proofing ADY.  Perhaps you could have that reflected in the recipes you created earlier?  I also have no doubt that the Caputo flour, in place of the KA00 that I used, provided a substantial upgrade in the finished product.  Your comments/feelings on that issue would also be interesting to hear.

Congratulations on your success with the DiFara clone, as you have clearly made some major breakthroughs.  Let's keep the experiment going, as we are clearly getting very, very close to a final recipe for a DiFara clone.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2005, 05:12:49 AM by friz78 »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #61 on: March 25, 2005, 09:25:47 AM »
Pete-zza,
Everytime I look at your latest effort(s) I have to wonder what you could do with real heat. The lack of 700 - 1000 degree heat is the only thing keeping you from being one of the world's best pizzaiolo.

Have you given consideration to building a wood burning oven in your backyard? I understand the Pompeii model could be constructed for about a grand. I am seriously considering it as I have an associate who repairs brick ovens. I can get his labor for free which makes the deal worth it to me.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
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Offline duckjob

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #62 on: March 25, 2005, 01:30:21 PM »
I'm going to be making a batch of dough in a bit with the 60/40/65 combo, but I'm going to increase the amount of salt a little and see what happens, here is the recipe I will be using.

10.2 oz KASL
6.8 oz KA00
1 tsp ady
3/4 tsp of salt

Should get two 14" pizzas out of that

This is basicly the same recipe I used for my last attempt, except an extra 1/4 tsp of salt. I'll post pictures of the results tommorrrow night.

Offline Arthur

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #63 on: March 25, 2005, 03:12:57 PM »
Pete-zza,
Everytime I look at your latest effort(s) I have to wonder what you could do with real heat. The lack of 700 - 1000 degree heat is the only thing keeping you from being one of the world's best pizzaiolo.


I couldn't agree more.  After visiting (arguably) the best pizza places in the world there are some major differences between ingredients that produce major differences in results...BUT...the oven (heat) seems to be the biggest difference.  It's like saying that using different flour results in a cadillac vs. honda....but the oven is the difference between a real car and a matchbox.

I found someone in Virginia who gives private classes using a wood burning oven.  It's BYOPD (bring your own pizza dough!)   I need to do this before I build my own or give up a car and put one in my kitchen.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2005, 03:24:15 PM by Arthur »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #64 on: March 25, 2005, 03:28:38 PM »
pft,

The pizza I made yesterday was different from any other I had made. I would say that the biggest difference was the thickness of the crust and, related thereto, the light weight of the crust. The crust on the bottom was also lighter, in color, than my usual efforts. In fact, I didn't notice it until I had removed the pizza from the oven to eat it.  Also, the pizza was at the point where the cheeses were starting to brown up a bit more than I prefer so I didn't want to leave the pizza in the oven any longer. I am accustomed to light colored crusts when 00 flours are used but the Caputo 00 has more protein than the other 00 flours I have used and should have had decent browning qualities. As between the Neapolitan and NY style pizzas, I would say that the one I made had characteristics of both. The main part of the crust was more reminiscent of a Neapolitan style pizza (soft, light and chewy but without a leathery character), and the rim was more reminiscent of a NY style pizza--an open and airy crumb but with a crunch. But the key difference was the thinness and lightness of the crust.

The flavor of the crust was also better than crusts I have made from refrigerated doughs. It was not as intensive as the crusts I made recently using the natural Caputo 00 starter, but it was pleasant. It also occurred to me to think about using a natural starter with a DiFara dough clone, but it was only an afterthought since Dom DeMarco doesn't use a starter. I agree that there may be merit to using a starter with a DiFara clone and at some point I may experiment with doing so.

The elasticity of the dough also surprised me since I was using around 65% hydration and room temperature fermentation over a total period of around 15 hours. It's possible that when I reballed the dough after 12 hours I may have retightened the gluten network so that the elasticity returned and the remaining few hours were not enough to allow the gluten to relax again. But the elasticity was only a minor inconvenience that was remedied by just allowing the dough to relax a bit. What was also interesting is that after I had shaped the dough into a 14-inch skin, I'm certain that I could have stretched it even further if my stone could have handled the larger size (or I used a large screen instead). At this point I have no idea what an optimum fermentation period might be. That matter would become somewhat immaterial if I had an idea as to DiFara's dough production cycle. For instance, if Dom started his new dough at 11:00 PM, after the doors close, then that would suggest a roughly 12-hour fermentation period (total). Of course, this might vary somewhat based on the hydration used and the composition of the dough in terms of ratios of flours used. Maybe the amount of salt is a factor. My dough had about 1/4 t., which is far less than usual. In fact, Neapolitan style doughs can have up to 2.8% (by weight of flour)--which is generally considered to be high.

Your request to provide IDY amounts in the recipes posted before is noted. When I find my notes I will calculate the IDY amounts and add the information to the earlier post.

As to your question about the Caputo 00 flour versus the KA00, using the Caputo 00 flour should have increased the total protein level of the blend of flours since the KA00 is rated at 8.5% and the Caputo 00 is rated at 11.5-12.5%. I'd be interested in trying the Bel Aria 00 flour in a DiFara dough clone sometime, only because it is much more widely available than the Caputo 00 and comes in 1 kilo bags (2.2 lbs.) whereas the Caputo is sold only in a 55-lb. bag, as you know. The Caputo 00 flour is quite possibly the best 00 flour available in the U.S., because of its versatility and adaptability to different kinds of dough processing. But Friz has shown that the KA00 can also be used with good results, as well as the KASL, which should substitute nicely for the All Trumps high-gluten flour. As I mentioned before, I used the All Trumps and the Caputo 00 since they seem to be the ones that Dom DeMarco is currently using (if the intelligence we have received on this point is correct).

Peter
« Last Edit: April 07, 2005, 01:07:16 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #65 on: March 25, 2005, 07:02:08 PM »
Here's my contribution to Di Fara: A home version of his calzone. I will be at his fine establishment this coming Monday night. I have attached his masterpiece below my humble effort.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2005, 07:39:32 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #66 on: March 25, 2005, 09:05:21 PM »
pft,

Thanks for gracing our thread with such a beautiful calzone :).

Peter


Offline duckjob

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #67 on: March 27, 2005, 01:08:50 AM »
Alright, I made my pizzas tonight with the recipe i posted on reply #62. For a little background, I kneaded the dough in a mixer for about 5 minutes then made two dough balls, placed it in a ziplock bag and directly into the fridge. Because of my schedule, It endup proofing for about 30 hours before I took it out. When I took the dough out of the fridge, it had flattened out a good amount, so I re balled it, and let it warm up on a floured surface for about an hour. Like pete mentioned, the reballing of the dough does make the dough a little more elastic, which makes it easier for me to toss it. Once I had tossed and streched the dough to about 14", the first thing you notice are all the little bubbles in the dough and how light it is. I pre heated my oven on the high broiler for about 45 minutes and cooked the pizza directly on the stone for just under 5 minutes. The results were great. Airy crust, crispy on the ouside, soft and chewy on the inside, and just the right amount of char. I didn't really notice a huge difference with the increase in salt, the dough was slightly more elastic this time around than my first attempt though(i did reball the dough on my first attempt as well). I'll probably drop down to a 60%-62% hydration percentage for the next one, and if my schedule permits, a shorter counter rise. Also, I hope to be using my built in grill in the next week or two, we'll see where that takes me. Thanks pete for all your insight and work you put into your posts, your pizzas look great, I'm just happy that I can somewhat replicate your quality.


(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/difara_032605/difara1_s.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/difara_032605/difara2_s.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/difara_032605/difara3_s.jpg)

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/difara_032605/difara4_s.jpg)

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #68 on: March 27, 2005, 08:13:39 AM »
duckjob,

Very nice job and thanks for pitching in with some of the DiFara clone experiments. I was particularly interested in the results from increasing the amount of salt--in your case, threefold the amount Friz and I recently used. I will also be interested in the results you get when you reduce the hydration level to around 60-62% and use the shorter warm-up period.

In your earlier recipe, you didn't indicate the amount of water you planned to use but I assumed that it was at around a 65% hydration level. On that basis, I calculated that the total dough ball weight would have been a bit over 28 oz., or a bit over 14 oz. for each of the two dough balls. Since you said that each of the finished pizzas was 14-inches in diameter, I calculated the thickness factor to be around 0.09--or the same as what Friz and I used recently. I think that that in part accounts for the thinness and lightness of your pizzas.

Can you tell us a bit more about your oven arrangement and procedure? You indicated that you preheated the oven using the broiler element. Is the stone on the top rack and is the oven and stone preheated solely by using the broiler element, or do you turn the broiler element on later?

Peter

« Last Edit: March 27, 2005, 03:09:56 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline duckjob

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #69 on: March 27, 2005, 03:06:55 PM »
Pete,

you are correct about my first recipe. Both times I made this dough I used a 65% hydration. Regarding my oven setup, I have the tiles arranged on the center shelf of the oven. The heating element is also the broiling element, it just gets hotter when you set it to broil. I pre heated the oven for about 45 minutes at 500, then set the broiler to high for another 15. I cooked the pizza directly on the stone with broil on high for just under 5 minutes. For refernce, the heating element is on the top of the oven only.

Brian

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #70 on: March 28, 2005, 10:13:54 PM »
It was a dark and stormy night in Brooklyn. Rained all day and all night. My driver dropped me off in front of Di Fara around 7:30pm. I ran inside quickly and stood in a small crowd of adoring pizza lovers. You could sense from the crowd that they were witnessing something special.

I began a conversation or two with the locals. One conversation which stuck out in my mind was with a delightful couple who brought their daughter Angelina. The dad, after realizing that I was new, took great pains to describe why he comes here and here only for pizza. He will only order the square pie by the slice because of the texture. He's been hooked for some time. I took a picture of him holding up his prized square slice. I should be able to post it by Thursday night. His grin was authentic. He also made sure to describe in exquisite detail just how special Dom is. To him Dom didn't move slowly he moved at a deliberate pace because quality takes time.

When it was finally safe to approach the master I summoned up all my courage and uttered "Hi Dom, I'm Peter from Tampa."

And so my conversation began with the true gentleman of Brooklyn pizza. It was everything that I wanted Patsy's to be and so much more. My shaken faith in NY pizza is back with a vengeance. I had this preconceived notion that Dom wouldn't take the time to speak with me. Boy was I wrong. He was charming from the first words out of his mouth even though it took me a while to decipher his accent. I still missed plenty of words. I must have struck a chord with Dom because I was made to feel as a special guest as he continued the conversation with me while conducting his business but he focused on our conversation the entire way. He asked me about my apparent passion for pizza and I shared with him the depths of my love for pizza. He seemed to really appreciate finding someone who loved pizza and who could talk about it in his terms - at the ingredient level. If he only knew how proud he made me by his comments. Imagine a master pizzaiolo like Dom complimenting me on my passion for pizza. It was all I could do not to break down and weep like a baby.

Allow me to get some of the facts out of the way:
Dom uses Caputo Blue Label Pizzeria Flour 75% and 25% of some kind of American high gluten flour (I could not understand his accent even though he repeated it a number of times. I asked him to jot it down but we both forgot).

He makes dough 4-6 times a day depending on how busy he is. The dough has a very short rise time of only a few hours at room temperature. He uses no refrigeration. I asked why he mixes Italian flour with American flour and he responded that Italian flour is too soft like a lot of people who don't like hard work. He went on to say everyone would do it if they weren't lazy but since most people are lazy, they don't want to go through all the trouble. He doesn't shy away from more work, that's why he chooses to do it. Interesting philosophy to say the least.

His hydration ratio was explained with typical flair. He held up 3 empty plastic cups. He then told me to fill 2 with flour and 1 with water. That should be just about right he proclaimed. Two parts flour to one part water with a coffee cup and a half of salt and a piece of fresh yeast. That is his recipe. I have no idea how much he mixes at a time but my sense is it is a small quantity. I asked about percentages of ingredients and he laughed. He uses his hands he told me emphatically. "I do everything with my hands."

While on the subject of Dom's hands I should add that he routinely removes pizzas from his gas oven with his bare hands. His hands resemble a horse's hoof from years of grabbing hot pizzas. To be fair he uses a peel to remove the square pies which are cooked in a metal tray. But I saw him rotate the tray in the oven with his bare hands. I could not believe my eyes.

I bought a raw dough ball which weighed 22.6 ounces. The pie he made for me measured just over 16" round. It was not like the perfectly round pie of Patsy's it was somewhat irregular. I hope the pictures will convey this authentic look.

He had fresh sprigs of oregano on the counter and paper plates full of romano cheese for those that wanted some extra ingredients. When my pie was ready I walked over to the oregano and started pulling off chunks to which he told me "that is really good oregano." Can you imagine a pizzeria with freshly dried oregano on the counter? How about the romano? Everything was self serve and sodas were on the honor system. You just told Dom what you had and he didn't question you. He didn't have to because if you lied everybody in the room would rat you out in a heart beat because it was their pizzeria.

My conversation with Dom ventured into a number of areas that I shall cherish for the rest of my life but I will end on this note. Dom commented on all the pictures I was taking and asked if I would like one with him. How could I resist.

One more thing. As I was packing up to go out into the rainy night he asked me "when you comin back?" He got a hug and a promise from me that I would come back for his pizza whenever I am in NY.

That is a promise I intend to keep.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2005, 07:40:54 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #71 on: March 28, 2005, 10:41:46 PM »
pft,

Thank you very much for all your efforts to help us decipher the DiFara code. And what a wonderful experience for you, and a vicarious one for the rest of us.

With all the information you got, I think we should be able to come closer to producing a more authentic DiFara dough clone. The biggest surprise to me is the fact that the fermentation period is so short, even with the predominance of the Caputo 00 flour. Judging from the weight of the dough ball you bought (22.6 oz.) and the roughly 16-inch pizza that Domenic makes from that weight of dough, it would appear that the crust has a medium thickness (a thickness factor of around 0.11). That thickness is logical, given the multitude of toppings that Dom uses.

Was the high-gluten flour All Trumps by the way? That is the flour that Dom is said to use.

When I have a moment, I plan to take the 16-inch DiFara clone recipe and try to work out a new formulation based on the new evidence we now have.

Thanks again, pft. Job very well done.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #72 on: March 28, 2005, 11:03:42 PM »
Pete-zza,
I am glad to be finally able to assist you. Though we've never met you are a kindred spirit. You are correct with your guess about the American high gluten flour. He was trying to say All Trumps but it hardly came out that way. All I could decipher was it started with an A-L sound. All Trumps fits the bill doesn't it.

A few more points:
Dom uses the same type of dough (which really is too soft to form a ball, it looks more like a thick pancake) for both the square and the round pies. I am just not certain it is the same size. Initially I thought Dom used just one size of dough ball but it may have been a translation error. Dom has a unique way of speaking. Thinking back he said "I use the same dough for both." He didn't say the same size. He may have been referring to different flour mixtures so this is a point that will need clarification on a subsequent trip.

He looked at me adding the romano cheese on top of the finished Margherita and proudly stated that he uses four and sometimes five different types of cheese. Everything about him was expressed in the quantity and quality of his ingredients. Previously I thought he only really cared about his toppings. But his level of caring extends across his entire product line. It is an extension of who he truly is. Anything else could not be tolerated by Dom. He pays attention to every detail of his products.

I got lucky tonight. The weather was so bad that the crowds were thin. That really allowed Dom to spend quality time with me. I just couldn't believe that I didn't have to lead the conversation. Looking back on my time with Dom, I know he enjoyed the interaction as much as I did. Jose at Patsy's, on the other hand, was nice and answered every question I asked. However, he never asked one question of me. It was more of a one way conversation. Not bad. Just different.

Last point. He spoke lovingly about the use of starters but he does not use one. His dad taught him that starters are really used for bread and bread only. Bread his father would say needs the help of a biga. I inquired as to why he wouldn't want the added help of a biga for his pizzas and he gave me his best smirk and calmly stated "I use topping for the flavor."

That comment just about explains everything - at least to me.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2005, 08:56:55 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #73 on: March 28, 2005, 11:15:47 PM »
pft,

Do you recall whether the 75%/25% ratio of flours was by weight rather than volume? The thought occurred to me when you mentioned the 2 cups/1 cup of flour/water that Dom may have meant volumes for the flours also.

I also am curious about the grated cheese. You mentioned Romano but everything I have read says that Dom uses freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for use on the side, with grana padano and the rest of the cheeses on the pizza itself. I even recollect a photo of a big wheel of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in DiFara's. There's nothing wrong with Romano cheese, it's just that I have never heard or read that that is the cheese he uses on the side.

Peter

Offline duckjob

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Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #74 on: March 29, 2005, 01:44:21 AM »
pft, it sounds like it was an amazing experience, it brought a smile to my face just reading about it.

 I'll have some free time tommorrow afternoon, maybe i'll give a short rise a try. If I am reading correctly, it looks like the flour is 75% 00, 25% high gluten and a the quantity of water would be 50% of the total volume of the flour. I'll give this a shot tommorrow and post my results.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2005, 07:08:19 PM by duckjob »