Author Topic: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas  (Read 78336 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22430
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2005, 11:58:41 AM »
Snowdy,

Thanks for the pic. I haven't been to Di Fara's yet, but I have a trip planned for April to NYC and hope to make it out to De Marco's Brooklyn establishment.

Peter


Offline snowdy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 270
  • Location: CA
  • i pledge allegiance to the pizza
    • Dataheadz Design
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2005, 08:20:31 PM »
Snowdy,

Thanks for the pic. I haven't been to Di Fara's yet, but I have a trip planned for April to NYC and hope to make it out to De Marco's Brooklyn establishment.

Peter

is this your first trip? if so you're gonna love it, my wife and i spent our last 2 days walking and taking subways all over to find pizza... lombardi's, john's, grimaldi's.... getting to grimaldi's at night by subway is not recommended  :o ... come to think of it, stay off the subways altogether after dark!

Let me know how difara's was. i didnt find out about it until after we got home :(

make sure to take pics!!

L8r!

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22430
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2005, 09:25:00 PM »
Snowdy,

I have been to NYC many times but usually I am there for only a short time or with people who are not as interested in pizza as I. In April I will be with my son and his family, so I hope to be able to try out a couple of pizza places.

I plan to bring my camera with me and hope to be able to take a few photos.

Peter

Offline Arthur

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 253
  • When Brooklyn Was the World
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2005, 03:23:01 PM »
my wife has planned a pizza trip back to new york for me for my birthday.  We're dropping off the kids and eating pizza for 4 days!!!  I have the best wife  :P

Here's probably where I am going:
- patsy's - never been there!
- nicks
- L&B
- totonnos
- DiFara's
- and more...as long and she can take it!

Offline PizzaBrewer

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 268
  • Location: Relocating my brewpub/pizzeria within NE Pennsylvania...
  • Seasoned pro Brewer, intermediate pro Pizzamaker
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2005, 09:23:49 AM »
Go here and scroll down the page for some great photos of DiFara's:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=58529&st=0

---Guy
Man does not live by bread alone.  There's also tomato, cheese and pepperoni.

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2005, 10:44:29 AM »
Guy,
Great stuff.  Sounds like a fabulous pizza journey through Brooklyn!!

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2005, 11:40:04 PM »
I had a little time on my hands this evening and, in preparing for some weekend pizza making adventures, I decided to re-visit the Reverse engineered Difara experiment.  Of course, this was also inspired by the three bags of KA 00 Clone flour that I'm staring at in my pantry wondering what the heck I'm going to do with it.  I hate wasting money!  But I know I might be doing the same thing with my KA00 flour that PFTaylor recently considered doing with his Caputo flour.  But hey, what do I have to lose?!!

So tonight I decided to take a much different approach than my last Difara effort, particularly as it relates to hydration %.  Instead of using 58% hydration in my recipe, this time I used 65%.  Once again, using Pete's great, easy to use formula, I was able to determine the measurements by calculating the following:

.6x (KASL) + .4x (KA00) + .65x (Water) = W (16 oz.)

I adjusted the W figure this time to achieve a dough ball weight of 16 ounces instead of 15.4 ounces.  Pete originally used the 15.4 ounces to make a 14 inch pizza.  He stated the crust was a bit thicker than he would have preferred, so I decided to make a 16 ounce dough ball for what will be a 15 inch diameter pizza.

Some other adjustments that I made from my first endeavor:
-  I significantly reduced the amount of salt in the recipe.  As pfTaylor noted and I concur, the KA00 flour seems to produce a "salty" tasting crust.  So, why would I want to have a recipe with an aggressive salt content?  Hence, I scaled back the salt measurement considerably.

-  I did not use any added oil to the dough recipe.  I only used oil to coat the dough ball after mixing.

-  I reduced the mixing time significantly, only mixing for a total of about 3-4 minutes - just until the ingredients were well mixed and dough ball was produced.

-  I decided to go with a refrigeration/retardation of the dough.  Main reason for this is that I had no intention of making a pizza tonight, didn't have the time to make the dough tomorrow, so why not just try a refrigeration??

Here is the exact recipe that I used for the DiFara dough this evening:

5.82 oz.  KASL
3.88 oz.  KA00
6.3 oz.   Water
1/4 t.   Salt
1/2 t.  ADY

I proofed the ADY with the salt and the water in a KitchenAide mixer.  I used all the water for the recipe in the proofing and included the salt shortly after mixing the water and ADY.  I don't think this is the recommended technique, but it's late and I did it anyway - we shall see.  After mixing the water, yeast and salt for about 4 minutes, I gradually added the flour mixture.  After a dough ball was formed I removed it from the mixer and hand kneaded it for about one more minute.  I then placed the dough ball in a plastic bag and placed it in the refrigerator for overnight refrigeration.

I don't have a clue how this dough will turn out.  I will say, however, that while I was kneading this dough just before placing it in the refrigerator I was amazed at how beautifully it came together.  It had a wonderful texture - smooth and airy.  It had an even nicer texture than most of my Lehman doughs that feature KASL exclusively, and I love the texture of those Lehman doughs.  But, I realize that appearance and texture before cooking does not a great crust make!  But ya gotta stay somewhat optimistic...

Anyway, I would love any feedback on some of the possible ramifications of my preparation techniques, particularly the salt in the proofing and the overnight retardation.  Also, any recommendations on how to proceed moving forward would be more than welcome (how long should I keep it refrigerated?  how long should I let it stand at room temperature before shaping?  or any other feedback).

The anticipation of trying something new is always fun.  Should be interesting to see what the end product looks and tastes like.
Friz

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22430
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2005, 01:02:11 AM »
Friz,

I will be most interested in the effects of the use of the salt and the refrigeration. Usually it is not advised to mix the salt with the yeast because they have a natural antagonism toward each other but need each other to produce a good dough. It's like a love-hate relationship. Most strains of yeast today can tolerate a certain amount of contact with salt without harmful effects, although it is usually when the contact time is relatively short. It will be interesting to see what a 4-minute contact period does in your particular formulation.

I also wonder whether 1/4 t. salt will be enough to make the finished crust palatable. That's not a lot of salt, and if it turns out to have been insufficient, you will be able to easily tell. And, it can't be easily compensated for by adding more salt to the pizza. You will tell with just about every bite into the crust.

Also, in small amounts, such as you used, the dough should achieve volume growth quite easily. That is because the dough volume expansion is inversely proportional to the amount of salt used. That is, if no or little salt is used, the dough will expand to its maximum potential (all other things being equal), and, conversely, when a lot of salt is used, the volume growth of the dough will be severely constrained. In both cases, it is because of the way that salt affects yeast. That is one of the reasons why salt is often called a "regulator" of the fermentation process.

It will also be interesting to see what effect the refrigeration has on the finished product. When I used refrigeration on the DiFara dough clone I made, the finished pizza looked and tasted more like a NY style pizza than a hybrid made from high-gluten and 00 flours. However, my formulation was different than yours, including a lower hydration percentage, so your pizza may have different attributes.

As for the fermentation period, I don't think that I would want to go beyond 24 hours, just to be on the safe side, since you didn't add any sugar to the dough to begin with. For warmup of the dough before shaping and forming, I would follow the practice you have been using for your Lehmann doughs. I use 55-60 degrees F as a benchmark for the warmup period.

Peter

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2005, 12:00:30 AM »
Talk about dumb luck.  The results from my most recent DiFara pizza this evening were the best I have ever encountered.  Unbelievable taste, texture, and crumb to this pizza.  I'm still in shock.  Looks like my KA00 won't wind up in the trash after all.  Unfortunately, we had guests at the house and I didn't have time to take pictures.  The flavor of this pizza was incredible.  I still can't believe the great crisp it produced.  The crust seemed to absorb the sauce and just produce an incredible flavor.  I made this pizza in conjunction with a Lehman NY style pizza and, believe it or not, my guests preferred the DiFara product!!

I have another dough ball that remains in my refrigerator that I didn't use this evening.  My plan is to create another DiFara clone tomorrow and test the results from a 48 hour refrigeration.  I know this goes against all conventional wisdom for a Neopolitan pizza or  "combination" neopolitan/ny style.  But everything I have done up to this point is contradictory to conventional wisdom.  It should be interesting to see if the 48 hour refrigeration can match the great quality, texture, and taste of the 24 hour refrigeration of the DiFara clone...
Friz

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22430
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2005, 01:47:18 AM »
Friz,

I'm glad to hear of your great results and that you won't have to find creative uses for the rest of your KA00. I thought I had used up all of my KA00 but discovered recently that I still have some left. But now I have a good recipe to use it in, along with the KASL. When you indicated that the results were the best you have ever encountered did you mean only the DiFara style or in the absolute, including the NY style?

I was also wondering what the pizza looked like, that is, more like a Neapolitan style pizza or a NY style pizza? When I made the refrigerated DiFara clone dough, the finished pizza looked and tasted more like a NY style pizza than a Neapolitan style. Also, it seems that the small amount of salt was not a problem, as I suspected it might be. Maybe it's my tastebuds, but when I use small amounts of salt in my 00 doughs, I can spot the deficiency immediately upon tasting the crust.

I couldn't recall whether you have ever had pizza at DiFara's, to be able to compare your pizza made with the refrigerated clone with what DiFara's produces.

I hope you are able to take some photos of the second pizza.

Peter


Offline snowdy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 270
  • Location: CA
  • i pledge allegiance to the pizza
    • Dataheadz Design
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2005, 02:20:29 AM »
Peter,

I just got my first bag of KASL and while i was at it i ordered a bag of "italian style" king arthur flour. Does this qualify as 00??

I want to try your recipe for the difara type dough by mixing flours to check out the difference.

thanks man :)

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22430
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2005, 11:58:03 AM »
Snowdy,

The KA00 is King Arthur's "clone" of the imported variety of 00 flour. I tried it some time ago and found it hard to use in the 00 dough recipes, especially after I had tried other brands of 00 flour (mainly Bel Aria and Delverde). I complained to KA about it in an email and was only told in reply that the flour had a low protein level (8.5%), which was not a particularly helpful reply. I gradually used up most of the KA00 in combinations with other flours but still have some left.  DiFara's uses a combination of Delverde 00 flour and GM All Trumps high-gluten flour (I have no idea of the ratio), but as you can see Friz has managed to use a combination of KA00 and KASL to his satisfaction. As with all doughs, you will have to experiment with the flours to find something you really like. If you read the thread that Friz started when he made his first DiFara clone dough, as well as one with the KA00 alone, you will see that he was not as satisfied with the pizza made solely with the KA00 flour.

If you do a site search on "00 flour" and "Bel Aria", "Delverde" and "Caputo", you will find a lot of other information on these flours, since I and others have written often about them. They are not the easiest flours to work with, and are not as popular as the other flours discussed on this forum. They are primarily used for Neapolitan style pizzas, although hybrids like the DiFara dough and DiFara clones cross the Neapolitan and NY styles.

Peter


Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2005, 04:39:15 PM »
Pete,
I still prefer the Lehman recipe over all others, including my latest attempt with the DiFara knock off.  I may have been a little overly enthusiastic last night because a.) I had a few cocktails before and after our pizza dinner  ;D and b.) I was just so happy to make a pizza with KA00 that I actually could eat and enjoy.

My wife did say, though, that she enjoyed the DiFara's more than the Lehman NY Style last night (I made one of each).  Actually, as much as I liked the DiFara's pizza, I thought my Lehman attempt was the best one yet last night.  The main reason for like the Lehman so much was that I think I found the ideal amount of Malt to use with the Lehman 16" recipe - TWO TEASPOONS.  The rim on the Lehman pizza was fantastic, both in taste and texture.

Regarding the DiFara, it was a really good pizza.  The salt issue was not a problem and it did in fact taste less salty than previous pizzas using the KA00.  As noted earlier, I will be making another DiFara pie tonight with the only difference being a 40 hour refrigeration instead of 24 hours.  This time I will be able to take pictures and provide a bit more detail.  Stay tuned.
Friz

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2005, 10:13:05 PM »
Tonight I made another DiFara knock off with dough that I had prepared two days ago.  There was about a 40 hour refrigeration/retardation.

Allow me to say right off the bat, I have never eaten an authentic DiFara's pizza, but if it tastes anything like what I ate tonight - it's delicious.  I didn't think it was possible, but I was more pleased with tonight's pizza with the 40 hour refrigeration than I was with last night's - and last night's was no slouch!

With regard to what this pizza resembled - more Neopolitan or more NY style, I would say that it is indeed a hybrid of both styles of pizza.  Last night's pizza (20 hour refrigeration) may have leaned a little more to resembling a Neopolitan style and tonight's (40 hour refrigeration) may have been a bit closer to NY Style.  But make no mistake, it was a hybrid of both styles of pizza with unbelievable flavor.  I believe Canadave or Canadienbacon noted in a recent post that they believed that the longer the refrigeration, the more flavor and better texture the crust possessed.  That theory certainly proved true in this case this evening.  As a matter of fact, I have a feeling that I will be using a 48 hour refrigeration/retardation from now on.  I still can't believe how this pizza turned out, particularly knowing that KA00 flour has a terrible track record of performance with all of us.

When I took the dough out of the refrigerator to warm to room temperature, it was very extensible.  My wife described the flavorful rim as follows:  "It has the same taste as when you get a fresh loaf of french or italian bread, wrap it in aluminum foil, and heat it in the oven for 10-15 minutes."  I use this quote because I found it to be extremely accurate.  It had many characteristics of both a Neapolitan rim as well as a NY style rim.  But, yes, it was BETTER.  I can't believe I just said that...

Here's my sense as to why this experiment turned out so well:
1.)  significant reduction of salt content in the recipe
2.)  significant increase in hydration % - this is extremely important.  My prior attempts with the DiFara clone involved a much lower hydration % (56-58%).  I found this was making the dough "cracker-like" and that spoke to the need for greater hydration.  While this is contrary to authentic Neapolitan techniques, this is not a true Neapolitan pizza - it's a hybrid.  Hence, there are no firm rules for re-creating a DiFara style pizza.  Plus, I believe the longer cooking times in a conventional oven tend to dry out a pizza crust with 00 flour much more easily.  Again, this speaks to the need for greater hydration to offset the tendency for drying out of crust from longer cook times.

Here are some pictures from this evening's effort...
Friz

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2005, 10:21:59 PM »
pic 1

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2005, 10:26:42 PM »
pic 2

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2005, 10:30:19 PM »
pic 3

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2005, 10:33:30 PM »
pic 4

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #38 on: March 05, 2005, 10:35:42 PM »
pic

Offline friz78

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Reverse Engineering DiFara's Pizzas
« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2005, 10:37:56 PM »
pic


 

pizzapan