Author Topic: favorite new york style recipe  (Read 4625 times)

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andy

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favorite new york style recipe
« on: August 24, 2004, 03:41:55 AM »
hey guys...

new poster here but been lurking for awhile. I've been trying to pin down the perfect new york style recipe and wonder what you guys consider the closest. I've seen a bunch listed in the forum (tried a couple), as well as the one on the main page, which I've also done but don't quite think is there.  

I'm sure everyone's revised and revised.. what's the best we've got?


Offline Randy

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2004, 08:11:01 AM »
Andy a sure fact of pizza making is varied opinions on taste.  That makes it likely that what I think is perfect may be less than that to you.  Most of the NY style recipes found here are within a tablespoon of each other being the same anyway.  Pick one that you think looks good, make it then take notes, and adjust the recipe and try again.  There are three important factors that must be maintained are a recipe with around 60% water, high gluten flour and an overnight rise in the cooler.  The amount of sugar, fat, and yeast is up to your taste preference.  The toppings are your personal choice.
I hope this helps.

Randy

Offline Arthur

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2004, 10:25:58 AM »
Very well said Randy!

Andy, even coming from the heart of NYC in Brooklyn I can honestly say that what I describe as perfect New York pizza is different than my good friend who I went to high school with - even my own family members have a different idea of the perfect New York pizza.  

I do believe that most people who are from NY and have eaten lots of pizza in NY visualize the pizza John Travolta was eating in Saturday Night Fever - folded in half like a true new yorker, thin-like crust, great shredded mozzarella cheese with a little oil pouring into your hand, etc.

There's also the other kind of NY pizza which is closer to a italian margarita style pizza which has a even thinner crust, maybe more burnt on the outside due to coal/brick oven usage, possible use of fresh mozzarella, reggiano parmigiano, fresh basil, tomato taste in the sauce more evident.  These are more of the "elite", famous, highly regarded pizza places in NY - maybe even artisan.

I personally love both kinds and crave both kinds at different time.  I distinguish the two in this silly way:
1) the traditional New York pizza - I can only eat 2-3 slices at a time.  Typically these are 18 inch pies and after 2-3 slices I feel good, full and feel like I've eaten a lot of cheese :)
2) the "elite" New York pizza - I seem to be able to eat 5-6+ slices at a time.  Typically these are smaller pies, the crust is so light, and the cheese is typically not excessive that I really feel good and full afterwards but mostly from eating so much bread/dough - not the cheese.  Also, I truly enjoy a glass of wine with this one.

As for making these - exactly what Randy said plus...
For traditional New York style, Grande cheese and uncooked pizza sauce from a pizza distributor.  Maybe some oil/sugar in the dough.
For the elite, fresh mozz - not in water, no oil/sugar in the dough.




 


cory

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2004, 11:05:36 AM »
I'm still searching for a more bagely-type effect.  Huge thanks to whomever first suggested buying doughballs.  I can buy them from 2 of my favorite 3 pizzarias in town for $1, which makes making your own dough only a matter of pride, not necessity.

I have noticed that my favorite dough (from Del Vecchio's in Norfolk, VA) is incredibly moist-- stickier that mine has ever been,  but super pliant.  I've come to the conclusion that I have to decrease my yeast, go with cold water, (maybe slightly more) and perhaps raise my gluten over the standard KA bread flour which I can buy locally.

Believe it or not, I'm having a heckuva time finding instant yeast.  Active dry out the wazoo, (including a huge bag for like $2.50 at costco) but no instant.  Can I just add ascorbic acid to active dry and call it a day?

I will add to the tradional/artisian discussion above that artisian doughs are really flavored by the cooking style (wood/coal, high heat, etc..) and I find them boring in my "normal" oven.  So the bagely, chewy with a thick crust works best for me.

I honestly haven't been brave enough to discuss dough making with the guys at Del Vecchios-- maybe after I've bought a few more balls, I might work it into conversation.. I just feel like it's asking them to reveal a huge secret and that's too much...

Online Pete-zza

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2004, 04:19:58 PM »
Cory,

I don't think you need to add any ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) to your active dry yeast to get good results, although doing so shouldn't hurt anything.  I have in the past used ascorbic acid in making bread.  I happened to have some powdered Vitamin C and used a pinch of it, but I have also ground up a Vitamin C tablet (unsweetened) and used a pinch of that (dissolved in water).  I spoke recently with a gal at King Arthur's and asked her why active dry yeast doesn't have ascorbic acid added, and she said she didn't know why.  According to the literature, ascorbic acid is supposed to create an acidic environment for yeast which helps the yeast work better. It allows the yeast to react quickly by strengthening the protein structure and enabling the dough to trap the carbon dioxide which is also produced more effectively. This causes the dough to rise faster.  It supposedly also makes the dough easier to stretch.  

The gal at KA said that the amount of ascorbic acid in instant dry yeast is so small that it is unlikely to be noticeable in the finished product--she said the most common use of the instant dry yeast is in artisan breads.  I have used instant dry yeast with satisfactory results but there are other people, like Giotto at this forum, who swears by active dry yeast.  As an added note, when I spoke to the gal at KA, she said that the active dry yeast should always be proofed in warm water.  When I asked her why, then, the packages of active dry yeast allow for adding the yeast to dry ingredients, she said that I should ignore that since those instructions are for professional bakers who do things differently than home bakers.   I don't know if that is true (why would they put those instructions on the small yeast packets in supermarkets?), but I have learned that you can go crazy trying to find people who understand and can explain the intricacies of yeast :).

I bought my instant dry yeast (SAF Red) from KA some time ago, but only because I was buying other things at the same time.  But I know that a lot of folks on this forum have found it at places like Sam's at a fraction of what KA charges (and without shipping charges).  I have also seen instant dry yeast advertised at several online sites.

Peter


Offline giotto

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2004, 04:20:48 PM »
Cory:

Happy to see that my suggestion to buy dough has worked out for you.  While it can provide a great education on what dough characteristics are important to you, it can also become a life time journey trying to reproduce the results.  In one case, I watched the vendor make the dough, and it was still difficult to reproduce at home.  

You might want to also ask your vendors what flour they use (or at least what type)-- they may surprise you.  I was caught by total surprise to find a very good NY style crust made from an all purpose flour that I had never heard of; while another was using a high gluten flour.  I even found another pro using milk in his recipe, which explained a better than usual flavor.  The pros get incredible kneading when working with 50 lbs of flour in their hobarts, and their techniques are very unique.  Although there is a guy named Chris Bianco in Phoenix who makes renowned Italian style pizzas that he mixes for hundreds of people daily by hand (no machine).

As for active vs. instant yeast, it would be interesting to see which is employed by your vendors-- many doughs from pros have almost no rise during refrigeration and remain fairly solid due to their use of Active Yeast, which does not require pre-mixing or separate proofing with different manufacturers; yet the bubbly texture still occurs during cooking.

Regarding amount of water, you will find 40% water to be more of a standard practice, which is based on a very old standard of 1/3 cup of water per cup of flour.  P. Reinhart in American Pie, for example, will call for 22.5 oz of flour and 14 oz water, which gives him 36 oz of dough in his NY style Pizza dough recipe (about 39% water) .  Other recipes within this discussion group call for 250g flour (about 8.85 oz) and 6 oz water (closer to 40% water).  Even if you go over 1/3 cup of water per cup of flour, you'll be closer to 40% water.  I often start with 9 oz of flour, and end up with close to a 16 oz dough (about 43% water), and that gives me a pretty sticky dough.  
« Last Edit: August 25, 2004, 04:31:55 PM by giotto »

Offline giotto

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2004, 01:55:29 AM »
Cory:

I forgot to ask the following in my message above.  

So now that you received the dough from 2 out of 3 places, how close do you come to the real thing???   It took me an incredible amount of time to get the sauce and cheese right, including sauce ingredients and thickness, cheese manufacturers, mixtures, and shred vs. slice preferences.  It also took a great deal of time to establish procedures to cook them properly in my own oven... I tried the stones, got rid of the stones, worked with holed and non-holed pans, finally went with screens, and still had to figure out temperatures and oven placement.  I found it beneficial to get this step right first.

By the way, I'm happy to see that a buck continues to be the going price.  And don't forget to weigh the dough, it will come in handy some day.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2004, 04:32:56 PM by giotto »

Andy

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2004, 03:13:52 AM »
I guess you are right that all the recipes are pretty similar. When you get down to it, the recipes on this site for "ny style" and "thin and crispy" are almost exactly the same. In fact, the only significantly different recipe for dough I've tried was one that called for a lot of water and I ended up with a 'wet dough', which was sort of hard to work with. Pizza came out pretty good though.

 I guess I just haven't quite gotten technique down. Perhaps it's the age-old problem with the home oven. Who knows. I just made some pizza yesterday and it was decent. I made it really thin the first time, but then it sort of crisped up and tasted a bit like a cracker. The third one, I made it slightly thicker, and this one was a bit closer, but still just didn't have the crust.



It's interesting you mention the traditional NY and the elite. I like both, of course, though it's somehow easier to get close to the "elite" one than the traditional, or as I like to call it the 'orange slice'. It's funny how it's always easier to get close to a gourmet-style food than the 'fast-food' counterpart. i.e., I can make a great burger that's similar to say the burger at the corner bistro in ny (one of those forever hyped burger places in ny), and yet I can't get anywhere close to a big mac. well anyway...

Offline RoadPizza

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2004, 04:28:56 AM »
It's funny how it's always easier to get close to a gourmet-style food than the 'fast-food' counterpart. i.e., I can make a great burger that's similar to say the burger at the corner bistro in ny (one of those forever hyped burger places in ny), and yet I can't get anywhere close to a big mac. well anyway...

Pretty much any person can make a burger like that - food like that is done with a lot of care (and extras).  Fast food is done with a lot more precision (and a lot more planning).
« Last Edit: August 25, 2004, 04:34:00 AM by RoadPizza »

Online Pete-zza

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2004, 02:21:16 PM »
Andy,

If you look at pizza dough recipes, I think you will see that they all basically include the same ingredients, but also have significant differences.  They will all have certain core ingredients--specifically, flour, yeast, water and salt.  To these core ingredients, you can add a sweetener (usually sugar) or a fat (usually an oil).  Where recipes will usually differ is in the style of dough to be produced.  For example, a New York style dough will have high hydration levels (a lot of water relative to the weight of the flour), whereas a dough for a thin cracker-like crust will have far less--it will be very dry by comparison.  The New York style dough will also require a reasonable amount of kneading to develop the gluten in the flour, whereas the thin cracker-like crust will require far less kneading since the objective is not to fully develop the gluten.  By contrast with the two dough styles mentioned above, deep-dish pizza doughs will usually have a lot more fat, either in the form of an oil or shortening or butter, and possibly more sugar, and moderate hydration levels.  The processing of the dough and baking procedures will also be different because of the need for a pan and longer bake times because of the substantially increased amount of food (cheese, other toppings, etc.) to be cooked.   Other styles of dough, like Neapolitan or Neo-Neapolitan doughs, will have their own unique set of ingredients and percentages.  A classic Neapolitan pizza dough, for example, includes only flour, yeast, salt and water, and no sweetener or fat.

Irrespective of what style of dough and pizza most appeals to you and you wish to master, what I think is important is to develop techniques that will allow you to produce a good dough on a consistent basis.  Without consistency of its product, a pizzeria would soon go out of business.  In a home environment, there are a lot of variables to contend with also, but it is equally important to achieve consistency in whatever you do so that you aren't always wondering or asking yourself what it was that went wrong when your pizza doesn't turn out like you had hoped or expected.  Guessing wrong might even lead you to making changes that send you down another dead end.  

To me, consistency and success in making pizzas means combining ingredients and using techniques in ways that respect the laws of chemistry and physics--that is, knowing when and how to combine and process the ingredients and, as importantly, what not to do.   Also important to this process is to be sure that your ingredients all stay within prescribed ranges.  Too much or too little of any of the ingredients mentioned above will have deleterious effects on your dough and, as a result, the finished product.   The first thing I do when I look at a new recipe is to see whether the ingredients are in the prescribed ranges.  If not, I either don't use the recipe or I try to see if I can repair it.  Having a good starting recipe is very important, even though there may be many variations of it, reflecting different tastes and preferences.

As I have indicated before in prior postings, I write my recipes with my daughter-in-law in mind--with explicit, step-by-step instructions (often accompanied by the reasons) so that she can reliably and consistently make good pizzas.  I usually go a few steps further than she might (she has no interest in understanding the science of pizzas), as by measuring temperatures of everything and weighing ingredients and dough balls, and so forth, but for my daughter-in-law, I just tell her the basic things she should know from a practical standpoint as she follows the recipes I give her: use cold water in the summer and warmer water in the winter, use cooler water or add a little bit of sugar if she wants to have a longer fermentation time or a longer time in the refrigerator before she uses the dough, don't mix salt with the yeast, use a rest period (autolyse) before adding the salt to the dough (to allow greater absorption of the water by the flour), use the windowpane test to know when the dough has been properly kneaded, and, measure the finished dough temperature to be sure that it is within the desired range for optimum fermentation.   She has discovered that this is not rocket science, but without even realizing it, she is abiding by the laws of chemistry and physics that apply to dough production.  She is also learning that baking, unlike other culinary skills--such as cooking--is much more of a scientific process, with careful observance of quantities, weights, interactions and temperatures.  To be sure, there is also an "art" to making good pizzas, but that will come with time and will complement, not detract from, the technical aspects.

Peter


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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2004, 02:36:35 PM »
Cory,

Your question about active dry yeast and ascorbic acid prompted me to ask Red Star why ascorbic acid isn't used with active dry yeast.  The answer I got this morning is: "RED STAR Active Dry Yeast does not have the ascorbic acid when it is packaged in the strip of three 1/4-oz packets, however it does have the ascorbic acid added when it is in the 4-oz jars."  I don't know why the difference but there appears to be no reason why you can't add your own ascorbic acid.  My only caution is to use it sparingly, only a pinch or so.  Maybe I'll follow up to get the reason for the difference.

Peter  

Offline Foccaciaman

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2004, 02:49:20 PM »
One of the most frequent problems that I encounter is sharing recipes with friends and family.
I love to share the recipe and technique for any dish that I make. However most time I end up hearing the same thing from the person.

"I don't know what went wrong, I followed your directions and recipe exactly, its just not the same"

I have found that you can give the same recipe to two people, with the same specific directions and end up with two distinctly different foods.
Its like many have said on the forum, you just get a feel for things. Like with pizza, it could be the texture of the dough, how it was shaped and stretched. How long the spices cooked or just marinated in the sauce, the cooking time and temp, and of course the proofing time and method.

This forum alone has shown how many different ways the same few ingredients can be crafted into varied works of pizza masterpiece, and failures. Although I do not believe we actually hear all of the stories of the failure side. ;D

Some of my friends who have tried to make their own pizzas or used my recipes have thrown in the towel and decided to treat my house as a resturaunt, foolishly believing that great homemade pizza is either unattenable or to difficult to learn.
How sad for them. ???
Ahhh, Pizza The Fifth Food Group

Offline giotto

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2004, 04:30:29 PM »
Cory:  

You mentioned that you can get doughs from 2 or your favorite 3 pizzerias.  I'm interested in knowing how close you come to your restaurant pizza (or a pizza that you are really happy with) when you use their dough-- this will tell you alot about your procedures for cooking the dough and yielding a great pizza, independent of the dough.  
« Last Edit: August 25, 2004, 04:42:34 PM by giotto »

Offline Pierre

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2004, 04:37:56 PM »
Most of my friends find it too tedious, too time consuming, too complicated when I tell them how the pizza they just ate was made.

They have no understanding for the techniques and process behind making a good or great dough and most importantly that what's needed to get repetitive, consistent results.

In short..... they think I'm nuts!  :o   but they'll gladly eat my pizza next time around.

It takes a while to get the feeling for making a good dough that bakes to just your liking.  Most failures result in not meeting one or more of the parameters called for in a specific recipe, just like I once wrote a long time back after speaking to a Master Baker here in Germany....

"baking is not cooking. Baking is a bit more technological, meaning that many parameters have to be met or kept to get just the results one wants for a given recipe. If you're off a bit on one of them, your final bake will not be the same as expected."

If a dough temperature or water temperature is specified, don't put it off as "unimportant". Try to comply with what was specified your first time around. You can variate the next time around, but don't forget to take notes if you do so.

Pierre

« Last Edit: August 25, 2004, 04:59:46 PM by Pierre »

Offline giotto

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2004, 04:54:40 PM »
Andy:

Regarding recipes, I've found "feel" to be the most essential step, and one that goes hand-in-hand with technique.  This is why I suggest handling doughs made from favorite pros.  Differences in flour, for example, can cause your own recipe detailed out to the nth degree to yield completely different doughs, even during the course of making them.  This is true even when protein (gluten) levels are similar.  Today, for example, I was working with 2 different high gluten flours and 1 bread flour.  With the same amount of water and the same weight in flours, the high gluten flour that this formula was made for adapated perfectly, while the other two needed changes at opposite ends of the spectrum.  The weight of the bread flour in the end varied the most, and the texture of all 3 were different.  This is where preferences form and standards are created.

As far as separating out ingredients when making dough, you need to measure the potential impact of poor distribution vs. their chemical impact over just a few minutes.  Yeast, for example, does not like salt.  However, salt (like refrigeration) can be used to tame the fermentation process over a longer period of time.  While I would not mix salt directly with active yeast, salt needs to be properly distributed throughout the dough for taste and to serve its longer term purpose.  Therefore, I mix the salt before the hydration process (rest period after dough first comes together); and I concentrate on adding the yeast toward the end, where heat, friction and so many other things related to mixing will have as little impact as possible on fermentation.  There's that difference in technique again.

What amazes me the most with interest levels is when I have discussions with some of my friends who make bread with their bread machines.  Their eyes go in the back of their head within seconds of any of these discussions.  It's like the difference between a software engineer who once worked with unformatted dumps & assembler language vs. a user on a PC... worlds apart; guess where the majority reside?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2004, 05:03:13 PM by giotto »

Online Pete-zza

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2004, 07:55:22 PM »
I was pleased to see the passionate responses that Andy's comments engendered.  There is much that we can learn from each other, and we have every reason to take pride in our efforts to perfect the craft of pizza making, even though our passion will not be shared by others who are often beneficiaries of what we do.   Just as Thoreau marched to a different drummer, so do we.  

I would like to propose that the motto of this site be, to paraphrase an old Confucius saying, "Give a man a pizza and he will eat for a day.  Teach him how to make a pizza, and he will eat for a lifetime".

Peter
« Last Edit: August 25, 2004, 07:59:24 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline giotto

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Re:favorite new york style recipe
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2004, 11:05:50 PM »
Pete-zza:

NY Pizza is made of crust, and crust is made of the very bread that I take during communion; the same that grew from a basket to feed many.  We've come a long way with respect to what we can form from leavened bread...

You got my vote!  
« Last Edit: August 28, 2004, 02:58:44 AM by giotto »


 

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