Author Topic: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!  (Read 46944 times)

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Offline sourdough girl

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I have figured it out!  With help from my cousin, who now lives in Jersey, various other websites and this venerable forum!  I studied Victory Pig's recipe as well as Old Forge red... both were close but not it!  The crust is fried, the sauce only tomatoes, salt and chopped fresh onion... and the cheese is equal parts low-moisture mozz, smoked prov and fontina (for creaminess), all coarsely shredded.

The big test was making pizza for my 80 y-o mother who was born and raised in Exeter, PA!  She deemed that all was correct except for the thickness and amount of tomato sauce... thicker and more was her pronouncement, which is easy to fix!  She was skeptical that the crust was fried, like a Sicilian, but when I made it for her, she declared that I was right!

The dough was made with the recipe below and cold fermented for 4 days (mainly because we were headed down to her cabin in the middle of freakin' NOWHERE in Central Oregon)

Flour (100%):
Water (62%):
IDY (.33%):
Salt (2%):
Total (164.33%):
Single Ball:
600.37 g  |  21.18 oz | 1.32 lbs
372.23 g  |  13.13 oz | 0.82 lbs
1.98 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.66 tsp | 0.22 tbsp
12.01 g | 0.42 oz | 0.03 lbs | 3.53 tsp | 1.18 tbsp
986.58 g | 34.8 oz | 2.18 lbs | TF = 0.12
493.29 g | 17.4 oz | 1.09 lbs

The pics I'm attaching are from the pizza previous to the one I made for her.  She doesn't take well to delaying dinner to take pics!  The cheese in these pics is too brown... Tommy's cheese was not browned at all, so I made sure at the cabin that the oven temp was a little lower.  Dark pans were used, one pizza was just cheese, as per our Tommy's orders in the late 50's-early 60's and one with pepperoni, black olive, green pepper and chopped onion.

~sd
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 09:16:25 PM by sourdough girl »
Never trust a skinny cook!


Offline pcampbell

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2007, 12:57:08 AM »
This looks just like what my mother used to make us which was excellent.  However, she hasn't done it in 15 years and now she wants to have a pizza cook off against me!  :chef:
Patrick

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2007, 02:16:01 AM »
Patrick,

Well, then... I say, "good luck to your mama!!"   ;D

And, would love to know your recipe... and how the pizza cook-off turns out!!  With pics, if possible!  There's nothing like a good competition to get your pizza-sauce (blood) boilin'!!

~sd
Never trust a skinny cook!

Offline cd1168

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2007, 10:27:17 PM »
looks very good sourdough girl.. i myself love sicilian as well... :D

heres a couple of pics. i am trying to recreate galleria umberto in lil italy boston.. they only bake cheese but i added some chicken and peppers on mine. plus i add alot of olive oil, less sauce and lots of garlic and fresh basil

-regards chris
with respect Chris

Offline trohrs123

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2007, 06:38:04 AM »
sourdough girl

that pizza looks GREAT! :chef:
 was wondering if you could post detailed intructions, rise time size of pan etc thanks
Tim

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2007, 05:22:26 PM »
This looks great - could you further what you mean by the crust is fried?  or maybe just let us know what your procedure is?
Patrick

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2007, 09:11:12 PM »
Patrick and Tim,
Thanks for the kind words!  My method:

  • Pulled the dough from the fridge ~1.5 hours before bake time
  • Used a very dark rectangular pan, interior dimensions 14.5 X 9.5
  • Poured 2 T classico olive oil in the pan (hence the "fried crust" which is NOT oily, just crisp and light)
  • Gently worked the dough into a rectangular shape by stretching with oiled hands, placed it in the pan and let rest for ~5 min to relax.
  • Repeated above two more times until it filled the pan.  Some oil will get on the top of the crust and that's OK
  • Put on the sauce (forgot to measure, probably ~1 cup, enough to cover but crust should still show through) which was an equal mix of Cento crushed non-DOP and Pomi, which comes in the shelf-stable box, along with ~ 2 T Amore tomato paste in the tube, ~1/4 c finely chopped white onion and ~1 t Diamond Crystal kosher salt.  Sauce was uncooked
  • Put on the cheese, equal mix of coarsely grated Precious whole milk mozz, smoked Prov (don't know the brand, bought a chunk from the service deli) and imported fontina
  • Put into preheated oven (550o for an hour with stones on lowest rack and third rack from the bottom... my oven has 5 slots for 3 racks, so they are closer together) 
  • Put the pizza on the bottom stone, which puts second stone about 3" above the surface of the pizza
  • Baked for 5-6 min until edges of crust were starting to brown and so was cheese

If I've forgotten any points or you have any other questions, I'll be happy to fill in the blanks!
~sd
Never trust a skinny cook!

Offline trohrs123

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2007, 11:14:58 PM »
Sourdough girl
thanks for the extra info!! could you give some info on the dough prep/mixing, proofing etc?
Tim

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2007, 01:48:11 AM »
Tim,
Actually, this dough is nothing fancy...  I put all of the ingredients into my KA Artisan mixer with the C hook, set at speed 1 and let mix for 5 min.  Pulled the dough out of the bowl and put it into a ziploc that was lightly oiled with classico olive oil, then put it into the fridge for 3 days.  The only actual rise time (other than the slight rise in the fridge) was the hour and a half on the counter and the oven spring.  SO easy and SO good... you just have to plan ahead for the cold retard, which REALLY adds to the flavor!

Chris... thanks for posting your pic... that looks really GOOD!  I've not heard of the place whose pizza you're trying to recreate, but have been to Boston only once, MANY years ago, so that's no surprise... can you give us any more info??  Your crust looks thinner than mine, but photos can be deceiving!

~sd
Never trust a skinny cook!

Offline trohrs123

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2007, 06:20:04 AM »
Thanks!!!
I will try it this weekend
Tim


Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2007, 02:10:18 PM »
Tim,
Glad you're going to give it a shot!  Please post your results and pics... as well as your thoughts! 

~sd
Never trust a skinny cook!

Offline cd1168

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2007, 12:22:56 AM »
sourdo, i probably should not have said recreate, as i am not a stickler with the numbers like others.. i probably should be..

i use the same dough as for my neo/ny style.. calmadoli, water, salt, flour(50/50 KA bread and KA AP)

i fry it like youe though.. only thing different i do is i precook the dough first with a tab of sauce.. let it sit for an hour  to cool. then layer of fresh basil, cheese(mozz, queso fresco latin cheese, parmasean, provolone) then more sauce and olive oil

cook until it gets charred...

but i must say yours does look better then mine and also i love the wording you used, especially fried.. in essence that is whats happening.. the olive oil is frying the dough...

with respect Chris

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2007, 12:16:19 PM »
I forgot to ask - should we be using olive oil and not extra virgin olive oil?  I have read about the "flash points" of the different oils and perhaps it different between the two?  Either way I'm reading here it's around 570...close to what my oven might be at(?)
Patrick

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2007, 01:22:53 PM »
Patrick,
I have used classico, EVOO and plain old vegetable oil in my pursuit... EV was too strong, the flavor of the oil overpowered the crust, the vegetable oil was too... well, *oil-y*, if that makes any sense... so, the non-EV olive oil won the day.  The flavor complimented the pizza, made it crisp without feeling heavy or greasy.
I've never thought about the flash points of oils in the hot oven...but since it's an even source of heat with no open flame, I wouldn't think it would be a problem.  But still, it makes me wonder if anyone has had their pizza catch fire?  A new trend... pizza flambe!

Chris,
I'm not a stickler for numbers, either, but I do take copious notes so that I can document my successes and failures... and learn from both.  This is especially helpful in the fact that I make pizza only every other week, an agreement made with Dear Husband because I was fearful that in my frenzy to achieve my Tommy's clone, I would burn him out on pizza for good! 
My question, though... if you parcook the crust and let it cool for a whole hour, when you put it back into the oven, doesn't it dry out since the "chemistry" portion of the dough is done?  How long and at what temps for each iteration?  Not sure I could let it sit on the counter without diving in!   ;D

~sd
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Offline cd1168

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2007, 03:34:10 PM »
sometimes it is hard to not dive in... i am cooking my oven at 550 let it heat up for an hour. cook the dough with a little sauce for maybe 5 minutes till it gets brown.. but again it really is frying.. it does not get hard, it still is soft but very crispy.. alot of people have seen the sicilian pictures of difara's. well i kinda like it cooked like that , almost looking burnt but doesnt taste burnt.. also i got my idea of preheating from difaras as well..
with respect Chris

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2007, 08:08:56 PM »
Well, we didn't do too well today.  Not that it didn't taste good but didn't come out quite right.

I do not have any stones but had the oven fired up as hot as it would go.  This is usually how I cook my regular NY pies which get a good rise.  The floor temp is somewhere like 700F but I believe the low rack is probably more like 550-600.

I'm wondering if part of it had to do with that, and/or part because our pans are very thick-- they are the Williams Sonoma jelly roll pans which are super heavy duty.  I usually put my pizzas on the bottom rack on a screen and normally the bottom browns a bit more quickly than the top.   Today in the pan the bottom was barely cooking at all.  After about 8 or so minutes we took it out and enjoyed but it was very very flat with hardly any rise.
Patrick

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2007, 08:46:44 PM »
Sorry to hear that!  I also bake mine in a very heavy-duty pan.  I looked up the Williams Sonoma pan and it is just about the same size as mine... didn't check the shipping weight, but my pan weighs 2.5# and I'll bet they're about the same.

When I cooked the pizza for my mom at her rustic old cabin with the 50+year old stove, I set the temp at about 475o, preheated for only 30 min and left the pizza in for about 15 minutes.  Didn't cook with stones as 1) I didn't feel like hauling them along and 2) they probably wouldn't have fit in the smallish oven anyway.  With the dough on the counter as long as it was (and it was a WARM afternoon in early Sept in Central Oregon...high desert...) I didn't get much oven spring, but the crust was still light and crisp. 

Do you have any pics you can post?  Was the cheese starting to brown at that temp when you pulled it out?  I'm thinking that without stones, you might want to bake it a little longer since your pan is going in cold and doesn't get that blast of heat from the stone under it.  I don't have an IR thermometer (yet... but Christmas AND my birthday both lurk in the near future!) so I don't know the temp of the stone, but it's gotta be HOT after an hour preheat.

I hope you won't give up as this is a really good pizza!  Keep us posted on further iterations!
~sd
Never trust a skinny cook!

Offline Mahoney

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2007, 01:17:56 AM »
SourDough Girl,

I was almost ready to begin on my mission to replicate the Old Forge Revello Red, but right now I think I am going to drive out tomorrow to try the Pizza L'oven pie since SourDough Girls seems leaps beyond where I want to get with Revello's.  If I do go tomorrow, I'll snap some pictures  :D

With Revello's Red – even though I love a great NY pizza and keep striving to perfect one myself, recreating Revello’s  Red will equally remain my goal.  I have 2 pizza styles I want to strive to perfect (well, maybe a cracker crust too someday).   It isn't really the crust that challenges me with Revello’s as I know I could probably make good or an even better crust.  It is solely the cheese mixture and sauce recipe.  Those 2 things are what are driving me nuts.  I know it is a semi-sweet sauce, and I have read about 50 different variations/ guesses on their cheese mixture.

Even though we may end up aiming for slightly different Old Forge/ Scranton styles - mucho gracias to SourDough girl for posting what she has learned - PLEASE continue!!!   :chef:

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2007, 01:36:28 PM »
Mahoney,
I thank you for the compliments!  I really hope to see some pics and hear your critique of Pizza L'Oven; I have often wondered if they are using the same recipe as Tommy's did.
I also seem to remember that there are several Pizza L'Oven stores but I could be mis-remembering it... are you going to the store on Wyoming Ave at Schooley Street in Exeter?  My 80 yo mother would also love to hear your report if you are!

When I made my last iteration of Tommy's, I changed two things in the dough formula/handling:
I raised the hydration from 62% to 63%
I pulled the dough from the fridge five hours before bake time

The combination of these really improved the crust for me... it was lighter and crisper.  I was really pleased with the results.  I have also discovered that a 50-50 combination of Cento non-DOP and Pomi tomatoes (shelf-stable carton) really hits the sauce flavor I'm looking for... the Centos are very sweet and the Pomi helps cut that while adding a rich tomato flavor. 

I will be watching for your report!   ;D
~sd
Never trust a skinny cook!

Offline Mahoney

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2007, 09:16:55 PM »
Hi Sourdough Girl - Exeter was my third of 3 planned stops yesterday, and unfortunately I only made it to the first 2 (Schiffs for some Kielbasa for the freezer and Old Forge).  I tried one of the Old Forge places I hadn't tried, and then ate too much food at Revello's after that.  I suddenly lost my motivation to drive in the opposite direction of my house  ;)  As a side note, I was kind of disappointed with Revello's.  It was still good, but not nearly as good as I remember.  I am sure they haven't changed anything with the recipe within the last 40 years as based on their popularity they seem to be printing money.  I thought that the pizza was good, certainly different, but have my pizza taste buds changed that much?   I think I am just going to start out with the benefits of your efforts with Tommy's Pizza and your recipe  ;D  I already have a 16" x 12" pan, and just ordered a 12" x 8".  Thanks again for the huge head start and I'll keep you posted! 


 

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