Author Topic: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!  (Read 47534 times)

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Offline TronCarter

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #80 on: October 09, 2008, 10:25:26 AM »
I have read that article before and it says that 1.8 - 2% salt should be used.  sourdough_girl's original recipe called for 2%, which worked just fine but I have been able to use 1% (far below what the article recommends) and am still able to get good results.  I am sure I will reach a point where leavening will decrease, but I will never know where that is until I find it.  Based on the article I would have expected to have found that point already.  Once I figure out how little salt I can get away with and still keep the same end result, I will maybe try to vary the amount of yeast to see what happens.   

I am also planning to make a proofing box so that I can keep a consistent temperature during rises and make my results a little more repeatable during different seasons.  It can be up to 10 degrees cooler in my kitchen in the winter than in the summer.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #81 on: October 09, 2008, 11:14:10 AM »
Tron,

There are dough recipes that call for little or no salt but I think that you will find that in most cases the doughs are run through sheeters/rollers or dough presses that expel the gases from the dough. So, developing a robust gluten structure and gas retention are not objectives. In your case, as with most Sicilian style doughs, it is. But what you are doing with your experiments is the right thing to do. In due course, you will learn more from that than from reading articles.

Peter

Offline candyman

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #82 on: October 19, 2008, 12:01:56 AM »
SD Girl,

I used this recipe tonight and wanted to let you know it came out fantastic!!  It was crunchy on the edges and bottom and inside it was nice and airy and soft... bout melted in your mouth.  Excellent.  Thank you for posting it.

Some pics.  I made mine thicker and with more sauce... your mother would approve.  ;D

Joe
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 12:04:54 AM by candyman »
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Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #83 on: October 19, 2008, 05:34:29 PM »
Hey, Joe!

So glad the recipe turned out well for you!!   8)  And, by the looks of your pics... you're right!  My mother WOULD approve!

Did you use the calculation tool on this site?  If so, what thickness factor did you use?  If not, could you tell me about how thick it was... or did you just use a smaller pan?  It's hard to tell without a reference point!

Since you made it a little thicker, did you change the oven temp and/or bake time?  I may have to try your variation myself... I'm always looking for an "excuse" to make another pizza!

~sd
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Offline candyman

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #84 on: October 19, 2008, 06:38:32 PM »
SD,
The only thing at all that I did different from your recipe was that I put in about 2 tablespoons more water and 1/2 tablespoon of honey.  Other than that, I used the exact recipe, same pan size, same amount of dough. I let the dough rise and stretched it out like you would a NY dough, in the air with my knuckles.  Then placed it into the oiled pan and brushed top with olive oil.  Then put plastic over it and placed it on a shelf in the kitchen.  I let it rise in the pan for about 2 1/2 hours while I was preparing toppings and entertaining guests.  I put onion, peppers, steak, sausage, and pineapple on this.  When I went to dress the pizza... the dough had risen up above the top of the pan.. and was very airy and soft.  I just carefully put sauce on it and topped it.  I put it on my pizza stone (preheated for one hour at 550) and cooked for 6 minutes... then moved to top rack for 2-3 minutes.  Again, thank you, it came out amazing.

Joe
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #85 on: October 19, 2008, 06:55:02 PM »
Joe,

As a point of clarification, did you cold ferment your dough at any point or was it all done at room temperature?

Peter

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #86 on: October 19, 2008, 09:11:16 PM »
Thanks, Joe!

That's one step I have not tried but it sounds intriguing!  I let my focaccia dough rise in the pan, so why not this pizza dough?  I'll have to give it a try, but will just be more careful when saucing and topping so as not to deflate. 

And, since I'm sure Tommy's used same-day dough, I think I will actually change two variables at the same time (BAD scientific method, I know!) and use a same-day room temp ferment instead of 3-day cold ferment because I now want pizza tomorrow night after seeing your photos again... and reading your last post!  ;D  Not too sure about the pineapple, though...  ;)

~sd
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Offline candyman

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #87 on: October 20, 2008, 01:31:35 AM »
Joe,

As a point of clarification, did you cold ferment your dough at any point or was it all done at room temperature?

Peter

Peter,
I had unexpected company show up while making the dough... so I decided to just go ahead and use one of the batches for dinner.  First rise, I warmed oven for a few seconds and placed in middle rack in oiled bowl covered.  About 2 hours later stretched it out and placed in well oiled pan... brushed with olive oil on top... put plastic wrap over it all and placed it on a shelf.  Then left it to rise for 2 and 1/2 hours.  The temperature of the kitchen was about 73 degrees.  When I took it from the shelf it had risen above the pan... the pan is 1" high then has a 1/4" lip around it.  Very good rise.  It had great flavor and texture (All-Trumps helps a bit there also).  I have another batch of this dough that is in the fridge... when I make it, I'll let you know what the difference is and which way I think is better (same day or cold ferment).

SD,
Bad scientific method... but yummy results!  ;D
The pineapple was great on it.  I bough some breakfast steaks (small and cut thin) and julianne sliced them... then cooked them to medium doneness (is that a word?) and seasoned with some steak seasoning.  I didn't have any Italian sausage so I cheated (but this works great) I took a tube of country pork sausage (Jimmy Dean) and added fennel, pepper, basil, salt, paprika... to make it Italian.  It really does work out good and you can't tell the difference (except it's 2 dollars cheaper a pound that way).  I used sweet onion and green pepper... and the pineapple offset the spices in the steak and sausage.  My son said... he couldn't believe how all the flavors kind of blended perfect together. (he didn't like the idea of the pineapple until he ate it).  Hope this helps give you ideas.

Joe

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Offline dutch_supreme

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #88 on: November 01, 2008, 10:36:39 PM »
Sourdough Girl-

Thanks for the kick'in recipe.  I tried it out today (see pics).  Everything turned out great!  I used the full amounts and ended up with two dough balls.  One, I did the traditional square sicillian, and the other I split into two smaller balls and baked them on my stone on the grill.

The sicillian, rose for about 6 hours in the pan at room temp., dressed and baked at 500 degrees for 10 minutes.  The round grill-baked pies were dressed after about the same rise time (6 hours) in a bowl, split, and hand stretched/tossed.

Thanks again!!


Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #89 on: November 03, 2008, 10:13:17 PM »
dutch_supreme,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for trying my recipe!  I'm glad it worked so well for you... those pies look DELICIOUS!!  Thanks for the report and posting the pics!  I appreciate hearing from everyone who has tried it!

Joe, sorry for the delayed reply... I've been a little under the weather for a while and must have missed your post.  I did, indeed, make pizza the next day and let it rise in the pan for ~2 hours.  With my same-day room temp rise and the pan rise, it was less like Tommy's, but it was still delightful!  I'm still not too sure about pineapple, with or without ham, on a pizza.  I tend to like savory ingredients and shun the sweet stuff in most of my cooking, except in the hot/sour/salty/sweet SE Asian cuisine.  I do like grilled pineapple, so maybe that would be something to try in the summer.  The grill might add a savory note that negates some of the sweet.  Still, thanks for the suggestion!   8)

~sd
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Offline Irish Jimmy

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #90 on: November 10, 2008, 01:27:13 PM »
Awesome topic. I worked at Victory Pig as a kid, although I live in Michigan now. You are right, the pizza is (was) fried in heavy black pans in I seem to remember peanut oil.  Pizza L'Oven was similar but a little less greasy. Tommys opened up a place right off of Kingston Corners...they had a good pizza too. Then heading out to the back Mountain Pizza perfect opened it was similar to Victory Pig Pizza. I miss all those pies and have had nothing even close since I moved. Have a great Day. Jim

Offline NepaBill

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #91 on: February 04, 2009, 11:39:39 AM »
I had Pizza L'oven yesterday.  it is one of my favorite pizza's.  I know how to make it :)..  Actually my family and friends prefer mine to Pizza L'oven.  I have been fascinated reading all the speculating on this style and Old Forge pizza.  Pizza L'oven, Victory Pig, Pizza Perfect all have what we call Deep Fried style Pizza.   We don't consider it Sicilian..  Unlike Old Forge pizza which is made with pizza shells, this style of pizza is sheeted and panned ahead of time.  It is not floured and rolled out then baked. Also, this style of dough is a very rich dough, it has a considerable amount of fat in it, this makes it very easy to sheet.  The type of fat used is also very important.  I won't give all my secrets away.  Ohh  the cheese is neither mozzarella nor American.  A local pizza supply company in the area told me they sell upwards of 40,000lbs a month of this cheese and it isn't  mozz or American

Offline Irish Jimmy

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #92 on: February 04, 2009, 11:58:29 AM »
Hi NEPA Bill, you dont even know how bad I miss the pizza from back home. Out here in Michigan they consider Dominos to be top of the line LOL. I always loved the scillian pie at  I forget the name but it was the pizza place at the Wyoming Valley Mall. Not too much pizza to choose from out here. And they have never even heard of Porketta here either LOL. jim

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #93 on: February 04, 2009, 06:43:46 PM »
I had Pizza L'oven yesterday.  it is one of my favorite pizza's.  I know how to make it :)..  Actually my family and friends prefer mine to Pizza L'oven.  I have been fascinated reading all the speculating on this style and Old Forge pizza.  Pizza L'oven, Victory Pig, Pizza Perfect all have what we call Deep Fried style Pizza.   We don't consider it Sicilian..  Unlike Old Forge pizza which is made with pizza shells, this style of pizza is sheeted and panned ahead of time.  It is not floured and rolled out then baked. Also, this style of dough is a very rich dough, it has a considerable amount of fat in it, this makes it very easy to sheet.  The type of fat used is also very important.  I won't give all my secrets away.  Ohh  the cheese is neither mozzarella nor American.  A local pizza supply company in the area told me they sell upwards of 40,000lbs a month of this cheese and it isn't  mozz or American

NepaBill,

Welcome aboard and thanks for your tantalizing post!  I wish you would let me in on some of your secrets since I am trying to recapture one of the best memories of my childhood... when I was blissfully happy staying with my mom and her parents, playing with my cousins in the Wyoming Valley.  My recipe is SO close to the original Tommy's, but there is a certain something missing... and it might be the flavor of the cheese.  If you would consider sharing at least that much, please PM me and I will take your secret to my grave!  I will also WOW my 81 yo mother who is craving this flavor.  She says I have captured it to the best of her recollection, but I still think there is something not quite right..... but, I wouldn't even tell my mother your secret... girls don't have to tell their mothers EVERYthing, you know!  LOL!

I have been able to figure out that the Tommy's in Kingston is very likely NOT related to the 50s-60s Tommy's in Exeter, and I know that the original Tommy's was bought out long ago... then bought by Pizza L'Oven.  I'm sure over the years, the recipe has changed.  I certainly wish that I could return to Exeter to try Pizza L'Oven's pie.

Trying to recreate this pizza over so many miles and so many years away has been quite an adventure.  I have almost reached the goal... but not quite.  I've never put American on a pizza, but I might have to try other cheeses without the mozz.  Hmmm.... I think I need to get started on the next experiment....

~sd
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Offline funngamesjoanie

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #94 on: February 11, 2009, 08:08:42 AM »
Hi Sourdough Girl!

I give you such credit for trying to replicate the pizza that you love! I have never made ANY pizza but would like to learn! Where can I find your most updated recipe?

In the meantime, I have talked a friend of mine who lives in Duryea (my hometown) PA to get me a tray of pizza from Pizza L'Oven and send it to me here in the San Diego area via overnite mail!!!! He has agreed to send me some for Valentine's Day!

New to this forum- any help would be appreciated! Thanks! Joanie

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #95 on: February 11, 2009, 02:15:22 PM »
Been following this thread as this recipe is the one I started with to make my first pizza since joining the forum, and to start the quest to copy the Detroit style dough.

Sourdough Girl-thanks for great recipe!  The pies in this thread look great and make me wish I had one in front of me for lunch right now.

Irish Jimmy - Now wait a minute there!  I take offense at your statement that we here in Michigan consider Domino's the top of the line!  Well... Actually taking offense is too strong of a statement for me since it is true that most of the pizza here is pretty bad.  Sorry.  I guess that is to be expected in the state where Little Caesars and Domino's originated.  New York this ain't.
But there is hope and some good pizza to be had here.  Just takes a lot of searching, or suggestions from your forum comrades who happen to have lived in Michigan long enough to have already searched, and I know there are at least a few of us.
So if you throw up a post with the area you are in, maybe, just maybe, we may be able to come up with a pizza you would eat more than once.

PS I had to google porketta.  Yup, never heard of it 'round these parts and my Italian mom was born in PA, but looks mighty good.  I think I need to get out of state a bit more...

« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 05:23:21 PM by PizzaHog »

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #96 on: February 13, 2009, 10:00:58 PM »
Hi Sourdough Girl!

I give you such credit for trying to replicate the pizza that you love! I have never made ANY pizza but would like to learn! Where can I find your most updated recipe?

In the meantime, I have talked a friend of mine who lives in Duryea (my hometown) PA to get me a tray of pizza from Pizza L'Oven and send it to me here in the San Diego area via overnite mail!!!! He has agreed to send me some for Valentine's Day!

New to this forum- any help would be appreciated! Thanks! Joanie

Hi, Joanie
Thanks for your kind words!  Interestingly enough, I have a cousin Joni who was raised in Wyoming, just a few miles from our grandparents' home in Exeter.  She has always lived back there (she's in NJ now) and has been most helpful in my quest to replicate Tommy's pizza.

My latest iteration is with the help of new member NepaBill... he has shared his secrets with me and has kindly given me permission to post my results:

Flour (100%):
Water (63%):
IDY (.3%):
Salt (2%):
Lard (12%):
Total (177.3%):
241.29 g  |  8.51 oz | 0.53 lbs
152.01 g  |  5.36 oz | 0.34 lbs
0.72 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.24 tsp | 0.08 tbsp
4.83 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.42 tsp | 0.47 tbsp
28.95 g | 1.02 oz | 0.06 lbs | 6.68 tsp | 2.23 tbsp
427.8 g | 15.09 oz | 0.94 lbs | TF = 0.12
This recipe makes one dough ball for my 14.5 X 9.5 pan.

Some may shudder at the use of lard in the dough, but I found that it gave the shortened dough a flavor that struck a chord with me.  I settled on 12% because, at just over 2 T, it seemed about right for the amount of dough I was making.  I also greased the pan with lard instead of classico olive oil.  The result was not greasy, but very tasty.  While olive oil is better for you, the lard gives the right flavor and it makes sense that it is a fat they would use in the late 50s and early 60s.

This time, I also put the dough in the fridge only overnight instead of several days.  I am quite sure that Tommy's probably used an "emergency" dough, meaning that they probably did not refrigerate the dough at all, let alone the several days I was giving it.

Also, NepaBill has shared with me the cheese that Pizza L'Oven uses, and I will try it when I am able to find it... or something very close to it.  I will report my findings when I make the switch to the new cheese.

Next time, I will also spread the sauce and cheese out to the edges of the dough.  I seem to recall that the cuts of pizza we got from Tommy's had no "crust" edges, but I think I have just been assuming that we were always given inside cuts....so I will also change that next time, too.

PizzaHog,
I'm glad you like the recipe!  I hope you will try the "new and improved" version and let me know what you think!

~sd
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 08:48:24 PM by sourdough girl »
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Offline mmarston

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #97 on: February 14, 2009, 04:20:24 PM »
SDG,

If you have a small local butcher or pork store you may be able to get much better lard than the supermarket variety.
You have to ask for it (nicely) as they generally make it for their own use. I use it for some Mexican specialties that just aren't the same without it.
I have not tried your recipe yet but it looks like a winner so it's on the list plus I've already got the lard.

Michael
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Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #98 on: February 14, 2009, 05:38:08 PM »
Thanks Michael...
And I hope when you try this recipe, you will post your results!

We have discovered a very good small butcher shop in Silvana, just north of us.  We've already established a good reputation with them since I buy my pork belly there for making bacon.  I will send DH on a mission to request some better lard.  I'm not sure what grade they would have used in the 50s, but my tastebuds may tell me.  And, of course, being "of a certain age", I have always believed in asking nicely.  Vinegar makes great pickles, but not great conversation.

I have been doing some research on lard and have found, like many foods, the pendulum is now swinging back in favor of lard.  Apparently, Rick Bayless is one of its more vocal proponents.

I'm also going to play with the percentage of lard added to the dough... 12% tasted good, but is probably high for any oil/shortening in a dough.  More experimentation is necessary!

~sd
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Offline TronCarter

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Re: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) circa 1960's Exeter PA (NEPA) redo!
« Reply #99 on: February 15, 2009, 08:12:24 PM »
SD,

I'm wondering where the big jump in IDY came from.  It seems that it is 7.2g now where the original recipe of this size is less that 1g.