Author Topic: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?  (Read 5365 times)

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Offline eric22

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Don't they use alot of additives like.......

DOUGH CONDITIONER: A general term used for additives that function to help improve the quality of the finished product by altering the way dough behaves. There are four main categories of dough conditioners: 1) enzymes, 2) oxidizing agents, 3) reducing agents, and 4) emulsifiers. Enzymes are biological catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions, such as increasing the extraction of sugar from starch. Oxidizing agents improve the dough strength by forming bonds between the protein chains. Reducing agents weaken the protein by breaking bonds between proteins during mixing, thereby reducing the mixing times and dough elasticity Emulsifiers strengthen the dough or soften the crumb. Examples of additives falling into the above four categories include diastatic malt, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), L-cysteine (or PZ-44), and lecithin, respectively.

DOUGH RELAXER: A baking ingredient used to relax dough that is excessively elastic and prone to shrinking and snapping back. The problem is most commonly experienced with doughs made from high-gluten flours. Common examples of ingredients used to relax such doughs so that they can be shaped and stretched to the desired size (diameter) include glutathione (dead yeast cells), L-cysteine, and PZ-44 (a combination of L-cysteine and whey proteins). Since these ingredients are available primarily for use by professional pizza operators, home pizza makers usually rely on high hydration levels and longer periods of fermentation to allow the enzymes in the flour (namely the protease enzymes) to soften the gluten so that the dough becomes sufficiently extensible to shape and stretch out to the desired size. (Note: a dough relaxer product produced by Lora Brody for use by home bakers has been discontinued.)


Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2007, 04:29:59 PM »
All I can say is thank goodness for independent, privately owned pizzerias.

We have lots around my area, in fact, the independently owned ones, far outweigh the
amount of commercial pizzerias.

Not long ago I was in a Pizza Hut, and I saw the guy spraying on some fake stuff around the edge
of a pizza.  Gee.... are they that worried their pies don't taste good enough right out of the oven...
that they have to spray it with some kind of "enhancer" ?, just to "make sure" they taste great ?
I guess so ! , and that is pretty sad stuff if you ask me.

Long live the mamma and papa pizzerias, where real pizza is made.  :chef:
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Randy

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2007, 04:38:42 PM »
As it turns out most of us started trying for a pizza that used to be maybe from our younger years, and in doing that, have made better pizzas than is availably commercially.

Randy

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2007, 04:45:10 PM »
eric22,

The dough conditioners and dough relaxers mentioned in the Pizza Glossary entries you reproduced in your post are most often used by professionals to fix problems with their doughs and/or as shortcuts or as modifiers of certain ingredients to adapt them to particular applications. The ingredients you mentioned are more likely to be used by bakers, and also pizza professionals, for yeasted goods (including pizzas) that are intended to be frozen or refrigerated. If you look at the labels for these yeasted products, you will see many of the ingredients you mentioned, and many others as well.

Most pizza operators, and especially independent pizza operators, use almost none of the ingredients except for PZ-44 and, indirectly, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). The PZ-44 is most commonly added to doughs to reduce their elasticity, which is a fairly common problem when high-gluten flour is used. It is a fix for an existing problem and is usually indicative of a problem with either the dough formulation or the management of the dough (e.g., insufficient fermentation). The PZ-44 is also used for doughs that are to be processed using dough presses. Ascorbic acid sometimes is added to the flour, usually by the miller. Most pizza operators don't even know what ascorbic acid is or why it is used. I can't ever recall reading about a pizza operator adding diastatic malt or lecithin to their doughs. I am sure I would have remembered it because it would have been so unusual.

Since most of the above ingredients are not readily available to our members (e.g., PZ-44 comes in 50-lb. bags), except for ascorbic acid (a favorite additive of Villa Roma), our doughs are of a purer, simpler, unadulterated form. If there is an area where we, as home pizza makers, will have difficulties reproducing the pizzas of professional pizza operators it is the areas of mixers and ovens. I frequently read about pizza operators who make doughs at home (usually to test a new dough formulation) and bake them in their ovens at work, or take doughs made at work and bake them in their home ovens and, to a person, they say that the results are different. Most of the time they prefer the pizzas they make at work.

Peter


Offline Garlic head

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2007, 04:45:50 PM »
As it turns out most of us started trying for a pizza that used to be maybe from our younger years, and in doing that, have made better pizzas than is availably commercially.

Randy
I agree completely. Since joining this site, with all I have learned here, I am very pleased with what I have been able to accomplish. I haven't ordered out for pizza since joining here. In my opinion, nothing beats a pizza made at home, even if it isn't perfect once in a while. Saved myself an estimated $400 or so in the process too. :-D

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2007, 05:03:11 PM »
Saved myself an estimated $400 or so.

Kevin,

Thanks for kicking back a part of your savings to help support the forum :).

Peter

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2007, 03:40:34 PM »
Eric22,

For me it's the pursuit or the "chase" of making a clone or variant of a particular style that I find attractive. I think it exemplifies culinary expertise to be able to taste a food, then recreate it yourself. This is both challenging and rewarding. It's this process of being able to recreate, then build upon it, making something better that I find rewarding. As others have stated, the skills and lessons learned from pizza after pizza gives you more mastery of the process, ingredients, techniques, etc., and the end product is often a lot better than the target you initially sought to achieve. I also enjoy reading and seeing how other people approach a problem to designing something they have tasted, or never tasted. This is clearly variations on the scientific method at work which I really enjoy reading. Reading the postings by some of the experts here is just facinating to me. So I think to answer your question, I get more satisfaction out of the pursuit of something that is probably unattainable in the home environment, than I do actually being able to do it. I know that may not make sense to most, but once you have climbed the hill and seen the view, you tend to miss the journey that led you there. Consider that a form of Pizzaosophy. (Yes ladies and gents, you heard that term here first!)

Offline yaddayaddayadda

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2007, 03:49:25 PM »
I guess I don't get it.  While I can understand trying to reproduce pizza's from a well known place like Pepe's and the such, isn't the whole point to make pizzas that taste better than your run-of-the-mill pizza chain?  I just had some papa johns for lunch and it tasted like ass.

I don't see the desire to spend hundreds on equipment and countless hours to reproduce something that I can get delivered in less than 30 minutes for $8.99 with a coupon.  I don't want something that tastes like pizza-hut pan pizza, I want something that tastes better.   

I don't mean to be offensive with this post, I truly would like some enlightenment.

Offline abatardi

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2007, 08:14:28 PM »
that's like saying i'm fooling myself by thinking i can grow as good a tomato as a commercially produced, hydroponically grown, picked-green-gassed-to-red tomato in the grocery store.  Because they use chemicals and stuff... that obviously make it so much better.  And have the added benefit of probably giving me cancer.

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Offline elsegundo

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2007, 01:52:28 AM »
The answer to your question is maybe. A better answer is quite possibly.

An experiment may be useful. Order two cheese pizzas from your favorite pizza place, one they baked and one to go. With your oven on high and a preheated stone, see if baking duplicates the commercial pizza. If you can't the problem is the oven and you will never quite produce the desired result. On the other hand, if you do get a duplicate, then you need to clone the recipe.

Next step, find a commercially available pizza premix. This will begin an adventure, but in my past persuits I have found these in various sizes from 22-50 pounds at restaurant supply stores. Following the directions exactly I was able to obtain commercial-style pizza. Just like at the local pizza place.  It's the same stuff they were using in many cases.

Once you learn a few of secrets you can produce pizza similar to what is sold.  My secrets: decide on what type you want- NY, thin, whatever and then tailor everything to achieve that style. Different styles have different ingredients, hydration, dough handling. I can't get a cracker crust with a bunch of olive oil in the dough. Every New York pizzeria I ate in had high gluten flour.

Secondly, measure exactly. I prefer the scientific approach to the art approach. More consistent. Plus I'm not an artist. I am determined though.

Third, while the ingredients may seem to be the key, I believe dough handling is the most important element. What temperature do you mix at,  do you refrigerate immediately, do you let the dough warm up again?

Finally, have you read the Encyclopizza grasshopper?  The author is a genius. The text is the Holy Grail.


Good luck.
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Offline kaffine

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2007, 09:53:18 PM »
I have made a few bad pizzas but none of them came out as bad as what I can get delivered.  The only good pizza places that I can find are to far away for delivery.  Also the best pizza I have had was Sebbettos(sp) I don't think they use any of those dough enhancers.  Right now my biggest problem is I don't have an oven that can get hot enough to cook the type of pizza I like.  I can get close using my BBQ. 

Offline Klankster

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2007, 12:41:25 AM »
My main goals are the following:

1) Recreate good pizzas that I've had and either can't get anymore or can't get conveniently (Uno's: the closest store is about 45 minutes away; Pizza Shoppe: About 9 hours' drive from me)

2) Make pizza that is made just the way I like it.  Some of the commercial pizza around here is OK but way greasier than I'd like.  Or the crust is floppy.  There was one place down the street from me that made pizza that gave me massive indigestion for some reason.  When I make pizza I usually really like it.

So far, my "duplicates" of commercial pizza do the trick -- They are close enough to the originals that they have the essential elements that I like in the originals.  I've started to add my own modifications, which keeps it fun and makes it better than just recreating something somebody else made.
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Offline pizza concerto

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2007, 04:56:54 PM »
Absolutley not fooling ourselves.  Commercial places generally operate on a cost of goods versus quality of ingredient compromise...we can get the best ingredients, take our time preparing the pie, and create one that will most definately be superior.  They have way more constraints to operate under than the home pizza maker.  Also, Peter's comments are spot on here...those conditioners and additives are merely masking or used to equalize the problems they encounter having to operate under those constraints.  Our only compromise is on the quality of oven we can afford, and even then, with the right stone and technique, can overcome those obstacles as well.

Dan
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Offline Les

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2007, 07:18:20 PM »
The question I believe you should ask yourself is why you'd want to recreate "commercial" pizza. Commercial pizza is not even close to the state of the art, but rather is meant to satisfy mundane tastes of the hungry masses.  If you really want to learn the art and science of pizza making that centuries of practice have refined, participate here and learn everything you can from the fanatics  :-*.

Myself, I tried every recipe I could find for years, and never once was able to recreate what I'd tasted while living, for example, in New York or in Berkeley (Zachary's stuffed pizza, mmmmmm).  Why?  All I had were cookbooks, and those recipes are meant for a quick meal rather than state-of-the-art quality.

I spent a year experimenting with the help of the people here, and put on 20 pounds from making several pizzas per week taste testing (real torture, as you can imagine). So I say with complete confidence that beyond all doubt you can recreate far, far, far better than commercial pizza. 

Recently I saw the movie "A Tale of Two Pizzas."  I liked it because I it related to my two big issues of sauce and crust.  The sauce issue I've mastered by relying on having every single ingredient bein fresh...tomatoes, herbs, garlic. Crust is dependent first and foremost on learning dough-making skills (IMHO, the hardest of all pizza secrets to learn), and then baking at the right temperature (minimum 650 degrees on a stone, or you can squeeze by with 550 degrees on a stone if you have a convection oven).  The right ingredients are crucial too, such as Grande cheese, KA pizza flour Escalon tomatoes, etc.

As you can see, there are number of factors you must master to do pizza like the gourmets. You can learn it however if you study and listen to people here who have figured it out.  No matter what, I highly recommend abandoning the quest to recreate commercial pizza!  :chef:

Offline Jackitup

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Re: Are we fooling ourselves thinking we can recreate commercial pizza?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2007, 10:46:14 PM »
Interesting thread. I think we've all had our favorite pizzas or pizza places and we try to mimic those and make them fit our personal tastes a little betterand improve upon it, plus it's fun as hell. And making them at home is not that much cheaper once you buy all the ingredients it's probably a wash many times. Now one of my other passions is BBQ. I've had some great bbq at bbq joints and at best it's no better than what I can do at home and I think I make some damn good bbq. I love bbq and I love pizza, as a matter of fact tommorrow after the football games that's what it's going to be 2 of my favorites, ribs and pizza. Commercial places make product for the masses and as has been said they have to use things to help with shelf life and food safety, at home we have the luxury of time and don't need the extra chemicals and most times can make a better product. At worst it sure is fun eating the mistakes along the way. At home I don't want commercial anything, just good homemade stuff.
Jon
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