Author Topic: Home Run Inn  (Read 14924 times)

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Offline loowaters

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Home Run Inn
« on: January 02, 2008, 10:56:06 AM »
I've been interested in trying to do this for some time and my first attempt was just not real good. 

Here's the listing of ingredients for their crust in order:

wheat flour, water, corn oil, yeast, salt

With this info from the HRI website I went to work on a crust that was:

100% KA AP Flour
40 water
8 corn oil
1 ady
1 salt

400g dough ball

Kneaded for 5 minutes in the Kitchen Aid mixer at a speed setting of 4.  I was going to use it same day but had to hold off a day so it was set to rise in the oven with a pan of hot water and the light on for 2 hours then into a ziplock bag for the fridge for 24 hrs.  I let it warm up for 45 minutes before patting it out to about 13" and pinched up an outer ring.  I then dressed the skin on a peel and cooked at 490* directly on the stone for about 10 minutes. 

I went with a low hydration because, well, I was thinking thickened cracker type crust with a built up crust ring.  I missed on several counts.  I could tell that I created a hint of the taste (don't ask me to quantify that) but that it's nowhere near what I'm looking for.  For the record, it's not a butter crust as Home Run Inn restaurants offer that as a different crust option.

This crust had too much oven spring.  HRI is a pretty dense crust that really does't puff at all.  What would cause that?  Make dough, no rise, dress and cook?  I don't know.  Maybe wheat flour plays that big of a roll?

Did it need a higher hydration and more oil?

After looking at my finished product then at a HRI frozen I noticed that the look of the outer crust could only be created by a pan coming up it's sides.  I haven't been to a HRI in years and don't recall if the pies were cooked in a pan or on a sheet or directly on the deck but I've concluded that's the only way to get "that look". 

Maybe someone who's done more tinkering than I would have some knowledge on how the yeast springs or doesn't when it hits the oven.  I'd decrease the yeast in the recipe but salt is listed after it.  If I brought down the yeast, and reduce the salt to keep the order of ingredients, it would almost render the salt non existent.

Do I really need to approach this just like a deep dish pie but make it thinner and go with cheese on top?Is it cooked in pan for longer at a lower temp like 375 or 400?  I remember seeing HRI guys tossing the dough, so if it's too biscuity like the deep dish doughs, this wouldn't be possible, would it?

Loo


BTW the sauce wasn't too tough to crack.  It's puree, water, oregano, salt, pepper.  I just kinda eyeballed these and came pretty close.  I made a puree out of Progesso crushed tomatoes and just didn't drain them instead of adding water.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 03:12:37 PM by loowaters »
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2008, 04:59:53 PM »
Loo,

At least you have the basic ingredients and pecking order, which is a good start if you are trying to reverse engineer the basic Home Run Inn (HRI) pizza. I can't say that I am all that surprised by the salt being at the bottom of the ingredients list. Based on what DKM once said in a post, Malnati's does not use salt in their dough, and one of our recent new members, pizzagurl, recenty told us that Monical's doesn't use any salt in their dough either. However, that leaves some big gaps between the salt and the flour that may be hard to bridge without more information. You may well be right that the flour is all-purpose flour although bread flour apparently existed back in 1947 when the original owners started making their thin style pizzas.

I was looking at the data for the HRI frozen pizzas on the HRI website at http://www.homeruninnpizza.com/frozen-pizza and wonder if you (or anyone else for that matter) can tell me the sizes of the pizzas shown there, and whether the sizes of the frozen pizzas are the same as sold in the HRI pizzerias themselves. It's quite likely that the pizzas made in their factories, even if using the same ingredients as the pizzas sold in the HRI pizzerias, are different than what is sold in the pizzerias because of the need to adapt the pizzas to mass production. For example, looking at the photos in the pdf Menu document at the HRI website, the thin crust pizzas look to have a rim that is formed by hand with some imperfections whereas the frozen pizzas look to have a more "perfect" rim (or else the photos were retouched). Obviously, the dough skins for the frozen pizzas aren't made by hand. Do you know how the pizzas are made in the HRI pizzerias themselves, including how they are baked (e.g., oven type)? Is there any evidence that the skins are prepared in whole or in part by using sheeters or rollers of any type? A photo at the HRI website of the original owners making pizzas shows that the pizza skins were hand made at that time. Looking at the photos of the current pizzas, it's hard to say whether pans are used to prepare the pizzas. However, the pizzas do show distinct rims that could be formed while the skin is in a pan. But it could also be formed on a peel or make board. Maybe other HRI fans can provide some of the answers to these kinds of questions.

Can you also tell me what the characteristics are of the typical finished HRI pizza crust? If you'd like, you can start from the bottom of the crust and work to the top to describe the crust/crumb characteristics at the different stages. I think I have learned the basic semantical distinctions between cracker-like, crispy, tender, crunchy and chewy, and even some of the combinations of these characteristics in the same crust. Getting the characteristics established with some precision might be a useful step to deciphering the HRI dough formulation percentages since there is a correlation between these characteristics and the ingredients and quantities that go into producing those characteristics. I assume that a typical HRI slice is fairly stiff and does not droop when held out straight, no matter the quantities of toppings used. Am I correct on this?

I am also fairly confident that the dough preparation and management processes used by HRI are fairly straightforward, whether the dough is prepared the same day or not and whether the dough is subjected to room-temperature or cold fermentation. However, knowing more about these aspects will serve as good clues as to the dough formulation itself.

Peter

« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 06:48:26 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline loowaters

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2008, 07:33:49 AM »
Thanks for the reply Pete, I knew you'd be one to try to decipher this. 

Let me first say before I begin answering the questions you've posed one piece of info about my preparation.  I did in fact dock the dough before dressing it.  A rather important fact that I should've included.

OK.  Answering the questions.  It looks like the website shows both sizes available frozen, a 10" and a 12".  As far as how they prepare for cooking, I remember seeing guys tossing dough and cooking in deck ovens.  I don't recall seeing pans or peels for that matter, so that can go either way.

Characteristics of the crust?  Well, it's quite crisp on the bottom and the outer ring is quite hard (harder on the par baked frozen pies from what I recall...kinda obviously).  There's not much for voids in the crumb at all.  While the bottom is crispy, and kinda oily, it becomes rather tender bordering on gummy above the bottom perhaps from the high moisture content of the sauce.  It's a slightly thicker crust than most standard Chicago Style thin pizzas.  You are correct in your assumption that a slice will not droop when held up.

Some odd characteristics this pizza has.  It's almost like the yeast's ability to rise dies but the flavor created by it remains.  Old yeast? 

I'll try upping the oil and water next time and cook it in one of my deep dish pans and see what I get.

Loo
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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2008, 10:21:14 AM »
Loo,

I hope that you have one of the boxes that the frozen HRI pizzas come in. For example, I notice that the description of what appears to be the 10" pizza says "18 oz." but if I look at the nutrition information, four servings of the pizza (each serving is 1/4 of the pizza) comes to 4 x 142 grams, or 568 grams. That translates into a bit over 20 ounces. Likewise, for what apparently is the 12" pizza, the corresponding numbers are "26 oz." and 906 grams (6 x 151 grams = 906 grams), or 32 oz. If you have one of the boxes, can you tell me whether a serving size is based on the unbaked pizza rather than a baked one? I am trying to figure out why the disparity. Any other information that is on one or both of the boxes and not at the HRI website may also be useful in deciphering the HRI dough recipe.

As far as the yeast is concerned, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that there is a fair amount of yeast used in order to get a more yeasty flavor. The risk of using large amounts of yeast for that purpose is that the dough can rise too much and too fast, even under commercial refrigeration (if used). One way to mitigate that rise is to use a lot of oil. In fact, one time I ran a simple experiment in which I made a dough ball with only oil, yeast and salt--no water. What I wanted to see is if the yeast (IDY) wouild rehydrate only in oil and if the dough would rise as a result. It did not, at least that I could detect by the naked eye. So, I wouldn't be surprised to find that the HRI dough contains a fair amount of oil, more than we might suspect. Of course, we also know that water is used since it is the second ingredient in the pecking order, right after the flour and before the corn oil. As for docking, is there any evidence that HRI uses docking, either in their pizzerias or for the frozen pizzas? Usually you can tell from the tiny holes in the crust, either top or bottom or both. If on top, you can tell if you scrape away some of the cheese and toppings. Also, I'd be curious to know if there are any grid marks on the bottom of their frozen pizzas. This would suggest some kind of conveyor baking.

Fortunately for us, the sauce and cheese are simple and basic components of the typical HRI pizza. For the sauce, I am guessing something like a slightly watered down 6-in-1s only because the ingredients list for the sauce given at the HRI website does not mention citric acid. From what I have read from my research, at one time HRI used the Stanislaus Full Red, which is the basis of my speculation on the 6-in-1s which lacks the citric acid. The description given at the HRI website for the cheese is the standard description for a low-moisture part skim mozzarella cheese, most likely Wisconsin-based because of HRI's proximity. From what you recall, from either a HRI pizzeria or from one of their frozen pizzas, is there a lot of either the sauce or cheese used? I may be able to tell from the nutrition information as to the cheese but it would help to get some anecdotal information also. 

Returning to the matter of the yeast for a moment, when I was researching the subject, I saw a post at another forum where the poster complained that the HRI crust had too much a yeasty flavor and that the crust thickness had increased from prior experiences eating HRI pizzas. The poster speculated that the quality of the HRI pizzas had gone down as HRI opened more locations. Even with the expansion into the frozen pizza business, HRI maintains that even with the frozen pizzas it is trying to remain true to the original dough recipe. I suspect that there is some truth in both positions.

I think it will turn out that the most difficult part of deciphering the HRI pizza dough is the allocation of percents for the water and oil. I think I will have a better feel for this once I have some more missing pieces of the puzzle.

What has surprised me the most so far is how expensive the HRI pizzas are in relation to the pizza sizes. I saw several pizzas listed on their menu that sell for well over $20, especially for their 16" pizzas, which I believe they refer to as being extra large. HRI makes it sound like one can feed an entire family on one of its 12" pizzas.

Peter


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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2008, 11:18:31 AM »
Wow.  You're bringing back lots of memories for me now.  When I first got married (long ago), we lived deep into the city on the near-in southwest side of Chicago, just a mile or so from the Cook County Courthouse and infamous jail.  It was then an old Italian and German neighborhood, with kids running around speaking in their native language, and the streets in the neighborhood were all some 8 to 10 feet higher than the ground level (I know that's hard to picture).  Besides a bar on every corner, there was almost a large church on every other street.
 
While there, I heard about this tavern on 31st Street that supposedly made some great, great pizza.  It was called Home Run Inn and it's name was somehow related to the Chicago White Sox baseball team and their park, Cominsky Park, which was just a couple of blocks off 31st Street also, but many miles east of the tavern.  It was a small, one storefront tavern across the street from a large public park (Piotrowski Park).  It had a long, straight bar on the right as you walked in with about a dozen high bar seats, about 8 four person tables, and in the back of the room was the pizzamaking area which went fully across the rear of the place.  There was a very high counter separating the bar/restaurant area from the pizzamaking area (floured benches, deck ovens, sheeters, refrigerators, cash register, etc.), but if you stood up close to the counter you could watch the whole pizzamaking exercise taking place just a few feet from you.  The bar opened very early in the morning for beer and shots of whiskey but didn't start baking pizzas until around lunch time and till late at night.  But someone always seemed to be busy back there doing some pizzamaking preparatory work.
 
I remember biting into my first pizza there.  It came straight from the oven to your table and was so hot it burned the upper roof of my mouth.  After recovering from that experience I dived into the rest of that fantastic pizza and began being a happy, long time customer of one of the greatest pizza places on earth.  They served their pizzas on flat aluminum pizza trays or pans and cut the pizzas into squares (doesn't everybody?).  Always placed under the pizzas, served at the restaurant at least, were doilies (round decorative paper mats) that were used, I guess, to soak up some of the juices or grease from the cut pizzas.  In my enjoying that first pizza immensely, I remember thinking to myself that this absolutely delicious pizza was so different from the many, many great thin crust pizzas that I had then enjoyed all over Chicagoland. 

Back then, the supposed Chicago Style deep dish pizza was relatively unknown and most all Chicago neighborhood pizzerias served very thin crust pizzas, many of them cracker crust styles.  I loved the Ike Sewell and others' (e.g., original Gino's) deep dish pizzas, but to me "Chicago Style" back then meant a non-bready, very thin crust pizza cut into squares, very different from eastern U.S. style pizzas.  And Home Run Inn was just another great type of Chicago style pizza, but somewhat different from the rest.  It was not real thin but somewhat thicker, and its style later became known as a thick-thin style (I don't think their newer frozen versions follow that tradition).  It's crust was the key, very flavorful and tasty, but I have a lot of difficulty describing that flavor and taste.  This was one pizza that was difficult to taste the flour in the pizza crust and it was not a chewy kind like many of the eastern style bread dough type pizzas.  But their's was not a cracker crust.  Definitely not.  It was crispy on the outside, but tender on the inside.  While somewhat firm, a piece with a fair amount of ingredients (which was commonplace as I remember) would droop a little, especially the center cut squares. And in the many times that I watched them make pizzas, I never saw them toss or twirl the pizza skins, never saw a docker used (or the effects of one on the dough), and they always used peels to get the baked pizzas out of the deck ovens.

While I only lived in that neighborhood for about 2 or 3 years before moving to south suburbia, I thereafter would often "drive into the city" to get some of that special pizza and witness the phenomenal success and tremendous growth of their business.  Over time, they bought out neighboring homes and bars, expanded their restaurant at incredible lengths to include much more space (including a massive 2nd floor restaurant area), along with parking lots and carry-out areas, since it was always difficult to find parking around the tavern.  Today they have several other locations, and a large factory for their frozen pizza business.  I didn't pay much attention to pizzamaking back then, but now that I'm into making pizza and the Home Run Inn style is now brought up, I will have to wrack my brain to recall many of the things that might be a little helpful to the effort here.  Will report later after I give it some thought.  I haven't had one of their pizzas in many years and unfortunately when I visited the Chicago area last summer we didn't have the time to stop by our old stomping grounds and have a great Home Run Inn pizza again.  Maybe next summer. 
« Last Edit: January 03, 2008, 11:32:13 AM by BTB »

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2008, 11:43:31 AM »
BTB,

That is some great background on HRI. Even though I have never had an HRI pizza, or even a frozen one (they are not available in markets in Texas), I think I am starting to get a better feel for the product as you and Loo have described it thus far. Recently, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5045.msg51080.html#msg51080 (Reply 16), you described a pizza that you made that you liked very much. I suspect that the recipe you used calls for a higher hydration and quite possibly more oil on a baker's percent basis than the HRI dough, but are there similarities between the two end products? I noticed that buzz posted his recipe in the American section of the forum so that suggests that his pizza is more that style than the Chicago thin style. But even then there are similarities that might be exploited to arrive at an HRI dough clone.

You mentioned sheeters. Did you ever see one used in an HRI pizzeria? Often a roller or sheeter can be used to get a skin to a particular size from which it can be stretched further by hand to the desired final size. That can be faster than opening up a dough ball entirely by hand, and especially if the hired help is rather inexperienced.

Peter

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2008, 05:51:55 PM »
Continuing my research on Home Run Pizza, I came across some interesting information about how HRI has been making its pizzas at several of its locations.

The first item is an article at http://www.fesmag.com/archives/2005/09/pizza-production.asp that discusses how pizzas have been made at several of the HRI locations for several years, including its South Archer Avenue location that apparently opened in May 2004. I believe the article appeared in 2005. The part of the article that relates to HRI is excerpted below, as follows:

Who could have predicted that the shattering of Mary and Vincent Grittani’s tavern window by a baseball from a neighborhood game would be the start of a Chicago institution? But that’s exactly how Woodridge, Ill.-based Home Run Inn got its name back in 1923.

But it wasn’t until 1942 that Mary Grittani formed a partnership with her son-in-law Nick Perrino and developed the recipe for today’s well-known Home Run Inn Pizza. Over the years, the family began producing frozen pizzas, while opening new restaurants and carry-out locations. Today, Home Run Inn has five Chicagoland locations that offer a full menu, including appetizers, sandwiches, pastas, salads, dessert and, of course, pizza. “Pizza probably accounts for 60% or more of the sales in our bigger restaurants,” says Dan Costello, the company’s director of restaurant operations.

Home Run Inn’s newest location on South Archer Avenue in Chicago opened in May of 2004. The kitchen totals 2,500-square-feet, with the pizza production area comprising about 800-square-feet of this space.

In terms of the back of the house, the pizza areas in all five locations are identically laid out in a straight-line format, Costello says, although oven capacity varies. “We formerly used rotating deck ovens, but moved away from these because product variability relied too much on the operator’s technique and talent. So, about 10 years ago, we switched to conveyor ovens. We like this baking technique because it works well for our products,” he explains.

Production begins when dough balls are removed from the kitchen’s single-door reach-in refrigerator. Dough then heads to a 30-inch-high bakers rack, where newly incorporated hot pizza presses help create uniform pizza shells using a combination of pressure, time and temperature. “Traditionally, people used sheeters to compress the dough with pressure. But with this new piece of equipment, we can use less pressure because there is heat involved. With less pressure, the dough doesn’t get as damaged and we get better proofing and rise in the dough, which creates a better cell structure and texture.

After being pressed, the pizza dough is then placed on a disk, where a dough docker with pegs is used to punch holes in the crust. “This prevents steam from causing the dough to blow up during baking,” explains Costello.

Dough is then placed on a rack for 15-to-20 minutes to proof. Staff then top the dough on a 5-foot-long, 30-inch-deep stainless-steel cutting table, which has cutting boards on top. Some locations utilize a sausage depositor, a machine that uses compressed air and a blade to cut and drop sausage onto the pizza. At a second identical table that is connected to the first in an “L” shape, cheese is weighed with a scale that features an electric eye.

The conveyor ovens, which feature a 70-foot-long cooking chamber and 32-inch-wide by 106-inch-long conveyor belt, then bake the pizzas before they are carted off to the dining room for serving.


The second item is a video in which Dan Costello, who is mentioned in the first item, discussed HRI in the context of the Rachael Ray NYC/Chicago throwdown. The video can be accessed at http://video.aol.com/video-detail/home-run-inn-gears-up-for-rachael-rays-pizza-challenge/4257652238. I believe that the skin shown in the video is one made with a dough press.

The third item is a review by gayot.com at http://www.gayot.com/restaurantpages/ChicagoInfo.php?tag=CHRES99293&code=CH. The significance of this item is that it describes HRI’s crust as being medium thickness rather than thin. It also says that HRI blends three different mozzarella cheeses.

I also read elsewhere that the frozen pizza dough uses the same recipe as the original recipe. To the extent that that is actually true, or until better information comes to our attention, deciphering the makeup of the frozen dough seems to be a productive way to proceed. There is no reason why the dough clones cannot be slapped out by hand and baked on a pizza stone, since this is consistent with the way the HRI pizzas were originally baked. One of the disadvantages of using a dough press is that the dough is degassed. To recover, one has to let the dough skin proof, which is the way that HRI is doing it as noted in the first article referenced above. There is no indication that the HRI dough formulation has been modified in any way to conform to the use of a dough press, but often some modification is needed. For some insights on the use of dough presses, see the following PMQ Think Tank thread: http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=21545#21545. To see a dough press in action, see the YouTube at
California Pizza Kitchen Pizza Dough


Peter

EDIT (2/2/2012): For an alternative link for the fesmag.com article, see the Wayback Machine link at http://web.archive.org/web/20080108142211/http://www.fesmag.com/archives/2005/09/pizza-production.asp ; for the Rachael Ray video on the NYC/Chicago challenge, see http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/show/segments/view/chicago-vs-new-york-pizza-throwdown/


« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 08:16:04 PM by Pete-zza »

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2008, 04:16:28 PM »
While awaiting more information from our members on the HRI pizzas, I spoke with a fellow who apparently is with the frozen pizza distribution arm of HRI. From him, I was able to get a fair amount of additional information, including the following:

--The dough recipe for the HRI pizzas is a very closely guarded secret. However, the dough recipe used to make the frozen pizzas is very close to the one used in the pizzerias. In the factories, dough balls are used in dough presses (as they are in the pizzerias) to press and shape the dough balls into skins which are then dressed, baked and flash frozen. The frozen pizza in the box is about 90% baked. I was told that the flour is most likely all-purpose flour although it appears that some changes were made somewhere in the formulation (quite possibly the flour) to get a finished crust that is more like those in the pizzerias. Apparently the dough presses kill some of the yeast at the surface of the skins, and this affects the finished crumb. The HRI frozen pizza sales dwarf the sales of pizzas in the pizzerias by many orders of magnitude. In essence, the frozen pizza business is the tail that is wagging the dog (the pizzerias). But both need each other.

--All of the eight HRI store locations (three of which are HRI Express stores) have gone to the use of dough presses and conveyor ovens except for the original location, which still uses deck ovens. The stores take delivery of fresh dough balls from a single HRI commissary. The dough balls are cold fermented over a 24 hour period. There is some hand shaping of the skins and pinching of the rims so that the toppings are well contained during the dressing and baking of the pizza. The fellow I spoke with did not know what a typical dough ball weighs since he is not privy to that kind of production information.

--The mozzarella cheeses come from Leprino, which is a major, well-known supplier to the industry, including some of the major pizza chains (but not to individuals). The cheese blend is, in fact, a blend of three different mozzarella cheeses. I was told that this is done to get a stretchy effect for the cheese when one bites into the pizza. It wasn't clear whether this is for the frozen pizza side of the business (to compensate for the effects of freezing) or for the HRI pizzerias also. HRI does the blending of the cheeses itself, not Leprino. In fact, it sounds like HRI tries to control as many of the processes as it can.

--The tomatoes are canned tomatoes from Escalon, the producer of the 6-in-1s. I did not think to ask which of the tomatoes are used. The ingredients list at the HRI website says "Tomato Puree", along with water, which may be to dilute the tomato puree. It's possible that the Escalon tomatoes are prepared specifically for HRI. HRI prepares the actual sauces.

--I could not get an answer as to why the weight I calculated for the so-called "18 oz." cheese pizza is closer to 20 ounces, and why the weight of the so-called "26 oz." cheese pizza is closer to 32 ounces based on the nutrition data for those two products at the HRI website. This puzzled the fellow I spoke with, but he deemed it important enough to investigate why there is a discrepancy. He had data in front of him (I believe it may have been an empty box) that had different serving size data but when I converted that data to ounces, it was essentially the same as what I calculated. He says he is going to look into the matter since he is at least in part responsible for the data. He said he would get back with me once he has investigated the matter.

The last item is significant because the nutrition data is all we really have to work with at this point to arrive at what might be a formulation for the dough. I think I can calculate roughly how much mozzarella cheese is used for the 10" and 12" pizza sizes, based on the amount of saturated fat (which both the cheese and oil have but much more percent-wise in the cheese), and I believe I can determine roughly how much salt (based on total sodium content) and corn oil (based on non-sat fats) are used in the doughs. I don't know how much sauce is used, so I can only use typical amounts used by pizza operators on 10" and 12" pizzas. Getting the correct dough weights for the 10" and 12" pizzas, even if it is for the par-baked pizzas, is one of the missing links, quite possibly the most important one at this point.

Peter

« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 07:34:18 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline loowaters

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2008, 02:27:30 PM »
Holy crap, Peter!!!

I've been out sick for a couple days and haven't had a chance to look into anything and you come back with more info than I could've ever gained.  I don't know what to say besides, "WOW"!  I'd tell you to slow down but something tells me you're having some fun with this. 

Your knowledge of the processes far surpasses anything that I could even attempt to comprehend.  While you're capable of reverse engineering on paper, I'll just continue to tinker using the new info to the best of my ability to see what I get.  Interesting that they let the pressed skin proof before dressing and now we know it does get docked.  I'll probably make some dough on Monday for a Tuesday pie and I'll get some pics up for that.  Of course I'll show all the numbers when I do.

Loo
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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2008, 04:07:20 PM »
Loo,

You are right, I am having a lot of fun with this.

I think I have pretty much figured out how HRI now does things in their pizzerias, and also at their factories where they make the frozen pizzas. As you will see from the articles referenced below, there are solid two-way connections between the two divisions of the company: the pizzerias and the frozen pizza operation. The distinction between the two parts of the company is important because there have to be some compromises and adjustments in translating pizzas made in the pizzerias to the factories. For example, I found a tidbit, by Joe Perrino, the President of HRI, about the differences between the HRI pizzeria and frozen forms of pizza, buried in this article at http://www.allbusiness.com/retail-trade/food-beverage-stores-specialty-food/561357-1.html:

"People can't tell me that what is in the restaurants is different than what is made here in the plant. We use the same dough, sauce, cheese and sausage components at the restaurants as we do in our frozen pizzas," Perrino says. "They can tell me that, but in my mind I know the only thing there might be is a little more sausage, or a little more sauce or a little more dough. But the basic taste has to be the same. We strive for consistency."

And this quote from Mike Kelly, the HRI plant manager:

"The USDA has certain requirements that you have to have a certain percentage of meat topping on various products," he says. "We go above and beyond that. Whereas the USDA says you need 12-15% of sausage topping [per pizza], we're in the 18-20% range. We give a little more generous helping so we don't have a problem."

So, it appears from the Perrino quote that the frozen pizzas are a bit smaller than the ones sold in the pizzerias. The second quote (Kelly) may help explain why there is a disparity between the pizza weights given at the HRI website. The nutritional information may be superior to the 18-ounce and 26-ounce information I saw at the HRI website. The government requires the nutrition information as a condition to selling frozen pizzas at the retail level and that is usually a task that is farmed out to companies that specialize in putting together the applicable nutrition information from the pizza samples given to them to analyze. So, it is possible that the frozen pizzas actually weigh more than what HRI says they weigh. That is, the "18-ounce" pizzas may really weigh around 20 ounces, and the "26-ounce" pizzas may really weigh 32 ounces.

As I noted earlier, I believe that the HRI dough has a fair amount of oil in it. As somewhat a confirmation of this, I saw the following quote attributed to Mark Carlson, of the HRI frozen pizza operation:

“Each company has different needs,” Carlson says, “We bought a dough proofing unit, but because our dough has a higher oil content, it clogged the machine.” He adds that the machine had to be scrapped within six months and replaced with a unit that worked better for Home Run Inn’s production process (from http://bakingmanagement.bakery-net.com/article/16959).

It’s not entirely clear but I believe the proofing unit was a piece of equipment that was used before dividing and shaping the dough balls. For your purposes, you will have to decide whether you want to make your clones like the dough skins made at the original HRI location using a deck oven or clones like the skins now made at most of the HRI pizzerias using hot pressed docked skins and conveyor ovens. The frozen pizza analysis is for purposes of deciphering the dough formulation.

I might add that I now think that the Escalon tomatoes may be the Bonta Tomato Puree (specific gravity of 1.08) or the Bella Rosa Tomato Puree (specific gravity of 1.07/1.08), both of which can be diluted by adding water, which is one of the ingredients listed for the sauce at the HRI website.

That's it for now. I hope you are feeling better.

Peter

EDIT (3/10/13): The Wayback Machine link to the bakingmanagement article is at http://web.archive.org/web/20071031144943/http://bakingmanagement.bakery-net.com/article/16959
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 02:45:04 PM by Pete-zza »


Offline BTB

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2008, 06:32:04 PM »
That's a lot of good information about HRI, Peter.  They've changed their processes a whole bunch since I watched them make pizzas at the original Home Run Inn location many years ago.  They never, ever used dockers; never used presses instead of sheeters; and the original location never baked those great pizzas in a conveyor oven.  When I last lived in the area, their Darien and Arlington Heights, Illinois locations (which were then the only two outlying locations) baked their pizzas in a conveyor oven, unfortunately, and my friends and colleagues much preferred those baked in the deck ovens at the original 31st Street location.  It is, of course, much more economical for the business to use the conveyor ovens, but they don't realize how it affects the product.  Heat is heat they figure, I guess.
 
It is disappointing to learn that all their outlying restaurants now use conveyor ovens.  I had a friend who recently went to their new Archer Ave. restaurant and reported that their pizza there was just "so-so" compared to their original location.  Because of what you reported, I will now only return to the original restaurant to get a pizza baked in their great deck ovens.  It does makes that much of a difference, at least to me and many others that I know.

When I did Buzz' formulation, it was a very, very good thin crust crispy and tasty pizza.  I did another Buzz pizza a week or so ago utilizing the same process but with a little less oil, 26%, and used KAAP flour instead of the Harvest King.  It turned out excellent also, maybe a tad less crisp than the first version I did, which I'm going to guess was the result of the difference in flour.  I think I have a slight preference for the Harvest King, but imagine HRI uses AP.  I don't recall it tasting like HRI pizza, though, but I had rolled both pizzas that I did out pretty thin (est. .07 to .08 TF).  HRI would be much thicker . . . maybe twice as thick.  It will take a little experimenting to see if a thicker version could get closer to HRI. 

HRI had been doing frozen pizzas for a pretty long time, since the 1970's and I use to watch them make it at the rear of their tavern.  They were thinner crusts than those served in the restaurant and they were put into thin aluminum pans with a clear plastic cover crimped onto the pan.  They were quite successful with their frozen pizza business early on, but the process and packaging is totally different today.  In the old days, they used sheeters all the time and hand formed the unique rim on the outer crust of the skin, which was pinched and raised to form a "well" of sorts for all the cheeses and ingredients to lie in.

BTW, I hadn't checked down here in Florida, but at the Sam's warehouse stores in Michigan last summer, they had several varieties of HRI pizzas in their freezer section.  Many of those big warehouse outlets like to sell unique products, so they may be in Sam's or other warehouse clubs in other states also.  And it all started in that little tavern that I use to visit!  Another BTW, HRI has been Number One or Two in many or most of the local media and consumer surveys and contests in the Chicago area for a good number of years.  And rarely ever out of the top 5 in the hearts and minds of Chicago pizza fanatics.  And the Number One place is often rotated with Lou Malnati's in such contests and surveys.

I'm looking forward to learning more about the possibility of cloning the great Home Run Inn pizza that I used to enjoy so very much long ago.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2008, 07:21:26 PM »
BTB,

I'm speculating somewhat, but I wouldn't be surprised if HRI keeps the original location alive and functioning in its original way as much as possible so that they don't give up the "image" (with all the old family photographs) and nostalgia (the original bar and the baseball through the window story) connected to that operation. I would never shut down that operation. If anything, I would make it bigger, as I understand they have done over the years.

You are correct about the popularity of the HRI frozen pizzas in the Chicago area. According to the fellow I spoke with yesterday, HRI beats out just about everyone in the Chicago Metro area, even the frozen DiGiorno's. I think that is reason enough to keep the image of the original location alive as much as possible. I also learned that the HRI frozen pizzas were sold for a while in Texas, through the Albertson's supermarkets. However, Albertson's was bought out by SuperValu, I believe, and the new owners discontinued the product in the Albertson's stores in Texas. Otherwise I would have tracked down one of the pizzas and weighed it. I believe that HRI is now in close to 30 states, with annual revenues from the frozen pizza line of over forty million dollars.

One of the useful aspects of using a hot press machine as HRI is now doing in most of its pizzerias is that the heat creates what Tom Lehmann calls an "exoskeleton" around the dough ball (see http://www.pmq.com/mag/200705/article.php?story=lehmann#2). From what I have read, a typical temperature of a commercial hot press is around 300-400 degrees F. The pressed skin ends up with a naturally formed rim that can be tweaked by hand and retain its shape, which is what I think we saw in the throwdown video for which I provided a link in one of my earlier posts, and which I think is in evidence with the photos of pizzas at the HRI website. Moreover, the skin doesn't give up its overall shape. That allows the skin to proof before dressing and it can be put through a conveyor on a disk (or screen) instead of a pan for support. In the HRI pizzerias, there is only one par-bake. For the frozen pizzas, there are two par-bakes--one before dressing and another after dressing. That gets the finished pizza to the 90% complete mark.

The reason I asked you about buzz's pizza was because I wanted to know if the high levels of oil would work for the HRI dough, with a greater crust thickness, of course. My preliminary analysis suggests that there may be high levels of oil in the HRI dough, maybe even more more than 20%. I think that there may also be high levels of yeast. I don't want to speculate too much on these matters at this point because I might be wrong. I would rather wait until I have some more data points, if they are to come our way.

Peter

EDIT (1/25/13): Since the link to the above Lehmann article is no longer operative, see the Wayback Machine link to the same article at http://web.archive.org/web/20080121222757/http://www.pmq.com/mag/200705/article.php?story=lehmann
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 06:26:59 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline loowaters

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2008, 08:15:37 PM »
As I showed in my first trial I had only used 8% corn oil but as I looked at numbers and what would be a bulk formula, I'm going to up that oil total to a pretty huge 24%.  Why?  I've followed some of the Keep-It-Simple-Stupid principles of pizza making.  If using a 25 lb. bag of flour, 96 oz. is 24%.  That seems like a nice size for a big commercial size jug of oil and that would be rather fool proof for a pimply faced 16 year old kid making pizzas at a pizza place.  Call the water one and a quarter gallons for a nice round 10 lbs. (and a tidy little 40%) and I think we've got the basis for a new trial.

I'm going to try:

100% AP Flou
40  Water
24  Corn Oil
1.5 ADY (because of your suspicion of more yeast)
1 Salt

I'm going to knead this for about 7-8 minutes in a "batter" stage (Verasano method because I have a lousy "C" dough hook) before adding the last 1/3 of the flour.  I'll give it an overnight proof in the fridge.  I'm going to pat the dough to shape and then give it a few rolls with a roller to get it to size and then let it proof for another 15 minutes or so then shape the rim.  Dress and cook at 475*.  I'm going back to directly on the stone if all that oil lets me get the pie off the peel. :)

I'm using a TF of .11 and I think my 12" dough ball will be around 350g

We'll see how it goes but right now the crust is the most important aspect and I'll know if it's close right away.  I'll tweak that sauce, which wasn't off by much to start with, down the road.  The cheese?  Part skim, whole milk, and a little fresh?  I don't know.  Wish me luck.

One last thing, BTB, Home Run Inn has been doing frozen SINCE THE 50'S!!!  WOW!

Loo
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2008, 08:50:24 PM »
Loo,

I think your latest numbers may be closer to the mark than your last set of numbers. All the numbers I have run to date through the expanded dough calculation tool (based on the rough numbers for ingredients I have been using) suggest a high level of oil, around 25%. The hydration may be the number to watch. If you see that the dough is too dry, I would up the hydration to around 45%. You need sufficient hydration to rehydrate the ADY, especially in the presence of a lot of oil. You also want to get some rise in the finished crust and a crispy crust.

I don't believe that Leprino is big in the fresh mozzarella cheese market. So, for test purposes I would stick with either low-moisture part-skim (LMPS) or low-moisture whole milk (LMWM), or a combination of both. The total fat and sat fat levels are different for the two cheeses but not so much as throw things off that much. I checked the nutritiondata.com numbers for the two types of cheeses and a couple of LMPS brands that I have on hand, and the differences aren't likely to be big enough to alter the taste of the finished pizza. At some point it would be nice to know what the third cheese might be. Maybe it is scamorza, which is in the mozzarella family, or Provolone. Scamorza and Provolone are also pasta filata cheeses, as is mozzarella cheese.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 09:01:20 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline RSMBob

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2008, 02:10:10 AM »
Interesting posts here. I can't offer much in terms of a proper recipe, but I will say that the crust is thicker than traditional thin, yet very crisp on the bottom and edges, with sauce/cheese/toppings to near the edge. The edges are hard and crisp yet tender and flaky, much like a great pie or biscuit, maybe even a little buttery.

I had a semi-annual experience to dine in at Home Run Inn in Darien Thursday night and our group had by far the best pizzas I've had from HRI in years...recent visits had been a disappointment as they failed to meet a lofty standard. It was good enough that I wrote a letter to the company as well!

Offline loowaters

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2008, 05:31:58 PM »
Success but needs to be fine tuned in the crustiness department.

Thank you so much Peter for you efforts on this little project.  I knew I had to up the oil from my original recipe but I didn't think that I'd need to triple it.  I DID.  I also found that I needed to up the hydration from 40% while it was kneading.  I added enough that would make it 45% but I think that might have been a touch too much.  Next time I'll see how that 40% actually works out.   

Here's what I used for the formula:

100 AP Flour
40 (but upped to 45) Water
24 Corn Oil
1.5 ADY
1 Salt

Kneaded for seven minutes in Kitchen Aid mixer on 4 setting.  Rise in oven with light on and hot water for humidity for 3 1/2 hours punching down after 2 hours.  I wanted to give it a fridge rise but I got the "Daddy, I want pizza tonight" whine from my daughter so I gave in. 

Dough balls each weighed 350g and were patted to shape then rolled to just over 12".  I realized real quick that these skins weren't coming off a peel without major problems so I went the cookie sheet route.  Unfortunately, they were air bake type cookie sheets and I'll come back to that in a bit.  After rolling out on the counter I transferred to the cookie sheet and stretched it to shape before pinching up the crust rim.  I didn't dock the skin.  Finished size is 12".  I topped it immediately and into the 490* oven it went for about 8 minutes on the middle rack. 

This came out flavorfully excellent but because of a combination of things that most of you have already figured out it was not as crispy as it should be.  Problem number one was the air bake type cookie sheet that probably didn't get hot quickly enough.  Two American Metalcraft 15" hardcoat anodized perforated discs were ordered today.  Second, it's going to have to go on the bottom rack.  I tried the second pie on the bottom rack on the same sheet but didn't get much better results.  I didn't take pics of that pie.

Here's a few pics of the project, one before baking and two after it came out.  What appears to be a bulging center of the pie is just in fact my cutting board which bulges a bit when hot items are placed on it.  I bulge a bit too when hot items are placed on me so I understand.   >:D
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 07:00:04 PM by loowaters »
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Offline RSMBob

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2008, 07:45:03 PM »
That's a mighty fine looking pizza, but what are those small red frisbees on top of the pizza? 2 sins here...Home Run Inn pizza has sausage, not pepperoni, and the pepperoni (or whatever the toppings) go under the cheese, not on top.

Now please tell me you DID cut it into squares!

Can I ask why you are NOT using a pizza stone?

I make pizzas 2 or 3 times a month and am not very precise with my dough measurements, but I will try this formulation later this week on pizza night!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2008, 09:18:14 PM »
Loo,

Can you tell me how much cheese, by weight, you used on the pizza? And was that amount about in line with what you would get at an HRI pizzeria? If you know how much sauce you used, that might help also. Most pizza operators use around 7-9 ounces of mozzarella cheese and about 5 ounces of sauce for a 12" pizza.

One of the curious things about the HRI 12" frozen pizza is that the total sodium content is 4800 mg (based on the nutrition data at the HRI website). The sources of the sodium are the mozzarella cheese, the sauce, and the dough (including a little bit in the flour). Using, say, 8 ounces of cheese and 5 ounces of a basic tomato pizza sauce (without any added salt), those two items would contribute about 1900 mg. of sodium. That leaves 4800-1900 mg., or 2899 mg. sodium, for the dough. At about 2400 mg. sodium per teaspoon of salt, that comes to about 1.21 t. salt for the dough. I believe that that would be almost double what you used per dough ball. Using more cheese and more sauce would get the salt level in the dough down, which is why I asked you about the amounts of cheese and sauce you used. In the throwdown video I referenced earlier, it looked like HRI used a lot of cheese, maybe more than they use on their frozen pizzas. Not having seen or had either an HRI pizzeria pizza or frozen pizza, I have no way of knowing.

Peter
« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 07:47:06 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Bryan S

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2008, 12:01:06 AM »
Loo, Great looking pie, I can see what you mean about the doneness, still though, it does look great.  :pizza:  Loo, Great thread, thanks for sharing.  8) RSMBob: I don't use a stone and I'm sure you can get more than sausage on a HRI pie. ;D 
Making great pizza and learning new things everyday.

Offline loowaters

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Re: Home Run Inn
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2008, 05:23:03 AM »
That's a mighty fine looking pizza, but what are those small red frisbees on top of the pizza? 2 sins here...Home Run Inn pizza has sausage, not pepperoni, and the pepperoni (or whatever the toppings) go under the cheese, not on top.

Now please tell me you DID cut it into squares!

Can I ask why you are NOT using a pizza stone?

I make pizzas 2 or 3 times a month and am not very precise with my dough measurements, but I will try this formulation later this week on pizza night!

Sins?  I don't see any smileys so I'll say that I don't need any crap on how to prepare a pizza, particularly one done to replicate a style that I've had hundreds of in my lifetime. >:( 

I didn't make it with sausage yet because I didn't want too much to overpower the flavor of the crust, which is what I'm working on.  In fact, the second pie I made was plain cheese.  Also, everytime I've ever had an HRI pizza with pepperoni it's been placed on top.

Why no stone?  I said in the post that there was no way I was going to be getting that dough off the peel and on to the stone so I went the other route.  I may try to see what I can do next time when a screw up wouldn't be very upsetting.

Loo
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