Author Topic: Amici's Clone Pizza  (Read 5510 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21769
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Amici's Clone Pizza
« on: February 25, 2008, 03:37:31 PM »
A short while ago, I posted a dough formulation on the forum for a 12” version of a clone of a pizza made by Amici’s, a well-known regional pizza chain in California that specializes in NY style pizzas. From what I have been able to learn, Amici's appears to use methods that were employed by the early NYC pizza masters who popularized the NY style using basic dough ingredients (flour, water, yeast and salt only) and high-temperature ovens (usually coal-fired). Since I don’t have a high-temperature oven, I was hoping that someone with a 2stone or LBE unit would step up and try the clone dough recipe and report back on the results. If anyone tried it, he or she has remained anonymous, at least on this forum. I decided nonetheless to take a stab at the dough formulation to see what I could learn from the exercise.

The dough formulation I used is the same one that I set forth for an IDY version of the basic Amici’s dough formulation at the 2stone thread at Reply 459 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5541.msg51070.html#msg51070, more specifically, this one:

Flour (100%):
Water (65.29%):
IDY (0.13888%):
Salt (1.25%):
Total (166.67888%):
198.58 g  |  7 oz | 0.44 lbs
129.66 g  |  4.57 oz | 0.29 lbs
0.28 g | 0.01 oz | 0 lbs | 0.09 tsp | 0.03 tbsp
2.48 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.52 tsp | 0.17 tbsp
331 g | 11.68 oz | 0.73 lbs | TF = 0.1032336
Note: Nominal thickness factor used (in the Lehmann dough calculating tool) is 0.101708; 20% of the formula water is ice water; the pizza size is 12”; the bowl residue compensation is 1.5%.

The above dough formulation calls for using all-purpose flour with a fairly high protein content. Normally, I would use the King Arthur all-purpose flour which, at a protein content of 11.7%, meets that requirement but I did not have any on hand. However, I had some King Arthur Select Artisan organic all-purpose flour which, at 11.3%, is also above average for an all-purpose flour. So, I used that flour. As noted in the above table, twenty percent of the formula water was ice water, as is apparently used by Amici’s in its commercial operations. As also noted in the above table, the amount of IDY used was very small. This is because the dough would be fermented at room temperature for about 24 hours. The quantity of IDY translates into about two-thirds of a 1/8-teaspoon measuring spoon.

To prepare the dough, I put the ice cold water (the 20% portion) into the mixer bowl of my basic KitchenAid stand mixer (with a C-hook), along with the salt, which I stirred to dissolve in the water, about one minute. I then stirred the IDY into the remaining water. I did this since I wanted to be sure that the IDY would be dispersed uniformly throughout the entire dough, which it might not have done if I had added such a small amount of yeast directly to the flour. I then added the IDY/water mixture to the mixer bowl. The flour was then gradually added to the mixer bowl and, using the stir speed, mixed into the water, about 2 minutes. I used a thin bladed plastic spatula to help move the flour into the path of the C-hook. After about two minutes, I stopped the mixer and hand kneaded the ingredients together to form a rough dough ball. The dough ball was then kneaded for about 5 minutes at speed 2. After doing about a minute of final hand kneading and shaping the dough into a nice round ball, I brushed it very lightly with olive oil and placed it into a lidded Rubbermaid plastic storage container, which was then placed on my kitchen counter. The finished dough weight was 11.60 ounces, and the finished dough temperature was 69.6 degrees F.

My original plan was to let the dough ferment at room temperature (about 65-68 degrees F) for about 8 hours. However, since member giotto, who was the source of most of the information on the Amici’s dough, said that a 24-hour room temperature ferment (at least) was used by Amici’s (see Reply 460 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5541.msg51075.html#msg51075), I decided to go with 24 hours, even if that turned out to be too long for the temperature of my kitchen. As it turned out, the dough better than doubled in volume over 12 hours. I then punched it down twice thereafter, at 18 hours and 22 hours, each time after the dough had about tripled in volume. Yet, the dough was elastic with good gluten development. The dough was used after about 25 hours of total fermentation time. The dough at that juncture is shown in the first photo below.

To bake the pizza, I decided to try an experiment that came to me from a member who posted on the PMQ Think Tank forum several months ago. The poster said that he/she removed the bottom oven rack from the oven and placed two bricks inside of the bottom coil and then placed the pizza stone on the bricks. This had the effect of getting the stone closer to the bottom coil so that it could get hotter. I used two bricks to do likewise. The second photo below shows how I placed the bricks relative to the bottom coil. In addition to putting the pizza stone on top of the bricks, I also placed several 6” by 6” tiles (a total of nine tiles) on a rack at the middle position of the oven. This was my idea, and its purpose was to foreshorten the oven to emulate a deck oven and hopefully get a higher temperature at the stone level. The final brick/stone/tile arrangement is shown in the third photo below. In preparation for baking the pizza, that arrangement was preheated for about 1 ¼ hours at about 500-550 degrees F.

When I was ready to make the pizza, I took the dough ball and, after dusting it with a combination of bench flour and cornmeal (as noted by member giotto), pressed, shaped and stretched it to 12”. The dough was soft and extensible, but I had no problem opening it up to 12”. It was dressed in basic pepperoni style and baked on the pizza stone sitting on the bricks. The temperature of the stone at that point, as measured by my Extech IR thermometer, was close to 600 degrees F, which is about 50-100 degrees higher than what I normally achieve using my pizza stone in its normal position on the lowest oven rack of my oven. After about six minutes of baking on the stone, I moved the pizza to a position on top of the array of tiles, where it baked for about another minute. The total bake time was not much different than I usually use for a NY style pizza, but I expected that it would take longer for the pizza to bake to get to the usual degree of crust coloration because of the lower protein content of the all-purpose flour as compared with bread flour or high-gluten flour.

The final photos below show the finished pizza. I thought that the pizza turned out very well, with good oven spring, a nice chewy crust and a soft crumb and with decent coloration. It was one of the better NY style pizzas that I have made using only all-purpose flour. When I next make this clone again, I will either shorten the fermentation time or cut the amount of yeast in half and use the longer fermentation time (about 24 hours at room temperature). I might also use all cold water. I will also increase the salt a bit because of my preference for a higher salt level than the one used in the dough formulation (1.25%). I might also try to emulate the Amici method of forming the skin so that there is a much smaller rim (as was described in the giotto post referenced above). I will perhaps do some more experimentation with my brick/stone/tile arrangement.

I deem the Amici’s clone dough formulation to be a very good one for those who seek the classic NY pizza as were made by the old NYC masters. To get even greater authenticity, one could use fresh yeast in lieu of the dry yeast I used. Of course, using a high temperature oven gets one even closer.

Peter


Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21769
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2008, 03:41:02 PM »
And photos of the finished pizza...

Peter

Offline Essen1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3265
  • Location: SF Bay Area
    • The Hobby Cook
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2008, 03:57:01 PM »
Peter,

I've had Amici's several times here in SF and each time was a disappointment. Way too overpriced on top of it.

Mike
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21769
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2008, 04:40:35 PM »
Mike,

I have never eaten at Amici's, so I don't have any benchmark to compare my efforts against the Amici product other than a few photos that I have seen, including some posted by member giotto who happens, along with a couple other members, to be a big fan of Amici's. What appealed to me is the idea of reproducing pizzas that the old NYC masters made, which predated refrigeration, dry forms of yeast, high-gluten flours, use of dough presses/rollers, etc. Also, we have many members who want to make quality pizzas using only all-purpose flour. The dough formulation I used will work even with a standard home oven using a pizza stone in the usual manner. An added side benefit for me is that I learn something new everytime I try out a new recipe. I also like playing around with baker's percents and analyzing and converting and comparing recipes. For me, it's all part of the learning experience.

Peter

Offline Essen1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3265
  • Location: SF Bay Area
    • The Hobby Cook
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2008, 05:05:45 PM »
Peter,

I'm sure that there are people who enjoy Amici's, but the few pizzas me and my GF had weren't something to write home about. Maybe it was that one particular location, within her neighborhood. There are several others around the BA. I might try their original location in San Mateo, which is only a few minutes from my house.

You're more experienced in reverse-engineering than I am, and if you're interested I'd love to have Giorgio's dough recipe. To me, that's one hell of a pizza, NY style. Unfortunately, I haven't been there in awhile, but I can say that their crust is fantastic. Perhaps others on here might have more info on their dough.

http://www.giorgiospizza.com/

Mike
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline Pizza_Not_War

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 388
  • Location: Portland OR
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2008, 05:11:57 PM »
Peter,

I've had Amici's several times here in SF and each time was a disappointment. Way too overpriced on top of it.

Mike


Hi,

New member here! Is Amici's the same restaurant that was on Union Street? I left SF in 2001 and recall that it was an OK pizza with a Red Hook on tap. Nothing to get excited about, although at the time is was one of the better SF pizza restaurants.

My guess is that most of the posters here will make a clone better than the original because you guys seem to care a lot more than they do.


Thanks

PNW

Offline Essen1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3265
  • Location: SF Bay Area
    • The Hobby Cook
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2008, 05:20:03 PM »
PNW,

They have two or three locations in SF, but their original place is in San Mateo. I know there is one on Union St but I haven't been there in ages, so I don't know if that one still exists. The location I was talking about was at Mission Bay, which is a newer location.

mike
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline abatardi

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 432
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • It's MOOPS!
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 05:35:42 PM »
Looks like a good pie but too thick for Amici's as you mentioned.  They spin that skin out so you can pretty much see through it, and the rim is pretty small also.

I will have to give this recipe a shot at some point.  Amici's is a good pie so anyone that has had a bad experience I would encourage to give it another try (get the Amici's combo  :D).  I have always had good luck with the ones in San Jose and Mountain View.  I tried the wood-fired one in redwood shores and it wasn't memorable.

- aba

Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21769
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 08:02:03 PM »
You're more experienced in reverse-engineering than I am, and if you're interested I'd love to have Giorgio's dough recipe. To me, that's one hell of a pizza, NY style. Unfortunately, I haven't been there in awhile, but I can say that their crust is fantastic. Perhaps others on here might have more info on their dough.


Mike,

In Amici's case, we were fortunate because giotto somehow was able to get what appears to be very precise and credible information. That is rare. The hardest dough formulations to reverse engineer are dough formulations used by independents, or "mom and pop" pizza places, which might include Giorgio's. In such cases, they rarely prepare ingredients lists or nutrition data for their customers, nor are they asked for same beyond the occasional questions concerning ingredients to which some people might be allergic or have a special dietary concern. The big chains are more heavily regulated and it is quite common for them to prepare documents for public review and scrutiny that list ingredients used in their products and, in many cases, nutrition data. They are much more likely to be targeted by people and organizations that have concerns about the nutritional content and value of the chains' products, ingredients to which people might be allergic, and concerns of vegans and others who have special nutrition needs. Some of the best information I have gotten for reverse engineering purposes has come from documents like these. When I search for them, I usually use "vegans" and "nutritional information" as search words.

In the case of Giorgio's, the best information for reverse engineering purposes would be the types and brands of ingredients used, and some basic details on the way that the dough is prepared and managed. Wherever I can, I try to determine what amount of dough is used to make a particular size pizza. From that, it is possible to get fairly close to the dough thickness used. Then it is a matter of filling in the gaps based on whatever other information can be ascertained. If you can get the above type of information unique to Giorgio's, you might start a new thread and I will work with you on a possible reverse engineering.

Peter


Offline Essen1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3265
  • Location: SF Bay Area
    • The Hobby Cook
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2008, 08:23:45 PM »
Peter,

Cool. Let me see what I can come up with as far as ingredients and nutritional data goes. I could always send them an e-mail and put a request in. I know, it doesn't guarantee a reply from them but it's worth a shot.

What is usually needed, besides flour type, yeast, etc. ?  I can't ask for the weight of one dough ball because that would be a little too obvious.

Edit: Btw, I have two skins 75/25 ratio going right now and will post some pics later.

Mike
« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 08:34:57 PM by Essen1 »
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/


Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21769
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2008, 09:24:33 PM »
Mike,

The big guys will often, but not always, respond to email requests but the little guys usually don't or won't tell you anything of value. You either have to go into the pizzeria and talk with someone or else talk to someone on the phone, which is less effective since it is easier to deflect you to someone's voicemail or dismiss you over the phone than when you are face to face. I usually tell the waitperson or a manager that pizza is my hobby and ask if I can watch the pizza maker at work. I don't do this very often, but I don't ever recall being denied such a request. From there, I try to find ways to elicit the information I am after without coming across like I know everything about the subject. Some pizza makers are so starved for attention that if you show any interest or appreciation for what they do they will tell you just about anything. While you are in the work area, you can also sometimes see the products they are using, like brand of tomatoes. Key questions are the type of flour (e.g., all-purpose or high-gluten), the relationship of dough ball weight to pizza size, and whether the dough is cold fermented or room-temperature fermented. Anything else, like type of yeast or the brand of mozzarella cheese, will be gravy.

Peter


Offline Essen1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3265
  • Location: SF Bay Area
    • The Hobby Cook
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2008, 09:42:50 PM »
Peter,

I sent them an email, requesting some nutritional data. I guess we'll see if they respond. There is, however, a law about to be passed in SF, which would require restaurants to make the nutritional data of their recipes/dishes public, for whatever reason. I think it awaits approval from the rest of the Board of Supervisors.

The problem with going into Giorgio's and chatting a pizza maker up is that the place is always packed to the hilt and every time I've been there, all of them are extremely busy. It's not a laid back joint, there's always a waiting list...which is a good thing. Their stuff is absolutely delicious.

I guess I have to wait until I hear from them.

Mike
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline jkandell

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 50
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2008, 07:10:02 AM »
The quantity of IDY translates into about two-thirds of a 1/8-teaspoon measuring spoon.

You noted you were going to cut the yeast back from the above. I find mixing a 1:7 yeast to flour ratio, kept in pillbox in the freezer, works great for these types of recipes with minute amounts.   That way 1/2t is equal to 1/16th t of yeast.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21769
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2008, 07:26:21 AM »
jkandell,

I intentionally related the amount of IDY to a fraction of a 1/8-t. measuring spoon because most people have that size measuring spoon. I actually used a 1/32 t. "mini" measuring spoon three times to measure out the IDY. In my set of mini measuring spoons, 1/32 t. is called a "smidgen". I didn't mention that mini spoon because most people don't have it in their measuring spoon collection. If I were to cut the amount of IDY in half, I would use three of the 1/64-t. mini-spoons. The 1/64 t. mini spoon is called a "drop".

I do agree that your method also seems to makes sense particularly if the mixture is kept in the freezer. Otherwise, the IDY might start to rehydrate prematurely because of the moisture in the flour.

Peter
« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 07:36:56 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline David

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 966
  • What’s So Funny ‘Bout Pizza Love and Understanding
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2008, 02:16:14 PM »
I have enjoyed watching the "Pizza Friday" series and just looked again at the Amici episode /video.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/category?blogid=26&cat=1398

They are grossing in the region of $37 Million between 10 stores if what I read recently in the press is to be believed.Very impressive.What I found incredible is listening to one of the owners speaking in the video and mentioning the problems of producing individual pizzas in a "Wood burning oven".It's laughable due to the fact that they are clearly using a "Woodstone" gas flame oven.I bet there is a high percentage of his customers who believe this also.In his defense,he doesn't actually saythat is what they use,but the implication is there IMO.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 02:19:40 PM by David »
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline David

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 966
  • What’s So Funny ‘Bout Pizza Love and Understanding
Re: Amici's Clone Pizza
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2008, 02:26:03 PM »
Some pizza makers are so starved for attention that if you show any interest or appreciation for what they do they will tell you just about anything.
Peter

 :-D :-D Beautiful !......only the highest poster on the board can make a statement like that Peter !
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market


 

pizzapan