Author Topic: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza  (Read 213843 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« on: June 08, 2008, 10:37:13 AM »
Over the past several months, I have spent considerable time researching--and trying to reverse engineer and clone--a typical “original” pizza from Papa John’s. I selected Papa John’s as the target of my efforts not only because it is generally considered to make a better pizza than its major competitors (according to customer satisfaction ratings) but also because I am actually able to buy sample pizzas from Papa John’s, watch the pizzas being made (and ask occasional questions), analyze the pizzas, dissect them, eat them, and compare them with my own results. This is a luxury that I have rarely enjoyed in my past reverse engineering/cloning projects. Papa John’s pizzas are also popular among many of our members. So, developing a workable PJ clone dough formulation may help them satisfy their cravings for PJ pizzas without having to go to a PJ store, and at much lower cost.

I should mention at this point that my objective has not been to make a clone that is better than a Papa John’s pizza, as several members, notably Randy, have attempted to do. Rather, my sole objective has been to try to make a PJ clone pizza that comes as close as possible to an authentic pizza made by Papa John’s, yet realizing that I cannot make an identical pizza because I don’t have the right equipment and the exact ingredients that PJ uses. In my case, I selected a standard PJ 14” “original” pepperoni pizza as my benchmark clone pizza.

In the next post, I will describe what I have learned in general about Papa John’s dough, together with observations that I believe are relevant to the process of developing a useful clone dough formulation for home application. That clone dough formulation, and my recommended implementation of it, is presented in Reply 2.  A sample photo of the most recent pizza made using that clone dough formulation is shown below.

Peter


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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2008, 10:43:25 AM »
The PJ Dough. It is well known, and reported by PJ’s itself in various company documents--including official documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission--that the dough balls used by PJ stores are made at company-owned commissaries (there are currently 11 such commissaries in the U.S., known as Quality Control Centers) and delivered fresh to the stores by truck twice a week. Having worked fairly extensively with long-lived doughs (see, for example, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.0.html), I believe that the only way that this can be done and fit the twice-a-week delivery schedule is to prepare the dough balls under tightly controlled environmental conditions (for consistency at the store level), using small amounts of yeast (to slow down the fermentation), and taking steps to insure low finished dough temperatures, especially in the storage of the dough balls and during transit of the dough balls in trucks to stores.

An additional related consideration is that, as a practical matter, the dough balls made to fit a several day cycle are unlikely to be usable within the first couple of days after being made. This is because of insufficient fermentation (and very little rise). So, assuming that the dough balls are usable starting with the third day, the dough formulation will have to be designed to accommodate a usable lifespan for the dough balls of at least six days from the time the dough balls are made. The individual stores have commercial coolers, so some dough balls are likely to be usable beyond six days but, for practical commercial and quality reasons, perhaps for not more than eight days. For my clone experiments, I used five days as the window of usability in establishing my PJ clone dough formulation as presented in Reply 2. It is possible to shorten or lengthen that window but, as noted in the opening post, my objective is to try to replicate the PJ dough to the greatest extent possible in a home setting. Modifications can--and no doubt will--come later.

Other important aspects of the PJ dough that need to be understood to make a credible PJ clone dough are 1) the hydration of the dough, and 2) the amounts of sugar and oil used in a typical PJ dough.

Having watched how the PJ dough balls are handled in their stores, and also in YouTube videos such as the one at

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPm8aHvpjE8" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPm8aHvpjE8</a>


I have concluded that the hydration for PJ doughs is low relative to the rated absorption of the flour used (typically a high protein flour). I would estimate a hydration of around 55-58%. Dough balls in this hydration range will be fairly easy to shape and stretch, slap and toss, and experience few extensibility problems. 

The abovementioned hydration range is also consistent with a recommended hydration value (56.5%) given by Tom Lehmann in his version of a PJ dough “clone” at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4497.msg37615.html#msg37615. What I have seen personally supports that level of hydration. In my store visits, I saw dough balls that were clearly overfermented and very gassy, as well as dough balls that were used right out of the cooler without any warm-up. But, in both instances, the dough balls had a good balance between elasticity and extensibility and were easy to open up, especially after being docked with a simple plastic dough docker. Once docked, the skins were slapped from hand to hand a few times to fully open them up and tossed in the air one or more times before being placed on pizza screens.

If the hydration levels were much higher than noted above, I think PJ’s would experience many problems with extensibility in the preparation of their skins. That is something they can ill afford with a work staff that is prone to high turnover, not to mention the amount of training and experience that their pizza makers would need to develop the skills to successfully handle high-hydration doughs. As it is, I was told by a PJ pizza maker that it takes about three weeks of fairly steady work to be able to master the process of preparing skins.

Further evidence of the relatively low hydration of the PJ doughs comes from the baked PJ pizzas themselves. In the official photos that I have seen at the PJ website (http://order.papajohns.com/pizzas/order.html), the PJ pizzas look to have fairly large and distinct rims. However, the pizzas that I bought from PJ’s did not have particularly large and distinct rims. Also, they were not particularly open and airy with a lot of irregularly sized and shaped voids. From what I have read and observed, the rim of a typical baked PJ pizza is about ˝” thick and the rest of the pizza crust is about Ľ” thick (see http://everything2.com/e2node/How%2520a%2520pizza%2520gets%2520made). When I experimented with PJ dough clone hydrations above 60%, the rims were much larger and the crumb was puffier and more open and airy. This, again, leads me to believe that the 55-58% hydration range is a plausible one—both at PJ’s and for a PJ dough clone. For my purposes in developing the dough clone formulation discussed in Reply 2 below, I used a hydration of 56.5% (the Lehmann hydration value).

A dominant feature of the PJ dough, alluded to above, is the amount of sugar and oil used in the dough. From my analysis, there are large quantities of both, and it is that combination that contributes to the characteristic soft and tender quality of a typical PJ crust and crumb. While I agree with Tom Lehmann’s numbers on hydration, I believe he is low in both sugar and oil. I believe his numbers will work (with the amount of yeast he recommends) but not for a dough that will have a useful life of six or more days. Two days--maybe three--would be my best guess. In my clone experiments, when I tested a combination of high amount of yeast and a lot of sugar, I found that the dough fermented too fast and became a bit too extensible (though entirely manageable). To extend the dough fermentation window without reducing the amount of sugar I felt was needed in the dough, I found it necessary to use small amounts of yeast, along with relatively low dough storage temperatures. As noted below in Reply 2, my starting numbers were 0.14% IDY, 7.3% oil (soybean) and 4.8% sugar. For salt, I used the standard Lehmann value of 1.75%.

In order to produce a credible PJ clone dough formulation for the benchmark 14” pizza, it was necessary to determine how much dough to use. From nutrition information available from PJ’s at its website at http://order.papajohns.com/nutrition.html, as well as the amounts of sauce and cheese reportedly used by PJ’s (see Reply 14 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,994.msg38390.html#msg38390), weights of actual 14” pepperoni pizzas purchased from PJ’s, and from weights of the sauces, cheeses and toppings for my own PJ pepperoni pizza clones, I concluded that a typical PJ 14” pizza uses around 21 ounces of dough, and possibly a little bit more. To test my numbers, when I sauced, cheesed, topped (with pepperoni slices), and baked my last pepperoni clone pizza (the one shown in Reply 2), it weighed 35.34 ounces (after baking). PJ’s own nutrition information suggests that a fully baked pepperoni pizza weighs 1024 grams (8 slices x 128 g./slice), or a bit over 36 ounces. In my case, I took the weight of my fully baked pizza while it was hot rather than at room temperature, which, according to November, would have provided a more accurate comparison with the published PJ weight data that is based on room-temperature pizzas. So, the numbers I used for the PJ clone dough formulation may need adjustment once I do a more technically correct comparison. Nonetheless, based on the results I achieved, I believe that my numbers are reasonably good.

As an interesting side note, one of the things I learned about the PJ dough balls that surprised me is how they are delivered to PJ’s stores. I assumed that the dough balls were delivered to the PJ stores by PJ’s itself in company-owned trucks. As it turns out, the dough balls, as well as the pizza sauce, cheese, meat toppings and smallware, are all delivered from the PJ Quality Control Centers to the PJ stores by UPS. It is not the UPS that we are familiar with as individuals but rather a logistics subsidiary of UPS that specializes in solving complex logistical problems of its clients. In PJ’s case, the trucks bear the Papa John’s insignia and the drivers wear Papa John’s uniforms but all of the delivery aspects, including how to properly maintain dough temperatures during delivery runs, are handled by UPS’s logistics unit. For those who are interested in this facet of the PJ story, it is explained in a highly informative manner at http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2002/04/29/focus9.html and at http://www.knowledgevibes.com/articleDetails.php?id=1228&cat_id=31&subcat_id=92&third_id=198. There is also a good writeup of the history and development of Papa John's as a business at http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Papa-Johns-International-Inc-Company-History.html.

Peter

EDIT (7/13/14): For a Wayback Machine version of the inoperative knowledgevibes link above, see http://web.archive.org/web/20090319055612/http://www.knowledgevibes.com/articleDetails.php?id=1228&cat_id=31&subcat_id=92&third_id=198

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2008, 10:53:29 AM »
With the foregoing posts as background, I used the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html to come up with the following recommended PJ dough clone formulation, which, based on the results I achieved, I believe represents a good starting point to make a very good PJ clone dough and pizza:

Flour (100%):
Water (56.5%):
IDY (0.14%):
Salt (1.75%):
Vegetable (Soybean) Oil (7.3%):
Sugar (4.8%):
Total (170.49%):
354.44 g  |  12.5 oz | 0.78 lbs
200.26 g  |  7.06 oz | 0.44 lbs
0.5 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.16 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
6.2 g | 0.22 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.11 tsp | 0.37 tbsp
25.87 g | 0.91 oz | 0.06 lbs | 5.7 tsp | 1.9 tbsp
17.01 g | 0.6 oz | 0.04 lbs | 4.27 tsp | 1.42 tbsp
604.28 g | 21.31 oz | 1.33 lbs | TF = N/A
Note: Dough ball weight = 21 oz. (for a 14" pizza); a nominal thickness factor of 0.136419; bowl residue compensation = 1.5%

Before proceeding further, some comments are appropriate.

First, I used King Arthur bread flour (KABF)—only because I do not have any high-gluten flour on hand. Although a high-quality bread flour, like the KABF, is a very good choice based on my results using that flour, my recommendation to others is to consider using a high-gluten flour if it is available. Typically, a high-gluten flour has a protein content of around 14%, as compared with 12.7% for the KABF. Although it is not entirely clear what flour PJ’s is currently using (it is a proprietary blend), in the past it has used high-gluten flour to prepare its dough. Its current flour is described only as being a “high protein” flour (see, for example, http://www.uppereast.com/papajohns.html).

For those who use the KABF and wish to supplement it with vital wheat gluten (VWG) to achieve an overall protein content comparable to a high-gluten flour, which is a method that I often use, I suggest that November’s Mixed Mass Percentage Calculator at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/ be used to determine the amount of VWG to use to achieve the targeted protein content of the blend. If I were to do this using the Hodgson Mill brand of VWG, the amount of KABF to use to achieve a targeted protein content of 14% is 12.20 oz. (345.83 g.), and the amount of VWG to use is 0.30 oz. (8.6 g.), or about 2.85 t. The comparable numbers for those using the Bob’s Red Mill brand of VWG are 12.24 oz. (347.04 g.) of KABF, and 0.26 oz. (7.39 g.), or 2.96 t., of VWG.

Second, the amount of IDY (instant dry yeast) used in the above formulation is quite small--equal to a bit less than 3/16 t., or just under three of the “pinch” measuring spoons for those who have mini-teaspoon sets such as shown, for example, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5583.msg47264.html#msg47264. For those who do not have mini measuring spoons, using 1/8 t. plus almost half again should come pretty close.

Third, as noted in the above table, I used a bowl residue compensation factor of 1.5%, to compensate for minor dough losses during preparation of the dough. That number turned out to be a reliable number.

I elected to use a fairly simple method to prepare the dough. I started by adding the water (I used bottled spring water), at a temperature of 55 degrees F, to the mixer bowl of my basic KitchenAid stand mixer. I then added the salt and sugar to the water and stirred to fully dissolve, about one minute. The oil was then added to the mixer bowl, followed by all of the flour. (Normally, I would sift the flour to improve its hydration, but decided this time to skip that step to simplify the procedure.) I used the flat beater attachment to combine all of the ingredients in the mixer bowl, at stir/speed 1, for about a minute, or until the dough mass pulled away from the sides of the mixer bowl and collected around the flat beater. In my case, there was no raw flour left in the bowl. I then scraped the dough off of the flat beater (it was shaggy and on the sticky side) and switched to the C-hook attachment and kneaded the dough mass at stir speed, for about 2 minutes, or just until the dough gathered around the dough hook in a fairly cohesive, but still somewhat wet and sticky, mass.

At this point, I sprinkled the IDY over the dough mass in the mixer bowl. This is a step that I have used many times before to help prolong the useful life of a dough. For those who are interested, some of the theoretical and practical underpinnings of this step have been described in detail at this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.0.html. The dough was then kneaded for about 5-6 minutes at speed 2. The finished dough weighed 21.30 ounces, corresponding to a thickness factor of 0.13837 (or 0.13642 without the bowl residue factor), and had a temperature of around 78 degrees F, which was within the range of about 75-80 degrees F that I often use. After about a minute of hand shaping and rounding, the dough ball was lightly oiled and placed in an oiled 1-quart glass Pyrex bowl (*Note: see the 3/31/14 EDIT below), covered with the accompanying plastic lid, and placed in the refrigerator. To allow gases in the bowl to escape during fermentation while retaining the moisture of condensation, I had drilled a hole in the middle of the lid, the idea for which came to me from November (I believe that Bill/SFNM does the same).

The dough remained in the refrigerator for five days. During the first two days, there was little noticeable expansion of the dough. It is unlikely that the dough could have been used during that time, because of insufficient fermentation. On the third day, the dough started to expand, but slowly, and then appeared to level off in terms of its expansion. The dough was used after about five days, which was within the window of usability (3-8 days) that I believe applies to the dough balls used at PJ’s stores, as discussed in detail in Reply 1 in this thread. From the appearance and firmness of the dough to the touch, I believe that it could have lasted at least a couple days more, but at the risk of increased extensibility.

Upon removal from the refrigerator, the dough was allowed to warm up at room temperature (about 80 degrees F) for about an hour. In preparation for shaping and stretching the dough, I had made my own version of PJ’s Dustinator flour blend that is used by PJ’s pizza makers on the bench--both on and in the dough skins--when working with the dough balls to form skins, as well demonstrated in the YouTube videos referenced in Reply 1. To make a “clone” of the Dustinator flour blend, I used a combination of semolina flour, white flour (KABF in my case), and soybean oil (I worked a few drops into the flours). The first photo below shows the dough ball as it warmed up on my work surface. The flour blend shown is my Dustinator “clone”.

After I opened the dough ball to about 10”, in the same manner as noted in the videos, I used a dough docker (mine has blunt metal pins rather than plastic pins) but concluded that it was not really necessary. The dough was quite extensible as it was, and was easy to shape and stretch out to the desired final size of 14”. Because of the extensibility of the skin, I did not attempt to toss it in the air, as it is done at PJ’s. I simply draped the skin onto a 14” pizza screen. I made no attempt to form a rim for the pizza—only a tug here and there to fit the skin to the screen. This is the way I saw the workers at PJ’s do it (and also in the videos).

To dress the pizza for baking, I started with 5.5 ounces (by weight) of pizza sauce, which was spread to about 1 Ľ” of the edge of the pizza. The pizza sauce I used was a “clone” sauce based on Escalon’s 6-in-1 fresh-pack tomatoes (which is similar to the Stanislaus Tomato Magic product but without citric acid). The actual composition of the clone sauce is set forth in Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6633.msg57044.html#msg57044. After saucing the pizza, I distributed 9 ounces (about two cups) of diced low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese (Best Choice brand) over the pizza. Although I didn’t do it with the pizza shown below in this post, I suggest that the cheese be distributed across the entire pizza, including random parts of the rim. Any cheese that spills over the edge should then be retrieved and placed back on the pizza to maintain the weight of the cheese. This method ensures that some of the cheese covers the rim, as is done at PJ’s, and creates a mottled effect on the rim when the cheese bakes and browns. Had I used that approach, I think that the rim of my pizza would have more closely resembled the rims of the pizzas I bought from PJ’s.

I finished by placing 44 Hormel pepperoni slices over the entire pizza, in a pattern where the edges of the slices touched each other, as has been stated to be the proper procedure to be used at PJ’s. However, before placing the pepperoni slices on the pizza, I allowed the slices to “sweat” at room temperature for about a half hour to induce release of some of the fat. I then placed the slices between layers of paper towels and firmly pressed them together to absorb the released fat. By doing this, I removed about 6 grams of fat, reducing the weight of the pepperoni slices from 88 grams (3.10 oz.) to 82 grams (2.89 oz.). This simple measure had the effect of reducing the “oiling off” of the pepperoni slices on the baked pizza, which had been a problem I was experiencing before instituting the new measure. I hasten to add that this method may only work with a fairly high room temperature, which, in my case, was around 82 degrees F.

The dressed pizza was baked, on the 14” screen, on the lowest oven rack position, at around 500 degrees F (preheated for 15 minutes), for about 8-9 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust was browned. The remaining photos in this post show the finished pizza.

After the pizza was baked, I had the benefit of comparing it with a 14” pepperoni pizza that I had purchased from PJ’s. The overall appearances of the two pizzas were somewhat different--which I attributed mainly to the different ovens and bake protocols and the absence of cheese on the rim of my pizza--but the sizes of the pizzas were essentially identical. Similarly, the crust thicknesses at the rim and at the rest of the crust, and the texture (soft and tender, and fluffy in parts) and mouthfeel of the two pizzas were remarkably alike. Both pizzas also behaved the same upon coming out of the oven--with the slices being initially soft and flexible with drooping tips, and firming up only after being allowed to cool for several minutes.

As for differences, there was a slight difference in the two sauces, with mine having a slightly more noticeable oregano taste. The PJ crust also seemed to be slightly less sweet than mine. These differences suggest some possible experimentation or tweaking, for example, reducing the amount of oregano in future sauce batches or using a different variety of oregano (my dried oregano is an Italian variety and is potent and aromatic) and reducing the amount of sugar in the dough, for example, to something between 4% and the 4.8% I used.

Interestingly, when I did several side-by-side tests of reheated leftover slices of the two pizzas, I found them to be virtually indistinguishable. To eliminate as much of the subjective component as possible, I cut the slices into small bite-size pieces and shuffled them around on my plate, without looking. I then randomly picked them up off of the plate and ate them without examining them (I actually closed my eyes). I could not tell which pizza was which.

Some changes to the dough formulation that I hope to implement in future clones include sifting the flour (KABF or equivalent) to improve its hydration, and using vital wheat gluten (for texture and flavor purposes). I also plan to reduce the sugar to about 4-4.25%. I might also use a small amount of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) as a dough conditioner for dough strengthening purposes. As best I can tell from information that was provided to me by PJ’s, it does the same thing.

Peter

EDIT (3/4/13): Replaced the Calculator link with the current link.
EDIT (3/31/14): Once the dough ball has been formed and placed in its storage container, one can use the poppy seed trick as described at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6914.0.html to monitor the volume expansion of the dough during the course of its fermentation.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 07:54:36 PM by Steve »

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2008, 11:00:31 AM »
For comparison purposes, I have shown below photos of the last Papa John's pepperoni pizza that I purchased and against which I compared my last pizza (the one shown in the last post). As will be noted, the Papa John's pizza had fewer pepperoni slices (about 33) than my pizza, which had 44 pepperoni slices (the same number as an earlier pepperoni pizza that I had purchased from PJ's. Also the latest PJ pizza weighed about 4 ounces less than mine.

Peter
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 07:57:38 PM by Steve »

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2008, 11:30:32 AM »
For those rabid fans of Papa John’s pizzas who are hell-bent on trying to replicate an authentic Papa John’s pizza (I guess that would include me), I have presented below ingredients lists provided to me by Papa John’s for its Pizza Dough ("original"), Pizza Sauce, Pizza Sauce Dipping Cup, Cheese, and Pepperoni. I have also parenthetically noted the companies that, to the best of my knowledge, provide the Pizza Sauce, Cheese and Pepperoni to Papa John’s. Unfortunately, the companies listed do not sell directly to individuals (at the retail level). This means having to find suitable replacements for home use. I’d be happy to comment on any of the products noted. In all cases, a statement accompanied the information provided to me by PJ’s as follows: “Ingredients are not necessarily listed in order of predominance.” In some cases, it is obvious that information was provided to satisfy consumers, including vegans/vegetarians, with concerns about nutrition, allergies, and diet.

Pizza Dough: Unbleached enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, malted wheat barley flour, wheat starch, ascorbic acid, enzyme, niacin, iron as ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, sugar, soybean oil, salt, yeast [fungal or bacterial derivatives – NO animal derivatives]. No trans fat.
(Note: According to John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John's, the wheat is from Kansas)

Pizza Sauce: Vine-ripened fresh tomatoes, sunflower oil, sugar, salt, spices [oregano, black pepper, basil], garlic*, extra virgin olive oil and citric acid. *Dehydrated. No trans fat. See, also, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6633.0.html for an analysis and "clone" version of this sauce.
(Stanislaus Food Products)

Pizza Sauce Dipping Cup: Tomato sauce (tomato puree, sunflower oil, sugar, salt, garlic*, extra virgin olive oil, spices [oregano, black pepper, basil], citric acid), water, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate (as preservatives) *Dehydrated

Cheese: Part-skim mozzarella (pasteurized milk, cultures, salt, enzymes [chymax – NOT animal derived]), food starch [derived from corn], powdered cellulose (added to prevent caking), whey protein concentrate, sodium proprionate (added as a preservative) Contains milk
(Leprino Foods)

Pepperoni: Pork and beef, salt, spices [red pepper, black pepper, fennel, anise, garlic, oregano, rosemary], natural flavoring [mustard and spice extractives (anise, black pepper, fennel, garlic, oregano, red pepper)], dextrose, lactic acid starter culture, oleoresin of paprika, natural hickory smoke flavoring, sodium nitrate, BHA, BHT, citric acid
(Doskocil, a part of Food Service Company, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods: It is believed that the specific product is the one described at http://www.tysonfoodservice.com/Products/4041-282.aspx)

Peter
EDIT: According to additional information received from Papa John's on 6/9/08, the flour used to make the PJ Dough is not bromated; also, the sauce used in the Pizza Sauce Dipping Cup is packaged by another vendor, who adds the preservatives.

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2008, 12:43:17 PM »
In the course of my research on the Papa John’s pizzas, I tried to learn as much as possible on how PJ’s bakes it pizzas since that information could be useful in determining the proper bake protocol to use in the home with a standard home oven.

What I found is that PJ’s in general uses Middleby-Marshall impingement conveyor ovens. I timed the bake for the last pepperoni pizza I bought from PJ’s, as well as others as I was waiting for my pizza, to be about 6 ˝ minutes. This bake time seems to be fairly standard at PJ’s (http://tipthepizzaguy.com/discussion/thread.php?ip=178&num=5996), although with the fairly new “WOW” ovens that some PJ stores are using, the bake time can be as short as 4 ˝-5 minutes (which comports with the information provided by member dapizza at Reply 14 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,994.msg38390.html#msg38390). I have read that the typical PJ conveyor oven bake temperature is around 470-490 degrees F (http://everything2.com/e2node/How%2520a%2520pizza%2520gets%2520made).

As previously noted, I used an oven temperature of around 500 degrees F. In earlier attempts, I tried using a lower bake temperature and a longer bake time, but it took a long time for the bottom to turn a nice brown. So, I concluded that, for my oven, the higher bake temperature was better. I might even try a slightly higher temperature next time and move the pizza to a higher oven position if needed to finish the top of the pizza. All of this suggests that one may need to experiment with bake protocols to find the most suitable one.

Peter

EDIT (6/4/2013): For the Wayback Machine link to the tipthedriver forum, see http://web.archive.org/web/20090319021754/http://tipthepizzaguy.com/discussion/thread.php?ip=178&num=5996

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2008, 11:33:10 PM »
Peter,  just fyi, on the food network hd right now a segment of unwrapped about papa johns.  I'll take notes -marc

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2008, 07:36:41 PM »
In a recent post by member scprotz at another thread, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6749.msg58087.html#msg58087, he suggested using a food processor to convert mozzarella cheese to dice form. As previously mentioned, Papa John's uses a diced mozzarella cheese blend (from Leprino) for its pizzas. For a recent PJ clone pizza, I decided to try the food processor method recommended by scprotz. It worked beautifully. I left the mozzarella cheese, which was in block form, in the refrigerator just until I was ready to dice it. I then cut the block into several chunks and threw them into the food processor (a 14-cup Cuisinart). It took no time at all to convert the cheese to dice form--to just about any fineness of dice that I wanted. In my case, I tried to get the dice fairly small, as the PJ cheese blend seems to be based on my recent visits to my local PJ store. I did, however, weigh the diced cheese to be sure that it was of the proper weight for my clone pizza.

Peter

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 11:00:11 PM »
Peter,  John himself metioned using either black river seed or black sunflower? seed oil in the dough.  He mentioned that "it " did not have that bitter flavor of a a thicker shell.  It was hard to understand.  I think he meant black sunflower seed oil.  Otherwise,  he mentioned  a max 6 min cook time,  5oz of sauce on what appeared to be a 16" pizza,  and 2 cups of cheese diced as noted.  They described it as 100% mozz,  but later in the show when giving tips on making the pizza at home,  he mentioned using high gluten flour and 3 cheeses.  Mozz ,Porv, and muenster.  He said that might get you close.  (he wasnt acctually speaking about you :D)  -marc

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2008, 07:12:33 AM »
Peter,  John himself metioned using either black river seed or black sunflower? seed oil in the dough.  He mentioned that "it " did not have that bitter flavor of a a thicker shell.  It was hard to understand.  I think he meant black sunflower seed oil.  Otherwise,  he mentioned  a max 6 min cook time,  5oz of sauce on what appeared to be a 16" pizza,  and 2 cups of cheese diced as noted.  They described it as 100% mozz,  but later in the show when giving tips on making the pizza at home,  he mentioned using high gluten flour and 3 cheeses.  Mozz ,Porv, and muenster.  He said that might get you close.  (he wasnt acctually speaking about you :D)  -marc


Marc,

Thank you for taking notes and posting on this matter. The "mysterious" ingredient is one that a few members, including Lydia, commented on before, specifically, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4584.msg38698.html#msg38698. What is a bit puzzling, however, is that PJ's website itself, at http://www.papajohns.com/menu/faqs.htm, says that the oil used in the dough is soybean oil. Their own ingredients lists also do not show anything other than soybean oil in their doughs. Sunflower oil is used in their sauce, as noted a few posts back in this thread.

When I was doing my research on the PJ operations, I specifically looked for evidence of some unique or unusual ingredient in their dough and did not find anything. That type of information would have to come from someone in one of their eleven regional Quality Control Centers. I have found that the people who work in their stores have limited knowledge of what is in their products. Basically, they are just "assemblers" of pizzas.

As far as the cheese recommendation is concerned, as noted previously, PJ's uses a mozzarella cheese blend from Leprino Foods. One of Leprino’s specialties is comminuted (diced or shredded) Quick Frozen Cheeses, also known as QLC/IQF (Quality-Locked Cheese/Individually Quick Frozen) cheeses, that are flash frozen at very low temperatures to “lock” in the flavor, aroma and texture. From that point on, the cheeses can be kept frozen for several months before using, allegedly without flavor degradation. As a practical matter, I believe that the QLC/IQF cheeses are used in much shorter time periods, as this document from the Leprino website discusses: http://www.leprinofoods.com/cheese/PDFs/Simple_Steps_to_Using_QLC_with_photos.pdf. I was unable to find any details on the specific composition of the Leprino mozzarella cheese blend beyond a reference by a poster at the pizza drivers website at http://tipthepizzaguy.com/discussion/thread.php?ip=67&num=1601 that at one time PJ's apparently used a 50/50 quick frozen blend of cubed (diced) mozzarella cheeses. Leprino is a low-profile, secretive company that rarely gives interviews and does not publicly disclose the nutrition information for its various cheeses (or at least I haven’t been able to find it), making it difficult to analyze what is in their products (e.g., in terms of fat, cholesterol, protein or sodium content) or replicate their products with other brands of cheeses that we, as home pizza makers, have available to us.

I don't know when the "Couch Potato" FoodNetwork piece first aired but by May 2007 John Schnatter had stepped down as the Executive Chairman of Papa John's to serve just as the head of the board of directors. A fellow by the name of Nigel Travis now runs the show on a day-to-day basis. Schnatter remains as a spokesman for PJ's with no cash compensation, just stock options.

As an aside, I noted in Lydia's post referenced above, as well as at the PJ website, that PJ's uses "clear-filtered water" to make its dough. Actually, PJ's uses a water filtration and ozonation system at each of its regional Quality Control Centers where their dough is made. For my purposes in making clones, I have been using either pure spring water or municipal water that, according to the label, is processed by carbon filtration, UV treatment, microfiltration, and ozonation.

Peter

Edit (5/17/11): For an update on the "mysterious" ingredient, see Reply 295 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.msg139427.html#msg139427.

Edit 2 (3/28/14): For the Wayback Machine link for the inoperative Leprino's PDF document, see http://web.archive.org/web/20061014181654/http://www.leprinofoods.com/cheese/PDFs/Simple_Steps_to_Using_QLC_with_photos.pdf

« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 08:04:58 PM by Pete-zza »


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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2008, 10:34:21 PM »
Pete-zza
While I really enjoy a PJ pizza; I am not a proponent of their small rim.  I enjoy a larger rim with larger voids.  Do you believe that by increasing the water percentage in your formula that you would be able to increase the size of the rim and increase the voids?    ??? ???
Thanks for any thoughts on this question.
Buffalo

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2008, 08:03:00 AM »
Do you believe that by increasing the water percentage in your formula that you would be able to increase the size of the rim and increase the voids?    ??? ???


Buffalo,

I believe I addressed your question in Reply 1 above in which I noted:

When I experimented with PJ dough clone hydrations above 60%, the rims were much larger and the crumb was puffier and more open and airy.

I was expecting the results noted inasmuch as I had previously made several of Randy's PJ clones and my own "thin" versions of Randy's PJ clones using hydrations of 60% and 61.5%, as discussed at this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1707.msg15310.html#msg15310. But, even with higher hydrations, you are not likely to get gigantic rims. I think it is because of the limiting effects of the large amounts of oil in the dough on the retention of gasses by the gluten matrix. You can perhaps overcome that effect to a degree by using much more yeast, but, having tried that, I found that the pizza lost some of the basic attributes of a typical PJ dough and pizza. An example of this is shown in Reply 35 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6749.msg58335.html#msg58335. The pizza shown there was a same-day PJ clone that included 1% IDY. An earlier similar version used 1.5% IDY. In both cases, but for the sizes of the rims and the more open and airy character of the rims and crumb, the pizzas looked a lot like PJ pizzas, including size and weight, but the pizzas did not taste like PJ pizzas. The taste was fine and I enjoyed the pizzas, but the crusts were more breadlike. The results suggested that I will have to make other kinds of changes to the basic PJ clone dough formulation in order to come up with something that more closely resembles a real PJ pizza but made the same day.

Peter

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2008, 08:42:15 PM »
For those without scales who may wish to try out the PJ clone recipe I posted in Reply 2, I used November's Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/ to convert the weights of flour (KABF) and water to volume measurements. In using the tool, I selected the "Textbook" method of measuring out the flour, which is described in Reply 21 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6576.msg56397/topicseen.html#msg56397:

"Textbook" means stirring the flour in the flour container to loosen, repeatedly lifting the flour from the flour container into a measuring cup, and leveling off the flour in the cup with a flat edge

For purposes of using November's tool, my set of measuring cups (metal, without lips) includes 1 c., 1/2 c., 1/3 c. and 1/4 c. My measuring spoons for this purpose are 1 T. and 1 t. The table below shows the conversions for the PJ clone dough formulation I posted in Reply 2:

Flour (KABF)* (100%):
Water** (56.5%):
IDY (0.14%):
Salt (1.75%):
Vegetable (Soybean) Oil (7.3%):
Sugar (4.8%):
Total (170.49%):
354.44 g  |  12.5 oz | 0.78 lbs
200.26 g  |  7.06 oz | 0.44 lbs
0.5 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.16 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
6.2 g | 0.22 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.11 tsp | 0.37 tbsp
25.87 g | 0.91 oz | 0.06 lbs | 5.7 tsp | 1.9 tbsp
17.01 g | 0.6 oz | 0.04 lbs | 4.27 tsp | 1.42 tbsp
604.28 g | 21.31 oz | 1.33 lbs | TF = N/A

*KABF: 12.5 oz. = 2 c. + 1/2 c. + 1/4 c. + a bit over 3 1/3 t.
**Water: 7.06 oz. = 3/4 c. + 1 T. + a bit over 1 1/2 t.

The markings of the measuring cups used to measure out the water should be viewed on a flat surface at eye level.

I found that the dough for the PJ clone dough formulation came together quite well. So, I think the volume measurements should work pretty well, even if not perfect.

Peter

EDIT (3/4/13): Replaced Calculator link with the current link.

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2008, 10:31:37 PM »
Pete,

I personally like November's converter, but it might be confusing to someone who's new to pizza making.

This site (link below) has almost any kind of converter you could think of. Great for people who are just starting out in the world of ounces, grams, cups and pinches.  :chef:

http://www.onlineconversion.com/

Mike

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2008, 11:00:31 PM »
Mike,

I will leave to November to explain the design of his tool if he is so inclined, but I have never seen any calculator that can do what his tool does, that is, convert a weight of an ingredient to a volume, and vice versa, based on the way the ingredient is measured out. I did not see anything in the conversion tools that you referenced that can do that. Most such converters convert within a weight or volume but not between them, although I have seen calculators (e.g., http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/gram_calc.htm) that purport to convert between weight and volume for certain common food items, including flour. But they are crude and general in nature (e.g., a cup of flour weighs "x" ounces). November's tool has seven different flours in its database.

I did the conversion as a matter of convenience to those who do not have scales. I used the Textbook method because that is the method I always use. It is also the method recommended by King Arthur and other experts in the field.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 15, 2008, 11:11:54 PM by Pete-zza »

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2008, 11:20:38 PM »
Pete,

I didn't mean to question your intentions.  I know they're always good :)

Of course, November's converter is more accurate. I don't dispute that at all. I just thought that the other converters might be of equal help to people, who are not so experienced yet, when it comes to making pizza and its sometimes complex dough formulas.

Mike
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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2008, 12:56:07 AM »
I just thought that the other converters might be of equal help to people, who are not so experienced yet, when it comes to making pizza and its sometimes complex dough formulas.

I'm sure your suggestion was well-meaning; in fact, onlineconversion.com is where I used to do most of my conversions related to physics years ago; however it is of little help to anyone to have conversions that are off by as much as 30 grams (or over 23% too low) for a cup of flour.  (flour, wheat bread; 1 cup [US] = 99.36705933 gram according to their calculator, and whole wheat flour is inaccurate in the opposite direction.)  I could guess an amount through visual inspection more accurately than that.  Even using the nutrition fact label information, which is sometimes far from accurate, is even yet more accurate.

- red.november

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2008, 01:03:19 AM »
Mike,

I personally like November's converter, but it might be confusing to someone who's new to pizza making.

What change would you suggest to make it less confusing?

- red.november

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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2008, 05:45:50 PM »
RN,

I wouldn't make any changes. I simply remembered the first few times I used your converter, and being a Newbie at that time to different dough formulas, etc., it took me a few tries to get a hang of it.

Other than that, I think it's a handy tool. But I also agree with you on the accuracy on some online converters. A lot of them are not very consistent. You're right in regards to the cup to gram ratio.

This should prove your point.

http://jodelibakery.netfirms.com/conversion.htm

Mike
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Re: Pete-zza's Papa John's Clone Pizza
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2008, 09:44:45 AM »
I recently came across a thread at the PMQ Think Tank, at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=27372#27372, that speculates on the type of flour Papa John's may be using to make its dough. In that thread, Tom Lehmann offered his opinion as follows:

I've looked closely at their product and I would guess that they are using a flour with about 13 to 13.2% protein content. This would be equivalent to (General Mills) Gold Medal Hi-Power, North Dakota Mills Straight Grade, or possibly General Mills Superlative or Full Strength, which come in at about 12.6% protein content.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


The above quote should be taken as a protein guideline only, since most (if not all) of the flours mentioned by Tom are bromated. According to what I was recently told by Papa John's, they do not use bromated flours.

As previously noted, I used the King Arthur bread flour (unbleached and nonbromated), which has a protein content of 12.7%. I thought that that flour worked out very well, to the point where I could not distinguish the crust of my PJ clone pizza from the real thing, as noted earlier in Reply 2. The GM Harvest King ("Better for Bread") flour, which is a retail level brand that home bakers can easily find in the supermarkets, logs in at around 12.3% protein on the high end of its range.

For those who wish to research the General Mills flours, including the Harvest King flour, the specs are available at http://www.gmiflour.com/gmflour/Home.aspx. The higher protein flours are mostly listed under the Eastern/Central Flours category and the "Spring" subcategory.

In my opinion, it is still a viable option to use a high-gluten flour to make a PJ clone, as I have done before with very good results with early Randy PJ clones and variations thereof. However, as noted in the opening post of this thread, it was not my objective to make a PJ clone that was "better" than the real thing. My objective was--and still is--to replicate the real thing as closely as possible. Of course, for some, especially those who have grown up on PJ pizzas and have developed a real taste affinity for PJ pizzas, the "replicated" version may be the "best" version. 

Peter


 

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