Author Topic: Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)  (Read 30129 times)

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Offline BenLee

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2007, 02:43:34 PM »
All the semolina flours I have seen and used have been yellow. Some pizza operators prefer semolina flour over cornmeal because they feel that it handles better on the peel (better "ball bearing" action) and is not as grainy as cornmeal.

Peter

I buy a yellow semolina flour that comes in unlableled plastic containers from a local Italian deli.  It's very fine and you can tell it's high quality.  When I made pasta with it, it was the best tasting I've ever had.  When I made a pizza with it, it was just so so.  It takes too long to cook and the texture is a little soft.  I do use it to coat the doughs when making pies though.  I find that this flour is better because it doesn't burn on the stone and also has gives a better taste on the crust.

For my doughs, I use a random "00" flour and some king aurthur all purpose flour.  I only use the semolina for coating the dough before handling.  I've used other semolina flours and have not had as much luck with the one I buy from the local deli.  I guess it's hit or miss.


Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2007, 03:05:18 PM »
I've watched them make pies at Delorenzo's fairly often.  They don't use any rollers.  It's all done by hand.  One guy presses the crap out of it with his fingertips and then Sammy or Gary dot he stretching.  They stretch it pretty far.  It's a very dry dough and they actually let it dry out and use that for the bottom so it's extra crispy.

They store them as dough balls.  I have no idea how they make the dough or what flour they use.  I do not that it's a very low hydration. 

They do use a gas oven, but they have it cranked pretty high (much higher than 500 degrees).  My guess is 650 to 700.  I know for a fact that they do use Red Pack tomatoes and you can actually taste it.  They definitely do something to make the sauce better because I haven't been able to replicate their sauce. 

I believe they also use Grande cheese (or whatever it is, it's really good).  They shred it and put that on the pie first.  Then the toppings, then then the sauce (they say if you have the cheese on first, its crisper on the bottom).  Btw, their toppings are the best I've ever had.  Amazing sausage and peppers pie.

How do you know for a fact that they still use RedPack? The original tomatoes they used way back when, the company made some changes and Chickie took a trip out to the company to talk to them about it.
Now my uncle said he has seen a red can with a black band going around it saying 6-in-1 (looking like the Escalon 6-in-1) on a few occasions.
Do you think they might mix the 2 brands together?
The cheese they do not shred themselves. I have seen them bring in pre-shredded cheese in big seeled clear poly bags with no print on them.
Their sausage and pepperoni is the absolute best. nice chunks of hand-pulled sausage and nice thick slices of pepperoni.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2007, 05:39:37 PM »
BenLee,

Thanks for all the good information. I read somewhere that the oven is a gas Blodgett oven. I visited the Blodgett website but couldn't find anything that looked like the ones in the photos of the ovens I saw. That could mean that the ovens now used at De Lorenzo's are older versions or possibly another brand, such as a Bakers Pride, which some people confuse with the Blodgett. I also looked at the ovens at the Bakers Pride website and didn't find anything that looked familiar there either. However, the thermostat settings for the current Blodgett's run from 300-650 degrees F, although I think 650 degrees may be pushing it. Originally, I thought that the oven temperatures used at De Lorenzo's were lower, but I now tend to agree with you that the actual temperatures may be on the high end of the above range. This creates a potential problem when using a standard unmodified home oven, but there may be ways to boost the normal oven temperature above 500 degrees F, as by using the broiler element or possibly a "mini-oven" configuration constructed within the home oven.

Can you tell me how you would personally characterize the De Lorenzo pizza style based on your many visits to De Lorenzo's and how you would also characterize the crust itself, in terms of texture, color, taste, sweetness, saltiness, chewiness, toughness, and so forth? Also, do you know what the two pizza sizes are?

Peter

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2007, 05:44:46 PM »
I really can't speculate as to how they make their doughs but I do know it is different than yeast doughs, a certain smell that is there when the crust is broken open. BenLee you are correct they use two to make the pies...one guy stretches and flatens and the other (Gary) applies the toppings. They used to use Maggio cheese that came pre-shredded in a bag. I heard that the Maggio family either sold the business or raised their prices or whatever...thats what they used to use. I know they mix two different brands of tomatoes they don't use only Redpack I have seen them do this in the kitchen in the back.
Peter, I have replicated the pies but it is only my own recipe and I can't vouch for what they do to make their dough. I only know what I smelled from the raw piece I had obtained to make my mother dough with. I use a standard recipe for one 12 inch pie... 3/4 C flour, 1/4 cup mother dough, 1/2 Cup + or minus water pinch of sugar and 1/2 tsp salt... mix rise in fridge a day or two... I mix my own oil and tomatoes and it produces an excellent pie...

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2007, 05:49:53 PM »
Peter their crust is slightly sweet, crispy, and flavorful, its thin and usually stands out straight when the piece is picked up..no soggy or droopy crusy. Its not salty although they must add sparingly. It has a nice crisp texture due to the semolina and high oven temp they cook at. The inside of the crust is soft but not real chewy or gummy...a very very light pie...I have been known to eat a whole large pie myself. The two sizes are real different from each other ...they make one dough size from what I gather they just stretch it  more for the large. I think they only have one size alum. pan when they serve. I think it is a Blodgett oven and it is pretty old. I can't remember what year they switched over from coal... they do cook at higher temps, cause when that pie is out of the oven... ITS BLAZING HOT.. Many a night I was awake with a burnt upper palate
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 05:51:46 PM by MTPIZZA »

Offline steve cobra

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2007, 07:07:19 PM »
Steve,

Did you order that pie yourself? If so, I am correct if I was to say it was ordered with extra cheese?

Yes.  I did order it, but it was not extra cheese.  I also just wanted to weigh in and say that this is my favorite pizza / tomato pie.  I drive about an hour and a half to go there.  If I am within 30 miles I will try and go out of my way to eat there.  So, if you are within a couple hours of Trenton I strongly recommend planning a trip there sometime.

Steve

Offline steve cobra

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2007, 07:22:30 PM »
Here's a picture of another pie that might bring more clues.  Unfortunately most of my pictures are of the pies or my friends and family.  I don't have pictures of the oven or ingredients. 

I am salivating again.

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2007, 07:26:28 PM »
MTPIZZA,

Thank you also for your valuable input. I know you are an observant pizza maker with a passion for quality. I still fondly remember the pizza you made and showed at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1189.msg10682.html#msg10682.

The Maggio cheese company was indeed sold to another company, Crowley Foods, although according to the store locator at the Crowley website the Maggio mozzarella cheese itself apparently is sold at the retail level at several food stores and markets in the NJ area.

Would you mind taking a look at the photos (mainly of the views in cross section) of the cracker style pizzas I have been making recently and written about at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5173.msg43956.html#msg43956? In particular, I would like to know if the crusts of those pizzas bear any resemblance to the crusts of the De Lorenzo pies, mainly in terms of crust thickness but in any other aspects that you might care to comment on. In my case, I used 50% hydration and a roughly 24-hour room temperature fermentation. At the end of that time, the dough was soft enough that I could have stretched it out by hand. Otherwise, it would have been on the dense and stiff side. If the De Lorenzo dough is also low hydration, I would imagine that it would take a long fermentation to get the dough to the stage where it would be soft enough to stretch out by hand. Do you recall whether the dough balls were soft and smooth? In my case, I docked some of the doughs and they were baked at a lower oven temperature for a longer period of time to develop the degree of crispness I was after. I am not sure what a higher oven temperature would produce in the way of a cracker like, crispy crust.

I would still like to get to the bottom of the way that De Lorenzo makes its dough. This may be a job for pftaylor. If he goes to De Lorenzoís, if past performance is any guide, pft will have them spilling their guts within ten minutes :-D.

Peter

Offline steve cobra

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2007, 10:28:30 PM »
I don't think it's quite cracker, somewhere in between.  Here is a side shot of the crust.

Steve

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2007, 11:40:24 PM »
Yes.  I did order it, but it was not extra cheese.  I also just wanted to weigh in and say that this is my favorite pizza / tomato pie.  I drive about an hour and a half to go there.  If I am within 30 miles I will try and go out of my way to eat there.  So, if you are within a couple hours of Trenton I strongly recommend planning a trip there sometime.

Steve

Yo, did you go there tonight to eat?
I was going to try to order some pies and pick them up before the Sopranos came on, but it never worked out.


Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2007, 12:10:31 AM »
I found some pics of the ovens used at Delorenzo's on some food review website. Here they are.
I know someone wanted more info on the ovens. Maybe you'll be able to identify from these pics.


Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2007, 12:55:39 AM »
After looking at some various models of ovens, they seem to be very old Blodgett.

Now, you'll notice on the top oven to the left, there is a thermometer. After looking at some pizza oven thermometers here online, I noticed in the position of 12 o'clock is 600 degrees, while the thermometer goes to 1,000 degrees. So, when the needle is in the middle it is at 600 degrees. Not 500.

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2007, 01:06:13 AM »
I grew up on DeLorenzos pies... They use Maggio cheese for the cheese in large bags. The dough is leavened with a starter dough no yeast. ( I obtained a sample piece of dough and now use this for the mother of all my doughs its truly amazing)... The oil used is called Santuzzi (sp?) oil its a blend of like 80% canola and 20% olive oil which you can blend in your own kitchen.
They used to have a coal oven but as the years went bye it was too much labor to have the coal delivered and used in the oven. There pies are truly the best I have ever eaten as well even compared to Lombardi's, Grimaldis etc.. The next time in NY I'm going to Johns on Bleeker street they still use a coal oven.

Where can one find this Santuzzi Oil?
I have done a search on Yahoo and have yet to find any Santuzzi Oils.

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2007, 08:40:34 AM »
There is a little "food store", that usually has it. Its really not a store that you would normally shop at its more of a supplier of Italian goodies... The funny thing is the signs in the windows state that it serves as a bondsman for people that need bail money--How odd. I don't even think there is a name for the place. Its a block up from DeLorenzos on Hudson street. (Its not the little Ma and Pa store on the corner its across from that. I'm not sure if they are still open. But when you go inside its stocked with all kinds of Italian foods... smoked red peppers to sausage. Anyway they know of Santuzzi oil and they would get it for me. The thing is that when I read the ingrediants it was just canola and olive oil blend... So I now just mix is up myself and it replicates it pretty much exactly.
Thats Gary Amica Jr. in the picture he is the son of Gary Sr. and Eileen who now own the pizzeria. (Eileen is the daughter of Chic and Sopie DeLorenzos orig owners). Chic still lives upstairs and uses a cane now to get around and just visit with the patrons.. they are great people..downhome folks...
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 08:52:38 AM by MTPIZZA »

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2007, 08:52:07 AM »
Peter I checked that link regarding the cracker style crust pizza. The pictures raise a valid point... the crust although looking rather dry..does have a peculiar similarity to DeLorenzos pie. Whats missing is the hydration where the crust is too crackery and dry. DeLorenzos has that "outside crack" when broken in two but it still is a little soft on the inside. Its almost like they don't play around with high gluten flour --its not real chewy and stretchy when eaten its somewhere in between.
Baking soda is an interesting proposal...not yeasty but helps as a leavening agent. But then there is the fact that I would not have been able to culture baking soda only dough from my sample piece..hmmmm...interesting. Perhaps a little of both?? I notice when they stretch their dough its quite plyable and stretches easily, they dust the pieces with only a little flour when they stretch it, making sure to keep that semolina side down when baking.
I must admit I don't have the courage to start asking questions about their dough making process. They are too aware of people trying to get the recipe and I don't want to be banned from the place... they know my face! Maybe PFT could visit annonmously and get them talking but I doubt it... The place is so busy they take the phone off the hook and dangle it on the floor during operating hours... no time to talk just keep those pies coming!! When its busy Gary has a helper stretch the dough for him while he puts the toppings on...
P.S. Thanks for the kind words on my old pizza pics I had put on the site a while back.... In that pic there is too much cheese vs tomato...if you notice their pies they put the tomatoes on top and thats the dominate ingrediant pretty much... and I love their sauce I usually get extra sauce light on the cheese!...
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 08:53:40 AM by MTPIZZA »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2007, 09:44:07 AM »
DeLorenzos has that "outside crack" when broken in two but it still is a little soft on the inside.

MTPIZZA,

One of the few criticisms I have read about the De Lorenzo crust is that the crust is crispy and crackery at the outer edge but diminishes toward the middle of the pie.

I think we can safely rule out baking soda as an ingredient in the De Lorenzo dough. Baking soda is a neutralizing agent and, according to forum member November, really shouldn't be put into a pizza dough together with the yeast. But that is a topic best left to the other thread. The last pizza I showed at the other thread did not have any baking soda in it.

Peter

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2007, 09:50:31 AM »
The photos posted by Joe appear in the linked article I mentioned in an earlier reply, in http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3153&RefID=3207. The commentary accompanying the photos that describes the De Lorenzo pies can be found in the linked article.

Peter

EDIT (8/15/13): For a working link to the Roadfood article, see the Wayback Machine link at http://web.archive.org/web/20070702035702/http://www.roadfood.com/reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3153&RefID=3207
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 02:30:19 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2007, 02:27:03 PM »
I currently have no pizza making equipment, but I will be purchasing some this week.
Any suggestions on the type of pizza stone I buy?

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2007, 03:23:42 PM »
Joe,

I think one of the best threads on pizza stones/tiles is this one: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1488.msg13540.html#msg13540. You will also see a post (one of mine) toward the end of the thread that links to other threads/posts that deal with the same general topic. That post isnít up to date but I think it should suffice for your purposes. Otherwise, you can scan the topics under Pans & Accessories to get more recent posts. Once you have had a chance to review the relevant material, feel free to come back with any questions that might help you answer your own question. As you will see, there are many factors that go into a decision to buy a particular type of stone/tiles that will best meet your personal needs and pocketbook.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 03:25:46 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline BenLee

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Re: Philly/Trenton-area tomato pie (Split Topic)
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2007, 03:47:44 PM »
BenLee,

Thanks for all the good information. I read somewhere that the oven is a gas Blodgett oven. I visited the Blodgett website but couldn't find anything that looked like the ones in the photos of the ovens I saw. That could mean that the ovens now used at De Lorenzo's are older versions or possibly another brand, such as a Bakers Pride, which some people confuse with the Blodgett. I also looked at the ovens at the Bakers Pride website and didn't find anything that looked familiar there either. However, the thermostat settings for the current Blodgett's run from 300-650 degrees F, although I think 650 degrees may be pushing it. Originally, I thought that the oven temperatures used at De Lorenzo's were lower, but I now tend to agree with you that the actual temperatures may be on the high end of the above range. This creates a potential problem when using a standard unmodified home oven, but there may be ways to boost the normal oven temperature above 500 degrees F, as by using the broiler element or possibly a "mini-oven" configuration constructed within the home oven.

Can you tell me how you would personally characterize the De Lorenzo pizza style based on your many visits to De Lorenzo's and how you would also characterize the crust itself, in terms of texture, color, taste, sweetness, saltiness, chewiness, toughness, and so forth? Also, do you know what the two pizza sizes are?

Peter

Delorenzo's curst is probably the strongest crust I've ever had.  They cut their pizza in about 4 straight parallel lines and one line perpendicular to the 4 lines.  You can grab the longest slice (which is rectangular) and hold it by the end it and it won't drop at all.  I'm not sure about saltiness of the crust.  It is very tough and I actually have had my jaw tire out when eating the pizza.  It's not very soft on the inside (like most other pizza's cooked at high temp).  The reason I assume it's about 650-750 in their oven is the fact that their pizzas are cooked in about 4 minutes.  Another person pointed out a few posts ago that their cheese is actually preshredded.  I guess I assumed a little too much but we know for a fact that they are using shredded mozzarella (that is not fresh mozz).  I usually prefer fresh mozzarella on pizza but there is just something about their pizza that makes it better than any other I've ever had.  The tomatoes are super sweet (but it's not a sweetness you get from sugar, I don't like when places sugar up their sauce).  Hands down, my favorite sauce.  The cheese is rich and flavorful.  All I know is they have a small and large sizes, I've never ordered a small and I don't know the exact dimensions.  In terms of toppings, I know they have a big bin of raw uncooked sausage that they grab as chunks and throw it on the pie (it's my favorite sausage too).  Their pepperoni is pretty good (not sure if they make it or where they get it, it's one of my favorites (behind Luzzo's and Patsy's).  They use canned clams on their clam pies and add fresh parsley to the pie.  They use fresh garlic which is pretty tasty.  Their sweet peppers are the most amazing flavorful peppers I've ever had.  They also have hot peppers but I've yet to try them.  Also, there is no fresh basil on any of their pies.  And IMO, it doesn't need it. 

I've tried making pizza's like theirs before but have always come up short in terms of the crust and taste.  I think it's a very dry dough that is cooked at a very high temp.  As I said before, they let one side dry out from air exposure (you can see it because the dough has cracks where it's stretched from the drying).  That might be their secret.

What makes their pie good isn't 1 thing in particular.  I think it's the perfect balance and compliments with the crust, cheese, sauce, and toppings.  I think that the pies wouldn't be nearly as good if you substituted their cheese with fresh mozz, different tomatoes, or changed the toppings.  The place is really a mystery.  For a guy who loves sauce from fresh tomatoes and prefers fresh mozz and fresh basil on his pies, I still can't find a better pie than this. 

My girlfriend lives near there and she's the one who introduced me to the place a few years back.  She also has a bunch of relatives that live out in Phoenix.  They've eaten at Chris Bianco's place plenty and they still insist that Delorenzo's is better.