Author Topic: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style  (Read 8128 times)

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Offline Jose L. Piedra

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The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« on: February 11, 2009, 06:29:30 PM »
Much work on this forum has gone into rigorously defining and describing the various styles of pizza. For the likes of the Neapolitan, New York, and Chicago styles, there is now a wealth of information and debate concerning which characteristics define the styles, how they differ from one another, and above all what goes in them and how they ought to be baked.

"American" pizza, as a style or genre, seems to be relatively under-researched by comparison. There are some excellent treatments of individual expressions of the style (in particular, a magisterial and painstakingly detailed effort to reverse-engineer Papa John's pizza). But the individual expressions singled out for attention tend overwhelmingly to be selected from the big, industrial pizza chains: Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's etc. A neglected area in discussions of American pizza is a sub-style, above all associated with independent, family-style places from the post-war period onwards (but rapidly disappearing), which I'll call (for lack of a better term) mom-and-pop pizza. In what follows, Iíll offer some vague, rambling generalities in the hope of generating interest and discussion which I hope, in turn, will eventually lead to more precise characterization and analysis of the style.     

I'm thinking of something that generally conforms to the American spec- thick (TF=0.11-.12 or so) crust with a fairly soft, tender bottom- but far more rustic than the typical industrial chain fare. These pies were "artisanal" inasmuch as they were not made according to mass-production methodologies, with their rigorous insistence on quality control (i.e. standardization); they were baked in deck or even wood ovens and displayed some crust charring, at least on the bubbles or blisters. 

Another distinctive feature, at least in comparison to the chains (here in Canada at any rate), was the typically copious amount of toppings. In the absence of corporate accountants looking to shave off as much as the customer would stand for, toppings (especially cheese) were liberally applied, sometimes just short of structurally overloading the pie. The end result could be difficult to eat by hand, both because of the amount of hot juices dripping off and the danger of the whole mass sliding right off. The corresponding level of grease on such pies might strike upscale sensibilities as vulgar or unwholesome, but they were typically made by immigrants from blue-collar or peasant backgrounds and self-consciously designed to feed hungry men.

Quality could be mediocre, but was often excellent, indeed fantastic. Again, these pies were "artisanal"- in that they were made by immigrants and others who were closer to traditional artisans and shopkeepers in mentality than to real capitalists. They actually took pride in their work, and if nothing else just weren't familiar enough with industrial ways of thinking to know how to really take off with regards to cutting corners.

Technically speaking, I figure this style calls for a much longer baking time at a lower temp than a plain, NY or Neapolitan or a more sparingly topped American. I'm no expert, but my tentative efforts lead me to think along the lines of well over 10 minutes at 550F for a 12", with plenty of oil in the dough to keep it from drying out and hardening. The toppings will not adequately heat and cook through at less. If anyone has more precision or insight to offer, please respond. For that matter, if anyone else even knows what it is Iím trying to describe here, let me know  :pizza:   

-JLP

     
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Offline sourdough girl

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2009, 10:42:44 PM »
JLP,
I know exactly what you are talking about... there was a "mom and pop" called Dan and Dave's in Kirkland WA that had excellent pizza.  I was not into making pizza yet, so didn't take many mental notes, but... the pizza was thin crusted, I'm guessing now more NY style than anything (one of the two, Dan or Dave, was from Brooklyn) and took about 10 minutes to bake.  I did notice the oven and now know that it was a deck oven.  That pizza was SO good and fairly inexpensive, so a couple of times a month, it was our treat to ourselves after a hard day at work.  A large pizza and a pitcher of beer... a great way to relax!  You don't find many small pizza joints anymore, just the slick, fancy chains.  Dan and Dave's had a foosball table, dart board and pull tabs.... but, with all the renovations of that part of Kirkland, Dan and Dave's is a thing of the past...and I miss it!

~sd
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Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2009, 11:34:56 AM »
there was a "mom and pop" called Dan and Dave's in Kirkland WA that had excellent pizza.  I was not into making pizza yet, so didn't take many mental notes

Yep, mental notes are something I would have taken more of- had it ever occurred to me that I'd try to reverse-engineer my own pizzas one day that is...as it stands I struggle to recall details concerning the amount of char or the crust thickness of pies my friends and I used to order on nights where I had about 15 drinks and otherwise can't remember how I got home  :D

You seem to know a fair bit about pizzamaking- do you have any additional technical insights about the style under discussion ? Even if you never tried to make one, any opinion, conjecture, armchair speculation, or shots in the dark would be welcome...
« Last Edit: February 12, 2009, 11:37:13 AM by Jose L. Piedra »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2009, 01:14:28 PM »
JLP,

The mom and pop independents have pretty much always taken a back seat to the big chains, not only for the American style but for most other styles as well. This shows up in the statistics. For example, if you read the latest (2008) PMQ Power Pizza Report starting at http://digital.pmq.com/pizzamagazine/200809/?folio=50, you will see that independents own 65% of the pizzerias in the U.S. but control only about 47% of industry sales. Their average annual sales are also less than those of the big chains that have greater financial, marketing and pricing muscle. The top four chains in terms of number of units are Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's and Little Caesar's, with a total of 28,638 stores among them in the U.S. You will note that their dominant pizza style is the American style.

The dominance of the big chains--not only the four mentioned above, but also many others, including regional chains--also shows up on the forum. Some of the most popular threads are those relating to the big four, of course, but also smaller companies such as Round Table, Donatos, Monical's, Shakey's, Sbarro's, Giordano's, Malnati's, Gino's East, Uno's and Home Run Inn. It isn't as though the mom and pop independents don't try to elbow their way into this group through the efforts of members who are fans of these operators. They do. We often get inquiries from members asking for dough recipes for their favorite mom and pop pizzerias. The answer is just about always that we don't know what their dough recipes are. Usually their recipes are proprietary (or so they will tell you) and closely guarded. So, the best we get from such members from an informaition standpoint is anecdotal and often clouded by imperfect memory. By contrast, there is much more information available to the public about the products of the big chains. I believe a lot of the information has been made public by the larger companies because of the demand by consumers for more information, including people with special dietary needs such as vegans/vegetarians, people with allergies, and health and nutrition specialists concerned with health issues in general. When I was doing my research on Papa John's, some of the best early information came from websites of vegans/vegetarians who had been pressing the big chains for more information on their products. For some reason, outfits like Shakey's have been able to stay below the radar in terms of disclosing information about their pizzas, much to the dismay of our members who covet their pizzas. Just about all of the mom and pop places are spared the need to disclose information about their pizzas. I might add that companies that sell their products in frozen version form, such as several of the pizzerias in the Chicago area, also must comply with governmental disclosure requirements. This type of information, along with other product information, makes it much easier to attempt reverse-engineering exercises.

With the above as background, it may be possible to come up with a general formulation that might work for an artisanal American style pizza as you propose, but it will perhaps be more the result of applying general pizza making principles rather than actual product-unique information. In that vein, you are perhaps on the right track by thinking of a fairly thick dough that can support multiple toppings and bake for a sufficient time that will insure that the crust is fully baked, with good crust coloration, and that the toppings are properly cooked, hopefully at the same time as the crust is done. If the pizza is to be baked on a hot stone surface (the big four all use conveyor ovens), the dough shouldn't contain a lot of sugar, if any, but rather be subjected to a day or two of cold fermentation to extract sufficient sugars from the flour to contribute to crust coloration at the time of the bake. The hydration should perhaps be on the high side, to permit a longer bake time without the dough drying out and becoming cracker-like rather than tender, and the dough might benefit from a fair amount of oil to assist in that effort. The flour might be a high-protein flour, for better gas retention by the dough (because of a stronger gluten matrix), increased crust chewiness, flavor and color, as well as tolerating a longer period of cold fermentation than weaker flours. The amount of yeast will depend on the duration of the cold fermentation. Unless the dough skin is made thick to begin with, as by using a high thickness factor value, the skin might benefit from a period (maybe up to an hour) of proofing before dressing and baking, to give a higher rise and better support for the toppings.

Peter


Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2009, 02:13:40 PM »
you are perhaps on the right track by thinking of a fairly thick dough that can support multiple toppings and bake for a sufficient time that will insure that the crust is fully baked, with good crust coloration, and that the toppings are properly cooked, hopefully at the same time as the crust is done. If the pizza is to be baked on a hot stone surface (the big four all use conveyor ovens), the dough shouldn't contain a lot of sugar, if any, but rather be subjected to a day or two of cold fermentation to extract sufficient sugars from the flour to contribute to crust coloration at the time of the bake. The hydration should perhaps be on the high side, to permit a longer bake time without the dough drying out and becoming cracker-like rather than tender, and the dough might benefit from a fair amount of oil to assist in that effort. The flour might be a high-protein flour, for better gas retention by the dough (because of a stronger gluten matrix), increased crust chewiness, flavor and color, as well as tolerating a longer period of cold fermentation than weaker flours. The amount of yeast will depend on the duration of the cold fermentation. Unless the dough skin is made thick to begin with, as by using a high thickness factor value, the skin might benefit from a period (maybe up to an hour) of proofing before dressing and baking, to give a higher rise and better support for the toppings.

Peter



With the foregoing in mind, I took advantage of some free time this morning to concoct the following dough, which should if stretched properly yield a 14" pie at a TF of .115:

About 288 gr. flour (Robin Hood Best for Bread)
6.88 oz. water
1/4 teaspoon IDY
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons oil

3/4 of the flour was incorporated into all the water and allowed to stand for 23 minutes. I then switched on the mixer at speed 1, adduced the IDY, salt, and finally, oil, and increased to speed 2. After 5 minutes, I began spooning in the rest of the flour until the bowl cleaned and the ball started spinning on the hook, which took an additional 3 minutes. The ball was then removed and hand-kneaded for an additional 2 minutes. It was soft, supple, and heavy, but also seemed quite strong and elastic. I'm going to leave it in the fridge until Sunday afternoon, top it 'til she groans, and bake it for around 13 minutes on a stone @ 550F or until the cheese gets violently agitated and begins to brown, whichever comes first.

If anybody sees a gigantic mistake in progress in any of this, please respond.

-JLP
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 02:16:20 PM by Jose L. Piedra »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2009, 03:59:58 PM »
JLP,

I see things better in numbers. So, using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html, and using the ingredient weights in the tool rather than the thickness factor, I got the following:

Robin Hood Best for Bread Flour (100%):
Water (67.725%):
IDY (0.26208%):
Salt (2.42248%):
Vegetable (Soybean) Oil (4.7309%):
Total (175.14046%):
288 g  |  10.16 oz | 0.63 lbs
195.05 g  |  6.88 oz | 0.43 lbs
0.75 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.25 tsp | 0.08 tbsp
6.98 g | 0.25 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.25 tsp | 0.42 tbsp
13.62 g | 0.48 oz | 0.03 lbs | 3 tsp | 1 tbsp
504.4 g | 17.79 oz | 1.11 lbs | TF = N/A
Note: For one 14" pizza; no bowl residue compensation

With the above hydration and oil values, I think you can expect the dough to be fairly extensible after two days, even with the small amount of yeast. What I cannot tell is how much residual sugar there will be in the dough at the time of baking and, therefore, what kind of crust coloration you will get when you bake the pizza on your 550 degrees F pizza stone. Long bake times at high temperatures can cause the cheese to brown before the rest of the pizza is baked, so you might keep your eye on the pizza to see if that happens.

Your autolyse and mixing regimen look solid, and it sounds like you have a good dough ball for your experiment. I look forward to the results and your observations and comments.

Peter








Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 06:50:09 PM »
So I took out the dough ball after 48 hours, left it on the counter for about 3 hours, and shaped it on a piece of parchment paper. It was neither more nor less extensible than my usual 24-hour doughs. I then topped it (sauce/mozz/pepperoni/more mozz/green peppers, mushrooms, bacon/still more mozz) and put it in the oven, still on the paper, on a stone that had been pre-heated @ 550 for 1 3/4 hours. It was baked at that temperature on the bottom rack for 12 minutes. Looks kind of amateurish and crude- and it was- but I liked the flavour. While far from perfect, overall it had most of the basic characteristics I'm looking for and was a functional first draft.

I obviously need to do something to control the depth and extent of coloration and indeed, outright carbonization on the rim. I was hoping for some charred spots on a crust that would otherwise be a lighter brown, as opposed to uniform swaths of dark brown and black with little contrast. While kind of funky in appearance, the rims were not hard or crackery (probably thanks to the high oil level), although their outer crust was a bit thicker and more baguette-like than I would have liked.

The bottom of the pie was medium to dark golden brown with wildcat-fur dark spots, pretty much exactly what I wanted. Its characteristics surprised me and turned out to be very illuminating. The first slice I ate had a decidely crispy (not crunchy, hard, or crackery) bottom. The second, which had been sitting on a wooden cutting board for several minutes, had the kind of soft and floppy bottom I remembered. It then dawned on me that my memories of the style have been shaped by the fact that about 99% of the pies I've eaten in my life were either delivery or pick-up, and the bottoms had been "box conditioned" by the time I ate them. They were probably quite different when eaten on-site. Fortunately, no-one cares enough about American pizza to get into impassioned theoretical disputations over which way is more correct or authentic  :D 

The toppings were just about right in how they were heated through and very tasty and succulent- surprisingly so, seeing as how I treated this as a practice pie and so used the cheapest bargain-basement ingredients I could get my hands on  :D

If anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with the coloration problem, I'd really appreciate it. In any case, I'm going to be making a lot more of these.

-JLP 
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Offline apizza

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2009, 06:56:57 PM »
If anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with the coloration problem, I'd really appreciate it. In any case, I'm going to be making a lot more of these.

What coloration problem? I like it!

Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2009, 07:43:25 PM »
Apizza,

I'm glad you like it  :) In practice, though, the top-right part of the pie from about 11:00 to 2:30 had a bit too much carbon taste for my liking as a result of the uncontrolled char. Nothing catastrophic, but still excessive and in need of being tamed a bit.

-JLP
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2009, 07:46:58 PM »
JLP,

I would say you did very well.

I have a few thoughts on the crust coloration issue. One is to consider reducing the salt to something closer to 1.75-2%. Usually, one does not associate salt with crust coloration but because of the way that high salt levels affects the fermentation process there is a reduction in the use of sugars, resulting in higher residual sugar levels in the dough at the time of baking. As a consequence, the higher residual sugars lead to increased crust coloration. I don't know if 2.4% salt is enough to have that effect, but a simple test in a future dough might tell you if there is such an effect in your case. To read more on the effects of salt on crust color, see http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/salt.html.

A second possibility is to bake at a lower oven temperature and, when the crust color is as you like it, move the pizza to the topmost oven rack and expose the pizza to the broiler element for a minute or so to get some charring. Usually the rim will have an irregular surface with peaks and valleys in it such that the entire rim won't become one big uniform char. The added top heat should also help cook the many topping more completely.

Peter

« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 12:37:40 PM by Pete-zza »


Offline JConk007

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2009, 08:49:21 PM »
Looks good,
It appears there is a lot of bench flour leftover on the rim and dough  beneath topping as well ? cant see, is that your intention? I m curious about your shaping on parchment paper? no hand toss ? Do you actually spread it on the paper? Sure looks to have come out good to me! But I have never used parchment paper cooking pizza. Have you tried the oil brush thing on the rim? I have not, but I have read a bit here about it. Remember color and look does not mean as much as the final taste. It sounds as though you enjoyed it :P
John
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 09:06:53 PM by JConk007 »
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Offline sourdough girl

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2009, 08:58:12 PM »
John,
He does say that he baked it on a stone preheated for 1.5 hours @ 550o

I have used parchment paper when baking JerryMac's very wet dough in my oven.  Even when the oven and stone are preheated as long as JLP did, I have had no problem with the paper reacting to the heat.  Sometimes I trim the edges and sometimes I just let it get a little brown and crispy (like the crust!) but it has never burst into flames.

Looks like a dang good pizza to me!  Good job, JLP!

~sd
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Offline JConk007

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2009, 09:05:37 PM »
oops your right still on paper on the stone my bad just rushing through about 30 posts since last visit,and I agree looks dang good to me too.  I am Just  a curious rookie, and learning each day.
Thanks
John
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Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2009, 11:38:52 PM »
Peter:

I think I was actually able to taste the residual sugars in this dough and a few others I've made recently. I'm going to cut the salt to the 1.8-2% range recommended by the KAF factsheet you linked to.


JConk:

I don't have a pizza peel, so I do everything on parchment. I don't hand-toss because I usually end up making very wet doughs (this one was almost 68% hydration) due to my home oven's tendency to suck out most of the moisture of whatever I put in it, and also because I rarely make pies larger than 12" anyways. I just dump the dough out of the container onto the paper, make an indentation in the centre, and then just push/spread the dough out with my fingers. Because the dough is usually very wet and sticky, I have to sprinkle it with quite a bit of flour to accomplish this, which is what you saw in the picture.

About brushing the rims with oil: I've never tried this, but wouldn't it start burning at 550 (I think the smoke point of even the lightest olive oil is something like 475) ?

SD Girl:

Actually I've been thinking of ditching the parchment paper. Although, as you noted, it doesn't actually burn, it does emit some smoke or particulates as it browns, giving off a distinct smell (kind of like cigarette paper or matches), and the more familiar I become with the smell the more I notice it turning up as an unwholesome flavour imparted to my pizzas.

Everybody:

Thanks for the encouraging comments.

-JLP   
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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 08:23:45 AM »
Jose,
Very Interesting technique. Not sure what threads the oil thing was on? Is your preference a very high hydration dough. Have you tried some of the other offerings here on the site. Also curious how the oven sucks out the moisture ? can you add a cast iron skillet pre heat the add water to impart some steam , if its that bad? Peter has had some wonderful results using a relatively inexpensive screen. Keep experimenting thats what its all about  :D
John
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Offline sourdough girl

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2009, 03:34:50 PM »
JLP,

If I'm not rushed for time, I usually take my kitchen shears and cut the paper to fit the pizza so there is very little sticking out...just a little "tab" for me to pull the paper out when the crust is set to that the crust is directly on the stone for most of the bake.  The moisture from the crust keeps the paper under it from browning.  You might try that technique if you want to continue using the parchment.  Even when I have used a full square sheet, I've never noticed the flavor of the browned paper on my pizza.  Perhaps I don't leave it in as long as you do...

Also, I have never had a problem with any olive oils smoking at the temp.... I think the crust, which is cooler than the air in the oven, helps keep the temp of the oil down. 
Just a thought.....

~sd
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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2009, 10:12:27 PM »

Jose Piedra wrote:

     "American" pizza, as a style or genre, seems to be relatively under-researched by comparison."

Thank you Jose for bringing up this topic. It is one that is near and dear to my heart. I grew up in Indio, California, a small town where one probably could not reasonably expect to find a really good pizza. But Indio had Ciro's Pizzeria, a wonderful little family restaurant run by the Mazella family. This was proper pizza in the New York school. A chewy, tender crust, good sauce that didn't overwhelm, good cheese, great sausage, fresh mushrooms...  I don't know exactly how the Mazellas came to Indio, but I do know that they brought quality pizza to a place that probably would still not have a decent pizza today if they had never come there.  We used to go there many Friday nights after football games, and many other nights when my parents didn't feel like cooking.  They made really good lasagna too. 

When I was in high school I went down to Newport Beach for the summer (I was on strike from my real summer job at Massey Sand and Rock in Indio) and snagged a job making pizzas at Zino's Pizzeria in Newport Beach. Zino's was another of those "mom and pop" type places. A style of pizza quite a bit different from what I had experienced at Ciro's, but appealing in its own way. The sauce was a bit overspiced to my taste, the crust was thinner, and docked as I recall.  Still, it was an honest pizza. The owner would make the dough the day before and leave it in the cooler to develop overnight. And it was a very nice crust indeed. 

I worked nights, serving up pizzas to beach bunnies and stoners, and regular folk too.  It was one of the most enjoyable jobs I ever had, once I was able to convince them to let me close the place instead of working the rush hours. I was really terrible at the rush hours, but did fine later one when the pressure was off.  I just loved making pizzas and serving them up to people.  It was very rewarding work in it way.  Kids would come in and play PacMan (this is a few years back, folks), and order up sodas and a slice. 

So yes, the now disappearing mom and pop pizzeria does deserve some attention. A great institution that I wish could have survived a bit better than it has. 

Tin Roof 

Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2009, 11:47:30 PM »
JConk:

The reason the oven I'm using loses a lot of moisture is probably because it has one of those vents. Steam shoots out of it whenever I bake. An upside is that my pies never get soggy no matter how much I top them (and I like to use lots of toppings), so even though I could easily disable the vent I'm just going to leave well enough alone and stick to using high-hydration doughs.

SD Girl:

The reason I worry about olive oil burning is based on my experiences making Sicilian-type pies in oiled pans. I find that I have to watch them like a hawk or the bottom starts blackening/burning even on the middle rack @ 500 after about 8 minutes or so. Then again, it might not have this effect on the rim, which after all isn't in direct contact with hot metal.

tinroofrusted:

Thanks for your anecdote- sounds like good times. Yes, I too remember Pac-Man machines  :-D Do you by any chance recall what kind of oven they were using where you worked, how long they baked their pizzas, and at what temperature?

-JLP 
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 11:49:33 PM by Jose L. Piedra »
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Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2009, 12:33:28 AM »
Hi Jose,

The pizzas at Zino's were baked for about 12-15 minutes, depending upon what was on them.  They were baked in a classic deck pizza oven; sorry I don't know the brand. It was plenty hot, probably around 600 degrees. It would burn the hairs off our arms regularly.  You could not leave your hand in there for more than a couple of seconds without it getting very uncomfortably hot.  They did put a lot of toppings on too, especially the cheese. 

Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: The Mom-and-Pop Pizza: A Neglected American Style
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2009, 06:09:43 PM »
Hi Everybody,

Here is my second attempt. The dough formulation and mixing/fermentation protocol are the same as the last time, with two modifications I made in order to address the scorching problem I mentioned. Per Pete-zza's advice, I reduced the salt to 2%. Also, observing that pizzas baked with AP flour display less crust colouration than those using bread flour. I used 25% AP flour (Five Roses) in the hopes that it would serve as a carbonization retardant. Topped as last time, but with no bacon. The pie was baked for 13 minutes @ 550, a full minute longer than last time. While it isn't really evident from the photo, charring was indeed reduced to a more suitable level, although I attribute this more to turning the pie around several minutes into the bake than to the abovementioned countermeasures.

In any case, it was really tasty and, I think, about as close to the pies of my days of wayback as I'm going to get without springing for a deck oven. I can't believe how easy it was to get there. What remains is for me to work on the sauce and a few other things, but these are mere details. Many thanks to everybody who responded with comments, suggestions and reminiscences.

-JLP   
Scarsu d'ogghiu, e riccu di provolazzu ::)


 

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