After considering all of the contributions to the Papa Gino’s clone effort by John, zalicious and scott r, I decided to take a stab at a PG clone in which I would incorporate what I learned from John, zalicious and scott r into my own version, specifically, a pepperoni PG clone pizza. This entailed making a few changes.
The first change was the flour. Originally, I thought to use King Arthur bread flour and supplement it with vital wheat gluten to raise the protein content of the flour blend to around 14%, which is a typical value for a high-gluten flour. As I was contemplating that possibility, I found a post dated October 2008 by a former employee of Papa Gino’s who said that she believed that semolina flour was part of the Papa Gino’s pizza flour blend (see http://recipesfromrestaurants.com/mf/8/19016
). Whether this is accurate or not is hard to know but semolina flour has always been part of the Italian culinary tradition and possibly found its way into the “secret” dough formulation that started the pizzeria that was later to become Papa Gino’s. In my case, I decided to use 15% semolina in the flour blend. The rest, 85%, was King Arthur bread flour. Because of the unique hydration characteristics of the semolina flour, I increased the hydration of the dough formulation by almost 1%, from 60% to almost 61%, as noted below. The protein content of the flour blend was about 12.75%.
A second change was to use a pizza screen/pizza stone combination to assemble and bake the pizza. This combination was used to see if I could reduce the shrinkage of a pizza that is normally dressed on a peel and loaded into the oven. In my case, I used a 16” screen and shaped and stretched the skin out to 15” and placed it onto the screen. The 15” size was very convenient because I could shape the skin right up to the ½”-wide metal band at the perimeter of the 16” screen. After the pizza was dressed, the screen was placed onto the pizza stone, which I had placed on the lowest oven rack position of my oven. Because of the use of the screen and the need to raise its temperature before the pizza could start to bake, I decided to bake the pizza at 475 degrees F rather than at 450 degrees F. The stone was preheated for about an hour at the 475 degree F temperature. Once the pizza set up on the stone, which took about 4 minutes, I removed the screen from the oven and let the pizza finish baking directly on the stone. It took about another 3-4 minutes to finish the bake.
In terms of the sauce, cheese and toppings, I used 8.5 ounces (240.98 grams) of the three-cheese blend, 6 ounces (170.1 grams) of pizza sauce, and 3 ounces (85.1 grams) of Hormel pepperoni slices. I apportioned the cheese blend so that 75% was a low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese (6.28 ounces, or 180.73 grams), 23% white cheddar cheese (1.96 ounces, or 55.4 grams), 2% grated Romano cheese (0.17 ounces, or 4.82 grams), and about a half-teaspoon of oregano leaves that I crumbled between my fingers. The white cheddar cheese was a NY sharp cheddar cheese. That was not my first choice but I was unable to find a fat-reduced white cheddar cheese in the stores near where I live. The grated Romano cheese came to one tablespoon. All three cheeses and the oregano were put into my food processor and pulsed to dice the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. The Hormel pepperoni slices were the ones in the packets rather than the pouch. Because those slices are a bit smaller than the slices in the pouch, I used weight rather than number of slices. I also microwaved the pepperoni slices between paper towels for several seconds to render some of the fat. As it turned out, there was still a fair amount of fat rendered during the bake.
The sauce was prepared by pureeing a 28-ounce can of Redpack whole peeled tomatoes in thick puree. I used a hand-held immersion blender to do this, and I completed the sauce by adding about 3/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, about 3/8 teaspoon of oregano leaves that I had crumbled between my finger, 3/16 teaspoon of garlic powder, and two teaspoons of sugar. I did not drain any water from the sauce. I let the sauce marinate for several hours before using. I believe overnight would have been even better from a flavor enhancement standpoint.
The dough formulation I ended up with using the expanded dough calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html
was as follows:
|KABF/Semolina Flour Blend* (100%):|
|283.19 g | 9.99 oz | 0.62 lbs|
171.9 g | 6.06 oz | 0.38 lbs
1.06 g | 0.04 oz | 0 lbs | 0.35 tsp | 0.12 tbsp
4.25 g | 0.15 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.76 tsp | 0.25 tbsp
460.4 g | 16.24 oz | 1.02 lbs | TF = N/A
* The KABF/Semolina Flour Blend includes 240.7g. (8.49 oz.) KABF and 42.48g. (1.50 oz. ) semolina flour
Note: Bowl residue compensation = 1.5%
The preparation of the PG clone dough was straightforward. I started by combining the KABF, semolina flour and the IDY in a bowl. I then added the formula water, at around 75 degrees F, to the bowl of my basic KitchenAid stand mixer. The salt was then stirred into the formula water to dissolve, about 30 seconds. I then gradually added the flour blend to the water, a few tablespoons at a time, and mixed using the flat beater attachment with the mixer at stir speed. Once the bulk of the dough aggregated around the flat beater, which took about 2-3 minutes, plus a bit of manual assist on my part to help incorporate some of the loose flour into the dough ball, I switched to the C-hook. I added the rest of the flour blend and kneaded the dough mass, at speed 2, until it formed a smooth, cohesive dough ball, around 6-7 minutes. It is important to note that using semolina flour has a tendency to produce a dryer dough ball than when only bread flour is used, with a further tendency to collect around the dough hook and to spin with it. So, more human intervention may be needed to get the finished dough to the proper condition. If needed, one should add additional water, about a quarter-teaspoon at a time.
The finished dough temperature in my case was 71.4 degrees F. After trimming back the dough weight to 16 ounces, I hand kneaded it for about 30 seconds, shaped it into a round ball, oiled it lightly with a bit of soybean oil, and placed it into a lidded transparent plastic container. As is my practice, I also placed two poppy seeds at the center of the dough ball spaced apart by one inch. This is the method that is described at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6914.0.html
. By monitoring the increase in spacing between the two poppy seeds during the fermentation of the dough, I was able to monitor the extent of the expansion of the dough. In my case, the dough just about doubled after two days and six hours of fermentation. This period seemed to me to be consistent with what I imagine a real PG dough ball would be subjected to in a PG store. From the feel and appearance of the dough, I’m sure that it could have lasted even longer, maybe an extra day or two.
When I decided to make the pizza, I removed the dough ball from the refrigerator and let it warm up at room temperature (about 68 degrees F) for about 1 ½ hours. It was then shaped and stretched to size using a healthy amount of cornmeal on the bench. The dough itself was very easy to work with. It had a nice balance between elasticity and extensibility, and I had no problems opening it up to 15”. I was even able to toss the skin with ease. As I assembled the skin on the pizza screen, I weighed the individual ingredients (sauce, cheese blend and pepperoni slices) and the final dressed pizza. Surprisingly, very little of the cornmeal was taken up into the dough—a small fraction of an ounce. The unbaked pizza weight was 958 grams, or 33.79 ounces. After the pizza was done baking, I weighed it again. It was 822 grams, or just under 29 ounces. That represented a loss during baking of about 14%, which I consider to be on the high side. According to the PG nutrition data, a baked (and cooled) 14” pepperoni pizza should weight 34.71 ounces. However, because the finished pizza was around 14.5”, and because the amount of sauce and cheese blend did not seem excessive to me, I believe that the shortfall can be made up for, at least in part, by using a bit more dough, sauce and cheese blend. However, this is just conjecture on my part. I will have to wait to sample a real 14” pepperoni pizza at Papa Gino’s for a more accurate assessment of the relative amounts of everything that goes into the pizza.
The photos below show the finished product. I thought the pizza was very tasty. The crust was chewy and a bit crispy at the rim but soft in the center. As one of the slice photos shows, the rim was not particularly large. This was intentional based on photos of PG pizzas that I had seen and was achieved by shaping the dough skin at the perimeter so that it was raised slightly and narrow. The color of the crust was light, as scott r said it should be. I liked the three-cheese blend although I think I would be inclined to increase the amount of white cheddar cheese in the blend. I will have to await a sample of a real PG pepperoni pizza to determine what other changes might be needed to get the clone pizza closer to the real thing.