Author Topic: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle  (Read 12686 times)

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Offline Guistino

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"Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« on: May 05, 2009, 10:45:21 PM »
A couple weeks ago I ate at "Serious Pie" in Seattle and was completely blown away!
Being a New York native and all, I never liked any other type of crust other than NY Style, but I thought Serious Pie even though it was different, was outstanding!  

Now i am obsessing on finding out how Tom Douglas (owner/chef) makes his dough and what different techniques he's using for his crust.

Any Suggestions on finding a similar style pizza dough recipe?


« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 10:49:40 PM by Guistino »
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Offline s00da

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009, 10:04:41 AM »
It is very difficult to think of anything just by looking at the picture.

What can you tell us about:

Crust texture
Crust flavor, any sourdough flavor ?
Was the bottom of the pizza charred
How was the pizza baked? electric or wood burning oven, if you've seen it
How long did it take for the pizza to bake
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 10:06:32 AM by s00da »

Offline jeff v

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2009, 09:55:27 PM »
There's a video on YouTube that profiles Serious Pie and gives a little more info...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngxpwrnt7bM" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngxpwrnt7bM</a>


Jeff

Offline perna

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2009, 06:06:20 AM »
Is there a reason for the shape, or is it just a signature thing they do?

Offline Guistino

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2009, 11:33:55 PM »
   Thanks for the responses.  I'm guessing the reason for the oval shaped dough is for more consistency throughout rather than a soggy middle like most ny and neo style crusts have in circle shaped pies.

    The toppings weren't the best, but both the texture and the flavor of the dough were close to perfect. I'm guessing its not a sourdough (no sourdough circles on the bottom) but Iím sure he's using some sort of biga. Like Tom Douglas says in the video on you tube, he's only letting the pie sit 12 hours, which seems like a lot less than most "artisan" style pizzeria's.

   Thanks for the responses and let me know if anyone has any more Ideas.

    PS: its a woodfire oven by woodstone
Giustino

Offline tdeane

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2009, 12:19:03 PM »
My first guess about the shape is that it's a lot easier to stretch do like that than it is to make it round. One possibilty, I mean it would save a lot of training and I see that the people making the pizzas seem to be kids for the most part. I find it very strange that the pizzas are bakes in a woodburning oven at 600 degrees :o . What's the point of using a woodburning oven if you are going to bake at 600 degrees? IMO, that's a little lame. But, I guess his crust looks kind of thick so they have to be baked at lower temperature. I say, make em thinner and crank the oven up, but he seems to be going for a very crunchy crust.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 01:01:47 PM by tdeane »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2009, 01:16:24 PM »
I am not sure what dictated the size and shape of the pizza, but I noticed that the make peel is longer than it is narrow. If only the width of the make peel were used, the pizza would be round but small.

I think that there is also a matter of trust involved here. Todd English, the well known chef/cookbook author/restaurateur/TV celebrity/businessman says that one should not trust a round pizza (http://www.amazon.com/Figs-Table-Recipes-Pizzas-Desserts/dp/product-description/0684852640/?tag=pizzamaking-20). A local pizza chain outside of Dallas, iFratelli, makes an oval/somewhat rectangular pizza and uses the same motto: "Never trust a round pizza".

Peter

Offline tdeane

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2009, 01:51:25 AM »
I am not sure what dictated the size and shape of the pizza, but I noticed that the make peel is longer than it is narrow. If only the width of the make peel were used, the pizza would be round but small.

I think that there is also a matter of trust involved here. Todd English, the well known chef/cookbook author/restaurateur/TV celebrity/businessman says that one should not trust a round pizza (http://www.amazon.com/Figs-Table-Recipes-Pizzas-Desserts/dp/product-description/0684852640/?tag=pizzamaking-20). A local pizza chain outside of Dallas, iFratelli, makes an oval/somewhat rectangular pizza and uses the same motto: "Never trust a round pizza".

Peter

That motto seems a little silly doesn't it?

Offline s00da

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2009, 07:06:12 AM »
I think it's just a marketing gimmick to make customers think the pizza is more sophisticated

Offline Wazatron

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2009, 02:09:40 PM »
I was able to eat at Serious Pie this past week, and it truly is fantastic. Iíd also like to try and recreate it at home. I picked up some interesting tidbits I thought might help everyone here reach a starting formulation.

First of all, the oblong shape is not a marketing gimmick. The shape helps cook the ďcenterĒ of the pizza, eliminating that mushy wet center. I canít stand pizzas that are so wet and soggy in the center that you canít even fold them, so this was just fantastic to me. There is thin, there is thin and crispy, and then there is mush. Mush is no good.

Anyhow, we were actually on a tour of gourmet places in Seattle. Our guide gave us some other info on the pies, but again Iím just not sure how much I believe him on these ones. He obviously knows the pizza shop well, and stops there daily, but I donít know. These seemed odd.

First there is honey in the dough. Okay, thatís not odd, but the honey is there to promote browning and help crisp the dough in a lower temperature.

According to the guide, the pie is cooked in a 500 degree oven. Their website says 600 degrees, which I believe more, but it still seems pretty low. http://www.tomdouglas.com/restaurants/serious-pie

The guide also said they cook the pie a few minutes WITHOUT cheese, and then pull it to top it with the cheese, and then slide it back in. He said this was to get that nice brown char at a low temperature without destroying the cheese. This seemed really suspicious to me, though I didnít have a chance to catch a pizza maker in the act either way. The toppings are on top of the cheese as well.

The dough was very flavorful, but it was also liberally ďsaucedĒ with olive oil after it was pulled from the oven, so that did add flavor there. But it was very tender Ė a 12 hour room temperature fermentation. It was also cut in squares from that oblong shape (you can see that in the picture above) and had a cornmeal dusting on the bottom.

Very good, very tasty, and very unique. It was some of the best pizza Iíve had, and much better than Kenís Artisan down the road in Portland (though Iíd have to say Apizza Scholls in Portland was a bit better).
I have some pictures of Serious Pie as well that Iíll post when I can, but I thought Iíd get this down before my thoughts dried up! :)

---- Edit ----
I had the pictures closer than I thought, so here they are.

Day 1 on the tour we got to sample the Mushroom pizza and a more traditional pie with buffalo mozzarella, san marzano tomato. The pies were very, very, steaming hot, and the tomato sauce was lights out great. Not a soggy piece in the house, even in the thinnest part. The mushroom pizza was equally fantastic, and head and shoulders above Ken's Artisan (had that as well two days later): roasted porcini, smoked pancetta, wood violet. Finally on Day 2 when we came back (we had to have more!) my wife and I shared the penn cove clams, house pancetta, lemon thyme pizza (when in Seattle, right?). Super fantastic.

You can see the crust is also well developed: they get really good bubbles, pockets, etc. Very random from pie to pie - more so than what I generally see elsewhere. The dough was a very tender dough, not dry in the slightest, but it did have a good crisp to it. And again, they had cornmeal on the bottom and olive oil drizzled over each one.

I would most definitely go back to Serious Pie if I get up to Seattle again!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 04:29:46 PM by Wazatron »


Offline scott r

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2009, 03:27:15 PM »
I believe everything that he told you!

Online Pete-zza

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2009, 04:30:35 PM »
First there is honey in the dough. Okay, thatís not odd, but the honey is there to promote browning and help crisp the dough in a lower temperature.


Waz,

Honey is a very hygroscopic ingredient, much more so than sugar, so it should make the finished crust more moist and tender, not crispier. See http://books.google.com/books?id=HDUTtxJC20QC&pg=PA323&lpg=PA323&dq=honey+dough+hygroscopic&source=bl&ots=GKqrULKwBf&sig=AmcsiCsyYMTHKzeeXm4wrr7DmVo&hl=en&ei=yuc_SvrHG8yLtgfWlvkI&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5. My guess is that the honey is used in small amounts, to avoid burning or excessively browning the bottom crust.

Peter

Offline stupidhaiku

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2009, 06:02:15 PM »
I was able to eat here when I was in Seattle in early March, and it is indeed some of the best pizza I have ever tried.  I find it very interesting that they claim to bake at 5-600 though, isn't that a bit low for a WFO?  Placing the cheese on later I can believe, as I didn't notice any cheese browning/skinning on any of the pies we ordered.  And I'll also agree on the sauce -- it was easily the sweetest, best sauce I have ever tried.  I believe they make most every ingredient in-house (you can see the sausage and such curing in the front) so replicating some of the finer qualities may be difficult.  Only thing I'd add is I did notice they used fresh strips of basil applied after cooking on the margh.
-Mike (one of them, anyway)

Offline Wazatron

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2009, 07:03:28 PM »
Pete - thanks for the info. I wasn't even thinking about the hygroscopic properties of honey related to baking (i.e. I'm sooo not a baker, which makes pizza's more fun and challenging for me :) ) and was just thinking about the extra sugar helping to brown.

Like the stupidhaiku said, it just seemed really odd that the oven temp was so low. But I guess if they're using honey, perhaps it is hygroscopic enough to retain moisture and tenderness in the dough and keep it from drying out in a longer bake in that low temp oven? If that's the case, and they do put the cheese/toppings on after a few minutes of baking, I could see it all making sense. The sauce was literally smokin' hot when the pie was placed in front of us. Steamy and full of flavor.

I'm going to poke through some recipes on the site that use honey and try to put together something that uses a 12-hour room temp fermentation. I'll post here for advice before trying - I'm nowhere near competent enough to fly solo! ha!  :-D

And yeah, they make everything in house - it's crazy. And crazy good.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 07:10:22 PM by Wazatron »

Offline Wazatron

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2009, 01:09:13 PM »
Hi all - I probably won't be able to try this until later in the week, but I put together this "test" recipe based on a number of others seen through the site, but primarily one by "Cass" (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7828.0.html).

It also occurred to me that I don't know for sure that Serious Pie does a 12 hour ROOM temp. ferment, but I would imagine so. I did some adjustments to the recipe to lower the yeast a bit to account for a room temp fermentation, but again this is really all complete speculation on my end. I'd love some comments and perhaps some suggestions before giving this a spin.

Flour (100%): 373.38 g  |  13.17 oz | 0.82 lbs
Water (60%): 224.03 g  |  7.9 oz | 0.49 lbs
ADY (.5%): 1.87 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.49 tsp | 0.16 tbsp
Salt (1%): 3.73 g | 0.13 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.78 tsp | 0.26 tbsp
Honey (2%): 7.47 g | 0.26 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.07 tsp | 0.36 tbsp
Total (163.5%): 610.48 g | 21.53 oz | 1.35 lbs |
TF = 0.1071


As for method, I would plan on proofing the ADY in a bit of the water (I would aim to have the water ~100 degrees).
Add the slurry & honey with the rest of the water in the mixer.
Add 1/3 of the flour and mix well for 2-3 min.
Add 1/2 the remaining flour salt and mix for another 2-3 min.
Add the final flour and mix until a good ball forms.

hand knead into a good ball, lube up a bowl, drop in the dough, cover, and let sit in a warm place for 12 hours.

I would imagine the dough would needed to be punched down before use, but I'm not sure there.

I would plan on cooking it on my stone, directly on it, at 550 degrees (preheated for an hour) using a cornmeal dusting, and see what happens!!! :)

Oh yeah - to try to re-create Serious Pie, I'd also bake the pie with sauce only for a few minutes, and then pull to add cheese/toppings, and slide back in to finish up. I would guess maybe 5 min for each step? I really don't know. Of course I would finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil over the crust, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 01:12:18 PM by Wazatron »

Offline pcampbell

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2009, 01:55:45 PM »
What made you think room temp?


I had thought about this recently.    Room temp I think might make a unique and interesting crust that is not going to be exactly the same day to day.  This could be a good thing or abad thing.  It might just mean that you adjust your amount of yeast ... or water temperature or ? depending on the season? 

12 hours though seems like an odd time, unless you want to be up at 5AM every day making pizza for 5PM dinner.  What about 24 hours, or 18?
Patrick

Offline Wazatron

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2009, 03:08:13 PM »
As far as "room temp", I think I just got confused between Serious Pie and another pizza place. :) I also recently ate at Apizza Scholls, and and they explicitly state an over 24-hour "room temperature" fermentation. I just got 12 hours from the video of Tom Douglass talking about Serious Pie on YouTube.

The general consensus around the board seems to be that a cold fermentation produces better results, however the statements made on Apizza Scholls site are very interesting, and I can say first hand that their dough was as complex and flavorful as any I've ever had.

"The process of fermenting the dough takes over 24 hours at room temperature, with a minimum amount of yeast. This slow fermentation will produce acidity in the final dough, which gives the product a creamy flavor and also gives the crust a complexity in the texture, ranging from crackly & flakey to soft & chewy. (http://www.apizzascholls.com/aboutourpizza.htm)"

So again, I guess at this stage I'm more intrigued about trying some low yeast, room temperature fermentations, but yeah I have to say I just don't know how Serious Pie does it!  ;D  12 hours also woudln't be too strange around here - I can find time around 7 am to make a skin, and then dining at 7 pm isn't far off the norm for us either. hehe

--- Edit ---
Actually, in doing more research (always learning) it looks like Apizza Scholls uses a poolish. So even though they are doing a shorter room-temp ferment it seems the poolish helps give the flavor and complexity achieved through a long 2-3 day refrigerated fermentation. I'm not sure if Serious Pie uses and poolish or prefermentation. At this stage in my pizza making, however, this is all becoming more interesting to me. :) I'm going to do some more research into this (starting here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8601.0.html)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 03:40:15 PM by Wazatron »

Offline bicster

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2009, 03:17:18 PM »
What made you think room temp?


I had thought about this recently.    Room temp I think might make a unique and interesting crust that is not going to be exactly the same day to day.  This could be a good thing or abad thing.  It might just mean that you adjust your amount of yeast ... or water temperature or ? depending on the season? 

12 hours though seems like an odd time, unless you want to be up at 5AM every day making pizza for 5PM dinner.  What about 24 hours, or 18?


You could always use something like this:  http://www.amazon.com/Coldmate-MR-148-Deluxe-Digital-Refrigerator/dp/B001F7H4RY/?tag=pizzamaking-20

pretty cheap, and can help decrease the variability of home temps.

Offline pnj

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Re: "Serious Pie" by Tom Douglas in Seattle
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2009, 12:34:59 AM »
I say the shape is a gimick.

Offline pacoast

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The pizza knife that they are using
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2009, 02:23:59 PM »
Here's an oddball request.. in watching this pie being made (the youtube video in the third post), I noticed that they seem to be using a very nice pizza knife or rocker knife. These aren't as popular as rotary pizza wheels, but I prefer this type of cutter. Basically it's a large curved blade and you can "rock" the (convex) knife across the pizza in one motion to cut it. You can see how this works about 49 seconds into the video.

Anyway, lots of pizza supply vendors sell these, but they usually have small and/or poorly designed handles. The one in the video seems like it has a substantial handle & I've been trying to find out who sells this one (or something close to it).


 

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