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Offline bicster

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I really need a killer sauce
« on: October 10, 2005, 05:44:53 PM »
Ladies and Gents,

I am 90% there on my perfect pizza.  I have probably spent too much time on this site, assimilating ideas/teachniques etc.  In any case, my dough is great and I found a place to purchase grande cheese, so I am pretty happy.  The only chink in my armor is the sauce.  Man, it just seems impossible.

What I am looking to make is a sweet, thin, memorable sauce.  Please help me. 

I would also like to purchase products from Stanislaus and Escalon, where can I order online that would not require me to be a business or have a tax id?  Which of those 2 companies and which products would I be better off with given what I am looking to produce?

Thanks in advance for any help, I am just stuck!!

Best,
Josh


Offline Campy

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2005, 06:09:48 PM »
You can order directly from Escalon www.escalon.com  and the shipping is really dirt cheap.

The only place I have found to order Stanislaus is here www.chefswarehouse.com/Search/SearchResult.aspx?KeyString=STANISLAUS they seem expensive, and the shipping is outrageous.

Hope this helps,
Mike

Online Pete-zza

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2005, 06:32:35 PM »
Josh,

Welcome to the forum.

Pizza sauces tend to be personal in nature, so you will have to do you own experimenting to find what works best for you. There are many places on this forum that have addressed the matter of pizza sauces. You will find many links at the thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1635.0.html. More recent additions are at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1931.0.html and http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1814.0.html. The Escalon link is provided in the first referenced thread, which you can use to order the 6-in-1s online directly from Escalon. The 6-in-1s are also sold in some Kroger's and also from other online sources that you might identify from doing a Google search (Claro's in California was one such source that I previously identified).

The Stanislaus tomatoes are sold mainly through foodservice companies and distributors, some of whom will sell on a cash-and-carry basis, but they are also sold online at pennmac.com (in addition to the chefswarehouse mentioned by Campy). You can also call PennMac (1-800-223-5928) and ask for Rose, who is a member of the forum and has dealt with many of our members. The Stanislaus comes in #10 cans, which weight almost seven pounds. You will never be able to answer the question as to whose "Fresh-pack" tomatoes are better--those from Escalon or Stanislaus. Each brand has its devoted users who will never switch even on the pain of death.

Out of curiosity, would you mind telling us what dough formulation you are using that has worked so well for you?

Peter
« Last Edit: October 10, 2005, 06:38:04 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline bicster

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2005, 08:20:55 PM »
Thank you for the replies.  Peter, I must say that I owe much of my "skill" to you.  I have been a lurker on this forum for quite some time, and your contributions are second to none. 

My recipe is a very basic one, but what I contribute to its success is using Caputo 00 flour.  I have tried 6 different trpes of flours, all the major ones, and when I finally tried the caputo, well, its the first time my finished product tasted like pizza, not cheese and sauce on a piece of bread.  Many people say that type of flour is inconsequential if the technique is right, but, well, the proof is in the pudding.

I have two more questions for you while I have your attention.  First:  I am going to call Rose this week, besudes the #10 cans what else do you recommend I purchase?  Are those whole tomatoes, paste, etc??  My second question is that I would like to start experimenting with sourdough starters.  I have purchased the italian ones from sourdo.com and eagerly await their arrival.  Truth be told, I have no idea what to do with them.  Where would you recommend directing me?

Once again, thanks for everything.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2005, 10:48:10 PM »
Josh,

Thanks for the kind remarks.

You might want to go to the PenMac website at pennmac.com and click on the Pizza Makers tab. There you will find some, but not all, of the many pizza-related ingredients that PennMac sells. I took a look at the items at the tab tonight and see that PennMac also sell the Escalon products, both in the 28-ounce cans and in #10 size. Their per/can price for the 28-ounce can is lower than Escalon's, but Escalon sells 6 cans of the 6-in-1 for $16.50, including shipping. So you might want to check PennMac's prices after shipping charges are added to see who offers the better deal.

There are many different styles and forms of Escalon and Stanislaus tomatoes. Steve posted a comparison chart of the Escalon and Stanislaus tomatoes at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,651.msg5980.html#msg5980 that you might find useful. You might also want to go to the Stanislaus website (the link was included in my earlier post) to get descriptions of the different forms of the tomatoes they offer. Some of the most popular Stanislaus tomatoes seem to be the Full Red and 7/11. If you like the Caputo Neapolitan style pizzas, you might want to consider the Stanislaus Alta Cucinas, which many deem to be the American analog to the famous San Marzano tomatoes. I have a can of the Alta Cucinas but have not tried them yet. There are many members more expert than I on the Escalon and Stanislaus tomatoes. If you do a site search on Stanislaus I am sure you will get a better feel for our members' views on the Stanislaus tomatoes--and the Escalon tomatoes as well.

While you are reviewing the various PennMac products at the Pizza Makers tab, you might want to consider the Ezzo pepperoni if you are a fan of pepperoni. Ezzo is a small producer that normally sells only through distributors but its pepperoni is considered by many to be the best there is, and their stick version is sold at PennMac. The All Trumps high-gluten flour is a good substitute for the King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour and is also available in small bags at PennMac. PennMac is the only place I can think of that sells the All Trumps in other than 50-lb. bags (which PennMac also sells). Youi will also note that PennMac sells the Caputo 00 flour, in both small bags and the big bag. PennMac also sells a fairly wide range of Grande cheeses. If you need IDY yeast, the SAF brand is a good one. If you have any questions on any of the other items you see at the PennMac website that strike your fancy or pique your interest, feel free to ask.

On the matter of sourdough starters, I made my own using whatever wild yeast exists where I live in Texas. There are, however, many of our members who have purchased the Italian starters from sourdo and are experts on their use, including Bill/SFNM, scott r, and, of course, Marco (pizzanapoletana). scott r is also our resident "expert" on tomatoes (especially the San Marzanos) and cheeses. He has an amazing mental database on these items, and others as well, and hopefully he will share it with you in your quest to perfect your pizzas. Hopefully those members who are using the Italian sourdo starters will be able to assist you when your starters arrive.

BTW, while I was looking for some of the information to prepare this post I stumbled across a sauce recipe that sound like it might be what you are looking for. It was included in a post by one of our members, RedGreene, who is a pizza operator and who did a fair amount of research on the Stanislaus tomatoes. He was quoting from another pizza operator who uses the recipe for a NY style pizza. It's fairly typical of the way that pizza operators modify existing sauces to suit their needs.

Take 2 cups of Full Red pizza sauce and add a cup of water to it (maybe a bit more). This is a thin sauce....the high heat will boil the water out of the sauce.. too thick of a sauce and you will have tomato paste under your toppings and it will be sickeningly pasty on the edges. Add 1/2 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp of basil, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, maybe 1/2 tsp of sugar if you think it has too much of an acid bite to it and finally 1 tbs of fresh grated romano cheese. Stir and let set an hour or better yet overnight.

Another of our members with professional pizza experience suggested adding the Romano cheese to the sauce just before using on the pizza, to avoid making the sauce bitter.

Jeff Varasano has also developed a pizza sauce that several of our members have commented on favorably. I haven't tried it yet but the specifics can be found at his website.

Peter




Offline scott r

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2005, 02:47:00 AM »
Wow Peter, thanks for the props.  I really don't consider myself an expert at anything other than eating pizza.  That I have down pretty good at this point.

Bicster, If you are looking for a sweet, thin sauce, I think Peter has sent you on a great direction with the Escalon/Stanislaus route.  After doing many comparative tests of every brand of tomato I can find, I have come to the conclusion that your best bet for this type of sauce is probably going to be a California tomato.  I can at this point say fairly confidently that any Italian, or San Marzano/SM style tomato that is available here in the US is going to have a less sweet flavor.  I was surprised to find that in Naples I tried some canned tomatoes that seemed to have the best of both worlds, a slightly sweet taste along with the typical San Marzano flavor.  If you do want to try a San Marzano, the sweetest ones I have found over here are Pastene, or Collucio.  These are probably the closest in flavor to What I had in Naples, but the texture is way off.  I still prefer the La Regina over everything else for San Marzano's in the US, but I would avoid them if you are looking for sweet.  They are very "dry" tasting tomatoes.  If you can get a fresh can they do have a great texture and flavor that is very similar to what I found in Naples, but less sweet.  I also must add here that the La Preferita tomatoes I tried in Naples  that I loved are considered by Marco (the real resident expert) to be sub-par when compared to other brands available in the area.

You might be thinking to yourself, why not just buy some of these great San Marzano's and add sugar.  Well, my wife prefers a sweet sauce and I have tried on various occasions to add sugar, honey, or corn syrup to good San Marzano's to make her happy.  What I have found is that even when you get the sauce to have the right amount of sweet, It ends up tasting like candy.  It is just not right.  Again, back to Escalon/Stanislaus.  Also, if you are in an area that sells Pastene, their Kitchen Ready diced/crushed tomatoes are very similar to a slighly watered down Escalon 6in1 and are much cheaper.

More and more I am beginning to think that getting a fresh can, and one that has not been subjected to extreme heat or cold is maybe even more important than the brand.  If you see dust on the fancy cans of tomato at your local Italian specialty store you are better off just buying some Hunts at a normal grocery store.  If your normal grocery store has some brand of specialty tomato that is expensive, so no one but you is buying it, it is probably going to be a mushy can and have a funny taste.  Recently I placed an order for some peeled Escalon 6in1's, unpeeled 6in1's, and some Bella Rosa concentrated crushed to do some Escalon/stanislaus comparisons with some 7/11 and some Sapitoro etc.  I knew as soon as I opened the first can of the Escalon product that something had gone wrong.  It turns out every can of Escalon I bought has a funny flavor.  I am assuming that it was left in a really hot UPS truck or something since it was late summer when I ordered them.  I think this is one of the reasons why we find so many conflicting reports on "the best tomato".

Hopefully you will have better luck than I did with my bad Escalon order and you will get fresh cans.  At one time I thought Escalon was better, but after trying many variety's from both of them I can say that my opinion is now that they are dead even in terms of quality, and are fairly interchangeable.  At one time I thought I could taste the Stanislaus citric acid, but now I am not sure that I can.  They both offer everything from whole tomatoes, to paste, and everything in between.  If you want whole tomatoes, I do think the Stanislaus Alta Cucina has the edge over the Escalon Bella Rosa whole peeled, maybe by a lot, but it is hard to tell for sure because of this whole freshness of the can dilemma.  If you want crushed tomatoes It seems like the Escalon 6in1 are better than the Stanislaus 7/11. 

Since you are looking for a thin sauce you have the option of pureeing whole tomatoes, tomato strips, or even diced or crushed tomatoes in a blender.  Many people think this is the best way to make sauce, but I have found that if the goal is  a sweet sauce with no chunks in it I am better off starting with concentrated crushed, or even paste.  I have also found that if I am going to start from paste/concentrated crushed It is even more important to get a high end brand like Stanislaus/Escalon.  Since it is easy to mail order and fairly cheap, my suggestion to you Bicster is to get some of the Bella Rosa Concentrated crushed from Escalon.net.  You will have to add water to this, so in the end you will also be saving money.  Grab some 6in1's while you are at it because they are really great, but they will be more chunky.

Once you have your tomatoes the other key to a good sauce is getting the right water content.  If I just take a can of whole tomatoes, and puree the whole thing it is way too watery.  Jeff Varasano, a fellow member has great directions on how to remove unwanted water from a can.  Il Pizziolo has suggested adding paste.  If you need to add water like you will to a product like Escalon's Bonta, make sure you add enough.  If your sauce is to thick it will be gross.  If it is to thin it will lack flavor, and moisten your pie too much.  When you get the right tomato, and the right water content to your sauce you are 90% there.

I have had amazing sauce with nothing added to the tomatoes but salt.  If you are going to add to your tomatoes a great place to start is oregano, basil, fennel, garlic, and olive oil.  If you use fresh herbs your sauce will be much better.  It is easy to add too much so be careful.  Again, the main thing is the right tomatoes from a fresh can and the right water content.

Oh yeah,  I almost forgot.  Don't cook the sauce if you want your pizza to taste fresh!

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!

Offline David

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2005, 10:28:23 AM »
Very imformative Scott, just a couple of points you may have come up against?A friend of mine has suggested to me that he never uses a stick blender or any mechanical device for that matter to puree his Tomatoes as he feels that by cutting the seeds it is detrimental to the flavor.Just out of curiosity-have you tried blending different cans to get the flavor / texture you are looking for?I have reason to believe that some operators are doing this  with different Brands / types,not just for flavor but also as a cost factor (DOP + Non DOP),
                                                             David
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Offline bicster

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2005, 10:57:35 AM »
Thank you all.  After midterms this week I am going to do some experimenting, and probably post next week with some more questions!!

Once again, you guys are great

Offline scott r

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2005, 11:06:57 AM »
David,

This is really great insight.  I actually prefer some chunk, and even though I have a stick blender I usually crush by hand.  When I have used a stick I try to leave some texture instead of grinding totally smooth.  It is interesting to hear the theory about the change in flavor.  Thinking back to the times I have fully pureed with a stick, I think I might agree.  I think it is time to perform more tests!

As far as blending goes, I do it all the time.  Not so much DOP, non DOP to save money, but definitely for texture and flavor reasons.  I have noticed, for instance, that fully pureeing whole tomatoes from Stanislaus tastes totally different than bringing some of their concentrated crushed to the same general water content.  This is why I recommended that Bicster try both approaches to find out what he likes.

Offline buzz

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2005, 11:26:39 AM »
I find that a very tasty simple thin sauce can be made from a can of tomato sauce (I currently like Hunt's), spiced with garlic, spices, red pepper flakes, oil, and a little sugar, or whatever you happen to like. Obviously different brands of sauce will yield different tastes.


Offline scott r

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Re: I really need a killer sauce
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2005, 02:12:02 PM »
Oh yeah Buzz, I almost forgot pepper flakes.  You are right.  To my tastebuds they really add more than just heat.