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Author Topic: My First Attempt at a Lou's Replica (and two questions)  (Read 183 times)

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Offline Chicagozaa

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My First Attempt at a Lou's Replica (and two questions)
« on: September 07, 2021, 11:32:41 AM »
I was born the same year Lou Malnati opened his original Lincolnwood location and I grew up two miles from that spot. I've had a lot of slices in my time and as good as the frozen Lou-to-go pizzas are, they're just not the same as fresh from the oven. This board has been so helpful educating me in my attempt to replicate the original. A big thank you to all the contributions here.

Here are the two main questions I haven't been able to find answers to on this forum:
  • How should the cooking time and/or temperature be changed when cooking a 14" pie (instead of a 9")
  • What type of parmesan does Lou's put on the tomatoes before cooking? I used fresh, grated parmesan - which disappeared into the sauce during cooking

This was our first attempt at replicating a 14" sausage & mushroom. It was nearly perfect. We found the crust to be more crumbly than crunchy. It didn't seem to have the same "crunch" from the original. Would love any feedback on what we could have done better.

We used the cooking time we saw for a 9" pizza. I heated the stone to 650 degrees on my grill and placed it on the bottom rack in an oven preheated to 450. I cooked 12 minutes on the stone, rotated 180 degrees, then cooked another 12 minutes. We finished cooking on the top rack for 6 minutes, but the crust wasn't done, so I added about 6 minutes with the convection fan on. Maybe I needed to adjust the time for the larger pizza, but I haven't seen much guidance on that.

Dough formulation:
14" x 2" straight pan, 1.4" up the sides, 1.5% bowl residue
Combined Flour 100%   397.73
(AP Flour 85%   338.07 / Semolina 15%   59.66)
Water (47%)   186.94
Active Dry Yeast (0.6%)   2.39
Morton's Kosher Salt (0.5%)   1.99
Butter/Margarine (1%)   3.98
Corn Oil (18%)   71.59
Olive Oil (5%)   19.89
Total (187.1%, TF=0.12)   744.16
Single Ball (1 balls total)   744.16

2 hour rise @ 85 degrees, 2 days refrigerated in the same bowl, 3.5 hours at room temp prior to cooking
I used ghee to grease the pan

Sauce: 28 oz of Alta Cucina whole, peeled (drained and cut into thirds) + 14 oz 6 in 1
Cheese: 1.25 lb Boar's Head Whole Milk mozzarella
Sausage: Pythonic's recipe (1 lb, 80/20 ground pork)
Pan: Chicago Metallic aluminized steel 14"x2"
Photos of the process and outcome...
« Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 05:28:47 PM by Chicagozaa »

Offline Garvey

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Re: My First Attempt at a Lou's Replica (and two questions)
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2021, 09:03:18 PM »
IMO, youíre working with a lot of heft here, which will affect baking time.

Iíd prefer something more like 616g of dough.  And did you use all that sauce on one pie?  Iíd prefer a lot less.  Of course, this is all personal preference, but youíve got quite the casserole here.  I only say that to reiterate that this affects cooking time.

Assuming you change nothing and assemble this exactly like before, Iíd cook it on the low stone for a good 35 minutes before even peeking in there.  Donít open the oven so many times.  It probably drops 50+ degrees every time.  Pull it out after 35 mins of undisturbed baking and see how much more it needs after that.

FYIóthe crust should cook more when itís lower in the oven and the top cooks more when itís higher.

And if youíre nervous about 35 before peeking, then try 30.

YMMV, every oven is different, yada.

HTH!




Offline Chicagozaa

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  • Location: Nashville
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Re: My First Attempt at a Lou's Replica (and two questions)
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2021, 01:15:47 PM »
IMO, youíre working with a lot of heft here, which will affect baking time.

Iíd prefer something more like 616g of dough.  And did you use all that sauce on one pie?  Iíd prefer a lot less.  Of course, this is all personal preference, but youíve got quite the casserole here.  I only say that to reiterate that this affects cooking time.

Assuming you change nothing and assemble this exactly like before, Iíd cook it on the low stone for a good 35 minutes before even peeking in there.  Donít open the oven so many times.  It probably drops 50+ degrees every time.  Pull it out after 35 mins of undisturbed baking and see how much more it needs after that.

Thank you! It does indeed help and makes a lot of sense. We will add time for the next one. I'm glad to have some support for doing so. We'll start with 30 minutes on the stone and see how that goes.

To answer your question, I did use all that sauce, but it didn't seem much thicker than I remember from other Lou's I've had. If my math is correct, a 14" pie has about 20% more surface area than two 9" pies, and I also drained the whole tomatoes, so their volume was substantially reduced. Also, the dough was pretty thinly applied - I had trouble stretching it to the edges and up the sides. (And if my math isn't correct, I'm sure someone will tell me.  :)

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