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Author Topic: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza  (Read 198416 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #120 on: March 28, 2005, 09:31:11 AM »
Arthur,
Thanks for clearing that up. Maybe they both own a share of Patsy's - who knows it's not that big of a deal. But it makes sense that a relative would at least own a share, even if it is by marriage.

What I find interesting is the similarity of ingredient positions by Frank and Jose. They really don't think their dough is special do they? I got the sense that their ingredients in general were not the "show." It was clearly the oven. Jose told me their sauce is based on canned tomatoes. He indicated it was how they prepared the canned tomatoes that mattered but that there was nothing special about the crushed tomatoes. Anyone could buy them.

Do they actually use oil and sugar which would be a huge change to the original Patsy's formula? I don't truly know. I don't think that Jose was lying about it, he appeared to genuinely enjoy our discussion. But something has changed with the dough. Maybe it was just a flour manufacturer change at first and then morphed into adding oil and sugar as a way to stop the tearing. Your guess is as good as mine.

One more note about the Patsy's at 34th & 3rd. Their crust is completely different from the original's now. It is more true to the formula in my opinion.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2005, 09:35:46 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline Arthur

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #121 on: March 28, 2005, 09:41:33 AM »
I feel pretty confident that they use oil and probably a bit of sugar.  My guess is that the tearing is due to the lack of time in the fridge.  They try to get 24 hours, but in a busy week they probably only get a few hours and thus they get some tearing.

Offline varasano

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #122 on: March 28, 2005, 10:45:30 PM »
Well, I just don't know what to think anymore. I know that the 2 cultures I had from Johnny's and Patsy's smelled totally different and continued to have distinct odors through many feedings, until the Johnny's was taken over. I know that the Patsy's immediately began breeding and has continued very active for years, and fresh yeast will not do that. So I just don't know anymore.

I'm very disappointed.  I wish the Johnny's guys were more forthcoming about their recipe.  Do you still want me to send the culture or are you going to stay with fresh yeast? Tomorrow was actually a good day for me to finally get this out to you.

Since the 34th street location uses no oil and the 117th does, I tend to believe that the oil is a recent addition to stop the tears. The silly thing about the reduction in quality is that wholesale the difference between Gold Metal and a higher quality flour is so nominal.  A 12 oz ball has less that 8 oz of flour. Sir Lancelot  is like 35 cents per half pound retail.  What are they saving here?  A dime a pizza? Most of the money is in the cheese.

Ugh!!!


Jeff

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #123 on: March 28, 2005, 11:07:29 PM »
Varasano,
Please send the starter. I believe it adds flavor. I want to experiment as much as possible. The Patsy's location I will hit next time I'm in NYC will be the one at 318 West 23rd street in Chelsea. It's located only a few blocks from the one at 34th & 3rd. It has a coal oven and from what the manager told me last night, it makes the best pies of the chain.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2005, 11:26:05 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline varasano

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #124 on: March 28, 2005, 11:43:18 PM »
Ok, I should get to it tomorrow.

Jeff

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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #125 on: March 31, 2005, 02:15:25 PM »
Here are the pictures of my experience at Patsy's in East Harlem...
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #126 on: March 31, 2005, 02:16:59 PM »
Note descriptions at bottom of pictures...
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #127 on: March 31, 2005, 02:19:06 PM »
More...
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #128 on: March 31, 2005, 02:20:41 PM »
Jose often stretched two skins at once by stacking one on top of the other. The pictures of the Margherita pizza are from the Patsy's at 34th & 3rd.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2005, 02:26:54 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline Arthur

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #129 on: March 31, 2005, 03:47:22 PM »
PFT - Thank you!

Those pictures were amazing!

A couple of comments on the harlem location...

- I liked the the fresh mozz better than the other mozz - did you?  I actually just received my fresh mozz kit in the mail yesterday so this weekend is cheese making weekend.
- I guess I thought the picture of frank sinatra was 6 feet, but I suppose it's only 3-4 feet :)
- my pie/slice wasn't as droopy - I don't think it had as much sauce.  That's why pizza is such a hard thing to master - at least the consistency.
- it's amazing how different the pies look between harlem and 34th street.  I haven't eaten at the 34th street place, but I assume you liked the original better?

again...those are great pictures!

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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #130 on: March 31, 2005, 08:43:04 PM »
Arthur,
The fresh mutz margherita pie I had tasted better than the plain cheese pie but it was not what I would consider a great pie. Any pie that has as much droop as the one I was served is unacceptable. If you look closely at the photos below you may see the gaping hole in the pie. The hole allowed a steady stream of sauce to leak through to the pan and ruin the rest of the pie and unfortunately the magic of the moment for me. Perhaps I was unlucky. But here is the point, what pizzaiolo would allow a skin with three patched holes to be served? Especially to a guy with a camera!

I did consider the slices great for $1.50. Jose seems to be better at making a great plain cheese pie designed for by-the-slice consumption. One note about the oven. I had always thought that coal ovens had a seperate chamber for the coal but Patsy's oven operates more like a wood burning oven since the coals are in the same space as the pies. The roof of the oven appeared to have little if any slope though.

The pies made at 34th & 3rd are more authentic to the Patsy's formula in my opinion. Their problem is the gas oven. That's why I recommended the location on 23rd street. The adherence to the original Patsy's formula with a coal oven could be unbeatable in my opinion.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2005, 09:04:03 PM by pftaylor »
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #131 on: April 01, 2005, 09:48:21 AM »
Arthur,
One other point about the preparation differences between the original Patsy's and the location on 34th street. The original put the sauce down first, the 34th street location put the cheese down first. This seemingly small difference in approach led to huge differences in lightness of crust.

The 34th street location used much less sauce because it was spread around the cheese not under it or on top of it. It made the crust much lighter as a result. The sauce and cheese were also different. I believe the quality of ingredients at the 34th street location were considerably higher. Unfortunately, the gas oven is a limiting factor...
« Last Edit: April 01, 2005, 09:52:03 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline Arthur

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #132 on: April 01, 2005, 10:51:57 AM »
I agree about the issue with the holes although I would have to say that my pie was much "nicer" when I went.

One thing about the oven.  If you notice in your pictures of the oven that there are stones piled up in the back right.  That's kept there to capture the flavor of the oven.  They then use those stones as the base for the oven in the new Patsy's pizza places.   I learned that from the owner.

Also, I have a relative who is secretly getting me cans of patsy's sauce (harlem).  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #133 on: April 01, 2005, 11:20:33 AM »
Two additional comments.

First, about the oven. I did not notice the bricks until you pointed them out - good catch Arthur. Also, I believe the oven is considerably hotter than most if not all the other coal oven joints because of the lack of volume. I never witnessed, during the hour or so that I was there more than two pies in the oven at once. It leads me to believe that the floor of the oven has enough time to recover any lost heat easily.

Second,
Pay close attention to the different sizes of dough that Jose has beside him. I think I have figured out his skin forming process:
Step 1 - Take ball from dough tray and place in flour bowl. Dust both sides well. Rest.
Step 2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake like shape. A couple of inches thick. Rest with plenty of flour.
Step 3 - Flatten pancake by pressing fingers into center and working toward the rim until skin is 8 - 10 inches round. Rest with plenty of flour.
Step 4 - Place hands inside rim and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round. Rest with plenty of flour.
Step 5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is off the bench) and stretch to 16".
Step 6 - Place on peel and dress
Step 7 - Run a string underneath skin to prevent sticking
Step 8 - Peel dressed skin into oven
Step 9 - Bake for 2-3 minutes
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #134 on: April 01, 2005, 01:46:36 PM »
The use of the string to clear the pizza from the peel is similar to the trick I saw recommended somewhere--but using dental floss.

Peter

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Offline dinks

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #135 on: April 01, 2005, 02:26:12 PM »
PETER:
  Hello again. That secret trick you spoke of with the use of  DENTAL FLOSS could it be to cut cheese cake slices?????.
  Have a nice day my friend.
   ~DINKS.

Offline varasano

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #136 on: April 01, 2005, 06:42:23 PM »
I will read this over the weekend.  This is the guy that I saw years ago (all 3 times in 2004 must have been his day off).  This guy has made some awesome pies for me. But they looked very different than these photos.  He looks like he aged. Maybe he just doesn't give a hoot anymore.

more later

Jeff

Offline quidoPizza

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #137 on: April 02, 2005, 12:53:10 AM »
consisency is hard in the pizza business. if the dough is not risen just right the pie will not become crispy. jose is a master pizziola. if you can get him to make you a pie. and talk him into letting it sit for 10 minutes after he cooks it. and get him to put it back in that oven for 1 minute.  you will get a crispy pie. even if the dough is not fully risen. i've seen them use dough they just mixed less than a hour ago. (not good).  i do think jose' is burnt out and is just pushing them out. plus the oven they have is very deep i'm sure i've seen more than 4 pies in it at once. i'm reading too many posts, about secret cultures etc. on dough. yeast can be fickle. it's not allways so easy to get a good block of yeast. i've seen everything from very crumply yeast to yeast that looked like mud. the age of the yeast will mAke it smell different and affect the quailty of the dough. after you mix the dough and start rolling it . most times you can feel how good it will be for the next day. a real good pizza man will know just how  much dough to take out every few hours. and how long it will take to rise correctly.  o good way to test a pizziola skill in managing dough.  is to try a slice of sicilian. it should be about 2 inches thick . and light as air. not the least bit of doughy taste.  also look at the pictures of jose' s forarms. notice all the burns. a pizzaman allways has burns on the arms.  john

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #138 on: April 02, 2005, 05:16:19 AM »
quidoPizza,
Your comments and insight are proving to be invaluable.

Interesting about Jose's status. There is no doubt he is a master. Maybe the day I was there, Easter Sunday, he wanted to be with his family at home. He was such a kind and gentle man but I could see he wasn't entirely happy. I just didn't know why. Thanks for the clarification. I also find it interesting that Jose has been at Patsy's since 1976 and does not have a little share of the business. That's a long time to be pulling a paycheck without creating a little wealth along the way.

The pie Jose served me was tasty but contained the serious flaws I outlined - too much sauce, limp crust, hole in the bottom, and rather small (less than 15"). In fact, it was the best tasting pie I ate while I was in NY. The thing is, Jose has so much potential to make a pie that could blow every other pizza joint away. He currently isn't coming close to that potential. That is what is so alarming to me. Why waste all that talent on putting out good pies when you have within your grasp the chance to offer the very best?

I still have some questions about brands and ingredients. Thanks for sharing with us on who exactly Sassone is. One question I have for you is the basic ingredient list for the dough. You mentioned about adding oil. Does Jose incorporate oil? I ask this because I am under the impression that Patsy's use to use only flour, water, salt, and yeast. However, Jose mentioned to me he also uses a little bit of oil and sugar. Knowing Jose as well as you do, do you think he was pulling my leg? While on the topic of dough, could you share the dough recipe you used and/or the one Patsy's is currently using. Weights or percentages, doesn't matter. Earlier in this thread we have posted one we believe Jose may be using but his comments about oil and sugar have thrown us off a little bit.

After watching Jose stretch the skins I wonder how he gets his dough to be so elastic. He uses such a small ball the dough is stretched like a balloon by the time he is through stretching. Any light you could shed on this topic area would be immensely appreciated. I think I am using the same cold rise Jose is but I am not getting the snappy, elastic feel to the dough so something is not right.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2005, 09:10:15 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Reverse Engineering Patsy's Pizza
« Reply #139 on: April 02, 2005, 06:45:21 AM »
I thought it might be beneficial to summarize our efforts, and best thinking, to replicate an authentic Patsy's pizza at home. Just so everyone doesn't have to sort through 7 pages of posts here is a recap of the formula, mixing process, stretching process, known challenges, and a pictorial of the end result. I am still open to collaboration on any or all of the steps, ingredients, process, etc. Jump in and help!

Patsy's Formula

16    oz High Gluten Flour      100%      
9.6   oz Water                         60%      
.16   oz Yeast                            1%
.32   oz Salt                               2%
Note: The Patsy's formula calls for fresh block yeast. Since fresh yeast is problematic in a home setting, IDY has been substituted.

Optional Ingredients
2.0 Tablespoons of starter (if utilized, cut back on yeast by at least 50%)
1/2   teaspoon oil (oil is not yet verified to be an actual ingredient used by Patsy's yet. The original Patsy's claim they use some, and oddly, the mini-chain Patsy's claim they adhere to the original formula which does not. I get slightly better results by adding this tiny bit of oil - you may too). Use of sugar is still not finalized. The original location claims they use some, the mini-chain does not.

Who can help here? Logic tells us they shouldn't use any oil or sugar as the roots of the Patsy's formula are seated in the Lombardi formula which came from Naples Italy where oil and sugar are not used. Help!

Produces enough dough for two 15" - 16" pizzas

Dough Preparation Sequence
Stir water and salt with spoon until dissolved in stand mixer bowl. Add approximately half the flour. Add yeast and starter (optional). Set stand mixer on stir for 1 minute with hook attachment. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Mix on stir speed for 10 minutes, adding in remaining flour gradually (add optional oil at 5 minute mark). Get out thermometer, check dough temperature; it should be 80 degrees at the hook. If not, use warmer or colder water next time to adjust. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 2 minutes on lightly floured prep area. Cut into 2 equal pieces, form into balls, drop dough into bowls, cover with shower caps or plastic wrap. I use no oil to coat the balls and have not noticed a problem removing balls from stainless steel bowl. Place dough in the refrigerator. Ferment for approximately 24 hours. On the following day, remove dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (approximately 60 - 120 minutes).

Dough Stretching Sequence
To get light crust and proper cooking, dough must be at room temperature prior to baking. Following is the exact process Patsy's uses at the original location in East Harlem:
Step 1 - Place dough ball in flour bowl. Dust both sides well
Step 2 - Flatten ball into a thick pancake-like shape with palm of hand, ~ 2" thick. Dust well
Step 3 - Flatten pancake further by pressing 8 fingertips into center and working toward the rim until skin is 8 - 10 inches round. Keep dusted with flour
Step 4 - Place hands palm down inside rim (as if patting with open hand) and stretch outward while turning. Stretch to 12" round
Step 5 - Place skin over knuckles (1st time dough is lifted off bench) and stretch to 16"
Step 6 - Place on peel and dress with favorite toppings
Step 7 - Run a string underneath skin to prevent sticking (Patsy's uses baker's string)
Step 8 - Peel dressed skin into oven
Step 9 - Bake until lightly charred in pre-heated (for 1 hr) oven set at  highest temp on pizza stone
« Last Edit: April 02, 2005, 09:30:33 PM by pftaylor »
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