• #141 by Pete-zza on 02 Apr 2005
  • pft,

    What is the form of yeast in your recipe?

  • #142 by pftaylor on 02 Apr 2005
  • pete-zza,
    Thanks for pointing out the gap. I need to clarify the yeast issue. I'll go back and modify the listing to specify IDY. Patsy's, however, uses fresh yeast which would need to be mixed differently.
  • #143 by Pete-zza on 02 Apr 2005
  • pft,

    Thanks for the clarification on the yeast.

    For the benefit of those who do not have any scales or a digital scale or a Frieling scale, I estimate that the volumetric measurements of your recipe to be as follows:

    Flour (high-gluten, KASL), 3 1/2 c. +2 T. + 1 t.
    Water, a bit under 1 1/4 c. (it's about 1 1/6 c. if the 8.33 conversion factor is used)
    Salt, 1 5/8 t.
    IDY yeast, 1 1/2 t.

    Do those quantities sound right? Of course, when using any volume measurements it may become necessary to tweak the flour and water a bit to get the right consistency for the finished dough. (For the volume of flour given above, I weighed 16 oz. of flour on my digital scale, and then scooped it into measuring cups and measuring spoons using a simple kitchen tablespoon, and leveled with a straight edge--I suggest that the same technique be used to scoop flour from a flour bag into measuring cups and spoons.)

    If the above information is correct, the weight of the dough ball from your recipe should be a bit over 26 oz., or approximately 13 oz. for each of the two smaller dough balls. For a skin size of 15-16 inches, the thickness factor (TF) comes to around 0.07 for the 15-inch size and 0.065 for the 16-inch size.

    If I am incorrect in anything specified above, please let me know and I can come back to this post and correct any errors.


  • #144 by pftaylor on 02 Apr 2005
  • Pete-zza,
    We have some pretty big gaps. Not sure why actually. Well, yes I probably do on the salt and the water - it's the difference between our digital scales. The Frieling accu balance scale is brutally accurate - though limited. I end up having to measure the water twice. First I measure for 6oz then 3.6 to toal 9.6. That process yielded a 9 fluid oz measure.

    I just finished making another batch and my measurements will be different from yours because I incorporated a starter which cut down on the commercial yeast. That's understandable. But why are we so different on flour and salt. Here are the facts:
    KASL Flour:            about 3 cups (I shook the large Pyrex cup a few times to settle the flour)
    Sicilian Sea Salt:    2 1/4 t (measured w/Frieling & painstakingly funneled onto t measuring spoons)
    Varasano Starter:  2 heaping T
    IDY:                       1/4 t (1/2 of 1/2 t measuring spoon)
    Oil:                        1/2 t (1 full 1/2 t measuring spoon)
    Water:                  9.0 liquid oz (the meniscus was located at the center point on the Pyrex line)

    I decided to photograph the mixing process. Here are the descriptions
    1) Mixture after 1 minute on stir with hook attachment (50% of flour & all the water)
    2) Taken after 10 minutes of mixing all ingredients & 20 minute rest period
    3) Measuring ball temperature (stable 80.9 degrees) at hook after machine mix
    4) Taken after 2nd rest period of 15 minutes
    5) 2 minute hand kneading process
    6) Weight of large ball - 28.1oz
    7) Splitting of dough into equal balls
    8) Ball #1 weighs 14oz
    9) Ball #2 weighs 14oz
    10) Dough balls placed in stainless bowls w/o oil
    11) Dough balls covered with shower caps (a Pete-zza tip!)

  • #145 by pftaylor on 02 Apr 2005
  • #146 by quidoPizza on 02 Apr 2005
  • patsy's is well known for holes' in his pies.   an old joke in the pizza business. either slice out the hole and sell the rest of the pie in slices, or call out to the customers " is anyone religious here" if some one says yes,  you say the lord has prepared a special holy slice for you. and you give it to them for free!!!!!!!! everyone laughs, and all become holy real fast... the reasons you get holes. starts with the way you roll the dough into a ball( dead -air pockets.)  second he's using the least amount of dough possable to get a 16 inch pie (very thin). if you took a good look at patsy's oven , the stones are small and not level. this causes holes when you try to peal the pie out .  sounds like you have a some good basic recipies on dough. the trick is to get the right texture. and understanding when the dough has risen enough. by the way if your pies taste half as good as they look you got something going. ;D  john
  • #147 by pftaylor on 02 Apr 2005
  • quidoPizza,
    I seem to learn something new every time you post a message. It is a very enjoyable experience. Don't plan on leaving anytime soon. Love the explanation on holes. That's taking a disadvantage and turning it into an advantage in a hurry. Good will is instantly built.

    An example of Jose's good will was when I opened the box of raw dough expecting to see the dough ball I purchased for $3.00 and wouldn't you know it, he snuck an extra ball in there. The next day I had my dinner bought for me by the manager of the Patsy's at 34th and 3rd simply because he enjoyed our conversation. He topped it off with a cannoli. You should have seen my grin. I have yet to meet bad people in this business or hobby.

    Your compliment on my humble looking pies is greatly appreciated. I have tried very hard to balance the art and science of pizza-making. I have come to the conclusion that you need both in equal amounts. An oven or grill to get you in the extreme heat range of 800 degrees is also a must.

    My recent pictures clearly show a gradual improvement and I literally owe the membership here a big thank you because 6 months ago I was drifting along knowing there's a better way but not being able to get out of my own way.

    Regarding your question about taste. As you know, there is only one way to really know. Come on down to Tampa!
  • #148 by quidoPizza on 02 Apr 2005
  • pftaylor: i'm trying to understand what you are using for an oven?  are you using an open grill with a stone on top? there was just too much reading on this thread . for me. are you mixing your dough in a table top home mixer? if you are fairly happy with the dough you are using. i would say work on the tomatoes  patsy's sauce is very plain. get your self a can of peeled italian tomotes  try an italian store to make sure your getting something good. in a frying pan heat about 6oz's of virgin olive oil slice 3 cloves of fresh garlic paper thin. fry till golden brown. add a pinch of red crushed pepper. take the whole tomatoes out of the can crush in your hand . cook for about 15 minutes on med to high flame. add salt, black pepper, oregano and about 10 leaves of fresh basil chopped. add some more olive oil. and mix.  this is one of the best gravies you can use for pizza or pasta and is very honestneopolitian style.  cool and use.   i was thinking i used to know this guy that had old style coal kitchen ovens in his house.  if you could find one of these relics. and put it in your house. and add a 2 inch stone to the oven area. i think you could get that coal flavor. coal can be bought in 50lb bag's. plus jose' had told be about different types of coal before. and how they burn. sulfur etc. but i can't remember the details.   john
  • #149 by pftaylor on 02 Apr 2005
  • quidoPizza,
    I use a TEC grill to bake my pies. But the hood is not open, it is closed - except for the time I open the hood to peel the pies on and off the tiles. I realize that the grill is not perfect but it is good enough for now. Two kids in private school will do that to you.

    I have given significant thought to building a wood burning oven on my pool deck. After inspecting Patsy's coal oven I think it is really laid out like a wood burning model. I had always thought coal ovens had a seperate chamber for the coal. Patsy's does not. The pizza is in the same space as the coals.

    You have hit the nail on the head with your sauce recommendation. It is the last significant hurdle I have to navigate. Do you know for a fact that Patsy's cooks their sauce? It looked pretty raw - most likely crushed tomatoes. I will go to the Italian market in St. Pete and buy some San Marzano DOP tomatoes and try your recipe out.

    Also, I do use a table top mixer. It is the Artisan model by Kitchen-Aid.
  • #150 by quidoPizza on 02 Apr 2005
  • pftaylor; pasty's don't cook thier sauce. i only know one pizzaria that cook thier sauce. it in the bronx called louie's and earnie's and may be johnny pies in mount vernon. louie and earnie's is real good they use a plain sassone tomatoe with mayby some sassone pizza sause/ but they cook it first. thin crust. lite grande cheese. well done . in a gas fired bakers pride oven . pretty good for no coal. i think your right about coal ovens and wood ovens. as i recall a coal oven does had a chamber for the coal? were is wood is on the top. again this is a old techinolgy. and i sure you can find lot's if info in this on the web. again i would keep my eyes open for a turn of the century coal fired kitchen oven . if your really that serious in this quest.  don't be fooled many pizzeria's that claim they have a wood oven are using gas underneath the stones. and just putting some wood in the top . i don't think there is a substute for coal as far as the taste goes. but there maybe some coal based seasonings you may want to try to add to you dough.? oh how thick are your tiles. i would think you would need at least 1 inch thick. you may try to get intouch with bakers pride , new rochelle new york they may have a nice stone to sell . that fit's in a oven. an other trick is to heat up your stone for close to an hour before cooking..
  • #151 by pftaylor on 02 Apr 2005
  • quidoPizza,
    I have an associate who's profession is to repair wood, gas, and coal ovens. He has agreed to assist in buidling a real Italian style outdoor pizza oven with me. I probably won't start the project until this winter but my plan is to get it done by next spring.

    My better half thinks it will increase resale value so she is behind it as well. That's the good news. Bad news is when you have high spousal approval factor - you better make it right. So the clock is ticking.

    I realize that until I can control the heat necessary to properly cook pizzas, the way a real outdoor pizza oven would, I can only climb but so high on the scale of pizza greatness. I am in this game to win and I need the best oven I can afford to do so.
  • #152 by varasano on 02 Apr 2005
  • Hey Pete,

    I still haven't really read through all these posts.  This is a crazy idea I've tossed around but never tried. Taking just 1 piece of coal and putting it in a cast iron pan in the oven under the stone.  I don't want to smoke up my kitchen and I'm not sure the heat alone will pass kindling and ignite it. But it's an idea. I've got no back yard possibilites, not unless I move.

  • #153 by pftaylor on 02 Apr 2005
  • quidoPizza,
    You mentioned in one of your responses that you were going to talk to Jose soon. Let him know how much I enjoyed my visit. If you are able to confirm the use of oil and sugar that would be a big help. Also, any insight into the elasticity issue is better than nothing. I have never seen a dough stretch like that before. Jose is doing something different from others.

    Nice idea. You could use your trash bag over the smoke alarm solution you offered up to someone here a little while ago.

    Great minds must think alike. I have been wondering if I could simply place a chunk of coal on either side of my tile configuration and light it up. I considered buying regular charcoal to get a feel if its possible. I will let you know my progress.

    By the way, I made my first dough with your starter today. Tomorrow is the first true taste test. Also, the dough I bought from Jose at the original Patsy's smelled just like your starter - after 3 days in the plastic zip-lock bag I brought along. Up until that point I could not detect any noticeable fermentation odor. When I recieved your starter yesterday it was an identical scent to the 3 day old Patsy's. I can assure you that your starter has not been taken over as a result of the comparison.

    I will leave the implication of my observation to others who understand starters better than I.
  • #154 by Arthur on 02 Apr 2005
  • pftaylor; pasty's don't cook thier sauce.


    My sister is picking up some cans for me from Sassone this week since she lives in the bronx.  Any more info on the sauce besides no cooking and adding salt.  Do they just puree it or squeze by hand?  Do they add anything else? to thicken it?

    Thanks in advance,
  • #155 by varasano on 02 Apr 2005
  • FYI: I grew up in Co-op City in the Bronx.  Lived there 20 years. But I'm in Atlanta now.

  • #156 by varasano on 03 Apr 2005
  • Random Notes:
    You can tell just from looking at the sauce that it's not precooked. It looks like just crushed tomatoes to me. Maybe a bit of salt or a dash of oregano, but very little.
    But these pies are very watery. I've not seen that at Patsy's
    The edge crust looks terrible and overall the pie looks like it has no spring and is too burnt and droopy.
    I've never had a patsy's pie with holes like that. Jose looks ready to retire.
    I don't think I've ever seen an NYC pizza place which put fresh mozz down first, then the sauce on top. It's always sauce then cheese. Johnny's used dry sliced mozz and they put that down first.  Most NYC places use sauce, then grated dry mozz.
    The 34th street pie looks very lame. I wouldn't pursue it.

    Did you ask Jose if he mixes in some of yesterday's dough into today's batch, or anything like that?

    When mixing fresh flour and water into the starter, just always use a fresh fork that's been cleaned in a hot dishwasher.  Never have a fork go from one container to another. Don't leave the top exposed. These are the only things I do and I've not had a problem. Steve had multiple starters from, so I think he may have risked contamination.  Just use basic care and it will be fine.

  • #157 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • Varasano,
    I placed the Patsy's starter in a plastic container with a small hole bored in the lid. Did I get that right? I thought I was supposed to let it breathe a little. The starter Steve sent me is quaranteened in a seperate refrigerator in my garage. The two have not gotten close to each other. Let me know.

    I inquired as to every imaginable type of starter usage - wet, dry, semi-dry, old dough, new dough, poolish, biga, preferment, levian - you name it, I questioned it. It would make sense that their recipe is enhanced with old dough somehow. Perhaps quidoPizza can weigh in on this point. He knows Jose personally and professionally and is going to speak with him in the near future so maybe he can help.

    Jose either would steal us both blind in a poker game or he was telling me the God's honest truth. He does not use a starter of any kind. I am of the notion that the fresh yeast they use may have a bit more flavor than other commercial yeast. Sounds plausable but I'm still guessing on that and my first rule in life is never guess. So I'll leave the yeast strain stuff to you guys with the experience.

    Regarding how cheese is laid down on a pie, I think (but I'm not entirely sure - there's that damn guessing thing again) back in the day Patsy's put it down first. I know for a fact Grimaldi's puts it down first along with the Patsy's at 34th & 3rd. The original Patsy's formula, according to the manager of the store at 34th, suggested to lay the cheese down first. Again, maybe quidoPizza can clarify. I agree that the 34th & 3rd location offers nothing more than utility quality pizza. I will not rule out, however, the Patsy's location on 23rd due to its usage of the original Patsy's formula and the coal oven. If they have a dedicated pizzaiolo there that would be the cat's meow.
  • #158 by varasano on 03 Apr 2005
  • Well, I'm baffled about the starter. I guess one possibility is that the culture is natural to the habitat. I've kept mine for years and as you said, it smelled just like the patsy's dough did after several days, so  the yeast is in there for sure.  But, if it's yeast that is naturally occuring in the environment and gets into the dough, it probably does so in such small quantities that it would not affect the flavor of a 1 day old dough.   Rather, it's just in there and as we culture the dough, the fresh yeast dies off and the culture takes over and that's what I've got.

    If this is the case, then using the starter is kind of useless if the goal is pure reproduction.  Clearly, the culture does add flavor, but at the quantities that would get into a dough this way it would take a few days to have much of an impact.  I use a dough that's 40% starter, just as Ed Wood suggests.  Marco has it at 1-3%.  If it's environemental at Patsy's, it's way less than 1%.  With a long cold rise the initial quantity might not matter too much - the yeast doubles every few hours if it's got plenty of food, so in a few days it would catch up.  But a 1 day rise seems too short for it to contribute much. 

    But on the flip side, maybe a tiny, tiny quantity does impact it in some way. Let me mention something, and I'd love Marco or someone else to comment on it too.  Have you ever noticed that the FLAVOR of these doughs from all of these pizza places varies so much. It's not just the texture.  If they are all using the same 4-6 ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast and maybe sugar and oil), where is that variety of flavor coming from. I don't buy the water argument. All NYC water comes from the same reservoir so Patsy's and Lombardi's use the same water.  (FYI, NYC water has gone way, way way down hill in the last 10-15 years and is now heavily chlorinated compared to what it was when I was kid).  Even if fresh yeast had much flavor, which it doesn't, how about the variety of flavors. Why does lombardi's dough taste TOTALLY different from Johnny's, from Patsy's from Sally's. These doughs are all wildly different. And why does the place across the street from Johnny's, which has a very mediocre dough, in terms of spring and char, etc. still have the exact same underlying flavor.  The cooking method could contribute some, but Lombardi's and Patsy's ovens are nearly identical. And coal is coal - I don't think one is using a gourmet brand of coal.

    I do know that my pizza had an overall huge jump in quality when I started using the culture.  But, as I've always said, the TECHNIQUE and not the ingredients is the biggest factor.  I don't think that the type of flour is that critical, for example. I've made some really GREAT pies with All purpose and some pretty crappy pies with all kinds of flour.  The only ingredient that I thought had any special purpose was the culture. But even then, you can easily make a crappy pie.  It's still in the technique. 

    Overall, I'm baffled. I wish I had the time to do all these experiments, but I'm launching my product this month (after 4 years of work) and the pizza is a big way I procrastinate.  Check me out in my non-pizza life:

    How come we saw photos of your wife but none of you Pete? 


  • #159 by varasano on 03 Apr 2005
  • I don't have an air hole in my yeast containers. In fact, I had a container in the fridge completely sealed and unfed for a solid year. It looked black and gross, smelled REALLY great and came back to life in just 2 days of feeding.  Yeast does not need air. Wine ferments in sealed barrels, for example.

    I don't want to contaminate my sample, so I keep it sealed. Other organisms get into it when it's fed, but Ed Wood explains how samples remain pure because a strong sample can usually fend off small quanities of outsiders.

  • #160 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • Varasano,
    The picture of the gal holding the pie at Patsy's was the server. I need a "lot" more credit than that.

    I'll seal off the starter based on your recommendation.

    Nice video by the way. I'm in the technology services industry so I can appreciate your approach. I deal with Fortune 100 clients all day long who have tried to climb the Oracle, SAP, Peoplesoft mountain multiple times and they have spent hundreds of millions trying to get there. The ROI is simply not there.

    My picture is on the Di Fara reverse engineering thread. I'm the big guy standing next to Dom. I could talk forever and a day about why different joints taste different. I'll limit my perspective to Patsy's with the following rank order:
    1) The coal oven - 50% weighting. Even more when you compare against gas oven joints.
    In my opinion, it was originally designed for wood. There is no seperate chamber for the coal. A dead giveaway. That means quite possibly Patsy's has one of the few coal ovens which heats the pie a third way. Direct energy. I believe this is the biggest contributor as to why their pies taste lighter (different) than any other coal oven joint that I've been to. 50% weighting.

    2) Pizzaiolo Technique 30%. From beginning to end. It all makes a difference. How long, how much, how soon, etc. It all adds up in the end.

    3) Ingredients 20% - Some combinations just seem to elevate the final product and some don't.