• #161 by varasano on 03 Apr 2005
  • Lombardi's has no separate chamber for the coal either. The ovens are very similar. When I baked an actual patsy's dough rushed down to my oven, it tasted mediocre.  But my oven technique is much better now.  Technique is half the battle.

  • #162 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • Maybe Lombardi's influenced Patsy to get the same type of oven built. More likely, Patsy "borrowed" what he saw worked.

    The entire pizza industry, from what I can tell, has very few original thinkers. Everyone seems to imitate instead of innovate. I can now see why guys like pizzanapoletana get frustrated with American pizza. The operators mostly seem to take a "it's good enough" approach to the art and science aspects and seem to focus much more on paying the bills.

    It is really an equal combination of art and science. But I must admit, without the right oven I don't care how much technique you have - it won't matter.

    I am quickly becoming a fan of true artisans like ilpizzaiolo, Anthony Mangieri, Chris Bianco, etc. They seem to respect the craft. Making money is a natural result or derivative of what they do. It is not why they make pizza.
  • #163 by quidoPizza on 03 Apr 2005
  • varasano when did you live in co-op. did you go to truman? i was there 75-79 i'm from sect 5.  arthur i would say he's using crushed tomatoes from, sassone. no pizza sauce straight  a case of tomatoes should be about $22 WHOLE GROUND TOMATOES. AGAIN  i'm quite sure jose is basically only adding salt maybe a little oregano. as far as using starters. the only time a pizzeria will add old dough to the mix. is when the old dough is over risen and not usable for making pies. over risen dough has a way of turning into sourdough. (ever see a dough tray that looks like one big lump of dough)  if jose' was using a starter or generation he would be trimming the edges off the dough after opening. a pie and saving it as a culture.   ft taylor the elestacy of the dough his to do with how much water is in it and the rise time. it's a feel thing and experence. the reason a pizza man opens 4-5 doughs and stackes them . is a thinking ahead idea. he has free time. but he knows he/'s going to get busy. hence being ready. any good pizza man should be able to go from ball of dough to in the oven in less than a minute  .  for home use i would add 1/2 a cup virgin olive oil for flavor. cut down on the water a bit. never use warn water to mix dough. it makes it feel to soft then you add more flour. then the finished product becomes to hard to streach.   plus warm water makes it rise to fast and can kill the dough. john
  • #164 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • quidoPizza,
    Another killer post.

    Would you mind sharing your background and a little about your pizzeria? Your comments are so on target I'm sure the community would be fascinated to learn.

    Okay, so we now know the brand and type of canned tomatoes that Patsy's uses. Good job. I happen to prefer their fresh taste - even though they are not San Marzano. I will try and order a case tomorrow. Thanks.

    Also, do we have enough data yet to confirm Jose uses oil? What about sugar? Your help will never go underappreciated.
  • #165 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • What follows are the final pictures in the dough management/stretching process and the resultant pepperoni and Margherita pies which are a quantum leap above and beyond anything I have crafted to date. Two changes were introduced this time. I utilized Varasano's starter for the first time. The quality of the dough was frankly superior to anything I came close too in NYC. I also must credit the dough stretching lesson that Jose from the original Patsy's in East Harlem gave me. The dough just seemed to respond to the method. Here's where I'm at with pizza making at this juncture: The major facets of the entire pizza making process are robust. I no longer have to refabricate entire sections. Thankfully I'm at the "tweak" stage.

    Also, there are some pretty apparent "wrinkles" in the dough. I shrunk the dough down to fit. It could have been stretched to 20" easily. However, my grill will not allow much over 15". I can only conclude that a smaller dough ball would be appropriate for a 15" - 16" skin.

    Take a look...
  • #166 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • #167 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • #168 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • #169 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • A glimpse of the skin and the cheese. I tried a new cheese brand. The skin was the most competent I have ever stretched. Do you see the big blackened bubbles sticking out of the crust like tumors? No?

    Well neither do I because for the first time, there weren't any at all. Zip. Nada, Zilch. Zero. What is going on? Where did they go? I've lived with them so long I thought they were part of the family. There were absolutely no thin spots whatsoever either. Not one. Am I dreaming? I have never had a dough without those worrisome spots before. In conclusion, I am finally satisfied and happy with the dough. Will I tweak the sauce here or there? Maybe. Will I tinker with the dough management/stretching process? Not hardly. Why? It works for me. The crust has all the characteristics I have been driving like a fiend to find. I'm there.

    I know I posted a lot of pictures but the process is, well, complicated at best. A picture is worth a thousand words when trying to describe a process. Consider the dough management process complete and finalized. I will not be making any additional changes.

    I know you cannot possibly tell from the pictures how these pies tasted. Take my word for it. They were candidly what I had hoped to eat in NYC. Varasano's starter is packed with flavor and when combined with a proven stretching procedure it all kind of came into focus. I have definitely jumped up to a much higher plateau on the mountain.
  • #170 by bakerboy on 03 Apr 2005
  • pft, they are some truly nice pies.  nice spring on that crust too.
    Someone touched getting the coal oven taste out of your grill.  I really don't see why you couldn't put an old pie tray or cake pan with some hot coals, pre-bake, in your grill.  I was watching tv the other day and i saw a guy take aluminum foil and wrap some damp wood chips in the foil.  he punched holes in the aluninum foil and tossed it under his grates to give his food a smoked flavor.  i thought that was a neat idea and completely applicable for something like you have.  I've even looked into getting a piece of soapstone to fit my grill on my deck and do a little experimenting myself.
    I have some day time available to me now that i am no longer working in the pizza shop.  I've been trying to start my own bakery for some time now and my wife and i finally secured a really great old bakery.  Oddly enough, the old man who owns it showed me the picture of him in 1952 baking bread on the coal oven which used to be there.  there is now a revolving oven, which i am replacing with a pavallier deck oven.  Just as a side note, the old man HATED the coal oven:  "those gaddamn ovens are overrated and a pain in the ass" 
    Anyway, just thought i'd throw that whole "wood chip in aluminum foil" out there.
  • #171 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • bakerboy,
    Nice of you to chime in.

    You lead a most interesting life. You really do. I chuckled at your description of how Italians argue. After reading your most recent post, I just felt like I was standing beside you when that old man starting ranting about the coal oven. If he only knew what he got rid of. He probably never baked a pizza pie in there...LOL
  • #172 by bakerboy on 03 Apr 2005
  • I'm seeing somethin come full circle with your pizzas.  The first bakery i ever went to was the one i'm now buying.  The smell and tastes in there changed my life.  that bread was the epitiome of perfect bread.  i tried in vain to recreate that no avail.  I baked and tried and baked and fermented and on and on.  taking sourdough courses in San Fran, working for next to nothing in artisan bakeries, trying to get my rolls and bread as good as i had remembered.  I had the oppurtunity to retaste the bread of my memory about a year ago...only to find that my bread was MUCH better looking and tasting than the roll from that(and now my) bakery.
    I see alot of similarity in what i went through and what you guys are doing on this forum.  i wasn't surprised when some came back from NYC dissapointed.  Why?  Because you guys are making great pizza.  I think alot have held some of these institutions in too high a regard with not enough regard in what you;ve done and accomplished.  Even though i don't know you guys too well, the effort put into your pizzas really shows up in the final product and says alot about you. 
    I don't have too much time to post lately but i'm always "checking in" if you will. 
    Nice work. 
  • #173 by Pete-zza on 03 Apr 2005
  • I tried bakerboy's trick but using wood pieces instead. I had gotten the idea from using one of those Cameron stovetop smokers, which uses a variety of different woods. I don't remember how I heated up the wood pieces, but I did and I put them in a metal pan in my oven along with a pizza. Before I could sample the results, my smoke alarm system went off. That was the end of that experiment. At least with an outdoor grill, that shouldn't be a problem, either with wood or coal.

  • #174 by Randy on 03 Apr 2005
  • Seems to me you boys should try developing your own pizza style and forget about coping some other guys work.  Pizza is huge, try some of the many different ones out there.

  • #175 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • Randy,
    I agree. It took my most recent trip to NY to finally open my eyes. I must have been plugged into the matrix or something because I couldn't tell reality from fiction. No more.

    I have already developed my own style. Grilled NY Style pie. I think I will call it "Pizza Raquel."
  • #176 by Pete-zza on 03 Apr 2005
  • pft,

    I went back and looked at a previous exchange we had on this thread on the amounts, by weight and volume, of the ingredients you used most recently to get the results that you deemed exceptional. Unless you already have the weight measurements for the various ingredients, would it be possible for you to note the weights of all the ingredients (other than for the starter) when you make the next successful batch of dough? If you have the baker's percents that would also be helpful, but we should be able to calculate those if we have the actual weight measurements.

  • #177 by varasano on 03 Apr 2005
  • John, I lived in Section 2 in Bldg 10 (debs place). I had an aunt in section 5.  I was Truman '84. IS 181 before that.

    Bakerboy, I know what you mean about being disappointed about the NY trip and I do think that our standards are high.  But something DID happen to Patsy's quality in the last 18 months. It's not a false memory based on rising standards. The dough went from light and airy to downright crackerish the last time few times I was there. It was like night and day. I was there XMas O3 it was great. I was back May of 04 and it was bad. Same for August and Xmas 04.  I think Jose is really phoning it in. He's had a good run, but I think he doesn't care anymore.  I'm pretty close to reproducing the old Patsy's. The last 3 batches of Patsy's were practically right there (aside from my cheese malfunction - you can see by clicking on my site - hit the little globe near my name). But still, a place like Johnny's, which I had over this last Xmas, still blows me away...

    pft, I'm thrilled that you liked the starter. I feel like a proud papa :-)  And the blistering on your dough looks REALLY good. Did you autolyse? Do you have a website or ordering info for Sassone?

  • #178 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • Varasano,
    Here you go:
    Sassone Wholesale Groceries Co Inc
    (718) 792-2828
    1706 Bronxdale Ave
    Bronx, NY 10462

    You and Steve are the only other living human beings who have used the starter. Would you venture a guess that it could have a positive impact on the handling of the dough? Or just the flavor? Perhaps both? It handled like a well trained field dog in hunting season. I used a 20 minute rest period after the first minute of mixing and then a 15 minute rest period at the end of the process.

    Here are the weights:
    16 oz KASL 100% (Weighed on Pelouze scale)
    9.6oz Water 60% (Weighed on Frieling scale)
    2 Tablespoon Starter (Measured)
    1/4 teaspoon IDY (Measured)
    1/2 teaspoon OO (Measured)
    .32 oz Sicilian Sea Salt 2% (Weighed on Frieling scale)
    It all added up to 28.1oz on the Pelouze scale which was split in half for two 15" pizzas.
  • #179 by varasano on 03 Apr 2005
  • No, the dough handling has to do with the hydration, autolyse and overall knead in my opinion, not so much the starter.
  • #180 by pftaylor on 03 Apr 2005
  • V,
    The pepperoni pie was an eye opening experience which completely caught me off guard. I had no idea it was coming like a tidal wave. I was not fully prepared.

    Even though I had an inkling of potential greatness due to the success of the pepperoni pie, the Margherita was like Raquel Welch in her prime. It had everything a guy could want. I didn't want to go even after I was done. I didn't want the experience to be over. I was literally speechless. It was that good.