• #181 by scott r on 04 Apr 2005
  • Pft, what brand of sea salt are you using? I have been trying to find Sicilian sea salt, but the Italian sea salt I have found does not say that it is Sicilian. It says "Sale Marino Di Trapani" on it.  It is definitely from Italy.   Does anyone know if this is this the same thing?  I know the brand of salt might seem trivial, but I want to get as close as I can to your dough.  I will try using the starters instead of your cool Patsy's starter. 
  • #182 by pftaylor on 04 Apr 2005
  • Scott r,
    When I went to the Italian market in St. Pete, Mazarros, I was looking for the same thing. I ended up going to the manager and inquiring as to where the Sicilian sea salt was he promised me on the phone (because I wasn't reading about it on the label). He proceeded to tell me the product I was holding was it. It may be the same stuff you mentioned:

    Antica Salina
    Sale Marino Di Trapani
    Iodized White sea salt "Fine" course
    Packaged in a white, blue, and orange 26oz cylindrical container

    It appears to still be made entirely by hand using ancient phoenician methods. It comes from the saltworks of Trapani and Marsala. Not sure how close they are to Sicily but I'm happy with the performance of the salt. If you are trying to accurately reproduce my approach and the ingredients employed, I would pay close attention to how fine your particular salt is. The product I mentioned above is a very fine grain. I understand that course grain salt doesn't spread as well in the initial mixing process and can lead to uneven dough performance.

    Another point about your Raquel reproduction efforts. Try to mimic the dough stretching method I photographed a few posts back as closely as possible. It really did make a significant improvement.

    Good luck and let me know how I can help.
  • #183 by Pete-zza on 04 Apr 2005
  • Scott,

    If you do a Google search using "Sicilian sea salt" you will find several online sources for it. If nothing else, you will learn enough to know what to look for if you decide to look for it locally. I know that Salumeria Italiana, which is on Richmond St. in the North End, sells the stuff on its website (

    I was given some Sicilian sea salt as a gift some time ago. Mine is coarse and has dried basil mixed in with it (why I don't know). pft is right that it doesn't work quite as well in dough but it makes a very good seasoning at the table. I sometimes sprinkle a bit of it on a finished Neapolitan style pizza, as I believe is the practice of Anthony Mangieri at Una Pizza Neopolitana in NYC. He also uses the salt in his dough.

  • #184 by dinks on 04 Apr 2005
  • SCOTT R:
       Good Morning to you. The city of Trapani is in Sicily. It is located in the No. East section of Sicily & happens to be a large city & a very important city as well. Have a nice day my friend.
  • #185 by pftaylor on 04 Apr 2005
  • Dinks,
    Thanks for the clarification on the salt. Much appreciated when you join in and straighten us out.

    I just got off the phone with Joe of Sassone. He will not ship his product but offered two alternatives. First, you can send someone by there but not before Thursday as he is out of sauce. Second, he referred me to a store in Tampa which carries his products. How good is that.

    The specific type of sauce Jose uses at Patsy's is Matcriaciana. It is a Sassone exclusive. It costs $21/case.
  • #186 by scott r on 04 Apr 2005
  • Thanks everyone!  Luckily the salt I picked up is exactly the same thing PFT is using!!!  when I was at the market there was another brand of Italian salt that ws MUCH more expensive.  I am going to look into it, but it sounds like that may be the stuff you have Pete-zza.
  • #187 by pizzanapoletana on 04 Apr 2005
  • Sicily is a big Island and a Political region of Italy. Tapani is a city in Sicily by the sea side. That is the geography sorted.

    I use the same salt from Antica Salina, but the no-iodized one. I found that it work better then the iodized one.

    Other Italian Sea Salt, that do not specify "Sicilia", they are most probably from Apulia.
  • #188 by Artale on 04 Apr 2005
  • Sicily is a big Island and a Political region of Italy. Tapani is a city in Sicily by the sea side. That is the geography sorted.

    I use the same salt from Antica Salina, but the no-iodized one. I found that it work better then the iodized one.

    Other Italian Sea Salt, that do not specify "Sicilia", they are most probably from Apulia.

    My family roots are located  near tapani just east of that city in a town
    called Castellammare Del Golfo.  Me and my wife at such a point would like to take
    a trip to Italy and Castellammare will be on the list of places to see.

    Beautiful landscape!


  • #189 by dinks on 04 Apr 2005
        Buon giorno, come sta????.  I would like to know if you have ever heard of this brand of sea salt that comes from Trapani???. "MARE-SOL-VENTO" (Sea,Sun, Wind). it is used in many gourmet restaurants.
       Piacere di Fare La Conoscenza. Ciao.
  • #190 by dinks on 04 Apr 2005
     Hello again. I must apoligize. I sometimes get confused due to my advanced age. I misspoke earlier when I said that Trapani is located in the NO. East section of Sicily. I was thinking of a another city that has a similiar name & is very popular as well. It just came to me It is located just  simply in the most western portion of the island by the sea. I have never been there but my father was born close by there just south & east of that region a 2 hour ride on a donkey & cart. You'all have a nice day now you hear!!!.

  • #191 by pizzanapoletana on 04 Apr 2005
  • Ciao Dinks

    I never heard of that brand, sorry.

    When I was in Naples-Italy, the most common brand available was the "Sale di Sicilia" by Italkali.

    Il piacere di conoscerti tutto mio....

  • #192 by Arthur on 04 Apr 2005
  • ..., you can send someone by there but not before Thursday as he is out of sauce.

    I hope my sister got there already  :-[

    As for salt, does anyone know which brand una pizza napoletana uses?  I have not bought any as of yet since I really wanted to get the same brand as what I tasted there.

  • #193 by quidoPizza on 04 Apr 2005
  • pftaylor; i saw the pictures of your streched dough.  all the little bubbles , means it's not fully risen and most likely to cold. you need to let it sit longer. on the counter.  anyway i went to pasty's last night. with another pizziola jose' knows both of us. we just started bullcrapping. and i told him how bad the pizza was when he wasn't there.  he ate it up.  i asked did they change the dough etc.  because the pizza was so bad. he said he's not sure what they were doing when he wasn't there. ie. these  new guys don't know how to work the oven(coal) or manage the dough. rise time etc.  we laughed . the dough is pizza flour, yeast, salt, water. no sugar or oil. or starters. the tomatoes are straight sassone. crushed no salt nothing. he also told me they do use other distributers than sassone. we talked more about how he lost 30 pounds and how i gained 30 pounds.  i told him i'm not married to the oven no more, and enjoying life . he told me to come work with him for a few months next to that oven. and i would lose my belly. we laughed.  i didn't press him for anything else. and he never knew i was asking him. nothing i didn't allready know.  plus he made us 2 great pies.  holes and all ;D   i even talked him into letting the first one sit for 10 minutes then reheat it. :P john
  • #194 by pftaylor on 04 Apr 2005
  • quidoPizza,
    Sounds like you guys had a party with Jose. He really is a genuinely nice fellow isn't he? I wish I was there. I could have used the laughter and another killer pie or two. I would venture to say the 10 minute delayed bake produced a glorious taste.

    Over the past few days after getting back to Florida I had an increasingly difficult time believing he added sugar and oil to the original Patsy's formula. I wanted to believe Jose but the facts didn't support his position.

    When the manager of one of the mini-chain locations confirmed the Patsy's formula as being flour, water, yeast, and salt I immediately knew Jose was pulling my leg. Or was he? Thinking back he really told me how to make pizza at home using those ingredients. He didn't necessarily state that Patsy's used all those. When I questioned his use of oil and sugar he replied "you use some." But he didn't say HE used some. Very shrewd indeed. I will have to conjure up a suitable practical joke for compensation.

    Thanks for all your help. You have cleared up a number of hanging issues which have hung around our collective necks like an albatross. Defining the basic ingredient list is helpful. Putting to rest the notion of a starter is invaluable. We could have bounced that topic around like a volleyball for years.

    Now on to my humble efforts at home. I find your comments about the dough bubbles to be one of the areas which I knew I needed to attend to but I had no idea how to approach. Allow me to ask some follow-up questions;
    First, could my consumer refrigerator be set too cold? With the effect of delaying the rise? I say this because the dough you saw in the photos had a 2 hour counter rise after a 24 hour cool down in the fridge. It was at room temperature for at least one hour. Could you kindly elaborate on what a proper dough management procedure should be?

    Next, I have always understood a long counter rise would promote the formation of bubbles. Do I have that right?

    Finally, would cutting back on the amount of commercial yeast reduce the quantity of bubbles? I may not need any commercial yeast as the Varasano biga is whipped into a frenzy by the time I incorporate it into the dough. I can almost feel the attack of the wild yeast on the poor unsuspecting flour. It sort of feels like a Viking ship has landed and the raping and pillaging has begun. Bubbles happen pretty quickly with the mixture during the initial 20 minute rest period of the mixing process.
  • #195 by bakerboy on 04 Apr 2005
  • . the dough is pizza flour, yeast, salt, water. no sugar or oil. or starters. the tomatoes are straight sassone. crushed no salt nothing. he also told me they do use other distributers than sassone.
        This sounds about right.  Again, i've never been to patsy's or difaras, or grimaldis but i know how pizza joints run: on the cheap.  This is not necesarily saying "bad".  I know there are a very few pizza joints that spend money on tomatos and good cheese and time developing the dough for texture and flavor...but not many.  They buy in bulk and whatevers the cheapest.  Trumps hi gluten cheaper than balancer this week?  trumps it is.   
    Not picking on one pizza place or being a naysayer, just relating my experience.  Thats why after running a pizza shop for 3 yrs. i was making better pizza than people who were in the business for 30 yrs.  How the hell does THAT happen?  Because they're cheap bastards, thats how.  If you ask them and they're honest, they will tell you.  Sometimes its not their fault.  Rent, overhead, labor costs, utilities can all cramp the %$# out of the food budget.  I tried to be frugal as opposed to cheap.  It was easier to spend time than money, so I spent time on the dough(i AM a baker so that wasn't a stretch) and time on the sauce(I started with Bonta but switched to stanislaus products, saporito and 7/11 to be exact.) I got cheap on the cheese.  I bought the most expensive mozz and the cheapest mozz.  All part skim.  The cheapest got the nod....not that ANY cheese is cheap.  I started paying $1.36/lb. Before i left, that same cheese was close to $2.00/lb.  I never used grande because my purveyors couldn't distribute it. 
  • #196 by pftaylor on 04 Apr 2005
  • bakerboy,
    You have exposed the seedy side of the pizzeria business. I have absolutely no doubt about your statements. I saw it with my own eyes. I would say 99.9% of pizzerias that I have been to base their ingredient brand on distributor price that day. I suddenly feel a little dirty.

    I could use your help though in the area of dough management. quidoPizza is right. I have a bubble problem. I'm close to cracking the code of totally competent crust. Real close. I've posted my procedure. In the immortal words of Mayor Ed Koch "How am I doin?"

    I am so close I don't feel compelled to change anything. But if your trained eye tells you things that you could share to help me climb an inch higher I would be grateful. Any little tidbit of advice will not be wasted.

    By the way, where is your bakery going to be? Is it going to be Italian? Will you be making cannoli's? Gelato?
  • #197 by quidoPizza on 04 Apr 2005
  • first i think most people miss the point on how patsy's has been around so long.  and i'm going to guess here some what. mixing truth with facts...   guys like varesano and others from nyc. may remember up until maybe 1970 or earlier. there were many coal or wood ovens in nyc. as time went all these neighborhoods changed.  all the old timers left. a good pizza became harder to fine. there was a place in little italy bronx called full moon that had a coal oven. and a few others. they all either closed down or changed to gas. pasty's was nothing more than a dump. till they just renovated the place. they had one thing and one thing only. a coal oven. their pizza is made on the cheap . 1/4 lb mozz and plain sauce.  their most likely surived because of low rent . or the owners owned the building. it's in a rotten part of harlem that has been cleaned up.  thier pizza is great . but it's become a cult like following. and i'm  a member. in nyc you can no longer build a coal oven. so the few that are left i will go to from time to time.  i did ask people if o could put coal in my bakers pride pizza oven i was told it would melt the metal. :o  you may want to try putting a few hands full of coal in a wrought iron skillet. and see what happens. i'm really only knowlegable about making 50  lb'sof flour at a time. i go to my cousin's pizzeria to get dough when i make pizza at home. i would say for home. and in florida ther water is crap there. use spring water(bottled)  since your weighting your yeast i would go to the largest bakery you can find and ask to buy a 2 pound yeast. it looks like a block of butter. about $2-4  USE YOUR  recipe and add 4oz. of virgin olive oil( trust me you will taste it) i would mix the dough with cold water disolve the salt water  yeast and oil first by hand. add your flour and mix. about 10 minutes. or untill the dough starts touching the top of the hook like the dough has a hard on... lol test that it is not to hard or soft. add oil or flour . and remix. it has to feel silky. you have to squeeze it .it has to feel good. tight but not like mush. remove and roll closing the tip . like a girls butt you keep trying to push in with out tearing her skin. then push the end into a nipple and close. ( i'm not being dirty )  let sit out in a bowl for 2 hours then but in fridge over night. take out and let sit 2 hours, or less. remove flour and put on plate. feel it . wait open half way if you thing it's good.if not let it sit 1/2 hour before streching. then finish. bubbles will tell you it not ready. for what your doing it's better to make a few differnet doughs a night and play with all of them next day.  i did have a nice chat with jose' and he looked good yesterday.  if i was you   i would try about a 1LB-1lb1/4  OF DOUGH  make square into a cookie sheet. with about 4 oz's of olive oil streach filp. and let stand for about 2-4 hours. in a warm place till you get bubbles  like the dough doubled. add lite sauce .cook in a 450 oven till golden brown . . take out let cool  add your toppings cook about 5-10 minutes more watch not to burn. . you will have the best pie you ever ate. give it a shot..... john
  • #198 by quidoPizza on 04 Apr 2005
  • bakerboy: funny i just posted about pizzeria's being on the cheap . just came back and read your post and you understand the same thing i've known for 25 years. they will all take short cuts to an extent that they can get away with it. cheese it the biggest thing. if i can get a fair quality cheese that has 45 day old . as compared to a top cheese that 's only 20 days old . i'll take the cheaper cheese . because i know it's age will make it spread better.    good points.  john
  • #199 by varasano on 05 Apr 2005
  • pft, I see the bubbles in DSC00592.jpg as a huge positive in your dough. This is a sign of well kneaded dough.  The dough I got from Patsy's had the most blistering of any dough I've ever felt and my best pies are produced when I've kneaded it to that point.

  • #200 by pftaylor on 05 Apr 2005
  • Thanks for all the feedback. I really do appreciate the sense of family on this forum. I look forward to logging on each and every day. This is one of the facets of my life where if I put in a little effort I get back much more in return. Synergism is a good thing. That is what makes this place special in my mind. 1+1 = 3. I wish all of life worked the way this place does. The world would be a better place.

    Now, on to making better pizza. The photographs I posted a few days ago were of the most robust dough I have ever made. I know sometimes I speak in the absolute too much, but it was true. The dough handled marvelously compared to any of my previous efforts. I appreciate the feedback on the interpretation of my overly bubbling dough.

    It is clear that some bubbling in the dough is a good thing. Over bubbling probably is not. So I very well may have an immature dough on my hands. Either my procdeure is broken or it needs a minor repair - I personally think I am so close I would want to break out the bandaids instead of the scalpels. Open heart surgery is not called for here. My pizza intuition is telling me don't make wholesale changes to the procedure. Tweak it. So I'm going to listen to my gut on this. Here's my plan:

    The Pizza Raquel formula calls for 1/4 teaspoon of commercial yeast (in addition to the two heaping tablespoons of Varasano starter). Yesterday afternoon I made another batch with 1/2 the normal amount of yeast. So, I used only 1/8th of a teaspoon of commercial yeast. Since I am a firm believer in making only one change at a time, I will measure the impact of the change and report back to the community in the form of photographs so that the collective intelligence can properly evaluate next steps.

    Stay tuned...