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Author Topic: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr  (Read 95330 times)

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Offline hammettjr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1720 on: December 25, 2020, 10:03:48 AM »
Good stuff. Really appreciate you taking the time to write that up.

Two follow up questions. You said you freeze the tomatoes in 1.5 cup to ensure you get 1.25 for each batch but you use 3/4 for 14. That mean you're making smaller pies than 14 (just trying to make sure I didn't miss anything)

Also when you run the alta cucina through the strainer, are you only dropping the tomatoes themselves in, or do you dump the whole can with the liquid as well?

I dump the whole can in, with the liquid, though I do try to fish out and remove the basil leaves.

No, I just make 1 pie. Freezing a little extra just makes sure I don't have to scrape to get to the the 1.25 cups. As to why I make 1.25 cups when I need less than a cup, I have no idea! I came up with that amount a while ago and just stuck with it. Keeping that amount the same helps me compare herb amounts over time and I don't see a real reason to change. I guess I could get an extra 1-2 bakes out of a can, but I'm already getting I think 8 bakes for a $5 can.

Matt

Offline novawaly

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1721 on: December 25, 2020, 11:20:38 AM »
Ok that makes perfect sense. Cracking the can now for 4 bakes. Really appreciate the info

What are you thoughts on alta cucina vs 7/11 using your methodology?

Offline hammettjr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1722 on: December 25, 2020, 11:27:00 AM »
7/11 is really good, and I get why its widely used. But, it just doesn't work for what I'm after. You can put it through a mill or strainer, but it makes more sense to me to use Alta.

Matt

Offline billg

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1723 on: December 25, 2020, 11:56:34 AM »
What kind of Cheese are you using?  The melt looks beautiful!!!!!!!

Offline hammettjr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1724 on: December 25, 2020, 12:35:39 PM »
What kind of Cheese are you using?  The melt looks beautiful!!!!!!!

Thanks! Thin sauce is crucial to my melt. (Also having enough sauce and cheese, and making sure you have a few minutes of rapid boil.)

I use Grande (whole milk). For grocery store cheese, I had good luck with Galbani.

Matt

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1725 on: December 25, 2020, 02:46:35 PM »
Happy Holidays All!

Hard to believe I haven't posted a pie on this thread since August, but I'm still still baking, experimenting and learning! I've learned a lot over the last couple months and hope to have a detailed post in the next week. For now, here's a slice from last night.  :chef:

Beautiful! You could’ve told me this was from Lucia and I’d not bat an eye. Can’t wait to hear about the details for this one!

Offline hammettjr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1726 on: December 31, 2020, 10:34:22 AM »
Ok, here is a summary of some of things I've learned, confirmed, or have started to learn over the past couple months.

1) Use enough salt (dough and sauce)!
This is a tricky one for me. I initially came to the forum 10 years ago to learn to make an extremely low sodium pizza as I was temporarily on a low-sodium diet. While I'm no longer on the diet, I do pay attention to salt, and generally don't eat very much of it. Over time I slowly and, somewhat reluctantly, increased the salt amounts in my dough and sauce.

But a few months ago I added just a bit more salt to my sauce, and it made a huge difference. Then I increased the salt in my dough from 1.8% to 2.0% and again, it was a noticeable improvement. My last 2 bakes were at 2.5%, and while I expect I'll drop it down to 2.25%, and it's very unlikely I'll go below 2% again.

I can't say I'm able to notice big changes in fermentation or how the dough handles, but overall the pie just tastes better with a bit more salt. While my sauce still lacks the extra flavor from Lucia, I think salt helps a simple sauce work. I'm reminded of a post from Invertedisdead, someone who I used to interact with regularly here. He stopped posting maybe a year ago, but came back for a day or 2 maybe 6 months ago, and posted about the role of salt in sauce. He compared it to the work he's been doing on salsa, where he found he needs salt to make the tomato shine. And that no matter how much salt he put in or on top of a tortilla chip, it doesn't substitute for actually having salt mixed into the tomato.

One thing I'm thinking about is whether I prefer there to be a slightly "salty" taste to my pizza. If the answer is yes, this is going to be very tricky because salt is perceived differently based on how much of it you eat, and I've recognized changes in perception day to day. For example a salty lunch will impact my perception of salt at dinner.

2) Bake all the steam out of the crust (via the oven rack trick)!
I don't know whether you guys have the problem I do with my undercrust. I think the combination of a heavily topped pie, low bake temp, and possibly modest fermentation leads to a crust that has trouble maintaining its structural integrity as it sits. I don't like a crisp pie, or well-done pie, but I don't want soggy either.

It was a new forum member, who only has a few posts, that compelled me to finish the last 30 seconds of my bake directly on the oven rack (2nd lowest rack). It's worked beautifully. I'm reminded of the discussions I had, mainly about pan pizza, about the need to place the baked pie on a cooling rack to let steam out. Why not employ the same strategy, but in a hot oven directly over the heat source? [One side effect is lines on the undercrust from the rack. This is avoidable by putting the rack into the oven only when you're ready to transfer the pie to it (so it avoids the preheat), but the lines don't bother me so I only did that once.]
 
It's interesting, I'm basically baking in reverse from what many people do. Instead of baking it low in the oven on a stone until the crust is ready, then moving it up under the broiler for the cheese, I start higher in the oven and bake until my cheese is ready. Once the pie is what I used to consider done, I move it to the lower rack for 30 seconds.

3) For my pies and bake, Grande is king, Polly-O didn't work!
For a few years I've been wanting to try foodservice pollyO. The ingredients/nutrition differs from the retail version, I know some pizzerias around here use it, and I was hoping it would give me extra creaminess. While messaging with Scott123, he mentioned that Restaurant Depot has it, so I finally got to try it. Unfortunately, my result was the same as when I tried the retail version - a wet, soupy mess. Clearly pizzerias have had success with it, so it could be a function of my oven/bake, but it didn't result in any new flavor that would compel me to try to figure out how to improve the melt. I also tried Galbani Professionale, which was pretty good. But experimenting with these cheeses made me appreciate Grande much more when I went back to it.

4) Thin sauce remains key!
I know I mention thin sauce alot, but every once in a while I wonder whether I'll get a bit more tomato flavor if I had some chunks. This led me to crack open a can of 7/11 again. While I certainly appreciate 7/11, and know many people & pizzerias do really well with them, it results in a final pizza very different than my thin sauce. It simply doesn't work for the style I'm after.

5) There is actually a thing as too much sauce!
I reduced it slightly, but I'm still saucy at a slightly heaping 3/4 cup for 14". (Down from heaping 3/4 cup + 2 soup spoons.)

6) Don't underferment (too much)!
I seem to be partial to less fermented crusts, but I increased my IDY from 0.25% to 0.375% and increased my pre-fridge rest from 10 minutes to 30 minutes (in total, see #7).

7) In progress - Not surprisingly, everyone with their lengthy dough processes are probably on to something!
I've started hand kneading for a 1-2 minutes after my mix is done. Then after 10 minutes rest on the counter I'm doing 4 small stretch and folds (1 set), balling, then letting it sit at room temp for 20 minutes before going into the fridge. I'm not sure where I'm headed with this, but at least I can say that the dough ball looks smoother than it had before. 2 processes I've been reading are Chris Graff's NY and Craig's Neapolitan. I thought it was interesting that both (when I massively oversimplify) handle their dough, rest 10 minutes, handle it again, then repeat in 10 minute intervals as necessary based on look and feel.

8 ) In progress - started messing with onion powder in my sauce again and I like it!
I was inspired by WB54885 after he mentioned he used both fresh onion and onion powder in one of his sauces.


That's it for now. Here are some more pictures of that last pie I posted, a pie I really liked.
Matt

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1727 on: December 31, 2020, 10:52:51 AM »
Matt,

That is a very good writeup.

Several years ago, one of our members, Pete Waldman, discussed how he opted to bake his pizzas starting at the top third of his oven, but he also used the broiler and did not have to move the pizzas lower in the oven. The thread where he discussed this is at:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=6585.msg56478#msg56478

Peter

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1728 on: December 31, 2020, 11:01:41 AM »
Matt,

After I posted, I remembered that when using both a screen and a stone, I would start with the screen at the top part of the oven and then move it down to a preheated stone at the bottom part of the oven. I discussed this method, along with several others (with added links), in the post at Reply 45 at:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=2223.msg20965#msg20965

Peter

Offline piesofsatan

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1729 on: December 31, 2020, 02:48:03 PM »
Beautiful job Matt!!

Would kill to get that even / perfect melt you seem to nail every single time. Would also kill to get one of those mesh screens, please let me know if you'd ever part with one! ;)

Going to try to experiment with more salt in my sauce too and see if it is what I'm looking for. I'm already at 2.5% for my dough and am happy with it I think.

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Offline mmille24

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1730 on: December 31, 2020, 03:04:24 PM »
hammettjr what do you cook on? Do you actually cook the pizza on that mesh platter I see in your pictures?

Offline hammettjr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1731 on: December 31, 2020, 03:32:43 PM »
Beautiful job Matt!!

Would kill to get that even / perfect melt you seem to nail every single time. Would also kill to get one of those mesh screens, please let me know if you'd ever part with one! ;)

Going to try to experiment with more salt in my sauce too and see if it is what I'm looking for. I'm already at 2.5% for my dough and am happy with it I think.

Thanks!

I really should bake a pie without the screen to see the difference, but I strongly suspect that my melt does not need the screen. Lately I've been using the screen for only half the bake. I think the screen may actually do the opposite and slow the cheese from breaking down and oiling off, but I actually seek the oil intentionally.




Matt

Offline hammettjr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1732 on: December 31, 2020, 03:34:00 PM »
hammettjr what do you cook on? Do you actually cook the pizza on that mesh platter I see in your pictures?

Yes, I'm currently using the screen for about half of an 8 minute bake (with the screen sitting on a stone). These are handmade mesh screens that are fairly common in Queens and Long Island pizzerias, who (based on the few I've asked) actually use the screens for either the entire bake, or almost all of it. There's a thread about the screens here:
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=49415.0
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 03:40:18 PM by hammettjr »
Matt

Offline robz

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1733 on: December 31, 2020, 05:05:45 PM »
Ok, here is a summary of some of things I've learned, confirmed, or have started to learn over the past couple months.

1) Use enough salt (dough and sauce)!
This is a tricky one for me. I initially came to the forum 10 years ago to learn to make an extremely low sodium pizza as I was temporarily on a low-sodium diet. While I'm no longer on the diet, I do pay attention to salt, and generally don't eat very much of it. Over time I slowly and, somewhat reluctantly, increased the salt amounts in my dough and sauce.

But a few months ago I added just a bit more salt to my sauce, and it made a huge difference. Then I increased the salt in my dough from 1.8% to 2.0% and again, it was a noticeable improvement. My last 2 bakes were at 2.5%, and while I expect I'll drop it down to 2.25%, and it's very unlikely I'll go below 2% again.

I can't say I'm able to notice big changes in fermentation or how the dough handles, but overall the pie just tastes better with a bit more salt. While my sauce still lacks the extra flavor from Lucia, I think salt helps a simple sauce work. I'm reminded of a post from Invertedisdead, someone who I used to interact with regularly here. He stopped posting maybe a year ago, but came back for a day or 2 maybe 6 months ago, and posted about the role of salt in sauce. He compared it to the work he's been doing on salsa, where he found he needs salt to make the tomato shine. And that no matter how much salt he put in or on top of a tortilla chip, it doesn't substitute for actually having salt mixed into the tomato.

One thing I'm thinking about is whether I prefer there to be a slightly "salty" taste to my pizza. If the answer is yes, this is going to be very tricky because salt is perceived differently based on how much of it you eat, and I've recognized changes in perception day to day. For example a salty lunch will impact my perception of salt at dinner.

2) Bake all the steam out of the crust (via the oven rack trick)!
I don't know whether you guys have the problem I do with my undercrust. I think the combination of a heavily topped pie, low bake temp, and possibly modest fermentation leads to a crust that has trouble maintaining its structural integrity as it sits. I don't like a crisp pie, or well-done pie, but I don't want soggy either.

It was a new forum member, who only has a few posts, that compelled me to finish the last 30 seconds of my bake directly on the oven rack (2nd lowest rack). It's worked beautifully. I'm reminded of the discussions I had, mainly about pan pizza, about the need to place the baked pie on a cooling rack to let steam out. Why not employ the same strategy, but in a hot oven directly over the heat source? [One side effect is lines on the undercrust from the rack. This is avoidable by putting the rack into the oven only when you're ready to transfer the pie to it (so it avoids the preheat), but the lines don't bother me so I only did that once.]
 
It's interesting, I'm basically baking in reverse from what many people do. Instead of baking it low in the oven on a stone until the crust is ready, then moving it up under the broiler for the cheese, I start higher in the oven and bake until my cheese is ready. Once the pie is what I used to consider done, I move it to the lower rack for 30 seconds.

3) For my pies and bake, Grande is king, Polly-O didn't work!
For a few years I've been wanting to try foodservice pollyO. The ingredients/nutrition differs from the retail version, I know some pizzerias around here use it, and I was hoping it would give me extra creaminess. While messaging with Scott123, he mentioned that Restaurant Depot has it, so I finally got to try it. Unfortunately, my result was the same as when I tried the retail version - a wet, soupy mess. Clearly pizzerias have had success with it, so it could be a function of my oven/bake, but it didn't result in any new flavor that would compel me to try to figure out how to improve the melt. I also tried Galbani Professionale, which was pretty good. But experimenting with these cheeses made me appreciate Grande much more when I went back to it.

4) Thin sauce remains key!
I know I mention thin sauce alot, but every once in a while I wonder whether I'll get a bit more tomato flavor if I had some chunks. This led me to crack open a can of 7/11 again. While I certainly appreciate 7/11, and know many people & pizzerias do really well with them, it results in a final pizza very different than my thin sauce. It simply doesn't work for the style I'm after.

5) There is actually a thing as too much sauce!
I reduced it slightly, but I'm still saucy at a slightly heaping 3/4 cup for 14". (Down from heaping 3/4 cup + 2 soup spoons.)

6) Don't underferment (too much)!
I seem to be partial to less fermented crusts, but I increased my IDY from 0.25% to 0.375% and increased my pre-fridge rest from 10 minutes to 30 minutes (in total, see #7).

7) In progress - Not surprisingly, everyone with their lengthy dough processes are probably on to something!
I've started hand kneading for a 1-2 minutes after my mix is done. Then after 10 minutes rest on the counter I'm doing 4 small stretch and folds (1 set), balling, then letting it sit at room temp for 20 minutes before going into the fridge. I'm not sure where I'm headed with this, but at least I can say that the dough ball looks smoother than it had before. 2 processes I've been reading are Chris Graff's NY and Craig's Neapolitan. I thought it was interesting that both (when I massively oversimplify) handle their dough, rest 10 minutes, handle it again, then repeat in 10 minute intervals as necessary based on look and feel.

8 ) In progress - started messing with onion powder in my sauce again and I like it!
I was inspired by WB54885 after he mentioned he used both fresh onion and onion powder in one of his sauces.


That's it for now. Here are some more pictures of that last pie I posted, a pie I really liked.

Beautiful

Offline nickyr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1734 on: December 31, 2020, 11:49:11 PM »
WHOA I have made most of my NY styles with commercial Polly-O and they’re always a soupy mess!!! I never would’ve guessed it was the cheese. I have no clue where to get Grande in the SF Bay Area, but I guess I gotta start trying different cheeses.

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Offline hammettjr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1735 on: January 01, 2021, 08:17:55 AM »
WHOA I have made most of my NY styles with commercial Polly-O and they’re always a soupy mess!!! I never would’ve guessed it was the cheese. I have no clue where to get Grande in the SF Bay Area, but I guess I gotta start trying different cheeses.

Definitely.  Give Galbani from the grocery store a shot. Or, if you are interested/willing to spend $9/lb, Boars Head (behind the deli counter) is quite good.


Edit: posting a few pics of one of my (2) attempts with foodservice Polly-O.


« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 08:43:53 AM by hammettjr »
Matt

Offline nickyr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1736 on: January 01, 2021, 10:54:58 AM »
Definitely.  Give Galbani from the grocery store a shot. Or, if you are interested/willing to spend $9/lb, Boars Head (behind the deli counter) is quite good.


Edit: posting a few pics of one of my (2) attempts with foodservice Polly-O.
Is Galbani whole milk tasty? I’m somewhat scarred by a time early in the pandemic where the store was out of everything except for galbani part skim and I thought it was gross. And lol Boars Head is $10-$12 in the Bay Area :-( I miss east coast mozzarella prices.

Those pics certainly look nicer than mine did, but that soupiness is familiar!

Thanks!

Offline hammettjr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1737 on: January 01, 2021, 11:01:19 AM »
Is Galbani whole milk tasty? I’m somewhat scarred by a time early in the pandemic where the store was out of everything except for galbani part skim and I thought it was gross...


Been awhile since I used it, but melted pretty good. Taste is a matter of preference, so YMMV. But to me, mozz is never super flavorful... the sauce (and hard cheese if you use it) provides the flavor.

But I do expect the whole milk to be better. Will add some oil nectar, and be less prone to burn.

Matt

Offline nickyr

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1738 on: January 01, 2021, 11:06:15 AM »
Been awhile since I used it, but melted pretty good. Taste is a matter of preference, so YMMV. But to me, mozz is never super flavorful... the sauce (and hard cheese if you use it) provides the flavor.

But I do expect the whole milk to be better. Will add some oil nectar, and be less prone to burn.
Spoken like a spoiled New Yorker :-D I tried some California store brand mozzarella a few weeks ago because I was sick of the high prices for good stuff and I was like, “wow, this tastes like a California pizza.” (Not a compliment)

I will check out the Galbani and I’ll do some other comparisons probably! Thanks so much for this finding, this is going to change my life. My mind was blown all last night and still kinda is.

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Re: Matt's NY Pizza, by HammettJr
« Reply #1739 on: January 01, 2021, 03:14:32 PM »
Matt,

After I posted, I remembered that when using both a screen and a stone, I would start with the screen at the top part of the oven and then move it down to a preheated stone at the bottom part of the oven. I discussed this method, along with several others (with added links), in the post at Reply 45 at:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=2223.msg20965#msg20965

Peter

Thanks Peter. I've experimented with various rack placements in my oven over the years. The interesting thing about this oven is it heats from the top and bottom simultaneously in the 'bake' setting. Broiler is top only, and I don't know a way to do bottom only.

While the 'direct on rack' method is a bit of an unorthodox hack, it seems to be working for me well. In the next 6-9 months we hope to renovate my kitchen, which will result in new ovens. I think I'll miss what I have now, but I'm expecting to get something that reaches 550 and can fit an 18" pie, so there will be a benefit to learning the new oven.

Matt

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