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Offline hammettjr

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"Sauce Boil"
« on: February 13, 2021, 02:52:19 PM »
In my decade of pizza making, I believe 3 (at most 3) random bakes have had an extra flavor that I recognize from some pizzerias. It's hard to describe, but it's a different type of tomato sweetness.

A few weeks ago was my third of these bakes. It also included an experiment with MAE of my herbs, which is what I initially attributed the flavor to. After a couple more bakes with MAE, I dont think that was it. (You can see my enthusiastic MAE post here: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=38976.msg656331#msg656331)

I luckily took extra detailed notes during that bake, so in theory I have what I need to replicate it. But no luck so far.

One observation I had during the bake, was that the rapid bubbling, or "sauce boil" seemed to occur earlier than normal during the bake. In fact, I pulled the pizza 30 seconds sooner than I was planning, because it looked like it was starting to overbake. Comparing pictures of it to my more recent bakes, this one did have more cheese browining, which I think is a bit of an indication of the extra boil.

I've been a big fan of the "sauce boil" for some time, using a thin sauce, and watching my cheese melt into a beautiful orange hue. But, I recently went back to some posts by RParker (Roy) who went very deep into this detail. His point was that 1) the boil is important for the sauce itself, not for the cheese and 2) the presence of orange grease doesn't necessarily mean that the sauce boiled. One of his posts:

...
Heavy nectar and rapid boils do often happen together, though.  As I discovered with the BS and with some 525F-550F bakes is that the cheese can certainly red-nectar up without the sauce doing a big 100% boil. The sauce getting hot enough to help cheese nectar up and the sauce getting hot enough to cook itself and release it's perfect flavor are NOT one in the same. I need thinner sauce not to help the cheese, but to help the sauce itself. Let itself cook quicker better. More thin-set sauce (without becoming too much) lets me cook it longer, too, as there is more liquid to evaporate before becoming dry.
...
 


So this brings me to where I am today. Questions:
- Anyone have any thoughts generally on sauce boil and the sauce developing flavor through the bake?
- Best way to achieve that special flavor? My thought was to let it cook another minute or even 2 and see what happened. If my cheese isnt browing, then maybe my sauce hasn't cooked enough.
- Surprisingly, pre-cooking my sauce never helped with this...what gives?

I took a video of the very end of my last bake (not the bake that was awesome). And for many views, I admired the "sauce boil" I was getting, and thought maybe I should just let it cook longer.
But, my question now after another look:
Is the sauce is even bubbling in this video? Or is that the fat from the cheese bubbling?

I know this post is a bit whacky, but there's a nuance to these bakes that makes a real difference.




Matt

Offline nickyr

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2021, 12:20:40 AM »
I have no clue. But have you ever tried putting the sauce on the pizza when the sauce is hot? When you used precooked sauce before, did you let it cool before putting it on or put it on hot? I’m wondering if the boiling while the cheese is on top is important, and I’m wondering if you could jumpstart that with hot sauce.

Also what on earth is that noise your oven is making?!

Offline hammettjr

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2021, 08:50:42 AM »
Thanks Nicky! That's a very interesting thought. I think I put the sauce on warm once by accident. I'll need to check my posts, and will think about this. Maybe microwave the sauce on low power just before putting it on?

Regarding my oven sound, sorry! I searched for a way to turn off the sound after I uploaded the video, but wasn't sure how to do it. I dunno why the oven seems to vibrate like crazy. It's very annoying, but I need it to last a few more months until we renovate.

Matt

Offline nickyr

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 10:50:03 AM »
Thanks Nicky! That's a very interesting thought. I think I put the sauce on warm once by accident. I'll need to check my posts, and will think about this. Maybe microwave the sauce on low power just before putting it on?

Regarding my oven sound, sorry! I searched for a way to turn off the sound after I uploaded the video, but wasn't sure how to do it. I dunno why the oven seems to vibrate like crazy. It's very annoying, but I need it to last a few more months until we renovate.
Yeah microwave could work!

Haha good luck with that :-)

Offline wb54885

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2021, 09:52:07 AM »
Is it possible some element here was warmer than it usually is by the time your bake begins? If the cheese browned more, and the boil started earlier, and the whole bake finished 30 seconds ahead of schedule, then something shifted in your usual melt/boil dynamic. If you account for all other factors—sauce consistency, cheese amount, etc—is it possible you had slightly warmer sauce, cheese, or dough going into the oven, or a slightly hotter oven, or anything like that?
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Online jkb

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2021, 10:37:18 AM »
.
But, my question now after another look:
Is the sauce is even bubbling in this video? Or is that the fat from the cheese bubbling?

I know this post is a bit whacky, but there's a nuance to these bakes that makes a real difference.




The boiling point of sauce is a couple hundred degrees lower than fat.  My money's on the sauce aided by the hot fat.
John

Offline piesofsatan

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2021, 01:52:08 PM »
This is interesting!!

I mentioned in my personal thread about my last bake being the best of all the pies I've made. This was due in part to adding some more sauce and cheese than I initially thought I'd like, but another factor was my bake time - I left the pie in for about a minute longer than I thought I should and I definitely feel like I helped aide the flavor profile I was looking for. My sauce is still an area that needs improvement but it seemed like an inch closer than I was before.

Offline hammettjr

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2021, 02:20:44 PM »
A couple things in response to WB and PiesOfSatan, and based on more digging through posts.

I agree that something must have caused that quicker boil and the faster cooking of that bake. I'll keep thinking about temps, but 2 things I had changed for that bake, (but also did these for the 2 subsequent bakes that still didn't match the flavor):
1 - reduced stone temp. I don't think this was it, if anything a lower stone temp would slow down the boil, but I'm continuing with it as it works for my crust and it'll help me extend the bake
2 - a bit less dough, reduced by 15 grams to 400 grams. Doesn't sound like much, but it was definitely a thinner crust. And certainly a thinner crust helps the heat penetrate through and reach the sauce. But as I said, my last 2 bakes had this same dough weight. Maybe my rim was bigger and/or the stretch was just a bit different.

I mentioned in the original post that there was one, possibly two other times I've had this flavor. I found one of the posts, it was pretty interesting. Link below to the details, but it was a thicker crust pan pizza baked at 460 for 15:30! I was basically doing a test for my pan pizza crusts and was expecting this to be almost like a breadstick snack to probably through away, but stumbled onto some flavor.
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=46482.msg505550#msg505550

The other thing is it seems I only tried cooked sauce twice. I think I didn't notice much of a difference. Then I got a sauce from a pizzeria that was super thin and that changed my whole perspective and I never went back. I really should try cooking my sauce again. I dont think I ever cooked a super thin sauce.

For tonight's bake I'm planning the following 3 changes:
1) Lower my rack to the middle of my oven, protecting the cheese a bit from the upper heating element to hopefully allow for a longer bake. (My oven heats from top and bottom at the same time.)
2) Keeping my oven at 480 degrees for the bake. (The last 3 bakes I preheated at 480 to achieve a stone of 500-505, but I changed to 535 oven setting at launch)
3) Try for a 10 minute bake. I may have to walk away as looking will cause the temptation to pull it....but I'll remind myself that Grande is forgiving, and I know how to get a good melt. I need to see what happens to the sauce, even if I end up with browned cheese one bake.




Matt

Offline piesofsatan

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2021, 02:28:00 PM »
3) Try for a 10 minute bake. I may have to walk away as looking will cause the temptation to pull it....but I'll remind myself that Grande is forgiving, and I know how to get a good melt. I need to see what happens to the sauce, even if I end up with browned cheese one bake.

10 mins is what I did last time! It was so hard not to pull it earlier, but I stuck to just pacing around my home until the alarm went off, haha!

My oven doesn't have a window either which drives me nuts!

Offline wb54885

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2021, 11:56:36 AM »
I was curious to test the Thin Sauce Hypothesis on a sauce-on-top style of plain pie, and I’m glad I did. I also found an older thread with some great observations about sauce-on-top cheese melt/sauce boil that vibe with my experiences here, and might be interesting reading:  https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=36820.0

Both bakes below were on steel at 560-570F, 3 minutes with the oven off followed by 3-3.5 minutes with the broiler on. I was mainly interested in seeing how the cheese melt was physically affected by thinner sauce with sliced rather than shredded cheese and with the top/bottom order reversed, but I got a major surprise in flavor as well.

First picture below is from a week ago, sauce is 7/11 immersion blended in pulses until mostly smooth, with a splash of water and fairly heavy amounts of spices and seasonings. A good sauce packed with flavor, with parm grated on top after bake. No complaints, but nothing too extraordinary either.

Second picture is from yesterday, sauce is Alta Cucina through a food mill. Such a huge difference—very thin by comparison and less heavily seasoned for the sake of the experiment. The flavor released by the cheese melt/sauce boil was outstanding! Rather than a cheese flavor and a sauce flavor, this pizza had a PIZZA flavor. Thin sauce, take me away. The mill really does just the right thing to the tomato consistency. And Alta Cucinas are excellent for this thinness, as I’ve milled Tomato Magic and 7/11s before and not had this consistency come out, but never really paid too much direct attention to the difference before. That’ll teach me to get complacent.

In tribute to the legendary sauce heroes and their quests for flavor immortality, I actually kept track of my recipe this time:

4 C milled Alta Cucina
6g sweet onion and 5.5g garlic finely minced, lightly sautéed in 3 T olive oil until mellow brown/gold
.5tsp salt
.5tsp onion powder
.5tsp garlic powder
1tsp dried basil
1tsp dried oregano

Whisked together and left at room temp 2-3 hours until bake. Finished pizzas in my house get a pinch of oregano and a couple passing twists of black pepper. It didn’t occur to me to add any parm to yesterday’s pizza post-bake.

Pictures 3 and 4 are “enhanced” to exaggerate and highlight differences. Picture 5 is another angle on yesterday’s thin sauce melt.

(Dough is approximately the same recipe in each case, but in the 1st and 3rd pic it’s a 6-hr rise with ADY and diastatic malt powder; in the 2nd and 4th, it’s also a 6-hr rise but with a 24-hr sourdough poolish at 25% of flour weight, also with ADY and diastatic malt powder. The crust color is better in last week’s bake, but the flavor on yesterday’s was off the charts.)

I can’t see the melt/boil happening live as I also lack a window on my oven door, but I could hear it happen quickly and loudly yesterday. And while I’m nowhere near the 10 minute bake you guys are talking about testing, the difference in flavor from even a shorter 6+ minute bake with thin sauce was undeniable. Again, really glad I tried this out!
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Offline Peter B

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2021, 12:41:08 PM »
10 mins is what I did last time! It was so hard not to pull it earlier, but I stuck to just pacing around my home until the alarm went off, haha!

My oven doesn't have a window either which drives me nuts!

10 Min is what I am doing now.  Last week, I did this method and it came out really nice - browned crust on top and bottom without being dried out and overly crunchy.
- Pie is loaded onto my disc that is in the 2nd to lowest rack position and preheated stone is on the next rack up
- Pie is there for 5 minutes then I turn it 180 degrees
- After two minutes, I kill the oven heat and start the broiler
- one minute later, I move the screen to sit on the stone and leave it there for two minutes

Since it was new and I wanted to be precise and not just "eyeball it", I stuck to the 10 minutes. 

I love the idea of nuking the sauce briefly before dressing the pie.  I am going to give that a shot!
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Offline hammettjr

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2021, 05:47:28 PM »
Alot to unpack in these posts from WB and PeterB. But a question for WB while I think all this through - which disc did you use in the food mill? (I'm assuming most mills have 3 options.)

Matt

Offline wb54885

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2021, 07:16:52 PM »
I used the one with larger holes out of the two with holes—3rd option was kind of a “slicer” disc.

The holes appear to measure about 3mm across. Looks similar to the size I’ve used in pizza kitchens, maybe a bit finer. Kept 97% of the seeds out, but a few seeds still made it through.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2021, 08:35:02 PM »
I too have had a few pies with sauce that was extraordinarily good - both at home and at pizzerias. The best ever was a particular trip to Luzzo's in NY/EV. I had them bring me a bowl of sauce, and I dipped my crust in it and ate the rest like like soup. Been back many times since then and never the same. Maybe some cans of tomatoes are just special?
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Offline hammettjr

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2021, 09:34:39 PM »
Maybe some cans of tomatoes are just special?

May be part of it, but I think a small part. In my case I'm using frozen tomato each week from the same can. The best bake was around the 6th bake of the 9 portion can. Moreover, the flavor I'm thinking of isn't that rare and I think some pizzerias can achieve it consistently.

One factor I'm cognizant of is that our perception of flavor is likely inconsistent from one meal to the next. I remember someone describing to me a ham and cheese sandwich on a croissant he had on his honeymoon in Paris. A bit of an extreme example, but for him that sandwich experience won't ever be duplicated.

That's something I think about regarding the pan bake I referred to above. I remember it was on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, 2 days into a weeks vacation, and I tossed that pie together relaxing in my kitchen watching football. Perfect setting for me to really enjoy a pizza.

« Last Edit: February 17, 2021, 09:40:27 PM by hammettjr »
Matt

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Online jkb

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2021, 12:34:23 PM »
IMaybe some cans of tomatoes are just special?



Yup.  Just like wine, some vintages are better than others.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2021, 11:32:14 AM »


Yup.  Just like wine, some vintages are better than others.

Yes, and some barrels are better than others. Tomatoes aren't blended across the vintage, so I think can come down to the individual can.
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Offline bertanderny

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2021, 08:39:07 PM »
Matt, I don't know if we're both on the same quest but I think we might be. I've been trying to get that deep sweet tomato flavour and I've only achieved it once, by accident, a long time ago before I actually knew anything about making pizza.

The sauce has a depth to it like a puree/paste but without any of the dark slightly bitterness you get, instead being replaced by a sweetness. The time I did achieve it I remember using gustarosso San Marzanos, very thin and probably with just a pinch of salt. It was cooked in my home oven on steel at 250c for about 8-10mins and thats all I remember.

I've tried to recreate it ever since trying every additive but nothing came close to that. These days I just get the feeling the cheese dilutes the sauce because of how thin it is. I make pizza's in a ooni pro now mainly due up the size and sometimes get close to that sauce experience only when I reheat certain slices.

I think I'm going start experimenting in the home oven again, I've got a bunch of different tomatoes and cheese ready to go. I'll try and keep this thread posted.

Offline gordonderp

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2021, 08:37:39 AM »
How thin of a consistency are you guys getting for your sauce? Don't have access to american canned tomato brands so I don't know how thick or thin they are for reference.

Would I just thin out the sauce with some water? Or could you thin it out with olive oil?

Offline hammettjr

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Re: "Sauce Boil"
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2021, 09:28:49 AM »
How thin of a consistency are you guys getting for your sauce? Don't have access to american canned tomato brands so I don't know how thick or thin they are for reference.

Would I just thin out the sauce with some water? Or could you thin it out with olive oil?

Depends on what type of tomato you're using and how you process it. I do whole peeled tomato through the fine plate of a food mill. That doesn't require any water or oil (because whole peeled are watery).

Matt

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