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Author Topic: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.  (Read 7510 times)

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Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #80 on: July 08, 2017, 05:53:24 PM »
Attempt 06.02.17 I ran out of my Carfagna's pepperoni and I had to use the Battisoni cup and char pep I had on hand. I have decided I don't care for that pep as much because it's just too spicy. What I did take from the experience is that my next attempt will be just cheese. I have struggled to find a cheese that I am happy with, and it's tough to make a judgment when it's covered up with pep. Also, I have come to the realization that it is completely impossible for me to get my hands on Tommy's provolone cheese, so I may as well find one that makes me happy. I hadn't made any plain cheese pies either. What to do? Make another scrap dough, thinnest of the thin pie, with just cheese. I had Walmart Great Value LMWM mozz on hand because it's the cheese that I use for my homemade mozz sticks. The last time I made my mozz sticks, the quality of the cheese was different, it came out squeaky and chewy. So yes, that same thing happened to my scrap dough pie. I will be on the search for a preferable cheese. I was happy I rolled out my scrap pie thin again, it was very good. Not Tommy's exactly but thin and crispy is a good thing!
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #81 on: July 08, 2017, 06:06:28 PM »
06.11.17  Commence the cheese pizza taste experimenting! Boy, doesn't that sound good problem to have. I am still stuck on my newest pizza crush, Rubino's. I tried to roll the dough thinner than my usual Tommy's clone and perhaps I'm losing a little focus there. I also, once again, messed up my launch. My partner has gotten to the point of leaving the kitchen when I get ready for the launch, it's that bad. I didn't fret too much despite the failure in form, and besides it was the cheese flavor I was after. The cheese was a complete success! I was shocked at how good Giant Eagle's deli case LMWM mozz was, I bought it in a 1# chunk. So if you are near to a Giant Eagle grocery store, I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline tedcholl

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #82 on: July 08, 2017, 09:52:45 PM »
I have been using a smoked provolone I buy at my local HEB grocery store.    I have to buy it at the specialty cheese area and not at the deli.   Perhaps you can also find something similar at your local grocery store.   I have also bought the aged HEB brand provolone (not smoked) at the  deli - I buy in bulk and grate it at home.   I have also bought the Boars Head brand of Provolone (not smoked) at the same deli and like it as well.   I like the smoked provolone a little better than the non smoked but there is not a huge taste difference.  Perhaps you can more easily find the Boars Head provolone and try that.


333Meg - your crusts always look more laminated than mine.  I have quit docking the crusts but still don't get the same amount of lamination. 

Thanks for all your posts!

Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #83 on: July 15, 2017, 06:26:09 PM »
Ted, I have used the Boar's head provolone but the one labeled "Picante", which is the only kind at my local store, and that kind was a little too strong and greasy. I am sure stuck on cheese for now and I have tried so many at this point.

Boar's Head LMWM mozz, Boar's Head provolone, Belgiosso 'mild' Provo (which is quite strong and thus far my favorite provolone), Giant Eagle LMWM mozz (my favorite mozz to this point), Polly-O mozz and Provo (used the Provo alone last night and liked it a lot), Grande LMPS mozz/Provo blend (too chewy), Great Value Walmart LMWM mozz (not consistent but good when it's good), and many, many others. I really want to try Saputo Gold and will be trying to source that next.

As far as my pizzas...you spoke too soon, my pizzas have not been coming out since my last post! I have no idea why at all. None. Except my scraps doughs, those have been consistently great but vary widely, but I have no expectation for them so I think that has a lot to do with it. After several, I don't want to say failures exactly because they tasted great, but several not close to Tommy's taste at all. No crispy, crunchy crust and very little to no lamination. It's been slightly frustrating but not terrible because it's pizza! My partner has referred to them as "toothsome", which he said he likes, strangely. I have stayed with the same version I have been making all along and will continue to until I can manage to get some consistency going. So the quest continues...
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #84 on: July 15, 2017, 06:34:05 PM »
This is scrap dough, ultra thinly rolled with new toppings for once. Pesto, mozz, homemade sausage and ricotta dollops. It was very good!
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

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Offline RockyMountainPie

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #85 on: July 15, 2017, 06:38:57 PM »
That looks delicious.  Pesto pizzas are a favorite around my house.  I bet the ricotta and sausage additions made it outrageously tasty!!

Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #86 on: July 15, 2017, 06:39:17 PM »
This pizza making adventure has led me to now making sausages at home...
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #87 on: July 15, 2017, 06:40:48 PM »
That looks delicious.  Pesto pizzas are a favorite around my house.  I bet the ricotta and sausage additions made it outrageously tasty!!
You are always so nice! Thank you.
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline invertedisdead

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #88 on: July 15, 2017, 10:32:33 PM »
Great update Meg!

I like Boars head LMWM mozz a lot, it's just $$$
I often go back and forth between that and Saputo Gold. If you like stronger provolone's I recently tried Polly-O. Here's a thin & crispy pie mixed with Saputo WM mozz and Polly-O provolone. I'm from St. Louis so I cannot relate to Tommy's, but the provolone definitely felt like a step in the right direction for my pies!

Offline kramer73

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #89 on: September 13, 2017, 12:25:15 PM »
Wow, some great looking pizzas in here.  I'm more of a thin crust kinda person, but I may have to try the cracker crust.  Nice work! 

BTW, you should really have your own thread (unless I missed it and you already do).
Andy

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Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #90 on: October 17, 2017, 04:26:53 PM »
There are some great looking pies here, I agree! I have been making a lot of pizza in the last stretch. Since a summertime lull of not great pies, I have bounced back I am happy to say. Hot humid days really mess up my pizza making in a big way, and that knowledge really makes me appreciate how pizza shops have to work to combat that exact thing. I just have no idea how they do it. My pies went from nice lamination with crispy crusts to the previously mentioned "toothsome" chew.

My pursuit of cheese quest continued since my last post. After doing some traveling in Maine in August, I decided to hit up Penn Mac in Pittsburgh en route home to Ohio so I could really load up, and not worry about delivery charges. Load up I did! I bought 8 #'s Ezzo, 2 #'s Fontanini sausage, smoked provolone, grande Provo, Saputo LMWM mozz and lots of other assorted charcuterie.
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #91 on: October 17, 2017, 05:13:23 PM »
I really loved the Saputo LMWM mozz, a bit pricey at Penn Mac's rates, but I was happy to finally try it. Anyone have any thoughts on Saputo vs. Saputo Gold? I'd love to know and can't wait to try the Gold version when I can get my hands on some.
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #92 on: October 17, 2017, 05:45:33 PM »
This photo is of a small pie made entirely with Grande Provolone. Ryan said don't use it but of course I had to try it. As you can see in the photo, it was greasy, didn't melt nicely, and had an off putting flavor. I don't want to diss the cheese because it is actually a very nice cheese, just not for melting on pizza. I know quite a bit about cheese as a previous obsession was cheesemaking which involved a cheese school in NYC, and me buying a French cow, but that's a different story. The Grande Provo was well aged and it has the crunchy bits in it as you eat it like an Alpine cheese such as Gruyere. It's also smoked and you can taste it, it was quite lovely, but again, just not melted on pizza, at least not for me. Penn Mac said it was a "high end pizza ingrediant" but that was not my experience.
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline tedcholl

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #93 on: October 17, 2017, 05:55:37 PM »
Thanks for sharing this 333Meg.   I'm interested in how the smoked provolone works for you once you try it.  Would also sometime love to hear more of your cheese stories. :)

Offline bobgraff

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #94 on: October 17, 2017, 06:46:22 PM »
Looks great Meg!  Keep us posted.

BTW - can you share what your current dough prep is like (rise time, fridge storage, etc)? 

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Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #95 on: November 04, 2017, 06:06:05 PM »
Thanks Bob, I will write up my whole process soon, although you'll see I fairly closely follow Ryan's original instructions or the ones I started with here.

Ted, I did try the smoked Provo from Penn Mac after all and it was terrible. It was locally smoked and it was dark brown with the rind smelling very strongly of smoke. I cut off the outer part hoping to tone it down a bit but it didn't turn out well at all. The taste was akin to acrid smoke, it was the worst cheese I've tasted thus far. I'm sure the one you are able to get at HEB is not like this. I wish I could try the one you use, maybe I can find it online and have it shipped? One funny cheese story or almost...I was hand milking Lily the cow and being not very skilled at that, I was quite proud when the bucket was somewhat full. Just as I went to grab the bucket, she moved and kicked it and lost all the precious milk. No cheese came from that time. I never got great at hand milking, and it's not a skill I would say I have, so I hired a guy to care for her and do the hand milking. He kept half the milk for his time and effort, and I coined him my "Cow Daddy." My cheese was never awesome and I stuck to the simple ones like mozzarella, ricotta, paneer, etc...it was a lot of fun though!
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 06:17:39 PM by 333meg »
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline tedcholl

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #96 on: November 05, 2017, 04:27:41 PM »
Quote
Ted, I did try the smoked Provo from Penn Mac after all and it was terrible. It was locally smoked and it was dark brown with the rind smelling very strongly of smoke. I cut off the outer part hoping to tone it down a bit but it didn't turn out well at all. The taste was akin to acrid smoke, it was the worst cheese I've tasted thus far. I'm sure the one you are able to get at HEB is not like this. I wish I could try the one you use, maybe I can find it online and have it shipped?

So sad to hear that the Pen Mac smoked provo was not the right cheese, I was hoping it  would be as it is much cheaper than what I buy.  The smoked provo I buy has the rind and the smell of smoke but once cooked on the pizza it looses all that characteristic.   HEB might have it available for shipping, check out their Web site.   
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 05:29:53 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline 333meg

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #97 on: November 14, 2017, 05:31:44 PM »
Okay, well here is the process which I am following at this time, it doesn't really veer to far off from Ryan's concise post #332 on Sept, 29th, 2013. I just followed his lead and it's brought me here, quite happily! I've been making 1/2 batches of his dough recipe, which gives me one pie, and then the following evening I bake up a thin scrap dough pie. That's 2 pizzas back to back and I've been making those 2 pies about once a week. And yes, I have gained weight because of it.

So one thing I've tried to do is hone in on consistency...I now use 2 scales. I use a bigger one for flour and I also use a small scale that weighs to .00 for the yeast, salt, sugar, etc...I am also mixing using my food processor instead of my Kitchenaid. My thought is when I mix all the dry ingrediants with the lard in the food processor, it gets very mixed in before I start adding the water, and since I'm making 1/2 batches, it all fits into my 9 cup processor no problem. I now only use SAF yeast and distilled water. Our water is very chlorinated here and I didn't want it to kill my yeast. It's at least one more thing to cross off the list of something that could go wrong. Also, after much back forth about the launch, I now exclusively use semolina on the peel, and it has been a godsend. No more pre-launch freak-outs or post launch it didn't land correctly meltdowns. I haven't been experimenting with the dough recipe either, I'm going for consistency. When I was changing little things, I wasn't learning what I wanted to know, which is how to consistently make Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone. I do CF the dough for 3 days before baking, it gives a nice flavor to the crust and gives the bottom a lot of blisters. The scrap dough gets a 4 day CF. The fermenting is a newer change I made because I was really loving my scrap doughs that were getting a 3 day CF, so I changed it to make my primary dough get that much time in the fridge.

177 g. Distilled water
410 g. KABF
23 g. Lard
4 g. Sugar
6 g. Salt
6 g. SAF yeast

I put all the dry ingrediants into the food processor and pulse a few times. Then I add the lard and turn on continuous mix until the lard is well incorporated, as the blade is running, I add the water in a slow steady stream. I keep the processor running until the dough looks like a bunch of little tiny beads. Then I dump the whole thing out onto the counter, remove the blade from the mix, and gather it all into a dough ball. I usually knead that a couple times for good measure, then I put that into a bowl covered with plastic wrap and secured with a rubber band. I leave that to sit on the counter for 4 hours. After 4 hours I put it into a small Rubbermaid container and into the fridge it goes for 2 days.

On day 2, I get it out of the fridge, and I let it sit on the counter to warm up for 2 hours before rolling. I divide the dough in half, I weigh them to be sure, and 1/2 goes back into the Rubbermaid. I roll out one half pretty much to as thin as I can get it, and the size and shape of it varies, but I am always shooting for Ryan's 20"x20" square. I do the same with the second dough. Then I put the 2 on top of each other making sure that the surfaces are not floured so that they stick together. I divide that into 4 pieces, then I take all 4 of those and stack them all together. I squish them all together, then start rolling that. I use flour as needed once it sticks to the counter and resists rolling out any more.

My stone. 14" and I made a template out of cardboard to sit on top of the rolled out dough, so once I get to where 14" fits it, I cut it out and weigh it to see where I'm at. Ryan's target skin is 15.9 oz but I have shrank that because of my smaller stone. This is the part that is an unknown, I'm pretty tired at this point, and I just want it to be over, so I always forget to do a final weigh of what I will bake, and it varies from time to time. I love it very thin, but too thin and my cheese cooks too fast and breaks, leaving it oily. I also love it thin because I can get 2/14" skins from this amount of dough. I am now in between on how thick to roll it and how much it should weigh, I have to work on that. Regardless, the skin is put onto a metal pizza pan (no holes) and tightly wrapped in foil, then into the fridge for another night. I gather all the scraps and put them back into the Rubbermaid and back into the fridge.

On bake day, I leave the skin in the fridge until everything's ready to go. I preheat the oven at 500' for a full hour, I count the time once it has fully come to temperature and that does make a difference to the bottom crust. I use 8 oz. of cheese, but I eyeball the sauce, and pep if I'm using it. Once everything's ready, I get out the skin, and put it onto my metal peel which has been lightly sprinkled with semolina, you don't need much. I lightly dock the middle of the dough, not docking the edges. I sauce the skin all the way to the very edge. I sprinkle Parm (the cheap kind) on the sauce, then with the grated cheese. I am currently using 60% GFS WMLM mozz and 40% Belgiosso mild provolone. I put the cheese (and pep) until within about 1/2-1 inch from the edge. The cheese will melt toward the edges. I bake it for about 8 minutes, I keep the door closed, do not open it unless you have an unusually large bubble to pop. I then open the door and let it sit on the stone a minute longer before taking it out. The baking part varies depending on how it looks. I put it onto a large cutting board then onto a cookie cooling rack to sit and meld while I ooh and ahh, and photograph it of course. I then sprinkle it with garlic powder, and not the type from the store that is a coarser grain and yellowish tint. I get mine from a bulk food store and it is like talcum powder, that's what Tommy's looks like if you ever notice it. I put the pie back onto the cutting board, and I cut it into squares, photograph it some more and eat, and judge it, all the while talking to myself as I enjoy it. The boyfriend has stopped listening to me while I do the judging but I don't mind.


Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline tedcholl

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #98 on: November 15, 2017, 04:23:20 PM »
Just to reinforce and agree with some of your points 333meg from my experience.   My pizzas became very consistent when I started following the same process each time and accurately measuring all ingredients including using two scales - one accurate to the 10th of a gram for yeast, salt, sugar.  (Using the scale that Aimless Ryan recommended by the way)

Interesting recent experience that further reinforced this.   I make 3 14" pizzas every Saturday.   Even though I would make them all from the same ingredients and batch of dough I consistently got comments about the first one of the three being the best.   We speculated it might be when people were the most hungry.   As I tried to think about what was different I realized that I was taking all 3 dough balls out of the refrigerator at the same time to roll them out so the first one had less time to warm up before I rolled it out.   (After I roll them out I put them back into the fridge for 3-4 hours until time to top and bake.)   This past weekend I only took out of the fridge 1 ball of dough at a time to be rolled.   I didn't tell anyone of the change until I got the comments back at the end that all 3 tasted the same - which I also noted.
The small things become big things when you want a consistent and repeatable outcome.

Offline bobgraff

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Re: My attempt at Aimless Ryan's Tommy's Pizza clone.
« Reply #99 on: November 16, 2017, 08:52:04 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to type all that out.  On paper one might be led to believe that our collective pizzas (from the "Tommy's Gang") are nearly identical, however those little details add up to some pretty big differences.  In hindsight, I guess I discounted the effect of measuring to the tenth of a gram.   I also never considered that the a cold dough ball might make a better pizza than a warm one.  All good thoughts - I think I need to go on a diet before exploring all of these ideas!

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