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Offline artaxares

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #100 on: November 10, 2021, 04:11:47 AM »
At no point did I make a point that Francisco's pastry background trumps specific pizza making experience, I was just pointing out who he is for those who are unaware of his previous work. As I also noted, I do not  treat this book as some "pizza bible", I treat it as a contribution to pizza making knowledge, new resource which can be learned from.
I also don't like to divide things into "modernist", "scientific" or not because where is that difference? At which point does my using of precise scale, thermometers, prediction tables etc becomes scientific handling of pizza dough? Same with ingredients, If I decide to take another step and let's say ferment some ingredient, does it suddenly become "science" if salinity or acidity gets measured?
I do like this book series (cuisine, bread, pizza) because authors try to answer question "why?". They use "scientific approach" to reveal what actually happens on biological/chemical level in food which is important because that knowledge allows us to then use that knowledge for our specific purposes. 1 simplest example (which is so common when people from EU try doing US recipes) would be if someone gives you basic pizza/bread recipe you can spend ages battling that 70% hydration if you don't understand what impact does gluten, flour strength have. I appreciate when books explain things from ground up and these books are good example of that.
There are bunch of stuff in those books that I've read and don't intend to ever use, as you point out some of the ingredients are not worth it at best and pretentious at worst but no one forces me to use those, but I am open to learning what does happen if I decide to use it because it might be useful at some point, I don't see any advantages to disregarding new knowledge.

That being said, I can hardly recommend actually buying these books as a hobbyist pizza maker because price is quite prohibitive, it is really a niche audience that can think of it as a good value for money. As for other things, I don't consider them to be a topic here, it's personal for people to decide if they want to take those into account.

Offline SonVolt

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #101 on: November 10, 2021, 12:18:22 PM »

Offline RHawthorne

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #102 on: November 10, 2021, 02:17:35 PM »
Pizza is not bread, first and foremost. But that's another discussion. I don't see how someone coming from pastry can competently make numerous styles of pizza without experience, but you seem to be posing the argument his pastry knowledge/background trumps practical pizza making experience. I would disagree with that. One example that comes to mind is when Migoya claimed you could reball expired sourdough pizza dough and it would be fine if you let it rise again. I think all of us here know that's simply not the case - you couldn't stretch it unless you had a very thick pizza. There are so many little tips and tricks I've learned from making pizza professionally for over 10 years. Respectfully, I don't see any possible way Migoya could be in the same lane as competent, professional pizza makers.

With regard to modernist cuisine, well, that's also a matter of opinion. Numbers on a piece of paper might tell you things like sous vide will perfectly cook meat in a way you could never achieve with any other method, but I've never had a sous vide protein that could compare to even a well executed traditionally cooked one. It's all preference, but I find the modernist "science" to not line up with my taste buds. After thumbing through all three books now, I don't anticipate that will change. Myrvhold and his crew can stick xanthan gum in sauces to make them sooth or boil meat in water to get perfect edge to edge doneness, but many of the best restaurants in the world are not taking things that far and make better food than that.

That being said, here's an article discussing Myrvhold's ventures crushing promising startups and entrepreneurs through patent law. That's enough for me to never buy anything this guy creates. He was also friendly with Jeffrey Epstein. Too many red flags for me.

https://psmag.com/magazine/a-patent-boogieman-with-the-potential-to-obliterate-aspiring-startups
You're making some valid observations here, but I would also say that you also seem to be making a few assumptions and premature conclusions. For one thing, how do you know how much experience Migoya has in making pizza? Just because he's a pastry baker by trade (from what I gather from this discussion), how does that in any way mean that he couldn't be highly experienced with making pizza? He could be making pizzas in his own spare time, or he could be experimenting behind the scenes without actually putting much out. I would venture to say that at least half the people on this site aren't making pizza professionally or baked anything professionally, and never have, and that definitely doesn't stop them from making great pizzas. In fact, from what I've heard said from some of our members that put out great pizzas regularly, you would never even guess from their professional background that they had ever made a pizza in their life.  And pastry baking still gives a very good background for baking of any kind, really. Just because it isn't the same kind of baking, that doesn't mean it isn't relevant.
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Offline artaxares

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #103 on: November 10, 2021, 03:58:40 PM »
Also "pizza=/=bread" aside, there's also another thing which is "pizza = crust + toppings" and that second part is often overlooked even in professional settings because availability and cost is of primary concern so various different cuisine specialities can be even more qualified to talk about different ingredients that can be used as toppings. When I read these types of books that is often where my focus lies because pure dough management will depend too much on my particular settings, type of oven, temperature, humidity, flour availables, water etc which can hardly be fully covered in some specific book at all.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #104 on: November 10, 2021, 10:43:42 PM »
How do I know? Because you can't really get a great feel for pizza until you put the reps in. 10+ years of doing this PROFESSIONALLY and I still make new observations daily. I can make a pretty good croissant or ice cream at home but I wouldn't go and write a book on it  :-D

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I've trained people from both the bread and pastry world to make pizza and they are just very different things.

That being said, I'm still waiting to see anyone make anything half decent from ANY of their books. I still see them as complicated ways to make mediocre food.

You're making some valid observations here, but I would also say that you also seem to be making a few assumptions and premature conclusions. For one thing, how do you know how much experience Migoya has in making pizza? Just because he's a pastry baker by trade (from what I gather from this discussion), how does that in any way mean that he couldn't be highly experienced with making pizza? He could be making pizzas in his own spare time, or he could be experimenting behind the scenes without actually putting much out. I would venture to say that at least half the people on this site aren't making pizza professionally or baked anything professionally, and never have, and that definitely doesn't stop them from making great pizzas. In fact, from what I've heard said from some of our members that put out great pizzas regularly, you would never even guess from their professional background that they had ever made a pizza in their life.  And pastry baking still gives a very good background for baking of any kind, really. Just because it isn't the same kind of baking, that doesn't mean it isn't relevant.

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Offline RHawthorne

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #105 on: November 10, 2021, 11:20:52 PM »
How do I know? Because you can't really get a great feel for pizza until you put the reps in. 10+ years of doing this PROFESSIONALLY and I still make new observations daily. I can make a pretty good croissant or ice cream at home but I wouldn't go and write a book on it  :-D

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I've trained people from both the bread and pastry world to make pizza and they are just very different things.

That being said, I'm still waiting to see anyone make anything half decent from ANY of their books. I still see them as complicated ways to make mediocre food.
Sounds to me like you're still operating under the same assumption, and I have to say I think it's completely unfounded. You don't know anything about the guy except that he's a pastry baker by trade. You have no idea, and no way of knowing, how much time he's spent making pizzas, or in what capacity, besides what's shown in the book. I hate to sound so blunt, but I have to say that I just can't believe that you think you know so much about the guy. You sound like you have some serious personal animosity against him, and are forming your opinions about his pizza making credentials based purely on uninformed prejudice. Sorry, I just to have to tell it like it is. I don't intend to keep on arguing about this, though. I don't think for a minute that I'm going to open your mind.
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Offline Rolls

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #106 on: November 11, 2021, 11:21:46 AM »
Here's someone who perhaps knows a thing or two about bread, pizza and pastry, among other things in the world of gastronomy.  Pier Luigi Roscioli:




Rolls 
Parmigiano-Reggiano doesn't come in a green box!   - Chef Jean-Pierre

Offline DoouBall

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #107 on: November 11, 2021, 10:18:26 PM »
Here's someone who perhaps knows a thing or two about bread, pizza and pastry, among other things in the world of gastronomy.  Pier Luigi Roscioli:
Rolls

Nice video. Thanks for sharing Rolls. I'd love to try one of those those thin rectangular pies.
Alex

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Offline hotsawce

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #108 on: November 12, 2021, 12:39:32 AM »


This is how I know. You paid $400 for this. A lot of posturing (and inaccurate information) for what is ultimately a really underwhelming looking pie. What's "neapoilitan" about this?

There's no "personal animosity" here just speaking facts. He has a fine dining background in pastry - not pizza. His entire professional career has revolved around pastry in white tablecloth French restaurants and as an instructor in... you guessed it, pastry. And above, he shows you just how inept he is at making pizza 6 months before the book release. Give me a break.

He's a fantastic pastry guy. He's not someone you should be taking pizza advice from. You're much better off just crawling this forum.

Sounds to me like you're still operating under the same assumption, and I have to say I think it's completely unfounded. You don't know anything about the guy except that he's a pastry baker by trade. You have no idea, and no way of knowing, how much time he's spent making pizzas, or in what capacity, besides what's shown in the book. I hate to sound so blunt, but I have to say that I just can't believe that you think you know so much about the guy. You sound like you have some serious personal animosity against him, and are forming your opinions about his pizza making credentials based purely on uninformed prejudice. Sorry, I just to have to tell it like it is. I don't intend to keep on arguing about this, though. I don't think for a minute that I'm going to open your mind.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2021, 12:52:59 AM by hotsawce »

Offline Gene in Acadiana

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #109 on: November 12, 2021, 03:40:13 AM »
If I was ever served a Neapolitan that looked like the one he made in this video I'd send it back.

The most telling part is when he said, "It doesn't have to be perfect. It's pizza." Nice dismissive attitude for someone charging $400 for a book on how to make pizza. 

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Offline artaxares

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #110 on: November 12, 2021, 04:08:26 AM »
This is getting ridiculous, taking these examples without context. It is extremely important to keep in mind which audience is someone talking to. When someone makes casual video where he makes pizza and says "it doesn't have to be perfect" it is quite obvious that he's talking about people making pizzas at home who might be intimidated with all the talk about time, temperature, hydration etc.etc, he's not talking to pizza professionals and telling them "meh, do whatever you want, customers don't care".
I've read almost all available popular pizza books and if there weren't Richer/Vetri/Beddia/Gemignani/Reinhart/Forkish names on the front cover I would've thought those books are written by casual hobbyist. Why? Because they wrote those books for casual audience, they didn't put even 1% of their knowledge in it because it would be too much for someone just trying to bake a pizza at home. Talking about how pizza doesn't have to be perfect? Here's quote from Dan Richer's new book: "Donít be intimidated if youíve never even baked pizza before. No other food is so perfect in its imperfections, so forgiving on its way to mastery." How is that any different than quote above?
People can at the same time give "don't worry about it, just roll with it" advice to someone starting to make a dough ball 2 hours before dinner and give extremely specific and scientific advice to someone who wants to know a lot more or needs information that can be used in professional setting.

Plus, honestly, I don't even buy that whole "practical skill" argument. Sure, if I want to eat a pizza I'd prefer if pizzaiolo has lots of practical skills for handling that dough but if I need background information, from chemical, physical, biological standpoint then I don't really care about that. Look at it this way, every top athlete has a coach who could never play at their level but still trains and teaches them each day. Do you think Lebron James tells his coach "go slam dunk or go home"?
« Last Edit: November 12, 2021, 04:23:50 AM by artaxares »

Offline RHawthorne

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #111 on: November 12, 2021, 10:06:50 AM »
If I was ever served a Neapolitan that looked like the one he made in this video I'd send it back.

The most telling part is when he said, "It doesn't have to be perfect. It's pizza." Nice dismissive attitude for someone charging $400 for a book on how to make pizza.
I will agree that the pizza doesn't look like it should, but it's obvious to me that when he says "it doesn't have to be perfect", he's specifically talking about how the pizza doesn't have to be perfectly round, and nothing else.
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Offline RHawthorne

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #112 on: November 12, 2021, 10:29:56 AM »


This is how I know. You paid $400 for this. A lot of posturing (and inaccurate information) for what is ultimately a really underwhelming looking pie. What's "neapoilitan" about this?

There's no "personal animosity" here just speaking facts. He has a fine dining background in pastry - not pizza. His entire professional career has revolved around pastry in white tablecloth French restaurants and as an instructor in... you guessed it, pastry. And above, he shows you just how inept he is at making pizza 6 months before the book release. Give me a break.

He's a fantastic pastry guy. He's not someone you should be taking pizza advice from. You're much better off just crawling this forum.
I didn't pay $400 for this. I don't own a copy at all. I'd have to be doing extremely well financially to throw that kind of money at any kind of book. This video does raise serious questions about his aptitude for making pizza, in my mind. I will give you that. But I still think it's frankly way off base to say that being a pastry baker somehow makes one inherently disadvantaged as a pizza maker. That, to me, is pretty much just like saying that a person who's only learned how to play the piano can't also play the violin, or any other instrument, without being at a disadvantage. Music is music, no matter how it's being produced, and transitioning from one way of making it to another isn't a debilitating condition.
 Being too grounded in one way of doing things obviously makes it difficult to pick up a different skill set, of course. But that's a state of mind more than anything else. There's absolutely no reason why one can't move from one field to another, and pick up new skills and produce new work, without being hindered by what they were doing before. It's all in the mind. I was a cook for several years before I became a homebrewer, and while it definitely did take a long time before I made a batch of beer that I was really happy with, the process was in no way hindered by habits or ideas I previously had about making food or anything else. It was a matter of acquiring the necessary knowledge and equipment, and just developing instincts over time and knowing where to look for accurate information.
 I don't want to go on and on about this, and this isn't about "winning" for me. You've got some valid points. This particular clip you showed me points out how inept he is at making a real Neapolitan pizza, for sure. But I don't think for a minute that his skill set is to blame. I think it's his attitude; his disrespect for the tradition and his (probably) ego-driven desire to come up something "better"; not his technical capabilities, that are to blame for the poor product he puts out here. That's what I'm saying. I think that if he were to approach pizza making with the right mindset, there's no question that he could put out something great. I don't believe for a minute that coming from a pastry baking background puts him at any kind of disadvantage at all.
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Offline hotsawce

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #113 on: November 12, 2021, 10:48:17 AM »
Yet, rather than simply admit he's not a good pizza maker and not qualified to be teaching anything pizza related we have some forum members that would rather die on this hill. It's pretty funny, isn't it? One could write an essay picking apart not only the pizza he's made, and why him calling that pizza "Neapolitan" is just flat out wrong. If you're going to write a book that is supposed to be the definitive resource on pizza, you should probably be at least pretty competent and knowledgable in the subject  :-D

If I was ever served a Neapolitan that looked like the one he made in this video I'd send it back.

The most telling part is when he said, "It doesn't have to be perfect. It's pizza." Nice dismissive attitude for someone charging $400 for a book on how to make pizza.

Offline RHawthorne

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #114 on: November 12, 2021, 11:21:07 AM »
Yet, rather than simply admit he's not a good pizza maker and not qualified to be teaching anything pizza related we have some forum members that would rather die on this hill. It's pretty funny, isn't it? One could write an essay picking apart not only the pizza he's made, and why him calling that pizza "Neapolitan" is just flat out wrong. If you're going to write a book that is supposed to be the definitive resource on pizza, you should probably be at least pretty competent and knowledgable in the subject  :-D
I don't think anybody here is accepting this book as "the definitive resource on pizza" or dying on any hill. And in case I didn't make it clear enough before, I agree that him calling anything about the pizza in that video "Neapolitan" is just ludicrous beyond belief. But do I think you're really taking this to an extreme. And even though you and I are having a bit of a disagreement about this topic, I would still rather have a conversation with you or most anyone else on this forum than I would the pastry chef who's attempting to make pizza, if that helps put things in perspective for you as far as where I'm coming from. It's just a book that we can either look at and attempt to glean information from, or ignore. We all know that. The best information I've gotten on pizza making has come from right here, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Relax and keep on making pizza. All I ask is that if anybody from Modernist Pizza ever came to this forum to talk turkey, grant them the respect of somebody who just walked in the door and wants to have a conversation, without any prejudices. And until they do, focus on their techniques and recipes, not their personal background. That's the only thing that's really helpful.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2021, 11:23:36 AM by RHawthorne »
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Offline Heikjo

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #115 on: November 12, 2021, 11:45:50 AM »
If Youtube videos is what we judge his skills and knowledge by, this one is at least more recent:

Heine
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Offline hotsawce

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #116 on: November 12, 2021, 12:15:14 PM »
Is this a joke? The guy can't even turn the pie without pushing it to hotter spots in the back of the oven. By the way, if you jabbed at a real Neapolitan pizza 20 seconds into the bake like that you'd absolutely destroy the pizza.

If Youtube videos is what we judge his skills and knowledge by, this one is at least more recent:


« Last Edit: November 12, 2021, 12:23:48 PM by hotsawce »

Offline Heikjo

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #117 on: November 12, 2021, 12:33:13 PM »
Is this a joke? The guy can't even turn the pie without pushing it to hotter spots in the back of the oven. By the way, if you jabbed at a real Neapolitan pizza 20 seconds into the bake like that you'd absolutely destroy the pizza.
$400 joke.

I don't have the book, but if he is quite fresh in the pizza game and helped write the book which covers a lot more than Neapolitan, I'm not surprised he hasn't mastered everything. Even if they made the book only about Neapolitan, you don't get the experience gained over time and especially working in a pizzeria.

There are a lot of details in a Neapolitan that can easily be overlooked in such a process.

They probably got some fun ways to do things in the book, but as far as learning how to make the best pizza in various categories, I'd put my money on this forum.
Heine
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Offline artaxares

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #118 on: November 12, 2021, 01:25:17 PM »
Too many people here ignore main fact that neapolitan pizza crust is only a miniscule focus of this book in general and that authors are researchers, not practicioners.
Here is a free preview of a book
https://digital.eatyourbooks.com/content/Modernist-Pizza-Preview/index.html#page=1

There is a wealth of knowledge in these books about different types of recipes, ingredients and overall pizza making. Dismissing straight up everything based just on whether one of the authors has practical knowledge in baking neapolitan pizzas is asinine.
On pages 44-45 of preview above you can read forewords by Enco Coccia and Tony Gemignani who specifically says he cooperated multiple times with them in their lab. So basically for those interested you have impressions from respected pizza makers saying they were consulted in making these pizzas and are impressed by their work. I do believe that has more importance than 1 video of authors presenting pizza making to casual audience.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2021, 02:34:16 PM by artaxares »

Offline RHawthorne

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Re: Modernist Pizza
« Reply #119 on: November 12, 2021, 01:39:22 PM »
Too many people here ignore main fact that neapolitan pizza crust is only a miniscule focus of this book in general and that authors are researchers, not practicioners.
Here is a free preview of a book
https://digital.eatyourbooks.com/content/Modernist-Pizza-Preview/index.html#page=1

There is a wealth of knowledge in these books about different types of recipes, ingredients and overall pizza making. Dismissing straight up everything based just on whether one of the authors has practical knowledge in baking neapolitan pizzas is asinine.
On pages 44-45 of preview above you can read forewords by Enco Coccia and Tony Gemignani who specifically says he cooperated multiple times with them in their lab. So basically on one side you have respected pizza makers saying they were consulted in making these pizzas and are impressed by their work and on other hand you have some people here who haven't even read the book dismissing it based on 1 video of authors presenting pizza making to casual audience.
I was not impressed with the display of "Neapolitan" pizza, but I have no doubt that there is interesting and valuable content to be found in the book. I just wouldn't pay $400 for it. I think that's insanely overpriced, especially seeing that it's been produced by somebody who has already made untold millions of dollars on other ventures and could basically put it out for free and write it off as charity. That's my biggest issue with the book. Other than that obvious fact, I'm not going to post negative speculation about a book that I've never even breathed on.
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