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• #61 by rparker on 07 Mar 2017
• All pizza crust is inferior without something on it.  Does anyone here eat significant quantities of plain, dry bread?
Of course, but a superior crust with added aromatics and juices from pizza toppings is extra good. I used to dip my crusts into an OO garlic knot dip until I figured out how to not kill by crust flavor on my blackstone.
• #62 by mitchjg on 07 Mar 2017
• All pizza crust is inferior without something on it.  Does anyone here eat significant quantities of plain, dry bread?

I understand your point and agree with it - that bread is better when it is not plain dry bread and has a little butter or oil or whatever.

But, that is directional in nature and not really a justification or rationale for thinking that "most crusts never get eaten" (Reply #1).

I decided to do  some math to determine how much crust we are actually talking about in a slice.

Assumptions:

18 inch pizza
pizza 0.08 thickness factor
rim width 1 inch (1/2 inch on each side of the pie)
rim thickness factor is 2 X overall thickness factor = 0.16 since the rim may be left thicker than the rest of the real estate when the dough is opened
pie is cut into 8 slices
pizza crust loses about 15% of weight after baking

Further, my assumption is that the reader would agree that I am being "conservative" in that, especially with the assumptions of rim thickness being 2 X and the rim width being 1 inch, that I am going "high" with a calculation of the amount of crust that is in a slice.

With that:

The area of an 18" pie is 254.47 inches.  The area of a 17 inch pie (1" less to allow for the rim) is 226.98 inches.  So, the area of the rim is the difference, being 27.49 inches.  With a thickness factor of 0.16 (twice 0.08), the amount of dough is 4.40 ounces.  Allowing for the 15% loss during baking, the amount of dough is then 3.74 ounces.

Finally, slicing the pie into 8 slices yields 0.47 ounces per slice.

Now, if you agree I was conservative about this, then perhaps we can assess this by cutting the rim width total to 1/2 inch (note that Larry said he teaches his folks to stretch a rim to 1/4 inch on each "side" and HH73 says the rim size is minimized as much as possible.  So, I am still going towards the high end.

That changes the rim calculation to be the difference between a 17 1/2 inch pie and an 18 inch pie.  Sparing you the details, the calculation yields an amount of 0.24 ounces per slice.

So, call it somewhere around 1/4 to 1/2 an ounce of crust per slice.  My guess is most people eat 1 - 3 slices depending on whether it is lunch, dinner, big appetite, etc.  At most likely well under 1 ounce of crust, that is a long way from someone eating "significant quantities of plain, dry bread."

My contention remains that the biggest reason any pizza crust is leftover is driven by how appetizing the crust is - and that is not black and white.  So, when Walter, for example, makes a pie his customers eat the crust.  It is tasty and there really is not that much to start with.

If you want to make different calculation assumptions, let me know and I will put it in the Excel spreadsheet.

If you have a different conclusion on the "why" some pizza crust is completely eaten, while for others "most crusts never get eaten" (Reply #1), please tell me how that jives with the amount of crust that is actually being discussed.

We're not talking about a lot of crust here - that is why I think it is about tastiness in crust.

• #63 by invertedisdead on 07 Mar 2017
• All pizza crust is inferior without something on it.  Does anyone here eat significant quantities of plain, dry bread?

I wouldn't call it dry but my typical bread is focaccia which I usually eat plain. It's great.
• #64 by HarryHaller73 on 07 Mar 2017
• I wouldn't call it dry but my typical bread is focaccia which I usually eat plain. It's great.

Must be an east/west coast difference.  They eliminated the complimentary bread baskets at most restaurants in NYC.  They're available as a bread course for a price and hardly anyone orders it..  And not so much about cost cutting, but people here don't really eat plain bread rolls and the restaurant end up throwing out alot.

It is known that SF has a more established bread culture.  Not much sourdough bread dipping in oil here in NYC.

• HarryHaller73
• #65 by invertedisdead on 07 Mar 2017
• I don't think most people eat plain bread, Im probably the outlier; but I don't think my Focaccia needs an oil dip, I use like 10% EVOO in it.
• #66 by sfnatoli on 07 Mar 2017
• When I was a youngster in Northern NJ back in the 50's we would go out for pizza every Friday night, and the only thing I would eat was the crusts.  I hated cheese and tomato sauce so everyone else at the table just gave their bones to me. That pizza doughnut at Walters just brings back funny memories, and I would eat it in a minute.  Luckily I eventually grew to like the whole pie.  Those pics that HarryHaller73 keeps posting look exactly like the NY pies I remember from way back then.
• #67 by waltertore on 07 Mar 2017
•   pizza bones can be very boring. if you were to offer some extra virgin olive oil the leftovers would go down dramatically.that's what i do at home.
.
if i can find a pizzeria that offers that or chili oil for the bones i would patronize the pizzeria, providing the rest of the pizza was good. example motorino's with chili oil. pizzeria  fresca NYC with evoo left on every table, another option is a hot honey.

not a slice pro and have had walters pizza,i would not leave a crumb behind. his dough had that toasted malt flavor that i taste in what i perceive as good NY dough

if i see a bone at my joint i always offer something to dip. when i see crusts i get uneasy.,that is why i teach my people to stretch for a 1/4 inch crust after baking.

Being open 13 months now this was the first time we saw so many crusts.  All told we have so few crusts that it is surprising when we see one left.  Often others at the table will eat what their dinner mates leave.  So no oil, honey, ranch, needed here -  I am sticking to my NJ roots   Walter
• #68 by parallei on 07 Mar 2017
• Must be an east/west coast difference.  They eliminated the complimentary bread baskets at most restaurants in NYC.  They're available as a bread course for a price and hardly anyone orders it..  And not so much about cost cutting, but people here don't really eat plain bread rolls and the restaurant end up throwing out alot.

It is known that SF has a more established bread culture.  Not much sourdough bread dipping in oil here in NYC.

That is interesting.  Even in Denver at a decent restaurant, you can expect some decent bread, though most of it is not baked in house.  In Europe, Denver, or SF I've never heard of a "bread course".  Anything for a buck I guess......as you know, bread can be great.  It is a pity.
• #69 by PizzaJerk on 07 Mar 2017
• The undercrust and texture of a good NY slice is simply amazing and a classic.  The thin crust put it on the map.  There is simply nothing like it in the world.  The trade off is having a rim which tends to dehydrate because it is exposed bare to a low ceiling gas deck and nature of a low hydrated high protein dough.  To make a light edible rim as a focal point for consumption, you're most likely having to make formulation and workflow changes and you then sacrifice the quality of the undercrust.  This seems to be the point that you are missing.

Most better slice joints try to minimze the outer rim size as much as possible and sauce and cheese as far as possible.  They'd go all the way, but then you'd have no handle to hold it.

Harry, are you saying that the basic point of the pizza is to make a dough substantial enough and with the texture to hold the sauce and cheese and whatever toppings are on it?

To me that sort of sounds as if it's all about eating the sauce and cheese and having the texture and chew of the under crust only to keep it there. If there was as much focus on making a flavorful crust then from slice tip to the bones I don't think there are many that get thrown out. No matter what the hydration and workflow (to a reasonable limit of course). A well developed dough will digest very well also. Many pizzeria operators are very one dimensional with their dough; salt, sugar, oil and plenty of yeast to rise overnight without much attention to building great flavor in the dough that way they can shove it in the oven and grab your money. Even if they are using top shelf sauce and cheese ingredients. Why not give attention to the dough flavor and not just texture, thickness factor etc? I just think it's a bit odd I guess.
• #70 by jkb on 08 Mar 2017
• You can't make a great NY pie without a great crust.

• #71 by HarryHaller73 on 08 Mar 2017
• Harry, are you saying that the basic point of the pizza is to make a dough substantial enough and with the texture to hold the sauce and cheese and whatever toppings are on it?

To me that sort of sounds as if it's all about eating the sauce and cheese and having the texture and chew of the under crust only to keep it there. If there was as much focus on making a flavorful crust then from slice tip to the bones I don't think there are many that get thrown out. No matter what the hydration and workflow (to a reasonable limit of course). A well developed dough will digest very well also. Many pizzeria operators are very one dimensional with their dough; salt, sugar, oil and plenty of yeast to rise overnight without much attention to building great flavor in the dough that way they can shove it in the oven and grab your money. Even if they are using top shelf sauce and cheese ingredients. Why not give attention to the dough flavor and not just texture, thickness factor etc? I just think it's a bit odd I guess.

NY pizza undercrust is about it's unique texture and thinness  and providing the perfect counterpoint to strong Sicilian flavors.   It is chewy, and has a light crisp and what makes the slice iconic.

Food is about balance.  Due to the stronger flavors in NY pizza, the sauce, the cheese, the pecorino, the parmigianno, the crust is made as a textural counterpoint with just the minimum of salt and needs to balance with the other flavors.  Same applies to NY Italian hero sandwiches, or the NY bagel.  The famous NY bagel is rarely eaten by itself, instead paired with a myriad of spreads and fillings and the bagel provides the jaw-numbing chew that makes it a classic.  Order an Italian hero sandwich here in boroughs with Sfilatino Italian bread which is amazingly crusty with a soft chew inside, it is perfect when paired with the strong Italian sandwich ingredients.  But try eating the Sfilatino alone, you won't eat much of it, and meant to be flavor neutral.  Same for spaghetti noodles.

In SF, you're more apt to finding "flavorful" sourdough rolls.  They are generally eaten alone or paired with some olives or oil as a reprise, or light charcuterie and if made into sandwiches, matched with lighter ingredients, ie grilled chicken and mayonaisse, and not the hot soppressata, pickled olive paste, onions, oregano, and a ton of oil and vinegar you find in NY heros.

My observation in reading this forum is there are more crustophiles here who are crust-flavor obsessed, and then observe the general minimalist approach to their sauce, ie open a can of crushed tomatoes with a little salt and that's all,  wheras a NY sauce is more complex flavor along with the cheese mix.  You find your balance one way or another.

• HarryHaller73
• #72 by PizzaJerk on 08 Mar 2017
• I agree with your sentiment Harry as I have been in and around New York quite often due to family living there and have tasted many wonderful things that the boroughs have to offer (in particular Flushing and Corona Queens). I just think that with pizza, crust is (or should be) much more than just texture and structure. I am a believer in creating flavor in every layer of a dish, including pizza. For me that means creating flavor in the crust and not solely by means of additional salt. It could be old dough, preferment or whatever else one desires within reason. Sauce does not take a back seat either and neither do the cheese or toppings. If everything tastes very good yet is still in balance then mission accomplished. I don't know if that means that my efforts are no longer NY efforts.

A flavorful crust need not be overpowering, it can be complex yet subtle.
• #73 by Josh123 on 08 Mar 2017
• It's all about balance that you prefer. Harry is right - half this forum seems to use crushed tomato with some sea salt for sauce. To me that is bland and boring and doesn't develop the flavor of a pie properly, but yall would say the same about NY crust, which has flavor, but it's main objective is texture and to blend seemlessly with the zesty tomato sauce and salty cheeses/meats. Again, preference. People in NY don't throw crust out cause it sucks, they throw it out cause they like sauce and cheese more. No need to fill up on dry bread when you have an 18" savory pie to finish.
• #74 by hodgey1 on 11 Mar 2017
• NY pizza undercrust is about it's unique texture and thinness  and providing the perfect counterpoint to strong Sicilian flavors.   It is chewy, and has a light crisp and what makes the slice iconic.

Harry, the photo of the slice you posted, looks amazing. Do you know what shop that was made by or is that your creation? Either way, I want a slice and want to reduce my TF to more target that thickness!
• #75 by HarryHaller73 on 11 Mar 2017
• Harry, the photo of the slice you posted, looks amazing. Do you know what shop that was made by or is that your creation? Either way, I want a slice and want to reduce my TF to more target that thickness!

That is from Margherita Pizza on Jamaica Ave, Queens.

• HarryHaller73
• #76 by PizzaJerk on 11 Mar 2017
• That is from Margherita Pizza on Jamaica Ave, Queens.

I love these kinds of videos. Something tells me that I'd have the same reaction as that guy, the pizza looks legit except I think I see them using a screen. I've never been a fan of that.
• #77 by HarryHaller73 on 11 Mar 2017
• I love these kinds of videos. Something tells me that I'd have the same reaction as that guy, the pizza looks legit except I think I see them using a screen. I've never been a fan of that.

They use a fine woven flexible metal mesh product, makes no screenmarks on the bottom.  I am researching what it is but can't find it anywhere, must be custom made or from different era.

I would generally agree that screens have a stigma since they're used in chains through conveyors, but I can attest to their crust being excellent.
• HarryHaller73
• #78 by PizzaJerk on 11 Mar 2017
• They use a fine woven flexible metal mesh product, makes no screenmarks on the bottom.  I am researching what it is but can't find it anywhere, must be custom made or from different era.

I would generally agree that screens have a stigma since they're used in chains through conveyors, but I can attest to their crust being excellent.

I agree, screen use has always been seen as a crutch and only used by unskilled labor in chain joints, at least in my eyes. I probably sound stubborn on the screen topic and I know a place like this must use them mostly for the less bench flour aspect but I think that a highly skilled maker will be able to use next to no flour on the peel and the pie will still slide right off. To me, screen use is for emergency only (slowing down an out of balance bottom crust perhaps is a good example). However, that being said, it does not take away the fact that this place is packed, has been doing it's thing for many years and the pie looks legit. I'd love to stop by one day when I'm in the city for a slice. It's on the list.
• #79 by hodgey1 on 11 Mar 2017
• That is from Margherita Pizza on Jamaica Ave, Queens.

Harry,  Have you been successful duplicating that pie? If so, please share the forumla and work flow.
• #80 by HarryHaller73 on 11 Mar 2017

• Harry,  Have you been successful duplicating that pie? If so, please share the forumla and work flow.

It's "Queens-style", you'll find similar pizza at Lucia, Amore, etc which is basically about excess and what local demographic prefers.  There is no such thing as "low-fat", "low-cal" or "organic" in Queens.  It is the style of the common working man.  What many native New Yorkers I've spoken to remember pizza being like between the 60's-80's.

These pizzerias generally a typical 55-58% NY dough stretched with minimal rims.   14+ oz Grande whole milk mozzarella and 10+ oz sauce for 18" pie.  Longer, lower temp bake at 500 is what they do around 8-10 minutes, crusts are never burnt, very little char.. uniform golden brown undercrust, the longer lower temp bake really does something magical to the cheese, the fats gently roll off and nice browning.

The standout is the sauce.  Most pizzerias make a decent crust, but they pay alot more attention to sauce flavor.  You will find more romano and oil in the sauce.

These topics have been discussed in various threads in the NY style category if search.
• HarryHaller73
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