A D V E R T I S E M E N T


Author Topic: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, Ohio) Summary of knowledge  (Read 388 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline tedcholl

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 119
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • I Love Pizza!
Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, Ohio) Summary of knowledge
« on: June 21, 2021, 11:22:06 AM »
The purpose of this subject and post is to capture in one place the documented knowledge from the multiple subjects and posts in this forum on the ingredients and processes Tommy’s uses to make their pizzas. 
A lot of information is known and confirmed and comes from: 1) eating Tommy’s Pizza, 2) observing and asking questions to Tommy’s employees making pizza, 3) dumpster diving, and 4) posts from those who claim they have worked at Tommy’s, and 5) experimenting with different ingredients and processes to replicate Tommy’s.
While many of the ingredients and brands are well known, the actual amount of those ingredients is not.  Likewise, some processes are known, and some are not.  This post will summarize what brands, ingredients, and processes, Tommy’s is known to use.  Where the information is not known or the brand is not available to the home pizza maker, this post will provide what alternate brands and possible ingredients and processes have been used to get Tommy Pizza like results.
It is important to note that not all Tommy’s locations use the exact same processes and ingredients and that some of these have changed over the years.  Where these differences and changes are known this will be pointed out.
As more information becomes known, that information will be added to this subject.   If anyone feels there are errors in this summary or has better / additional information, please reply to this post so that this subject captures the most accurate information.
To understand the thickness factor and the percentages referenced, and to allow one to make different sizes or quantity of pizzas, this dough calculator is a helpful tool:
https://pizza-dough-calculator.herokuapp.com/calculator

Finally, special thanks to primary Tommy’s posters – Aimless Ryan, Floridian, 333Meg, and bobgraff.

Dough Ingredients

Flour – From a dumpster dive, Tommy’s uses Bellissimo Hi Gluten Pizza Flour which is enriched, malted, unbromated, unbleached, and 13.6% protein.  https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=44008.msg454782#msg454782
It appears Bellissimo is not available to the home pizza maker and no one has reported success in purchasing this specific brand. 
A close (spec wise) and available substitute is a 50/50 mix of King Arthur Bread Flour and King Arthur Hi Gluten flour which provides the same specs at 13.5% protein.  Several other flours have been tried and can be viewed in the numerous Tommy’s Pizza related posts.

Water %
The % of water used by Tommy’s is not currently known.   A wide range of hydration % has been tried and can be viewed in the numerous Tommy’s Pizza related posts.

Salt
An anonymous post in an Aimless Ryan’s Tommy’s pizza blog claims: “I worked at Tommys for years.. There’s no salt or sugar in the dough.” Go to bottom of this link in the comments section:
http://ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com/2012/09/tommys-pizza-columbus-ohio-clone.html
But bobgraff captured a Facebook post quote from someone saying they do:
 "They use liquid malt, butcher boy shortening, salt and red star yeast. I worked there."
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg662455#msg662455
Most attempts at making a Tommy’s have used between 0 and 1.5% salt with 1.5% being the most common. 
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg663313#msg663313
A trip to the Upper Arlington location made by 333Meg and tedcholl on 6.17.2021 led to the conclusion that Tommy’s likely has no salt or if it does, it is a low %.

Barley Malt
Tommy’s is reported to use Barley Malt syrup in place of sugar which gives their crust some sweetness and a malt flavor, and additionally a specific crust browning color and shine.
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg281794#msg281794
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=43654.msg445418#msg445418
This comment from the anonymous post in Aimless Ryan’s Tommy’s pizza blog:
I worked at Tommys for years..Theres no salt or sugar in the dough. Its bakers syrup - dark.
Go to bottom of this link in the comments section:
http://ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com/2012/09/tommys-pizza-columbus-ohio-clone.html
and:
 "They use liquid malt, butcher boy shortening, salt and red star yeast. I worked there."
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg662455#msg662455
It is not known what brand of Barley Malt syrup is used nor the amount.  Two brands that have been used in making clones are:
https://www.bakersauthority.com/products/malt-syrup
and Eden Foods, Organic Barley Malt Syrup, available on-line.
https://store.edenfoods.com/barley-malt-syrup-organic/
A trip to the Upper Arlington location made by 333Meg and tedcholl on 6.17.2021 was inconclusive to determine if there is a taste of malt in the crust.

Oil / Shortening
 "They use liquid malt, butcher boy shortening, salt and red star yeast. I worked there."
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg662455#msg662455
Butcher Boy is a brand that is distributed by Bellissimo, who also distributes the pepperoni and cheese that Tommy’s uses but does not sell to the general public.  It is also not known exactly what Butcher Boy Shortening product is used.  Cloners have used Crisco, Lard, various oils, and other shortenings.

Yeast
 "They use liquid malt, butcher boy shortening, salt and red star yeast. I worked there."
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg662455#msg662455
The amount of yeast Tommy’s uses is not known, nor if they used Active (ADY) or Instant Dry yeast (IDY).  Both ADY and IDY have been used and the % that have been tried can be viewed in the numerous Tommy’s Pizza related posts.

Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce – Tommy’s uses Star Cross tomatoes.  Many have used Dei Fratelli brand crushed tomatoes which are widely available.  Star Cross and Dei Fratelli are both packed by the Hirzel Canning Company of Toledo, Ohio.
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg201068#msg201068
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=44008.msg454806#msg454806
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg281482#msg281482
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=44008.msg440428#msg440428
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg187026#msg187026

Sauce spices
Comment from the anonymous post in Aimless Ryan’s Tommy’s pizza blog:
And there are only 5 ingredients in the sauce - three of which are spices. Its actually so simple and clean, everybody over thinks whats in it.
Go to bottom of this link in the comments section:
http://ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com/2012/09/tommys-pizza-columbus-ohio-clone.html
And from a 2015 Reddit Post on Tommy’s pizza: 
https://www.reddit.com/r/Columbus/comments/26yc1o/tommys_pizza/chww372/
Sauce is simple, crushed tomatoes with some salt, pepper and garlic powder added. Between saucing and initial cheesing a few sprinkles of dried Italian herb mix is thrown on (includes basil, oregano, thyme)
A trip to the Upper Arlington location made by 333Meg and tedcholl on 6.17.2021 led to the conclusion that Tommy’s is lightly spiced.  It appeared the spices are sprinkled on top of the sauced pizza and not mixed into the sauce.  Thyme, oregano, and basil were detected.  No caraway nor fennel was detected. 

Cheese
Tommy’s uses 100% Smoked Provolone, no mozzarella.
From a dumpster dive, Tommy’s uses Vantaggio Whole Milk Smoked Provolone:
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=44008.msg454782#msg454782
This cheese also does not appear to be available for the home pizza maker.
The last step before putting the pizza in the oven is to sprinkle it with a powdered Pecorino Romano blend per this from a 2015 Reddit Post on Tommy’s pizza:
Also after toppings are on its sprinkled with percino romano which gives a salty and sharp counterbalance to the provolone.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Columbus/comments/26yc1o/tommys_pizza/chww372/
Not known what brand Tommy’s uses, one brand used successfully and widely available is Boar’s Head Pecorino Romano. 
A trip to the Upper Arlington location made by 333Meg and tedcholl on 6.17.2021 led to the conclusion that Tommy’s uses powdered Romano cheese on top of the pizza.  This cheese was also in the cheese shaker on the table.

Pepperoni
Pepperoni – Tommy’s uses Ezzo GiAntonio 38 mm pepperoni which is made in Columbus, Ohio and available from PennMac at pennmac.com
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg201068#msg201068
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg187026#msg187026
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=44008.msg454806#msg454806

Pizza Making Process

Dough –It is not known if Tommy’s allows their dough to bulk ferment at room temperature before forming into individual balls and refrigerated. 
It is also not known if or how long the balled doughs are refrigerated prior to be sheeted into crusts.
Crust – Tommy’s does not dock their rolled-out crusts.  This from a post from someone who worked there:
You're right Tommy's in Upper Arlington does not dock their pizza doughs
Go to bottom of this youtube link in the comments section:

It is not known what thickness factor Tommy’s uses for their crust.  tedcholl purchased a 14” pepperoni pizza from Tommy’s and then dissected and weighed it.  While it was not possible to get an exact crust weight due to residual sauce and moisture in the crust the tf appears to be in the 0.10 – 0.12 range which was surprising and much more than that used by cloners.
From a 2015 Reddit Post on Tommy’s pizza:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Columbus/comments/26yc1o/tommys_pizza/chww372/
Its Rolled then flattened to a metal pizza pan where its sauced and slightly cheesed before being put in the cooler to wait until the pizza is ordered.

Putting the pizza together – Sauce, cheese, pepperoni.
The actual amount of these ingredients on a specific size pizza is also not known.  Tommy’s is not heavily sauced but is heavily cheesed and has a generous amount of pepperoni.

Cooking – temp / pan    Most attempts to bake a Tommy’s clone at home have used between 500F and 550F.  Tommy’s is reported to cook their pizza at 510F
put right into the oven when ordered. 510 degrees.  Go to bottom of this Youtube link in the comments section:

Tommy's bakes their pizzas at 510 degrees. I worked at the Arlington location about 12 years ago  Go to bottom of this Youtube link in the comments section:

Originally Tommy’s baked their pizzas in a deck oven but now cook the pizza in perforated aluminum pans in conveyor ovens.  It also appears there was a time they used screens.
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12446.msg502655#msg502655
They pre screen all their dough for the day in the morning. Go to bottom of this Youtube link in the comments section:


Post Cooking
When the pizza is removed from the oven it is lightly dusted with garlic powder from this 2015 Reddit Post on Tommy’s pizza:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Columbus/comments/26yc1o/tommys_pizza/chww372/
Finally, a shake of garlic powder and party cut
And confirmed by a visit to Tommy’s:
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=44008.msg455053#msg455053
Pizza is then cut into squares (party cut) vs pie shape
https://www.reddit.com/r/Columbus/comments/26yc1o/tommys_pizza/chww372/
Finally, a shake of garlic powder and party cut

Photos of actual Tommy’s
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=44008.msg503146#msg503146
« Last Edit: June 21, 2021, 12:20:18 PM by tedcholl »

Offline tedcholl

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 119
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, Ohio) Summary of knowledge
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2021, 11:35:02 AM »
 On 6.17.2021 my wife and I traveled back to Columbus and met with333Meg at the Upper Arlington Tommy's pizza location. bobgraff was out of town and unable to meet up with us.  The purpose of the trip was to refresh my memory on what Tommy's pizza is like and see how close my pizza is to Tommy's.  In summary, I discovered that Tommy's is different than I remembered it (it's been a long time since my last one) and my pizza, while very tasty, has definite differences to Tommy's.

We ordered a medium pepperoni and a small cheese.  We spent a fair amount of time analyzing the pizza and talking about it.  Here's my take aways:

- Tommy's definitely sprinkles garlic powder on top - we smelled it when it first came out.
- Tommy's UA sprinkles powdered Romano cheese on top - it was the same cheese that they also have at the table in the cheese shaker.
- The cheese was chewy, heavy, and surprisingly stretchy compared to what I've been using- when I took the first piece (which was very hot) I got a long string of cheese, very much like what happens with Mozzarella cheese.  This was very surprising to me. Subsequent slices that had cooled did not display the same stringiness.
- Tommy's doesn't use alot of sauce and there didn't appear to be alot of spices - alot less than I use.  To me the sauce is bright and on the sweet side.  The spices appeared to have been sprinkled on top of the sauce and under the cheese.  Also, I tasted more basil and less oregano than what I typically use.  Finally, we all thought there was some taste of thyme.  None of us detected any fennel or caraway as some have in the past.
- We tasted some of the crust with no sauce and cheese and we all felt like there was no salt in the crust.  If there is any, it is a low %.
We were undecided on if the crust had any malt flavor in it.  I felt I could taste something reminiscent of the malt taste I have in my pizza, Meg didn't taste it, she tasted something she described as fermented.
- Both our pizzas had alot of crust bubbles and lamination.  The ones we ate there did not have blisters on the bottom.  We both ordered pizzas to take with us and both of us had heavy blistering on those pizzas.
- The lamination was very unique and unlike anything I have been able to achieve.  The bottom lamination was paper thin, very dry, and crumbled into dry crumbs very easily.  Above that level there is an air pocket and then a definite grayish gum line layer of lamination.  Meg said the same.
- Now, for the biggest surprise.  I took a large pepperoni back to the hotel and dissected and weighed it. The overall pizza weighed 36% more than my same size pepperoni pizza!!  Mine has more sauce and pepperoni.  Tommy's cheese amount is similar but seems to be heavier.  The biggest difference is the weight of the crust.  I couldn't remove all the sauce / moisture from the crust to get an exact weight but it is definitely heavier.   I've been making 0.0825 tf pizzas and this one was probably 0.10 to 0.12 based on using the dough calculator.  The crust doesn't seem to be that heavy when eating it, maybe due to the lamination and crust bubbles giving it a sensation of being light and airy.

- Both Meg and I left very intrigued as to how Tommy's creates this "thick" and crispy cracker like crust and plan to do more research and experimentation.

Photo of tedcholl and spouse with 333Meg enjoying our pizzas.

I will add separately some photos of the pizzas.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2021, 01:56:00 PM by tedcholl »

Offline tedcholl

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 119
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, Ohio) Summary of knowledge
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2021, 11:46:01 AM »
Tommy's Menu - large 15" actually measures 14" - #1

Tommy's Large Pepperoni Pizza - #2

Tommy's bottom crust - no blisters, dark spots from use of perforated pizza pan cooking on conveyor - #3

Tommy's pizza showing Romano cheese on top of pepperoni - #4

Tommy's pizza crust bottom - #5

Tommy's pizza crust lamination showing thin dry and crunchy bottom lamination and gummy lamination above. - #6

Tommy's pizza bottom lamination dry, crunchy crumbs - #7

Tommy's pizza - different from above, showing blisters - #8
« Last Edit: June 21, 2021, 11:55:32 AM by tedcholl »

Offline 333meg

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 137
  • Location: Athens, Ohio
  • Surprisingly pizza obsession has not made me fat.
Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, Ohio) Summary of knowledge
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2021, 12:16:33 PM »
Ted! Such a wonderful write up, thank you. Only an engineer such as yourself would be so brave to flip an entire Tommy’s upside down to photograph the bottom. What a sight to see. Also, to dismantle and weigh the parts as well. Every time I eat Tommy’s, I am reminded how far my pizzas are from their’s. It was great to finally sit down with you and share a Tommy’s Pie.
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

Offline tedcholl

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 119
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, Ohio) Summary of knowledge
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2021, 04:10:00 PM »
Cheese Update  333Meg told me about Belgioioso Mild Provolone that she had been using and was similar to Tommy's cheese.  I bought a couple pounds and used it on my recent pizza and I agree.  It's not the brand of cheese Tommy's uses but having recently ate Tommy's, I agree this is very close and available to the general public!  It is somewhat dense, chewy, and when hot has a mozzarella like stringiness to it.

It is available in Giant Eagle Grocery stores and also appears to be available on-line.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2021, 05:16:53 PM by tedcholl »

A D V E R T I S E M E N T


Offline tedcholl

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 119
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, Ohio) Summary of knowledge
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2021, 05:14:40 PM »
Fresh from my recent trip to Tommy's I set about trying to adjust my pizza recipe and process to better match what I ate at Tommy's with 333Meg.
I've been reading more posts and have been in communication with 333Meg, bobgraff, and DNA Dan who have all been so helpful - great to have a forum like this and such wonderful collaborators!

As a result the pizza's I made yesterday were very close to what I ate at Tommy's and got rave reviews from my extended family during our normal 3 pizza Saturday.  Below is what I did that was unique and different.

Dough Recipe

14" round pizza
thickness factor 0.085
100% flour - a 50/50 mix of KABF and KA Hi Gluten to match the flour specs that Tommy's uses
43% water
1.0% IDY
1% salt - although Tommy's crust doesn't taste like it has salt I use 1% to give some strength to the dough and it is barely perceptible in the crust.
3.0 % KA Non-diastatic malt powder
5% Crisco - microwaved to liquify it.

Making the dough
DNA Dan shared that a key to getting laminated crust was to undermix the dough and to minimize how much the dough is worked.
Using my KA mixer and the pastry attachment instead of the S hook, I mixed on stir setting until the dough was barely mixed, 1 minute, and then added the liquified shortening and continued mixing for around 30 seconds.  The pastry attachment seemed to mix the dough better and quicker.
I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and bulk fermented at room temperature for 3.5 hours.  Covering with plastic wrap and letting the dough get moist after undermixing was also a suggestion from Dan.
The dough was divided into 3 balls and cold fermented for 3 days.  On the 3rd day each ball was divided into 3 balls and, using my manual sheeter, formed into 14" round crust layers. I decided to put some flour on top the first 2 layers, then put them one on top of each other - 3 thick, trimmed to 14" round, and gently rolled together.  I did not dock.
Based on what bobgraff does, I parbaked 2 of the 3 pizzas, one parbaked with sauce, one without sauce, and one pizza was not parbaked.
Dan suggested a lower temperature, I used 510F instead of my normal 550F, all on stone.  One of the parbaked pizzas was cooked on a screen on top of the stone, the second one on parchment paper on stone, and the one not parbaked was cooked directly on the stone.  For all 3, as they were cooking, I was not as aggressive popping and flattening the crust bubbles.  I got a lot more crust bubbles than normal.
All 3 pizzas had a similar crust, they had a very dry, crunchy, and crumbly on the bottom lamination, like Tommys and distinct layers of lamination - the pizza photos below are all from the 3rd pizza and can be compared to the pics from my Tommy's visit.
I'll be tweaking this in the weeks ahead but feel these changes, along with the Belgioioso Provolone, and the EZZO pepperoni, results in a pizza very similar to Tommy's.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2021, 05:17:29 PM by tedcholl »

Offline 333meg

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 137
  • Location: Athens, Ohio
  • Surprisingly pizza obsession has not made me fat.
Re: Tommy's Pizza (Columbus, Ohio) Summary of knowledge
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2021, 11:45:16 PM »
Great job Ted!
Pursuing pizza has put me into an airplane, in a car and on road trips of hundreds of miles...

A D V E R T I S E M E N T


 

wordpress